Skip to main content

Full text of "Studies in the Books of Samuel. II. The Composition of the Book (Concluded)"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world byJSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 

By M. H. Segal, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 


The Composition of the Book * 

The First Period of David's Reign over All 

87. The section comprised by chs. 5-8 contains ac- 
counts of events, most, but not all, of which occurred in the 
first period of David's reign over all Israel. The section is 
the original work of our author, though here and there he 
seems to have incorporated some old material. Thus, for 
example, 5. 6-8 reads like an excerpt from an older source. 
Such excerpts may exist in other parts of ch. 5 and in 
ch. 8. The section may also contain here and there later 
additions. Such is, perhaps, the chronological notice in 
5. 4-5 (cf. I Kings 3. 11), the expansion in 7. aa-4, and the 
statement in 8. 11-12. 

88. (ch. 5.) Critics consider 5. 3 to be a duplicate of 
vers. i-a. But the statement in ver. 3 is not identical with 
the statement in the two previous verses, but is rather its 
sequel and necessary consequence. The three verses de- 
scribe the two stages of the transference of Saul's throne 
to David: first a popular embassy representing all the 

* Concluded from vol. VIII, pp. 75 ff. 


tribes that came to Hebron and offered the throne to David 
(vers. i-a). When David had accepted the throne, the 
elders of Israel followed to Hebron, and concluded a cove- 
nant with David (cf. 3 Kings xi. 17 b), whereupon they 
anointed him as their king. 

The critics may be right in declaring vers. 4-5 to be 
a later addition. On the other hand, vers. 13-16 may very 
well belong to our author, who sought to enhance the 
impression of David's prosperity and might by recounting 
the increase in his harem and the number of his sons 
(cf. above, § 82). Vers. 11-13 are held by some critics to 
belong to the latter part of David's reign, since Hiram 
is found to be still alive in the reign of Solomon. But 
it is quite possible that Hiram outlived David by many years. 
Further, the building of David's royal palace should in all 
probability be assigned to the earlier part of his residence 
in Jerusalem, when, as we are told in ver. 9 b, David 
was engaged in great building enterprises. And, as H. P. 
Smith observes {op. cii., 289), the alliance between Hiram 
and David may have been directed against their common 
enemy, the Philistines, which would place its formation 
before the destruction of the Philistine power. That the 
statement in ver. 11 is true is rendered very probable by 
the express declaration in i Kings 5. 15 b (against S. A. 
Cook, op. cit., 151). 

89. Budde {op. cit, 243) and his followers place vers. 17- 
35 immediately after ver. 3 (or ver. 5), vers. 6-13 after 
ch. 6. I, and vers. 13-16 after ch. 8. 14. But we must 
reiterate the already oft-repeated question : How and why 
did the present arrangement arise? Further, it is quite 
evident that I'Cixi in ver. 6 cannot refer to the levy of the 
30,000 mentioned in ch. 6. i, for the expression is almost 


a technical term for David's veterans and immediate 
followers ; cf. 2. 3 ; I 23. 5, 12, 13, &c. ; 24. 3, 23 ; 27. 3, 8 ; 
29. 2, II ; 30. I, 3. A host of 30,000 would be described 
as DJjn, as in 6. 2, or 7XnB" n'3, as in 6. 5. It is also very- 
unlikely that David would have used such a vast host for 
the investment of Jerusalem.*^ Finally, if 6. 2 is the imme- 
diate continuation of 5. 12, then the phrase iriN ~IE>K DJin ^2) 
will be without a direct antecedent, and quite obscure. 
Surely David did not keep with him 30,000 people through- 
out the events described in 5. 9-12. There can be no 
doubt whatever that 6. 2 is the immediate continuation of 
6. I. David raised that host in order to bring up the Ark 
with full military honours. For the military character of 
the Ark^f. 11. 11 ; I 4. 3 ; Num. 10. $5-6, &c. 

90. As regards the transference of vers. 17-25 to ver. 3, 
we may remark that the critics repeat here the error which 
we have already noted before (§ 25, &c.), of forcing their 
own modern views upon the ancient writer. The modern 
view is, no doubt correctly, that the greatest achievement 
of David's reign was the subjugation of the Philistines, and 
that this achievement did more than anything else to 
consolidate his kingdom and to secure the national existence 
of Israel. But this need not necessarily have been the 
view of the ancient historian. In his time the Philistines 
were an insignificant people which had for generations 
been subject to Judah. It was therefore hard for him to 
realize fully the place which the Philistine struggle had 
occupied in the reigns of Saul and David. The conquest 
of Jerusalem, the building of Zion and of David's royal 
residence, and the acquisition by David of a large harem 
and so many sons, were, in the eyes of our author, of far 
" Cf. H. P. Smith, op. cit., 388. 


greater consequence for the consolidation of David's throne, 
and a far more striking proof of the favour with which God 
regarded the accession of David (ver. la) than the destruc- 
tion of the power of the Philistines and their subjection 
to Israel. Hence the account of David's anointment over 
all Israel is followed immediately by the conquest of 
Jerusalem and the kindred achievements described in vers. 
6-1 6, all of which are intended to illustrate the statements 
in vers, jo, 12. 

91. There is also another good reason why our author 
did not follow the strict chronological order and place vers. 
17 ff. immediately after ver. 3 (ver. 5). There is no doubt 
that the campaign described in vers. 17-21 must have 
taken place immediately after David's anointment in ver. 3. 
This is expressly stated in ver. 17 a a, where, moreover, 
there is no mention of the conquest of Jerusalem. Further, 
there is no doubt, as Wellhausen has rightly observed, that 
it is this campaign which is referred to in 33. 11 ff., and 
that mison in ver. 17 b is identical with the miso of Adullam 
mentioned in 23. 14, All this presupposes that David was 
still at Hebron. For had he been already at Jerusalem, 
he would certainly not have abandoned that strong fortress 
to take refuge in the wilds of the borderland. On the 
other hand, the second campaign described in vers. 22-5 
must have taken place after the conquest of Jerusalem. 
For if, for some strategical reason unknown to us, the 
Philistines stationed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim 
for the first battle, it is very strange that they should have 
returned for the second battle to the same place of their 
great defeat, unless David had meanwhile occupied Jerusa- 
lem, and it had become important for them to dislodge 
him from his strong position. We may thus assume with 


a certain degree of confidence that vers. 6-9, and perhaps 
also ver. 11, took place after the first campaign (vers. 17-31), 
and that ch. 6 took place some time later than the second 
campaign (vers. aa-5). Hence, the writer says in 6. i : 
'1 1^y (51DNM = ) fjO'ii, viz. after the levy raised for the war 
in 5. 22-5, But as the author was evidently unwilling to 
separate his two brief notices of David's wars against the 
Philistines by the insertion between them of other material 
of a different nature, he was therefore obliged to abandon 
the chronological order. And so he chose first to give his 
notice of the conquest of Jerusalem and of the related 
events in vers. 6-16, in order to illustrate David's prosperity 
and the favour shown him by God (vers. 10, 13), and then 
to give the accounts of the two Philistine campaigns 
together, and immediately after the story of the bringing 
up of the Ark (ch. 6), which, as we have remarked, followed 
the second Philistine campaign. 

9a. (ch. 7.) Chapter 7 is clearly the continuation of 
ch. 6. Having brought the Ark to Jerusalem, David 
wishes to erect for it a suitable habitation which might 
become the central sanctuary of the kingdom. Ver. a a 
refers back to 5. 11, and ver. ab to 6. 17. The use of the 
perfect consecutive with the verbs in vers. 9b-ii proves 
that David was still in the earlier part of his reign, and 
that, therefore, the statement in ver. i b must be taken in 
a relative and not in an absolute sense. The facts that 
the prophet is represented as not being cognizant of God's 
real purpose (ver. 3), that the value of the Temple is rather 
minimized in the prophecy,** that the author is favourable 
to the Davidic dynasty and is ignorant of its decay and 
fall, all tend to prove the early age of our chapter. Hence 
« Cf. R. Kittel in Kautzsch's Heilige Schrift^, 429. 


we see no reason to deny its composition to our author. 
The style differs indeed from the rest of the book, but this 
may be due to the different character of the subject-matter, 
which demanded a certain conventional and standardized 
treatment — cf our observation on I 12 (§ 4a). The critics, 
however, are almost unanimous that the chapter is an 
interpolation, though they are far from unanimous on the 
question of its date, some regarding it as pre-Deuteronomic, 
others as post-Deuteronomic, and others again as exilic. 
Their view of its late origin is based chiefly on the assump- 
tion that vers. 12-15 refer to the long line of David's 
descendants, and not to a particular individual. As all 
prophecies are in the eyes of our critics vaticinia post 
eventus, it follows that this prophecy must have been 
written towards the end, or even after the end, of the 
Davidic dynasty. But the truth is that vers, ia-15 refer 
to no one else except to Solomon, cf. Yalkut, Rashi, 
and Kimhi, ad loc. This is plainly stated in ver. 13, 
and also reiterated in i Kings 5. 19; 8. 17-30, where 
Solomon is actually made to quote the language of our 
ver. 13 as referring to himself. Cf. also i Chron. 1%. 9-10 ; 
a8. 6-7. In spite, however, of this weighty and decisive 
evidence, Wellhausen {op. cit., 254-5) and his followers 
persist in their view, declaring v. 13 to be an interpolation 
based upon a mistaken exegesis of our prophecy. These 
critics claim to know the meaning of our Scriptures 
better than their authors themselves. It may be asked 
whether the passages in i Kings are also to be condemned 
as the work of an interpolator who followed the spurious 
ver. 13 of our chapter? Or, where else could the reiterated 
story of a prediction about Solomon building the Temple, 
given in the passages in the First of Kings quoted above. 


have been derived from ? Apart, however, from this ex- 
ternal evidence so thoughtlessly impugned by the critics, 
it is plain from its use as a singular right throughout the 
passage, that 15>~ir in ver. 12 is a real singular, and not a 
collective, and that, therefore, it must refer to one single 
individual, viz. Solomon.** If J)~iT had been intended as 
a collective plural it would have been used as a real plural 
in accordance with Hebrew idiom (see Gesenius-Kautzsch, 
Heb. Gram., § 145 b, and cf , for example, Gen. 15. 13, 14; 
17- 7> 8, 9, &c.). Ver. 13 is obviously connected with the 
cited passages of i Kings, while ver. 14 points forward to 
I Kings II. II, 23, &c. ; cf. i Chron. 22. 9; 28. 6. Psalms 
89. 3C-38 ; 132. 12 cannot be adduced as evidence for the 
correctness of the critics' interpretation of vers. 12, 15, for 
there the application of our prophecy to the Davidic 
dynasty is simply a case of poetic or homiletical licence. 
In the same way the Psalmist applies to David our ver. 14, 
which certainly does not refer to David himself (89. 27). 

93. (ch. 8.) The author concludes his narrative of the 
first period of David's reign by a summary of David's 
conquests. As we shall show later, some of the events 
recorded in the brief paragraphs of this chapter really 
belong to the second period of David's reign, the story 
of which is given in chs. 9 fif. Our author, however, pre- 
ferred placing them here rather than interpolating them 
in the document which he embodied in his book from 
chs. 9 ff. 8. 11-12 may perhaps be a later addition, like 
the similar addition in LXX to ver. 8, and i Chron. 8. 18 ; 
cf. I Chron. 29. 2 ff. Note also the late expression caa in 
ver. 11.*" Vers. 15-18 are not, as the critics hold, the 

*^ For the application of Jint to one particular individual cf. Gen. 4. 35. 

** Cf. Wellhausen, op. cit., 255. 



conclusion of a document of a life of David, any more than 
the parallel passage in 20. 23-6 is the conclusion of the 
document chs. 9-ao. For, as it is generally admitted, 
chs. 9-20 are continued in i Kings, chs. 1-2. 8. 15-18 form 
only the conclusion to the history of the first period of 
David's reign, contained in chs. 5-8. In a similar way, 
20. 23-6 forms the conclusion to the history of the second 
period of David's reign contained in chs. 9-20. Cf. also 
above, § 49, and below, § 108. 

94. The critics hold that the Aramean campaign de- 
scribed in vers. 3-6 is identical with the campaign described 
in 10. 6 fif., and that our account here is really borrowed 
from ch. 10. The differences between the two accounts 
are explained by Budde {op. cit., 250), in a characteristic 
fashion, as deliberate alterations (the more correct expres- 
sion would be 'falsifications') by the redactor for the 
purpose of concealing the source of his narrative and the 
identity of the two accounts. Thus in 8. 2 Ammon — who 
was really the cause of the whole Aramean War, as stated 
in ch. 10 — is altered into Moab, with whom David was 
really on the most friendly terms, as shown by I 22. 3. 
3im p in vers. 3, 12 is a deliberate alteration for 3im r\'<2, 
10. 6. The account of the defeat and conquest of Damascus 
(vers. 5-6), which is historically ' highly improbable ', is a 
redactional substitution for the account of the subjugation ot 
the trans- Euphratean Arameans in 10. 16-18. The homage 
of To'i in vers. 9-ic is transferred here from the end of 
ch. 10. And, finally, the redactor deliberately deleted the 
name of Hadad'ezer from jo. 6, in order to conceal the 
dependence of his own account in 8. 3 ff. on ch. 10. It will 
be seen that, according to this critic, the redactor has 
falsified names, fabricated a story of David's cruelty 


towards his former friends and hosts, the Moabites, tam- 
pered with his documents, altered them, mutilated them, 
and transposed them at his own will and pleasure. He 
committed all these literary crimes with a view to hiding 
the identity or similarity of the two accounts in ch. 8 and 
ch. 10. Yet all his efforts have proved an absolute futility, 
for all his artifices and misdeeds have now been fully laid 
bare by this lynx-eyed critic. 

Let us, however, examine the assertions of this and 
other critics, and see whether they are really justified. 

95. It is alleged that Moab in ver. a is a wilful alteration 
for the original Amnion, since David could not have fought 
against the king of Moab, owing to their old friendship. 
Now, it is true that David's hostility towards the Moabites 
is rather surprising, and the ancients*' already sought for 
an explanation of its cause. But our ignorance of the 
cause for this hostility does not justify us in tampering 
with our text, or in accusing its ancient author of 
deliberate falsification. There is no doubt that our text 
is correct. We know that Moab continued in a state of 
vassalage to Israel until the great rebellion of Mesh'a 
(cf. a Kings i. i ; 3. 4 ff., and the Moabite Stone). As there 
is no mention anywhere in our historical documents of 
another war between Israel and Moab until the reign 
of Jehoram, we are bound to conclude that Moab had been 
reduced to subjection at the beginning of the Israelitish 
monarchy, a conclusion which is fully confirmed by the 
prophecy in Num. 24. 17. Saul's war against Moab 
(I 14. 47) does not seem to have been of a decisive 
character, since in I aa. 3-4 Moab is still found existing 
as an independent kingdom. It follows, therefore, that it 
*'' Cf. Bamidbar rabba, ch. 14; Rashi and Kimhi, adloc. 

E a 


must have been David who destroyed Moab's independence 
as stated in our text. Cf. also 23. ao, which probably 
belongs to this campaign. 

96. Again, we are told that 3im p is a deliberate 
substitution for 3im nu. Does the critic assert that the 
original had this absurdity : 3im Tv5 nrjmn ? And if we 
should go further and ' emend ' it into aim n''25 'in , there 
will still remain the difficulty that Hadad'ezer really be- 
longed to Zobah and not to Beth Rehob. It may, however, 
be asked what is wrong with 3im p? A personal name 
3im is found in Neh. 10. la ; cf. also the names 3m, num, 
Djjnm. The truth is that the critics must find fault with 
'n p in order to be able to identify it with 't r\'^2 in 
10. 6 f. Further, we are told by Budde that the permanent 
occupation of Damascus by the Israelites is ' hochst 
unwahrscheinlich '. But our omniscient critic seems to 
have forgotten the clear statement in i Kings 11. 23-5, 
which fully corroborates the truth of our account that 
David had turned that ancient Syrian city into an Israelitish 

97. The fact is that the Aramean campaign in this 
chapter is quite distinct from the one described in ch. 10, 
or, to be more precise, the campaign in 8. 3 ff. is really the 
sequel of the campaign of ch. 10. The origin of David's 
war against Hadad'ezer was the help the latter had offered 
to Ammon. The first campaign against him, described in 
ch. 10, resulted in the repeated defeat of himself and his 

*' This corroboration is not affected by the omission of LXX of 
DDK in 3"in3 in i Kings 11. 24. For it is evident from the context that 
the meaning of the passage is that the usurpation by Rezon of the throne 
of Damascus constituted an act of rebellion against Solomon, similar to that 
of Hadad the Edomite and Jeroboam the Ephraimite. Contrast Cheyne, 
Ency. Bibl., I, 1028, n. 4. 


vassals. The latter submitted to David and exchanged 
Hadad'ezer's suzerainty for that of David (10. 19). Hadad- 
'ezer himself, though defeated, was not yet entirely broken. 
His final destruction David reserved for another opportunity, 
and this he found when Hadad'ezer undertook an expedition 
to the banks of the Euphrates.** It is this second campaign, 
resulting in the total defeat of Hadad'ezer and the subjuga- 
tion of Damascus, which is described in our chapter. 

98. The critics are surprised that the king of Zobah is 
not mentioned expressly in 10. 6, whereas in 10. 16 the 
name of Hadad'ezer is given, but without any epithet or 
description. They see in this also a proof of the activity 
of a dishonest or tampering redactor. But the explanation 
is quite simple. The omission of the mention of the king 
of Zobah in 10. 6 is due to the same cause as the omission 
of the mention of the king of Beth Rehob, viz. that, 
unlike the king of Ma'akah, these two kings did not 
accompany in person the mercenaries from their kingdoms 
who went to the help of Ammon. It would, therefore, 
have been incorrect to say that the Ammonites had hired 
the king of Beth Rehob and the king of Zobah. In 10. 16, 
however, it was Hadad'ezer himself who personally ordered 
the battle at Helam. He is, therefore, mentioned by name, 
but without any special epithet, since he is assumed to 
be already known to the reader from the author's own 
description in 8. 3, 

*' inD73 in 8. 3 refers to Hadad'ezer, as rightly explained by Rashi and 


The Second Period of David's Reign over all 

99. It is generally conceded ^^ that chs. 9-20, with their 
sequel in i Kings chs. i and 2, belong all to one document 
written by an author who was almost a contemporary of 
the men and events which he described. These chapters 
are closely interrelated. They also display a general uni- 
formity of style and method of presentation and a unity 
of plan and conception. They seem to look at the events 
which they describe from a nearer perspective, and are 
undoubtedly older than other parts of our book. Hence 
we are led to the conclusion that our author incorporated 
this lengthy section from some older work, in the same 
way as he incorporated I 4-6 ; 9-10, 16, &c. 

100. (ch. 9.) Budde and other critics maintain that 
ch. 9 is the sequel to ai. 1-14, for the inquiry of David 
in 9. I is only intelligible after the slaughter of Saul's 
house described in 21. 1-14. This view leads them to 
strike out ai. 7 as an interpolation and to place ch. 24 
before 21. 1-14, and to delete 24. i a as a redactional link. 
The plain man, however, will on the contrary accept 21. 7 
as sufficient proof that ch. 9 is earlier than 21. 1-14. The 

^^ There are, however, some exceptions to this consensus of opinion. 
Thus, the integrity of the whole of ch. 12 has been challenged by Schwally 
(see below), and notably by A. S. Cook {AJSL., XVI, 145-177). The latter 
seeks to apply the redactional hypothesis to the whole of this section, 
without, however, developing a coherent and self-consistent theory of the 
composition of these chapters. The evidence for his rather startling con- 
clusion is often of a purely subjective character, and in flagrant contradiction 
to the express statements of the text. We, therefore, forbear from entering 
fully into a discussion of his arguments. 


critics themselves would not have been forced to this 
arbitrary and violent procedure if they had not pressed 
unduly the literalness of the expression nni3 in 9. 1. The 
expression is sufficiently explained by the slaughter of 
Saul and his sons at Gilboa and the murder of Ishbosheth. 
On the other hand, a little consideration will at once prove 
the baselessness of the critics' theory. In his search for 
victims for the Gibeonites, David must have made full 
inquiry for the descendants of Saul. The first person 
mentioned as a likely victim would no doubt have been 
Mephibosheth, who was the only direct male descendant 
of Saul. If so, how could David have remained ignorant 
of the existence of Mephibosheth until after the tragedy of 
ai. 1-14? We must also reject H. P. Smith's conjecture 
that 7. 1 stood originally at the head of our chapter. For 
7. I is the natural and necessary introduction to 7. a. Cf. 
also 7. II : Tl'N b» i? Tin^Jni. 

loi. (ch. 1 1.) Some critics assert that the story of David 
and Bathsheba was originally independent of the story of 
the siege of Rabbah. But from 11. 7, 11. 15 ff. it is plain 
that the incident occurred while Joab and the army were 
engaged on the prolonged siege of a certain city. We 
have a record only of one such siege, viz. the siege of 
Rabbah. If those critics do not believe the ancient writer 
(or ' redactor '), it is plainly their duty to tell us with what 
other siege the story is connected. 

Wellhausen (oJ>. cit., 359) holds ver. ai to be an interpo- 
lation because the reference to Abimelek in the mouth 
of the king is ' an unnecessary piece of historical erudition '. 
But it is difficult to see why as a practical tactician David 
should not have mentioned this striking example of the 
risk which the besiegers ran by approaching too close to 


the enemy's wall.^^ Further, the critic has forgotten that 
the speech given in these verses is put into David's mouth 
by the narrator (cf. above, § 69). If the critic denies David 
the right of showing his historical erudition, he cannot 
surely deny such a right to the historian. One cannot 
help suspecting that the real objection of our critic to this 
verse is that it proves the great antiquity of the narrative 
in Judges ch. 9. 

102. (ch. 12.) F. Schwally {ZATW., 1892, pp. 153 ff.), 
followed by H. P. Smith (op. cit., 322) and by W. Nowack 
in his commentary, declares la. i-i5a to be a late interpo- 
lation of the same date as ch. 7, which, he says, ' had been 
assigned by authoritative critics to the age of Josiah '. 
The only argument, however, which he advances in support 
of this theory is that no reference to Nathan's prediction 
of the death of the child is to be found in the subsequent 
paragraphs, vers. 15 b ff. But seeing that the narrator was 
writing history and not a dissertation on the truth of 
prophetic prediction, it is hard to undeistand why he was 
bound to repeat the fact of Nathan's rebuke and prediction. 
On the other hand, how can one understand David's conduct 
in vers. 16 ff. without the foregoing paragraph? Let us 
concede, for argument's sake, that the view of this critic is 
correct, and that God did not find anybody in Israel brave 

■ii Mr. Cook {ibid., 156) asks, how else was the city to be taken, unless 
the army approached the wall ? Evidently the narrator knew of other 
means besides exposing the besiegers to attacks from the wall, such as 
famine, undermining, or night attacks. He also finds an inconsistency 
between ver. 15, where David commands that Uriah alone should be placed 
in a position of danger, and vers. 17, 24, where others fell along with Uriah. 
But it is evident that Joab was not able to carry out David's order literally 
(cf. ver, 24, 13''75) niJ ''3), and he took the first opportunity he could find 
for bringing about Uriah's death, viz. during a sortie by the enemy. 


enough to communicate to the king the divine displeasure 
at his criminal action. David, then, like other potentates 
in pagan and Christian lands, could, and actually did, 
commit adultery and murder without bringing on himself 
any remonstrance whatever from the religious leaders of 
the day. But surely he himself must have felt in the depth 
of his heart that his conduct was contrary even to the 
morality of the ' Jahvism ' of his own day, however crude 
and inarticulate it may have been according to our critics. 
How, then, could David have had the effrontery to fast 
and to pray to God for the recoverj?- of the adulterous 
child without having first obtained God's pardon for his 
crime ? Schwally is surprised that David does not display 
in vers. 16 ff. the contrition and humility of a penitent. 
But assuming that David had not been rebuked, and had 
not repented and been pardoned, our surprise ought to be 
greater still that David should have been so completely 
unconscious of his terrible sin, and that he should not have 
recognized in the death of the child a punishment for his 
crime. David's repose of mind in vers. 16 ff. can be ex- 
plained only by his previous repentance and the prophet's 
assurance of God's complete pardon. 

103. Schwally is shocked by the worldly character of 
Nathan as displayed in i Kings ch. i, and he therefore 
concludes that Nathan was not a prophet at all, but merely 
some intriguing and ambitious courtier. Only a later 
generation, when prophets had become so prominent in 
public life, had felt the need of having some prophet 
associated with David's reign, and so turned the worldly 
Nathan into a prophet, and ascribed to him the prophecies 
of our chapter and ch. 7. In consequence our critic boldly 
strikes out N'33n wherever it occurs as an epithet of Nathan 


in I Kings i. One may add that by such a method our 
critic might have gone further and theorized that Zadok 
was not a priest at all, and that the epithet psn applied 
to him side by side with N»33n applied to Nathan should 
be struck out as a late insertion. We will not cite as 
evidence ch. 7 and 13. 35, for the critic may reject it as 
insufficient to upset his critical hypothesis. But, we ask, 
if Nathan was not the great prophet of the day, what else 
was he? How did he secure the commanding position 
at David's court which we find him occupying in i Kings 
ch. 1 ? Why should Adonijah have invited him to his 
banquet along with Solomon, Zadok, and Benajah (i Kings 
I. 10, 36) ? Why, moreover, should David have demanded 
his assistance at Solomon's anointment ? (idid., vers. 33 ff.). 
One cannot help expressing one's astonishment at the 
superficiality and the frivolous scepticism displayed by 
such ' critical ' theories, and one's amazement that such 
absurdities should be written, published, and copied by 
academic scholars of repute. 

104. But Mr. A. S. Cook (op. cit., 157) goes even further 
than his German confrhe. He boldly declares the whole 
of II. 37 b-i3. 24 a, 25 to be an interpolation. The whole 
story of the death of the adulterous child is a pure fiction. 
The child did not die, but lived and grew up to become 
king over Israel in the person of the illustrious King 
Solomon. And so that great and wise king, the builder 
of the Temple, the recipient of divine revelations, the 
reputed author of two or three biblical books, who is one 
of the chief heroic figures in history, was really a bastard, 
conceived in adultery and murder! We refuse to believe 
it. We refuse to believe that the moral consciousness of 
Israel in that great age had sunk so low as to suffer, 


without a protest, a person of such an origin to sit on the 
national throne. 

105. Budde's conjecture that vers. 7 b-9 a a (to wya) is 
an interpolation has been shown by H. P. Smith {op. cit., 
324) to be without foundation. But it must be admitted 
that Nathan's speech has undergone some ampHfication. 
The terrible threat in vers. 11-13 is probably an insertion 
by a later scribe, who saw in 16. ai-a a punishment for 
David's sin with Bathsheba. Further, the double mention 
in vers. 9-10 of Uriah's murder and of David's marrying 
his widow cannot be original. Smith {ibid.) regards ns 
••Jn'D . . . iTIlN (vers. 9a/3-ioba) as an interpolation. But 
it is not likely that the prophet would fail to mention the 
murder of Uriah. It is true that there is nothing in the 
parable corresponding to this crime. In order to be quite 
parallel to the application, the parable should have stated 
that the rich man slew the poor man before taking posses- 
sion of his lamb. But, on the other hand, it is not necessary 
that a parable should agree in detail with the application.^" 
Thus, for example, the parable of Jotham (Judges 9. 8-20) 
and the parable of the Prophet (i Kings 20. 39-42) do not 
correspond in every particular with their applications. In 
order to fulfil its purpose and impress the hearer with its 
beauty and truth, the parable must be an independent 
story and capable of standing by itself. This would not 
be the case if it were to agree in all details with its 
application, and serve only as a mask to another story. 
In spite, therefore, of the absence in the parable of a parallel 
to Uriah's murder, we may be sure that the prophet men- 
tioned this deed together with the rape of Bathsheba, but 
only once and not twice, as our present text has it. Hence 
^'^ Cf. G. F. Moore, Judges, p. 245. 


we conjecture that Nathan's speech in the application 
ended with ver. 9 a (to ncN^), and that ver. 9 b is really 
the continuation of ver. 10, erroneously transposed. The 
whole of ver. 10 plus 9 b is an interpolation similar to the 
following vers, ii-ia. Note that ver. 10 b (. . . 'Jrina 'a) is 
really a duplicate of ver, 9 a (, . . VCXi). ~|3T should be 
omitted, with Lucian, as an anti-anthropomorphic para- 
phrase of 'n,^^ and was probably added by the hand that 
inserted the threat in 10 a. We may add that it is rather 
surprising that the prophet makes no mention of David's 
adultery with Bathsheba prior to their legal marriage 
implied in T\vvh -^ nnpi). 

106. (chs. 14-20.) There is no cogent reason for con- 
demning 14. 26 as an interpolation. Our narrator is fond 
of such picturesque details, cf. 9. 10 b ; la. 30 a ; 13. 18 a, &c. 
Moreover, the description of Absalom's personal beauty 
may be intended to explain his father's fondness for him 
(cf. I Kings I. 6. See H. P. Smith, op. cit., 338), and also 
the ease with which he gained the people's heart (15. 6). 
The richness of his hair may have been emphasized by 
the narrator as a preparation for 18. 9 b.®* The mention 
of a royal standard weight is not necessarily a proof of 
the late origin of the passage. For even if we assume 
that the weight was of Babylonian origin, it is quite 
possible that the weight had been adopted in Canaan in 
the pre-Israelitish period. The originality of this descrip- 
tion of Absalom's beauty is supported by the narrator's 
statement of the other pretender — Adonijah — 31D xin DJi 
nK» nsn (i Kings I. 6), which evidently refers to the beauty 

^^ 'n "I3T is an exact reproduction of the Aramaic 'm SICD which 
is commonly employed in the Targumim to paraphrase the divine Name. 
" Cf. Mishnah, Sotah, I, 8. 


of Absalom described in our verse. 14. 27 seems indeed 
to contradict 18. i8a/3. But it is hard to see how a later 
writer would have dared to insert such a contradictory 
statement without some explanation. Perhaps his three 
sons died before his rebellion.'^ 

107. 15. 24 must be taken, with the critics, as a gloss 
similar to I 6. 15. On the other hand, 18. 15 is undoubtedly- 
original. There is no reason why a later writer should 
invent such a statement. It would seem that Absalom 
did not expire immediately,''"' and as Joab must have 
thought it dangerous to leave him to die slowly, he there- 
fore ordered his armour-bearers to dispatch him at once. 
The fact that Joab is given here ten armour-bearers, as 
compared with the one possessed by Saul and Jonathan, 
need occasion no surprise. In the high state of develop- 
ment to which the military profession had attained in 
David's reign, it is quite possible that the commander-in- 
chief of the army was followed by ten young men of noble 
birth who acted as his pages or squires. 

108. 20. 23-6 forms the conclusion of the story of the 
second period of David's reign, as 8. 16-18 formed the con- 
clusion of the story of the first period (cf. above, § 93). 
Like those verses, our passage here must be by the author 
of our book, who broke off here with his borrowed document 
in order to give chs. 21 ff. Observe the addition to the 
list of officers of Adoram (ver. 24), who held his office till 
after the death of Solomon (i Kings 12. 18), and must 
therefore have been appointed at the end of David's reign. 
Observe further that the sons of David, who had become 
discredited through the conduct of their brothers Amnon 

" Cf. Babli Sotah 11 a, and Kimhi and Ralbag, adloc, 

56 D1^B>3K "hi in ver. 14, like rh^\\ ai'3, must not be taken literally. 


and Absalom, no longer act as the king's domestic priests 
(cf. 8. i8b), and their place is taken by K"i*y. It is also 
possible that X^tJ* is not to be identified with nnti' of 8. 17. 
These considerations confirm the view that our list here 
belongs to a later period than the one in 8. 16-18, and 
dispose of the theory of the critics that our passage is 
merely a redactional rehash of 8. 16—18. See also Sayce, 
Early History of Hebrews, p. 444. 

Miscellaneous Pieces, chs. a 1-4. 

109. The last four chapters of our book consist of- 
a series of six miscellaneous pieces, viz. (i) The story of 
the expiation of Saul's slaughter of the Gibeonites, 31. 1-14; 
(a) Exploits of four heroes of David against four champions 
of the Philistines, 21. 15-23 ; (3) David's Hymn of Triumph, 
ch. 23 ; (4) David's Oracle, 23. 1-7 ; (5) A list of David's 
heroes and some of their exploits, 23. 8-39 ; (6) David's 
census of the people and its consequences, ch. 34. It is 
generally agreed that (i) and (6) probably belong to one 
document, the latter being originally the continuation of 
the former, as is shown by 24. i a, which can refer only 
to the calamity in 31. i. Likewise (3) and (5) belong 
together, and (3) and (4) are obviously also of a similar 
nature. Further, we may also accept the theory of the 
critics that i Kings ch. 1-3 belong to the same document 
as 3 Sam. chs. 9-20, the former being the direct continuation 
of the latter, though it is also quite possible that in the 
original document some other material intervened between 
3 Sam. ao and i Kings 1-3. But we cannot accept the 
view of the critics that the whole of this section comprised 
in chs. 31-4 was added by later hands as an appendix to 
the book after its separation from i Kings. The insertion 


of the list of officers in ao. 23-6, which, as we have shown 
above, emanates from the author of our book who had 
incorporated into his work the old document, chs. 9-ao, 
leads us to think that it was made of a set purpose, in 
order to mark a break in the narrative, and to prepare the 
reader for other accounts different in their source and 
nature from the preceding chapters. Hence we conclude 
that 21. 1-14 and its complement ch. 24 belong to our 
author. Whether these pieces are the author's original 
work, or have been borrowed by him from another docu- 
ment, it is impossible to decide with any degree of certainty. 
The subdued tone of these narratives and the mention in 
21. 12 of 3imo, instead of noino, as in I 31. 12, would lead 
one to the conclusion that they are not the author's own 
work. On the other hand, the parenthesis in 21. 2 b shows 
that the narrative is not very ancient. For an older writer 
would have thought it unnecessary to explain the character 
of the Gibeonites. It is not hard to explain why the 
author placed these narratives here, and not earlier in 
the book. 21. 7 shows that the famine took place after 
ch. 9 (cf. above, § 100). The author, therefore, had to place 
21. I -14 after ch. 9, but he probably did not like to inter- 
rupt the document, chs. 9-20, which he was transcribing 
into his own work, until he had reached a suitable place, 
viz. after the quelling of the rebellion of Absalom and 
Sheba'. Perhaps, as we have indicated above, ch. ai. i ff. 
took the place of some other narrative which stood in that 
document between a Sam. ao and i Kings i-a, and which 
our author failed to adopt into his own work. 

no. 21. 1-14 and ch. 24 were torn asunder by the inser- 
tion of 21. 15-22, and its sequel 23. 8-39. The insertion 
of the exploits against the Philistines may have been 


suggested by the mention of the Philistine victory over 
Saul in 21. 12 b. We are also inclined to think that the 
two poems, ch. 22 and 23. 1-17, were placed in their present 
position by the same hand which inserted 21. 15-22 and 
23. 8-39. A scribe who did not shrink from tearing 
asunder 21. 1-14 and ch. 24 by the insertion of 21. 15-22; 
23. 8-39 would surely not have had any compunction in 
separating his own description of David's heroes by the 
interpolation of chs. 22-23. 1-7. No doubt he thought 
that the most suitable place for the Hymn which celebrated 
David's victory over all his enemies (22. i b) was at the 
end of the book after all the accounts of David's wars 
against internal and external enemies, and after the de- 
scription of the struggle against the Philistine champions, 
one of whom had actually sought to take David's own life 
(21. 16). The Oracle, with its promise of perpetuity and 
prosperity to David's dynasty (23. 5), was suggested by 
the concluding verse of the Hymn (22. 51)-*^ It is also 
quite possible that the placing of the list of heroes (23. 8-39) 
after the poem was due to a pure accident. The interpolator 
may not have decided upon its incorporation until after 
he had already copied down the two poems. On the other 
hand, the whole insertion of 21. 15-23. 39 was placed where 
it stands, instead of at the end of ch. 24, because ch. 24 
may have been considered a fitting conclusion to the whole 
book, since it closes with the divinely-ordained consecration 
of the site of the future Temple of Solomon, an act which 
in a later time was probably thought to have been the 
crowning achievement of David's career (cf. 1 Chron. 21. 3 ff.), 
and which at the same time served as an introduction to 
the story of Solomon's reign in 1 Kings. Finally, the 
"Cf.ye7?,,v, 201. 


exploits against the Philistines (31. 15 ff.) were not inserted 
earlier in the book, say after 5. 35 — as Budde has done 
in his hotch-potch polychrome text — because the interpo- 
lator could not have placed there the Hymn in which, as 
we have said, David celebrated his triumph over all his 
enemies, Philistine as well as others, external as well as 

III. (ch. 21.) ai. ab-3aa (to c^v^jn) need not be an 
interpolation, as the critics assert. It may be merely 
an explanatory parenthesis by the author himself, similar 
to the parenthetic explanations in 4. 2 b f. ; I 27. 8 b, &c. 
Ver. 12: 2imD may show, as we have remarked above 
(§ 109), that our passage is from a document different from 
I 31. It does not, however, involve a contradiction to I 31. 
12, since the bodies suspended from the wall (= noira 
I 31. 10) must have faced the broad place in front of the 
wall (= 3imD 21. 12). Thus, both passages are quite 
correct and consistent. It is therefore quite possible that 
our passage here was incorporated into the book by the 
same author who wrote I 31. The reading of the Targum 
for Nmcns , and of some codd. of LXX diro tov reixouy = 
nDino for 3imD, rests evidently on a deliberate correction. 

112. 21. 15-22 is similar in its compressed annalistic 
style to 5. 17-25- It differs, however, from that passage 
in its contents, since it does not deal, like 5. 17-25, with 
David's wars against the Philistines, but only with the 
exploits of individual warriors. In other words, instead 
of a narrative of the Philistine wars, including as episodes 
also accounts of individual exploits subordinate to the 
account of the wars, we have here accounts of the exploits 
forming the principal theme, and the wars mentioned only 
as something subordinate, and as affording a background 



to the exploits. For this reason it is very much to be 
doubted whether our passage ever had any connexion with 
5. 17-25. It is certainly wrong to transfer our passage 
to the end of ch. 5 without first explaining how the passage 
became dislocated from its original position and transposed 

For a discussion of the text of chs. 22-33. 7 ^^- ^^^^ 
Review, vol. V, pp. 209-31. 

113. (ch. 23.) Many critics think that 23. 13-17, which 
according to ver, 13 a describes an exploit by members of 
the Thirty, was placed in its present position by an error, 
and that the conclusion of ver. 12 is ver. 17 b: 'l31 lE'y <VK. 
But it is hard to see how the passage was so misplaced. 
Again, the onajn n^^ in ver. 16 a are evidently identical 
with the nnajn n^'?^ in ver. 17 b, viz. the Three enumerated 
in vers. 8-1 1, so that the exploit of vers. 13-17 was per- 
formed not by members of the Thirty, but by the Three 
of vers. 8-11. It is, therefore, more probable that for 
C^b^ (Kere TH^b^) in ver. 13 we should read nti'^Ei'n or 
ont^i'E', and omit a^^bn'na as a corrupt dittography of the 
previous word. K'N") may perhaps belong to l^vp 'at the 
beginning of the harvest', as proposed by Budde. The 
original text would thus have read : (oriK'^t? or) n^b^n HT'I 
'n ^N ixa'l Tivp K'NT. LXX and Peshitta omit CNT altogether, 
perhaps rightly. 

114. The whole list contains thirty-six names, whereas 
the total is given in ver. 39 as thirty-seven. Various 
solutions have been offered to this difficulty (cf. also ^imhi 
and Ralbag), but none can be deemed satisfactory. I con- 
jecture that the name and achievements of one hero have 
fallen out by some accident after either ver. 19 or ver. 23. 
That hero may have been 'nnn l^D'HN (I 26. 6) or Tijn »nN, 


If SO, there were really two sets of Three in addition to 
the Thirty (= Thirty-one). By adopting this conjecture 
we shall be able to retain the present text in vers. 18-19: 
' Abishai . . . was the chief of 'C^B'n (n^bvn) ', the second 
Three . . . ; ' he had a reputation nti'PE'l ' among the first 
Three; (ver. 19) 'He was the most honourable of n^b^n', 
the second Three; 'but did not attain to the rank of 
nc^KTi ', the first Three. 

115. (ch. 24.) The text of 34. 10-17 has been suspected 
by many critics. H. P. Smith rejects as interpolations 
ver. 10, because according to this verse ' David's repentance 
comes before his denunciation' {pp. cit., y)o), and ver. 17, 
because 'ver. 18 joins immediately to ver. 16. . . . Neither 
in what follows nor in ver. 16 is any notice taken by Y" of 
this prayer' {ibid., 391 f.). But as a matter of fact there 
was no denunciation at all by Gad, for the simple reason 
that no denunciation was necessary, since David was already 
conscious of his error before Gad had come to him. 
The prophet nowhere in the chapter tells David that he 
had sinned. It is David himself who cries 'nsDn (vers. 10, 
17). Budde re-arranges the text as follows : vers. 10, 11 b, 
12, 13b, iia, 13a, 13c (. ..yinnv), 14, 15, i6a, 17,16b, 
18.^^ But we must ask the oft-repeated question: how 
did this complicated derangement arise, and from what 
cause? Further, a little consideration will show that the 
present wording of our text demands its present arrange- 
ment. If II b had followed immediately upon ver. 10, the 
statement would have been expressed in the usual fashion, 
thus: N''a3n na b^f. 'n nm w. The use of the pluperfect 
construction with nTi shows that the event of the prophecy 
was anterior to some other event previously mentioned, viz. 

5' Cf. his text in Haupt's SBOT., p. 35, and his notes, ibid., p. 85. 

F a 


to ver, 1 1 a ; for the prophetic word had come to Gad 
during the night before David had arisen in the morning.^^ 
Again, if ver. 13 b had originally followed upon ver, 12, 
and had formed the exact wording of the divine message 
to Gad, it would not have been expressed in the form of 
three interrogative clauses, but rather in a simple enumera- 
tion of the three penalties, and would have been placed 
between ver, laa and ver. 12b, thus: T^ ^t^u ''32N vh^ 
^3^ q^d'- T\r^v\ nam xini . . . n^K'nn r\'>2h^ ^v^N3 ayn wvv v^b' 
'121 DHD nns -^ nna nvixa. The present wording of ver. 13 b 
shows that it is really Gad's own paraphrase of the divine 
message. Again, the order ver. i6a-i6b is certainly 
original. For the purpose of the writer is to show the 
favour which God showed the Holy City, that as soon as 
the angel stretched forth his hand to strike her, God 
repented Himself of His own accord, and before David had 
uttered his prayer in ver. 17. The truth is that the diffi- 
culties raised by the critics are only of their own making. 
The arrangement of our text is quite logical and consistent. 
In spite of the warnings and protests of Joab, who no doubt 
represented the prevailing public opinion,"'* with which 
David himself agreed in the depth of his heart, the king 
yet persisted in carrying out his object. But that object 
attained, the inevitable reaction set in, and the king was 
stricken with remorse for what he had done, and apparently 
in the night time he prayed to God for forgiveness (ver. 10). 
The same night, and before the king had risen in the 
morning, the prophet Gad was charged by God with a 
message to the king to choose one of three evils as a penalty 

'' Cf. Driver's note, ad loc. 

^^ Cf. I Chron. ai. 6 ; Rashi here to vers. 5-6, and Pesikta Rabbati, ed. 
Friedmann, p. 43 b. 


for his sin (vers. 11-13). David makes his choice, com- 
mitting himself to the mercy of God (ver. 14). His trust 
in God was fully justified by the event. For as soon as 
the destroying angel had reached Jerusalem, and before the 
first of the three days had passed (ver. 15 a), God bethought 
Himself out of consideration for the Holy City (ver. 16). 
David, however, ignorant of the change in the divine 
purpose, offered up another prayer to spare the people 
(ver. 17). In answer to this second prayer Gad is again 
sent to him (ver. 18; cf. ver. 19 b), with a message from 
God, as he was sent to him before in answer to his first 
prayer (Vers. 10-11). 

116. Having now arrived at the end of our inquiry into 
the composition of our book, we will summarize the results 
we have obtained in the following table : 

1. Author's original work: 

I I ; a. II, 18-21, 36 ; 3 ; 4. I a (M. T.) ; 7. 3-17 ; 
8; 10.17-37; 11; 13; 14.47-53; 15; 16; 18, 6a/? 
(. . . njxvni)-8a, 9, 12a, 13-16, 20-3I a, 23-6 a, 27-9a; 
19; 20. la; 31. 2-16; 32; 33; 34; 35. I, 3-43(?), 
43-4; 27; 38. 1-3. 3-17, 19 a /3 (. . . nn»l)-35; 39; 

30; 31- 

n I. 1-18; 2. 1-9, 13-32; 3; 4; 5- 1-3. 4-5(?). 
10-25; 6; 7; 8.1-10,13-18; 20.23-6; 31. i-i4(?); 


2. Old material incorporated by the author himself: 

I 2. 12-17, 32-5, 37-31 a, 32-4, 35-6 (?) ; 4. I b-23 ; 
5; 6. 1-14, 16-21; 7. i; 9; 10. 1-16; 13. 3-33; 
14. 1-46; 17. i-ii, 32-40, 43-8 a, 49, 5T-4; 35. 

2-43 (?); 26. 


II 1.19-27; 5. 6-9; 9; 10; 11; 12. 1-9 a, 13-31; 
13; 14; i5. 1-23, a4b-37; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20.1- 
23; 21. i-i4(?); 24(?). 

3. Old additions found already in the archetype of LXX : 

I 2. i-io, 35-6 (?); 6. 15; 20. ib-42; 21. i; 
28. 18-19 a a. 

II 2. lo-ii; 5. 4-5(?); 8. 11-12; 12. 9b-ia; 
15. 24 a; 21. 15-22; 22; 23. 

4. Late additions not found in archetype of LXX : 

I 2. 22 b; 13. I ; 17. 12-14*, 15, 16-31* 41, 48 b, 
50. 55-^*; 18. 1-5*, 6a, 8b, lo-ii* lab, 17-19*. 
a lb, 36 b, 39b-3o." 

^ Passages marked with an asterisk were derived by the interpolator 
from an old document. We have left out of consideration in this Conspectus 
the classification of certain disputed single words and phrases.