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.

Translation of 2 Sam 25:28-37 (1 Kgs 1:28-37 Ant.)

28) And David answered and said, “Summon to me Beersabee.” And she entered and stood before the king.
29) And the king swore and said, “As the Lord lives, who rescued my spirit from every tribulation
30) “yes, just as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying that ‘Solomon your son will reign after me and he will sit on my throne after me,’ yes, thus I will do on this day.”
31) And Beersabee bowed upon her face upon the ground and prostrated to the king and said, “May the king, my lord David, live forever!”
32) And the king said, “Summon to me Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet and Banaias son of Ioad!” And they entered before the king.
33) And he spoke to them—the king [did]—“Take with you your lord’s children [=servants] and set Solomon, my son, upon my mule and lead him to Gion.
34) “And anoint him there, Saddouk the priest and Nathan the prophet, as king over Israel and Judah. And blow in the horn and you will say, ‘Long live the king, Solomon!’
35) “And you will ascend after him and he will enter and sit upon my throne and he will reign after me. And him I have commanded to be hegemon over Judah and over Israel.”
36) And Banaias son of Ioad answered the king and said, “So be it! Thus shall God establish the words of my lord the king! Thus the Lord your God has spoken, o my lord, o king!
37) “And as the Lord was with my lord the king, so will he be also with Solomon. And he will make his throne greater than the throne of my lord, the king, David!”

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

Comments on the text:

Verse 28 in Ant. is shorter than LXX and MT. Ant. matches MT but for the phrase “before the king” between “she entered” and “she stood.” LXX also contains that phrase, but concludes the verse “before him” instead of “before the king.” The brevity of Ant. commends it as the older reading, with the other two versions representing minor corruptions in two distinct fashions. Verse 29 contains no differences between LXX and Ant.

The Greek versions of v. 30 present different preposition combined with “swearing.” (The difference in the prepositions also mandated different cases for the following nouns and articles.) LXX more accurately reflects MT, using the preposition “in” as an isomorphic translational equivalent consistent with kaige techniques (and the requisite cases for the following terms). The final phrase includes the preposition “in/on” in Ant., which is not attested in LXX or MT. The consistent readings between MT and LXX in this case again make the LXX reading a likely revision toward MT.

Similarly, in v. 31 Ant. and LXX present the phrases “the king” and “my lord” in different orders, with LXX matching MT. This again suggests that LXX likely attests a revision toward MT. In the next verse—v. 32—as well, both MT and LXX attest the name “David” after “the king.” This name is absent in Ant., suggesting that it was missing in the OG, but added into LXX to more consistently correspond with MT.

Most variants in v. 33 also suggest that LXX was revised to be more consistent with MT. In the first phrse, Ant. places the indirect object before the subject, whereas both MT and LXX attest the opposite order. Ant. includes the prepositional phrase “with you” immediately after the verb, whereas MT and LXX have it at the end of the phrase. The word for “servants” differs between LXX and Ant., with LXX using the kaige term, a more accurate reflection of the Hebrew. The verb for “lead” differs in the Greek versions, but LXX seems to be a more isomorphic translation of MT than Ant. would be, making it more consistent with kaige and, thus, secondary. All of these readings in this verse suggest that LXX is not OG in these cases and was likely edited to better reflect MT.

However, there is one case in v. 33 in which the opposite is true. Ant. matches MT in the order “Solomon, my son.” That suggests that LXX may be the older reading here, with Ant. representing a revision toward the Hebrew Vorlage in this case.

Nonetheless, verse 34 again presents some readings in which Ant. may be the OG with LXX presenting a revision. Thus, Ant. includes “and Judah” in the territory Solomon should reign, an element missing in LXX and MT. This perhaps presents an ideological distinction, by which Israel and Judah are subsumed in LXX and MT into the unity “Israel.” Each Greek version uses a different word for “horn,” with the instrument mentioned in Ant. (and from the same root as the preceding verb, as opposed to MT and LXX) and LXX instead using kaige terminology, “horn” like an animal or altar. These differences in this verse again indicate kaige revision and commend Ant. as preserving the older readings.

The opening of v. 35 is substantially longer in Ant. than in LXX and matches MT in this case. That could again imply later editing in Ant. in this case. The verb for sitting is in a different unclear form in Ant. than in LXX. Ant. is unclear in this case and perhaps an error. Whereas MT and LXX emphasize the king as the one commanding, Ant. emphasizes his son as the commanded. The form of the verb for commanding differs between LXX and Ant., again for unclear (perhaps dialect?) reasons. Ant. has Judah and Israel in the reversed order of MT and LXX, but LXX also lacks the preposition in the second case. Some of these differences suggest that Ant. could provide older readings in this verse, but the data is relatively mixed and sometimes unclear in this verse.

Verse 36 presents another complicated case. Ant. has two longer phrases, one of which is missing in MT. LXX partially attests both. For these reasons, it seems possible, if not likely, that Ant. attests an older Hebrew reading that has since gone missing due to a combination of homoioarkton and homoioteleuton. LXX still supports Ant. to some degree, making this the best option. Ant. reads:

οὕτως πιστώσαι ὁ Θεὸς τοὺς λόγους τοῦ κυρίου µου τοῦ βασιλέως.
οὕτως εἶπε Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου, κύριέ µου βασιλεῦ.

The similarities between these phrases cannot be overlooked. The second phrase reflects MT, with the exception of the “your” after God, i.e., a single Hebrew letter. LXX attests a combination of the first two words followed by an isomorphic translation of MT. I think it likely that Ant. attests an older Hebrew Vorlage that read as follows:

כן יאמן אלהים את־דברי אדני המלך
כן יאמר יהוה אלהיך אדני המלך

The similarities make the likelihood of an oversight quite high, making Ant. the preferable older reading that stood behind both of the other versions, in my opinion.

In v. 37 Ant. begins with a conjunction that is missing in LXX and MT and neither really syntactically necessarily nor nice. That might suggest that it is older here, but its inclusion is hardly relevant and could just as easily be explained as an error toward parataxis in Ant. Banaias’s proclamations about the future is not expressed as an optative in Ant., like it is in LXX; in the first case, Ant. reflects the Qere, but LXX reflects the Kethib. That could suggest that each version reflects a distinct Vorlage that made its way into MT, one as the written text and one as the text to be read. (There are similar examples of this elsewhere in Kings.) In both cases of optative usage, LXX more closely matches the text of MT. His wish also contains an “also” in Ant. lacking in LXX and MT. The reading in Ant. could represent an older version in which a גם was overlooked due to the following עם (homoioteleuton).

This passage, then, evinces a very difficult text history when the witnesses are contrasted. The argument can be made for various constellations of how the readings are related, with no single tradition meriting the status of an oldest version. Rather, changes and difference crept in (or were intentionally brought in) to every witnessing tradition.

Translation of 2 Sam 25:22-27 (1 Kgs 1:22-27 Ant.)

22) And dude! She was still speaking with the king, and Nathan the prophet came.
23) And they reported to the king, saying, “Dude! Nathan the prophet!” And Nathan came before the kin, and he bowed to King David on his face upon the ground.
24) And he said, “You, lord king, have you spoken, saying, ‘Ornia will reign after me and he will sit upon my throne?’
25) “For he went down today and sacrificed calves and sheep in multitude, and he called all of the sons of the king and the chief officer Ioab and Abiathar the priest. And dude! They are eating and drinking before him and they said, ‘Long live king Ornia!’
26) “And me, your servant, and Saddouk the priest and Banaias son of Ioad and Solomon your son they did not call.
27) “And if because of my lord the king this thing has come to be, and to what end [lit. because of what] have you not made known to your servant who should sit upon the throne of my lord the king after him?”

Iconostasis of Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia. 18th cent. Public Domain. WikimediaCommons.

Comments on the Text

The only difference between Ant. on the one hand and MT and LXX on the other in v. 22 is the Transposition of “still.” Likely LXX presents a revision toward a Hebrew Vorlage like MT.

Verse 23 contains a number of distinctions. The first verb form in Ant. has a different preposition appended—which does not really change the meaning in this case—and is an active plural in Ant., but a passive in LXX. In this case, Ant. more accurately reflects MT, suggesting that LXX cannot be a revision to a text like MT and may in fact attest the Old Greek in this case. The LXX is missing the verb “saying,” but Ant. attests it and matches MT again in this case, suggesting that LXX could be the older reading. Ant. includes “Nathan” as the subject who is entering, which is not in MT or LXX. This can be regarded as a transposition from the next verse. The phrase translated “before” is different in the Greek versions; LXX reflects each element of the Hebrew suggesting that it represents a revision. Ant. includes the name “David” in referring to whom Nathan bowed. The Greek versions do not read “upon his nose” as in the MT, but each reflects the Hebrew לפני in the same manner as previously in the verse. Whether those distinctions permit the reconstruction of a variant Vorlage in that case is difficult to tell.

In verse 24 Ant. lacks the subject “Nathan,” which does appear in LXX and MT. It seems reasonable to regard its absence here as the result of a transposition to the previous verse. Ant. transposes the second-person subject “you” in Nathan’s speech to precede the vocative. The vocative in Ant. lacks “my” as found in MT and LXX. Since LXX both matches MT and is the easier reading in this case, one can regard its reading as the result of a later recension. The verb for speaking is a perfect in Ant. as opposed to an aorist in LXX, and Ant. attests an introduction to the speech missing in LXX and MT. Ant. has a different preposition than LXX for “after.” As many of the distinctions in Ant. differ (more) from MT, it is quite possible that it better reflects the Old Greek in several instances in this verse.

The verb for “sacrifice” in v. 25 is a perfect in Ant. and an aorist in LXX. LXX lists three kinds of animals, consistent with MT, suggesting that it might present a revision in this reading. There is no obvious reason for Ant. to be missing the third animal category. Ioab’s title in Ant. varies from LXX, but is consistent with the other translations of this term in Ant. LXX more accurately reflects the Hebrew in these cases, again suggesting that it stems from a revision. After the “dude,” both Ant. and LXX—though they differ—present an item missing from MT, likely a המה (“they”) that has since been lost in Hebrew and should probably be restored. The verbs for eating and drinking are finite in Ant. and participles in LXX, which matches MT, again suggesting that LXX is a revision.

Ant. lacks an emphatic at the opening of v. 26 and, in this case, matches MT. That suggests that LXX may be Old Greek in that case. Solomon is called “your servant” in LXX and MT, but “your son” in Ant. The final verb in the verse is a perfect in Ant. and an aorist in LXX.

The last verse this week opens with a conjunction missing in MT and LXX. The opening of the second phrase in Ant. includes the element “to what end” that is missing in both MT and LXX. Deciding these cases is particularly difficult, but nothing speaks against Ant. representing the OG here.

2 Sam 25:15-21 (1 Kgs 1:15-21 Ant.)

15) And Beersabee went to the king into the bedroom. And the king [was] very old. And Abisaak the Somanite [was] serving the king.
16) And Beersabee bowed down and did obeisance to the king. And to her the king said, “What is for you?”
17) And Beersabee said, “O lord, o king, you swore by the Lord God saying that ‘Solomon, your son, he will reign after me and he will sit upon my throne.’
18) “And now, dude! Ornias has begun to reign. And you, o lord, o king, do not know.
19) “And he sacrificed calves and sheep in multitude. And he called all the king’s sons and Abiathar the priest and Ioab the chief general. And did this thing come about through my lord the king?”
20) “For the eyes of the whole people [are looking] to you to tell them who will sit upon the throne of my lord, the king, after him.
21) “And it will be, at my lord the king’s sleeping with his fathers, and I and my son Solomon will be sinners.”

Notes on the Text

There aren’t too many differences in the text this week and really only one of them is substantial. Let’s begin with v. 15. Rather than read the term “chamber” like LXX, Ant. has “bedroom.” Two matters are worth noting in this regard. First, the more general “chamber” matches the Hebrew more closely. Second, the term used here for bedroom has the same root as sexual intercourse, which makes the mention of Abisaak quite awkward. Both of these reasons favor regarding Ant. as the older reading here. The finite verb “was” does not appear in the final phrase of this verse in Ant. Since there is no term for this in the Hebrew, it’s appearance in the kaige version of LXX is unusual, meaning that LXX might be the original reading in that case.

Verse 16 attests only one variant in Ant.: it includes the indirect object “her.” While this does not appear in the Hebrew or LXX, it is widely attested in other ancient translations, making it at least viable as the original reading. LXX would have been corrected to match the Hebrew, consistent with kaige technique.

The Antiochene text of v. 17 includes “Beersabee” as the named subject. This can be regarded as an explanatory gloss, since the verb alone would be ambiguous in Greek in terms of Gender, which is not the case in Hebrew. (LXX has its own solution to that ambiguity, in which it includes a feminine article and an postpositive conjunction to distinguish who is speaking.) The vocative phrase in Ant. is different than other witnesses: the Hebrew only reads “my lord,” whereas LXX reads “my lord, o king.” I tend to favor LXX as the older reading in this case, since it reads somewhat more awkwardly and does not match the Hebrew. Ant. uses a different preposition for “by,” that appears to contravene the standard equivalent found in LXX. That could mean that LXX represents a change from an older Greek version still attested in Ant. In LXX and MT, the king swore by the Lord “your God” to “your servant.” In this case, there’s probably some corruption: either the Ant. text (or its Vorlage) accidentally skipped a word or MT and LXX accidentally added one; cf. לאמתך and לאמר. Since this error, irrespective of direction, ir more likely in Hebrew, I tend to favor dittography in MT and then in LXX as opposed to Haplography in Ant. Ant. emphasizes the subject of reign with an extra “he.” I imagine that this represents a stylistic change so that both phrases about Solomon’s future match formally.

Verse 18 has a distinct verb forms for “reign” in the Greek versions. Since LXX is more consistent in its translation, that makes it a likely later reading. Again, the “my lord” in LXX and MT is only “lord” in Ant. The consistency of MT and LXX could indicate that LXX presents a revision toward MT. The “and you” in Ant. matches the LXX , but represents ועתה in MT. MT is likely an error from ואתה.

There are only two kinds of animals listed in v. 19 Ant., whereas the other versions have three. Ioab’s title is different from the LXX, which more literally matches the MT. The whole final phrase is distinct from LXX and MT (cf. v. 27). In Ant. this phrase strongly resembles v. 27 but it cannot be copying from there, since there are some distinctions between the semantics. That could imply that Ant. attests an older Vorlage since lost in the Hebrew.

The first phrase of v. 20 in Ant. is substantially different from and shorter than the other versions. That could suggest that it is older. Of particular significance in this case is that Ant. perfectly matches Hebrew syntax, suggesting that it cannot be a revision within the Greek text.

Similarly in v. 21 the reference to sleeping with the fathers begins differently in Ant. LXX unsurprisingly matches MT, but Ant. represents a distinct Hebrew reading, with the preposition ב instead of כ. Ant. could represent an older, or at least distinct, Hebrew reading since lost. The final verb in LXX more accurately matches MT than does Ant. Each Greek version features a distinct term for “sinners.” The reading in Ant. does not appear anywhere in LXX, suggesting that it might be an older reading.

Translation of 2 Sam 25:11-14 (1 Kgs 1:11-14 Ant.)

11) And Nathan went to Beersabee, the mother of Solomon, and he said, “Have you not heard that Ornias, son of Angeith, has become king, and our lord David does not know?
12) “And now, indeed I will advise you advice so that you will save your life and the life of your son Solomon.
13) “And come! Go to the king, David, and you will say to him, ‘Did you not, o lord king, swear to your servant by the Lord God saying that, “Solomon your son, he will reign after me and he will sit upon my throne? And why then has Ornia become king?”‘
14) “While you are still speaking there with the king, I will enter after you and I will fill your words.”

Nathan and Bathsheba. North Portal, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres, France. (c) 2009 Nick Thompson. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Verse 11 attests some significant differences. First, it opens with a notice that Nathan went to Bathsheba, which is missing in the other versions, before he spoke to her. This distinction appears rather dramatic, but it really only requires two minor variant readings. The most significant variant is the first verb, which the Lucianic text records as “went” as opposed to “said” in LXX and MT. The second difference is less dramatic, in that it merely represents a different form of the verb “to say.” If the Lucianic text is older in these cases, the distinction probably developed from a change in the form of the second verb leading to a change in the first in MT and LXX. That is possible, but by no means certain. The other difference in the Lucianic text distinguishes it from the LXX, but both accurately reflect MT. Rather than read an aorist, noting that Ornias “reigns,” the Lucianic text reads a perfect, “has become king.” While this may be important for the reconstruction of the Old Greek, it does not impact any presumed Hebrew Vorlage of the Greek text. The phrasing in LXX in every variant in this verse is consistent with kaige translation technique, suggesting that the Lucianic text may well attest the Old Greek in this case. That means that the opening of the verse could in fact represent the Lucianic text’s transmission of an older Greek version stemming from a variant Hebrew text to that known today.

The next verse, v. 12, also presents a few differences from the LXX and Hebrew text. Since the LXX is identical to the MT, these differences can be handled together. First, the Lucianic text does not have the imperative “come” after “now,” making it the shorter and preferable reading. Rather it has the element “indeed” there, which in the LXX has been transposed to match its position in MT. The phrasing in the Lucianic text combines the sentences more explicitly, using a conjunction that means “so that” rather than the more paltry “and” of the Hebrew and LXX. The verb in the verse’s final phrase in Greek is distinct between the LXX (“deliver”) and the Lucianic text (“save”). In this case again, the LXX more explicitly reflects the MT, suggesting that it is an editorial revision away from something like the Lucianic text. Nonetheless, really only the absence of the first imperative in the Lucianic text might indicate a different Hebrew Vorlage. N.b. that verse 13 opens with precisely this term in all three versions (albeit with a conjuction in the Lucianic text).

A number of differences appear in v. 13 as well, this time with some theological relevance. The Lucianic text opens the verse with conjunction that is missing in the other witnesses. Perhaps this represents a transposition from before the second imperative as attested in the Hebrew text and missing in LXX. Further, Nathan introduces Beersabee’s indirect speech in a manner more consistent with Hebrew usage in MT and LXX, adding the element “saying.” Likely it represents an addition in those cases. More importantly, the Lucianic text includes the addition of “by the Lord God” after the recounring of Beersabee’s swearing. This makes her statement naturally more impressive, which could indicate that it is an addition in the Lucianic text. However, it is more likely that the other witnesses removed it, since this event is never recounted elsewhere in the Bible. That makes Nahtan and Beersabee perhaps liars, even blasphemers in the Lucianic version. The Lucianic text emphasizes Solomon with an additional “he” before the indication that he will reign. This verb form, for reigning, matches that in v. 1 in each Greek case. For the most part again, I would go so far as to presume that the differences between the LXX and the Lucianic recension favor the Lucianic text as closer or identical to the Old Greek. This would have one important distinction (and probably some minor ones) regarding the presumed Hebrew Vorlage: the inclusion of a reference to “the Lord God” as a witness to the swearing lends substantially more theological weight to the whole passage of 1 Kgs 1.

The Greek variants in v. 14 again suggest that LXX has been corrected ot match a text like MT. The opening of the verse in the Lucianic version lacks the exclamation “dude!” that is present in the MT and even includes the conjunction preceding it in LXX. In the phrase, “while you are speaking” presents a transposition of “you” between the Greek witnesses. While this does not change the meaning, the phrasing in LXX matches identically the word order in the Hebrew, suggesting that LXX presents a revision. Finally, the phrase “after you” in the Greek versions, each of which independently matches the Hebrew in this phrase, contains a distinct preposition with the preposition’s object in the necessary case in each version. Again, LXX here appears to be consistent with kaige translational technique, suggesting that its version is editorial and that the Lucianic version could well be the Old Greek, or at least closer to it.

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