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A Sure House: Studies on the Dynastic Promise to David in the Books of Samuel and Kings


Rückl, Jan (2016). A Sure House: Studies on the Dynastic Promise to David in the Books of Samuel and Kings. Fribourg / Göttingen: Academic Press / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Abstract

This book is a study of the texts referring or alluding to the dynastic promise to David in the books of Samuel and Kings (and the “Law of the King” in Deut 17,14-20). Attention is paid to the textual problems of some of the studied passages, especially 2 Sam 7 which has different meanings in the most important textual witnesses (MT, LXXB, LXXL, 1 Chr 17MT, 1 Chr 17LXX). Although the most ancient retrievable text of 2 Sam 7 is not to be identified with MT, this text form corresponds to the original basic meaning of the chapter. Special attention is given to the value of 1 Chr 17 for the reconstruction of the oldest text of 2 Sam 7. There are many “synonymous” differences between 2 Sam 7 and 1 Chr 17, which cannot be explained as resulting from “mistakes” or “tendentious” (e.g. ideologically motivated) changes in one of the two traditions. A statistic study of the patterns of agreements among the witnesses leads to the conclusion that evaluating these differences “case by case” would lead to arbitrary decisions; the great majority of these differences are a result of the Chronicler’s relatively free approach to his source.
The emergence of 2 Sam 7,1-17 may be construed in two historical contexts. In the “exilic” period, the purpose of the dynastic promise being linked to the polemic against the traditional significance of the temple in royal ideology might be to preserve – or to establish – the validity of the promise after the fall of the temple. Alternatively, 2 Sam 7,1-17 might have been written at the time after Zerubbabel (at the end of the 6th / beginning of the 5th c.?), during the period when the temple of Jerusalem was restored, but the Davidides could not derive their legitimacy from it, since the cult and the temple were understood as the domain of priests under the auspices of Persian rule.
The author of 2 Sam 7,1-17 may also be thought to be responsible for 1 Sam 10,8 + 13,7b-15a and 1 Sam 25, the texts that primarily emphasize, in accordance with 2 Sam 7,14-15, the unconditional nature of the dynastic promise once it is given. In the books of Kings, 1 Kgs 2,24.33.45; 1 Kgs 11,29-38*; 15,4; 2 Kgs 8,19 could be ascribed to this hand as well. All these texts could have been written in both the Neo-Babylonian and Persian period, similarly to 2 Sam 7,1-17. However, some other references to the dynastic promise in Samuel (1 Sam 2,27-36; 2 Sam 7,18-29; 22,51; 23,1-7) cannot be dated to the Neo-Babylonian period (or even the very beginning of the Persian period). Theoretically, these texts could belong to the same redactional layer as 2 Sam 7,1-17, but only in case we adopt the later one of the two suggested dates of its origin. In contrast, if the earlier date is accepted for the first group of texts, the second group must have been added later (in one or several stages). At any rate, whereas all these texts may be regarded as a defense of actual political interests of the ex-royal family in the exilic and/or post-exilic period, this does not hold for 1 Kgs 2,4; 8,25; 9,4-5 where the power of the Davidic kings is explicitly conditional upon the eternal loyalty of David’s descendants to Yhwh. These passages cannot be ascribed to the same author(s) as the other references to the dynastic promise in Samuel–Kings; on the other hand, this redaction in Kings was perhaps not driven by actual anti-Davidic political interests, representing rather an attempt to explain the unfulfillment of the dynastic promise.
Following W. Oswald (and building on the work of S. McKenzie), we ascribe the oracles against the founders of the dynasties (or, in the case of Ahab, the dynasty’s other “prominent” member) ruling in northern Israel and the related fulfillment notices (1 Kgs 14,7-18; 15,27-30; 16,1-4.11-13; 21,20-24*; 2 Kgs 9,7-10*.25-26.36-37*; 10,1a.10-17) to the same author as 2 Sam 7,1-17 (the promise to Jehu in 2 Kgs 10,30 belongs here as well). Hence, both dynastic promises to and judgments against dynasties in Sam–Kgs depend on the piety of the dynasty’s founder. This conception of the history of the Judean and Israelite kingdoms as a history of royal dynasties, unfolding according to the evaluation of the dynasty’s founder, is largely determined by the historical situation of the Davidides after the loss (or radical downfall) of their power in the 6th and 5th c. B.C.E. The author of these texts is the (first) author of the book of Kings, and probably also the first redactor of Samuel (though the latter might have existed in some form earlier). These books were composed on the basis of older sources in the Neo-Babylonian or, perhaps more likely, Persian period.

Abstract

This book is a study of the texts referring or alluding to the dynastic promise to David in the books of Samuel and Kings (and the “Law of the King” in Deut 17,14-20). Attention is paid to the textual problems of some of the studied passages, especially 2 Sam 7 which has different meanings in the most important textual witnesses (MT, LXXB, LXXL, 1 Chr 17MT, 1 Chr 17LXX). Although the most ancient retrievable text of 2 Sam 7 is not to be identified with MT, this text form corresponds to the original basic meaning of the chapter. Special attention is given to the value of 1 Chr 17 for the reconstruction of the oldest text of 2 Sam 7. There are many “synonymous” differences between 2 Sam 7 and 1 Chr 17, which cannot be explained as resulting from “mistakes” or “tendentious” (e.g. ideologically motivated) changes in one of the two traditions. A statistic study of the patterns of agreements among the witnesses leads to the conclusion that evaluating these differences “case by case” would lead to arbitrary decisions; the great majority of these differences are a result of the Chronicler’s relatively free approach to his source.
The emergence of 2 Sam 7,1-17 may be construed in two historical contexts. In the “exilic” period, the purpose of the dynastic promise being linked to the polemic against the traditional significance of the temple in royal ideology might be to preserve – or to establish – the validity of the promise after the fall of the temple. Alternatively, 2 Sam 7,1-17 might have been written at the time after Zerubbabel (at the end of the 6th / beginning of the 5th c.?), during the period when the temple of Jerusalem was restored, but the Davidides could not derive their legitimacy from it, since the cult and the temple were understood as the domain of priests under the auspices of Persian rule.
The author of 2 Sam 7,1-17 may also be thought to be responsible for 1 Sam 10,8 + 13,7b-15a and 1 Sam 25, the texts that primarily emphasize, in accordance with 2 Sam 7,14-15, the unconditional nature of the dynastic promise once it is given. In the books of Kings, 1 Kgs 2,24.33.45; 1 Kgs 11,29-38*; 15,4; 2 Kgs 8,19 could be ascribed to this hand as well. All these texts could have been written in both the Neo-Babylonian and Persian period, similarly to 2 Sam 7,1-17. However, some other references to the dynastic promise in Samuel (1 Sam 2,27-36; 2 Sam 7,18-29; 22,51; 23,1-7) cannot be dated to the Neo-Babylonian period (or even the very beginning of the Persian period). Theoretically, these texts could belong to the same redactional layer as 2 Sam 7,1-17, but only in case we adopt the later one of the two suggested dates of its origin. In contrast, if the earlier date is accepted for the first group of texts, the second group must have been added later (in one or several stages). At any rate, whereas all these texts may be regarded as a defense of actual political interests of the ex-royal family in the exilic and/or post-exilic period, this does not hold for 1 Kgs 2,4; 8,25; 9,4-5 where the power of the Davidic kings is explicitly conditional upon the eternal loyalty of David’s descendants to Yhwh. These passages cannot be ascribed to the same author(s) as the other references to the dynastic promise in Samuel–Kings; on the other hand, this redaction in Kings was perhaps not driven by actual anti-Davidic political interests, representing rather an attempt to explain the unfulfillment of the dynastic promise.
Following W. Oswald (and building on the work of S. McKenzie), we ascribe the oracles against the founders of the dynasties (or, in the case of Ahab, the dynasty’s other “prominent” member) ruling in northern Israel and the related fulfillment notices (1 Kgs 14,7-18; 15,27-30; 16,1-4.11-13; 21,20-24*; 2 Kgs 9,7-10*.25-26.36-37*; 10,1a.10-17) to the same author as 2 Sam 7,1-17 (the promise to Jehu in 2 Kgs 10,30 belongs here as well). Hence, both dynastic promises to and judgments against dynasties in Sam–Kgs depend on the piety of the dynasty’s founder. This conception of the history of the Judean and Israelite kingdoms as a history of royal dynasties, unfolding according to the evaluation of the dynasty’s founder, is largely determined by the historical situation of the Davidides after the loss (or radical downfall) of their power in the 6th and 5th c. B.C.E. The author of these texts is the (first) author of the book of Kings, and probably also the first redactor of Samuel (though the latter might have existed in some form earlier). These books were composed on the basis of older sources in the Neo-Babylonian or, perhaps more likely, Persian period.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Monograph
Communities & Collections:Special Collections > Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:03 Feb 2017 11:21
Last Modified:22 Feb 2017 09:32
Publisher:Academic Press / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Series Name:Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Volume:281
Number of Pages:356
ISBN:978-3-7278-1800-4
Related URLs:http://www.zora.uzh.ch/54117/

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