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


The Composition of the Book. 2 

THERE is a general agreement among critics on the 
question of the literary character of the work which we 
are studying in these papers. Some forty years ago, Julius 
Wellhausen laid it down as a principle that the so-called 
'documentary hypothesis' of Pentateuchal criticism must 
be applied also to our book. His followers and disciples 
have obeyed loyally, one may almost say piously, the precept 
of the Master. They have accepted the ' documentary 
hypothesis' as a firmly established truth and have repeated, 
in a more or less extended form, the arguments and proofs 
advanced by the Master, without pausing to inquire into 
their soundness or adequacy. But in spite of this unanimity 
and assurance of the critics, the present writer thought it 
necessary to undertake a fresh examination with a free 
and open mind of the whole question of the Composition 
of our book. After a painstaking inquiry into the subject, 
he has arrived at the conclusion that the arguments of the 
critics are unsound, their proofs inconclusive, and their 
general hypothesis unreasonable and improbable. He has 
found that the undoubtedly difficult problems of the com- 

! For convenience sake, and in accordance with Hebrew tradition, we 
shall throughout these papers speak of the two books of Samuel as one book. 



position of our book can be solved by another hypothesis 
which he feels will prove more rational in itself, and in 
greater accordance with the facts presented by our book 
than the hypothesis of the critics. 

In the following pages we propose first to discuss the 
general character of the hypothesis of the critics and its 
application to those sections of our book from which it 
is said to derive its main support. We shall then show 
that it fails to solve the problems of these sections, and 
we shall submit an alternative and, to our mind, a more 
satisfactory solution. Finally, we shall undertake a detailed 
examination in the light of our own theory of the whole 
book, and discuss in particular those sections and passages, 
the integrity of which has been either questioned or 
altogether denied by the critics. 

i. The ' documentary hypothesis ' of the critics, which 
we prefer to call the 'redactional hypothesis', may be 
briefly summarized as follows : Our book is not the work 
of an author, or authors, who narrated in their own or 
in borrowed language the events contained therein. It is 
rather the work of one or more redactors who pieced 
together excerpts from various documents, differing in age, 
in point of view, and in reliability, and often mutually 
overlapping and contradictory. These redactors dealt freely 
with their material, altering, omitting, and supplementing 
according as it suited their purpose or their religious views. 
They often tried, more or less skilfully, to hide or gloze 
over the inconsistencies between the various excerpts, but 
often, again, they allowed these inconsistencies to remain. 

2. Now, such a hypothesis in the case of a book which 
bears on the face of it a fairly homogeneous character 
requires conclusive and irrefutable evidence for its justifi- 


cation. A work like the Books of Samuel, which displays 
a certain unity of plan and unity of purpose, must prima 
facie be credited also with unity of authorship, unless there 
are very strong proofs to the contrary. The critics assert 
that they can produce such proofs. They maintain that 
our book contains sections which contradict and overlap 
each other, which display divergent and inconsistent points 
of view, and cannot, therefore, have emanated from one 
and the same author. It may, however, be asked : if one 
author could not have written these mutually contradictory 
or mutually exclusive passages, how could one and the 
same redactor have combined them in one and the same 
work? The redactor evidently regarded these passages 
as supplementing or complementing one another. How 
could he have failed to overlook their inconsistencies and 
divergencies? He was not incompetent or devoid of the 
critical faculty. This is amply proved by the great skill 
with which he manipulated his material, so that he has 
only been found out during the last forty years, and then 
only after the application of an intricate and laborious 
process of reasoning by some of the most brilliant intellects 
of latter-day Germany. Was he then a deliberate impostor 
or a dishonest jester? The critics sometimes credit their 
redactors with all sorts of extravagances, but as a rule 
they recognize the redactor's sincerity and bona fides. The 
fact, therefore, that competent and honest redactors com- 
bined these passages must tend to prove that the alleged 
inconsistencies of the passages cannot after all be of so 
serious and striking a character as the critics maintain. 
But what is true of a redactor dealing with a mass of 
excerpts from written documents may also be true to an 
equal degree of an original writer dealing with a mass of 


tradition, oral or written, derived from different quarters 
and different generations. We must remember that our 
book is not a scientific treatise on logic, or an artistic work 
of the imagination. It is only a history compiled from 
oral or written traditions which must have passed through 
many mouths and many hands before they found their 
place in our book. We have, therefore, no right to 
demand of our book a perfect freedom from any parti- 
cular inconsistencies, irrelevances, or even contradictions 
in minor details. All that we can expect from it is 
a certain homogeneity of material, and a general 
consistency in the presentation of events and in the 
characters of its heroes. Our book does offer us such 
a homogeneity and such a general consistency. And if 
it is admitted that the discrepancies displayed by our book 
could have been passed unchecked by a compiler of written 
excerpts, why not admit likewise that they could have 
been passed also by a compiler of oral traditions? Why 
deny to an author the latitude allowed to a redactor ? 

However, this argument may be dismissed by the 
adherents of the ' redactional hypothesis ' as of too general, 
too vague, and subjective a character. We therefore proceed 
to discuss in detail the composition of the two crucial 
sections of our book, on which the critics base their 
hypothesis, viz. the story of the election of Saul to the 
throne of Israel (1 Sam. chs. 8-1 a) and the story of the 
introduction of David to Saul's court (1 Sam. chs. 16-18). 

The Election of Saul. 

3. The account of the election of Saul contained in 
1 Sam. chs. 8-1 a is separated by the critics into two 
independent documents, viz. (i) chs. 8; 10. 17-253; ia, 


and (ii) chs. 9-10. 16; 11. 1-11, 15. The first document 
we shall call, with Budde and others, E, and the second J. 
In E Samuel is represented as the supreme theocratic ruler 
of Israel. Having grown too old to rule the people by 
himself, he appoints his two sons as judges. The sons 
prove to be unworthy of their high office, and the people 
come to Samuel and demand that he should appoint a king 
over them. Samuel is displeased with this demand, and 
his displeasure is shared by God Himself. He receives 
the divine command to warn the people that the kingship 
would prove an oppressive burden upon them. The people, 
however, remain obdurate, and Samuel is finally com- 
manded by God to give way to them, and appoint them 
a king (8. i-aaa). Thereupon Samuel calls an assembly 
at Mizpah, where he rebukes the people in God's name for 
rejecting God as their king, and for demanding a human 
king as their ruler. He then casts lots, and Saul is elected 
king over Israel. When Saul is brought into the midst 
of the assembly, both Samuel and the people acclaim him 
as the chosen one of the Lord (10. ij-2$a.). Samuel then 
formally resigns his rule in a solemn farewell address 
(ch. 1 a). 

In J, on the other hand, which is the older account, Saul 
visits Samuel to inquire for the lost asses of his father. 
The prophet, however, had already on the previous day 
been informed by God of Saul's coming, and had been 
commanded to anoint him as king that he might save 
Israel from the Philistine oppression. Saul is cordially 
received by the prophet, and invited by him to partake 
of his hospitality, and is also immediately informed of the 
greatness that awaits him. On the following morning he 
is secretly anointed by the prophet, and is given three 


signs, on the fulfilment of which he is bidden to undertake 
whatever opportunity affords him, as God would be with 
him. The three signs are duly fulfilled, but on his return 
home Saul does not divulge his anointment to his friends 
(chs. 9-10. 17). About a month later 3 messengers from 
Jabesh Gilead arrive in Gibeah seeking aid against the 
Ammonites. Saul returns from the field behind his oxen, 
and on hearing the story of the messengers, he is seized 
with the spirit of God, and issues a summons to all Israel 
to follow him against the Ammonites. A mighty host 
responds to his call ; he marches against the Ammonites, 
inflicts on them a great defeat, and rescues Jabesh Gilead 
(10. 27b-n. 11). Then the people march to Gilgal, and 
there appoint him king over Israel (11. 15). 

4. These two accounts are, according to most recent 
critics, complete in themselves, and independent of one 
another. 4 The redactor, however, combined them into one 
story by cutting them into portions, thus : E (8. 1-22 a), 
J (9-10. 16), E (10. 17-35 a), J (10. 27 b— 11. 11, 15), and 
again E (ch. 12). These various pieces he joined together 
by means of links of his own. Thus, the first two pieces 
are linked together by the redactional addition in 8. 22 b. 
This addition thus serves to sever the first part of E (ch. 8) 
from the second (10. 176".), and also to prepare for J 
in ch. 9. The third and fourth pieces are linked together 
by the redactional addition in 10. 250-27 a. This addition, 
besides severing the second portion of E (10. 17-253) from 

s Cf. LXX and Driver's note ad loc. 

4 Cf. especially K. Budde, Richter und Samuel, 17a. The older critics 
generally hold that the writer of the first account knew the second account 
(9-10. 16), and deliberately altered it to suit his purpose. So Wellhausen 
{Composition d. Hexateuchs 3 , 241), Kuenen, and Stade. 


the third (ch. 12), also serves to brush away the incon- 
sistency between 10. 17-25 a and the second portion of J 
(ch. 11). For, if Saul had already been acclaimed by all 
Israel as their king, how is it that he appears in 11. 5 
as a private individual? The redactor replies that although 
Saul was recognized by all Israel, yet ' the worthless ' 
rejected his kingship, and owing to this opposition he had 
to retire into private life. This redactional fiction has as 
its sequel another addition, as fictitious as its antecedent, 
in 11. 12-13. Further, the redactor had to find room for 
Samuel in the important events related in ch. 11. And 
so he inserted in 11. 7 the two words ?NTOB> "inx, and the 
whole of ver. 14, where he makes Samuel summon the 
people to Gilgal in order to ' renew the kingdom ', i. e. to 
reconfirm the election of 10. 17 ff. 

5. It will be seen from this analysis that the redactor 
has manipulated his material with astonishing skill and 
adroitness. His cleverness in cutting up his original 
documents and piecing them together in new combinations, 
his critical acuteness in discovering an inconsistency and 
getting rid of it, are really admirable, and are only sur- 
passed by the cleverness and subtlety of our modern 
German critics, who have shown up so skilfully all the 
redactor's literary artifices. However, to people of a simple 
straightforward mind the whole redactional process de- 
scribed by the critics must appear complicated, artificial, 
and altogether improbable. It is too ingenious to be true. 
We have no evidence that the simple and childlike mind 
of the ancient Hebrew was capable of such subtle, 
such highly developed literary criticism, as is involved in 
this redactional process. Further, there is nothing in the 
style or diction, or in the thought of the passages described 
VOL. vi. T 


by the critics as redactional additions, to distinguish or 
differentiate them in any way from their context. They 
are declared spurious not because there is anything 
suspicious about them, but only because they do not suit 
the hypothesis of the critics. These objections may, 
however, be dismissed by the critics as purely subjective. 
We will, therefore, endeavour in what follows to submit 
the analysis of the critics to a strictly objective examination. 
6. The critics assert that our section consists of a 
combination of two originally complete and independent 
accounts. But a little examination will show that these 
accounts are neither complete nor independent of each 
other. In E (8 ; io. 17-253; 12) Saul is elected by the 
sacred lot. There is no mention in E of an anointment 
of Saul by the prophet. Why, then, does Samuel proceed 
in the same document, and immediately after the election 
by lot, to call Saul ' the Lord's anointed ' (12. 3, 5) ? Why 
does the prophet say in a passage belonging according 
to the critics to the same document E, or at least to the 
same stratum : ' The Lord sent me to anoint thee king over 
Israel ' (15. 1, 1 7 ; cf. also 24. 7 ; 2,6. 9, &c.) ? The references 
are evidently to 10. 1, i.e. to the so-called J document, 
thus showing dependence of E on J. The critics try to 
escape from this difficulty in their usual fashion, namely 
by fastening the blame on the redactor. E also contained, 
they assert, a statement of Saul's anointment by Samuel, 
only the redactor omitted it in favour of the statement 
in J (cf. Budde, Richter una 1 Samuel, 172; Stenning in 
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, iv. 385 b, foot-note). 
Plain unbiassed people will, however, prefer to explain 
these references in the most obvious and most reasonable 
way, viz. as based on the statement in 10. 1. 


7. Again, E has no reference whatever to an acquaint- 
ance between Saul and Samuel until after the former's 
election by the lot. Before the lot was cast neither the 
people, nor Samuel, nor Saul had any inkling whatever 
as to who was going to be elected. The result of the lot 
before its declaration was a complete mystery to all con- 
cerned. What, then, prompted Saul to hide himself away 
from the assembly at Mizpah (10. 32)? It cannot be that 
he slipped out after his name had been mentioned. For 
the text says explicitly that Samuel ordered the people 
to stand according to their tribes and clans ; that after the 
tribe of Benjamin had been 'taken', he brought forward 
that tribe family by family, and then the family of Matri 
man by man, when Saul was 'taken' (10. i9b-2i ; cf. 
LXX ; so Kimhi and Joseph Kaspi, Adni Keseph, ed. 
I. Last, i. 16). Saul must have been present during the 
latter process, for he had no reason, any more than anybody 
else, to suspect that he would be the chosen one. His 
slipping away after his name had been called out would 
certainly have attracted the greatest possible attention. 
At any rate, his presence before would have been noticed 
by his clansmen, or at least by the members of his own 
family. The inquiry made of the oracle C'xn obft N3n 
(10. 22, LXX, cf. Driver's note) is thus rendered absurd 
and impossible. The only explanation of the incident that 
is at all reasonable is that Saul had left the assembly 
before the lots were cast, and before the people were 
arranged according to tribes, and the tribes according to 
clans and families ; and that Saul knew beforehand that 
he would be the chosen one of the lot, having already 
been previously designated for the high office, as described 
in 10. 1 f. 

T 2 


8. Further, according to the analysis of the critics, 
ch. ia is the direct continuation of 10. 35 a, and the address 
contained therein was the farewell address delivered by the 
prophet immediately after the declaration of the lot. But 
how could Samuel say at that moment D3>jsi> i^nno "fan run 
{12. 3)? Such words could only have been spoken after 
Saul had proved himself a capable leader of the people, 
as is related in ch. 11. Thus ch. 13 is acquainted with 
ch. 11 and dependent upon it. 

9. Again, according to the analysis of the critics, E 
represents Saul as securing the throne by the mere fact 
of having been elected thereto by the lot. The all-powerful 
prophet immediately transferred to him the sovereignty 
which he had wielded over the people; and the whole 
nation meekly submitted to the rule of an inexperienced, 
untried young man without murmur or misgiving. Is this 
possible? Would even a credulous writer have believed 
such an improbable story ? We know that the people re- 
mained loyal to Saul to the very end. His reign was never 
marred by any rising or rebellion, such as troubled the reign 
of the greater and more successful ruler who followed him. 
And so great was the people's attachment to the person 
of Saul that after his death they preferred the rule of 
his weak son to that of the brave and clever David, their 
old favourite. Is it not natural to expect that some dis- 
affection would have displayed itself, at least at the outset 
of his reign, a disaffection which could only have been 
suppressed by some exceptional achievement on the part 
of the young king, combined with the overpowering influ- 
ence of the great prophet, his friend and supporter, who 
rallied round him the whole people, and secured their 
permanent and unshaken devotion to the new ruler? In 


other words, are not 10. 27 and the whole of ch. 11, 
including vers. 14-15, the logical and indispensable sequel 
to 10. 17 ff.? 

1 o. Finally, the critics tell us that the election of Saul 
took place in Mizpah according to E, and in Gilgal 
according to J. E knows nothing of Gilgal in connexion 
with Saul's election. If so, it is strange that both in 
13. 8 ff. (J according to the critics) and in ch. 15 (E ac- 
cording to the critics), Samuel and Saul are taken out of 
their way and brought to Gilgal for the sentence of rejec- 
tion on Saul. The fact that E, too, places the rejection 
of Saul at Gilgal shows that E also knew of the connexion 
of Gilgal with Saul's election, as described in 11. 14-15. 

Thus, these considerations prove conclusively that E is 
incomplete, and that it is dependent on J. 

11. But neither is J complete in itself. 

For according to the analysis of the critics, J is ignorant 
of an agitation among the people for the appointment of 
a king. God Himself took the initiative and offered the 
people through His prophet a king who would save Israel 
from the Philistines. If so, Saul, when he came to Samuel 
in ch. 9, could, like anybody else in Israel, have had no 
knowledge whatever of the prophet's intention with regard 
to himself, or of the whole plan of establishing a monarchy 
in Israel. How was it, then, that he at once took in the 
meaning of Samuel's otherwise cryptic remark: i>3 n^l 
'Ul i>tne* mon (9. 20 b)? His answer in the following verse 
proves conclusively that he knew well that Samuel was 
looking out for a suitable occupant of the throne of Israel. 

Again, why did Saul's uncle, on hearing that Saul had 
visited Samuel, ask with such eagerness, 'ui ^ XJ rrpn 
(io. 15)? How can one explain this eagerness in the 


sayings of a person who, according to the critics' interpreta- 
tion of J, was but an obscure village seer and clairvoyant ? 
Evidently Saul's uncle had a higher opinion of Samuel's 
importance than the critics ; and he was aware of the fact 
that Samuel was looking out for a suitable young man to 
occupy the throne of Israel, as related in 8. 22. 

12. Further, how after all is one to explain the authori- 
tative action of Saul in peremptorily ordering all Israel 
to muster together for the battle against the Ammonites, 
and the unanimous response of all the people (11. 7)? 
Barak, Gideon, and Jephthah (Judges 5. 14 ff. ; 6. 35; 12. 
2-3) had to beg the people, and not quite successfully, to 
rally round them in order to expel the invader. But this 
obscure, shy young Benjamite simply issues ajiat, threatens 
disobedience with heavy punishment, and all Israel take 
fright, and meekly obey the orders of an unknown, in- 
experienced young man. The only explanation possible 
is that Saul was then no longer an obscure private indi- 
vidual, but the king elect of Israel, as described in 10. 17 ff., 
but that, for reasons which we shall mention later, he had 
not yet assumed the actual office of king. 

13. Finally, if the people had not been clamouring 
previously for the appointment of a king, it is exceedingly 
strange that by a sudden impulse and without any previous 
deliberation as to the need and desirability of a king, or 
the fitness of Saul for the kingly office, the people, hitherto 
so clannish and so jealous for their tribal independence, 
should have proceeded straight from the battlefield of 
Jabesh Gilead to the sanctuary of Gilgal, and there and 
then without any preparation whatever elected Saul as 
their king ! Even the writer of J must have known that 
the people's resolve to change their old patriarchal 


constitution into that of a monarchy could not have been 
taken so suddenly and instantaneously, particularly as the 
people were living under Philistine overlordship. Was 
there none circumspect enough in the whole host of Israel 
to counsel caution, and warn the people that their rashness 
would incense the Philistines and bring down upon them 
the oppressors' dire vengeance ? And it is more remarkable 
that standing alone without the support of so powerful 
a personality as the Samuel of E, and without the prestige 
lent to his appointment by the decree of the sacred lot, 
Saul should have met with no opposition whatever on the 
part of any portion of his own people, of whom so many 
were lukewarm and even faithless to the national cause, 
as is proved by the large numbers who had definitely gone 
over to the Philistine side (14. ia). Thus we are confronted 
in J with the same difficulty which met us in E (cf. above, 
§ 9), viz. how did Saul succeed in securing at the very 
outset of his reign, and in holding right to the end, the 
unanimous support and attachment of Israel ? 

14. It is evident from what we have said above that 
taking all the facts into consideration the only rational and 
logical account of the appointment and the accession of 
Saul is something similar to the account presented to us 
in our present text, which is somewhat as follows : The 
people had, for one reason or another, decided to organize 
themselves into a monarchy. They applied to Samuel, 
the leading personality of the day, to find them a suitable 
occupant of the high office of king ; Samuel's choice fell 
upon Saul, whom he first appointed privately, and after- 
wards publicly by the sacred lot cast in the presence of 
the whole people. Some persons, however, expressed dis- 
satisfaction with Samuel's choice, perhaps for some private 


reasons, or because they had another candidate in view. 
Owing to certain causes, such as the fear of the Philistines 
and the disaffection fomented by his opponents, Saul did 
not immediately assume office. When the appeal for help 
came from Jabesh Gilead, he issued on his own authority 
as king elect, combined with the authority of Samuel, 5 an 
urgent summons for a general military levy, to which the 
people responded in a remarkably unanimous fashion. 
His magnificent victory over the Ammonites greatly im- 
pressed the people, convinced them of his fitness for the 
kingship, and silenced for ever his opponents and detractors. 
Then the people, with Samuel at their head, marched to 
Gilgal, and solemnly ratified of their own free will the 
choice of Saul as king, previously made by the sacred lot 
independently of their consent, after which Samuel delivered 
an impressive address to both king and people. 

15. What, then, has forced the critics to cut up our 
section into a number of pieces and to assign them to two 
distinct documents ? The critics answer that their analysis 
has been forced upon them by the irreconcilable discrep- 
ancies revealed in the various parts of our section. We 
may summarize the evidence for the critics' analysis under 
the following three headings : 

(i) Origin of the Monarchy. In J Israel suffers from 
the Philistine oppression, and cries to God for deliverance. 
In response to this cry God commands Samuel to anoint 

5 11. 7 : ?K1D"^ "intO. The critics, however, audaciously declare these 
two words to be a redactional interpolation, but for no other reason except 
that the two words clash with their hypothesis ; cf. above, § 4. This is 
a characteristic example of the ' critical ' method. There is no need to 
defend the originality of the words, but we may add that a late interpolator 
would certainly have placed Samuel before Saul. 


Saul, who would save the people from the Philistines 
(10. 16). In E, on the other hand, the external condition 
of Israel is entirely favourable. The people demand a 
king, because they want to be like the heathen nations. 
Their demand is treated by God and by His prophet as 
an act of wanton rebellion, and is only acceded to re- 

(ii) Character of Samuel and his part in Saul's election. 
In J Samuel is a village seer, a mere clairvoyant who for 
a consideration gives information concerning lost property. 
His activity is confined to his own little district, and his 
very existence is unknown to Saul, who lives but a few 
miles away from Ramah. Samuel is employed by God 
for one purpose only, the anointment of Saul. After this 
act he retires from the scene, and leaves everything to the 
workings of the Divine spirit in Saul. In E Samuel is 
the Judge of Israel, who rules over the people as God's 
representative. In this capacity he elects a king for the 
people, and solemnly hands over to him the reins' of 

(iii) Saul's position after his election by the lot. The 
messengers of Jabesh Gilead are sent out to ' all the border 
of Israel' (11. 3) and come to Gibeah just as they came 
to other places. Saul is represented as a private man 
following the ploughing oxen. He is only informed of the 
embassy from Jabesh Gilead after he has inquired for 
the cause of the people's weeping. This is inconsistent 
with the position ascribed to him in 10. 17 ff. as the duly 
elected king of Israel. The men of valour who accompany 
Saul in 10. 26 do not appear in ch. 11. 'The sons of 
worthlessness who by their action prevent him from assuming 
the kingly office, are apparently so few in number that 


they can be threatened with death in 11. 12-13; yet it 
is presumably on their account that the election of Saul 
requires confirmation.' c 

16. Of these three arguments only the first has any 
force. The second and third are based on a mistaken 
interpretation of our text. The critics try to make out 
that Samuel is represented in our book in varying and not 
quite consistent characters : as a prophet, as a judge of 
the type found in the Book of Judges, 7 and finally as a 
mere village seer. This is an error. Samuel is represented 
throughout our book in one character only, viz. that of 
a great prophet who revived and purified the religious 
sentiments of the people, thereby creating greater cohesion 
among the tribes, and finally welding them together into 
a nation and placing it under the rule of a king. His 
activities were manifold and varying according to the needs 
of the circumstances. But he is always the Prophet and 
Religious Teacher. The same position he occupies in 
9-10. 16. There is not a single word in this portion to 
show that the name and character of Samuel were unknown 
to Saul. On the contrary, Samuel is introduced in 9. 14 
as a well-known personality, requiring no further description 
than the mere mention of his name. The details given 
by the maidens in ver. 13, his actions and words at the 
sanctuary, all stamp him as a great personality, occupying 
a pre-eminent position among his people. Note also his 
familiar and intimate relation with the Deity as revealed 
in the expressions 'e> |TN nx rfa 'ni (9. 15), injy 'm (ver. 17). 

6 Stenning, op. til., 386a ; of. Budde, op. tit., 172 ff. 

7 Ch. 7. But as a matter of fact, Samuel confined himself to praying 
and sacrificing, and, in contrast to the Shofetim, took no part in the actual 


Further, the maidens' statement Tj& so ovn <a (ver. 12) 
seems to indicate that the prophet was frequently away 
from his home for protracted periods. The reference can 
only be to his judicial circuits described in 7. 16-17. The 
importance of Samuel in the eyes of his contemporaries 
is also confirmed by the conversation of Saul with his uncle 
(10. 14-16). Saul does not say ' We came to a certain seer 
called Samuel ', but simply ' We came to Samuel ', as a 
well-known personality. On hearing this the uncle asks 
eagerly: 'Do tell me, I pray thee, what did Samuel say 
unto you?' He would surely not have displayed such 
eagerness about the sayings of Samuel if the latter had 
been merely an obscure village seer unknown in Gibeah. 
The critics have been misled in their interpretation of 
Samuel's character by the words of Saul's servant in 9. 6. 
These words, spoken probably by a lad, have been taken 
by the critics as a full and exact description of Samuel 
and his position in contemporary Israel. They really 
represent nothing more than the conception of Samuel in 
the minds of the ignorant lower classes of the people, to 
whom the prophet was most remarkable for his skill in 
revealing hidden things. That Saul should wish to present 
the prophet with some gift (not a reward) need not cause 
any surprise. The presentation of gifts by visitors was the 
usual mark of respect accorded both to kings (1 Sam. 10. 4, 
27, &c.) and to prophets (2 Kings 4. 42 ; 5. 15, &c). It 
must be admitted that the figure of Samuel does not loom 
so very large in ch. 9 ft", as in other portions of our book ; 
but that is due to the fact that the narrator's interest is 
centred in Saul. For the moment the future king is the 
hero, and all others must as much as possible recede into 
the background. The narrative in 9-10. 16 is not a dry and 


precise history, but an historical romance written with great 
charm and skill by a writer of certain pronounced literary 
peculiarities. He gives greater prominence to Saul, in 
order to bring out his figure into marked relief. He hides 
for a time the identity of the seer, and then reveals his 
name suddenly (9. 14). The name of the seer's city he 
withholds altogether, though there is no doubt whatever 
that it was Ramah. 8 

1 7. As for the third argument, it is true that in ch. 1 1 
Saul does not appear as invested with full royal powers. 
But, as we hinted above (§ 14), there were two good reasons 
why Saul did not form a royal court immediately after his 
election by the lot ; first, because of the genuine fear that 
the Philistine masters of the land would at once proceed 
to attack him before he had had time to raise an army 
of defence ; and secondly, as the narrative indicates, 
because he had first to overcome the opposition to his 
election. The ' sons of worthlessness ' were indeed few, but 
their number was sufficiently strong to foment dissatisfac- 
tion, and eventually to organize a formidable opposition. 
Further, there is no warrant for interpreting 10. 26 a to 
mean that Saul formed a bodyguard of the ' men of valour '. 
Such an interpretation is particularly unfortunate from the 
point of view of the critics themselves, who hold that 
ver. 26 is part of a redactional addition. For in view of 
the appearance of Saul in ch. 11 as a private man, the 
redactor would be stultifying himself by asserting that Saul 
had immediately surrounded himself with a royal body- 
guard. The fact is that icy «5>1 means no more than ' they 

8 Budde {pp. cit., 171) holds that because the name of the seer's city is 
not given, therefore according to J Samuel did not reside in Ramah. But 
can this critic tell us where else Samuel resided ? 


accompanied him on his way'. Had the writer meant to 
say that they remained with him permanently, he would 
have said 1DJ7 1W1, as in 13. 2, or V"inN 13^1 as in Judges 
9. 4. Since, therefore, Saul found it necessary to return 
for a time to private life, it is not surprising that the people 
of Jabesh Gilead should not have mentioned Saul's name 
to the Ammonite king, and that they should have felt it 
necessary to implore for help in all parts of Israel. Nor 
is it surprising that Saul should have resumed for a time 
his former labours in the field. On the other hand, as we 
have already noted above (§ 12), the authoritative self- 
assertion of Saul and the remarkable response of the people 
(11. 7) can be satisfactorily explained only by the fact that 
the people knew him as the king-elect chosen by the 
sacred lot. 

18. But with regard to the first argument, we are 
constrained to admit its soundness in general, although 
we cannot accept it in detail. For there is nothing in 
ch. 8 to show that Israel was not at the time suffering 
from Philistine oppression, although this oppression is not 
mentioned explicitly as an argument in favour of the 
establishment of a monarchy. The events described in 
7. 5-14 took place in Samuel's middle age, while ch. 8 is 
placed in his old age. In the years that intervened between 
ch. 7 and ch. 8, the Philistines must no doubt have avenged 
their defeat at Ebenezer, and re-established their suzerainty 
over Israel. The statement in 7. 13 can only have been 
true for a time. The writer of that passage could not have 
been ignorant of all the great struggle with the Philistines 
which lasted the whole reign of Saul and part of David's 
reign also. He must have heard, for example, of the 
invasion of Israelitish territory by the Philistines which 


resulted in the death of Saul at Gilboa. And we have 
no right to accuse him of deliberate imposition. All that 
we can say is that he is guilty of an undue exaggeration, 
of want of precision, and of a certain looseness of expression, 
caused no doubt by his enthusiasm for the achievements 
of the religious revival led by Samuel. Thus, the writer 
of ch. 8 does not contradict the references to Philistine 
suzerainty contained in 9. 16 ; 10. 5 ; he only ignores them. 
Again, the statement in ch. 8 that there was a strong 
agitation among the people for the institution of the 
monarchy, and that this agitation forced Samuel to look 
out for a king, is not contradicted in 9-10. 16. On the 
contrary, as we have shown above (§§ 11, 13), this narrative 
knows of the agitation and assumes it in at least two 
passages (9. ao-ai ; 10. 15). Further, it is not correct to 
say, as some critics do, that the writer of 9-10. 16 displays 
friendliness towards the monarchy, as opposed to the 
hostility of 8 ; 10. 18 f. ; 12. The writer is only interested 
in the person of Saul, but not in the institution which Saul 
represented. Sympathy with Saul as an individual was 
not lacking even in those who were opposed to him as 
king ; cf. 15. 35. 

19. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that there are 
important differences between 9-10. 16 and the rest of our 
section, though we must not with the critics magnify these 
differences into actual contradictions. The differences 
between the two portions of our section extend to the 
vocabulary, the diction, the method of narration and of 
the presentation of facts, and to the general spirit and 
purpose of the two narratives. They each represent dif- 
ferent points of view and emphasize different facts, though 
not actually contradicting or excluding each other. Hence 


we are bound to conclude that they are the works of two 
different writers, of whom the author of 9-10. 16 was the 
earlier. But we must reject the ' redactional hypothesis', 
which asserts that the two narratives were pieced together 
by a redactor in the manner described above (§§ 1, 3, 4). 
For, as we have shown, the two narratives are not contra- 
dictory, but supplementary, and they are also incomplete 
by themselves. How, then, shall we explain the presence 
in our section of the work of two different writers ? I pro- 
pose to explain it by what we may term, for want of a 
better name, the authorship hypothesis. By this I mean 
that the whole of our section (chs. 8-12) was written as it 
lies before us by the author of our book ; ch. 8 ; 10. 1 7-27 ; 
11 ; 12 is his own original composition, while 9-10. 16 he 
borrowed from an older work which dealt with the story 
from a different point of view. That work, as we have 
indicated above, must also have given an account of the 
popular agitation for the appointment of a king, but our 
author did not find that account suitable for his purpose, 
and so he gave us his own account of it. He may also 
have derived ch. 11 from that source, but there is nothing 
very distinctive about that chapter, and I see no reason for 
denying it to our author. The huge numbers in 11. 8 and 
the separate mention of Judah favour the view that the 
author of the chapter lived a long time after the event 
he described. The passages marked by the critics as 
redactional additions (10. 25b-27a; 11. 12-14) are, as we 
have shown, essential for the development of the story ; 
they are inseparable from their context and indistinguishable 
externally from the verses preceding and following them. 
We, therefore, have no hesitation whatever in assigning 
them to our author. 


We now proceed to examine the second crucial section 
of our book, and there also we shall find that the ' redac- 
tional hypothesis ' breaks down utterly, while our own 
' authorship hypothesis ' offers a reasonable and satisfactory 
solution to the problems presented by the composition of 
that section. 

The Advent of David. 

20. The story of the introduction of David to Saul, 
contained in chs. 16-17, consists according to the analysis 
of the critics of a combination by a redactor of two 
independent and irreconcileable accounts, viz. 16. 14-23 
and 17-18. 5. The first account is the direct continuation 
of 14. 52, and is the older and the historical one. It tells 
how Saul becomes a sufferer from some mental derange- 
ment, and how on the advice of his courtiers he seeks for 
a skilled musician to relieve his suffering. One of his 
attendants recommends to him a son of Jesse, whom he 
describes as a skilled musician, a brave and experienced 
warrior, a man of prudence and of a handsome appearance. 
David is then brought to the court and the king soon 
grows very fond of him, and makes him his armour-bearer. 
At the king's request of Jesse, David remains permanently 
attached to the king. 

The second, which is the younger and the legendary 
account, relates how in one of the many wars between 
Israel and the Philistines a certain Philistine giant challenges 
the Israelitish host to produce a champion who would 
engage him in single combat, but none of the Israelites 
dares to accept the challenge. Then the shepherd lad 
David is sent by his father to visit his three elder brothers 
who are serving in the battlefield. The lad hears the 


challenge and undertakes to engage the Philistine. The 
king offers him his armour, but the young lad does not 
know how to use it. Eventually he slays the Philistine 
with his sling and some pebbles which he carries in his 
shepherd's scrip. On his triumphant return with the Philis- 
tine's head in his hand, the king inquires for his name and 
family. He then takes the lad into his service, and 
Jonathan, who falls in love with him, secures his friendship 
by means of a solemn covenant. 

This double account is introduced by an apocryphal 
story of the secret anointment of David by Samuel among 
his brothers (16. 1-13), a story which, the critics declare, 
is related to ch. 17, but written by a later hand. 9 

21. It will be seen that, as in the story of the election 
of Saul, so also in this section the alleged redactional 
process is very complicated. The redactor begins his story 
with 14. 52. After giving one single verse, which should 
have been followed by 16. 14, he suddenly breaks off and 
inserts ch. 15, then 16. 1-13, and only then resumes the 
thread of his original account, which began in 14. 52, by 
continuing with 16. 14-23. He then proceeds to insert 
in ch. 17 another independent account of David's coming 
to Saul, which contradicts and refutes the account just 
concluded. This is, indeed, a very strange proceeding, but 
we have already become accustomed to the vagaries of the 
critics' redactor, and need not be unduly surprised at his 
insertions, however long, or at his self-contradictions, how- 
ever glaring. Nevertheless, we have a right to demand 
from the critics that at least each of the constituent 
documents which they obtain by this astonishing analysis 

9 Wellhausen, op. cit., 247. His arguments and conclusions are, as 
usual, piously repeated by all his disciples and followers. 



of theirs should be self-consistent, logical, and free from 
any discrepancies. But this, as we shall show, is not the 

23. The first account given in 16. 14-23 begins according 
to the critics with 14. 52. It knows nothing of the rejection 
of Saul in ch. 15 or of the anointment of David in 16. 1-13. 
It is the continuation of chs. 13-14 which in their turn are 
the continuation of the source J in the story of Saul's 
election (§ 3). 10 But can 14. 52 really be the beginning of 
16. 14-23 ? That verse tells us that on account of the 
fierceness of the struggle with the Philistines Saul attached 
to himself every brave warrior that he could discover. 
This, the critics say, is intended to introduce the story of 
Saul taking up David in 16. 14-23. But in 16. 14-23 we 
hear nothing of the Philistine war, and David is not 
brought to Saul as a likely champion against the Philistines, 
but only as a musician to soothe the king's troubled spirit. 
The statement in 14. 52 suits not 16. 14-23, but rather 
ch. 17, where David becomes attached to Saul through his 
heroism against the Philistines. As a matter of fact, there 
is absolutely no need whatever to wrench 14. 52 violently 
out of its present context and tack it on to some passage 
two chapters below. It is quite intelligible where it stands, 
for it refers back to the account of Saul's wars in 14. 46-8, 
and to the mention of Abner, Saul's chief of the host, in 
ver. 50 b (ver. 51 is parenthetic). 14. 52 has certainly no 
connexion whatever with 16. 14-23, and the critics will 
have to find another beginning for J's account of David's 
Coming to Saul, since 16. 14 is too abrupt to be considered 
the beginning of the account. 

10 Ch.9-10. 16,270-11. 11, 15. The story of Saul's rejection in 13. 8-14 
is according to the critics an interpolation. We shall deal with this question 
later on. 


Further, how is it that the writer of 16. 14-23, who, 
according to the critics, is ignorant of Saul's rejection, 
should fail to explain the cause of the king's strange 
affliction ? The origin and cause of such a mysterious and 
calamitous event in the king's life must surely have been 
a subject of deep interest to the historian. Why does he 
not tell us anything about it ? 

23. The whole structure of the critics is based upon the 
assumption that there is a radical difference in the repre- 
sentation of David between chs. 17 and 16. 14-23. In 
ch. 17 David is a young shepherd lad ignorant of the use 
of weapons of war, while in 16. 14-23 he is a full-grown 
and experienced warrior. But this assumption is altogether 
incorrect. David bears the same character in both stories. 
He is expressly described in 16. 19 as being a young 
shepherd. And even if we allow the critics to delete the 
phrase JKV3 ~itW — though there is no other reason for 
rejecting the phrase, except that it contradicts the hypo- 
thesis of the critics — there still remains the fact that 
in ver. 19 as well as in ver. 22 David is described as being 
still in a state of tutelage to his father, a state quite un- 
suitable for a ironta me\ ^n -iiaa (ver. 18). And after he 
has spent some time with the king, David is still considered 
unfit, presumably by reason of his youth, to occupy any 
other military position than that of armour-bearer to the 
king, a position equivalent to that of the squire of the 
mediaeval knight, and usually occupied by youths; cf. 14. 
i, 6 (vio ksm iwn) ; 20. 35, 40 ; 31. 4 ("IN» XT' »3 proves him 
to have been a youth); II 18. 15. It is true that this 
representation is not quite consistent with the description 
of David given by the courtier in 16. 18, a description 
which forms the foundation and starting-point of the critics' 

U 2 


analysis. But the courtier's description must be taken 
cum grano salts. It was evidently that of a friend of David 
who was anxious to create in Saul's mind a highly favour- 
able impression of the young musician. For this purpose 
he exaggerated David's accomplishments, knowing full well 
that the young hero would in a short time justify in full 
the eulogistic description of his friend. 11 For where did 
David prove himself a nonta B>W ^n "11:1:1 ? He could not 
have done it in some private war of his own. He must 
have engaged in the national wars carried on by Saul. If 
so, it is strange that in view of 14. 52 Saul or Abner should 
not have heard of him before. But, as stated, the whole 
description must be regarded as the flattering exaggeration 
of a friend. It is also possible that the description is 
anachronistic, i.e. written from the point of view of the 
narrator himself. 12 In any case, the description must not 
be taken in a literal sense, since, as we have shown, it is 
inconsistent with the representation of David in the rest 
of the passage. Thus the whole structure of the critics, 
which rests mainly on the literal interpretation of this 
verse, tumbles to the ground. 

34. Where, then, are we to find the beginning of the 
account of David's coming to Saul? There, where all 
simple unbiassed readers have always found it, viz. in 16. 1. 
For the departure of the Lord's spirit from Saul is evidently 

11 The ancient Rabbis already interpreted the passage as an exaggera- 
tion ; cf. Sanhedrin 93 b, and Rashi, ad he. Some have proposed to delete 
the words nt3l"6o B*N1 7TI 11331. But one must strongly deprecate the 
mutilation for our own convenience of an otherwise honest and intelligible 
text. Besides, DDrl^D B"X1 is obviously parallel to "INfl B"tC1, which is 
certainly genuine. 

12 We shall have occasion later on to point out many other cases of 
anachronisms in our book. 


the consequence of the rushing of the Lord's spirit upon 
the newly anointed David (ver. 12). 13 The two parts of 
ch. 16 (vers. 1-13 and 14-23) are closely connected with 
each other, being both of one piece and by one hand. 
Only we must assume that some time had elapsed between 
the anointment of David and his coming to Saul's court, 
since in the second part he appears somewhat older than 
in the first part. 

25. But the critics will object to this very obvious 
theory of the unity of ch. 16. They will tell us that the 
two parts of ch. 16 cannot belong to one and the same 
writer, because vers. 14-23 is good sober history, while 
vers. 1-13 is nothing but a legend, a mere 'Midrash'. It 
may, however, be asked, What right have the critics to 
credit the ancient writer with their own views of the 
comparative historicity of the two events, or with their own 
modern distinction between historical fact and historical 
legend? To the ancient writer the anointment of David 
by Samuel may have been as much a historical fact as the 
insanity of Saul and the minstrelsy of David. But I go 
further and assert that the story in vers. 1-13, however 
inaccurate in its details, may yet rest upon a basis of truth. 
There is no doubt that the estrangement between Saul and 
Samuel, and the rejection, if not the deposition, of the king 
by the prophet are historical facts. Equally a fact is the 
existence of a friendship between David and the prophetical 
and priestly party of which Samuel was the head. When 
David is forced to flee from Saul, he first of all seeks 

13 The ' Spirit of the Lord ' is conceived as something quantitative which 
can be removed from one person and placed upon another; cf. Num. 11. 
17, 25 ; 1 Kings 22. 24 ; 2 Kings 2. 9. 


a refuge with Samuel (19. 18 ft".), 14 and next with the priests 

(ai. a ft".). Ahimelek might have been quite honest in his 

assertion that he had not known that David was a fugitive. 

At the same time, he did not deny that friendly relations 

had for a long time existed between David and himself 

(aa. 15). Had that not been the case, then even Saul, 

tyrant that he had now become, would not have dared to 

destroy the whole priestly clan on a mere trumpery charge 

of treason. Again, it is a significant fact pointing in the 

same direction, that as soon as David had formed his band 

we find among his followers a prophet in the person of Gad 

(aa. 5). It is, therefore, quite probable that, at least after 

he had become a popular hero and a successful military 

leader, David had been designated by Samuel and his 

friends the future king of Israel. The fears inspired in 

Saul's mind by the ambition and the continually rising 

popularity of David, as compared with his own growing 

isolation (aa. 8), which resulted from his breach with 

Samuel, were thus not altogether without foundation. This 

view is strongly confirmed by many passages in our book, 

cf. 33. 17 ; 34. ai ; 35. 30; II 3. 9-10; 5. ab. Of course, 

the critics deny the historicity of all these passages. But 

this much they must admit, that already at a very early 

period, certainly not later than the beginning of David's 

reign, there was a general belief that David had been 

appointed by God to be Saul's successor. On the basis 

of this historical fact the story was built up in a later 

generation that some time after the breach between Samuel 

and Saul at Gilgal, the prophet at the bidding of God 

anointed David as king of Israel while still a boy in his 

14 We shall show later that the critics are wrong in regarding that 
incident as legendary. 


father's house, and that the cause of Saul's well-known 
insanity was his desertion by the Spirit of the Lord, which 
had gone over to his rival. We are, therefore, quite justified 
in assuming that the author of 16. 14-23 reproduced this 
story in 16. 1-13, believing it to be just as true as the 
incident described by him in 16. 14-23. 

26. The critics have another objection to the historicity 
of 16. 1-13, viz. the fear of Samuel lest Saul should hear 
of his mission to Bethlehem (ver. 2), a fear which ill 
becomes the powerful personality of ch. 15. But here the 
critics display a lack of consistency. They have been 
reiterating their theory that the representation of Samuel 
as a great personality, who ruled the people and made 
and unmade kings, is a later conception. The earlier and 
more correct representation they hold to have been that 
of a local and unimportant seer who had little or nothing 
to do with the great national questions of the day (cf. § 15, 
16). This should agree admirably with the nervous and 
timid prophet of 16. 2, and the whole passage should on 
this ground have been assigned by the critics to the early 
and historical source of J. However, in reality there is no 
inconsistency between the conception of Samuel inchs. 8, 15 
and that in 16. 2. The awe-inspiring prophet of ch. 15 was 
after all himself but human, and liable to the weaknesses 
of other mortals. It would be unnatural to expect him 
to maintain at all times the grand overpowering fearlessness 
which he displays in ch. 15, when under the influence of 
a mighty inspiration. That Saul would have been capable 
of laying hands on the prophet if caught in such a treason- 
able act as the anointment of David, and that Samuel's 
fear was not unfounded, is amply proved by Saul's sacri- 
legious murder of the priests some time later. 


27. In their further attempts to pick holes in our 
passage, the critics ask how it is that Samuel so far forgets 
his fears of Saul as to speak openly ot his mission to Jesse 
and his sons, and why the alleged sacrifice is never 
performed. The answer is that Samuel had to tell Jesse 
of his mission in order to get him to produce his sons ; 
he had to acquaint Jesse's sons with the object of his visit, 
because, according to the story, the sons had to be examined 
one by one, so as to find out the one who was to be 
anointed. That no express mention is made of the per- 
formance of the sacrifice should occasion no surprise. The 
sacrifice was only a minor detail of the story, and the 
object of the narrator is only to tell of the anointment. 
He leaves it to the intelligence of his readers and to their 
faith in the probity of Samuel to assume that the sacrifice 
had been duly performed in the presence of the elders of 
the city. 

Having now established the unity of ch. 16, we must 
next inquire into the relation of this chapter to ch. 17. 

38. Now, it would be easy for us to overcome the great 
difficulty presented by the discrepancies between ch. 16 
and ch. 17 by adopting for ch. 17 the text of LXX B, and, 
with many critics, declaring 17. 12-31 ; 55-18. 5 to be a later 
interpolation. By this means we should have removed 
all the contradictions between the two chapters, and we 
should be able to ascribe ch. 17 to the author of ch. 16, 
the more so as the two chapters have some points of 
contact, cf. 16. 11 with 17. 34; 16. 12 with 17. 42. But 
this solution, though easy and attractive, would not be an 
honest solution. We have no right to impugn the integrity 
of a text for the sole reason that it runs counter to our 
theories, or that it contradicts another text which we 


prefer. Ch. 17 as it stands in MT is quite intelligible and 
self-consistent. The suspected passages fit admirably well 
in their present context, and we have no right to delete 
them simply because they do not fit in with our pre- 
conceived notions, or with some other, it may be quite un- 
related, passage. Then, again, we should have to explain 
the provenance of these deleted passages, how they arose, 
and what purpose their interpolation was to serve. Further, 
we should have to explain how a late interpolator dared 
to invent a story so totally at variance with ch. 16 ; how 
he dared to put into the mouth of Eliab such contemptuous 
and reproachful language against David, whom he knew, 
according to 16. 1-13, to be 'the anointed of the Lord'. 
These passages, therefore, must be regarded as forming 
an integral part of the original text of ch. 17, How comes 
it, then, that the author of LXX B has not got them in 
his translation ? Are we to assume with many critics that 
this Greek translator played the part of the higher critic, 
and deliberately omitted these passages because of their 
inconsistency with ch. 16? This can hardly be so. Such 
a procedure on the part of the translator would be in 
strong opposition to the simple honesty, the naivete, the 
faithfulness to their Hebrew original, which, as we know, 
is the almost invariable characteristic of the authors of the 
LXX. Again, the omissions of LXXB in ch. 17 can in 
no wise be separated from the omissions of LXX B in 
ch. 1 8, since the latter chapter is part of the same section 
as ch. 17. The omissions in these two chapters must be 
treated together, and both must be assigned a common 
origin and a common cause. But since there can be no 
doubt whatever that the LXXB text in ch. 18 is the more 
original one, and that MT in that chapter arose through 


a number of expansions and repetitions, 15 it follows that 
the Hebrew text of LXX B lacked also the suspected 
passages in ch. 17. How, then, are we to escape from this 
vicious circle ? On the one hand, the disputed passages in 
ch. 17 are necessarily an integral part of the original text ; 
on the other hand, LXX B really read a genuine text which 
did not contain these passages, as proved by their more 
original shorter text of ch. 1 8. 

29. There is only one way out of the difficulty, and 
it is this: The author of ch. 16, who, as we shall show 
later, is the principal or the sole author of our book, did 
not find it convenient or desirable to describe in his own 
words David's great exploit against the Philistine champion, 
which was the origin of Saul's jealousy of David and of 
all its consequences. Adopting the same method as in 
the story of Saul's anointment by Samuel (9-10. 16, cf. 
§ 19), he preferred to incorporate into his work an extract 
from an older document describing the incident, viz. ch. 17. 
It may be that the account of that older document was 
15 Cf. Driver's note ad he. The only notable exception is Budde 
{op. cit., 217 f.), who, reversing the process, argues that because, as he holds, 
the author of LXX B deliberately omitted the disputed passages in ch. 17, 
therefore he must also have deliberately abridged the text of ch. 18. But 
the LXX text of ch. 18 is obviously of too smooth and too logical a character 
to be the result of a translator's tampering and tinkering. Further, the 
omitted passages in ch. 17 consist mainly of large blocks of verses, and 
their removal is comparatively an easy process, though not one of which 
the authors of LXX were capable. But the omissions in ch. 18 include also 
some short sentences and phrases, and are scattered all over the chapter. 
Their deletion is therefore a hard and complicated process, which, it is quite 
certain, was beyond the powers of the naive authors of the LXX. More- 
over, while we can easily account for the omissions in ch. 17, it is 
difficult to see what principle could have guided the Greek expurgators 
in ch. 18. Why should they have omitted 18. 8 b, 12 b, 2ob-3o? It is 
much more reasonable to assume that these passages are scribal glosses and 
amplifications in the MT. 


already too well known and too popular to be easily 
superseded by a new version. But that extract contained 
portions which flagrantly contradicted the author's own 
history in ch. 16. To overcome the difficulty, he omitted 
from his extract those portions which contained the con- 
tradictions, and which he considered to be contrary to 
historical truth, viz. 17. 13-31 ; 55-8. 5. A later scribe, 
however, who knew the source used by our author, thinking 
the text of the author's work to be a mutilation, inserted 
into the author's text the omitted passages. But noticing 
the discrepancy between these passages and ch. 16, the 
scribe added 17. 15 in order to minimize somewhat this 
discrepancy. It is possible that this verse was originally 
nothing more than a marginal gloss. As such we must 
undoubtedly consider 17. 50, which is partly explanatory 
of ver. 51. Hence arose the difference between the texts of 
LXX B and MT, both of which are in a sense original and 
genuine. LXX B used a copy derived direct from our 
author's original, but expurgated text, while MT is de- 
scended from a copy which had been ' corrected ' and 
' restored ' by the later scribe. This hypothesis will on 
examination be found the most satisfactory solution of the 
problem. For in addition to the arguments given above, it 
may further be pointed out that whereas it is inconceivable 
that an author, or even an editor, could place side by side 
two documents exhibiting such glaring contradictions, it is 
quite possible that a copyist who had no responsibility 
whatever for either of the two accounts, and who had not 
fully thought out the subject, knowing that the account 
before him was but a mutilation of the original source, 
would have no hesitation in supplying the missing parts, 
and, as the contradictions were not of his own making, 


would only make a half-hearted attempt to harmonize the 
two accounts. 

30. But the critics may object to this hypothesis because 
it assumes that ch. 17 is older than 16. 14-23, and that it 
was incorporated into the book by such a sober historian as 
the author of that passage. For the critics have decreed 
that ch. 17 is nothing but a legend, since Goliath the 
Gittite was not slain by David when a youth, but almost 
a generation later by Elhanan of Bethlehem, one of David's 
heroes, as stated in 2 Sam. 21. 19. But if so, how is one 
to explain David's sudden leap into popularity and the 
jealousy of Saul ? The critics answer that David did 
indeed perform some heroic deed, an account of which 
stood in the original form of our book, but that that story 
was deleted in favour of the late Goliath legend. But the 
critics fail to offer any shred of evidence for such a sup- 
position. Had such a story existed, it would surely have 
left behind it some trace, however faint. Nay, we may 
be certain that it would have been preserved in full side 
by side with the Goliath story, as a sort of duplicate (cf. 
ch. 24 with ch. 26, &c). On the other hand, the references 
to David's exploit in 19. 5; 21. 10; 22. 10 prove that 
ch. 17 is not a late legend. No ; the story of ch. 17 is quite 
genuine and old. What is legendary and late in it is only 
the identification of the Philistine champion with Goliath. 16 
The story did not originally give the champion's name, 
either because it had never been known in Israel, or because 
it had been forgotten in the time of the narrator. There- 
fore the narrator almost throughout the chapter speaks only 
of TiC^an (twenty-seven times in all). So the champion is 

16 This identification is older than the Chronicler ; cf. 1 Chron. 20 5. 


described also in 18. 6 and by Jonathan in 19. 5. A later 
hand, however, interpolated in the text, or wrote on the 
margin riJD 1DB> rvi'a (ver. 4), and similarly in ver. 23 (quite 
unnecessarily after ver. 4) nao W Titian n^a. These 
phrases bear on their face their spurious character. Had 
the original narrator identified the champion with Goliath, 
he would not have given his name in a parenthesis. He 
would have said in ver. 4: nao wa Wl. He would not 
have repeated that parenthesis in ver. 23, but would have 
gone on throughout the chapter to speak of the champion 
as n^a or Tie^an rvfa, and not simply as Titian. Similarly, 
we must treat the name JV9a in 21. 10; 22. 10 as an 
interpolation. 17 

31. The study of this section of our book has thus led 
us to conclusions identical with those we reached in our 
study of the story of the Election of Saul, viz. that the 
whole section is the work of one author, who, however, 
incorporated into his own composition material from an 
older source. We have seen that in both these sections 
the 'redactional hypothesis' proves itself to be of a 
highly artificial, complicated, and hence very improbable 
character ; further, that it fails to remove the real diffi- 
culties of the text, that it creates new difficulties of its 
own, and that the arguments on which it rests are based 
on a wrong interpretation of the text. The failure of the 
' redactional hypothesis ' in these two sections, upon which 
its whole strength is said to rest, must prove fatal to its 

17 After writing the above, I find that an identical solution of the 
difficulty is proposed by A. R. S. Kennedy in his commentary on Samuel 
in the Century Bible, p. 122. 


validity in other parts of our book. On the other hand, 
the hypothesis put forward by the writer, that we have 
before us the composition not of a patchwork redactor, but 
of an author, who, while largely telling his stories in his 
own words, also utilized the work of his predecessors, will 
be found reasonable in itself, and also capable of solving 
satisfactorily most, if not all, of the problems presented 
by the book. 

We shall now proceed to apply our ' authorship hypo- 
thesis ' to the other portions of the book, and to discuss in 
detail those passages of which the integrity has been denied 
or questioned by modern criticism. 

{To be continued.)