Translation of 3 Reigns 2:26-27 (1 Kgs 2:26-27 LXX)

26. And to Abiathar, the priest, the king said, “get yourself to Anatoth in your countryside! For a man of death are you on this day. And I will not kill you, for you carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord before my father and because you were afflicted with trials, those that afflicted my father.”
27. And Solomon cast out Abiathar from being priest of the Lord, fulfilling the word of the Lord that he had spoken about the house of Eli in Selom.

Notes on the Text

In spite of the brevity of this text, there are a number of differences between the Greek and Hebrew versions. All of them (beyond orthography) are in v. 26.

First, the Greek emphasizes “you” after the imperative in v. 26. I find it difficult to imagine that this represents a distinct Hebrew Vorlage (cf., however the לך לך in Gen 12:1 and 22:2, neither of which has a Greek translation similar to the phrase here).

The phrase “on this day” is transposed behind the conjunction “and” in the Hebrew. Most likely there is an error in the Hebrew text. Otherwise, one would expect a Hebrew story at some point that explained how Solomon killed Abiathar. In the Hebrew version he states, “on this day I will not kill you,” after all, suggesting that he could and/or would do it some other day. This never happens in the versions of Kings.

Instead of the curious phrase “the ark of the Lord Yhwh,” the Greek reads “the ark of the covenant of the Lord (=Yhwh).” In this case the Hebrew likely again represents an errant text. It looks like the form to be read in the Hebrew was included adjacent to the term as written (i.e., the Qere-Kethib elements stand next to each other in the text). The question remains open as to whether the Greek stems from a variant Hebrew reading or was added by the translator.

Finally, the Hebrew includes the name “David” before “my father.” I regard this as adding emphasis to the figure David in the Hebrew version and would consider strongly the possibility that this presents a later addition.

Translation of 3 Reigns 2:13-25 (1 Kgs 2:13-25 LXX)

13) And Adonias, son of Angith, came to Beersabee, mother of Solomon, and bowed to her. But she said, “is your coming (in) peace?” And he said, “peace.
14) “A word for me to you.” And she said to him, “speak.”
15) And he said to her, “you know that for me was the kingdom and upon me placed all Israel its face to (be) king. But the kingdom was turned and became for my brother, for from the Lord was it for him.
16) “And now, one request I request from you. You should not turn away your face.” And to him Beersabee said, “speak.”
17) And he said to her, “speak now to Solomon, the king, for he will not turn away his face from you. And he will give me Abisak the Somanite for a wife.”
18) And Beersabee said, “good. I will speak on your behalf to the king.”
19) And Beersabee went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonias. And the king arose in meeting her, and he kissed her and sat upon his throne. And a throne for the king’s mother was set up, and she sat on his right.
20) And she spoke to him, “one small request I am requesting from you. Not should you turn your face.” And to her the king said, “request, my mother, for not will I turn you away.”
21) And she said, “give, now, Abisak the Somanite to Adonias, your brother, for a wife.”
22) And Solomon, the king, answered and said to his mother, “to what end have your requested Abisak for Adonias?” And you should request for him the kingdom! For this on is my brother, greater (= older) than me and for him were Abiathar the priest and for him was Joab son of Sarouias, the commander-in-chief, a companion.”
23) And King Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, “this shall God do to me and this he shall add, for against his life has Adonias spoken this word!
24) “And now, as the Lord lives, who prepared me and set me upon the throne of David, my father, and he made me a house, just as the Lord had spoken, for today Adonias will be put to death.”
25) And Solomon, the king, sent by the hand of Banaias son of Iodae and he killed him and Adonias died on that day.

“Benaiah” by William Etty (1829). York Art Gallery. Public Domain

Comments on the Text

This passage presents a number of differences between the Hebrew and the Septuagint. As per usual, I will be leaving aside the orthography of the names in these considerations.

One recurrent issue in this passage is the addition of indirect objects (or objects of prepositions) regarding the audience of lines of dialogue. The Greek contains no fewer than four more instances of this in these verses than in the Hebrew (1x each in vv. 14, 15, v. 17, and 20). While it is possible that in some or all of these instances that the Greek reflects a variant Vorlage, to me it seems just as likely that the addition of these indirect objects serves to distinguish who is speaking. Without these objects in the Greek text, it would be somewhat unclear who is speaking to whom. That is because, different than in Hebrew, the Greek does not differentiate between the masculine and feminine in the verb forms in the third person singular. So, while it remains possible, that the Greek text represents a Hebrew version distinct from that of the Masoretic text, I find it difficult to affirm that with any great degree of certainty in these cases. It’s certainly possible that the Greek stems from a variant version, but it is hardly necessarily so.

Another repeating issue is whose face should be turned away. In vv. 16 and 20, the Greek reads “your face” and the Hebrew reads “my face.” This seems to imply some insecurity about the idiom as it relates to making a request. What was the sign of the rejection of a request? The turning of the inquirer’s face or the face of the one being asked? There is no clear answer to this question in this text.

Additionally, there are a number of other minor and larger differences between the Hebrew and Greek versions.

Verse 13 in Greek mentions Adonias bowing to Beersabee, which is something missing from Solomon’s engaging with her in v. 19 (in the Greek version there, Solomon kisses her instead). These differences seem unlikely to have resulted from an error, suggesting that someone changed the text in one direction or the other. The Greek text of v. 14 is missing “and he said” in its opening. In this case, I would argue that the shorter reading likely is older and that the addition of “and he said” crept in as a result of dittography (n.b. the two other cases of this Hebrew term in vv. 13 and 15).

Verse 16 in Greek explicitly names Beersabee as the subject of the final clause. The reference is only implicit in the Hebrew. At first glance, one might think that this presents a clarifying addition similar to the indirect objects noted above, but in this case, the Greek also contains an indirect object as in the Hebrew (object of a preposition, in that case), making the need for further clarification extraneous. The situation remains murky, but it seems that we have a duplication in vv. 14b and 16b. That could suggest that the Hebrew text removed her name for consistency, but that is not entirely clear here.

Beyond the kissing instead of prostrating in v. 19, the verb for setting up the throne is passive in G. This hardly presents a real variant and can be resolved merely through a repointing of the same consonantal text. That is, the Hebrew Vorlage of the Greek version was probably identical to the current Hebrew version, but understood the verb as a passive whereas the Masoretes made it an active verb.

Verse 21 in Greek includes and element that is not present in the Hebrew. Most likely this reflects the Hebrew particle נא (“please, indeed”), common in requests; cf., e.g., v. 17. The most likely explanation is that it has gone missing in the Hebrew text due to an oversight between תתן and את (haplography). The Greek probably represents an older, though slightly longer text in this case.

The Greek of v. 22 contains a number of differences when contrasted with the Hebrew. First, it lacks “the Somanite” as a descriptor for Abishag. Since the Greek version of this verse presents the only case in the Bible in which the name Abishag is mentioned without “the Shumanite,” the most likely explanation is that someone added it to the Hebrew for the sake of consistency after the translation of the Septuagint. The syntax of the last phrase is much clearer in the Greek, which contains several extra elements. Each of the names is preceded by the preposition “to/for” in Hebrew, making this text difficult to understand. It is probably the result of an error. The reference to Joab also includes his office in addition to his patronymic in Greek, as well as the modifier that he was “a friend” or “friendly” to Adonias. Perhaps these elements were lost due to an oversight in the Hebrew due to the similarities with the opening of the next verse. I’m not certain about this though and it’s just an idea.

Verse 24 in Greek includes a further reference to “the Lord” regarding the construction of Solomon’s house. While this could present an attempt to make the text more precise, ultimately it makes the syntax more clunky, suggesting that it may be original and then later removed in the Hebrew.

Finally, the last verse of this passage, v. 25, in Greek essentially duplicates Adonias’s death. This occurs because it includes his name in the final phrase. With that, Benaias kills him and he dies. The verse ends with the additional notices that his death occurred “on that day.” This likely presents an adaptation to better match the context of v. 24, in which King Solomon announces that he should die on that die. Someone, either LXX or its Vorlage may well have seen a need to provide a strengthened notion that this promise had indeed been fulfilled.

Reviewing My Goals for 2020: A Retrospect

After taking break for the holiday last week, especially since I had reached a natural cesura in the content I was translating, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to look back on the year I’ve had. Particularly, I want to look back on the goals that I set out last year. Last year, I basically set out four pairs of objectives, trying to replace one superfluous or more negative behavior with something better. So, let’s review.

Quitting Facebook in Favor of More Blogging

In my post one year ago, I said that I would delete Facebook by January 31st, 2020. That didn’t happen, and my final deletion of Facebook did not occur until November. That being said, I only viewed Facebook maybe three during those ten months, so I achieved my goal in spirit, if not literally for several months. But what was the impact of disregarding and ultimately leaving Facebook? Has this increased more meaningful interaction between me, my friends, my colleagues and my family?

This is a mixed bag. I have probably had more regular and deeper contact with my family during this period. The contact may not have been as often, since I didn’t see pictures of them or posts from them, but our interaction was certainly more meaningful, since we actually made the effort to call and catch up rather than merely click a blue icon of a hand with its thumb raised. Part of the greater contact surely also resulted from the pandemic and the transition to a life lived in the virtual universe of Zoom. Nonetheless, the family aspect must be counted as a win and a great point against Facebook.

On the other hand, I essentially lost access to a number of people that I enjoyed hearing from, even if only indirectly. This lost access applies to both colleagues and friends. For that reason, I have no real insight in to the things that many respected people are involved with or working on. That’s an unenviable position to be in. It also tends to make me feel a bit lonely sometimes, particularly in academic contexts. I imagine that there is networking going on among other scholars that I am missing out on. Mind you, I have no evidence to support this, and I personally never made any concrete plans for cooperation on Facebook, but the pessimist in me just assumes that others are doing this. Missing out on friends and colleagues is certainly a negative aspect.

On the other hand, I did get to hang out with this tiger.

The deciding vote is unambiguously in favor of my leaving Facebook, however. I am seriously glad that I did not receive or view any content related to the election in the United States on Facebook. I didn’t see the ignorant posts of raving lunatics on Facebook. For that, I was still on Twitter. As far as I can tell, most of the people who made me rage on Facebook have not discovered Twitter yet, which means that I could peacefully network there socially (and even academically).

The objective of leaving Facebook was more blogging, which I certainly achieved. While I did not fulfill my goal of writing every week, I did do pretty regular writing on this site. This included two series about my work, neither of which has been concluded: one on the general textual history of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament and one translating the different versions of the biblical book of Kings. At the same time, beginning in the autumn, I accepted a position on the editorial board of the Digital Orientalist, which I published two pieces (with three more to come in 2021). The first was on trustworthy online resources for studying the Bible, and the second was on biblical manuscripts available online. None of this online publishing got the kind of traction that I was hoping for, but there is a small core of supporters who read this material regularly. To you, I say “thank you!” Since I hope to expand my audience, if you think that someone might enjoy what I am doing, pass it on. Or if you or someone you know might have questions about biblical studies you’d like more information on, reach out and let me know. I’d love to cover things that you want to read about, particularly ethical and theological issues! In conclusion, I made some big steps in this regard this, but there is still room for improvement in 2021. Stay tuned!

Less Meat and Sugar /
More Vegan Meals and Walking

This one turned out to be pretty easy in the beginning, but grew somewhat tougher as the year dragged on. At the beginning of the year, I committed to eating vegan almost every breakfast (overnight oats). This still had a lot of carbohydrates in it (maple syrup and dried fruit) and not much protein. After my annual physical, I got a recommendation from my doctor about a different kind of cereal and reducing the portion size dramatically. That led to me eating a special kind of overnight oats for both breakfast and lunch almost every day. At the same time, I cut out all snacking and sweets, particularly between lunch and dinner. At dinnertime we generally reduced our intake of meat, but often did not eat vegan. Sometimes we did.

My Sweet Potatoes are Legit (though not vegan because of the cheese).

At the same time, I increased my amount of movement substantially, which mean that I did a good job getting rid of some weight. I kept this up for a while, but once the amount of work that I had to do increased dramatically and our working conditions became significantly more difficult due to the pandemic, the amount of walking that I did really tapered off. The snacking crept back in as well, especially as summer turned to autumn and autumn to winter. I need to get back to the basics again in the new year and am recommitting myself to this.

What “Home Office” Looks Like with a Two-Year Old.

Less Listening to Respond / More Listening to Learn

As part of the process of bettering myself, I decided that I should spend more time listening without trying to always insert my thoughts into the discussion, just learning from what others are saying. In particular, I decided to strive to hear more voices from women, people of color, and others who have often been excluded from power and decision-making processes. To this end, I did a lot of reading, listening to podcasts, and following people on Twitter. The undertaking has thus far been enlightening, so I also plan to continue this in 2021 (and beyond). I have to take this opportunity to recommend the book How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (I want to write a full-length review of this in the future) and the podcast Scene on Radio (which David Loti recommended to me). If you want to critically reflect on what racism looks like and how it impacts power dynamics and history, these are good places to start.

Less Working Time Alone / More Collaboration

Alright. This was a seriously good intention, but there is nothing I can do about how this developed. I did not get to cooperate with others as much as I had hoped.

I would’ve loved to share this veggie burrito with a colleague or two.

But I need to qualify that: I still began more cooperation with others than at any point in my academic career thus far. It wasn’t the way that I had expected, meeting up and discussing texts and interpretations. Rather, we did it all online. This has led to some exciting results that will hopefully be published in the not-too-distant future. Here’s a preview: we taught an artificial intelligence to decipher ancient Greek handwriting. So, the Terminator may not find John Connor, but he will be able to engage in the exegesis of Codex Vaticanus. I still want to do some entertainment-oriented podcasting, vlogging, or blogging cooperation, so contact me to make a plan and make this happen, if you are interested.

In conclusion…

For most of us, I imagine, 2020 was a more trying year than just about anyone could have anticipated. I didn’t publish all of the articles I wanted to. I didn’t lose all of the weight I needed to. I didn’t get to travel hardly at all. Nonetheless, I wanted to take this opportunity to look back on what I wanted to do with the year and evaluate my progress. All in all, I think I did pretty well. There were a lot of setbacks, but also real human connection and progress, in spite of and sometimes even resulting from adverse conditions. I hope that you can find some silver linings in 2020 and that you can progress in your endeavors in 2021. Let me know how you did and how you’re doing. All the best!

Translation of 3 Reigns 2:1-12 (1 Kgs 2:1-12 LXX)

1. And the days came for David, [for] his dying. And he commanded Salomon his son, saying:
2. “I am going in the way of all the earth, and you shall be strong and grow into a man.
3. “And you will guard the guarding of the Lord your God to walk in his ways to guard his commandments and the ordinances and the judgements that [are] written in the law of Moses, so that you might understand what you will do according to everything that I have commanded you.
4. “just as that the Lord set his word that he spoke, saying, ‘if your sons guard their way, walking before me in truth in their whole heart and in their whole spirit, saying “not will be utterly destroyed even a man from upon Israel’s throne.”‘
5. “And also, you know what Joab son of Sarouias did to me, what he did to two officers of Israel’s armies, to Abenner son of Ner and to Amessai son of Iether, and he killed them and arranged the blood of battle in peacetime and gave guiltless blood in his belt on his loins and on his sandals on his feet.
6. “And you will do according to your wisdom and not bring down his gray hair in peace to Hades.
7. “And with the sons of Berzillai the Galaadite you will practice compassion, and they will be with those eating at your table, for thus they approached me in my fleeing from before Abessalon, your brother.
8. “And dude! with you [is] Semei son of Gera son of Iemeni from Baourim, and he cursed me [with] a distressing curse on the day that I went in to the barracks, and he came down in meeting me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the Lord, saying, ‘If I will kill you with the sword…’
9. “And not will you let him go unpunished, for a wise man are you. And you know what you will do to him and you will bring down his gray hair in blood to Hades.”
10. And David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.
11. And the days that David reigned over Israel [were] forty years. In Hebron he reigned seven years and in Jerusalem 33 years.
12. And Salomon sat upon the throne of David his father, a son of twelve years [= as a twelve year old], and his kingdom was prepared greatly.

Hendrik ter Brugghen: King David Playing the Harp. (1628). National Museum of Warsaw. Public Domain.

Comments on the Text

This passage attests several variants between the Greek and the Hebrew. The syntax of v. 1 in Greek is somewhat clumsy, specifying that it is David’s death by including a possessive on the verb “dying.” Since this makes little sense in Greek, but is consistent with Hebrew syntax, it probably goes back to a different Hebrew version than the Masoretic Text.

Verse 3 contains a number of variants, some of them repeating a similar phenomenon. The Greek is shorter and less precise. It reads “and the” ordinance instead of “his ordinances,” attesting the same difference with “judgements”. One element of these covenant terms remains entirely lacking in the Greek when contrasted with the Masoretic Text: there is nothing in the Greek representing the Hebrew for “and his testimonies.” It is not explicated that he must act “just as” in the law of Moses as in Hebrew, rather describing the judgements “that are” in the law of Moses. In this way, the Greek is less precise than the Hebrew. The conclusion of the verse is markedly different, with the Greek mandating that Solomon do as David commanded him, whereas the Hebrew suggests that Solomon must turn to follow the strictures of the covenant terminology. In this verse in particular, the Greek likely represents the translation of a distinct Hebrew Vorlage that was not identical with the Masoretic Text.

The Greek text in v. 4 is missing the focus on David, lacking “about me” as in the Hebrew. The Hebrew, with this plus more explicitly connects to the dynastic promise in 2 Sam 7, suggesting that its longer reading here is a later gloss or interpolation.

On the other hand, the Greek of v. 5 adds “innocent” as a description of the blood, providing better justification for Solomon’s forthcoming execution of Joab. This adjective casts a more favorable light on Solomon, something that (in my preliminary opinion) happens more often in the Greek text than in the Hebrew. One would have to address this from a more global perspective: did the Greek (or its Vorlage) improve Solomon’s appearance in Kings or did the precursors to the Masoretic Text seek to make him appear worse? That is an open question, as far as I am concerned.

Of another category is one item in v. 8. The Greek translates the Hebrew proper noun of the location Mahanaim. It’s not a difference, but worth noting that it did not (merely) transliterate this name.

The final notice for David’s reign is shorter in v. 11 in Greek, lacking a second “he reigned” in reference to Jerusalem. On the other hand, the opening of Solomon’s reign in v. 12 is longer in Greek, including Solomon’s age of twelve years. This age is nowhere mentioned in the Hebrew, but did continue on in some Rabbinic traditions about Solomon. It might also be presumed that Solomon is young in 1 Kgs 3:7, in which Solomon states that he is a young man, perhaps even a child. Solomon’s age was probably removed in the Hebrew text in order to better afford the other synchronisms in Kings. According to 1 Kgs 14:21, Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) acceded the throne at the age of 41. Since Solomon is said to have reigned 40 years (1 Kgs 11:42), meaning he would have fathered him at the tender age of eleven (and before he was even married for that matter…). That is easier to explain (in my opinion) than why someone would add this age in the Greek. We are probably dealing with two (or more) different Solomon traditions behind these chronologies.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:41-53 (1 Kgs 1:41-53 LXX)

41. And Adonias heard (and all his invited guests. And they were finished eating). And Joab heard the sound of the trumpet and said, “Why is the city’s voice resounding?”
42. Still he was speaking and dude! Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest came. And Adonias said, “Come, for a mighty man are you. And proclaim as good news a good (thing).”
43. And Jonathan answered and said, “And yet, our lord, the king, David has kinged Solomon.
44. “And the king sent with him Sadok the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Iodae and the Chrethi and the Phelethi, and they set him upon the king’s mule.
45. “And Sadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed him to (be) king in the Gion, and they arose from there rejoicing, and the city resounded. That is the voice you heard.
46. “And Solomon sat upon the throne of the king.
47. “And the servants of the king entered, celebrating our lord, the king, David, saying, ‘May God magnify the name of Solomon, your son, above your name, and make his throne greater than your throne.’ And the king prostrated on his bed.
48. “And also thus spoke the king, ‘Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, who gave today from my seed one sitting upon my throne and my eyes have seen.'”
49. And they were amazed and all of Adonias’s invited guests rose up and departed, each on his way.
50. And Adonias was afraid before Solomon and arose and grasped the horns of the altar.
51. And it was reported to Solomon, saying, “Dude! Adonias fears King Solomon and has grasped the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let his swear to me today, the king, Solomon, that not will he kill his servant with the sword.'”
52. And Solomon said, “If he will turn into a son of might, then [not] will fall from his hairs upon the ground, and if wickedness is found in him, he will be put to death.”
53. And King Solomon sent and brought him down from upon the altar. And he came and prostrated to King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, “Come! To your house (you go)!”

From The Brick Testament.

Comments on the Text

This long passage contains a number of variants from the Hebrew. Verse 42 reads the verb “proclaim” as an imperative in Greek. The indirect object “to Adonias” is missing in the Greek of verse 43, and the conjunction “and” is missing at the beginning of verse 46.

Verse 47 attests several variants. It is missing “also” at the beginning, but includes “your son” after the name Solomon. Finally, it is more precise in the identification of the bed, reading “his [i.e., the king’s] bed” rather than simply “the bed.”

In verse 48, there seems to be more emphasis on David’s dynasty. At any rate, the Greek includes the phrase “from my seed” to clarify who is sitting on the king’s throne after him. It is not just anyone, but his progeny.

Solomon’s threat of capital punishment in v. 52 is passive in Greek (“he will be put to death”), but active in Hebrew (“he will die”). The Hebrew seems to remove some of the king’s culpability, not really saying who will be responsible for his death (it could just be an accident or providence…). At the same time time, the Greek attributes the “bringing” of Adonias from the altar more explicitly to Solomon. It reads “he [i.e., Solomon] brought him” whereas the Hebrew reads “they [i.e., someone] brought him”. These last two considerations make Solomon a more active participant in the Greek version, at least in my reading. The question remains whether the Greek translator is responsible for this, this represent an older understanding of the same Hebrew text, or it represents a distinct Hebrew text. Based on the translation style, I favor the last option as the most likely.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:38-40 (1 Kgs 1,38-40 LXX)

38. And Sadok the priest went down (and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Iodae and the Cherethi and the Phelethi) and they set Salomon on King David’s mule and let him to the Gion.
39. And Sadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Salomon and blew the horn, and the whole people said, “long live King Salomon!”
40. And the whole people went up behind him and they danced in dances and rejoiced great gladness, and the earth burst with their voice.

Finally a reason to link this… Handel’s “Zadok the Priest.”
Not to be confused with another masterpiece of European religious music:
The holiest song to Europeans: the Champions League Theme.

Comments on the Text

This short passage really only differs from the Hebrew text in three ways. First, in v. 39, only Sadok blows in the horn in Greek, whereas the verb is plural in Hebrew, meaning that someone blew in a horn or horns in the Hebrew text. Second, the Hebrew repeats the subject “the people” in v. 40, but the Greek does not. Finally, while the celebrants in Hebrew “pipe with pipes,” in Greek they “dance in dances.” The difference seems remarkable in English, but the difference in Hebrew is between two weak verbs: חול (“dance”) and חלל (“pipe”). Either version could be a perfectly conceivable misreading of the other. That doesn’t help to determine priority of either reading. Usage could perhaps help to determine whether one reading might be a “corrective” to the other. In that case, it seems likely the the Greek version and the presumed Hebrew Vorlage would be older. The reason: as far as I can tell, the only other case of the idiom “dancing dances” is in Judg 21:21. That text hardly places “dancing dances” in a particularly positive light (it’s about capturing girls to force them to marry…). That makes someone’s desire to change it toward the current Hebrew version more understandable and the alternative less likely.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:28-37 (1 Kgs 1:28-37)

28. And David answered and spoke, “Call for me Beersabee.” And she came before the king and stood before him.
29. And the king swore and said, “As the Lord lives, who ransomed my life from every trouble,
30. “just as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘yes, Solomon, your son, will reign after me and will sit upon my throne in my stead.’ For thus I will this day.”
31. And Beersabee bent down, face upon the ground, and prostrated to the king and said, “May my lord, the King, David, live in eternity!”
32. And the king, David, said, “Call for me Sadok the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Iodae.” And they came before the king.
33. And the king said to them, “Take the servants of your lord with you and put my son Salomon on my mule and lead him down to Gion.
34. “And anoint him there, Sadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, to king over Israel, and blow in the horn and say, ‘Long live the king, Salomon!’
35. And he will sit upon my throne and he will reign in my stead. And I have commanded (him) to be in rulership over Israel and Judah.”
36. And Banaias son of Iodae answered and said, “So be it! So shall the Lord, the God of my lord the king, affirm.
37. “As the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with Salomon and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord, the king, David!”

Solomon’s Coronation .
From the “12th-century Romanesque bible of San Isidoro de León” (1162).
Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Comments on the Text

Here we have another longer passage of text, but, again disregarding orthographic variation in proper nouns, without too many substantial differences between the Greek and the Hebrew versions. Verse 28 is missing the title “king” on two occasions, once at the beginning before David’s name and then again at the end, naming to whom Beersabee prostrated. These could be minor stylistic changes or oversights, though it is still possible that the Septuagint preserves older readings (being shorter). That could have literary-critical implications.

Over a more substantial nature is the absence of the opening of v. 35 when contrasted with the Hebrew. This Greek version mentions no ascending or entering. That is, it suggests that Solomon should sit on the throne of David at the well of Gihon. That makes little sense. Presumably for that reason, later editors “corrected” the Hebrew text to bring Solomon back up to the palace and the throne there.

Again in v. 35, at the end of the verse, the Greek text is missing the preposition “over” before “Judah”, paralleling the phrase “over Israel.” Taking a maximalist approach to this variation could imply that the Greek text (or its Vorlage) regarded “Israel and Judah” more as a unity. The Hebrew text separates them somewhat, defining them more clearly as two distinct units over which one might reign, “over Israel” and “over Judah.”

Finally, verse 36 concludes with Banaias wish that the Lord “affirm” David’s commands instead of merely “speak” them. Probably this difference goes back to a different Greek Vorlage or an error by the translation. While these two things may be quite different in English, the difference in Hebrew really only revolves around one letter. And it would represent a more clear parallel with the opening of the phrase. That is, while it remains possible that the Greek is a mistake, the better option is that attests a different, probably older Hebrew parent text.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:22-27 (1 Kgs 1:22-27 LXX)

22. And dude! Still she was speaking with the king and Nathan the prophet came.
23. And it was reported to the king, “dude! Nathan the Prophet.” And he entered before the king and prostrated to the king with his face upon the ground.
24. And Nathan said, “my lord, o king, have you said Adonias shall reign after me? And he shall sit upon my throne.
25. “For he came down today and sacrifices calves and lambs and sheep in multitude and called all the sons of the king and the officers o the army and Abiathar the priest and dude! They are eating and drinking before him and saying, ‘long live king Adonias!’
26. “And me, your servant, and Sadok the priest and Banaias son of Iodae and Solomon, your servant, he did not call.
27. “If through my lord the king this thing was done and you have not made (it) known to your servant, who will sit upon the throne of my lord the king after him?”

Eugène Sieberdt: The Prophet Nathan Rebukes King David.
Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain

Comments on the Text

This week is easy, since there are really only two differences between the Hebrew and the Greek. Verse 23 opens with a singular passive in the Greek, whereas it is a plural active in the Hebrew. That is, the Hebrew says, “they reported” and the Greek says, “it was reported.” That would be a satisfactory translation, but inconsistent with the translation technique generally applied in this portion of Kings. The only other difference is in verse 27: the Hebrew consonantal text reads the plural “servants” and not the singular “servant.” That is, the Greek refers only to Nathan, whereas the Hebrew includes Nathan within a group of servants who were not informed about the king’s wishes. The Greek presumes that Nathan alone should be the executor of the king’s desire, but the Hebrew consonantal text thinks of a group that will enact. The Hebrew text appears to be a correction toward the end of the chapter, in which Nathan and Zadok anoint Solomon to be king with the support of Benaiahu and others. One helpful note here: the Masorah parva records the singular as the correct reading. That also favors following the Greek over the Hebrew consonantal text.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:15-21 (1 Kgs 1:15-21 LXX)

15. And Beersabee went in to the king in the chamber, and the king (was) very old, and Abisak the Somanite was serving the king.
16. And Beersabee bent down and prostrated to the king. And the king said, “what is for you?”
17. But this one (=she) said, “my lord, o king, you swore by the Lord, your God, to your servant, saying that, ‘Solomon, your son, will reign after me and he will sit upon my throne.’
18. “And now. Dude! Adonias reigns and you, my lord, o king, do not know.
19. “And he has sacrifices calves and lambs and sheep in multitude and summoned all the sons of the king and Abiathar the priest and Joab the officer of the army, and the Solomon, the servant of you, he did not call.
20. “And you, my lord, o king, the eyes of all Israel (are looking) to you to report to them who will sit upon the throne of my lord, the king, after him.
21. “And it will be, whenever my lord, the king, sleeps with his fathers, and I will be and my son Solomon sinners.

[Here I would normally have some media, and there is a lovely painting of this scene by Govert Flick from 1651. It is in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, which makes it impossible to view their images because they apparently hate internet users. Here is a link to the image on their site.]

Comments on the Text

Again, there are not a lot of differences between the Hebrew and Greek version in the Septuagint here. The so-called Lucianic text has more, but that is something we will come back to at a later time. The most conspicuous difference between the two versions, particularly when comparing English translations of each is the names of the women: Beersabee and Abisak the Somanite.

Otherwise, the most obvious differences are the addition of the vocative “o king” in Beersabee’s speech in v. 17 and the addition of an emphatic “you” in v. 18. The proximity to the known Hebrew text remains conspicuous in this passage, as in the previous ones. This can be noted, in particular, in v. 20 which makes no sense in Greek, but perfectly reflects the Hebrew. The confusion comes from the translation of the Hebrew preposition על “upon” with the Greek προς “to”. This reflects the semantic overlap of the Hebrew prepositions אל and על; the Greek better reflects the understanding אל, but that understanding makes the Greek text reads with difficulty, requiring the addition of English words, as in the translation above.

Translation of 3 Reigns 1:11-14 (1 Kgs 1:11-14 LXX)

11) And Nathan spoke to Beersabee, Solomon’s mohter, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonias, son of Angith, reigns (as king)? And our lord David knows not?
12) “And now, come, I will advise you at this point advice, and you will rescue your life and the life of your son Solomon.
13) “Come. Go in to the kind, David, and speak to him, saying, ‘Did you not, my lord king, swear to your servant, saying that, “Solomon, your son, will reign after me, and he will sit upon my throne?” So why is Adonias reigning’
14) “And dude! While you are speaking there with the king, and I will enter after you and fulfill your words.”

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout: David Promises Bathsheba that Solomon will be his Successor. 1646. Public Domain. From Wikimedia Commons.

Comments on the Text

Focusing again only on the differences between the Hebrew and the Greek versions, there are only really two differences between these stories, not counting the distinct writing of the names of the characters. In that regard, particularly Bathsheba stands out, being called “Beersabee” in Greek. This particular, precise reflection of the Hebrew text is something described in the preceding passages as well. It is typical of the translation style of this passage in Kings, and evidence of the recensional character of the translation in the opening chapters of Kings. The two differences are:

  1. The addition of “saying” as an introduction to what Beersabee should say to the king in v. 13; and
  2. The addition of an “and” at the opening of v. 14.

As should be immediately apparent, these differences are hardly substantial. They could evince a distinct Hebrew Vorlage of the passage. On the other hand, they could just represent minor errors and interpolations that snuck in over the course of translation or revision. The “saying” in v. 13 could represent either an error or conscious decision to make the text more like v. 11, which presents the same term. The addition of an “and” at the beginning of v. 14 could reflect the duplication (dittography) of the same Hebrew letter that immediately precedes it. The style of the passage would even be conducive to that change.

Taken together, it is quite difficult to recognize a textual priority (i.e., which version is older) in these cases. It is also entirely unclear if the Greek represents a minorly distinct Hebrew text or some translators added these elements unintentionally. When considering the other Greek version, it becomes more likely, though by no means certain, that this Greek text reflects a slightly distinct Hebrew Vorlage. But that issue must remain open for now.

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