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

The Composition of the Book.* 

63. (ch. 22.) The author continues his narrative in 
ch. 22. There is no reason whatever to doubt, as some 
critics do, the genuineness of 22. 3-5. As soon as David 
openly becomes an outlaw his whole clan joins him, probably 
out of fear of Saul's revenge. But David would not expose 
his aged parents to the dangers of his roving existence, and 
so he entrusted them to the protection of the king of Moab. 
He was encouraged to do so both by the enmity which 
existed between Saul and Moab (cf. above. §§ 49, 57), and 
also by his connexion with the land of Moab through Ruth, 
his reputed ancestress (cf. R. Isaiah's note, ad loc). That 
there was a prophet in David's company is not at all 
surprising, considering the unfriendly relations which existed 
between Samuel, the head of the prophetical order (19, 20 a), 
and Saul. Gad may have belonged to the school of Ramah, 
where David had vainly sought an asylum. The passage 
is, however, fragmentary. It tells us only indirectly that 
David stayed at the mivo, which appears from ver. 5 to 
have been outside Saul's territory. But it does not tell us 
precisely where the mw3 was, how David lived there, or 
how Gad came to him. 

* Continued from vol. VI, pp. 267 ff., and pp. 555 ff. 



64. Many critics declare the account of David's visit to 
Nob in ver. 9 ff. to be independent of, and contradictory to, 
the account in 21. 2-10, and they assign the account inch. 21 
to E, and the account in this chapter to J. But this is 
altogether incorrect. The two accounts are interdependent 
and supplementary. The dependence of this chapter on 
ch. 21 is evident. Doeg is here introduced as a person 
already known to the reader (cf. above § 61). The clause 
'«1 asa Nim is not intended to describe the person of Doeg, 
but only to explain his presence at the court, like the 
explanation of his presence at Nob given in 21. 8 a. nTS 
in ver. io, and orb in ver. 13, evidently refer back to 21. 4 f. 
It is true that here the bread is not described as sacred, 
but that is because it is immaterial to the charge of con- 
spiracy brought against the priest, whether the bread was 
sacred or profane. It is also possible that Doeg did not 
see what kind of bread the priest had given to David. 
Likewise, 'ne^an (n^j) mn in ver. 10, and nn in ver. 13 are 
dependent on 21. 10. The particular detail that the sword 
was that of the Philistine champion is, perhaps, mentioned 
by Doeg, in order to make sure that the king will believe 
him, as it might have been known that the sanctuary did 
not harbour within it any weapons (cf. Exod. 20. 25). 
Perhaps also Doeg intended to intensify the king's resent- 
ment by the allusion to the famous exploit of David, which 
was the first cause of the king's jealousy and hatred. It is 
characteristic that Saul himself says only aim without Ttthsin 
(ver. 13), being unable to recall with his own lips the great 
achievement of his hated rival. Budde (op. cit., 226) says 
that ver. 10 b ' hinkt . . . stOrend nach'. As a matter of 
fact this clause, with the verb at the end, is intended to be 
very emphatic and impressive. On the other hand, ch. 22 


gives an additional detail not found in ch. 21, viz. the 
inquiry of the oracle. But, as we have stated before (§ 61), 
21. 10 ends rather abruptly, and seems to be fragmentary. 
It may be that our author purposely omitted this detail 
in ch. ai because he knew that the reader would learn it 
from ch. 22, where it would have to be mentioned as one 
of the chief counts in the indictment against the priest 
(cf. aa. 15) ; whereas in ch. 21, which tells the story from 
David's point of view, the inquiry of the oracle was of 
minor importance. Bread and a sword were to David in 
his plight a more vital necessity than an inquiry of the 
oracle. Thus, just as ch. 22 presupposes ch. 21, so ch. 21 
presupposes ch. 22, which proves that both chapters are by 
one and the same hand, viz. by the author of our book. 

65. Critics hold ver. 19 to be an interpolation modelled 
on 15. 3 b, because the verse interrupts the connexion 
between ver. 18 and ver. 20, and because its statement is 
improbable. One may ask : if this is not the right place for 
the verse, where else could the writer have placed it? Not 
before ver. 18, nor far down below after ver. 23, nor any- 
where between vers. 20-23. The argument that Doeg could 
not have slain single-handed all the inhabitants of Nob is 
of no force, nan need not mean that Doeg slew them all 
with his own hand any more than, for example, "pi in 15. 7 
means that Saul slew all the Amalekites with his own hand. 
The king's attendants may have hesitated to lay their 
hands on the priests ; but this hesitation of the courtiers 
would not have prevented Doeg from obtaining outside the 
court plenty of assistance in his nefarious work. The occur- 
rence of the phraseology of this verse in 15. 3 b only 
strengthens our contention that both ch. 15 and ch. 22 
emanate from one and the same author. Note the omission 


here of taj given in 15. 3 b. Camels were an important 
possession of the marauding Amalekites (cf. 30. 17, &c), 
but useless to the settled priests of Nob, and therefore not 
found among their cattle. 

66. (ch.23.) 23. 1-1 3 is evidently by our author. Note 
the references in ver. 3 to 22. 5 ; in vers. 6, 9 b to 22. 20 ff., 
and in vers. 7 ff. to 22. 6. Ver. 6, which seeks to explain how 
David came to possess an ephod, may very well belong to 
the author, and need not be a gloss. Naturally it had to 
precede ver. 9 b, but in order that it may not interrupt the 
context it is placed at the beginning of the paragraph. 
The contention of the critics that this verse should have 
preceded ver. 2 is of no force. There were other means 
of inquiring of God besides the ephod. The inquiry in 
ver. 2 may have been made through the prophet Gad. 
Ver. 14 is, as shown by clause b, a summary of the history 
of David during the whole period. David dwelt in the 
wilderness, namely, in the fastnesses ; he dwelt in the high 
land, namely, in the wilderness of Ziph. 35 Ver. 15, where 
we should point with LXX x~l)\ for M.T. K"]-l, is introductory 
to vers. 16-18: David was afraid of Saul while he was in 
Horshah in the wilderness, and Jonathan came out to him 
and encouraged him, and concluded a covenant with him. 
We hold that this passage belongs to our author. Hitherto 
the author has not recorded the well-known fact of the 
existence of a covenant between David and Jonathan (cf. 
II. 9. 3; 21. 7); for, as we have shown above (§§ 52, 58), 
18. 3, 20. 10 are not the author's, but belong to interpola- 
tions. In view of the breach between Saul and Jonathan 

35 *12"ID3 is obviously a more comprehensive term than nHSDD. 
Similarly "IfQ ' the mountainous region ', comprised a wider area than 


revealed by 33. 8 (cf. also 30. 30 ff.), we need not be 
surprised that Jonathan dared to visit David in defiance 
of his father. 

67. Ver. 19 is found again in a shorter form in 26. 1. 
Since, as we shall show later (§ 73), ch. 36 was embodied 
by our author in his work from an older source, we may 
conclude that he deliberately borrowed the phraseology of 
ver. 19 from 26. 1. That our verse is not a duplicate of 
36. 1, as the critics assert, is evident from the fact that the 
story which it introduces in vers. 20-38 has nothing in 
common with the story of ch. 26. The narrative of 
vers. 19-28 seems to be the sequel of ver. 14 above, and is 
intended to illustrate the statement in ver. 14 b. We see 
no reason to deny the passage to our author. Ver. 19 b is 
best interpreted as follows: David hides himself in our 
region, now in the fastnesses, now in Horshah, now in the 
hill of the Hakilah. Had the latter two localities been 
intended to serve as a specification of the first (= rimon) 
they would no doubt have been introduced by the relative 
-ie>N, like the last clause of the verse (piwn pons). This 
interpretation is further supported by the request of Saul 
that they should return and find out the exact spot in 
which David was hiding. If the Ziphites had only men- 
tioned one locality as David's hiding-place, and had, more- 
over, added the names of other places in order to describe 
and specify its exact situation, then the whole of Saul's 
speech in vers. 32, 23 would seem both superfluous and 

68. (ch. 24.) In ch. 34 the author continues the story 
of David's adventures. The critics have denied the integrity 
of vers. 5-8. They hold that the present order of the 
verses is unnatural. Hence some of them propose the 


following rearrangement : vers. 5 a, 7, 8 a, 5 b, 6, 8 b. This 
new order seems at first sight plausible enough. But the 
question arises, as H. P. Smith (op. cit., 217) observes, how 
did this complicated dislocation arise, and what was its 
cause ? Further, we may ask, how did the writer divine that 
David had felt in his heart remorse for cutting off the skirt 
of Saul's mantle (ver.6), unless David had evinced this feeling 
by some speech or act, as is really the case in our present 
text, where he gives expression to this feeling by his speech 
in ver. 7 ? H. P. Smith seeks to solve the difficulty in the 
usual fashion of the critics : he holds the incident of the 
cutting off of the skirt of Saul's mantle to be a later inven- 
tion, and proposes to cut out as an interpolation vers. 5 b, 6, 
and also ver. 12, which, he says, ' is as readily spared as 
vers. 5 b, 6 '. But ver. 12 cannot be spared. For ver. 13 a 
can have sense and force only after ver. 12 b, where David 
demonstrates his own innocence and also charges Saul 
with seeking his life. No such charge is brought against 
Saul in ver. 1 1. Again, it will not do even if we delete only 
the first half of ver. 12 (up to yn"\n) ; for rwn yn presupposes 
a demonstrative proof of his innocence, such as is pro- 
duced only by ver. 12 a. As a matter of fact, the present 
order of the verses is not unnatural. It is both rational and 
true psychologically. The alleged difficulties are simply 
the creation of the critics themselves. The course of the 
narrative is as follows : Saul enters the cave, in the recesses 
of which David and his men lie in hiding (ver. 4). David 
is urged by his men to slay Saul with his own hand 
(= -fp rwjn. ver. 5). Moved by their words and by his own 
impulse David rises and approaches Saul stealthily, but his 
chivalry and magnanimity are suddenly aroused, and he 
shrinks from the dishonourable act of slaying his enemy by 


stealth. All that he can bring himself to do is to cut off 
the skirt of Saul's mantle (ver. 5). But even this harmless 
deed arouses in his generous heart feelings of self-reproach 
and shame (ver. 6). He returns to his men and explains 
that he cannot bring himself to lay hands on the ' Anointed 
of the Lord ' (ver. 7), and energetically prevents them from 
attacking the unsuspecting king (ver. 8). The cutting off 
of the skirt is thus seen to be an essential detail of the 
story. It may also have been intended to bear a symbolic 
significance, like the rending of the mantle in 15. 37-8; 
1 Kings 1 1. 30-31. 

69. All the critics agree that ver. 14 is a gloss. They 
argue that David would not have chosen that moment for 
displaying his familiarity with the gnomic wisdom of the 
ancients. But the speech ascribed to David is not intended 
to be regarded as a stenographic report of what David 
actually said on the occasion. Hebrew authors may, like 
Thucydides and Livy, have put speeches of their own 
composition into the mouths of their heroes. Why should 
not the narrator, desirous of impressing a moral lesson on 
the minds of his readers, have put such a proverb into the 
mouth of David? And if this verse be a gloss, how is 
one to explain the repetition in clause b of ver. 13 b? 
H. P. Smith objects that David would not dare to call Saul 
yen. But David does not mean to brand Saul as wicked. 
He cites the proverb that evil brings its own punishment 36 
only in order to explain his own assurance, in ver. 13 a, 
and to warn Saul that a wicked act against him would 
inevitably bring upon its doer condign retribution. 

Budde (pp. cit., 239) condemns also vers, a 1-23 a as re- 
dactional. These verses may not, indeed, be quite historical, 

36 Cf. the Rabbinic comment in Makkot iob. 


but there is no reason why the original narrator should not 
have shared the general belief of his contemporaries that 
even at that early stage of his career David had already been 
recognized by Saul himself as the only legitimate successor 
to the throne of Israel. Cf. our remarks above, § 25. 

70. (ch. 25.) Ch. 25 stands out from among the other 
chapters of this section by its distinctive individuality of style 
and diction. The narrative is rich in detail and in local colour, 
full of life and movement, and distinguished by a number 
of characteristic phrases and expressions. Note ver. 3 : 
D^JJD jn ; ver. 6 ; ver. 8 : 31D DV ; ver. 12 : warn ; ver. 14: 
tarn Djn ; ver. 26 : ■£ -p» j>&»ini ; ver. 29 b. We have, however, 
no reason to deny the chapter to our author ; we should 
rather conclude that he utilized some older written material, 
from which he derived the most characteristic portions of 
his narrative. Cf. vers. 42-4 with 27. 3 ; 30. 5 ; II. 3. 2-3, 
136". The critics agree that ver. 1 a is an interpolation 
from 28. 3. But what is the purpose of this interpolation 
here ? Only one of them has attempted an answer to this 
question, viz. Budde {op. cit., 231), who thinks that the 
interpolation was made in order not to let the reader lose 
sight of the nation. But why should this reminder of the 
existence of the nation, if such reminder was necessary, 
have been made exactly here, and not in any other of the 
many chapters since ch. 18 ? We think it likely that there 
was in the mind of the writer some connexion between the 
two clauses of this verse. It seems that he meant to imply 
that through Samuel's death David enjoyed in the wilder- 
ness of Ma'on (LXX) a period of rest from Saul's persecu- 
tion. It may be that Samuel's death kept Saul back from 
pursuing David. Samuel's followers, the prophets and the 
priests, who were friendly to David, may, perhaps, have 


begun to show signs of restiveness now that the calming 
influence of Samuel had been removed. For with all his 
opposition to Saul, Samuel retained to the end of his life 
a certain personal attachment to the man he had raised to 
the throne of Israel ; cf. 15. 11, 35. On the other hand, it 
is also possible that the connexion between clause a and 
clause b of this verse is purely of a chronological character. 
In any case, it is certain that the critics are wrong in 
regarding clause a as being derived from 28. 3 a. On the 
contrary, the statement seems to be original here, where it 
occupies the place of a principal affirmation in the course 
of the historical narrative, whereas in 28. 3 it serves, like 
the following clause, merely a subordinate purpose, viz. to 
prepare the reader for the story of the raising of Samuel's 
spirit by the necromancer. 

71. Budde (loc. cit.) is of opinion that originally 25. 2 flf. 
followed immediately upon 23. 28. But the sense of security 
and repose which characterizes ch. 25 is out of accord with 
the trepidation and hairbreadth escapes of ch. 23. From 
25. 7 b, 15-16 it is obvious that David and his men had 
stayed in one locality for a considerable length of time, and 
had freely and openly fraternized with the natives. This 
is quite intelligible after the assurance given by Saul in 
24. 17-22, but is inconsistent with 23. 19, 22, 23, where 
David is described as hiding in secret retreats and in danger 
of being betrayed by the natives. 

72. (chs. 24, a6.) The striking similarities between 
ch. 26 and ch. 24 present an interesting problem as to the 
origin and mutual relationship of the two chapters. The 
critics solve the problem by their usual method of declaring 
the two accounts to be independent duplicates of the same 
story. At first sight this solution seems quite plausible, 

G 2 


but a closer comparison of the two chapters proves it to be 
altogether inadequate to account for all the facts of the 
problem. Let us examine both the similarities and the 
differences of the two stories. The main outline of the 
adventure is common to both stories. In both stories David 
gets Saul into his power without the king's knowing it, and 
his men seek to slay Saul stealthily, but David prevents 
them. When Saul is out of danger David proves to him 
his innocence, and complains of Saul's ceaseless persecu- 
tions, and Saul confesses his guilt. There are also striking 
similarities in language ; cf. . . !>soe» . . mm b*n wsbti TVlhw 
•rn DN K»p3^ in 26. 2 and 24. 3 ; ne" Till in 26. 3 b with 
24. 4b; 26. 11 a with 24. 7 ; 26. 17 '121 "fan with 24. 17 ; 
26. 20 b with 24. 15. On the other hand, there are also 
important differences in the general presentation of the 
story and in the details. The temper of the two men is 
differently represented in each of the stories. In 24 
David's speech is very bitter and almost vindictive 
(vers. 10-16) ; in 26, on the other hand, it is respectful and 
supplicatory (vers. 18-20). Again, in 24 Saul is profuse, 
humble, and remorseful (vers. 1 8-22) ; in 26 he is brief and 
dignified (ver. 21). Further, the style in 24 is diffuse and 
verbose as compared with the conciseness and terseness of 
26. There are also marked differences in the details of the 
story. 26 takes place in the wilderness of Ziph, 24 in the 
wilderness of Engedi. In 26 it is the Ziphites who betray 
David, in 24 the informers are unnamed. In 16 David, 
accompanied only by one follower, goes down to the 
encampment of Saul ; in 24 Saul comes to the hiding-place 
of David and all his band. In 26 the proof of David's 
innocence is the spear and pitcher of water ; in 24 
it is the skirt of the king's mantle. In 26 it is Abishai 


who wishes to slay the king ; in 24 David is incited to 
slay him with his own hand. In 26 David first addresses 
Abner, and the king only after the latter had spoken to 
him ; in 24 David addresses Saul straightway, and Abner's 
presence is entirely ignored. Now, the identity of the main 
outline certainly proves the original identity of the adven- 
ture. On the other hand, the differences in detail preclude 
the assumption that the two accounts in their literary form 
are both derived from a common source, or that one account 
is derived from the other. Yet the linguistic similarities 
demonstrate the dependence of one account upon the other, 
viz. the dependence of ch. 24 upon ch. 26, which is no 
doubt the older of the stories. 37 The only solution which 
will satisfy all the facts of the problem is the following: 
The writer of ch. 24, who, as we remarked above (§ 68), is 
the author of our book, knew ch. 26 in its present literary 
form from some old document. But he also knew from 
oral tradition a story of a similar character, which, however, 
contained so many striking differences in detail as to lead 
him to believe that the two stories were not identical, and 
that David and Saul really had two such adventures. 
Judging by our modern criteria of historical criticism, we 
may think that this belief of his was wrong ; but we have 
no right to impose our modern ideas upon an ancient 
writer, and to assert, as the critics seem to do, that his 
belief in the independence of the two stories was unjusti- 
fiable and impossible from his own point of view. The story 
which he found in his old source he reproduced in ch. 26, 
but the story which he derived from oral tradition he 
related in his own words in ch. 24. In this latter composi- 

87 Cf. Thenius-L6hr, Samuel, XLV ; H. P. Smith, op. at., 230 ; Stenning, 
in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, vol. IV, 338 a. 


tion he was, consciously or unconsciously, strongly in- 
fluenced by the phraseology of the older story ; hence the 
linguistic similarities between ch. 26 and ch. 24. We have 
already found our author elsewhere repeating in his own 
compositions phrases and expressions belonging to the 
older documents which he incorporated into his narrative r 
cf. 10. 23b with 9. 2b ; 15. 19b with 14. 32a; 16. 12a 
with 17. 42 b; 23. 19 with 26. 1 (see §§ 28, 50, 67). We 
should, of course, expect 26. 1 to begin with 'tn liy ism or 
'tn 13W1 , but our author seems to have left the expression 
as he found it in his document either through an oversight, 
or because he was unwilling to tamper with the text of the 
document. The assumption that the author of our book 
is responsible for the appearance in his narrative of both 
ch. 24 and ch. 26 will help to explain the resentful tone of 
David's speech in 24. 10-16 as compared with the more 
calm and respectful tone of his speech in 26. 1 8-20. In ch. 24 
his mind was still full of the bitter feelings engendered 
by Saul's pursuit described just before in 23. 25-8. In 
ch. 26, on the other hand, David was still fresh from the 
enjoyment of a long repose in the wilderness of Ma'on 
(ch. 25). 38 These facts will also account for the difference 
in the bearing of Saul in ch. 24 and ch. 26. 

73. This solution of ours is also strongly supported by 
another consideration. According to the analysis of the 
critics, 23. 19-24. 23 is the duplicate of ch. 26. The 
Ziphites thus informed against David only once, and Saul 
confessed his guilt only once. If so, it is incomprehensible 
that after the assurance just given in 26. 21, 25, an assurance 
which had never yet been broken, David suddenly despairs 

58 It is possible that the source used by the author in his composition 
of ch. 25 (cf. above § 71) was the same as that from which he derived ch. 26. 


so utterly of his safety that he resolves upon taking the 
desperate step of going over to the hereditary foe, the 
heathen Philistines, among whom he would be forced, as 
he says himself (26. 19), to abjure his God (27. 1 ff.). But 
according to our explanation David's resolve becomes quite 
clear and intelligible. He had been pursued by Saul on 
three occasions, in 23. 19-28, in ch. 24, and in ch. 26. He 
had been three times betrayed by his neighbours, and twice 
by the same people, the Ziphites (23. 19 ; 24. 2 b ; 26. 1). 
Saul's promises and confessions had been proved to be 
deceptive : the promise made in Engedi (24. 1 8-22) had 
been broken by the subsequent pursuit into the wilderness 
of Ziph (26. 2 ff.). Most of the natives of the Negeb were 
hostile and ungrateful, like Nabal (25. 10), or treacherous 
like the Ziphites. In these circumstances, with the repeated 
experience of danger and betrayal, it is quite natural and 
intelligible for David to despair of the future safety of 
himself, his wives, and his followers in the land of the 
Judean Negeb, and to resolve upon taking the extreme 
step of flight into the land of the Philistines. 

74. (ch. 27.) The author continues his narrative in 
ch. 27. Some critics have questioned the integrity of the 
chapter. They hold that ver. 11 contradicts vers. 5-6. 
But ver. 1 1 says only that David had to bring his spoil 
to Akish at Gath, not that David lived at Gath. Had 
David been living at Gath, his duplicity towards the king 
would no doubt have been soon discovered either by 
betrayal or by an unguarded remark from his men. That 
David refrained in his raids from attacking his own tribes- 
men and their allies is only what we should expect of him. 
This consideration for his own people is also confirmed by 
30. 26 ; cf. also 25. 15-16, 21, 28 ('n TWorbo, viz. against 


the heathen enemies of the Judeans and their allies). The 
confidence placed in David by Akish (ver. 12 ; 29. 3, 6, 9), 
and the ignorance of the Philistines of the real character 
of David's expeditions, prove conclusively that David lived 
at Ziklag and not at Gath. Hence vers. 7-13 presuppose 
vers. 5-6 — which proves the unity of the whole chapter. 
David's residence at Ziklag is also confirmed by 29. 4 and 
ch. 30. This disposes of H. P. Smith's conjecture that 
vers. $-6 are an interpolation. 39 

75. (chs. 28-31.) The story of Saul's death in his last 
war with the Philistines includes two episodes, viz. Saul's 
interview with the spirit of Samuel (28. 3-25) and the 
Amalekite raid on Ziklag (ch. 30). The latter, being part 
of the story of David, forms undoubtedly an integral por- 
tion of our section. Chs. 29-30 are, therefore, by the 
same hand as 28. 1-2, and as these two verses are the 
sequel of ch. 27, we may safely assign 28. 1-2 and chs. 29- 
30 to the author of our book. As regards the other episode, 
critics are agreed that it is an interpolation from another 
document, but on very insufficient evidence. They argue that 
the passage breaks the context, but that is natural to an 
episode. Again, they point out that the tone and style are 
different from those of the preceding and following pieces ; 
but that, too, is adequately accounted for by the profound 
difference of the subject-matter. Finally, the critics discover 
a discrepancy between this piece and ch. 29. Here in ver. 4 
the Philistines are encamped at Shunem and the Israelites 
at Gilboa, whereas in 29. 1 the Philistines are at Aphek and 
the Israelites at some fountain in Jezreel. But the fact is 
that 28. 4-25 is posterior in time to ch. 29, as is evident 

38 Cf. also Kamphausen in ZATIV., 1886, pp. 90 ff., and Budde, op. cit., 
231 f. 


from 28. 5, where Saul was already surveying the Philistine 
camp. Ch. 29 describes the situation at the opening of the 
campaign and the mobilization of the Philistine hosts, while 
28. 4 shows us the position of the two armies at the eve of 
the battle; cf. 28. 19 , , , nnx "inci. Aphek (probably 
identical with the one mentioned in 4. 1) served as the 
place of muster for the various Philistine armies : 29. 1 does 
not say that the Philistines encamped at Aphek, only that 
their hosts assembled there for the purpose of moving 
northwards, while Jezreel was the place of the first encamp- 
ment of the Israelites. When the Philistines marched from 
Aphek on Jezreel (29. 1 1 b), the Israelites, out of fear of the 
enemy, moved backwards to Gilboa, south-east of Jezreel. 
The Philistines then, for some strategical reason, moved up 
farther north to Shunem, where they pitched their encamp- 
ment (28. 4), and from there pushed back southwards to 
attack the Israelites on the heights of Gilboa (31. 1 ; 
II. 1. 21). 

76. The nocturnal scene at Endor must have taken place 
at the time of David's fight with the Amalekites, which 
latter occurred three days after David had left Aphek (cf. 
the chronological references in 30. 1 a, 13 b £ ; II. 1. 1 b-2 a), 
but before 30. 26. For this reason the author placed the 
story of Endor where he did, and not after ch. 30, as Budde 
has injudiciously done in his badly deranged text in Haupt's 
Polychrome Bible. Besides this chronological reason, the 
author also had an aesthetic reason for placing 28. 3-25 
before chs. 29-30, viz. to afford the reader some relief in 
chs. 29-30 between the depressing effects of the ghostly 
scene at Endor and the gory battlefield of Gilboa in ch. 31. 
Chs. 29-30 are thus treated by the author as an episode 
and a break in the course of his narrative. This explains 


the wording of the opening clause of ch. 31 as a subordinate 
statement : ccnbi DTiB^Bl ' The Philistines were fighting ', 
viz. during the time covered by the preceding account ; cf. 
Rashi's note ad loc: pe>xn pjj£ -mro nffixn D1N3. On the 
other hand, the Chronicler, who had not previously men- 
tioned anything of the Philistine war, makes of these words 
a principal statement, using the perfect tense : lorfa 'si. This 
disposes of H. P. Smith's hasty conjecture (op. cit., 352) that 
our text in 31. 1 requires emendation in accordance with the 
reading of the Chronicler (1 Chron. 10. 1). We, therefore, see 
no reason to deny 38. 3-35 to the author of our book, to 
whom this scene must have appeared as the final and supreme 
climax in the story of his great hero, the prophet Samuel. 
It is admitted by practically all critics 40 that this story is 
by the same hand as ch. 15- In fact, 28. 17 points back 
expressly to 15. 28. But we have already assigned ch. 15 
to the author of our book (§ 50). Hence we conclude that 
this story, as well as the rest of the section comprising 
chs. 28-31, is the work of our author. This view is sup- 
ported by the use of id in vers. 15, 16, which reminds us of 
16. 14, 23, and by the introductory character of vers. 3-4. 
The latter is evidently an essential part of the story and 
not the work of an interpolator. On the other hand, 
vers. 18-19 seems to have suffered expansion by a late 
hand. Ver. 18 is rather diffuse, and clause b in ver. 19 is 
practically a repetition of the first part of clause a. Perhaps 
the whole of vers. 18-19 a a ( to tPTVlfob) is a later addition. 

77. (II. ch. 1.) The narrative of Saul's death is continued 
in II. 1, which describes the reception of the news by David. 
The chapter is homogeneous, and as it continues the story 
of i. 31 it must be assigned to the author of our book. 

40 Budde (op. cit., 233) is the only exception. 


Ver. 4 is reminiscent in its phraseology and climactic 
arrangement of I. 4. i6b-i7 (cf. Ralbag's note ad be). 
With ver. 14 compare I. 24. 7 ; 26. 9, 11. Some critics, 
however, hold that vers. 6-1 1, 13-16 belong to another 
document ; that ver. 5 is a redactional link connecting 
vers. 1-4, which form the continuation of I. 31, with the 
contradictory account given in the interpolation, vers. 6-1 1, 
13-16, while ver. 12 is a later addition, because lamentation 
and fasting were at the stage of that verse still premature. 
But, as H. P. Smith asks (op. cit., 254), where did vers. 
6-11, 13-16 come from ? We may further ask, what was the 
original continuation of ver. 4 ? It could not have been ver. 1 7, 
for we require first some such statement as is contained 
in ver. 11 ; much less could it have been 2. 1, even if we 
omit p~nnn vpi ; for David would certainly have paid some 
honour to the fallen heroes before proceeding to utilize 
the new situation for his own benefit. Finally, is it likely 
that in this alleged original document to which vers. 1-4 
belong, David accepted the truth of the tidings in ver. 4 
without adequate proof, and without inquiring for further 
details? The truth is, that we obtain a logical and con- 
sistent account of the affair only if we accept vers. 1-17 as 
one continuous and homogeneous narrative. After the 
man's general statement in ver. 4, David naturally inquires 
for the source of his knowledge (ver. 5). The answer to 
this is given in vers. 6-10. Convinced of the truth of the 
death of Saul and Jonathan by the irrefutable evidence 
supplied by the man's producing Saul's regalia, David and 
his men perform the usual rites of mourning over the fallen 
heroes (vers. 11-12). Then, as part of the reparation due 
to the manes of the slain king, David punishes the Amalekite 
for his self-confessed crime (vers. 13-16), and finally pro- 


ceeds to pronounce on the heroes the dirge of lamentation 
which usually accompanied the dead to the grave (cf. 3. 33 ; 
1 Kings 13. 30, &c). 

78. The reason which has compelled the critics to 
mutilate our chapter is the contradiction between the 
account of Saul's death in 1. 31 and the report of the 
Amalekite. The easiest way for our critics to overcome 
the difficulty is by resorting to their usual contrivance of 
postulating two different documents with redactional links 
and additions. But the fact is, as already noted by Qimhi 
and Ralbag, that the Amalekite's story in vers. 6-10 a is 
a pure fabrication. The narrator does not, indeed, say so 
explicitly, but there is no need for such an explicit state- 
ment, since the lie has just been given to the Amalekite's 
story in the narrator's own account in 1. 31. No one 
except perhaps a modern Bible critic, whose constitutional 
scepticism is sometimes balanced by an astounding gulli- 
bility, would be taken in by the tissue of falsehoods which 
the brazen-faced Amalekite sought to palm off on David. 
His lies stare one in the face. First, he did not, as he says, 
come to Gilboa by mere chance (Tixnpj sopj,ver.6). He came 
there either as a combatant, or as a thief to strip the dead and 
wounded. Secondly, he could not have managed to get right 
into the thick of the battle — also by mere chance ! — and 
penetrate through the chariots and horsemen, so as to 
reach the wounded king. Thirdly, if the king had already 
been overtaken by the enemy's cavalry, he would not have 
had the time to engage the Amalekite in a conversation (vers. 
7-9). Fourthly, Saul would not have been deserted by all 
his own men and forced to solicit help from the Amalekite; 
at least his armour-bearer would have remained by his side, 
as in fact he did (I. 31. 4-5). It is evident that the 


Amalekite was a member of some band of robbers, who, 
like vultures, usually haunted the battlefields and preyed 
upon the dead and wounded. He succeeded in discovering 
the body of the dead king before the Philistines (I. 31. 8), 
stripped him, and carried the royal insignia to David in 
expectation of a rich reward. The narrator does not say 
that David really believed the details of the Amalekite's 
story. David accepted only the truth of the general state- 
ment of the defeat of the Israelites, which he must have 
expected himself, and of the death of Saul as testified by 
the Amalekite's possession of the regalia. Perhaps he also 
believed it possible that the Amalekite had found Saul 
lying mortally wounded and had dispatched him of his 
own accord (vers. 14-16). 

79. Budde (op.cit., 238) and other critics regard 4. 10 as 
contradictory to our account here, since there David kills 
the Amalekite with his own hand, whereas here (ver. 15) he 
has him killed by one of his men. They think, therefore, 
that 4. 10 is based upon a different document, and that 
originally some such account as in 4. 10 followed here 
between ver. 10 and ver. 17, which, however, had been 
suppressed by the redactor in favour of the account in 
vers. 6-16. But surely 4. 10 is not a complete statement 
of the incident. For even assuming that it is based on 
a different document, that hypothetical document could not 
have said what 4. 10 says, that David slew the bearer of 
tidings for no other cause than that of having brought him 
the news of Saul's death. Was death the usual reward for 
bringing the tidings of the death of a king ? Or was David 
a bloodthirsty tyrant, to slay innocent people for his mere 
pleasure ? It is plain that the bearer of tidings must have 
been guilty of something more criminal than anything men- 


tioned in 4. 10, though not so criminal as the act of Rekab 
and Ba'anah. If, then, 4. 10 is incomplete, and the real cause 
of David's action was some unnamed crime committed by 
the man, there is nothing to prevent us from assuming that 
4. 10 refers back to 1. 15-16, and that the real cause of the 
man's death was as stated in our narrative here. The critics 
have been misled by the literal interpretation of nrnsi in 
4. 10. But that expression need not mean that David 
slew the man with his own hand, any more than, for 
example, p*! in 5. 9 means that David built his fortress 
with his own hands (cf. above, § 65). Assuming, therefore, 
as we must, that 4. 10 points back to our passage here, it is 
noteworthy that in the outburst of his passionate indignation 
David reports the words of the Amalekite as htft? no run, 
and not '& r>N 'nnn ran. This seems to confirm our view 
that David did not really believe the details of the 
Amalekite's story in vers. 6-10 a. 

The insertion of the elegy in vers. 19-27 was probably 
made by the author himself, like the similar insertion of 
the elegy on Abner in 3. 33-4. For a discussion of the 
original form of the elegy, see the writer's paper in this 
Review, vol. V, pp. 202-8. 

David and Ishbosheth. 
80. (ch. 2.) The story of David's accession to the 
throne, first of Judah, and then of all Israel, contained 
in chs. 2-5. 5, must as a whole be assigned to the author 
of our book. 2. 2 refers back to I. 25. 42-3 : 2. 4 f. to 
I. 31. 11-13 ; and 3. 13 f. to I. 18. 37 ; 25. 44. The author 
may, however, have used some older material, particularly 
in his account of the fight at Gibeon. It is also possible 
that the critics are right in regarding the chronological notes 


in 2. jo, 11 as a later addition, similar to I. 13. 1. It has 
been argued by the critics that Ishbosheth must have been 
a minor when he succeeded to the throne of Israel, since 
he did not accompany his father to Gilboa. But we have 
no evidence that he was not present at Gilboa. He might 
have escaped the slaughter of his brothers. And if he did 
not go to the war, it was perhaps due to his lack of physical 
courage rather than to his youthfulness. His remonstrance 
with Abner in 3. 7 would lead us to think that he had 
already reached manhood. Note also his description as 
PHV E^K in 4. 11. Nevertheless, he does not seem to have 
been as old as forty years on his accession (2. 10), i. e. ten 
years older than David. For in this case the difference in 
age between David and Jonathan, the eldest son of Saul, 
would have been rather too great to allow for such a warm 
and intimate friendship as existed between them. 

81. Budde (pp. cit., 240) regards 2. 14-16 as an inter- 
polation. He thinks that the story of the twenty-four 
champions was invented to explain the name of the field 
(ver. 16 b), and that ver. 17 originally followed immediately 
on ver. 13. But it is difficult to see how the battle in 
ver. 176°. could have developed out of ver. 13 b. If the 
two rival hosts had deliberately come out to fight, the 
narrator would have said in ver. 13 b urn, and not nw, 
We want an explanation of the immediate cause of the 
outbreak of hostilities. For it is apparent from vers. 22 b /3, 
26 that Abner had entered on the fight unwillingly and 
unpreparedly. And the ready consent of Joab to stop 
the fighting (ver. 27) proves that Joab, too, did not come 
out originally with the set purpose of fighting a battle. It 
is evident, therefore, that the outbreak of the fighting was 
unexpected and against the wish of the generals, and must 


therefore have been due to some chance incident such as that 
described in vers. 14-16, which inflamed the passions both 
of the men and of their leaders. It is, however, possible that 
there is a lacuna between ver. 16 and ver. 17. For we expect 
a statement that the fatal play had led to a quarrel and to 
mutual recriminations, which resulted in a pitched battle 
between the rival hosts. Perhaps the author derived his 
account from an older source, which he abridged, as he did, 
for example, in I. 10. 7 ff. (cf. above, § 48). 

8a. (ch. 3.) Critics have denied the integrity of this 
chapter, but on insufficient evidence. They hold that 
vers. 3-5 are a late redactional insertion removed here from 
behind 8. 15, whither they also propose to transfer 5. 13-16. 
It is very magnanimous on their part to credit the ancient 
Hebrew writer with so much of their own Germanic sense 
of method and orderliness as to assert that he must have 
placed all these lists together, but truth forces us to decline 
the flattering compliment. For it is hard to see why a 
redactor should have transferred these lists from ch. 8 to 
their present places. The fact is that 3. 3-5 is quite in its 
right place here, and is the work of the author of the rest 
of the chapter, who intended the list to illustrate the 
growing strength of David (ver. 1 b a. Cf., for example, 
Esther 5. 11 a). Dr. H. P. Smith conjectures that two 
different documents have been joined together in the 
account of the negotiations between David and Abner. 
' One of the two accounts made Abner send to David by 
the hand of messengers; the other made him come in person. 
In the former document his motive was simply the convic- 
tion that David was the man of the future. The other 
gave the quarrel with Ishbaal as the occasion ' (op. cit., 275). 
But it must be doubted whether any document would 


have represented Abner as a selfish traitor ready to betray 
his weak protdgi Ishbosheth and the whole house of Saul 
for no cause whatever except his own personal advantage. 
The change in Abner's attitude to Ishbosheth must have 
been the result of some very powerful motive, such as is 
supplied by our narrative in ver. 7 ff. Again, is it likely 
that Abner would have been represented as coming per- 
sonally to David, after the long war which he had waged 
against him (ver. 1), without first obtaining through some 
trusted messengers a guarantee against violence to his 
person ? Finally, the fact that Abner's visit to David took 
place during Joab's absence proves conclusively that this 
meeting between David and Abner had been fully arranged 
beforehand through ambassadors. 

83. Equally groundless is the theory of others that 
vers. 12-16 are an interpolation. It is impossible to believe 
that Abner would have begun his agitation among the 
elders in favour of David before he had concluded a secret 
agreement with David. ' Why should David send to Ishbaal 
for Michal when, as we learn from ver. 13, the marriage 
was to confirm the secret alliance which Abner was seeking 
with David ? ' 41 The answer is, that Paltiel would not 
have given up his wife, to whom he was so deeply attached 
(ver. 16), except at the bidding of his king — Ishbosheth. 
David insisted on the restoration of Michal as a pre- 
liminary to the negotiations with Abner. The only way, to 
secure her restoration without using forcible means was for 
David to make a formal demand to Ishbosheth (ver. 14), 
and for Abner to press his weak master to accede to 
the demand of his powerful rival. The procedure must 
have been arranged secretly through the ambassadors 

41 S. A. Cook, AJSL., ibid., p. 149. 


between David and Abner. That Abner accompanied 
Michal as far as Bahurim (ver. 16 b) is only what we would 
expect, considering the rank of Michal and his own anxiety 
to secure the satisfaction of David's demand. Perhaps the 
arrival of Michal at Hebron coincided with the visit of Abner 
to David described in ver. 20. If so, vers. 17-19 a would be 
anterior to ver. 16, but this is not likely. Further, we need 
not be surprised that the narrator omitted to describe 
Michal's arrival at Hebron. For the whole Michal episode 
is given here not for its own sake, but only as a sequel to 

I. 18. 27; 19. 11-17; 25.44, and as an introduction to 

II. 6. 16 ff. 

84. The critics also declare ver. 30 to be an interpolation, 
without, however, giving a valid reason for this view. The 
verse may very well be by the hand of our author, and be 
intended as a summary of the narrative, after the usual fashion 
of Biblical writers, and also to explain that the murder was 
an act of blood revenge on behalf of the whole family. For 
this reason Abishai is coupled with Joab in the act. And 
though he did not actually assist in the murder, yet he 
must have been privy to Joab's design. That Joab did 
not act for himself alone, but for the whole of his family, 
is proved by the fact that David's curse is called down 
not only upon the head of Joab, but also upon the whole 
house of his father (ver. 29 a ; cf. also ver. 39 : rrnv ya). 

85. (ch. 4.) Critics have failed to understand the 
meaning of 4. 2-3, and, as usual in such a case, have 
questioned the genuineness of these verses. Rimmon, as 
shown by his name, which is that of the Syrian storm god, 
was a Canaanite, or, more exactly, a Hiwite. When Saul 
destroyed the Gibeonites (21. 1) he must also have attacked 
their confederates, the Beerothites (cf. Josh. 9. 17, &c). 


Therefore the Beerothites with Rimmon among them fled 
to Gittaim, where they lived as gerim, retaining the name 
Beerothites. In the course of time the sons of Rimmon 
became officers of Ishbosheth, and ultimately murdered 
him, no doubt as an act of blood revenge. The writer 
describes them as ptwa yao. But as they were really 
Hivvites, he adds in self-correction that they are reckoned 
to Benjamin, not because they are Benjamites, but only 
because Beeroth is reckoned a part of Benjamite territory 
(ver. 2). 

86. The critics hold ver. 4 also to be an interpolation. 
According to most of them, it stood originally after 9. 3 
in the answer of Ziba to David's inquiry. But this is 
altogether improbable. The answers of Ziba to the king's 
questions in 9. a, 4 are fittingly very brief. It is not likely 
that he would have launched forth into such a long state- 
ment about Mephibosheth as that contained in 4. 4 b without 
having been asked by the king to do so. Again, if our 
verse originally stood after 9. 3, why was it transferred here 
to a place which, according to the critics, is much less 
appropriate for it ? There can be no doubt that our verse 
was placed here by the author, though he may have derived 
it from some old source. For 4. 1-4 is really introductory 
and preparatory to the narrative of the death of Ishbosheth 
and the accession of David to the throne of Saul (4. 5 — 
5. 3). 4. 1 describes the state of alarm and confusion 
which followed on Abner's death, and emboldened the 
Beerothites to commit their nefarious deed. Vers. 3-3 
describe the murderers, as introductory to vers. 5-1 a, 
while ver. 4 describes the helplessness of the sole remaining 
heir to Saul's throne. Because of this helplessness he failed 
to take possession of the vacant throne, and therefore the 



tribes of Israel were forced to turn to David and invite 
him to become their king. 42 This verse is, therefore, 
introductory to 5. 1-3, and as such is an integral and 
necessary part of the author's narrative. 

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(TV fe continued.)