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Critical Notices. 509 



Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Boohs of Samuel, with an Introdvction on 
Hebrew Palceography and the Ancient Versions and Facsimiles of 
Inscriptions. By the Rev. Prof. S. R. Drivek, D.D. (Clarendon 
Press, 1890, pp. xcvi. 296.) 

Prof. Driver has succeeded in the seldom-accomplished task of pro- 
ducing a work adapted to the needs of very different classes of readers. 
It is hardly intended for beginners, yet it does not necessarily presuppose 
advanced proficiency in the reader to pronounce the book likely to prove 
of the utmost use to him. On the other hand, the notes and introductions 
are in the strictest sense scientific, and abound in critical discussions 
which the most mature scholar will find full of fruitful suggestion and 
easily accessible help. 

In examining a new edition of a text so admittedly difficult and corrupt 
as that of the Books of Samuel, one's first thought runs in the direction 
of verbal emendation. Here, at a first glance, it would appear as though 
Prof. Driver had done little beyond subjecting the suggestions of his 
predecessors — more especially of Wellliausen and Klostermann— to care- 
ful criticism. Even were this wholly the case, the part of the editor 
would have been a significant one. On the one hand it would familiarise 
English readers unacquainted with German —and, alas ! these are still 
the large majority — with some of the most brilliant work of recent times, 
for nowhere is Wellhausen seen to better advantage than in his com- 
mentary on Samuel. Many other commentators, more or less completely 
unknown in England, are, in a similar way, introduced to the notice and 
regard of the student by Prof. Driver's copious quotations. But, in the 
second place, the editor does not merely quote these writers ; he examines 
their results with an acute and balanced judgment which is of the very 
essence of profitable emendation, and applies their method towards a 
number of original suggestions, the relatively small number of which is 
by no means a reason for complaint. Amid the multitude of alternatives 
already proposed, the student feels strongly the need of a guide who will 
direct his choice rather than one who will lead him deeper into the maze 
and add to his perplexities by guesses, however ingenious. Prof. Driver 
rightly, and almost consistently, refuses to guess. Often the utmost limit 
to which one can safely go is merely the negative result that the text is 
inaccurate, and that " the error is too deep-seated for a restoration to be 
proposed with confidence." (Of. also pp. 79 and 117.) It must, on the 
whole, be said that Wellhausen's Samuel is marked by a similar modera- 
tion ; but it appears to me that, despite the cautious principles enun 
ciated in his preface, this distinguished critic was sometimes too ready to 
adopt the LXX. readings as preferable to the Massoretic text in cases of 
ditficulty. Yet in many passages he displays an even brilliant dis- 

Prof. Driver discusses the questions presented by the Septuagint in his 

510 The Jewish Qiiarterhj Review. 

full and valuable Introduction. " On the whole," he maintains, " the 
purer text was undoubtedly preserved by the Jews " (Introd. xxxix.) ; 
but in many individual cases, " purer readings are preserved to us by the 
Septuagint." So far is clear enough ; but the treatment of variations is 
a matter of great difficulty. " There are three precautions which must 
ahvaj-s be observed : We must reasonably assure ourselves that we pos- 
sess the Version itself in its original integrity ; we must eliminate such 
variants as have the appearance of originating merely with the trans- 
lator ; "' and with the rest we must be guided chiefly by the intrinsic merit 
of the rival readings. 

Origen's labours unfortunately tended towards complicating the matter 
by his preferring in his hcxapla those readings of the LXX. that approxi- 
mated most closely with the Massoretic text. Lagarde has certainly for- 
mulated canons for the recovery of the genuine text (xlvii.), but they aro 
not of much practical use ; for, as Prof. Driver justly remarks (Introd. 
xlix.), " It is the judgment and acumen displayed in handling the more 
difficult cases which arise under these two heads " [viz., whether the 
reading that differs from the M T. is really based on a divergent text, 
and if so whether it be a superior reading or not], "that mark a textual 
critic of the first order, and distinguish, for example, Wellhausen in a 
conspicuous degree, both from Thenius on the one side and from Keil on 
the other." Now and then even Prof. Driver seems to me to prefer the 
LXX. when the M T. is perhaps defensible, as e.g., in i. 28. Here the 
editor's exposition of the grounds on which the LXX. reading may be 
regarded as superior, is admirably lucid, but when all is said I am not 
convinced that the M T. is not as good. The subject of innCM may well 
be Samuel, and, considering the life to which he was to be devoted, it is 
possible and even natural that, though so very young, he had been taught 
by his mother the act of prostration. Elkanah's coming is not mentioned 
because Hannah was the chief agent in bringing the child (cf. v. 23) ; 
afterwards, on the return home, Elkanah resumes his position as of the 
first importance in his family, and hence his participation in the return is 
distinctly noted (ii. 11"). Again, take iv. 4, where the LXX. omits Dii> ; 
this mere excision is hardly enough to alter the sense without the addi- 
tion of some other verb ; the meaning still would be " and the sons of Eli 
were with the Ark " (viz., at Shilo). Against the acceptance of the LXX. 
reading, I would quote the fact, too, that in vii. 6 DB' is again omitted 
where it is very unlikely that it can have crept into the M T. wrongly. 
(In the latter case, while Wellhausen notes the LXX. version, Prof. 
Driver passes it over silently, but evidently rejecting it.) 

In i. 23 the LXX. reading 1111 for nil is obviously preferable ; but 
in ii. 33 the suggestion iv poficjjaia dvSpav does not seem very probable, 
for the word D'CiS would be unnecessary. The phrase D'E'JN 3^^3 
does not elsewhere occur, though the contrasted use in Isaiah xxxi. 8 

might be quoted against me. The substitution of D3''33^ for ^^3Q?, which 
Wellhausen proposes in ix. 12, is not in itself necessary, as the change of 
number is quite explicable. A similar variation, when, as in the present 
passage, there are several interlocutors, one of whom at times takes the 
lead, but at others sinks to the general level, may be noted in Genesis 
xviii. 3, 4. As to x. 22, K'^K is not indefensible. " Is there any other 
man come hither (besides those visible before us) ? " gives a fair meaning, 
as Prof. Driver points out, though he seems on the whole to incline to 
the LXX. CJ'''Xn. Basing his view partly on the omission of the LXX., 
the editor explains the aifficulty in xiii. 1 by supposing that this was 
"originally, perhaps, a marginal note, due to one who desiderated in the 
case of Saul a record similar to that found in the case of subsequent 

Critical Notices. 511 

kings." This hardly explains, however, the defectiveness of the marginal 
addition. I believe that it was S. D. Luzzatto who first suggested that 
a I had dropped out after p, making Saul fifty years old at his acces- 
sion ! The text here is hopelessly corrupt. It is not quite clear to me 
that ns in xvii. 34 is a redundancy. The bear and the lion would 
naturally not come together, but on different occasions; for nxi we should, 
perhaps, read SjKI as in the Targum. Prof. Driver has no hesitation in 
accepting the LXX. reading in xviii. 28, and a more beautiful variant it 
would be hard to discover. It quite lights up the whole verse, and gives 
real point to it. On the other hand, his unrivalled knowledge of 
Hebrew idiom enables Prof. Driver most emphatically to defend 

the M T.'s reading HD^ (xix. 17) as " thoroughly idiomatic " against 

the impossible Np GN suggested by Thenius. A more interesting variant 

occurs in xx. 5, where the LXX. reading SB'S vh 3B'^ is adopted by Well- 

hausen and, apparently, by Prof. Driver ; the K^ not belonging to the M T. 
I can scarcely agree that this change is an improvement. David does not 
quote the fact of its being New Moon as the reason for his joining the 
king's table ; he merely says ; " To-morrow is the New Moon, and I 
usually sit with the king to eat [how much more ought I to do so on a 
feast-day like to-morrow], but thou shalt let me go." This, which is 
substantially Kimchi's view, tends to meet Wellhausen's objection to the 
M T. Prof. Driver is right in inserting DVl before 'JBTI in xx. 27, and, 
with a keen eye for a good suggestion, prefers Lagarde's rendermg of 
nmon niyj p, "son of a woman gone astray from discipline,"' to the 
reading of the LXX. In xxiii. 6 the use of ^^' might be justified on the 
ground that the ephod was only accidentally brought down, and not 

intentionally (nnin). The LXX., "certainly rightly," roads I)-}"? for ■<2'i6 
in (xxv. 22). It is remarkable, however, that in the Talmud such euphemisms 
are of frequent occurrence, the " enemy of Israel '' being used for Israel. 
In 2 Sam. iii. 15 Prof. Driver is equally positive in preferring the LXX. 
reading of nS^'^N for K'''S. When he is so dogmatic, there is no question 
that hia view must be accepted. To show, however, with what consist- 
ency Prof. Driver exercises his own independent judgment, he does not 
accept the LXX. reading in 2 Sam. xi. 11 , though the Hebrew is probably 
wrong, unless we may imagine that the courtly Uriah adds "jC'SJ Til, as 
a hint tbat the king's is no ordinary life. Besides, however, this valuable 
and careful examination of the suggestions of the LXX. in detail by Prof. 
Driver, there is another important service in respect of the LXX. varia- 
tions that the present edition performs, viz., the frequent displaying of 
the full Hebrew equivalent for the Greek reading. It is only by putting 
the Hebrew and the Hebraized Greek side by side in this way that one 
can really judge the relative value of ths two texts. I regard this point 
of so much importance that I here note some of the chief of the longer 
variations in which Prof. Driver has turned the Greek in to Hebrew — iv.l ; 
xiii. 15 ; xiv. 24 and 41 ; xx. 15, 16 ; xxix. 10 ; Book 2, vii. 23 ; xi. 22 ; 
xiii. 21 and 34 ; xvii. 3 ; xxiv. 15; and many others. Several of these 
readings are irresistibly attractive, and besides these Prof. Driver very 
rightly prefers the LXX. readings in ix. 25, 26, and the opening of x. A 
very valuable note is appended to page 105 on the interchange of the 
Greek y and the Hebrew V. 

In a Jewish Eeview some few words will naturally be expected on the 
subject of Jewish commentaries on Samuel, and the use made of them by 
Prof. Driver. As was to be anticipated from the editor of a Rabbinical 
Commentary on the Bouli of Proverbs, attributed to Abraham Ibn Ezra 

512 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

(Clarendon Press, 1830), Prof. Driver frequently alludes, in the course of 
his work, to Jewisih authorities, both modern and mediaeval. Professor 
Graetz, so prolific of brilliant emendations (see pp. 104, 108), Geigei' 
and Reifmann are among others quoted with respect. On 2 Sam. 

vii. 21, the tatter's suggested transposition of nxtH n?nJn"7D DK 
to the end of the verse " is certainly an improvement." Beif- 
manu's claims to recognition are far too little appreciated generally, 
but Prof. Driver generously speaks of him, in the work already 
quoted a few lines higher, as of " a born critic, whose native genius 
enabled him to overcome great disadvantages of birth and position," and 
" who has made himself known as the author of a series of acute sug- 
gestions on the text, both of the Old Testament itself and of later 
Jewish writings." This appreciation is the more generous since Jewish 
commentators have on the Vhole contributed but little in recent times 
towards the understanding of the Old Testament. Prof. Driver quotes 
the older Jewish commentators with greater frequency. Saadiah is cited ia 
the longest note in the whole book (p, 227) on the meaning of an Arabic 
word ; and so are Rashi, Kimchi, and of course the Massoretic writings. 
Though far inferior to his work in commenting upon the Talmud, Rashi 
offers many good suggestions, and for their small bulk his notes are 
remarkably fruitful. In xviii. 26, the explanation quoted by Prof. 

Driver as Keil's of the words D*D*n IN7D N71 is really due to Rashi. 
Kimchi 's merits are widely known, but I must confess to some disappoint- 
ment in the case of Abarbanel. Dipping frequently into his discursive 
pages I have found very little that repaid the labour ; and yet his repu- 
tation for his commentary on Samuel is high. I must suppose the fault 
to lie with myself. In 2 Sam. vi. 22, Abarbanel suggests rattier than pro- 
pounds a fair alternative rendering, " With God I would humble myself 
even more ; but before the handmaidens I will look after my honour." 
Both the rendering of Wellhausen and of the R V., however, give better 
sense. In 1 Sam. xiv. 47, the view of Kimchi might have been noticed 
in the present edition. Comparing Job xxxiv. 29 (which on this view 
would be rendered " When he giveth quietness, who then shall cause 
disquiet ?") Kimchi takes JJ^K'T in the latter sense, and I think that a 
comparison with Isaiah Ivii. 20 would strengthen his case. Wellhausen's 

explanation of the difficult r^J? "ISCJ jn pi (v. 4), "only his fishy 
2)art was left" is anticipated by the Biur, and so is the attempted 
reconciliation of vi. 4 and 18, referred to in a foot-note to page 48. 
In passing I must note the general failure of many of the attempted 
reconciliations by Jewish commentators of different versions of the 
same occurrence, such as the narratives of the appointment of 
Saul as king, and the accounts of his first acquaintanceship with 
David. The theories propounded will mostly not bear examination. 
But I must take leave of the older Jewish commentators with the 
general remark that they usually do not concern themselves with ex- 
plaining passages whose meimi/i/j is clear, but where the main difficulty 
lies in getting that obvious meaning out of the words, while precisely in 
such cases Prof. Driver's greatest strength is displayed. Thus in xiv. 16 

occurs the impossible D?ni 1'?'1. Rashi makes no attempt to explain 
it, though he tacitly interpolates a verb ; Abarbanel is quite silent ; 
Biur reads, it is true, i3'7m nSH. Prof. Driver's suggestion of D?n for 
"l"?''! (after the LXX.) is very happy. (Several other variants of the 
LXX. in this chapter are preferable to the M T.) Again, in verse 34, 

Critical Notices. 513 

Bashi is not concerned, like Prof. Driver, at the unique use of the 
adverb to mean " that night," but whether slaying Ihe animals was in 
accordance with the Levitical law. As regards emendations of the text,. 
the Jewish commentators (I am leaving Ibn Ezra out of account) 
naturally do not suggest them in so many words, but i)racticcdlij they 

often do so. Thus the reading pN for ^3X (vi. 18), which the LXX. 

and the Targum give, is accepted by Eashi ; so, too, the K'^K f)?N □''K'Dn 
(verse 19), which, as Prof. Driver says, *' moderns generally reject as a 
gloss," was practically explained away as a Midrashic gloss. On xiii. 8 
even Rashi and Kimchi admit that the text is defective. It will usually 
be noticed that we find the most fanciful theories of the Mi drashic order 
in places where the text is so difficult that no " plausible etymology can 
be proposed." (Comp. 2 Sam. vi. 19.) 

Conformably with the maxim, 3''3n {nnx {nns, I have left for 
the last the mention of the most striking merit of Prof. Driver's 
book. For myself, I can hardly find terms sufficiently expressive 
of my gratitude. The study of his Commentary is in itself a liberal 
trainiug in Hebrew grammar. Here the editor is facile princejjs. 
It is not so much that he offers new theories to account for or 
to explain away rare and exceptional words or difficulties. Sometimes 
the editor's help is so bountiful in such passages that the student 
cannot be expected to carry away a very clear result. But Prof. 
Driver's strength lies in the logical explanation of constructions, in 
the unravelling of the real significance of idioms — at once so simple 
and yet so perplexing that their adequate investigation calls for the 
deepest insight into the genius of the language. Prof. Driver's repu- 
tation as a grammarian, high as it already was, must be enhanced by his 
present work. No new edition of Kautzscb, e.g., can afford to omit taking 
full account of it, and it is a pity that this could not possibly be done in 
the recently-published and largely-improved twenty-fifth edition of that 
grammar. Prof. Driver's remarks would have made several corrections 
easy, especially in the syntactical portions ; for, as was only to be 
expected from the accomplished writer of the Hebrew Tenses, the new 
commentary abounds in helpful notes on that same intricate topic. To 
give one or two instances — the first that come to hand, not the most 
important. The use of inS for '' a " would not have been so strongly 
pronounced as occurring chiefly in late passages bad Kautzsch (page 388) 
taken into consideration Judges ix. 53, xiii. 2, which Prof. Driver very 
rightly cites. So again with verse 4. Kautzsch (page 318) emphatically 
declares the text corrupt, but by explaining verses 4b-7a as a paren- 
thetical description of Elkanah's usual procedure, Prof. Driver renders 
this supposition unnecessary, for }n31 need not refer to the special 
incident which is being related in the text, and this seems to be the view 
also of Klostermann.^ I started by attempting a list of Prof. Drivers 
happiest grammatical suggestions, but I soon gave up the task, for 
scarcely a page passed unrecorded on my notes, and my list assumed 
portentous magnitude. Fortunately, the editor himself has supplied an 
index, but it by no means conveys a true idea of the wealth of informa- 
tion contained in the body of the Commentary. 

In the non -grammatical notes. Prof. Driver's exposition is marked by 
lucidity and grace. In this respect the treatment of the Second Book is 
superior to the First, and contextual explanations strike one as 

' In the same manner, Prof. Driver occasionally corrects Wellhausen on 
points of grammar (see e.g. on 1 Sam. xii. 3). 

L L 

514 Jewish Quarterly Review. 

bein^ rather more abundaut in the latter part of the Commentary. To 
some extent one appears to get a glance behind the veil that hid the 
labours of the Old Testament Revisers from the public gaze. Shall I 
be very wrong in attributing to Prof. Driver some of the best of the 
new translations which distinguish the E V. from the A V. of Samuel ? 
Not that he always agrees with the later version ; see e.g. on 2 Sam. v. 8, 
while on page 145 he makes the very just observation — so just that I wish 
it could be pressed home on those readers who confine themselves to the 
English translation solely — that ''A V. (and occasionally even E V.) some- 
times conceals a difficulty by giving a sense that is agreeable with the con- 
text, regardless of the fact ihat the Hebrew words used do not actually 
express it ; i.e., they implicitly adopt an emendation of the text." This 
remark expresses far more clearly than I have done above what I meant 
to say of the Jewish commentators. I do not remember missing a note 
on a single difficulty in the whole of Prof. Drivers book except perhaps 
in I. Sam. ch. xxviii. 11, 12, where the context seems to me to need 
some justification. I must conclude this very inadequate notice by 
expressing the hope that the Clarendon Press will regard Prof. Driver's 
book merely as the first of a series. It would be a great service to 
students of Hebrew if all the historical books were dealt with by Prof. 
Driver himself with the same brilliant scholarship, sound judgment, 
subtle power of grammatical analysis and terse lucidity, as he has so 
markedly displayed in his edition of Samuel. 

I. Abhahams. 


Klilath Jofi, enthaltend die Geschichte der BabUner der- Stadt Lemherg. 
By C. N. Dembitzer. (Cracow, 1888.) 

The history of the Jews in Poland is still in a very unsatisfactory state. 
All that reaches us through the medium of general histories is just 
enough to excite our curiosity, but too insignificant to gratify our desire 
for closer knowledge. We hear, for instance, that the Jews in Poland 
from time to time were wont to hold great synods ; but we know little 
about their procedure and transactions. We read, also, that the whole 
of Poland was divided into four Provinces (niXIN VSIX), the Chief 
Eabbis of which exercised jurisdiction over hU the Jews in the kingdom, 
but even after the contributions of Harkavy, Perles and Gurland, there 
is still much that is obscure in the life and labours of the Chief 
Eabbis, who, as their position would suggest, must have been great both 
in learning and in piety. We possess descriptions of the great perse- 
cution by Chmelniezky, in which the Polish Jews suffered as much as 
their brethren in other parts of Europe in the age of the Crusades, but 
we are told very little about the lives of these sufferers. Were those 
thousands of Jews who were murdered by the hands of the Cossacks, 
but who could have saved their lives and fortunes by joining the religion 
of the conquerors ; or those 300 martyrs of Polonnoie, who, guided by 
their Eabbi and dressed in their shrouds, patiently awaited the supreme 
moment when they would be able to sanctify the name of God ; or that