Translation of 1 Kgs 2:26–37 Ant. (3 Reigns 2:46a–l)

26) And the king, Solomon, [was] very insightful and wise. And Judah and Israel [were] very many, like the sand that is on the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.
27) And Solomon was ruler in all the kingdoms. And they were bringing him gifts and serving Solomon all the days of his life.
28) And Solomon began to open the resources of the Lebanon.
29) And he built Thodamor in the desert.
30) And this [was] the noon-meal for Solomon in one day: thirty kors of fine flour and sixty kors of ground meal, ten choice calves and twenty grazing oxen and one hundred sheep, in addition to the deer and gazelles and choice grazing birds,
31) for he was ruling in all of Across-the-River.
32) And there was for him peace from all his surrounding parts. And Judah and Israel lived believing, each under their grapevine and under their fig-tree, eating and drinking and celebrating festivities from Dan to Beersabee all of the days of Solomon.
33) And not was Satan all the days of Solomon.
34) And these were the rulers of Solomon: Azarias son of Saddouk the priest and Orneia son of Nathan ruler of the established. And Edran [was] over his house and Sousa [the] writer and Barak son of Axeithalam [the] reminder and Eliab son of Joab [the ]commander in chief and Axeikam son of Tharak over the burdens and Banaias son of Ioad over the courts and over the brick making and Zakxour son of Nathan in the advisers.
35) And there were for Solomon forty thousand in chariotry and twelve thousand horses.
36) And he was ruler over all the kingdoms, from the river [Euphrates] and to the land of the foreigners [i.e., Philistines] and to the border of Egypt.
37) And Solomon son of David ruled over Israel and Judah in Jerusalem.

Four Room House at Tamar (not Tadmor, as in Ant./MT) in the Desert. Pictured Dieter Vieweger. Photo (c) 2019 Jonathan M. Robker

Comments on the Text

Again in this case, the versions attest a number of differences, though they still generally reflect a remarkably similar text. Perhaps even more similar than most other texts in the first two chapters of Kings. Three verses are entirely identical in the Greek versions: 26 Ant. = 46a LXX, 28 Ant. = 46c LXX, and 37 Ant. = 46k LXX. The other verses all have some larger or smaller differences. Contrasting the versions with the Masoretic Text is somewhat difficult, since the pieces here stand in very different contexts in MT, where they exist at all.

Verse 27 Ant. contains the indirect object “him” after “bringing,” which is missing in LXX. The MT presents similar information at 5:1 (4:21 in many English translations), which also lacks the indirect object. That could imply that LXX might have been edited to better reflect a version closer to MT.

The name of the place that Solomon built in the desert differs: in v. 29 Ant. it is Thodamor and in 2:46d in the LXX it is Thermai. In this case, the Lucianic text better matches the MT version of this text, which appears in a distinct context in 9:18 and reads Tadmor. Most of the later witnesses to this information read consistently with it, suggesting that LXX may actually preserve an older reading here. The late dating of this reading is commended by the identification of this site with Palmyra in Syria. Nonetheless, we can hardly entirely preclude a corruption within LXX.

In v. 30 Ant. includes “on one day,” which is missing in LXX at this point, but present in the parallels to this verse in 4:23 Ant. = 5:2 MT and LXX. Ant. also has an “and” before the last word that LXX lacks, but the parallels of this are less consistent. Generally, the Ant. seems to be more consistent internally and with the other witnesses in these cases, suggesting that it may have been edited to that end.

The second half of v. 31 Ant. is completely absent when contrasted with LXX. Likely the shorter reading in Ant. resulted from homoioteleuton.

Verse 32 Ant. has “and celebrating” after “eating and drinking,” which is missing in LXX. The parallel of this in MT (5:5) lacks this phrase entirely, making editing in one direction or the other difficult to determine.

LXX lacks v. 33 Ant. entirely. This verse’s direct contradiction to 11:14 Ant. / LXX / MT speaks to its originality. For the purposes of consistency, it was removed during the course of transmission. A Hebrew phrase like ואין שׂטן כל־ימי שׁלמה should likely be restored to the text.

Many of the names in v. 34 differ between the witnesses, but the distinctions can usually be covered with standard methods without needing to look to a distinct Vorlage. The only other difference: Ant. includes a preposition after “Nathan” at the verse’s end, which may reflect a Vorlage closer to the very rough parallel of this text in 5:5 MT, though that is by no means certain.

Verse 35 Ant. lacks the “breeding mares” found in LXX. Explaining this as resulting from an error remains difficult or would at least be an uncommon, opaque error. On the other hand, LXX matches the parallel MT version of this verse in 5:6, meaning that it might have been edited toward that for consistency.

Finally, verse 36 Ant. begins with a conjunction missing in LXX, a rather insubstantial difference. Since there is no direct MT correspondent to this verse, no comparison with it might inform a text-critical decision here. Likely Ant. represents a conscious or an unconscious change to reflect the more paratactic style of Hebrew. Deciding this case in one direction or the other remains otherwise quite difficult.

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