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.

Translation of 1 Kgs 2:15–25 Ant. (= 3 Reigns / 1 Kgs 2:36–46a)

15) And sending, the king—Solomon—summoned Semeei son of Gera. And he said to him, “Build for yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there. And you will not go out from there anywhere at all.
16) “And it will be on the day of your departure, when you crossover the Kedron stream, you must know that you will certainly die. And your blood will be on your head.” And the king made him swear on that day.
17) And Semeei spoke to the king, “Good is the word you spoke, o Lord King. Thus your servant will do.” And Semeei stayed in Jerusalem three years.
18) And it was after three years. And two servants of Semeei escaped to Akxous son of Maaxa, king of Geth. And they [= someone] reported to Semeei, saying, “Dude! Your servants [are] in Geth.”
19) And Semeei got up and saddled his donkey and went to Geth, to Akxous King of Geth, to seek his servants. And Semeei went out from Jerusalem and brought his servants from Geth.
20) And they [= someone] reported to Solomon, saying, “Semeei went out from Jerusalem to Geth and returned his servants.”
21) And the king sent and summoned Semeei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord and did I not bear witnesses for you, saying, ‘On whatever day you depart from Jerusalem and go to the right or the left, you must know that you will certainly die?’ And you said to me, ‘Good [is] the word that you spoke.’
22) “And now, to what end did you not keep the oath of the Lord and the commandment that I commanded you?”
23) And the king spoke to Semeei, “You know all of you wickedness that your heart knows, what you did to David my father. And the Lord has repaid your wickedness on your head.
24) “And the king, Solomon, [is] blessed and the throne of David will be prepared before the Lord for eternity.”
25) And the king, Solomon, commanded Benaias son of Ioad and he went out and struck him. And Semeei died.

Simi vervloekt koning David. Jan Luyken. 1712. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Public Domain.

Comments on the Text

A number of variants distinguish the Greek versions in this passage. In v. 15, Ant. presents the longest version of this verse. It both appears closer to MT than LXX does and goes even beyond the MT, a version that is longer than LXX. The differences mostly impact the verse’s opening. Thus, Ant. has the “sending” found in MT (though in a distinct conjugation), but lacking in LXX. Ant. also includes the name Solomon after “the king” and Semeei’s patronymic, both of which fail to appear in the other witnesses. That suggests that Ant. presents a generally later text in this verse.

Only two minor differences distinguish the Greek versions in v. 16: Ant. reads a demonstrative after “departure,” whereas LXX reads a conjunction, and Ant. transmits a conjunction before “your blood” which has no alternative in LXX. In both of these cases LXX presents a text closer to MT, meaning that it might be editorial.

The only difference in the Greek witnesses in v. 17 is Ant.’s lacking “my” after the vocative “lord,” which makes for an unusual reading. While this could have resulted from an error, the reading’s difficulty could imply that it is the older version. The case remains unclear in my opinion.

Two verbal forms distinguish Ant. from LXX in v. 18: the opening “was” and the “reported” later in the verse. In each of these cases, Ant. presents a better reflection of precisely the MT, making revision toward a similar Vorlage possible, perhaps even likely.

Verse 19 attests a few minor variants. First, Ant. includes the title “King of Geth,” missing in the other witnesses and potentially a clarifying gloss. The verb for “search” includes an appended preposition in LXX lacking in Ant., but a transition is either direction is unclear. Curiously, the same preposition is appended to the verb for “going” later in the verse in Ant., which also has the plus “from Jerusalem” in that phrase. Both of those elements follow logically from the narrative, but neither of them is present in the other witnesses, possibly indicating later revision in the MT and then LXX traditions. On the other hand, the differences in Ant. could represent changes for consistency with the next verse, which reads identically in that tradition. To me it seems more likely that the consistency was first created in the MT tradition and then added into the LXX tradition, meaning that Ant. could well present an older Greek version and imply the existence of an older Hebrew version that included “from Jerusalem” in v. 19.

Beyond the differences in v. 20 that match v. 19 and have already been mentioned, Ant. reads a verb form in the opening verb distinct from that found in LXX and MT. LXX also contains an introduction to the king’s speech missing in Ant. In both of these cases, LXX matches MT against Ant. and could therefore present a reworked text. The final verb of the verse has an appended preposition in LXX missing in Ant. Likely the reading in LXX developed from an error in that version’s transmission.

Verse 21 is identical in Ant. and LXX with the exception of an additional phrase at the verse’s conclusion in Ant. LXX lacks everything from “And you said to me…” which both Ant. and MT transmit. This could be indicative of later editing adding this in the Greek of Ant. to more accurately reflect a text like MT.

However, the opposite appears true in v. 22. Here, Ant. opens with a reading distinct from LXX and MT, which are identical. Ant. appears to reflect a Hebrew text that read something like ועתה למה, which might have later turned into the ומדוע of MT and reflected in LXX. That seems more likely than the alternative.

The differences between Ant. and LXX in v. 23 are slight. Each attests a distinct demonstrative after “your heart knows,” with no obvious criteria for preferring one version. LXX presents a dative definite article before “David,” lacking in Ant., though perhaps a reflection of the preposition attested in MT. That is, this looks similar to kaige editing techniques. In the final case of “your head,” Ant. transmits an accusative definite article missing in LXX. In this case as well, the Greek in Ant. does not reflect any particular element in MT, meaning that it is just as likely that someone in the LXX tradition removed it—consistent with kaige techniques—as that someone in the Ant. tradition added it.

Verse 24 contains only one insignificant difference: a slight variance in the form of the verb “blessed.”

The only difference between Ant. and LXX in v. 25 is Ant.’s explicit inclusion of the subject “Semeei” in the verse’s final phrase. While this could be regarded as a explanatory gloss, it could just as well be a correction toward a text like MT on behalf of editors in the LXX tradition. That would certainly be consistent with kaige techniques. The problem is exacerbated by the circumstances that the Hebrew and Greek traditions strongly differ from this point for the rest of the chapter. That is a circumstance for another post.

Translation of 1 Kgs 2:1–14 Ant. (= 3 Reigns 2:35a–o)

1) And the Lord gave insight to Solomon, and very great wisdom and a broad heart like the sand at the sea.
2) And the wisdom of Solomon increased beyond the insight of the ancient sons and beyond all the insightful [people] of Egypt.
3) And Solomon took the daughter of Pharaoh [as] a wife. And he brought her into the city of David until he finished it, his building the house and the house of the Lord at first and the wall surrounding Jerusalem. In seven years he made [them] and finished [them] and completed [them].
4) And for Solomon there were 70,000 of lifters lifting and 80,000 quarriers in the mountain.
5) And Solomon made the sea and the supports and the great wash-basins and the pillars and the fountains of the courtyard and the bronze sea. And he built the citadel and its fortification. And he divided the city of David.
6) Thus the daughter of Pharaoh went up from the city of David to her house, the one that Solomon built her. And then he built the citadel.
7) And Solomon offered thrice in the year burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar that he built the Lord and he burned incense before the Lord. And he finished the house.
8) And these [were] the officers, the ones in charge of the work of the king, Solomon: 3700 commanders of the people of the laborers of the work.
9) And he built the Assoud and the Magdo and the Gazer and the Baithoron and the Ano and the Baldath.
10) Only after his building the Lord-house and the wall surrounding Jerusalem, after these he built these cities.
11) And in David’s still living [= while David was still alive], he commanded Solomon, saying, “Dude! With you is Semei son of Gera son of Iemenei [= the Benjaminite] from Gabatha.
12) “And this one cursed me [with]a dreadful curse on the day that I went to the barracks.
13) “And he went down, me to meet upon the Jordan. And I sword to him by the Lord, saying ‘If I will kill you with the sword…’
14) “And now: not will you leave him unpunished, for a man of insight [are] you. And you will know what you will do to him. And you will bring down his gray hair in blood to Hades.”

A portion of wall at the City of David. Note: Solomon did not build this wall. (c) 2019 Jonathan Robker

Comments on the Text

This lengthy plus in the Greek traditions when contrasted with MT contains a number of distinctions among the Greek versions, but mostly the texts share common readings. For example, vv. 1, 5, and 14 are identical in Ant. and LXX. Other verses are essentially identical, but for minor differences. Thus, Ant. in v. 6 includes an “and” lacking in LXX before the final phrase, the word for “three” in v. 7 differs between the versions, v. 10 in Ant. lacks a definite article before “Lord” (thus the unusual translation above which allows the article before “house” to perform double-duty), and v. 12 in Ant. begins with a conjunction missing in LXX, as well as attesting a demonstrative pronoun after “day” that is missing in LXX. These minor differences hardly change the meaning and the priority of one reading over the other can only be determined with some difficulty and, likely, with recourse to a Hebrew text no longer transmitted in the form attested by the Greek here (though scattered throughout 1 Kings 1–11). Other differences are more substantial and deserve more attention.

The Greek attests different words for the first case of “wisdom” of v. 2. The word attested in Ant. is clearly recensional, as I (and others) have argued elsewhere. To describe his wisdom, LXX includes “very,” which Ant. lacks. The “ancient sons” appear in two transposed versions. In both of these latter cases as well, one could certainly argue that Ant. appears to be a recensional attempt to correct the text more toward a Vorlage like 5:10 in MT. That could suggest that LXX has priority in every case in this verse (and it is not even internally consistent with its repetition of this information in 5:10).

The Lucianic text (Ant.) includes the subject “Solomon” and “[as] a wife” in the first phrase of v. 3. When compared with the Masoretic transmission of this information found in 3:1b, LXX appears more similar, suggesting it might be recensional in this case. The verbal clause describing his finishing building the house and the temple is different in the versions, with Ant. presenting a more cumbersome and perhaps unrevised version. Particularly the lack of specificity about the first house mentioned piques the reader’s curiosity. The versions use different words for “around.” One could argue that Ant. is more consistent, using the same term in v. 10—which LXX does not—but it is perhaps as likely that LXX represents an error rooted in dittography with the following word. The verse in Ant. essentially ends with a duplicate translation for “and he finished,” which is both superfluous and something that reoccurs with the Ant. text of Kings at various points.

Verse 4 opens with plural (Ant.) vs. singular (LXX) verb. LXX betters matches the Hebrew usage and could be regarded as stemming from a recension, though the Ant. reading is better Greek. Similarly, the “lifters” are in the nominative case in LXX, but in the genitive in Ant., with Ant. again attesting the better Greek. Determining priority in these cases remains difficult, though I tend to favor LXX presenting a revision toward the Hebrew usage in each case.

Two more substantive differences appear in v. 8: Ant. includes the title “king” before Solomon’s name and reads 3700 vs. LXX’s 3600. In these cases, LXX better reflects the Masoretic transmission of this information at 5:30, meaning it could be editorial here. However, it remains possible that the difference in the number, which is only really effects 1–2 letters, could represent a corruption within the Greek tradition in either direction. Nonetheless, I tend to favor Ant. as the older version in these cases due to the proximity of LXX to MT.

The list of cities in v. 9 contains some noteworthy differences. First, the name “Assoud” in Ant. clearly presents a corrupted form of “Hazor.” Yet, this corruption is decidedly more likely within the Hebrew tradition, meaning that this error could actually represent an incorrect transliteration of the Hebrew Vorlage of OG. The second to last phrase in Ant. includes an “and” missing in LXX and the final locations vary between the witnesses. While LXX generally matches the Masoretic transmissions of these names and Ant. could be regarded as a series of corruptions within the Greek transmission, these names remain otherwise unattested in the Greek Bible. However, the name “Ano” does appear as the name for Jeroboam’s wife in the Greek plus after 12:24, and the name “Baldath” strongly resembles the Greek transliteration of the name of Job’s friend Bildad. Possibly Ant. attests the OG in these cases, but it is difficult to determine what stood behind these readings.

The opening phrase of v. 11 contains a number of transpositions between the versions. To me, this case in LXX appears to present a recension, likely consistent with kaige, for a more isomorphic translation of the Hebrew phrase בהיות דוד חי (cf. 2 Sam 12:18 for the same phrasing, the only other case in the Bible). That would commend Ant. as the OG here. Ant. lacks any reference to the “seed” found in LXX. The LXX version could well be corrupt, though it is difficult to explain what led to this corruption (similarity to 2:33 with the repetition of “seed”? Confusion/dittography of Hebrew זרע and גרא?). The location included at the verse’s end differs between the versions: it is Gabatha in Ant. and Hebron in LXX. While it is possible to regard LXX as a corruption of the form found at 2:8 MT, Ant. differs markedly. This name appears otherwise in the majority Greek tradition of the Bible only at Esth 12:1, where it presents the name of a eunuch hiding with Mordechai. Likely the Γαβαθα in Ant. represents a corruption within the Greek for Γαβαθων (= Hebrew Gibbethon; cf. 1 Kgs 15:27; 16:15 and 17). That would commend Ant. as presenting a distinct Hebrew parent from that of MT and LXX.

Verse 13 presents a transposition of the object “me” between the versions in the first phrase. Likely, LXX represents a corrective toward the Masoretic transmission of this information as found in 1 Kgs 2:8, which is also more similar to the Greek versions there. That could commend Ant. as the OG in this case. The verb for “die” is active with a definite object in Ant., but passive in LXX. In this case, I see two possibilities: 1) LXX represents an error in the Greek transmission, in which θανατωσω σε corrupted to θανατωθησε…; 2) LXX represents the OG which was corrected in Ant. and MT so that David’s swearing remained true. After all, in LXX David’s swears “if you should die by the sword…,” which does in fact come to pass, albeit not by David’s hand or instruction, which Ant. and MT still permit. Currently I tend to favor the latter option as the correct one, though I am admittedly still open to both. It should be noted that neither of these versions conform to David’s swear as actually transmitted in 2 Sam 19:24.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:17–24 Ant. (= 3 Reigns / 1 Kgs 2:28–35)

17) And the report arrived at Joab, the son of Sarouia, (for he was a follower after Orneia and after Solomon he did not follow). And Joab fled to the Lord’s tent and grasped the horns of the altar.
18) And it was reported to Solomon, saying, “yes, Joab had fled to the Lord’s tent, and dude! He is grasping the horns of the altar. And the king, Solomon, sent to Joab, saying, “What is for you that you have fled to the altar?” And Joab said, “Yes, I was afraid before your face and fled to the Lord.” And Solomon sent Banaias, son of Ioad, saying, “Go and kill him and bury him.”
19) And Banaias son of Ioad went to Joab, to the Lord’s tent and said to him, “Thus said the king, ‘come out!’” And Joab said, “No, I will not come out, for here I will die.” And Banaias sent and he spoke to the king, saying, “Thus Joab has said and thus he has answered me.”
20) And he said to him, the king [did], saying, “Go and do to him just as he has said and kill him and bury him and remove today the blood that Joab poured out freely from me and from the house of my father.
21) “And the Lord has sent the blood of his injustice to his head that he met the two men, those more righteous and better than he, and he killed them with the sword and my father did not know—Abner son of Ner, Israel’s general, and Amessa son of Iether, Judah’s general.
22) “And I will bring back this blood to his head and to the head of his seed until eternity. And for David and for his seed and for his house and for his throne there will be peace until eternity from the Lord.”
23) And Banaias son of Ioad went up and struck him and killed him and buried him with his funeral rites in the desert.
24) And the king, Solomon, set Banaias son of Ioad instead of Joab over the army. And the kingdom was prepared in Jerusalem. And Saddouk the priest the king, Solomon, set as high priest instead of Abiathar.

Joab Pursues Sheba to the City of Abel. The Morgan Bible. Public Domain. Source.

Comments on the Text

These verses present a number of differences, particularly between the Greek versions. The usage of the definite article remains inconsistent between the Greek versions. Thus, in v. 17, Ant. lacks the definite article before “son of Sarouias” and before “Lord.” In both cases Ant. attests a text more consistent with MT, which has no particle that these articles would be translating. Verse 18 in Ant. also lacks the article before the first mention of “Lord” in Ant., but does have it in the second case, where it is missing in LXX. The shorter readings in vv. 17–18 in Ant. match the Hebrew and could be editorial, being more consistent with recensional techniques like kaige. The longer reading of Ant. in v. 18 would seem to commend Ant. as the older reading, though this case cannot be contrasted with MT, which lacks the phrase entirely. In this regard, Ant. also includes the article before “head” in vv. 21–22, where it is lacking in LXX and would not attest anything explicitly in MT. These cases could again favor Ant. as the OG against LXX. However, the tendency changes again in v. 22 before “eternity,” in which Ant. does not preserve the article, but LXX does. Taken together, it appears likely that both Ant. and LXX underwent editing regarding the usage of the article in these few verses and neither of them precisely reflects the OG.

In v. 18 the opening verb form differs between Ant. and LXX, with LXX presenting a more precise translation of MT’s third-person singular passive as opposed to Ant.’s third-person active plural. The difference in minimal and both can adequately reflect MT, but LXX does so more isomorphically making it more likely editorial. Similarly, the verb “fled” is in the imperfect in Ant., which LXX tends to avoid, as it also does in this case. One must postulate that either Ant. preferred imperfect or that LXX avoided it. Both options are possible and a more global study would be necessary to determine which is the case. The word for the tent in v. 18 is more consistent in Ant. and, therefore, likely not OG. The terminology for Solomon differs between the two mentions in the witnesses to v. 18. LXX and Ant. each refer to “Solomon” in one case and “Solomon, the king” in one case, but they differ in which case which nomenclature is used. In the first case, the only one for which there is a Hebrew pendent, LXX matches MT, meaning that it might be a revision.

All of the differences in v. 19 bring Ant. closer to MT, meaning that it would well be recensional here. The prepositional phrase “to him” in Ant. more explicitly matches MT than LXX does (LXX records it simply as an a dative indirect object). As with MT, Ant. lacks Banaias’s patronymic.

In v. 20 Ant. refers to the “freely” poured blood in a syntactically distinct place from the other (matching) witnesses, which could mean that LXX presents a textual revision toward MT.

Verse 21 features different numerals for “two” in the Greek witnesses, though it would be difficult to ascertain which is the older version. However, Ant. refers to the “men,” like MT, instead of the “people” like LXX. Ant. matches the shorter reading of MT lacking “their blood,” which LXX attests. In these latter cases, therefore, Ant. presents a potentially edited text toward something more like MT. The usage of “men,” for example, is more consistent even with kaige translational technique.

Ant. opens the first sentence of v. 22 with a verb including a preposition. LXX is more consistent with MT in its translation, and therefore perhaps a revision in this case. The Greek witnesses use different prepositions before “eternity” and thus different forms for “eternity” (genitive in Ant. as opposed to accusative in LXX). In this case, the phrasing in MT more closely matches LXX.

The opposite is again true in v. 23: Ant. includes a verb unattested in LXX, but matches the phrasing in MT more explicitly, even including “him” (and not Joab) as the direct object. However, Ant. refers to Joab’s grave, as opposed to his “house” as in LXX and MT. Likely this could present a case in which Ant. was emended to make more sense of a difficult reading. Why should Joab be buried in his house?

Finally, in v. 24 Ant. includes Solomon’s name after his title in the opening and closing phrases, which distinguishes it from MT and LXX. Ant. reads “instead of Joab” instead of “instead of him” as in MT and LXX. In all of these cases, LXX could be understood as a revision of a text like Ant. toward a text like MT, but the opposite would be unlikely. Nonetheless, Ant. refers to Joab being over the “army,” as opposed to over the “command” as in LXX. Ant. better matches MT and makes more sense, making LXX the lectio difficilior in that case.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:15-16 Ant. (cf. 3 Reigns / 1 Kgs 2:26-27)

15) And to Abiathar the priest, the king—Solomon—spoke, “Get yourself to Anathoth, to your field and to your house, for a man of death are you on this day! And not will I kill you because you bore the covenantal ark of the Lord before David, my father, and because you were mistreated in all of the mistreatment of my father.”
16) And Solomon banished Abiathar from becoming priest of the Lord in order to fulfill the word of the Lord that he spoke against the house of Eli in Silo.

Abiathar Carrying the Ark with Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Stephen Spielberg (1981). Image linked via BibleOdyssey.

Comments on the Text

Even though this text only covers two verses, it presents a number of distinctions in the versions. In general, the Antiochene text recounts a longer text, particularly in v. 15.

First, Ant. mentions the name “Solomon” after “the king,” which distinguishes it from the other versions. This difference could be the result of later editing for clarity within Ant. or evidence that the name went missing in the Hebrew tradition, toward which LXX was corrected. On the other hand, Ant. lacks the emphatic “you” found in LXX after the imperative, but reflects MT in this case, suggesting that Ant. likely does not attest OG. In the phrase “to your field” Ant. has a definite article lacking in LXX. The translation in LXX reflects the technique of kaige, meaning that LXX might have been adjusted here. More substantially, Ant. follows the reference to the field with a phrase reading, “and to your house,” which is lacking in both of the other witnesses. Being the longest text with this reading, Ant. may likely not present OG in this case. When referring to Abiathar as a man of death, LXX and Ant. read the subject (“you”) and the verb (“are”) in opposite orders. Either of them presents a good candidate for OG, but LXX tends to more specifically reflect Hebrew syntax, which could imply that it stems from later revision consistent with kaige. Ant. lacks the definite article in LXX before covenant. In doing so, Ant. tends to reflect translation technique closer to kaige, as the article in this Greek phrase reflects no element in the Hebrew text. Ant. includes the proper name “David” before the first instance of “my father,” which matches MT and may therefore be recensional. Finally, the word for “all” differs between the Greek versions, with Ant. lacking an α at the opening of the term in LXX. The more unusual LXX form could be OG in this case.

Verse 16 attest fewer distinctions among the Greek witnesses. First, Ant. reads the preposition “to” before “priest,” which has no pendent in the Hebrew. LXX might lack it due to revision. Again, Ant. is longer in a second case in v. 16, including a definite article before “to fill.” As LXX lacks this particle, but having it would be more consistent with kaige technique, likely LXX presents the OG here. Finally, Ant. presents a form of the proper noun “Shiloh” that is more consistent with Hebrew orthography and likely presents a revision. Notably, LXX has the form “Selom,” which appears to be the OG of this geographical place, as still found in the first chapters of Samuel.

Translation of 1 Kgs 1:1-14 Ant. (= 1 Kgs 1:12-25 MT)

1) And Solomon sat upon the throne of David, his father, and his kingdom was very prepared.
2) And Orneias, the son of Angeith, went to Beersabee, the mother of Solomon, and he did obeisance to her. And she said to him, “Is your coming peace?” And he said, “Peace.”
3) And he said, “A word for me to you.” And she said to him, Beersabee [did], “speak!”
4) And he said to her, “You know that for me was the kingdom. And upon me to reign all Israel set their face. But the kingdom turned and was for my brother, for from the Lord was [it] for him.
5) “And now, one small request I ask from you; you should not turn your face away.” And she said to him, Beersabee [did], “speak!”
6) And he said to her, Orneia [did], “Please speak to Solomon, the king, for he will not turn your face away, and he will give me Abeisak the Somaneite for a wife.”
7) And she said to him, Beersabee [did], “Good. I will speak about you to the king.”
8) And Beersabee went to the king, Solomon, to speak to him about Orneia. And the king, Solomon, arose to escort her. And he kissed her and sat upon his throne. And he set a throne for the mother of the king, and she sat on his right.
9) And she said to him, “One small request I would ask from you. You should not turn my face away.” And he said to her, the king [did], “Ask, my mother, for I will not turn you away.”
10) And she said, “Please give Abeisak the Somaneite [to] Orneia, your brother, for a wife.”
11) And Solomon, the king, answered and said to his mother, “And to what end are you requesting Abeisak for Orneia for a wife? And request for him the kingdom, for he is the brother of me, the greater one than me! And for him [was] Abiathar the priest, and to him was Joab, son of Sarouia, the general a friend.”
12) And the king, Solomon, swore by the Lord, saying, “Thus may he—the God—do to me, and thus may he add! Yes, in [surrendering] his life did Orneia speak this word!
13) “And now, as the Lord lives, who prepared me and put me on the throne of David, my father, and who made me a house, just as he—the Lord—said to me: yes, today Orneia will surely die!”
14) And Solomon, the king, sent out by the hand of Banaia son of Ioad, and he killed Orneia. And Orneia died on that day.

Batseba dient het verzoek van Adonia in bij Salomo. 16th-17th Cent. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Public Domain.

Comments on the Text

Noting the greater similarity between the Greek versions in this pericope when contrasted with the preceding ones is of utmost importance. The versions differ less in their number, as well as in the quality of their variants. The amount of kaige influence in LXX is strongly reduced, as should become apparent. This observation is not new, yet it is nonetheless worth reiterating. Ant. also appears to have more recensional elements than in some preceding passages, making it a more problematic witness of the OG in some cases.

For those unfamiliar with the Lucianic textual tradition, it is worth noting that the book of Kings only begins with this passage in that textual tradition, as opposed to the first notice about Abishag in the other versions. That might be significant for appreciating the compositional history of the books of Samuel and Kings.

Verse 1 in Ant. perfectly reflects MT and lacks the plus including Solomon’s age attested in LXX. Otherwise Ant. also perfectly matches LXX in this verse. This observation tends to validate the more consistent readings of the versions from here on out, though an important difference still appears in this case. Since Solomon’s age in LXX presents somewhat of a problem, Ant. likely transmits a revised version in lacking the plus of LXX.

Three differences appear in verse 2: 1) Ant. includes the definite article before “mother of Solomon” that is missing in LXX (but also not literally present in MT, though syntactically implied therein). 2) The change in the subject from Orneias to Beersheba is simpler in Ant., and a more direct translation of MT, using only the simple “and.” LXX, on the other hand, reads, “but this one [feminine],” making the change in subject more obvious. 3) Finally, Ant. has an indirect object for Beersheba’s speech (“to him”) missing in LXX and MT. In the first and last cases, LXX and MT read together, whereas in the middle case, Ant. looks more similar to MT. That could commend Ant. as OG in cases 1 and 3, but unlikely is it such in 2.

The Antiochene text of v. 3 opens matching MT, but not LXX, by reintroducing Orneias’s speech. Here, it may not be OG and even appears more like kaige than LXX does. Ant. presents the longest version of the second sentence, including both the mention of the indirect object (which matches LXX, but not MT) and the subject (which matches neither of the other versions). The priority is unclear in these cases, but the conforming readings against MT make them likely OG at least, if not representative of a distinct Vorlage. The inclusion of the subject in Ant. could evince editing exclusive to that textual tradition.

The only difference between the Greek versions in v. 4 consists of distinct conjugations of the last two occurrences of the verb “to be.” They are each good reflections of the Hebrew, so on this internal evidence alone, it would be impossible to say which form is OG. More study is required over the whole of the versions and how they translate this verb. We’ll stick a pin in that and hopefully be able to return to this problem once I have fully digitized Ant. (So I don’t have to search it manually, you know.)

Verse 5 presents only one “small” difference between Ant. on the one hand and LXX and MT on the other: only Ant. reports that the request is “small.” The usage in Ant. matches that in v. 9, suggesting that Ant. could represent a correction for consistency.

The subject of the first sentence in v. 6 is explicit in Ant., but only implicit in the other versions. The shorter reading may be older, as the text-critical rule of thumb lectio brevior commends. Ant. matches LXX with the inclusion of the indirect object, both against MT, and indicative of their quality as OG, whether as the product of a distinct Vorlage or not. But Ant. matches MT against LXX in recording whose face will turn from whom. Ant. and MT both state that the king will not “turn your face,” whereas LXX notes that he will not “turn his face from you.” That might suggest that LXX is OG there.

There’s only one difference in v. 7: Ant. has the indirect object “to him,” but the other witnesses do not. That’s it. The Greek tends to favor these indirect objects in this passage, so maybe this is OG.

Verse 8 Ant., unlike the others, includes the name “Solomon” a second time. Ant. uses a slightly different word for “meet,” including a change in the object’s case, as well as a shorter form of the verb “kiss.” The terms in Ant. differ from the more standard equivalents attested in LXX, suggesting that they may be the OG readings.

A single difference in v. 9 distinguishes the Greek versions. Ant. reads “my face,” but LXX reads “your face.” In this case Ant. matches MT and appears to better reflect the conclusion of the verse. That makes it an unlikely candidate for the OG. However, the Greek versions also match each other against MT by including “to him” before Beersabee’s speech to the king, perhaps indicating that they stem from a distinct Vorlage, or at least that the OG was distinct from MT in that case, whether the result of a distinct Vorlage or not.

Other than the orthography of the proper nouns, only two variants distinguish the Greek versions in v. 10. The first is the use of δὴ in Ant. instead of δὲ in LXX. LXX likely attests a mistake within the Greek tradition in this case (cf. v. 6) and should be restored to look like Ant. In the other case, LXX includes the definite article before the name Orneia, which matches MT more closely in a style reminiscent of kaige. Perhaps this presents a later corrective in this case. Ant. could be OG with both its readings in this verse.

The verb “to ask,” in its first appearance in v. 11 differs between the Greek witnesses, with Ant. closely reflecting MT in a manner essentially consistent with kaige. Since MT reads the participle, the best Greek translation would be a present tense, as in Ant., not the past, as in LXX. Ant. also contains a longer reading than LXX or MT, including “for a wife” as part of the request. This looks like an adaptation for the sake of consistency. When describing Orneia, Ant. uses the definite article before “brother,” which distinguishes it syntactically from LXX and MT. In this instance, LXX again looks slightly like a kaige translation, particularly when contrasted with Ant. The final difference among the Greek versions in this verse attests the opposite phenomenon: LXX includes an article before the word “son,” which does not appear in MT. Ant. lacks it, making it look more like MT. That again makes Ant. reflect a translation technique more similar to kaige in this verse (as in the first instance) than LXX does.

Verse 12 differs only in the Greek versions regarding the orthography of the proper name Orneia / Adonias.

Three matters differ in the Greek versions of v. 13: 1) Ant. is consistent in its usage of the relative particle “who” and matches MT in this regard, whereas LXX does not; 2) the king notes in Ant. (and only in Ant.) that the Lord spoke to him; and 3) the repetition and emphasis on the certainty of Orneia’s death that day in Ant. implies a figura etymologica in the Vorlage inapparent in the other witnesses. How to evaluate these differences? The first case probably indicates that the inconsistent usage of pronouns and particles in LXX resulted from an error in the Greek transmission. The difference is inconsequential (αυτος vs. ος) and most easily explained that way. That would imply that Ant. attests the OG in that case. The second case also favors Ant. as the OG, since the statement that the Lord spoke to Solomon in this regard is inconsistent with any other biblical text. That makes an adaptation toward a text like Ant. unlikely. The third case seems to commend Ant. as the OG as well, since no reason exists for the text to have otherwise been changed from a text like LXX to a text like Ant., while the opposite cannot be said. LXX better reflects MT, making a change away from something like Ant. at least more plausible and consistent with translational techniques in the vein of kaige.

The only difference among the Greek versions in v. 14 is the inclusion of the definite article and the name “Orneia” as the object whom the king struck. LXX just reads “him” as the object, a closer reflection of MT. With the longer reading in Ant. the duplication at this verse’s conclusion stands out much more pronounced in the Greek, suggesting—in addition to its distance from MT—that Ant. could be OG in this case. It is worth reiterating that the conclusion of this verse in MT probably presents the youngest version, meaning that it should be rejected here as diachronically determinative, which opens up new avenues for literary-critical evaluations of this passage. An older version apparently recounted the death of Adonijah/Orneia twice.

Translation of 2 Sam 26:1–11 (1 Kgs 2:1–11 Ant.)

1) And it was after these [things]. And David died and slept with his ancestors. And he commanded his son Solomon before his death saying,
2) “I am going in the way of the whole earth. And you will be strengthened and you will turn into a man of might.
3) “And you shall observe the charge of the Lord [=Yhwh], God of Israel, going before him, observing his way and his commands and his commandments and his judgments, his commandments and his witnesses, just as written in the Law of Moses, in order that all that you do might succeed, and everywhere where you gaze there
4) “because the Lord set his words that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘if your children guard their ways, going before me in truth and with their whole heart and with their whole spirit, not will be lifted off for you a man from the throne of Israel.’
5) “And now, you know what he did to me, Ioab son of Sarouia, and what he did to the two generals of Israel, to Abenner son of Ner and to Amessa son of Iether, the general of Judah. And he killed them and punished the blood of war in peace (time) and he gave innocent blood against my life and upon the life of my loins and against the sandals that are on my feet.
6) “And you will do according to your insight. And not will you lead down in peace his gray-haired head to Hades.
7) “And with the sons Berzelli the Gileadite you will act mercifully. And they will be with those eating at your table, for thus he stood before me in my fleeing in the face of your brother Abessalom.
8) “And Semeei son of Gera son of the Iemeni [= the Benjaminite], the one from Bathoureim! And he cursed me a painful curse on the day that I went into the barracks. And he went down to meet me at the Jordan. And I swore to him by the Lord, saying ‘If I should put you to death with the sword…’
9) “And you will not leave him unpunished, for a wise man are you. And you will know what to do to him. And you will bring down his gray-haired head in blood to Hades.”
10) And David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David.
11) And the days that [he was] over Israel [were] forty years; in Hebron he reigned seven years, and in Jerusalem he reigned over Israel thirty and three years.

Cornelis de Vos. King David presenting the scepter to Solomon. 1601-1651. Public Domain. Source.

Comments on the Text

The whole of the first verse is substantially different in Ant. Most significantly, this includes a lengthier introduction with the notice that David died and was buried without, however, noting that “days had drawn near,” as in the Hebrew text and LXX. The opening of Ant. is consistent with some OG translations of the Hebrew phrase ויהי אחרי כן (cf. Judg 16:4; 2 Sam 2:1; 8:1; 10:1; and 15:1; cf. further 1 Chr 19:1!). This similarity makes it unlikely that this phrase stems from Lucian and it is very unlikely an editorial change, but is likely therefore OG. Further, Ant. transposes the elements “Solomon” and “his son” when contrasted with MT and LXX. Finally, Ant. includes the phrase “before his death” in the second half of the verse, which is necessary in this case, since David has already died in Ant. As in the opening of the verse in Ant., it is readily possible to reconstruct the presumed Hebrew Vorlage, again making this an unlikely addition from Lucian. The Hebrew Vorlage likely read something like:

ויהי אחרי כן וימת דוד וישׁכב עם אבתיו ויצו את־שׁלמה בנו לפני מותו לאמור

The difficulties in v. 1, particularly the chronological and narratological problem of David’s death preceding his final words in Ant. make it likely that the Hebrew text and then LXX were emended to remove this difficulty. The variant version of Ant. should be considered in literary-critical evaluations of this chapter.

In v. 2, LXX translates “I” with εγω ειμι—which is typical for kaige—and also presents the following verb as a participle, identical to MT and consistent with kaige. Ant. reads instead a finite form of the same verb in the first phrase. The second sentence opens with different verbs in the Greek versions, though they each mean roughly the same thing. The verb in Ant. is hapax, making it automatically the more difficult reading. The verb in LXX also appears to be a standard equivalent, favoring its stemming from kaige and making it unlikely the OG. Finally, Ant. ends the verse with the noun “might,” missing in the other versions. Deciding on the priority in this case remains difficult, since there is no clear reason that this element should be missing from either MT or LXX, whether resulting from an intentional deletion or an accidental oversight. However, it is possible to consider it a more positive reflection on the figure of Solomon, which would commend regarding Ant. as an expansion. Another factor could indicate its later status in Ant.: in Ant. Solomon is a grown man at this point, whereas he is only twelve years old in LXX. LXX—should it attest the older reading and a Hebrew version since lost—could therefore be consistent stating here that Solomon will become a man. By adding the “might,” Ant. would also be more consistent: David could hardly tell his grown son to become a man.

The form of the verb opening v. 3 is distinct in the Greek versions, but either of them could represent MT. As Ant. present the rarer form, we could consider it as a solid candidate for the OG. Of more relevance, the reference to God is impersonal in Ant. I.e., God is not the God of Solomon, but the God of Israel. This fits better more in Deuteronomistic vernacular, suggesting that Ant. could represent a later editorial mimicking of this style. In Ant., Solomon should go before God and guard his (i.e., God’s) way (sg. Instead of plural as in LXX and MT). The phrasing of the laws and mores that he should follow differs significantly between MT-LXX and Ant, both in the semantic and its syntax. Ant. refers to the written law of Moses, whereas the other witnesses are more open in this regard. The whole conclusion of the verse differs in Ant., but fits generally within the confines of an accurate translation of a Hebrew text that differs from MT. Yet it does not appear to be a revision of a Greek text like LXX.

The witnesses in v. 4 are variegated, and determining the relationship between the texts is difficult. The opening conjunction differs between Ant. and LXX. Both of them are satisfactory equivalents for the Hebrew, but the kaige recension (at least according to my cursory glance at the concordance) prefers this term for another Hebrew word (למה). That could well imply that LXX attests an OG reading in this case. The term for “word” also differs between the Greek witnesses, with LXX representing more of a standard equivalent in line with kaige. Beyond that, Ant.’s “words” is plural, whereas the other witnesses are singular. These observations both favor Ant. as the OG in these cases. However, in Ant., the word is spoken “about me [i.e., David]” instead of more generally as in LXX. Since Ant. again matches MT in this case, and LXX does not seem to reflect kaige technique, this could well imply that Ant. here represents revision of the OG. Then LXX would better attest the OG. The verb form at the beginning of the quoted divine speech differs in Greek, with LXX again better reflecting MT and therefore suggesting identifying it as recensional. Ant. recognizes David’s “children” and not “sons” as the object of the command and, of course, sons more literally reflects MT. The “ways/paths” is plural in Ant., but singular in the other versions. Ant. includes an article before the verb “going” not in the other witnesses and a conjunction before “in their whole heart” not attested in the others. The form of “me” varies in the Greek witnesses, but not in any relevant manner. Before the term “spirit,” Ant. again includes an article not attested in LXX, but which probably was removed there since it has no clear referent in the Hebrew. That is typical for kaige. Ant. lacks “saying” before “not will be…” attested in the other witnesses, again commending it as a potential for the OG against a revised LXX. The verb about what will happen to someone on the throne differs in the Greek. Ant. says that no one will be “lifted up off” (i.e., removed), whereas LXX recounts that no one will be “destroyed.” This case remains opaque, but the finality of LXX and its more violent rhetoric probably suggest it’s a revision toward the Hebrew “be cut off from.” The final prepositional phrase differs in two instances among the Greek versions, with LXX remaining closer to MT in each case: the preposition itself differs, with LXX present a composite preposition as a perfect reflection of the Hebrew composite; and Ant. contains an article not attested in LXX or MT, suggesting it may have been removed to make those versions more isomorphically similar. This verse is long and the variants manifold and complex, but it appears likely that each of the Greek versions maintains some OG readings against the other and may ultimately be indicative of a differing Hebrew Vorlage for that tradition.

Again, v. 5 attests a significant number of variants in the Greek witnesses. However, in this case, it appears likely that LXX is kaige in essentially every case, leaving open the possibility that Ant. attests the OG in some or all of them. These include: the translation of וגם with καιγε (LXX) or καὶ νυν (Ant.); different verbs for “knowing”; different relative particles; the inclusion of the conjunction “and” between the phrases “what he did” in Ant.; different forms for the number “two”; variant terminology for the specific office that Abenner and Amessa held, with LXX perfectly reflecting the Hebrew and Ant. using a single lexeme; the inclusion in Ant. of a separate title for Amessa, making the reading more difficult by adding tension; distinct verbs for what Joab did, with LXX closer to MT; different forms for the first mention of blood, with LXX reflecting the Hebrew plural; the variation for whose life was damaged; and distinct syntax toward the verse’s end. The only possible exception would be LXX’s inclusion of a definite article before the first mention of “blood,” which has no pendent in the Hebrew Vorlage. Perhaps this indicates that its Vorlage contained a marker of the definite object (which is generally untranslatable in English) that has since gone missing in the Hebrew. Using a definite article for the translation of a Hebrew object marker is a common phenomenon in kaige.

Two variants distinguish LXX from Ant. in v. 6: the word for wisdom differs and the phrase “in peace” has been transposed. I have demonstrated elsewhere (SBL 2020) that the term for wisdom in LXX is editorial, used in kaige and later editorial traditions. The other case again appears to represent a transposition within LXX in order to make it better match MT or a similar Hebrew text.

The first half of v. 7 is essentially identical in Ant. and LXX. The differences begin with “thus” and continue for the rest of the verse. I would argue that the differences generally look like LXX presenting a revised text. This includes LXX’s use of “drew near to me” (=MT) instead of Ant.’s “stand before me,” its use of “from before” (=MT) instead of Ant.’s “in the face of,” and the ordering of the elements “Abessalom” before “his brother” (=MT), which Ant. has in the reverse order. One exception to this does appear: Ant.’s “in the fleeing of me” better matches MT in form and syntactical ordering than does LXX’s “in my fleeing.” That distinction could imply that LXX is revisional here and that Ant. represents the OG in this case. While that is an exception, it is a noteworthy one.

A series of minor differences stand out between LXX and Ant. in verse 8. At the beginning of the verse, Ant. reads shorter, missing three elements that appear in LXX and matching MT in those cases. Ant. here does not match 2:11 Ant., meaning that all of these individually and collectively commend Ant. as the OG. Ant. contains a definite article absent in LXX before “from”; the easiest explanation for this would again be LXX as a revision toward an MT-like Hebrew text, which also lacks any such element. The name of the place “Bath-Oureim” differs from LXX and MT, which are the same. Likely, Ant. maintains an older reading here. Ant. proffers the preposition “in” before “the days,” which is superfluous in Greek, but does perfectly reflect MT, suggesting that it is revisional here, commending LXX as OG in its reading. Finally, the preposition before “the Jordan” differs between LXX and Ant. The Hebrew attests neither, but presumes something closer to LXX, suggesting—with all necessary caution—LXX attests a correction in that case.

Only one variant in v. 9 distinguishes the Greek witnesses: Ant. contains an emphatic subject “you” at the verse’s opening. This case is particularly difficult, since it matches neither LXX nor MT. It appears that a misreading of MT stands behind Ant. or Ant. attests an older reading that was mistakenly changed in the Hebrew textual tradition; the difference consists of a single letter: ואתה (Ant.) vs. ועתה (MT). Likely both of them represent later interpolations vis-à-vis LXX, which can be regarded as the shorter OG in this case. Interestingly, in 2:35a LXX = 2:14 Ant. the two Greek witnesses match in this instance and match MT, suggesting that Ant. cannot be regarded as an internal idiosyncratic correction within that tradition.

Verse 10 has only two minor difference, both of then tend to favor Ant. as the older text. In the first case, the verb at the verse’s opening appears in distinct forms, whereby the form attested in LXX is consistent with the translational technique of kaige. That implies that it presents a later editorial undertaking. The other case commends the same interpretation: Ant. attests the definite article before “city of David” that LXX lacks. This again appears to be likely a redaction toward the Hebrew text, which possesses no element to be translated with this article.

The final verse of this passage, and the final verse of Samuel according to Ant., has a few peculiar issues that merit discussion. The first sentence lacks three elements that appear in LXX: the verb and subject “David reigned” after “that” and the definite article before “Israel.” The verb and subject are difficult to determine, but as Ant. makes no sense and no conspicuous source for an error exists it could be regarded as the older reading. The definite article before Israel is inconsistent with kaige recensional technique in this case and therefore could be regarded as OG. The two Greek versions then proceed with an identical text until the word Jerusalem. Thereafter they continue independently. Then Ant. records three words missing in LXX that translate: “he reigned over Israel.” The first word matches MT, but the other two do not. It remains particularly difficult to determine priority in this case, though Ant. does not appear to be a strong candidate for the OG here. The final distinction is the “and” in “thirty-three” in Ant. which again matches MT in contradistinction to LXX. Therefore, perhaps LXX again provides the OG in this case.

Translation of 2 Sam 25:50–53 (1 Kgs 1:50-53 Ant.)

50) And Ornia feared before the face of the king, Solomon. And he arose and went to the tent of the Lord [=Yhwh] and he dominated the horns of the altar, saying “the king, Solomon, should swear to me today [that he will] not kill his servant with the sword.”
51) And they told Solomon, saying, “Dude! Ornia fears the king, Solomon. And dude! He grasps the horns of the altar, saying, ‘the king, Solomon, should swear to me today [that he will] not kill his servant with the sword.’”
52) And Solomon said, “If he is to be a man of might, not will fall from his head a hair onto the ground. But if wickedness is found in him, he will die.”
53) And Solomon sent and brought him down from the altar. And Ornia entered and prostrated to the king, Solomon. And he spoke to him, Solomon [did], “Walk to your house.”

First Book of Kings Chapter 1-8 (Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media).jpg. CC BY-SA 3.0 (view terms).
Created: 1 January 1984. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Comments on the Text

These few verses present some substantial and minor differences among the witnesses. (Ignoring, again, the orthography of proper nouns).

Verse 50 Ant. presents a much longer text than either LXX or MT. LXX and MT are identical in every case, at least permitting the preliminary conclusion that Ant. represents an older, or at least a distinct Vorlage from that used by LXX and in the Masoretic tradition. First, Ant. includes the title “the king” before Solomon’s name. Either Ant. presents an interpretive expansion or this term went missing in the Hebrew at some point. Ant. refers to the altar within the “tent of the Lord,” an element missing both in LXX and MT. Likely, this presents an older reading, since there is some uncertainty at this point where the tent should be. It really only plays a greater role in 2:28-30 and 8:4. Curiously, the verb “dominate” in Ant. presents a good translation of the same Hebrew term in MT. LXX does too, but makes more sense in the context. In this case, it again appears possible that Ant. could be recensional, though LXX likely represents a contextual correction toward the Hebrew idiom. Finally, Ant. concludes with a lengthy passage, perhaps copied from the following verse. This lengthy plus could represent an attempt at consistency, making the text here match what is reported to Solomon in the next verse. Should that indeed be the case, this might present the independent confirmation of the OG in the next verse, since LXX matches MT in that case, but Ant. does not.

The Ant. of v. 51 opens with a plural active verb in contrast to the passive construction of LXX and MT. That suggests that LXX could be a revision toward MT. The verb “fear” appears in different conjugations in the Greek witnesses, which makes no real difference in terms of meaning. However, since kaige appears to prefer the aorist, which LXX attests, we can safely regard that as a later editorial transition to be closer to the Hebrew. At the same time, LXX lacks the interjection “dude!” as in Ant. and MT, suggesting that LXX could be OG in this case. The final difference among the Greek witnesses in this verse appears in Ornia’s oath, in which LXX more accurately reflects MT than Ant. does. That again suggests that LXX attests a revision toward a Vorlage like MT.

Verse 52 presents another case in which LXX and MT are essentially identical, yet contrast in their uniformity with Ant. The differences among the Greek witnesses all occur within Solomon’s oath. The formulation of the oath itself relies on disparate verb forms in the Greek versions. The Antiochene text explicitly references Ornia’s head, a reference absent in the other versions. For the metaphor of hair fallen to the ground, Ant. uses the singular instead of the plural for hair. Finally, two minor differences with somewhat important implications present themselves in the conclusion of Solomon’s oath. First, Ant. uses the more disjunctive δε at the opening of the final phrase, whereas LXX more tediously reflects the syntax of MT. Second, the final verb in Ant. and LXX differs. Both represent a satisfactory translation of MT, however LXX betters matches the context and explicitly justifies Solomon’s actions against Adonijah in the next chapter. In Ant., Solomon merely states that Ornia will die if wickedness is found in him. That leaves open, for example, the possibility of divine retribution. But LXX states that Adonaias will be put to death—i.e., executed—if wickedness is found in him. Since the next chapter of Kings proffers a detailed account of the justification for his execution as well as the execution itself, it seems likely that LXX represents a contextual emendation to better reflect this. Wouldn’t it be unlikely for someone to change a text like LXX to be like Ant. in this context? The more solid moral or ethical footing for Solomon’s execution of his half-brother motivated this change.

The final verse of this chapter presents only a few variants among the Greek witnesses. As per usual in this chapter, LXX generally more accurately reflects MT than Ant. does. Ant. does not mention the honorific “the king” as part of the subject of the first phrase. The tense of the verb of the second phrase also appears to have been emended for consistency in LXX, as was the preposition “from upon.” MT and LXX do not mention Adonaias/Ornia at all, but Ant. includes him as the subject who explicitly submits to Solomon. The reading in Ant. could thus present a clarifying gloss, but since it is unnecessary in the context (clearly Ornia—and no one else here—prostrates to Solomon) it may have been deleted in the other witnesses. Explicitly removing Ornia from this passage could also serve to make him appear less favorable in preparation for his coming demise. Finally, the imperative in the final clause appears in two different forms. Determining priority in this case may not be possible, but further research, which I don’t have time for right this second remains outstanding.

Translation of 2 Sam 25:41–49 (1 Kgs 1:41–49 Ant.)

41) And Ornia heard. And those eating and drinking with him, they were finished eating. And Joab heard the sound of the noise. And he said, “What is the voice of this sound? It peals loudly!”
42) Still he was speaking. And, dude! Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest. And Ornia said to him, “Come! For a mighty man are you and good news you will tell.”
43) And Jonathan answered and said to Ornia, “Our lord the king, David, has made Solomon king.
44) “And he sent with him Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Ioad and the Xorri and the Phelti and they put him on the king’s mule.
45) “And he anointed him—Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet—in the Gion. And they led him up from there rejoicing. And the land sounded a cry. This was the voice of the sound that you heard.
46) “And Solomon sat upon the throne of the king.
47) “And indeed the servants of the king went to bless our lord the king, David, and they entered individually and said, ‘May the Lord [= Yhwh] make the name of your son Solomon better than your name and make his throne greater than your throne!’ And the king prostrated on his bed.
48) “And thus spoke the king, ‘Blessed is the Lord [=Yhwh], the God of Israel, who gave today from my seed on to sit upon my throne and my eyes have seen!’”
49) And they arose and started off, all of those who had been summoned by Ornia, and they departed, each on their own way.

Sadoch & Nathan. East window Margaretting. Ca. 1460. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0.

Comments on the Text

These versions attest a large number of variants in these verses, many of them minor, but some of them more substantial. No two verses are identical in the versions. (Again, I am ignoring the orthography of proper names in this survey, though that is probably worth a study on its own.)

Verse 41 begins much the same in the Greek versions, but each describes the group present with Adonaias / Ornias in different terms. In LXX, they are those summoned, whereas in Ant. they are those eating and drinking with him. The verb used in the second instance in Ant. to describe their eating is a participle, but an infinitive in LXX. Joab hears the sound of the horn and the city in LXX, but more generically noises in Ant. The text of LXX lacks the final “great” that appears in Ant. In every single case, LXX agrees with MT against Ant., suggesting that LXX presents a revision toward a Hebrew text like MT. This is consistent with kaige techniques, and could commend Ant. as the older version in every case.

The second phrase in Ant. lacks a finite verb, which LXX attests: “came.” On the other hand, the indirect object “him” does not appear in LXX. Finally, LXX attests a finite verb in the phrase about Jonathan’s being a mighty man. In the first two cases, LXX matches MT perfectly, suggesting again that it is a revision. However, the final finite verb that differs between the Greek versions could suggest that LXX maintains the OG here with Ant. representing a revision, since the reading in LXX contradicts typical kaige technique.

The final verb of v. 43 differs in the Greek versions in its form, but not in its root. In the first half of this verse, the interesting circumstance presents itself that neither Greek version alone matches MT, but both of them together do. LXX does not attest the indirect object “to Adonaias,” but Ant. and MT do. Ant. lacks the “rather” at the beginning of Jonathan’s statement. Likely some corruption stands behind these differences. Here it may well be that MT presents the oldest witness with LXX and Ant. each presenting distinct corruptions in different directions.

The Greek versions of v. 44 again differ in the form of the opening verb, though not in the root. Ant. lacks the explicit subject “the king” that appears in MT and LXX. However, one should note that MT and LXX do not match in terms of their word-order in this case. Ant. also does not precede the proper name “Saddouk” with a definite article, as LXX does. In this case, LXX likely attests a revision toward the Hebrew—consistent with kaige—to reflect the Hebrew marker of the direct object. (Strangely enough, LXX does not afford Nathan the same treatment, even though the same direct object marker appears before his name in the Hebrew.) The verb “to set” varies in the Greek, with LXX attesting the more consistent and therefore likely kaige reading. That remains somewhat unsure, however.

Verse 45 also attests many small distinctions between the Greek versions. Noteworthily, LXX again matches MT in every variant, suggesting that it revised the text toward something like MT. The first verb in Ant. is singular, but plural (and more consistent with the plural subjects) in LXX and MT. Ant. does not explicitly state that Solomon was anointed “as king” as the other witnesses do. While no reason to avoid this information presents itself as likely, it can readily be understood as a later addition to the non-Ant. witnesses. The actors in Ant. bring “him” (i.e., Solomon) up from there, whereas the other versions lack the direct object and thus have transmit an intransitive verb. Finally, while LXX and MT mention “the city,” Ant. presents “the land” as an active participant, itself crying out in favor of Solomon’s accession.

Only one difference appears between the Greek witnesses in v. 46: LXX lacks a definite article before “throne.” The reading without the article in LXX is consistent with kaige, since the Hebrew presents no particle here that should be translated in this fashion. At the same time, it bears reiterating, that the opening in neither Greek version reads και γε, as one would expect based on the Hebrew וגם. Curious.

The Ant. of v. 47 reads like a kaige text and therefore unlikely represents the OG. This observation stems from both the γε and the form of the verb. After the term “David,” Ant. attests a plus beyond both MT and LXX. This plus moves each individual servant of David’s before the king and has them each profess fealty, whereas they do this in chorus in MT and LXX. Perhaps an error led to the omission of this phrase in the witnesses outside of Ant., but any presumed Hebrew Vorlage that might have stood behind Ant. remains difficult to reconstruct. The verb after this plus is finite in Ant., consistent with its context, but an infinite in LXX, which is consistent with MT. That could suggest that LXX revised toward MT in this case. The servants’ blessing of the king differs among the Greek versions, and they each contrast to MT as well. The divine nomenclature presumes Yhwh in the Vorlage of Ant., but “[the] God” in that of LXX, yet MT reads “your God.” As a number of instances of “Elohistic” editing appear in the opening chapters of Kings, the likely direction of change was from Ant. to LXX and finally to MT, which—by referencing David’s personal God—emphasizes the king’s piety while, at the same time, avoiding the tetragrammaton. Each of the Greek witnesses also identify Solomon as “your son” in this verse—though in different places syntactically. Yet MT lacks this phrase. Perhaps an oversight led to its deletion in the Hebrew. Finally, the Greek versions each explicitly note that the bed is David’s, whereas the Hebrew only identifies it as “the bed” and not “his bed.” Since the Greek witnesses agree, they likely present the OG, though it cannot be ascertained if they stem from a distinct Hebrew Vorlage in this case or merely translated somewhat freely, though more sensibly.

The only difference between the Greek versions in v. 48 appears in Ant. lacking the Greek γε. In that case, and apparently alone in this case in this verse, LXX emended its text to more consistently reflect the Hebrew. Otherwise the Greek versions of this verse read consistently, at times against MT. That could indicate a distinct Vorlage, though that might not necessarily indicate the priority of the Greek versions: MT is shorter and, therefore, perhaps older.

For all intents and purposes, LXX again represents a perfect reflection of MT in v. 49. The only exception to this is perhaps in the way that LXX identifies Adonaias’ followers. Othrwise every single variant between LXX and Ant. tends to favor Ant. as the older reading with LXX presenting editing toward a Vorlage like MT. Ant. lacks any verb describing the fear of Ornia’s followers, instead essentially twice mentioning that they arose. Ornia’s followers are “those summoned by Ornia” and not the “summoned of Adonaias” as in LXX. The final two differences are clearly kaige in LXX: 1) Ant. reads “each” for the Hebrew “man,” which reflects Hebrew usage, though LXX goes so far as even translating it as “man.” That makes no particularly good sense in Greek, but is a classic example of kaige technique. 2) Ant. again presents better Greek with the translation of the “his way” with “his own way.” LXX more literally translates this phrase, again using forms classically kaige.

Translation of 2 Sam 25:38–40 (1 Kgs 1:38–40 Ant.)

38) And he went down. Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Ioad and the Chorri and the Phelti—and they put Solomon upon the mule of the king, David. And they walked up after him to the Gion.
39) And Saddouk the priest took the horn of oil from the tent, and he anointed Solomon and trumpeted the trumpet. And the whole people said, “Long live Solomon, the king!”
40) And the whole people went up after him. And the whole people danced in dances and rejoiced a great rejoicing. And they piped with pipes and enjoyed with great enjoyment. And the whole earth resounded with their voice.

Zalving van koning Salomon. 1557-1570. Rijksmuseum. Public Domain

Comments on the Text

Ignoring the orthography of the proper nouns, v. 38 attests a few differences in the versions. The Greek versions each use different verbs for “setting” and “leading” Solomon. The verbs of Ant. are much less common than those used in LXX. Particularly in the second case, LXX appears to be a correction toward a text like MT, though that cannot be stated with certainty.

The Ant. of v. 39 attests another word for tent / Temple / (soldiers’) quarters than LXX’s tent/tabernacle. The form in Ant. seems a more likely candidate for the OG, since it is repeatedly used in non-kaige contexts of Sam–Kgs. Ant. has a different noun for “trumpet/horn,” which better reflects the function, while LXX better matches the Hebrew form and is a standard kaige equivalent. The Greek versions read different orders for the elements “the king” and “Solomon” in the people’s exclamation. LXX matches MT, again suggesting that it could be a revision away from a version like Ant.

Verse 40: Ant. repeats the subject, “the whole people,” from the first sentence in the second sentence, which is lacking in LXX and abbreviated in MT. In this case, it seems possible that MT presents the older version, with Ant. and LXX each representing adaptations in distinct directions. However, it is also possible that LXX presents the oldest, shortest reading, and that both MT and Ant. were expanded to better match the context. Ant. includes an roughly duplicate phrase of LXX and MT that more or less reflects both versions, albeit in distinct translation. The reading in Ant. is generally supported both by Josephus and the Vetus Latina, suggesting that it is likely OG. Likely a scribal oversight led to the elimination of the phrase in Hebrew before LXX was corrected toward this shorter version. While it seems likely that a corruption in the Hebrew tradition stands behind these variants (there is no readily recognizable error in Greek, but there is in Hebrew), it remains difficult to reconstruct what the Vorlage of Ant./OG (should it have been OG) may have looked like here. Ant. has a different verb from LXX for the earth’s action. LXX presents the more consistent translation of MT, however, suggesting that it could represent a revision toward a Hebrew Vorlage like MT.

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