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- 1 Samuel
by Johann Peter Lange
Rev. Dr. CHR. FR. DAVID ERDMANN
general superintendent of the province of silesia, and professor of theology in the university of breslau
translated, enlarged and edited
Rev. C.H. TOY, D.D., LL.D.,
Rev. JOHN A. BROADUS, D.D., LL.D.,
professors in the theological seminary at louisville, ky.
VOL. V. OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:
CONTAINING THE FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF SAMUEL
PREFACE TO VOL. V. OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Commentary on the two Books of Samuel was prepared in German by the Rev. Dr. Erdmann, General Superintendent of Silesia and Honor. Professor of Theology in the University of Breslau, and in English by the Rev. C. H. Toy, D. D., LL. D., and the Rev. John A. Broadus, D. D., LL. D., Professors in the Theological Seminary at Greenville, South Carolina.
Dr. Erdmann, in his Preface, dated Breslau, March 8, 1873, says:
‘In regard to the execution of the work in its several parts, I add the following remarks. In the translation, while I have tried to follow the ground-text closely, I have preserved as far as possible the tone and impress of Luther’s translation. On account of the admitted defectiveness of the Masoretic text of these books, it seemed to me better not to place the textual remarks and discussions, together with the various readings and emendations, under the text of the translation, but to insert them in the exegetical explanations. In the exegesis I have departed in one point from the form usual in this Bible-Work, namely, instead of explanations under each verse, I have given an exegesis that reproduces the content of the text in connected development, following the received division of verses. “Exegesis,” therefore, or “Scientific Exposition,” would have been a fitter heading for the section in question than “Exegetical Explanations.”1 In the next division, instead of the usual heading, “Dogmatic and Ethical Fundamental Thoughts,” I have chosen as a more appropriate designation for these prophetical-historical books: “Theocratic-historical and Biblical-Theological Comments;”2 for we have here to do with a new step in the historical development of the Theocracy in Israel, and with the wider unfolding of the religious-ethical truth which has its root in the advancing revelation of God. From this point of view of the history of revelation and the theocracy, the comments and remarks of this section are intended to serve as contributions to the hitherto too little cultivated science of the Biblical Theology of the Old Testament. In the homiletical section, while I have given my own words, I have rather cited the diverse witnesses of ancient and modern times, from whom I could derive any valuable material for fruitful application and parænetic use of the text on the basis of the preceding scientific exposition.
‘In every part of my work on this portion of the Old Testament history of the Kingdom of God, with its fund of religious-ethical revelation, I have been constantly reminded of and deeply impressed by a profound saying of Hamann, with which I here close: “Every biblical history is a prophecy, which is fulfilled through all the centuries and in the soul of every human being. Every history bears the image of man, a body, which is earth and ashes and nothing, the sensible letter; but also a soul, the breath of God, the life and the light, which shines in the dark, and cannot be comprehended by the darkness. The Spirit of God in His word reveals itself as the Self-sufficient in the form of a servant, in flesh, and dwells among us full of grace and truth.” ’
As regards the English edition, the work has been so divided that Dr. Toy prepared the Exegetical and Historical sections, and paid careful and minute attention to the Hebrew text; Dr. Broadus has reproduced the Homiletical and Practical portions, partly condensing and partly enlarging the original from English sources, especially from Bishop Hall’s Contemplations and Sermons, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, and Dr. W. Taylor’s Life of David.
New York, 42 Bible House, March 1, 1877.
BOOKS OF SAMUEL
1. The Name
The title of these books is an indication not of their origin, but of their chief contents. Although it is only in the first book that the work of the Judge and Prophet Samuel is expressly related, and himself, with the divine mission which he had to fulfil for Saul and David, everywhere made to take precedence of them, yet the naming of both books after Samuel is justified by the fact that Samuel, by his conspicuous position, as it is set forth only in the first book in his judicial and prophetic office in the light of special divine call and guidance (he being not merely the close of the troubled period of the Judges, but also the foundational beginning of the divinely ordained kingly rule in Israel), thus towers far above the first two kings, so far as they were chosen and called through him, and points out and maintains for the Israelitish kingdom, which owes its origination and stability to him, its true theocratic basis and significance. Abarbanel remarks rightly (Prœf. in Libr. Sam. f. 74, in Carpzov, Introd. p. 212): “All the contents of both books may in a certain sense be referred to Samuel, even the deeds of Saul and David, because both, having been anointed by Samuel, were, so to speak, the work of his hands.” Keil also well says: “The naming of both these books, which in form and content are an inseparable whole, after Samuel is explained by the fact that Samuel not only by the anointing of Saul and David inaugurates the kingdom in Israel, but at the same time by his prophetic activity exerts so determining an influence on the spirit of Saul’s government as well as David’s, that this government also may be regarded as in a sort the continuation and completion of the reformation of the Israelitish theocracy begun by the prophet.” (Introduction to Prophetical Historical Books of O. T. [Clark’s Foreign Theol. Library], prefixed to Vol. IV. (Josh., Judg., Ruth), p. 4).
In the Hebrew manuscripts and in the Jewish list of Old Testament books only one book of Samuel, שְׁמוּאֵל, is given. Its division into two books under this name, as we find it in our printed texts of the Old Testament, was first introduced in the sixteenth century, by Daniel Bomberg, after the example of the Septuagint and the Vulgate, and may be regarded as thus far appropriate, that the death of Saul, that epoch-making occurrence in the early history of the Israelitish kingdom, forms the close of the first book. Our Hebrew editions of the Bible follow the Seventy in dividing the Hebrew book of Samuel into two parts; they (the LXX.) did not, however, name these two books after Samuel, but included them with the two books of Kings, into which they in like manner divided the original one Hebrew book of Kings, מְלָכִים,under the common name “ Books of the Kingdoms,” βίβλοι βασιλειῶν. After the example of the Septuagint we find in the Greek Church-fathers and also in the Vulgate and the Latin Church-fathers, this division of the books of Samuel and Kings as one historical work into four books cited as the four βίβλοι βασιλειῶν, libri regum or regnorum. This way of combining, dividing, and naming, in which our “ Books of Samuel” are numbered as βασιλειῶν πρώτη, δευτέρα “First, Second Kings ” (comp. Origen in Euseb. H. E. 6. 25, and Jerome, Prol. Gal.) corresponds certainly to the general contents of these four, or more precisely two, books, so far as it consists chiefly of the history of the kingdom in the Old Testament covenant-people, and appears as a connected whole in the continuous narrative from Samuel’s birth to the time of the Babylonian Exile.
The content of the books of Samuel is in general the historical development of the Theocracy in the people of Israel from the end of the period of the Judges to near the end of the government of King David, and therefore embraces a space of nearly one hundred and twenty-five years, about 1140–1015 B. C. (Keil, Comm. on Sam., Introd. p. 2). The beginning of the first book introduces us into the end of the period of the Judges under the Highpriest Eli, narrating the history of the announcement, birth, childhood, and calling of Samuel (1 Samuel 1-3), and the troubled history of the people in the latter part of the misgovernment of Eli amid constant unfortunate conflicts with the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:0. sq.). Then follows the history of Israel under Samuel as the last Judge and Saul as the first king up to the death of Samuel (1 Samuel 25:0), and Saul (1 Samuel 31:0)——In the second book—whose original connection with the first is indicated not only formally by the fact that the masoretic appended remarks are placed only at the end of the second book, but also by the close connection between the historical contents of the two—the history of the government of David almost to its end, up to the punishment inflicted by God for the numbering of the people, forms the chief content, though its proper conclusion is found in the beginning of the first book of Kings, where David’s last sickness and death, and Solomon’s accession, are related. As on the one side the content of the books of Samuel goes over into the beginning of the books of Kings, so in the other direction it connects itself immediately with the history of the people of Israel in the book of Judges. The Old Testament history in its two factors—on the one hand the revelation of the living God to His chosen people, and on the other hand the thereby conditioned demeanor of the people towards its God in its general religious-ethical life—can be regarded only from the theocratic point of view, as the history of the kingdom of God in the people of Israel, and this history shows us in the course, and especially at the end of the period of the Judges, a deep decline of the Theocracy. The revelations of God’s saving power in the time of the Judges, always sporadic, became less and less frequent towards its end. The people were a long time in bondage under the dominion of the Philistines, and Samson’s twenty-years-judgeship could be described (Judges 13:5) only as the beginning of the deliverance of Israel out of their hand. The internal political life was completely disintegrated, the sanctuary-service had perished, the priesthood was corrupted, idolatry widespread, godlessness and immorality had the upper hand. This deep decline is pictured in the beginning of the first book of Samuel, in immediate connection with the description given in the book of Judges, in the condition of the religious ethical life under the high-priesthood of Eli, and in the desecration of the priesthood wrought by the godlessness and wicked deeds of his two sons; and from it the theocracy was extricated by Samuel’s labors as Shophet (Judge) and Prophet, and under the guidance of God was led by this great Reformer into a new path of development. Without, under Samuel and the royal rule introduced by him, political freedom and independence of heathen powers (of the Philistines in the first place) was gradually achieved, and within, the internal theocratic covenant-relation between the people of Israel and their God was renewed and extended on the basis of the restored unity and order of political and national life by the union of the prophetic and royal offices. Looked at from this theocratic point of view, the books of Samuel have an epoch-making content.
From the three principal persons to whom this foundational historical development of the theocracy on its new course attaches itself, the contents of the books of Samuel divide themselves into three principal groups: 1) 1 Samuel 1-7 : The history of Samuel a restorer of the deep-sunken theocracy, and founder of the Israelitish kingdom. 2) 1 Samuel 8-31 : The history of Saul and his kingdom from the beginning of his government to his death 3) 2 Samuel 1-24 : The history of the government of David.
According to these three principal points of view, the contents divide themselves a follows:
Samuel —1 Samuel 1-7
Samuel’s Life and Work as Judge and Prophet,
his aim being a reformation of the theocracy and the founding of the theocratical kingdom
Early life of Samuel, 1 Samuel 1-3
Sec. I. Samuel’s birth, in answer to prayer, 1 Samuel 1:1-20.
Sec. II. Samuel’s dedication,—restoration to the Lord, 1 Samuel 1:21-28.
Sec. III. His mother’s prayer over him, 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
Sec. IV. Samuel’s service before the Lord contrasted with the abominations of the degenerate priesthood in the house of Eli, 1 Samuel 2:11-26.
Sec. V. The prophecy of God’s punishment of Eli’s house, and of the calling of a faithful priest, 1 Samuel 2:27-36.
Sec. VI. Samuel’s call to be prophet alongside of the lack of prophecy in Israel, 1 Samuel 3:1-18.
Sec. VII. The beginning of his prophetical work, 1 Samuel 3:19 to 1 Samuel 4:1.
Samuel’s prophetic-judicial work, 1 Samuel 4:1 to 1 Samuel 7:17
First Section.—Infliction of the punishment prophesied by Samuel on the house of Eli and on all Israel in the unfortunate battle with the Philistines, 1 Samuel 4:1 to 1 Samuel 7:1.
I. Israel’s double defeat and loss of the Ark, 1 Samuel 4:1-11.
II. The judgment on the house of Eli, 1 Samuel 4:12-22.
III. The Ark in the hands of the Philistines as a judgment on Israel (comp. 1 Samuel 4:22). 1 Samuel 5:1 to 1 Samuel 7:1.
1) Chastisement of the Philistines because they held the Ark, 1 Samuel 5:1-12.
2) Restoration of the Ark, 1 Samuel 6:1-11.
3) Reception and Settling of the Ark in Israel, 1 Samuel 6:12 to 1 Samuel 7:1.
Second Section.—Samuel’s Reformation of Israel, 1 Samuel 7:2-17.
I. Israel’s repentance and conversion through Samuel’s prophetic labors, 1 Samuel 7:2-6.
II. Israel’s victory over the Philistines under Samuel’s lead, 1 Samuel 7:7-14.
III. Summary view of Samuel’s work as Judge, 1 Samuel 7:15-17.
(Close of the period of the Judges).
Saul.—1 Samuel 8-31
Founding of the Israelitish kingdom under Saul’s rule, 1 Samuel 8-12
First Section.—The preparations, 1 Samuel 8:9.
I. The occasion in the desire of the people for a king. Interview of the Elders with Samuel, 1 Samuel 8:0.
II. Samuel meets with Saul, and learns of his divine appointment to be king, 1 Samuel 9:0.
Second Section.—Saul’s induction into the royal office, 1 Samuel 10:0.
I. Saul anointed by Samuel, 1 Samuel 10:1.
II. The signs of divine confirmation, 1 Samuel 10:2-16.
III. The choice by lot, 1 Samuel 10:17-21.
IV. The installation and homage (but not of the whole people), 1 Samuel 10:22-27.
Third Section.—Establishment and general recognition of the kingdom under Saul, 1 Samuel 11:12.
I. Saul’s first victory over the Ammonites, 1 Samuel 11:0.
II. Samuel’s last address, 1 Samuel 12:0.
King Saul’s government up to his rejection, 1 Samuel 13-15
First Section.—The unfolding of his royal power in victorious battles for the salvation of Israel, 1 Samuel 13:14.
I. Against the Philistines, 1 Samuel 13:1 to 1 Samuel 14:46.
II. Against the other enemies around about, especially Amalek, 1 Samuel 14:47-52.
Second Section.—The rejection of Saul for his disobedience in the war against Amalek, 1 Samuel 15:0.
The decline of Saul’s kingdom, and choice of David to be king. The history of Saul from his rejection to his death, 1 Samuel 1:0 Samuel 16-31
First Section.—Early history of David, the Anointed of the Lord, 1 Samuel 16:0
I. David chosen and anointed as king by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
II. Darkening of Saul’s soul by an evil spirit, and David’s first appearance at the court of Saul as harper, 1 Samuel 16:14-23.
Second Section.—Saul’s new war with the Philistines, and David’s deed of deliverance, with its diverse consequences for him and for his relation to Saul, 1 Samuel 17:1 to 1 Samuel 18:30.
I. The Philistine host, and Goliath’s haughty challenge, 1 Samuel 17:1-11.
II. David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:12-54.
III. David at Saul’s court, his friendship with Jonathan; Saul’s hostile disposition towards him, and murderous attacks on his life, 1 Samuel 17:55 to 1 Samuel 18:30.
Third Section.—David fleeing before Saul, and his persecution by Saul, 1 Samuel 19:1 to 1 Samuel 27:12.
I. David’s flight from Saul’s attacks to Samuel to Rama and Naioth, 1 Samuel 19:0.
II. Jonathan’s faithful friendship, attested by repeated unsuccessful attempts to reconcile Saul with David, 1 Samuel 20:0.
III. David’s flight from Saul to the priest Ahimelech in Nob, and to the Philistine king Achish in Gath, 1 Samuel 21:0.
IV. David’s wandering as fugitive in Judah and Moab, and the murder of priests in Nob perpetrated by Saul, 1 Samuel 22:0.
V. David’s experience of God’s help and preservation in the battle against the Philistines, in his betrayal by the Ziphites, and when he was waylaid by Saul in the wilderness of Maon, 1 Samuel 23:0.
VI. David encounters Saul while the latter is laying snares for him, and nobly spares his life in a cave of the mountains of Engedi, 1 Samuel 24:0.
VII. Samuel’s death, and David’s march into the wilderness of Paran, with the history of Nabal and Abigail, 1 Samuel 25:0.
VIII. Narration of a second betrayal by the Ziphites, and second magnanimous sparing of Saul by David, 1 Samuel 26:0.
IX. David takes refuge from Saul at Ziklag in Philistia, 1 Samuel 27:0.
Fourth Section.—Saul perishes in the war against the Philistines, 1 Samuel 28-31.
I. Saul’s fear of the war with the Philistines, and his recourse to the witch, 1 Samuel 28:0. (Confirmation of his rejection, and announcement of his approaching end).
II. David’s march from the theatre of the Philistine war against Israel back to Philistia, 1 Samuel 29:0.
III. David’s victory over the Amalekites, who had plundered and burned Ziklag, 1 Samuel 30:0.
IV. Death of Saul and his sons in the battle with the Philistines, 1 Samuel 31:0.
David.—Second Book of Samuel
David king over Judah only, up to his acquisition of the general rule over all Israel, 2 Samuel 1:1 to 2 Samuel 5:5
First Section.—David after the death of Saul, (2 Samuel 1:1)—ch. 1.
I. The tidings of death, 2 Samuel 1:1-16.
II. The lament, 2 Samuel 1:17-27.
Second Section.—David, king of the tribe of Judah, is opposed by the house of Saul, 2 Samuel 2:1 to 2 Samuel 3:39.
I. David anointed king over Judah, and his abode at Hebron, 2 Samuel 2:1-7.
II. Ishbosheth, contrary to the divine arrangement, made king over all Israel by Abner, and continued struggle of the House of Saul and the adherents of Ishbosheth under Abner’s lead against David and his house, and his adherents, 2 Samuel 2:8 to 2 Samuel 3:6.
III. Abner breaks with Ishbosheth, leaves the house of Saul, and goes over to David, 2 Samuel 3:7-21.
IV. Murder of Abner by Joab, David’s General, 2 Samuel 3:22-39.
Third Section.—David gains sole authority over all Israel, 2 Samuel 4:1 to 2 Samuel 5:5.
I. Murder of Ishbosheth, 2 Samuel 4:1-8.
II. Punishment of the regicide by David, 2 Samuel 4:9-12.
III. David anointed king over all Israel, 2 Samuel 5:1-5.
David’s royal rule over all Israel, 2 Samuel 5:5 to 2 Samuel 24:5
First Section.—David’s rule in its greatest splendor, 2 Samuel 5:5 to 2 Samuel 10:19.
I. Its glorious and firm establishment, 2 Samuel 5:5 to 2 Samuel 6:23.
1) The victory over the Jebusites—the citadel of Zion made the centre of the kingdom, 2 Samuel 5:6-12.
2) The victory over the Philistines, 2 Samuel 5:17-25.
3) Solemn transference of the Ark to Mount Zion, and establishment of a regular religious service, 2 Samuel 6:0.
II. Its divine consecration by the promise of the perpetual kingly rule of the Davidic House, 2 Samuel 7:0.
1) To David’s purpose, to build a house for the Lord, answers the divine promise, of which he becomes partaker by Nathan’s prophecy, that the Lord would build him a house, and after him (and not till then) his seed should build the Lord a house, 2 Samuel 7:1-16.
2) David’s answer to this divine declaration in a prayer, 2 Samuel 7:17.
III. The splendid development of David’s rule without and within, 2 Samuel 8-10.
1) Without by victories and conquests in battle against Israel’s foreign foes, 2 Samuel 8:1-14.
2) Within by the organization of the government of the kingdom (2 Samuel 8:15-18), and a noble display of royal grace towards Saul’s fallen House—Mephibosheth, 1 Samuel 9:0.
IV. Further victorious confirmation and elevation of the royal power to its zenith in the Ammonite-Syrian war, 1 Samuel 10:0.
1) The insult offered David by the king of the Ammonites, 2 Samuel 10:1-5.
2) Joab’s victory over the combined Ammonites and Syrians, 2 Samuel 10:6-14.
3) David’s victory over the Syrians, 2 Samuel 10:14-19.
Second Section. Its obscuration,2 Samuel 11-18.
I. Internal shock to David’s royal authority by the grievous sins of himself and his House, 2 Samuel 11-14.
1) David’s deep fall during the war against Rabbath-Ammon, 2 Samuel 11:0.
2) Nathan’s reproof and David’s repentance, 2 Samuel 12:0.
3) Shattering of the House and family of David by the wickedness of his sons Amnon and Absalom, 2 Samuel 13:0.
a. Amnon’s incest with Tamar, 2 Samuel 13:1-21.
b. Murder of Amnon by Absalom, 2 Samuel 13:22-23.
c. Absalom’s flight, 2 Samuel 13:34-39.
4) David’s weakness towards Joab and Absalom, 2 Samuel 14:0.
a. Joab’s cunning, and the woman of Tekoa, 2 Samuel 14:1-20.
b. Absalom’s return to Jerusalem brought about by Joab’s influence with David, 2 Samuel 14:21-28.
c. Absalom forces Joab by an injury to effect his reconciliation with David, 2 Samuel 14:29-33.
II. External disintegration of the royal authority up to its loss, 2 Samuel 15-18.
1) Absalom stirs up the people, and usurps the royal power, 2 Samuel 15:1-13.
2) David’s flight from Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:14-35.
3) David’s two encounters with disloyal persons, 2 Samuel 16:1-14.
a. With the lying Ziba, 2 Samuel 16:1-4.
b. With the reviling Shimei, 2 Samuel 16:5-14.
4) Absalom’s entry into Jerusalem and incestuous act after Ahithophel’s counsel, 2 Samuel 16:15-23.
5) Ahithophel’s evil counsel against David set aside by Hushai’s good counsel—his horrible end, 2 Samuel 17:1-23.
6) The civil war, 2 Samuel 17:24 to 2 Samuel 18:33.
a. David at Mahanaim, 2 Samuel 17:24-29.
b. The battle in the wilderness of Ephraim, 2 Samuel 18:1-8.
c. Murder of Absalom by Joab, 2 Samuel 18:9-18.
d. Tidings of joy and of sorrow—David’s lament over Absalom, 2 Samuel 18:19-30.
Third Section. The recovery of the royal authority, which is soon, however, again assailed by insurrection, 2 Samuel 19:20.
I. The way paved for the restoration of David’s authority by Joab’s reproval of his unworthy grief over Absalom, 2 Samuel 19:1-8.
II. David arranges for his return by negotiations with the men of Judah, 2 Samuel 19:9-14.
III. David’s passage over the Jordan under the escort of the men of Judah, with three incidents, 2 Samuel 19:15-24.
1) Pardon of Shimei, 2 Samuel 19:16-23.
2) Mephibosheth’s excuse, 2 Samuel 19:24.
3) Barzillai’s greeting and blessing, 2 Samuel 19:31-40.
IV. Strife between Judah and Israel about bringing David back (2 Samuel 19:41-43), and occasioned by this,
V. Sheba’s insurrection and Israel’s defection—both subdued by Joab after Amasa was killed, 2 Samuel 20:1-22.
VI. Officers of David’s government after the restoration of his royal authority, 2 Samuel 20:23-26.
Eclectic appendix to the conclusion of the history of David’s government, 2 Samuel 21-24
Sec. I. Three years’ famine on account of Saul’s crime against the Gibeonites, and expiation of this crime, 2 Samuel 21:1-14.
Sec. II. Victorious battles against the Philistines, 2 Samuel 21:15.
Sec. III. David’s song of thanksgiving, 2 Samuel 22:0.
Sec. IV. David’s last prophetic word, 2 Samuel 23:1-7.
Sec. V. David’s heroes, 2 Samuel 23:8-29.
Sec. VI. The divine visitation by pestilence on account of the numbering of the people, 24.
I. David’s sin in the numbering of the people, 2 Samuel 24:1-10.
II. The pestilence as punishment on the king and all the people, 2 Samuel 24:11-17.
III. David builds an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah, afterwards the site of the Temple, 2 Samuel 24:18-22.
[The following references to the Books of Samuel occur in the New Testament:
to 1 Samuel 16:0 and 2 Samuel 12:24.
Matthew 12:3-4; Mark 2:25-26; Luke 6:3-4
to 1 Samuel 21:1-6.
Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30
to 2 Samuel 7:12-16.
to the general history.
to 2 Samuel 7:1-2.
to 1 Samuel 9-15.
to 2 Samuel 7:14.
Mary’s song, Luke 1:46-55, founded on Hannah’s song,
1 Samuel 2:1-10.
These are sufficient to show that the writers of the New Testament and our Lord recognized the canonical authority of these Books, which, however, has never been questioned.—Tr.]
§ 4. Character And Composition
In investigating the origin of the Books of Samuel, it will be necessary, first, to fix on their characteristic quality of form and content in its fundamental features, because it is only in this way that we can get firm ground for considering the sources, the time of composition, and the author of the books. As to their linguistic character, in the first place, it is agreed by all competent critics that the language is throughout the pure classic, and in general free from Aramaizing elements, the mark of a later, not classically pure style. While in the Books of Kings there is often an inclination to the Aramaic, in the books of Samuel there is as good as none of it (Bleek, Einl. i. A. T. [Introd. to O. T.], 1860, p. 358), “except those isolated cases which occur in all the books” (Naegelsbach, Bücher Samuelis, in Herzog’s Real-Encycl., Bd. XIII., p. 412, and Keil, Einl. in das A. T., 2 Aufl. p. 176 f [Introd. I. 247]). On the linguistic peculiarities of the Books of Samuel, compare what is said on the subject in Ewald’s Hist. of the People of Israel, 3d ed., I. 193 seq., and on the alleged Aramaisms, Haevernick, Einl. in das A. T. [Introd. to O. T.], I. i. p. 213 seq.
In the composition and style of the historical content of the books, the first thing that strikes us is that bits of poetry occur in them more frequently than in any other historical book. At the very beginning stands Hannah’s lofty song of praise, which exhibits not only the history of Samuel’s birth, with which it is connected, but the whole history of his life and work in the clear light of divine ordination and guidance (1 Samuel 2:1-10). The words taken from the people’s chant of victory about David (1 Samuel 17:6 sq.) show us why Saul’s heart is embittered against David into envy and jealousy. David’s lamentation over Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:17-27) exhibits the noble feeling which David constantly maintained for Saul under all the experiences of his hatred and enmity, but at the same time indicates the judgment to be passed on Saul from a theocratic point of view, in so far as bravery is its only subject, and it celebrates him as hero only. Reference is there made to an authority called “The Book of the Upright.” Other poetical pieces are David’s Lamentation over Abner (2 Samuel 3:33-34), his Psalm of Thanksgiving (2 Samuel 22:0), his Prayer after the reception of the great promise concerning the rule of his House (2 Samuel 7:18-29), and his last Psalm (2 Samuel 23:1-7).
According to Haevernick, these songs form, as they are interwoven into the historical work, the points of support, as it were, to which the history is attached (Einl. [Introd.] II. 1, p. 121). But a mere glance at the quantitative relation of these poetical elements of the content to the historical material shows us how unsatisfactory this view is. If we bear in mind the position that these songs occupy in reference to the history to which they relate, rather the reverse seems to be true—it forms the point of support for them. The songs are introduced into the place in the history where they, being themselves historical elements, fit, without being intended precisely to serve as vouchers for the history, as Hævernick supposes (ubi supra). Standing as lyrical accompaniment in organic connection with the historical narration, they affect the coloring of the whole by heightening the liveliness, freshness and vividness of the historical narrative.
And this is throughout the character of the narration, effort at completeness in the accounts of deeds and persons which are often finished out to the smallest minutiæ, an elaborateness and vividness in the presentation of the historical material, not found in other historical books (especially in the Books of Kings which only here and there make brief extracts from their extensive authorities), and such freshness and directness in the coloring of the narrative that we cannot resist the impression that we have here an immediate copy of the incidents related, and that the editor did not draw from any intermediate working up of the original authorities. The narrative has an easy, simple, attractive flow, without interruption by stereotyped phrases and references to authorities, while in the Books of Kings there is a tedious, ever-recurring apparatus of standing formulæ. Thenius says (Einl. zum Komment über die Bücher Sam. S. 16, 2 Aufl.): “For the rest, the older parts especially of the work belong to the finest historical productions of the Old Testament; they excel all others in copiousness; they enable us to form a distinct idea of the actors introduced; they commend themselves by a charming simplicity of style, and give us a high conception of the many-sided influence of the prophetic work.”
Haevernick rightly says, that from this characteristic of the book, it is itself almost the same as an original authority and chronicle (Introd. II. 1, p. 142). It therefore bears throughout the stamp of historical truth. By the simple and exact setting forth of the personages and their doings, by the characteristic sketches of their dispositions and characters, by the thorough description of historical antecedents and vivid and lively references to local relations and accidental circumstances, we are pointed to rich original authorities, that in an original and immediate way brought persons and events before the editor of the books, who was certainly too far removed from them in time to be able to give so living and detailed a portraiture from his own personal observation and experience. Keil’s remark, therefore—that, on account of the qualities above described, the historical narrative of the Books of Samuel may lay rightful claim to historical truth and fidelity not only in general, but also in special and particular—is quite correct, at least in respect to the first point [the general correctness]. We make this restriction here only in reference to those particulars of the narrative whose historical trustworthiness has been denied on the ground of incongruences, inconcinnities and contradictions supposed to be observed in them. To solve the questions thus arising we must look more closely at the literary character and the composition of the books, for these are inseparable from the question of their historical value.
In the first place, it is certain that our Books of Samuel in form and content have the marks of a production that sprang from a redaction of a manifold historical material, which stretched over a space of more than a hundred years, and existed in various parts and groups, having already somehow taken shape by written tradition, and that this redaction is to be referred to the literary hand, traces of which we see in the passages, 1 Samuel 9:9; 1 Samuel 27:6; 1 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 17:14-15. Further, a glance at the content shows that the redactor of these books took pains to give them unity, to produce as well-arranged a historical narrative as possible. The narrative sets out with a sharply marked beginning in the latter part of the period of the Judges, shows in the relation of the history of Samuel, Saul and David everywhere a generally steady connection and advance, and also is not without a firm and strong conclusion, as we maintain, and shall endeavor to prove below, against the view that on account of the non-mention of the death of David, it has no proper conclusion. The author of our books has so combined and worked up the historical material that he had at command as to give them an internal unity of composition, and it is, as Bleek rightly says (ubi supra, p. 367), decidedly incorrect to restrict the author’s work (as has been done in part) to a mere stringing together and combination of earlier writings, that is, to regard it as an external compilation. Against this view comp. also De Wette, Einl. [Introd.] § 178. We shall see hereafter what points of view control the arrangement of the historical material, and condition the internal connection of its often seemingly loosely arranged parts. At present we only establish the fact, which is plain to an unprejudiced consideration of the external composition of the historical content, that the latter makes in the main the impression of a well-arranged unitary whole (see also Nægelsbach, ubi sup., p. 400), and from this generally incontestable ground we shall proceed to consider a number of special passages which have been adduced against and seem to oppose the unity and concinnity of the historical narration in respect to its form and content.
In this examination we shall find that a not inconsiderable number of contradictions and incongruences supposed to be found in our books and referred to the union of various traditions and authorities, do not exist, or at least that there is no necessity for accepting them so long as unforced, satisfactory explanations of seeming discrepancies or repetitions may be given. At the same time unprejudiced regard for truth requires us to recognize the fact that there are certainly some passages in which there is not strict congruence and concinnity, and that there are certain peculiarities of the narration, in consequence of which there is in minutiæ an entire failure to maintain the historical connection according to the chronological order. Nevertheless, the general unity of the narrative, grounded in controlling fundamental thoughts, and in the sequence of events, is not only not impaired by these individual instances, but becomes clearer the more plainly we see from what chief point of view the redactor arranges and groups the material. The contradictions which it has been attempted to discover in the Books of Samuel as signs of various mutually exclusive parts out of which they have been put together, are all collected and examined, or rather solved, by a thorough explanation of the passages, in De Wette, Einleit. [Introd.], § 179; Bleek, Einleit. [Introd.] p. 363; Thenius, ubi sup, Einl., pp. 9–11; Keil, Einl. [Introd.], § 52; Haevernick, Einl. §166; Naegelsbach, Herzog, R.-E., ubi sup., p. 403.
In the first book the statement in 1 Samuel 7:15-17 that Samuel was Judge over Israel as long as he lived, is said to conflict with 1 Samuel 8:1 sq. and 1 Samuel 12:2 sq., according to which he gave up his office to his sons. But when it is said in 1 Samuel 8:1 that Samuel made his sons judges over Israel, this is not saying that he himself gave up his office; rather this step of his is expressly referred to the fact that he was growing old. The application of the Elders of the people to him for a king (1 Samuel 8:4), and their reference to the evil conduct of his sons, shows that, while the latter held the judicial office, he was the highest judicial authority in the administration of the affairs of the whole nation. The passage 1 Samuel 12:2 sq. shows plainly that Samuel, while his sons were judges, filled his old office “unto this day.” His authority did not cease even under Saul; rather, knowing that he exercised his function in the name of the Lord, he asserted it with all the more emphasis against Saul, and Saul yielded to it without making against him the charge of unauthorized conduct.
There is no contradiction between 1 Samuel 8:5 and 1 Samuel 12:12, when in the first passage Samuel’s age and the evil conduct of his sons, and in the second the imminent danger of a crushing war with the Ammonites, is given as the occasion of the demand for a kingdom; for these two are inseparably connected. The people needed energetic and single guidance in its wars, and this it looked for not in the aging Samuel and his wicked sons, but in a man clothed with royal authority, under whose lead it might victoriously meet the kings of the heathen nations (comp. 1 Samuel 8:20). Besides, we must remember that Saul, though he was consecrated king over Israel by Samuel’s anointing, yet at first returned to his original calling (1 Samuel 11:5), and it was the attack of Nahash, the Ammonite king, that first aroused the people anew to a lively sense of their need of a royal leader, as is stated in 1 Samuel 12:12. And with this agrees the fact that, after the victory gained by Saul over the Ammonites by the power of the Spirit of God (1 Samuel 11:6), the whole people recognized him as their now freshly authenticated king, and in consequence of this victory regarded as a divine declaration of the kingdom, the latter was renewed by the three parties to it, the people, Saul, and Samuel (1 Samuel 11:12-15).
In 1 Samuel 7:13 we read: “So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel, and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” A discrepancy has been discovered between these words, according to which Samuel completely estopped the Philistines from returning, and 1 Samuel 9:16, where a king is promised the people as deliverer out of the hand of the Philistines, and 1 Samuel 10:5 and 1 Samuel 13:5 sq., especially 1 Samuel 13:19 sq. and 1 Samuel 17:1 sq., where there are express accounts of wars of the Philistines with Israel and of the oppression of the latter by the Philistine rule (Thenius and De Wette). But in fact no such discrepancy exists. It is by no means said in the first half of 1 Samuel 7:13 that the return of the Philistines was estopped fully, that is, for all time; it is said only that in this battle of Ebenezer they were “subdued or humbled.” When then it is added “they came no more into the coast of Israel,” that is, they did not repeat their incursions, we need not suppose that the narrator intended to say that the Philistines never again entered the territory of Israel so long as Samuel lived. On the contrary, the historical content is defined by the second half of 1 Samuel 7:13, “and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” If “the hand of the Lord,” that is, His power and might, was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel, this involves the fact that, as long as Samuel lived, the Philistines were hostile to Israel and sought to subdue them, but God defended His people and gave them the victory over their enemies. “The hand of the Lord against the Philistines” supposes strife between Israel and the Philistines, occasioned by the incursions of the latter. What immediately precedes can therefore be understood only in a relative, not in an absolute sense of the Philistines’ not coming again into the border of Israel. Otherwise the supposed contradiction would exist in the two parts of 1 Samuel 7:13 itself. The decisive fact, however, in this question is that the words “all the days of Samuel” are to be connected not, as the alleged contradiction supposes, with the first half of 1 Samuel 7:13, but only with the second. It is not said “all the days of Samuel the Philistines did not return,” but “all the days of Samuel the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines.” The first statement declares, over against the reference to God’s power warding off the hostility of the Philistines, and in connection with Samuel’s victory over them at Ebenezer, that in consequence of this victory they had not repeated their incursions into the territory of Israel, and this is to be understood of the space of time after the lapse of which they resumed their old wars against Israel. In Saul’s victories over them, who, “as long as he lived,” had to struggle hard with them (1 Samuel 14:52), and whose term of life nearly coincided with that of Samuel, since the latter died only a few years before him, the hand of Jehovah was mighty against them, and the promise of 1 Samuel 9:16 was fulfilled. Israel’s condition of shameful subjection portrayed in 1 Samuel 13:19 sq. was the result of the occupation of the land by the Philistines mentioned in 1 Samuel 13:5-6, and does not contradict the statement that Jehovah’s hand was against the Philistines “all the days of Samuel,” since in 1 Samuel 14:0 is related how the Lord at that time helped Israel (comp. 1 Samuel 13:23). The solution of the alleged contradiction that restricts the expression “all the days of Samuel” to the duration of his judicial term, is unsatisfactory from the arbitrariness of this restriction, and conflicts with 1 Samuel 13:15 : “Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.”
It is also maintained that there is a contradiction between the section 1 Samuel 9:1-10; 1 Samuel 9:16 and the sections 8, 1 Samuel 10:17-27, because in the former Samuel anoints Saul in consequence of a divine revelation, and in the latter has him chosen king by lot in consequence of the demand of the people (De Wette). But in truth there is nothing here that compels us to suppose an absolute contradiction; “for in 1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16 is related the secret anointing of Saul by Samuel, with its immediate consequences, and in 1 Samuel 10:17-27 the choice by lot in the presence of the whole people” (Naegelsbach, ubi sup. p. 401). Thenius (Komm. 2 Aufl. p. 43) seeks to establish the unhistorical character of both narrations by stating the alternative: “the Prophet would then either have tempted God, or have been guilty of an unworthy trick before the people;” but against this we remark that according to 1 Samuel 10:17-27 also every thing was done by Samuel at the divine instance and under divine influence (1 Samuel 10:18; 1 Samuel 10:24), as in the narrative in 1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16, that therefore both tempting God and unworthy trickery on Samuel’s part are excluded, since in the narration the choice by lot also is conceived of in a theocratic point of view. In the presence of the assembled people God declares the man who had been chosen and anointed by His will, to be king, and His representative. Comp. Winer, Bibl. Realwörterbuch, II. p. 1Sa 389: “In 1 Samuel 8:0 Samuel declares himself against the wish of the people by command of Jehovah Himself, and by His command makes an attempt to divert the Israelites from their desire. This failing, he receives from Jehovah the command to yield (1 Samuel 8:21 sq.), and anoints Saul, 1 Samuel 9:10. And then the scene, 1 Samuel 10:17 sq., was not superfluous: the first revelation, 1 Samuel 9:15 sq., was for the Prophet; the second, 1 Samuel 10:20 sq., for the people.” To this we add Ewald’s remark (Geschichte des V. Isr. [Hist. of Israel], III. p. 33, 3 Aufl.): “If we bear in mind the ordinary use of the sacred lot in those times, we shall find that in the connection of this narrative (Ewald ascribes 1 Samuel 9:17-27 to the author of the preceding section) nothing but the truth is described in this incident; the mysterious meeting with the Seer did not suffice for the full and benedictive recognition of Saul the king, but publicly also in solemn national assembly it was necessary that the Spirit of Jahveh should choose him before all others and mark him as the man of Jahveh.” And so there is no contradiction between 1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16 and 1 Samuel 10:17-27, but the two sections stand in concinnate relation to one another.
Another discrepancy has been found between 1 Samuel 11:14 sq. and. 1 Samuel 13:8 compared with 1 Samuel 10:8, it being held that the words of Samuel (1 Samuel 10:8) contain a command to Saul to go immediately to Gilgal and wait for him there seven days. On this supposition certainly 1 Samuel 8:0 and 1 Samuel 9:14 sq. cannot be reconciled, since, according to the latter passage, Saul went to Gilgal not before but with Samuel, and indeed at his special suggestion, and there was therefore no waiting on Samuel; and moreover, before Saul and Samuel came together in Gilgal, their first meeting after that solemn prophetic consecration of Saul (1 Samuel 10:1-8) took place in Mizpeh. Equally impossible, on this supposition, is a reconciliation of 1 Samuel 10:8 and 1 Samuel 13:8, which last passage contains an undeniable reference to an order given to Saul by Samuel, such as is expressed in 1 Samuel 10:8; for between the two there is an interval, according to 1 Samuel 13:1, of two years. [But the text here (1 Samuel 13:1) is corrupt—see note on the verse in question.—Tr.] Naegelsbach therefore supposes that 1 Samuel 10:8 is not in its proper place, but stood originally somewhere just before 1 Samuel 13:8 (ubi sup. p. 401). Thenius joins 1 Samuel 13:2 sq. immediately on to 1 Samuel 10:16, regarding 1 Samuel 10:17 to 1 Samuel 12:25 as a section interpolated into the original document between 1 Samuel 10:16 and 1 Samuel 13:2, and 1 Samuel 13:1 as an interpolation by the Redactor, or perhaps by a later hand, by which the succedent matter was brought into plausible connection with the inserted section, and the necessary time gained for the occurrence narrated in this section (ubi sup. p. 49). There are grave objections to both expedients; to the first because of the impossibility of fixing the supposed right place before 1 Samuel 13:8 where 1 Samuel 10:8 is to be put; to the second—apart from the fact that no other reason is given for the supposition that this section is interpolated—because of the chronological difficulty mentioned by Keil (Introd. I. 236), which undoubtedly presents itself when we look at all which, on this supposition, must have been done (according to 1 Samuel 13:2-7) within these seven days, and because of the very bold hypothesis that is advanced by this assumption of an interpolated tradition, and by the explanation of the words of 1 Samuel 13:1. We have seen what significance the section 1 Samuel 10:17-27, in historical connection with what goes before, has for the commencement of Saul’s kingdom. Keil therefore properly asks the question: “How could Saul, secretly anointed by Samuel, and concealing this anointing even from his uncle (1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 10:16), come to such consideration, that at his call all Israel flocked about him, as about their king, when he had neither been proclaimed king by Samuel, nor by any act bad won the confidence of the people for himself as king?” (ubi supra). Keil, it is true, from the proposition (which is correct) that the narration in 1 Samuel 13:1-7 requires for its explanation the content of the section 1 Samuel 10:17 to 1 Samuel 12:25, draws the conclusion that Samuel’s order to Saul in 1 Samuel 10:8 refers to the solemn proclamation of Saul as king in Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:14 sq.); but this conclusion is unsatisfactory on grounds already adduced. And moreover the view which Keil connects with this conclusion (and which is found as far back as Clericus) is untenable—namely, that the statement in 1 Samuel 13:8 (which has consequently nothing at all to do with 1 Samuel 10:8) refers to a command not expressly mentioned, but here casually alluded to in the words “according to the set time that Samuel had appointed,” by which Samuel, with reference to the Philistine war, had at a later time ordered Saul to Gilgal; for these very words (as Keil himself now admits, Comm. in loco, 101,128) plainly point to the injunction given to Saul in 1 Samuel 10:8. However, proceeding from this supposition, we are no way bound to explain the words in 1 Samuel 10:8 as a command of Samuel which was to be immediately carried out by Saul. The proper explanation of the connection in which the “thou goest down” (וְיָרַדְתָּ) in 1 Samuel 10:8 stands partly with the preceding, partly with the following circumstantial clause introduced by “and behold” (וְהִנֵּה) leads to the conditional rendering “and when thou goest down before me to Gilgal, behold.…;” and a similar translation is found in Seb. Schmidt, only with improper temporal extension, and is proposed by Ewald (Gesch. 3 Aufl. III. 41) and Keil (Comm. p. 101). The king chosen to deliver Israel from the yoke of the Philistines must recognize it as his first duty to prove his kingly might in battle against the Philistines, in accordance with his consecration received from Samuel. The exhortation to this duty Samuel couples with the command that he should not in the exercise of his royal calling trespass on the field that was to remain closed to him, namely, the offering of sacrifice for the people when they were mustered for war. Ewald says: “Gilgal, on the south-western bank of the Jordan, was then, from all indications, one of the most holy places in Israel, and the true centre of the whole people; it had a like importance before, and much more then, because the Philistine control reached so far eastward3 that the middle point of the kingdom must have been pressed back to the bank of the Jordan. There the people must have assembled for all general political questions, and thence after offering and consecration have marched forth armed to war” (ubi sup. p. 42). The significance of Gilgal for the whole people at this period of the Israelitish history is presupposed in Samuel’s command to Saul, which consequently contains for him the following rule of government: When thou goest down to Gilgal—that is, to gather the people there, that they may be led forth to battle against the Philistines, and to this end receive consecration by solemn offering—thou shalt await my coming for the preparation, and neither in thy own power make the offering, nor of thy own will begin the war against the Philistines. In this prophetic command Saul ought to have recognized the voice of God (see Keil, ubi sup., pp. 101–103, and Ewald, ubi sup., p. 41–46). This explanation is found as early as Brenz. He says: “But we are not to understand that Samuel commands Saul to go straightway down to Gilgal and there wait seven days, but that he is to do this after he has been publicly elected king and confirmed in the kingdom by victory over the Ammonites, and shall then begin to prepare for war against the Philistines, on whose account especially Saul was called to the kingdom. The following, therefore, is the meaning of Samuel’s command: Thou art called to the kingdom especially to free Israel from the tyranny of the Philistines. When, therefore, thou art about to undertake this work, go down to Gilgal and wait there seven days till I come to thee; then thou shalt offer a sacrifice, but not before I come, and I will show thee what is to be done, that our enemies the Philistines may be conquered; this thing is related afterwards in 1 Samuel 13:0, where we read that Saul violated this command.”
Thenius finds a discrepancy between 1 Samuel 14:47 and 1 Samuel 10:17 sq. and 1 Samuel 11:14 sq. (p. 65), maintaining that here several mutually exclusive relations are put together—that the author of the sections 1 Samuel 14:47 sq. relates that Saul by this victory over the Philistines proved himself to be the king anointed by Samuel and secured royal authority, and that this cannot be reconciled with 1 Samuel 10:17 sq., 1 Samuel 11:14 sq., and 15. But if we recollect that the Philistines had possession of the greater part of the land, the expression לָכַד [“took”] in 1 Samuel 14:47 is best understood as meaning that Saul by this victory got the real control of the land, not as referring to the public assumption of the kingdom to which he was first designated by the anointing. There is therefore no discrepancy between this statement of the result of the victory over the Philistines and the accounts of Saul’s choice by lot (1 Samuel 10:17 sq.), and of his confirmation as king before the whole people in Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:14 sq).
An apparent anachronism exists in 1 Samuel 17:54, where it is said that David carried Goliath’s head to Jerusalem, while it was some time later that he conquered Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:0); but this is explained by the remark of Kurz (Herzog, Real-Encycl., Art. “David”) and others, that, if not the citadel, yet the city of Jerusalem had then been a long time in the possession of the Israelites (Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21), and it is not at all necessary for the establishment of this fact, which makes the deposition (of Goliath’s head) possible, to suppose with Naegelsbach that David had a prophetic anticipation of the importance of this city, although this supposition is unjustly set aside by Thenius without further consideration. There is just as little difficulty in the statement that David, after the victory, deposited the armor of Goliath in his tent, while the giant’s sword is afterwards found in the Sanctuary at Nob.
Between 1 Samuel 18:5 and 1 Samuel 18:13-16 a discrepancy has been found, in that in the first passage David received his appointment as military commander on account of his bravery; in the second on account of Saul’s envy and fear of him. The apparent contradiction is set aside, however, by a glance at the intermediate narration, according to which the jealousy aroused in Saul by the women’s song of victory produced such a change in his disposition towards David that he assigned the latter a higher post only to remove him from his person and expose him to death in battle against the Philistines.
Between the statements of Jonathan in 1 Samuel 19:2 and 1 Samuel 20:2—the first of which informs David of his father’s murderous thoughts against him, while the second assures him of the contrary—there lies an interval, in which Saul’s hatred against David might have softened; or at least Jonathan, thinking the best of his father, might believe that he had perceived a change in his disposition towards David. Perhaps Jonathan, as Naegelsbach (p. 403) supposes, intends only to deny that another attack against David’s life is purposed. Why, in the face of this assurance of his friend, should it be so inconceivable that David should speak of again appearing at the royal table at the appointed time when Saul expected him? Had David not already had experience of similar paroxysms of rage in the king, and yet been always reconciled with him by Jonathan’s intervention?
The apparent contradiction between 1 Samuel 18:27, where David brings 200 foreskins of the Philistines for Michal, and 2 Samuel 3:14, which speaks of 100 only, is resolved by referring to 1 Samuel 18:25, according to which Saul had demanded the latter number of foreskins; only these, not the two hundred actually brought, are mentioned by David in the later passage.
We turn now to those sections in which there are supposed to exist double accounts of the same thing, in part mutually exclusive and contradictory; that is, signs of the use of various documents, which in respect to the same facts and events, present differences that the Redactor could not reconcile.
First among these is the narrative of the two Goliaths, 1 Samuel 17:4, and 2 Samuel 21:19. In the one passage David slays the giant Goliath, and in the other it is related of Elhanan, son of Jaare-oregim, that he slew Goliath of Gath, whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. It is altogether arbitrary in Boettcher (Neue exegetisch-kritische Æhrenlesen zum A. T. on 2 Samuel 21:19) to try to prove the identity of this Elhanan with David (see Thenius, p. 259), in order to make this account agree with 1 Samuel 17:4 f. Nothing obliges us to regard the two passages as referring to the same incident, since two different actors are mentioned, David and Elhanan, the last with circumstantial reference to his person and descent, and there may well have been at different times two giants of equal strength and the same name, the later perhaps purposely honored with the name of the earlier. But in the parallel passage, 1 Chronicles 20:5, which evidently gives the same event as 2 Samuel 21:19, it is said: “Elhanan, the son of Jair, slew Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath, whose spear, etc.,” and if the correct reading is not in 2 Samuel 21:19 (of which I cannot convince myself), but rather in 1 Chronicles 20:5, then the distinctness of the combats related in the two accounts is so much the more beyond doubt (see Thenius’ view, p. 258sq., which is opposed to his earlier view).
In 1 Samuel 19:9 sq. the same incident seems to be related as in 1 Samuel 18:9 sq., and therefore the one passage or the other seems to be not in the right place. Yet the double narrative, agreeing literally in single expressions, may be referred without difficulty to two explosions of rage on Saul’s part, since according to 18 sq. this rage showed itself several times against David.
The rejection of Saul is narrated in the two sections, 1 Samuel 13:8-14; 1 Samuel 15:10-26. But nothing requires us to regard these as mutually exclusive narrations of one and the same fact. Rather, the circumstances under which Saul manifests his disobedience are so different in the two cases, that we must recognize two different courses of events in which his disobedience is shown. But, as in the second act of disobedience there lay a heightening of the guilt, so on the first act of the punishment (13, 14) followed the second sharper act, consisting in the definitive rejection (1 Samuel 15:23-24).
There is just as little necessity for referring the parallel narrations in 1 Samuel 10:10-12 and 1 Samuel 19:22-24 to the same event. Rather, there is so much in each that is peculiar, that we are justified in assuming two different occurrences in which the proverb “Is Saul also among the prophets?” found its application. The first incident explains its origin, for it is said, 1 Samuel 10:12 : “Therefore it became a proverb.” The second similar incident, which is described as occurring under totally different circumstances, fixed it and gave it a wider application, 1 Samuel 19:24.
Thenius’ grounds (p. 120) for referring to one event the two narratives of the repeated treachery of the Ziphites towards David and David’s magnanimous conduct towards Saul (1 Samuel 23:19-24; 1 Samuel 23:24; 1 Samuel 23:26), of which the tradition is supposed to have given a double account, seem not sufficient to establish the identity of the two. Their points of agreement do not exclude the distinctness of the events. “For,” says Naegelsbach (p. 402) justly, “that David twice came to the hill Hachilah near Ziph is probable by reason of the hiding-places in this wooded mountain-range; that the Ziphites twice discovered and betrayed his abode is very natural from their friendship for Saul; and that Saul made a second expedition against David is psychologically only too easily explained, even though he was no moral monster; his hatred against David was so deeply rooted that it could only be repressed for the moment, not destroyed, by that magnanimous deed.” David’s twice sparing the life of his enemy has its ground in the horror of laying hand on the Lord’s anointed, and Saul’s consequent double expression of repentance is explained by the change of feeling which is psychologically not hard to understand when we consider his disposition, as it is everywhere represented to us. But, on the other hand, along with these resemblances there are such important differences in the two narratives that the assumption of two events can by no means be regarded as arbitrary. On the particulars comp. Haevernick (p. 138 sq.) and Keil (Introd. I. 243, 244).
The narrative of David’s two flights to the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10-15, and 1 Samuel 27:1 sq.) is regarded as a double relation of the same event, and is referred to different sources. Thenius (p. 101 sq) finds historical truth only in the second relation of David’s flight to Gath (27), on the ground that David would have fled to the Philistines only in the extremest need, and not at the outset; but certainly according to the account of Saul’s pursuit of David, that precedes 21, the latter’s need was great enough to impel him under those circumstances to flee to the Philistines. While the two narratives agree in the fact that David flees to Achish, the differences in everything else are so great that we must suppose not one abode of David with the Philistines (held by Thenius to be given with historical trustworthiness only in 27) but two distinct occurrences. In 21 he comes alone to Achish, in 27 with wives and children and a numerous retinue; in the first case, being soon recognized, he had to act the madman in order to save himself, and his stay was short; in the second he settles himself for a long abode in Ziklag, and undertakes several expeditions against the hostile tribes on the southern border of Canaan, whereby he secures the favor and protection of Achish. With such great differences we cannot suppose that the narration in 21 is a legendary embellishment of that in 27.
There are two mentions of the death of Samuel, 1 Samuel 25:1 and 1 Samuel 28:3. We need not, however, suppose that the Redactor took these from two sources. Rather the repetition in 1 Samuel 28:3 (which moreover from its language and style does not seem to be an independent account) serves to introduce and illustrate the following narrative as much as the remark that Saul had driven the necromancers and wizards out of the land. “The repetition of the words ‘they had lamented him and buried him,’ seems designed to put the impiety against Samuel in a still stronger light” (Naegelsb, p. 404).
At the first glance there seem to be two contradictory accounts of Saul’s death in 1 Samuel 31:4 and 2 Samuel 1:9-10, according to the first of which he killed himself, but according to the second was at his own request slain by an Amalekite, who himself brings the report. Ewald (p. 137, 138) supposes here two different and evidently ancient accounts, of which one makes the faithful and conscientious armor-bearer, the other a frivolous and rude Gentile present at the last moment of the sinking hero; the first the account of those who spoke well, the second that of those who spoke ill of Saul; but this supposition of two sources and two accounts is untenable because of the fact which comes out from the narrative in 2 Samuel 1:0 that the Amalekite falsely ascribed the deed to himself in order to receive thanks and recognition therefor from David, but especially to get a large reward for Saul’s jewels, of which he had possessed himself (Then. p. 141).
There is just as little ground for holding that the narratives of the conquest of the Syrians, 2 Samuel 8:10-12 are two relations of the same expedition of David against the Syrians, as Gramberg (Religionsid. II. 108) has maintained. He would allow only one conquest, because after such a defeat they could not have so soon recovered themselves, and in 1 Samuel 10:0 also there is no mention of a revolt of the Syrians, while yet according to 1 Samuel 8:0 they had been really subdued. But the resources of the Syrians, even after that defeat, may have been ample (comp. 1 Samuel 8:4; 1 Samuel 8:7-8; 1 Samuel 8:10); for the rich booty that the Israelites got, and the large number of warriors that the Syrians had put into the field, point to considerable power and wealth. But there was no need to mention their revolt, since it was understood as a matter of course that they sought to shake off the yoke at the first opportunity, though otherwise the yoke was so firmly fixed that one could speak of a real and permanent subjection; this opportunity offered itself when the Ammonites went into a war with David. And so they appear in 1 Samuel 10:0 not as independent enemies of David, but as allies of the Ammonites (comp. Theod. quœst. 24 ad. 2 Reg.; Winer, Realwörterb. I. 260; Then. p. 188). Ewald in like manner maintains (III. 204, 205) the identity of the Syrian war, 1 Samuel 8:3, with the Syrian-Ammonitish in 10 sq. In support of this view he urges that the war with the Syrian King Hadad-Ezer of Zobah cannot be explained except by supposing that it was excited by a contemporaneous war with a nearer kingdom, since the kingdom of Zobah is not described as bordering immediately on the kingdom of Israel. But, it is said, according to 10–12 a great Syrian war with Israel was excited by the Ammonites; this war with Ammon is narrated there at greater length on account of the history of Uriah, and for this reason is only mentioned quite incidentally, 1 Samuel 8:12, in he general account of all the great wars. But it is sufficiently clear from 1 Samuel 8:3 how David came immediately into conflict with the Syrians without occasion thereto having been given by war with another enemy. Thenius (in loco) well says: “David’s aim was to rest his kingdom at one point at least on the Euphrates, because this was the nearest stream that traversed broad tracts of country; on the way thither Hadad-Ezer, whose territory he touched on in the march, opposed him.” It is true that the Ammonite war, briefly mentioned in 1 Samuel 8:0 is, on account of the pragmatism which controls the whole narrative in 10–12, given at length for the reason assigned; but if the Syrian war mentioned in 1 Samuel 8:3 occurred along with this Ammonite war, as is maintained, it is surprising that this connection is not indicated in 1 Samuel 8:0 in the list of wars, but the two are introduced as wholly distinct. We therefore have in 1 Samuel 8:10 sq. accounts of altogether different wars.
With the sections 1 Samuel 16:14-23, 1 Samuel 17:12-51, and 1 Samuel 17:55-58, the case is different from that of the passages hitherto discussed, in which contradictions or mutually exclusive accounts of the same fact, and therefore indications of various documents, have been supposed to exist; here indeed incongruences and discrepancies do exist, and signs of different documents, which the author has put together, must be recognized. In 1 Samuel 16:18 is related how David comes to Saul, and his extraction and his father’s name are exactly and fully given. On the other hand, in 1 Samuel 12:12, after the dangerous and disgraceful situation has been pictured, in which Israel stood in reference to the Philistines, and as the object of their giant Goliath’s scorn, in a new section, which begins here, David is spoken of as if he had not been named at all before, and the names of his father and native city are given. This second mention of his family-relations, particularly in this shape, cannot be explained without forcing and far-fetched conceits, as in Haevernick’s attempt (p. 135). The author, says he, purposely repeats the notices of David’s race and extraction, partly because this fits in with the historical narration, to which the explanation of David’s coming into the camp, etc., can thus be attached, partly because the importance that he attaches to his hero thus comes out more strongly, and his person again comes clearly before the reader. The appeal to similar peculiarities in Hebrew historiography (as in other places in the Books of Samuel) is of no force in this passage, because such genealogical statistical-historical summary notices are given usually only as conclusion in important historical turning-points, and chiefly as proleptical statements (comp. 1 Samuel 7:15-17; 1 Samuel 14:47-52). The strange הַזּה [“this”] in 1 Samuel 17:12, shows clearly that it is added to the already superfluous genealogical notice of David in order to connect the section 1 Samuel 17:12-31 with 1 Samuel 16:14-23, to which (1 Samuel 16:18) regard must have been had in 1 Samuel 17:12. That it is added with this view is clearly seen from its incongruity with the following וּשְׁמוֹ יִשַׁי [and his name was Jesse]. Naegelsbach’s remark (p. 402) is perfectly correct: “If הַזֶּה [‘this’] is meant to point to the earlier mention of the name in 1 Samuel 16:0, then the וּשְׁמוֹ [‘and his name’] is superfluous; and if the latter remains, the former is superfluous.”—So also the statement in v. 15, that David went back and forth from Saul to keep his father’s sheep in Bethlehem, makes the impression that it was appended to the account before us in order to bring this narrative into agreement with 1 Samuel 16:21-23, according to which David was constantly with Saul as his armor-bearer, and to explain the fact that he came from his father’s folds to the scene of war. Long ago exception was taken to the disagreement between 1 Samuel 17:12-31; 1 Samuel 17:16. The proof is that the former is altogether lacking in the Vatican recension of the Septuagint, and that Origen found it in no Greek translation. Similar difficulty was felt with 1 Samuel 17:55 sq., which is also omitted in the Vatican Septuagint.
Between the section (1 Samuel 17:55 sq.) and 1 Samuel 14:16-23 there is the discrepancy that in the former Saul does not know David, while according to the latter he must have known not only him personally, but also his lineage. According to 1 Samuel 14:16 sq. David was described to Saul at the outset as the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, and Saul had put himself in communication with David’s father by repeated messages, in order to take David permanently into his service. Contrariwise in 1 Samuel 17:55 sq. he repeatedly asks: Whose son is the youth? Various attempts have been made to resolve this discrepancy. Stress has been laid on the fact that he asks not after David’s person, but after his lineage. Then, according to one view, this question expresses the contempt and scorn which Saul would assign as reason why he could not keep his splendid promise (1 Samuel 17:25) to such a man of mean descent (Haev. p. 136); but in neither case does the form of the question justify such a construction. According to another explanation the question expresses astonishment and admiration (Keil, Introd. I. 238); but then it could not be “whose son is the youth?” We should expect, “is this the son of Jesse?” By others it is regarded as more probable that Saul had forgotten David’s family-relations, either in the rush and press of court-life (Saurin), or from hypochondria (Berth.), or from ingratitude (Calvin) or from forgetfulness (Keil in loco), and Keil conjectures that Saul, on account of the promised release of the victor from taxes, wished to know more of David’s connections than simply his father’s name and his birth-place; but all this does not suffice to set aside the difference, least of all the last-mentioned expedient, because David’s answer to Saul’s question contains likewise nothing more than the name of his father; and so recourse is had arbitrarily to a new hypothesis, namely, that David’s answer has not been fully reported, though even this, strictly taken, would not suffice for that view, but would render necessary still another supposition, namely, that Saul’s question is not fully reported. Since all these attempts at solution are untenable, we cannot, in the present state of the investigation of this question, avoid supposing, with many expositors, that the author of our Books has in these sections interpolated a second written tradition which he met with of David’s battle with Goliath, and, although he connected them with 1 Samuel 16:0 by a slight revision, the traces of which are indicated above, yet did not undertake a more thorough alteration for the purpose of reconciling the differences (Winer, II. 260; Bleek, p. 364; Naegelsb. u. s. p. 402). The supposition of an interpolation of the section 1 Samuel 17:12 sq. (Mich., Eich., Bertholdt), which is also the ground of its omission in the Septuagint and other Greek translations, is untenable in proportion to the difficulty of understanding why an interpolation that offered great difficulties should be made.
On a closer examination of the question as to the extent of the second account that the author had before him, and the manner in which he combined it with his narrative, it appears in the first place that the incongruence and discrepancy (in relation to the preceding, 1 Samuel 16:14-23) does not pertain to the whole of 1 Samuel 17:0. This chapter (17) is really connected closely with the preceding narration in 1 Samuel 14:0, since, after Saul’s rejection and David’s selection have been related, it resumes the account of Saul’s wars with the Philistines, which remained his life-task (1 Samuel 14:52) even after his rejection (comp. Ewald, Gesch. III. 95, 3d ed.). The contents of 1 Samuel 14:32-52 connect themselves well without incongruence or discrepancy with the account (1 Samuel 16:14) of the calling of the already anointed David to the royal court, which stands in pragmatic connection with the rejection of Saul, since the gloomy spirit which governs Saul comes over him in consequence of his rejection by God—with the narrative of his establishment in Saul’s service as armor-bearer (1 Samuel 14:21), which on the one hand is brought about by David’s military capacity (1 Samuel 14:18), and on the other hand sufficiently explains his presence with Saul in the camp—and especially with 1 Samuel 17:11; and that the section 1 Samuel 17:12-31 was added by the author from another narration to complete the account of David, is the more evident from the עָלָיו of 1 Samuel 17:32 (“let no man’s heart fail because of him”), which is closely connected with 1 Samuel 17:11, where the Philistine Goliath is spoken of, while he is not mentioned in the immediately preceding verses, and especially from the content of David’s speech to Saul in 1 Samuel 17:32 (“let no man’s heart fail”) which naturally belongs to 1 Samuel 17:11 (“they were dismayed and greatly afraid”).—We must also regard the section 1 Samuel 17:55-58 as a piece interpolated by the author, which is taken from another account, and the point of which lies in the twice-put question of Saul. From its first words it ought to have stood after 1 Samuel 17:40; but as Saul’s question could be answered by Abner only after David’s return from the combat, it was put here after 1 Samuel 17:54, its first half, 1 Samuel 17:55-56, forming an appendix to 1 Samuel 17:40, since according to the sense the verbs are to be regarded as in the pluperfect, and the second half, 1 Samuel 17:57-58, serving as continuation of the history after 1 Samuel 17:54. By the statement that David after this discourse before Saul had formed a friendship with Jonathan, the author has so connected this section with the following (1 Samuel 18:1 sq.) that he relates in 1 Samuel 18:2 (in reference to the remark in 1 Samuel 17:15) how David in consequence of his heroic exploit was taken permanently into Saul’s service and received from him a military command. Winer says rightly (I. 260): “1 Samuel 1 Samuel 18:1-5 may very well belong to the proper substance of the Book, only the collector has attached this section to the interpolated 1 Samuel 17:0” though, as we have seen, not all of 1 Samuel 17:0 is to be regarded as interpolation of the author, but only 1 Samuel 17:12-31. On the whole passage we may compare Ewald’s remark: “We hold that the older narrator also mentioned the single combat of David with Goliath; the passages 1 Samuel 18:6, 1 Samuel 19:5, 1 Samuel 21:10, leave no doubt of this; and the words that describe the last issue of the deed (1 Samuel 18:1; 1 Samuel 18:3-5) are, according to their coloring, from the older narrator” (ubi sup. p. 96, 97).4
As characteristic of the fact that the content of the Books of Samuel has been “put together in compilatory fashion” from various sources by a Redactor of historical accounts, it has been declared (Thenius, p. IX.), that some parts of the work by their curt chronicle-like tone stand in striking contrast with the elsewhere elaborate, in one part (2 Samuel 11:20) quite biographical narration, for ex. 2 Samuel 5:1-16; 2 Samuel 8:0; 2 Samuel 21:15-22; 2 Samuel 23:8-39. This is true only in part of the first-named passage; for it is elaborately and distinctly enough told how David at Hebron receives homage as king over all Israel, and then makes Jerusalem his capital by driving out the Jebusites. The rest of the section and the others adduced have certainly, if not exactly a chronicle-like, yet a statistical-historical, form. But what is their content? Statistical statements concerning the life and government of David with reference to his previous and subsequent rule, and concerning the children born to him at Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:4-5; 2 Samuel 5:13), summary mention of the wars carried on with foreign enemies (8), survey of the wars carried on with the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:15), a list of David’s heroes (1 Samuel 23:8-29). How is this fact, the presence of such chronicle-like statistical passages (the number of which might be increased), to be used? Shall the charge of external mechanical compilation be brought against the Redactor? Naegelsb. admirably says: “No author is under obligation to treat all parts of his work with equal elaborateness” (401). This holds as a general remark. As to particulars, a fuller account of David’s wives and children (2 Samuel 5:13-16) was, for the author’s aim, quite useless, if not impossible. In 1 Samuel 5:0, where David becomes king over all Israel, the mention of his age and the length of his reign, on which the writer could not pertinently enlarge much, and of his family connections formed in Jerusalem, was quite appropriate, but an elaborate historical account was excluded by the nature of the case. In 1 Samuel 8:0 it did not accord with the author’s plan to give a minute and particular account of all the wars against foreign peoples; he contented himself with a nervous, brief and summary description somewhat variously colored. A similar sketch Isaiah 21:15-17. And the list of heroes in 23 cannot in itself make at all against the literary character of the author, especially as 21–24 is an unconnected appendix to the Second Book. In fact, however, such diversities cannot detract from the general unity. Or, is weight laid on them in order to prove that the author drew from various sources? Of this certainly these differences furnish sufficient proof. Of course in these sections the author had to take his chronological, genealogical and statistical-historical statements from various sources. We must indeed recognize here the traces either of various documents corresponding to the several sections, or of a written collection of notes on which the composition is based.
It is further maintained that “in several places there is clearly a conclusion of separate component parts, as 1 Samuel 7:15-17; 1 Samuel 14:47-52; 2 Samuel 8:15-18; 2 Samuel 20:23-26; where the various authors briefly stated what further they knew of the persons whose history they were sketching.” It is quite certain that these passages have the form of a conclusion in reference to what precedes. Up to 1 Samuel 7:14 has been related how Samuel exercised his judicial office, and Israel under his lead gained a brilliant victory over the Philistines. At this point in the history he has reached the apex of his judicial activity; here the period proper of the Judges ends, and the history turns to the new-beginning period of the Kings, in which indeed Samuel with his judicial authority is still a power; not, however, as before, sole ruler, but God’s instrument to carry out the idea of the theocratic kingdom, about which the whole following history turns. This was then the place, in the description of Samuel as judicial ruler, in which was summarily and in conclusion (and at the same time proleptically) condensed all that was to be said about his judicial rule, in order that the history, abandoning the point of view heretofore maintained, might turn to the beginning of the royal rule and to Samuel’s work, so far as it centred in this rule.
In the section 1 Samuel 14:47-52 we have a similar critical point in the connection of the theocratical development of history. This section contains in like manner general comprehensive and closing remarks on Saul, partly on his wars, partly on his family and household connections, partly on his constant activity in war against the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:47-52). Reference is made proleptically to the wars against the Amalekites and Philistines, which are afterwards narrated; this forms the connection with what follows; but in the way of conclusion, looking back to 8–14, everything that remains to be said in general of Saul is brought together here, because by the before-mentioned victory over the Philistines, he stands on the summit of his royal power, which God committed to him against this enemy; but at this moment also, in consequence of the judgment already pronounced against him by Samuel in 8 (on which follows in 15 the definitive announcement of rejection), begins to decline from that elevation on which as chosen of the Lord he is by his own fault unable to remain. Returning to Samuel’s prophetic and theocratic position, there begins (after that closing section) in 15 and 16 with the narration of the rejection of Saul and the choice of David a new period in the history of the theocratic kingdom, in which David is the central figure, and first in the large section, 15–31, is described his gradual ascent through conflict and suffering to the throne, along with the gradual, truly heart-rending descent of Saul till his shameful downfall in battle with the Philistines.
Again in the section 2 Samuel 8:0 there is a critical point [abschluss] in the hitherto splendidly advancing history of David’s kingship. In a theocratical sense David here finds himself on the summit of the royal majesty bestowed on him by God, after he has established the Ark permanently in the secure capital, received the promise of permanent lordship for his House, and poured out his soul in thanksgiving to the Lord (2 Samuel 8:6-7). On the other hand, there here begins by his own fault his gradual decline from this height (2 Samuel 8:10-11). At this turning point, as in Saul’s history, a summary view of all David’s wars is given (2 Samuel 8:1-14), in 2 Samuel 8:15 his work as king is stated generally, and in 2 Samuel 8:16-18 a general statement of the government and its officers is made, in order that the history may now turn to the new phase of retrogressive development, and from the Ammonite-Syrian war on, which is proleptical, mentioned in this closing section, and during which occurred the grave sin of David that determined all that followed, the sad consequences of this sin in the royal family and in the kingdom may be traced uninterruptedly up to the restoration of the shattered royal power.
At the close of this connected history there follows again a summary and closing statement respecting the government of the thoroughly shaken and broken kingdom, 2 Samuel 20:23-26. The disagreement between this list of officers and 1 Samuel 8:16-18 is explained very simply by the changes that had occurred in the interval. It is worthy of remark, that in both Joab, the highest officer in the army, stands first, and so both lists in the offices here named really attach themselves closely to the preceding relations of the wars by which internal peace, as condition of an orderly administration of internal affairs, was secured for the kingdom.
A similar character and aim belong to the section 2 Samuel 5:13-16. Here are given David’s family connections in Jerusalem at the important point in the advancing development of his kingly authority, when he obtains the rule over all Israel, fixes his royal residence in Jerusalem, and enters on a new phase of historical development, which is indicated by the three following facts: Vanquishing the Philistines by the hand of the Lord (2 Samuel 5:17-25), Tranference of the Ark to Jerusalem (6), and Nathan’s prophecy of the building of the temple and of the everlasting rule (7).
We see in these sections the same peculiarity of Hebrew historical writing that shows itself, for example, also in the composition of Genesis, namely, that general remarks on household and family affairs and other things not decisive for the principal design of the history form a summary and often anticipatory close to the preceding narrative and the preparation for the transition to a new phase of historical development. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. [Hist. of Israel], 3d ed., I. 212, 213. Although, then, a certain conclusional character must be recognized in the above-cited sections of our books, it does not thence follow that the connected narrations to which they belong pertain to just as many different documents, as if the indication were therein given of different authors of the individual parts. In accordance with this view Ewald remarks (ubi sup., p. 212, 3d ed.) that in his explanation of 1 Samuel 8:0 it is not of consequence “whether the words there are to be referred to our narrator or the following one.” The author of our books could himself select these closing sections, and from the character of the content, it is evident that he drew from appropriate historical sources which were at his command. Keil excellently remarks (Comm. on Sam. Introd. 6); “These concise statements are anything but proofs of a compilation from various sources, for which they have been taken from ignorance of the peculiarities of Shemitic historical writing; they serve to round off the different periods into which the history is divided, and furnish points of rest which neither destroy the real connection of the separate groups, nor render the authorial unity of the Books doubtful.”
If now we examine our Books more closely in their purely historical character or according to the purely historical point of view, they lack, in the first place, a strictly chronological statement and arrangement of the facts. In general, precise chronological statements are wanting here, such, for example, as are very carefully given in the Books of Kings; and so it is not the principle of chronological order that controls the connection of the narrative, but the principle of the real connection of things in the grouping of facts, in favor of which the chronological order is infringed. Saul’s victory over the Amalekites is mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:47-48, and it is not till 15 that the history of the war against them is narrated, because, as we have seen, it is the design of the author here to group and bring together proleptically everything relating to Saul’s foreign wars and family connections, in order afterwards to relate at length Saul’s grave sin, which occurred during the Amalekite war, and which, as the cause of his rejection by God, forms the crisis of his history.—In the same way the chronological-historical order is interrupted in 2 Samuel 8:0, where the author, in giving a general view of all David’s foreign wars, mentions proleptically the Ammonite-Syrian war [which he afterwards (1 Samuel 10:0) relates at length] because it stands at an important turning-point in David’s history, when, in consequence of his great sin, a series of divine judgments is prepared for him. The absence of chronological order is especially marked in 2 Samuel 21-24; neither is the beginning, 1 Samuel 21:0, attached chronologically to 1 Samuel 20:0, nor do the separate parts stand in chronological connection. The section 1 Samuel 23:8-29 belongs, according to time and content, to 2 Samuel 5:1-10, which position, answering to the historical connection, it actually has in 1 Chronicles 11:0 The passage 1 Samuel 21:15, in spite of the עוֹד [“yet again”], which points to the just preceding narrative, cannot be connected in time with 1 Samuel 21:14, but belongs chronologically probably to the passage indicated in 1 Chronicles 20:4 sq. (where are mentioned three of the four deeds of heroes here related), namely, 2 Samuel 12:30-31 (comp. with 1 Chronicles 20:2-3). The thanksgiving song of David, 1 Samuel 22:0, is evidently not in its right place, but belongs, according to the clue which the content gives to the occasion, to a time when David was saved by a great war from grievous distress and danger. That 1 Samuel 24:0 is not in its proper chronological position is evident.
Similar inequalities and interruptions show themselves, as in the chronological, so also in the factual treatment of the historical material.—To look at the last portion, 2 Samuel 21-24, one would have expected that the two narratives, 1 Samuel 21:1-14, 24, on account of the similarity of their points of view and the theocratical tendency which they both show in reference to God’s anger, which is to be appeased, would have been put together as they in content belong together. So, the sections 1 Samuel 21:15 and 1 Samuel 23:8-29 belong together according to historical content, but are separated by the lyrical-prophetical pieces, 22 and 1 Samuel 23:1-7, which in content belong together. Apart from the chronological point of view, 1 Samuel 23:8-29 seems to be detached from the section, 2 Samuel 5:1-10, to which, according to content, it belongs. It is thus in some cases true, that the historical material, even apart from chronological order, is not grouped in relation to its facts, as we should have expected from the similarity of the contents and the points of view.—Further, we several times find references to facts which are assumed to be known, but are not mentioned either in these books or in any others that have been handed down. For example, in 1 Samuel 8:2, in the narrative of Saul’s military undertakings against the Philistines, Jonathan suddenly appears as leader of part of the army, and defeats the Philistines in their camp at Gibeah, though he had not before been mentioned as Saul’s son (this is not done till 1 Samuel 8:16 and 1 Samuel 16:1), or as taking part in the campaign against the Philistines. So in 1 Samuel 21:1 the removal of the tabernacle to Nob is pre-supposed, though we are not told when and how it had been carried thither from Shiloh, where it still stood under Eli (1 Samuel 1:3; 1 Samuel 1:9). The history of the expiation, 2 Samuel 21:0, whose omission David had to supply, supposes the occasioning event, the slaying of the Gibeonites by Saul, though it has nowhere been mentioned. So reference is made to the expulsion of necromancers by Saul (1 Samuel 28:3), and to the flight of the Beerothites to Gittaim (2 Samuel 4:3), which incidents are not narrated. Thus historical facts are here and there in the narration merely taken for granted, the relation of which we should have expected for the sake of completeness and pragmatical connection.
In regard to the fulness of the narrative, it must be particularly remarked, that the Books do not propose to give a properly biographical account of Samuel, Saul and David. The historical material of Samuel’s life, regarded from a biographical point of view, is very sporadically and atomically given; there are wanting large parts of the life-development of the prophet. In regard to Saul we find important facts either wholly unmentioned or only briefly touched on or intimated. From a comparison of our Books with the parallel passages in the Books of Chronicles on David, it appears that our author has used less freely than the author of Chronicles the historical material which lay equally before both. The account that our Book gives of the wars of David with the Ammonites and Syrians (2 Samuel 8:10) leaves out many things that the Chronicler inserts (1 Chron. 18:19). It is not supposable that the history of the preparations for the building of the Temple, the organization of the priestly service and of the army was unknown to our author; but he says nothing about what is contained in 1 Chronicles 22-28 Even the account of David’s end, for which we cannot suppose a lack of material, is wanting, an unexpected omission in a history of David that elsewhere goes so minutely into particulars. We see, therefore, that the author purposed neither to insist on strict chronological arrangement of facts, nor to work up his known or accessible historical material with all possible completeness in all parts of his narration. This eclectic treatment of the historical material has its ground in the desire to give special prominence to those things only which were important for the development of the Kingdom of God from a theocratic-prophetical point of view. Thus, for example, in 1 Samuel 3 a fact in the history of Samuel’s childhood is made prominent and related at length, that was decisive for his divine call to the prophetic office in contrast with the corrupt priesthood. So the Amalekite war and the Ammonite war (1 Samuel 15:0 and 2 Samuel 10:11) are given in full, because in the first we have the ground of Saul’s rejection, and in the second the sin of David, on account of which a heavy judgment afterwards falls on his house and kingdom (of which a full relation is given), has its historical background and its factual occasion.
We come once more to the close of the Books, 2 Samuel 21-24. In the examination of this conclusion in reference to the arrangement and combination of the historical material, two things strike us: first, that these four chapters are not connected with what precedes by a continuity of historical development, but form a supplement or appendix composed of bits without historical connection among themselves, and second, that with such a conclusion the history of David is not rounded off by a continuation to the end of his life or even of his reign.
If we compare the six sections in this closing supplement (1, the famine and the atonement, 1 Samuel 21:1-14; 1 Samuel 2:0, summary account of deeds of heroes in the Philistine wars, 1 Samuel 21:15; 1 Samuel 3:0, David’s song of praise, 22; 4, David’s last words, 1 Samuel 23:1-7; 1 Samuel 5:0, David’s heroes in conflict with the Philistines, 1 Samuel 23:8-29; 1 Samuel 6:0, the plague in consequence of the numbering of the people, and the atonement, 24), 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4, correspond in content. The sections 1 and 6 have an objective-theocratical tone, and are therefore to be referred to sources that owed their origin to the theocratic stand-point of the historical narration. Two sins against the Lord: one king Saul’s, whose consequences reach to the time of David’s reign, the other king David’s, which falls in the last period of his reign (Ewald and Then.), have for their results judgments which affect the whole people; in both cases an atonement has to be made in order to appease the wrath of God. The sections 2 and 5, which correspond in their military character, and especially in their reference to the Philistine wars, have an annalistic or chronicle-like tone, and point to corresponding sources. The two-fold utterance of David (3 and 4), forming the centre of this supplement, has the same theocratic-religious tone with its two border-pieces (1 and 6), only with the subjective modification proper to the lyric-prophetic content, and points perhaps to the same source from which the author has woven in the other lyrical pieces of his history. (On this point see further below.) Along with this correspondence in the pairs of sections in the characteristic peculiarities of their content, we may discover, perhaps, in spite of the lack of pragmatic connection between them, a partially ideal combination of them in the conception of the author. The summary account of the Philistine wars (1 Samuel 21:15)—for which in the reverse direction we might find a point of attachment, though a loose one, in the reference in 1 Samuel 21:12 to the earlier Philistine wars under Saul—has an ideal pragmatic connection with the following thanksgiving-song; for in 1 Samuel 22:1 the author, thinking, no doubt, of the principal enemies of Israel, who at the same time represented all the rest, marks this song as addressed to Jehovah at a time “when Jehovah had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies.” In this combination, therefore, 1 Samuel 22:0 has in that section (1 Samuel 21:15) its historical basis and illustration. The song composed by David on a definite historical occasion is placed here by the author as a song of triumph, that it may form the cap-stone of the war-tossed life of David. The reflection on the glorious conclusion of all military undertakings against foes, which filled up the greater part of David’s reign, led the author on to David’s last prophetic word, which is the culmination of his inner life, where, as prophet, on the ground of the everlasting covenant which God had made with him, he foretells salvation under the righteous ruler, who was to proceed from his house. Thenius rightly sees in this song “the last poetical flight that David ever took, to be put perhaps shortly before his death,” and says that it can hardly be doubted that we have here David’s swan-song (p. 271, 275). It is appropriate to our aim in making a close examination of this song here—namely, to fix the characteristics of the arrangement of this supplementary section—to quote Ewald’s admirable words: “In the song which an old tradition rightly calls ‘the last (poetical) words of David,’ the poetical and ethical spirit of the aged king is at last completely transfigured into the prophetical; once more before his death rising to a poetic flight he feels himself in truth Jehovah’s prophet, and looking back on his now closing life, he announces, as with a free outlook into the future the divine presentiment he felt that the rule of his house, firmly fixed in God, would outlast his death” (Gesch. III. 268). In regard to the prophetic element, Keil says still better (Comm. p. 484 sq.): “These ‘last words’ are the divine attestation of all that he has sung and prophesied in several Psalms of the everlasting rule of his seed, founded on the divine promise announced to him by the prophet Nathan, 1 Samuel 7:0. For these words are no mere lyric expansion of that divine promise, but a prophetical declaration which David made in the evening of his life by divine inspiration concerning the true King of the Kingdom of God.” The author has taken the list of heroes, 1 Samuel 23:8-29, out of its (according to 1 Chronicles 11:10) original connection, where, according to its superscription, it illustrated the establishment of David’s kingdom over all Israel in victorious battle against enemies .by the help of his heroes, and put it into this place, perhaps in order to give a historical framework to David’s last word concerning the glory of his kingdom in its exhibition of power against its ungodly opposers, inasmuch as it had a historical foundation. The two statistical-historical sections, 1 Samuel 21:15 sq. and 1 Samuel 23:8 sq., would therefore form an appropriate frame for the two pictures (22 and 1 Samuel 23:1-7) which in their contents are so important for the history of David’s kingdom.
There is a similar ideal connection between 1 Samuel 24:0 and 1 Samuel 23:8-29; for the narrative of the census, made in a spirit of haughty self elevation to ascertain David’s military strength, connects itself factually with the list of his heroes, and also with 1 Samuel 21:0, to which it points by the opening words “and again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel,” and by the closing words in 1Sa 21:25 (comp. 1 Samuel 21:14), since it relates a similar case of royal sin and the consequently necessary appeasing of God’s anger.
Further, there is an ideal connection between the close of this passage (1Sa 21:25 and Septuagint comp. with 1 Chronicles 21:27 to 1 Chronicles 22:1), where Araunah’s threshing-floor is represented as the place on which, after the building of an altar by David, the Temple was built, and the passage 1 Samuel 23:1-7. In the latter the author presents David gazing in prophetical perspective on the glory of the House which God will build for him in righteousness in the future of his kingdom; in the former he shows us how, under divine guidance, the place where David builds an altar to the Lord, brings the expiatory offering, and receives the answer to his prayer for the staying of the pestilence, is selected for the building of the Temple, which is to become the permanent place of God’s abode and His gracious presence with His people, yet, by the Lord’s express command, is to be built for the Lord as His house, not by David, but by his son.
Finally it is generally agreed that the chief part at least of this section, 1 Samuel 21-24 belongs to the later period of David’s life. Thus Ewald characterizes the two plagues (1 Samuel 21:1-14, 24) and the great song of triumph (22) as evidently pertaining to David’s last years. “The last words of David” (1 Samuel 23:1-7) put it beyond doubt that the author was here looking at the close of David’s reign.
From this examination it appears that it is at least inexact to say that “1 Samuel 21–24 are very loosely and externally connected, and are put at the end only that the author might here add the sections that seemed to him important for David’s life, and for which he had before found no fitting place” (so Haevernick, p. 130). It is true the connected narrative of David’s life closed with the description of the complete quelling of Absalom’s revolt, with which is connected the insurrection of Sheba (2 Samuel 20:1-26). But the author did not intend this to be the real conclusion of his whole history, so that we should have to regard 1 Samuel 21-24 merely as an appended collection-which he had at first intended to omit (Ewald, Gesch. III. 239); rather he purposed giving in these sections the proper conclusion of his history of David’s reign; not, however, by presenting a connected and full narrative of the occurrences in the last period of his reign, but by gathering up these events of David’s later life under the loftiest points of view, which control the whole history from the first, and appending them as its conclusion. We have here, not an appendix that is brought in at the conclusion (Naegelsbach, 409), but an appendix that is itself conclusion, as the principal facts in the content show.
Before, however, we establish the sense in which the author intended to close his history with this section, we must consider an objection urged by many—namely, that as there is no account of David’s death, the Books of Samuel have no proper conclusion; thus we shall discover the point of view under which the continuation of a connected narrative of David’s life up to his death is omitted at the end of our Books. From the stand-point of ordinary biographical-historical narration, this fact—that at the close of a so elaborate and in part biographical narrative of David’s life, his death is not mentioned—is certainly strange. It cannot be explained by the supposition that the author’s materials did not reach to the death of David; for the Redactor of our Books certainly wrote after David’s death, and needed no special authority to conclude with a reference to that event. Nor is it an explanation to say that the author wrote shortly after David’s death, and from his proximity to this generally known event, did not care to impart it to his contemporaries (Haevernick, p. 145); for, aside from the incorrect presupposition in this view, it is inconceivable that the author should have been silent about the decease of this great king after having so elaborately described his life-course in its several stadia. So also we must reject the hypothesis that the author of the Books of Samuel has in this work of his at least in part treated the history of Solomon, of which much is retained in the beginning (1 Samuel 1:2) of the Books of Kings (Bleek, Einl. [Introd.], pp. 359, 360)—that in these two chapters the thread of the narrative in the Books of Samuel is continued without break by the account of the death of David and the accession of Solomon, as Ewald maintains (Gesch. I.p. 207sq., 239sq.), assuming that the first half of his supposed great work on the Kings reached up to 1 Kings 2:0. If the similarity of the style of the narration be insisted on in support of this view, this is sufficiently explained by the common source from which both drew (1 Chronicles 29:29). If appeal is made to the similarity of particular narratives, for example, 1 Samuel 2:27-36 compared with 1 Kings 2:26 sq., it being maintained that the same writer who in the first passage recounts the threatening prophecy of the fall of the House of Ithamar, has in the second recounted its fulfilment in the removal from the priesthood of Abiathar (great-great grandson of Eli) by Solomon immediately after his accession, and in confirmation of this view reference being made to the repetition of the threat against Eli in 1 Samuel 3:11-14—all that we can thence safely conclude is that the author of 1 Kings was acquainted with the Books of Samuel which were written long before his time. The same remark holds of the comparison of 1 Kings 2:11 with 2 Samuel 5:4-5 in respect to the similar accounts of David’s reign, which were taken from the same source, and also of the reference of 1 Kings 8:18; 1 Kings 8:25 to the author of 2 Samuel 7:12-16. Moreover it is an objection to this view that, if the first chapters of the Books of Kings form the continuation of 2 Samuel 20:26 by the same author, the section 2 Samuel 21-24 intervenes in a strange and unaccountable way, while, on the other hand, these two chapters (1 Kings 1:11) stand in pragmatic connection with chap, 3, since they form the introduction to the narrative of Solomon’s accession (comp. Baehr [in Lange’s Bible-work], Komm. zu den BB. der Könige, Einl. p. 14 [American transl., p. 10]). Nägelsbach says well (p. 408sq.), against Ewald’s assumption of 1 Kings 2:46 as the end of the first half of the Book of Kings, that if the original limit of the narrative of the Books of Samuel is to be sought outside of 2 Samuel 24:25, it should rather be in 1 Kings 2:12, where, after the statement of the length of David’s reign, it is said: “then sat Solomon on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was established greatly,” for this passage with the immediately preceding verses has all the marks of a great epoch-making conclusion,—but if, on account of the undeniable relationship of the preceding and succeeding context, the line cannot be drawn here (Ewald for this reason does not put it here), still less can it be drawn at 1 Samuel 2:46.
The present conclusion of the Books of Samuel (wanting the narrative of the death of David) is satisfactorily explained only by the point of view in which they, as well as the Books of Kings, are composed. If it had been the author’s object from a biographical-historical point of view to write an elaborate and complete life of David, he would necessarily have narrated its end. But the point of view which controls his whole account, and according to which he groups his historical material, is the theocratic-prophetic, and through the whole history the characteristic features not only of its theocratical kernel, but also of its conception and narration, are seen from the theocratic-prophetic point of view.
A specific Israelitish—religious and theocratic character is throughout more prominent in our Books than in the other historical books. Ruetchi rightly remarks (Stud. u. Krit. 1866, p. 213): “Careful recurrence to religious fundamental ideas is particularly important in the Books of Samuel, because they suppose in the reader a deep religious sense, and in this respect take, we may say, the highest rank among the historical books of the Old Testament.” This character presupposes that view of the history of Israel as God’s chosen people and possession (Exodus 19:3-6), according to which this history is throughout determined by the specific-supernatural factor of divine control, and strives towards a highest divine goal, the realization of the rule and kingdom of God in the chosen people, and therefore is conditioned in its development not merely by human factors, but by supernatural divine guidance. The aim of the history is to set before the people how the divine conception and purpose of a kingdom was fulfilled at the close of the period of the Judges in the establishment of the theocratic kingdom by its two first heads; or, how the controlling working of the God of Israel showed itself in the restoration of the Theocracy through Samuel’s judicial-prophetic labors, and in the setting up of the theocratic kingdom under the contrast of its forever typical representatives, the rejected Anointed of the Lord and the true king after God’s own heart. To this aim corresponds the tone of the content of the Books, which is essentially a history of the theocratic development of the kingdom of God in Israel during the period of the Judges, which closed with Samuel, and during that of the kingdom, which began with Saul and David. The composition and mode of presentation of the content is determined by this aim and by the turning-point of the whole history of Israel which lies in this development.
As in general the authors of the biblical-historical books do not fully and uniformly recount everything in the sacred history worthy of mention, but only give prominence to the most important elements of the history of the Kingdom of God in the facts and persons that exhibit them, grouping them according to their bearing on the history of the kingdom, so also the author of our Books does not design to give connected elaborate biographies of Samuel, Saul and David, but in the arrangement of the historical material makes a selection which is determined by the point of view of God’s Kingdom in Israel, which develops itself by means of the divinely founded earthly-human kingdom into glorious power even over the heathen nations. Thus the chief momenta of the theocratic development of the history of Israel that lie in the time of transition from the Judges to the Kingdom, are grouped around Samuel, as the instrument of the divine working within and without, up to the end of 1 Samuel 7:0 Though Samuel continues to act a long time still as God’s instrument, yet from 1 Samuel 7:0 the kingdom and the man chosen as its first head, Saul, appear in the foreground, till principially his theocratic mission as King of Israel ceases (end of 1 Samuel 14:0). True, from 1 Samuel 15:0 on to the close of 1 Samuel 31:0 the history of Saul and Israel is carried on; but the content and the form show plainly how the immediate divine interposition in Saul’s inner and outer life is an advancing judgment, and essentially nothing but the divinely arranged consequence of the sentence of condemnation, 1 Samuel 13:13-14. The man whom the Lord had sought out “after his own heart, that he should at the Lord’s command be captain over his people,” appears in the very beginning of this retrogressive development of the history of Saul’s kingdom as the theocratic centre of the whole following history, so that 1 Samuel 15 -2 Samuel 24:0 is from this point of view the history of David’s kingdom. Appointed by immediate divine call and selection king of Israel, because in his relation to the Lord as the man after His heart he possesses the proper qualification for the position, he is saved by divine protection from Saul’s persecutions and snares, under divine guidance and direction (2 Samuel 2:1) assumes a partial royal authority at Hebron, and before the Lord makes a covenant with the elders of all Israel (1 Samuel 5:0), in order then in Jerusalem to be confirmed by the Lord king over all the people (ver. 12). Since David recognizes and fulfils his theocratic calling to develop the victorious power of God’s people against foes without, and to establish God’s dominion and sanctify him within the people, as he shows by establishing the Ark on Mount Zion as the visible sign of both these aims, so the Lord acknowledges him in the great promise in 2 Samuel 7:0, that the Lord would establish the throne of his kingdom forever, and that the dominion of his house should last forever. David’s deep fall does not invalidate this divine promise. The Lord indeed sends the punishment by word and deed (2 Samuel 12:9-11) as necessary consequence of the grave sin of His Anointed. But David humbles himself in honest penitence under the mighty hand of God; the hand of the Lord leads him through all suffering in house and kingdom; the royal authority, shaken and sunken by his fault, is restored by God’s controlling dealing with His servant; the divine promise preserves the historical supposition on which it is based, and remains in force. From the history of the last periods of his government the author brings out one other fundamental fact, namely, that human sin infallibly draws down divine punishment; but anger disappears before the divine mercy. By his thanksgiving song (1 Samuel 22:0) and by his last prophetic utterance concerning the righteous ruler over men, the ruler in the fear of God, the author presents David to us at the highest point of his theocratical kingship before the presence of the Lord. Here, therefore, is a real conclusion, which answers not to the biographical-historical, but to the theocratical-historical aim and content of the history. David is presented to us in this closing composite section as the servant of God, who has fulfilled his mission, whose house the Lord has built, and whose seed will build a house for the Lord as His dwelling-place in the midst of His royal people. The preliminary historical fulfillment of 2 Samuel 7:0, so far as it pertains to the time of David’s government, has here in these last words of his found its conclusion. The narration of the weakness of his old age, of the historical occurrences occasioned by it, and of his death, all looking to Solomon’s accession to the throne, could have no farther essential theocratic significance. The Book of Kings, however, makes these historical facts the introduction to the beginning of Solomon’s reign, with which they stand in pragmatic connection, taking them from the sources common to him with the author of the Books of Samuel, and connects his narrative in 1 Kings 1:1 by the וְ [“and”] with the historical work, the existence of which he assumes, and to which he refers in the very beginning (1 Samuel 2:4 sq.) in connection with the promise in 2 Samuel 7:0. The omission of David’s death therefore in the conclusion of this work is satisfactorily explained from the theocratic character and aim of the composition, since in this conclusion the fulfillment of the theocratical mission of David is completed.
But with this theocratical complexion of the history its prophetical character is inseparably connected. From the beginning of our Books on we see the great theocratic significance of the Prophetic Order in the history of the Kingdom of Israel, in the first place, as the organ of the divine Spirit and the medium of the divine guidance and control. Samuel appears here as the true founder of the Old Testament Prophetic Order as a permanent public power alongside of the priesthood and the kingly office. We see how, by the hand of God, the priesthood, which showed so badly in its representatives, together with the Ark, was removed from the centre of the theocratic development of history, and the Prophetic Order comes forward as mediating agency between God and His people, and, as Organ of the immediate application of the word and Spirit of God to the chosen people, calls forth a mighty movement of spiritual and religious-moral life. Over against the kingly office it is in part the theocratic mediating office, which, with controlling guidance, reveals to it God’s counsel and will, and is thus a firm support of its power, in part the divine watch-office, which, in the name of the Lord, directs the fulfilling of the royal calling, punishes the king’s sins, and is set to offer to royal tyranny a powerful opposition founded on the divine word. The stamp of the prophetic style appears not merely in particular prophecies (1 Samuel 2:12; 2 Samuel 7:12), but in the tone of the whole; a theocratic pragmatism everywhere ruling, by which is determined the selection of the material and the unfolding of the chief historical momenta.
Looked at in its particulars, the prophetic element in our Books appears in very varied form and relation. To the song with prophetical content at the beginning answers the prophetical discourse of the man of God, 1 Samuel 2:27-36, who announces to Eli and his family the approaching divine punishment. The first revelation which Samuel as “servant of the Lord” receives concerning the House of Eli, 1 Samuel 3:11-14, is the beginning of his prophetic office, and in 1 Samuel 3:19-21 it is briefly set forth in its significance and importance for the people as the accompaniment of his judicial office; and the words: “I will perform what I have spoken to Eli from beginning to end” (1 Samuel 3:12) show “how this prophecy as the controlling divine working in the Theocracy forms for our historian the true kernel and centre of the whole history” (Haevern. Einl. II. 1, 125). The following history is the fulfillment of what God had announced by him as prophet, of the “words of God” by his mouth. As prophet he completes the reformation which is described in 1 Samuel 7:0; by virtue of his prophetic calling he accomplishes the change of the theocratic constitution (8, 9), everywhere speaking and acting as immediate mouth-piece of God (10, 11). His address to all Israel (1 Samuel 12:0) breathes the prophetic spirit with which he was filled. In his office of prophetic watchman he chides Saul’s disobedience, and foretells to him the downfall of his kingdom, 13 (comp. 1 Samuel 12:25). The narrative of the battle and victory over the Philistines, 1 Samuel 13:6 to 1 Samuel 14:46, represents the brilliant success of Israel under Jonathan as an exhibition of the Lord’s power for his people (1 Samuel 14:10; 1 Samuel 14:12; 1 Samuel 14:15; 1 Samuel 14:23; 1 Samuel 14:45): “So the Lord saved Israel that day, the Lord wrought it through Jonathan.’ In 1 Samuel 15:16, Samuel displays all the power which he had over against Saul by virtue of his prophetical office, announcing to him by divine direction the sentence of rejection on account of his disobedience, and anointing David to be king in his stead. The Lord speaks to Samuel, and Samuel speaks in the name of the Lord as his prophet to Saul; 1 Samuel 15:1; 1 Samuel 15:10 sq., 16 sq., 22 sq., 26 sq.; 1 Samuel 14:1 sq., 7 sq. Saul had been made a partaker of the prophetical spirit. Now the Spirit of Jehovah leaves him. “And the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 14:13-14). “The Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul” (1 Samuel 18:12). This is the consequence of God’s immediate interference by the word and deed of the prophet. This is, as it were, the prophetic superscription to all that is related from 1 Samuel 17:0 to the end of the First Book concerning Saul’s demeanor towards David and the relation between them, and concerning the ever-deepening condemnation into which Saul was falling, and the repeated indication and certification of David as the Anointed of the Lord. The whole varied content of this large section is not a portraiture of David’s private life from a biographical point of view, as Haevernick maintains (p. 127), but a description, from a prophetical point of view, and going into biographical details, of the history of David as the king chosen and anointed in Saul’s stead, who is persecuted by Saul because he is the Anointed of the Lord, and whom God protects against Saul because he has received the mission and promise of the kingdom. All this is clearly understood only when it is looked at from the theocratic-prophetic point of view which controls the whole account; it is all, as Haevernick (ubi sup.) rightly says, the development of 1 Samuel 16:0, the consequence of the desertion of Saul by the Spirit of Jehovah, but at the same time for that very reason to be regarded as narrated from a purely prophetical stand-point, which is clearly indicated in 2 Samuel 13:25 and 1 Samuel 16:13-14. This, however, Haevernick fails to see; he establishes the prophetic element simply from the presence of prophetic utterances, and so thinks it has as good as disappeared here, because he without ground assumes that the preceding narration (up to 1 Samuel 16:0) was taken from a document which was a collection of prophetic words of Samuel.
But we have to recognize the prophetical element in this second larger half of the First Book not merely on account of those all-controlling prophetical points of view under which lie these histories with their divine factor, which has a double operation in respect to Saul and David; it manifests itself also in individual passages immediately in the appearance and actions of prophetic persons and in occurrences which put in the clearest light the importance of the prophetic office in the connection of these narratives. In the first place, the section 1 Samuel 19:18-24 has more importance than Haevernick (p. 127) accords to it. David’s flight to Samuel to Ramah, the statements which he makes to him of Saul’s conduct towards himself, his long stay with Samuel and in the school of the Prophets there, whither Saul comes to seek him out—all this supposes that he had already before been intimately associated with Samuel, especially (it is probable) since the anointing (1 Samuel 16:13), and had had the advantage of his counsel and direction for his future calling. There with Samuel David seeks safety; there in the circle of prophet-pupils he finds repose, collectedness, strengthening for his inner life. We here get a view of the associated life and the holy usages of the prophet-school at Ramah, in which the prophetic inspiration is so mighty that Saul’s messengers and he himself are seized by it. Samuel appears at the head of this community of prophets, whence came the watchmen of the Theocracy; “this is a clear sign that his labors in the latter part of his life were directed especially to this department of effort,” as Naegelsbach rightly remarks (ubi sup., p. 398). Again, we see the prophetic influence on the history of David in the person of the prophet Gad (1 Samuel 22:5), from which we may infer the close union in which David constantly stood during his persecution with the prophetic circle and with Samuel, whether it be that Gad, ever since his abode in Ramah, was more intimately connected with him, and shared his wandering life, or that he was sent to him by Samuel as deputy to tell him of the danger attending his stay in Ramah (which was well known there), and counsel him to pass over into the territory of the Tribe of Judah. The brief notice (1 Samuel 25:1) of Samuel’s death has by no means the mere significance of an external passing mention, but is a weighty testimony to the great authority which Samuel had wielded in the whole nation till his death, and to the permanent mighty influence which he had exerted as Reformer of the Theocracy, and so even after he had laid down his official judicial position, as Chief Leader of God’s people and as Prophet.
The Second Book shows us in the history of David, besides the universally controlling theocratic point of view—as, for example, in the account of his entrance on the rule over Judah (1 Samuel 2:1 sq.), his growth in power and recognition (1 Samuel 3:1 sq), and his covenant with all the Tribes of Israel (1 Samuel 5:1 sq.)—in important crises the mighty and decisive influence of the Prophetic Order, over against which here, as in the First Book, the Priesthood retires into the background. From 1 Samuel 7:0, which has a specifically marked prophetic coloring, a clear light is thrown back on the history in 1 Samuel 1-6 by the words in ver. 1; because David under divine guidance had obtained the whole royal authority and sat in a strong royal seat, and by God’s might had cast down his enemies round about, he receives through the prophet Nathan this divine promise of the imperishableness of the rule of his House and of the building of the Lord’s house. From this prophetic passage clear light falls also on all that follows: the wars with external enemies end, in accordance with this promise and prophecy, with splendid victories, and must conduce to the highest development of the royal power and the establishment of the royal Theocracy (1 Samuel 8-10). The internal shocks given to the royal authority by David’s sin and the crimes of individual members of his House cannot defeat the fulfilment of the promise given to this house; the prophetic watch-office fulfils through Nathan its duty towards the deep-sunken king as preacher of repentance, but announces also to the penitent king the pardon of his sin, without keeping back the judgments, announced by God, which would fall on his house; they are completed according to the prophetic announcement, till the Lord restores the kingdom in its power, while the scion of the House, with whom David’s House proper was to begin, to whom the royal authority is promised forever, stands under the protection and guidance of the same prophet (11–20). The prophetic content of the closing section (21–24) has already been set forth; David himself here appears as prophet in the latter part of his reign, and the prophetic office again fulfils through the prophet Gad a divine mission for king and people. And if we look at the significance of the description of the prophet Gad as “David’s Seer,” and at the intimate and lasting personal relations in which we have found David to stand with Samuel and Nathan, it is not to be doubted that God’s immediate guidance of his life through word and deed connected itself with these three conspicuous prophetic personages, whom we here encounter in his history.
The significance of the prophetic element, inseparably connected with the theocratic, is therefore great enough in the content of our Books to establish two things: 1) that the composition of these Books is throughout controlled by the theocratic prophetic point of view, and that the content has a corresponding coloring, and 2) that this content, a great part of it at least, was taken from a tradition whose centre and starting-point was in the mighty and influential Prophetic Order.
Our investigation has thus led us to the question concerning the origin and genesis of the Books of Samuel, for the answer to which, so far as it is possible, we have gained the necessary foundation in the examination of the content and character of the Books. We must here come to a decision respecting the sources, the author, and the time of composition, in order to explain approximately the historical origin of the work.
[The Messianic character of “Samuel” is one of its most marked features. The central figure of the book, David, is also the central figure of Messianic prophecy, the man who, most of all Old Testament-personages, in his life, experiences, and character, sums up the life of the servants of God, and thus represents the great Head of them all. It is in this Book that the three elements of the Jewish state, the prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices are first fully established, and not only fix the development of the typical Israel, but set forth the functions of the Anointed Leader of the true Israel. This feature of the Book is connected immediately with its theocratic-prophetical character, and gives to the latter its full significance. It is because the kingdom of Israel is preparatory to another, and David the forerunner of his greater Son that this history is of transcendent importance. And, as the general principles of God’s dealings with His servants are the same from age to age, we may see in this history of the fortunes of Israel and its leaders an anticipation of the history of the later Dispensation, distinctly marked in proportion to the theocratic prominence of the persons and events. The proclamation of David as king has its counterpart in the announcement of the setting up of the Divine Son (Acts 13:33); David’s conviction of the preserving love of God towards His servants is fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ (Acts 13:34-37); and David’s purpose to build a house for the Lord is the occasion of the promise of an ever-lasting seed (2 Samuel 7:13), and this covenant points him to the Righteous Ruler (2 Samuel 23:1-7) as the consummation of his hopes. Thus the whole Book is an anticipation on a lower platform, and with imperfect material, of the true spiritual kingdom of Christ. Bible Commentary, Introd. to “Samuel”: “ the very title, ‘the Christ,’ given to the Lord Jesus (in Matthew 1:16 and elsewhere) is first found in 1 Samuel 2:10; and the other designation of the Saviour as the ‘Son of David’ is also derived from 2 Samuel 7:12-16.” Wordsworth, Introd. to “Samuel”: “The book of Samuel occupies an unique place, and has a special value and interest, as revealing the kingdom of Christ. It is the first book in Holy Scripture which declares the Incarnation of Christ as King—in a particular family—the family of David. It is the first book in Scripture which announced that the Kingdom founded in Him, raised up from the seed of David, would be universal and everlasting. Here also the prophetic song of Hannah gives the clue to the interpretation of this history.” “An uninspired Annalist could hardly have treated the history of Samuel, Saul and David, in such a manner as to display preparatory and prophetic foreshadowings of the office and Work of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, and of the history of Judaism in relation to Him.”—But while this history of God’s kingdom in its early earthly investiture is thus truly a foreshadowing, a historical typical prophecy of the antitypical spiritual kingdom of Christ, we must guard against an arbitrary typical interpretation of individual facts (in which Wordsworth in his Commentary often offends). A historical fact that sustains a clearly defined and important relation to the theocratic kingdom, expressing in itself a fundamental spiritual truth, may be the type of some other historical fact in the New Dispensation that expresses the same spiritual truth. Otherwise the distinction between type and illustration must be carefully maintained. On this general subject Fairbairn’s “Typology,” and his “Prophecy,” and R. P. Smith’s “Prophecy a Preparation for Christ” may be advantageously consulted.—Tr.].
§5. The Sources
As to the sources of our Books, in the first place, it is generally admitted that their content has been taken from various sources; but in the determination of these sources opinions differ widely. We shall first develop our view on the basis of the results reached in the preceding section, adopting, however, at the outset, the excellent canon for this investigation which Bleek has laid down. He says (Einl. p. 366): “We may assume with tolerable certainty that the author of these books, besides the poetical passages which he has introduced, in some parts found and used written memorials of the times and events of which he treats; but it is impossible to determine throughout with any certainty or with particular probability (as several modern scholars had attempted to do, see De Wette, § 179) how many earlier writings the author uses, or precisely what he has taken from one or the other.”
The position and importance of the prophetical element of the Books makes it beforehand very probable that the author took a corresponding portion of his matter from written traditions of prophetical origin. The development and influence of the Prophetic Order through and under Samuel, especially in the community of the “sons of the prophets,” which was under his direction, coincides with the beginning of the extensive literary activity, the object of which was the history of Israel in the light of the Theocracy. In the hands of Prophecy lay the theocratic writing of history, in which this history was described, in its outward progress and according to its internal connection of cause and effect, not as a mere result of human factors, but rather according to the all-controlling divine factor, and in the light of God’s guidance by His holy will and His retributive righteousness, that is, according to theocratic pragmatism, in order that in this mirror the revelations of the living and holy God and their experiences and fortunes, which had their root in the divine righteousness, might be set before the people for warning, for threatening, and for consolation. This was clearly the case in the most flourishing period of the Prophetic Order, which coincides with the time of the kings, for almost all the books which “Chronicles” cites for the history of Israel from David to Hezekiah are called prophetical histories. Though it may be doubtful in particular instances, considered apart from the rest, whether the name of the prophet indicates the author or the chief personage of the history, for example “the words” of Nathan the prophet, yet in general the first is by far the more probable, as appears especially from the titles Nebuath Ahijah [Prophecy of A.], Chazoth Jedai [vision of J.], Chazon Isaiah, and from 2 Chronicles 26:22, where Isaiah is expressly said to be the author of a history of Uzziah (Bleek, p. 158 sq.). According to the testimony of the Chronicler the three authorities on which the author of the Books of Kings bases his history, “the Book of the Acts of Solomon, the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah” (1 Kings 11:41; 1 Kings 14:19; 1 Kings 14:29), were collections from prophetical historical books, whose authors lived at the same time with or after the events which they related. The author of the Books of Kings, in the history of Solomon (in which several sections are identical with the account in “Chronicles,” so that the two are taken from the same source) refers to “the Book of the Acts of Solomon,” while “Chronicles” instead of this refers to the “words” (דִּבְרֵי) of the prophet Nathan, the “prophecy” (נְבוּאָה) of the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh, and the “vision” (חֲזוֹת) of the seer Iddo (2 Chronicles 9:29). Where the first for the history of the Kings, from Rehoboam on, cites the Book of the Kings of Judah, the other cites “the words (דִּבְרֵי) of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo” (Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 12:15), the “מִדְרָשׁ (midrash or commentary) of the prophet Iddo” (Abijah, 1 Samuel 13:22), “the writing (כָּתַב) of the prophet Isaiah” (Uzziah, 1 Samuel 26:22), “the words (דִּבְרֵי)
of the seers” (Manasseh, 1 Samuel 23:18-19), “the words (דִּבְרֵי) of Jehu, the son of Hanani,” “which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel” (Jehoshaphat, 1 Samuel 20:34), the vision (חָזוֹן) of Isaiah (Hezekiah, 32:32).
Now in the Books of Samuel we do not find any such references to earlier historical writings as basis of the history, as in the Books of Kings and Chronicles; but it does not thence follow that the Redactor did not use such authorities, inasmuch as there was no need to cite them. If the prophetical historiography occupies so important a place in the history of Solomon and the succeeding kings, we, may thence, looking back, surmise that there were similar sources for the history of David, who, as has been shown, was so intimately connected with the communities of prophets. In respect to the non-mention of such sources it is to be remarked that the farther the authors of the Books of Kings and Chronicles stood from the times of which they wrote, the more requisite they would feel it to make express mention of their authorities, which, like the events, were on account of the distance not well known to their readers, while it would not seem necessary to an author who lived comparatively near to the events which he described, (as was the case with the author of our Books, on which see below), to name to his readers authorities known to them, and thus to commend the credibility of his history (see Haevern., p. 148; Then., p. XIV.). But on the other hand, as our author was not near enough to the time embraced in his history to describe the events of this period as one who had taken part in them, he was not in position to give so distinct and detailed an account as we have, unless he had access to very full written authorities besides the oral tradition to which, in oriental histories, so much value is to be attached.
We have already seen that large parts of the history of David, and precisely those which go most into particulars about persons and facts, point to the school of the Prophets in Ramah; 1 Samuel 19:20, 1 Samuel 19:22, 25, 28. In 1 Samuel 19:18, in the statement that David “at Ramah told all that Saul had done to him,” we have good ground for the assumption that in this community of prophets was noted down immediately, from David’s statements and the accounts of his companions, what could not be written from their own observation and experience. Compare Thenius’ remarks on 1 Samuel 20:0, p. 90, and 1 Samuel 15:0, p. 114,—especially on 1 Samuel 19:0, p. 1Sa 89: “David’s stay in the Seminary of the prophets guarantees the historical character especially of what our Book so particularly recounts, in this chapter and some of the following, of David’s relation to Jonathan and Saul, it being very probable that there David’s own accounts were noted down, and that the reports here given are based, in part at least, on those notes.” It is evident also from 1 Samuel 10:5 sq., that there was a school of the prophets at Gibeah, Saul’s dwelling-place, not far from Samuel’s abode, and we may therefore suppose that here too, as in Ramah and other prophetic communities, theocratic historiography was cultivated, and that here we may look for a principal authority in Saul’s history. We shall not err if we suppose that, apart from the sections in which accounts are given of prophetic agency in the time of Saul and David (Samuel’s, Nathan’s, Gad’s), all the narrations also in which mention is made of the direct influence of the word of the Lord on the history (for example, in Saul’s history, 1 Samuel 14:18 sq., and in David’s history, 1 Samuel 23:1 sq.; 1 Samuel 30:7 sq; 2 Samuel 2:1 sq.; 2 Samuel 5:1 sq.; 2 Samuel 5:18-25) are to be referred to prophetic-historical records as the primary source.
If, now, we ask for express mention of such historical writings of prophetical origin and character as, according to the preceding discussion, we are warranted in assuming or presupposing as the basis of our Books, we shall not find it in 1 Samuel 10:25, where it is said of Samuel “that he told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord.” The content of this book is not stated; for it cannot have been the “manner (law) of the king,” 1 Samuel 8:11-17; but it no doubt contained the conditions fixed by Samuel, by which a barrier was set up against undue extension of the royal power, and the duties and rights of the king were fixed after the norm of God’s will. From the existence of this writing of Samuel, which did not come into general circulation, but, with the fundamental law of the Theocracy, the Torah [Law], was deposited in the Sanctuary of God, we may infer that he himself, like the prophetic communities, of which he was the founder and leader, occupied himself with literary pursuits, and particularly it seems certain that he wrote down his prophetical declarations and discourses, as we have them in the first book, and the same thing may be assumed of Nathan in reference to 2 Samuel 7:12, and of Gad in reference to 1 Samuel 22:5, and 2 Samuel 24:11-14. Recollecting, then, the flourishing condition of prophetical historical writing, according to the citations of the Chronicles, even in the beginning of the regal period, it is to these three prophets that we must look to find the foundation of this history.
The prophetical authorities, not mentioned in our Books, from which the history is taken, are found in fact in 1 Chronicles 29:29-30 : “And the history (דִּבְרֵי) of king David, the first and the last, behold, it is written in the history (דִּבְרֵי) of Samuel the seer, and in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the history of Gad the Seer, with all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him and over Israel, and overall the kingdoms of the countries.” With these words the Chronicler closes his narrative of the history of David (1 Samuel 10-29), which agrees with the history in “Samuel” not only in general but also in particulars often literally. He refers for the history of David to three productions: the דִּבְרֵי שְׁמוּאֵל חָרֹאֶה [Words of Samuel the seer], the דִּבְרֵי נָתָן הַנָּבִיא [Words of Nathan the Prophet] and the דִּבְרֵי גָד הַחֹזֶה, [Words of Gad the Seer], and characterizes them at the same time as works valuable for their fulness, and furnishing material complete as to the time embraced, and elaborate and exact in content. Evidently the Chronicler purposes giving the sources from whence he takes his history, and establishing its credibility and trustworthiness. It is plain, from this purpose of his, which relates to the facts recounted by him, and from the content of the list of authorities, that the דִּבְרֵי [words] means not merely declarations, discourses of the prophets (Haevern., Keil), but also history or narrations; it remains undecided at the outset whether the names of the prophets indicate the authors or the chief personages. In any case these titles point to independent writings, and by no means to mere extracts from a great work entitled “the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel,” as Bertheau supposes (Bücher der Chronik, 1854, Einl. §3). Nor is the view tenable that our Books of Samuel themselves in their corresponding divisions are meant by that citation under three names (Carpzov, Introd. II.; J. D. Michaelis on 1 Chronicles 29:29; Eichhorn II., p. 487 sq; Movers on Chr., p. 178, and De Wette, Einl. [Introd.] §192b); for that the three names in the citation are to be understood as the titles of three different independent productions follows, not only from the form of the citation, but also from the fact that “the Dibre of Nathan the prophet” is again specially adduced for the history of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:29); and we cannot suppose this to be a different work (as De Wette does, ubi sup.), and therefore it is not an extract from our Books of Samuel, which extend only to the latter part of David’s government (comp. Bleek, Einl. p. 151; Haevernick, p. 122sq.; Then. XVI.; Keil, Apolog. Vers, uber die Chron., 249 sq.).
If now we further compare the content of the Books of Chronicles in reference to David’s life with our Books, we find first, that the Chronicler, who adduces those three works as a complete authority for David’s life, narrates much that is not found in our Books, especially many things referring to worship, priests, and Levites; he alone gives the list of heroes who came to David to Ziklag, and of warriors who made him king in Hebron (1 Chronicles 12:0), the detail of David’s preparations for the building of the Temple (22), the numbering and organization of the Levites and priests (23–26), the organization of the army and the civil service (27), the report of his last arrangements in the assembly of the people shortly before his death. Secondly, our Books contain much that is lacking in the Books of the Chronicles, for example, the history of Michal and David (2 Samuel 6:20-23), the account of David’s kindness towards Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:0), of his adultery with Bathsheba (11), of Nathan’s exhortation to repentance and its results (12), the section narrating the incest, the distraction of David’s house and Absalom’s revolt (14–19), the insurrection of Sheba (20), the atonement in the case of the Gibeonites (21), the war with the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:15), the Thanksgiving-Psalm and the last words of David (22, 1 Samuel 23:1-7).—On the other hand, thirdly, the following is a summary statement of the parallel sections:
1 Chronicles 10:1-12
1 Samuel 31:0
1 Chronicles 11:1-9.
2 Samuel 5:1-3; 2 Samuel 5:6-10.
1 Chronicles 11:10-47.
2 Samuel 23:8-39.
1 Chronicles 13:1-14
2 Samuel 6:1-11.
1 Chronicles 14:1-17.
2 Samuel 5:11-25.
1 Chronicles 15:16
2 Samuel 6:12-23.
1 Chronicles 17:0
2 Samuel 7:0
1 Chronicles 18:0
2 Samuel 8:0
1 Chronicles 19:0.
2 Samuel 10:0
1 Chronicles 20:1-3.
2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 12:26-31.
1 Chronicles 20:4-8.
2 Samuel 21:18-22.
1 Chronicles 21:0
2 Samuel 24:0
In these parallel sections, as Keil exhaustively remarks, “not only are the short summary accounts of the Books of Samuel largely filled out and extended, but the narration of Chronicles differs from the older narration of those Books in many ways, partly by a different orthography and various linguistic changes mostly according to the style and usage of later times, sometimes merely to make an expression clearer, partly by the omission of accessory circumstances, and by other abridgements, partly by the addition of explanatory remarks, and parenetic and pragmatic reflections and concluding observations” (Introd. II. 55).—Such being the relation between the Books of Chronicles and Samuel, it is an untenable view that the latter are identical with the authorities cited by the former on the government of David, and that, as Graf maintains [Die geschichtlichen Bucher des Alien Testaments, Leipz. 1866) “sections of our Books of Samuel are meant by the words of Samuel the Seer, and of Nathan the Prophet, and of Gad the Seer.”
For the same reason we cannot accept what Bleek (Einl., p. 151 [Eng. Tr., p. 406]) thinks very probable, “that the Chronicler intended our Books of Samuel by the first-named work, the Dibre Samuel.”
The peculiar relation of the generally literal agreement of Chronicles and our Books in the parallel sections, and the differences which exist in the history of David, both within and without these sections, is incompatible with the view that the Books of Samuel were used as an authority by the Chronicler in these sections; rather it follows from this co-existing agreement and diversity in the history of David that the authors of both works draw from a common source, namely, from that which the Chronicler expressly names as his authority, in order to establish the trustworthiness of his narrative from the acknowledged high antiquity and authenticity of its basis. If in fact, as is generally acknowledged, the Chronicler used our Books no more than the Book of Kings for the history of David, but, to judge from the relation of the two Books, used a common source with our author, and expressly names those writings as his authority, then there can be no doubt that the latter were used by our author as his authority; and this in no wise detracts from the credibility of his history, for there could be no more trustworthy accounts of the life of David than those contained in these writings, which bear the name of the three prophets so intimately connected with him, and are based finally on their own experiences, and on what might be learned from him with exactness of his life in those prophetic communities with which he stood in such intimate union. Certainly the “foundation of the work” was taken from this source (Delitzsch, Zeitschr. f. luth. Theol. u. Krit., 1870, 1, p. 29 sq.). From these prophetic writings comes the theocratic-prophetic element of our Books; and we shall have to refer to them also the predominatingly biographical and political matter, which, as we have seen, is treated from the theocratic-prophetic point of view; for the events of David’s life, from his own communications and from their connection with him, must have been best known to the prophetic circles, and especially to Samuel (1 Samuel 19:18), Gad (1 Samuel 22:5), and Nathan (2 Samuel 7:0). Whether, now, we suppose that those three prophetic works were composed by the prophets whose names they bear—in favor of which is Samuel’s known addiction to literary pursuits, 1 Samuel 10:25, (Naegelsbach suggests (ubi sup., p. 398) that he perhaps wrote down these records during his quiet prophetic life at Ramah), and the fact that the history of Solomon, 2 Chronicles 9:29, is referred to the account of Nathan himself—or whether we regard them as works of which the sayings and doings of those prophets formed the chief part, in either case they must be regarded as the triple source of prophetic historiography for our Books, in either case, considering the great importance of those three prophets in the development of this history, and the permanent personal relation in which they, especially Samuel and Nathan, stood to David, these sources were so abundant, that, with the exception of a few portions, the content of our Books may be referred to them. How they individually correspond to sections, or how far they extend in the different divisions of our work, cannot (according to the above-cited canon of Bleek) be determined with certainty. Yet the following may be stated as probable. We may take the “Dibre” of Samuel as chief authority not merely or the narrative of David’s life, but also for Saul’s life and the life and work of Samuel; for, says Keil rightly (Introd. I., 249), if they “contained such full accounts of David’s public life that the Chronicler could cite them as authority for it, it is self-evident that the same work was the chief source for the life and labors of Samuel and Saul also.” If Samuel himself was the author of them, we can refer to them only the First Book to about 1 Samuel 25:0. If they are a prophetic history, with him as principal subject, and extended beyond his death to the results of his labors in the accession and early government of David, then they form the basis of part of the Second Book also. In any case to this source belongs all that relates to Samuel’s labors, and what in the life of David as well as Saul is pragmatically connected therewith. To the Dibre of Nathan belongs of course all that is related of Nathan and his work in the history of David in the Second Book as far as 1 Samuel 12:0, and, very probably, in part at least what stands in theocratic connection with it (13–20 comp. with 1 Samuel 12:11). Probably 1 Samuel 24:11-22 belonged to the Dibre of Gad, of which we also find a trace perhaps in 1 Samuel 22:5. If each of these three prophets is the author of the work called after him, his own experiences formed the chief part of his book. Theodoret: δῆλον τοίνυν, δῆλον τοίνυν, ὡς τῶν προφητῶν ἔκαστος συνέγραψε τὰ εν τοῖς οἰκείοις πεπραγμένα καιροῖς [“it is evident that every prophet recorded the events of his own times”].
Proceeding now further in the investigation of the historical sources of our Books, we find not improbably a trace of a written basis for them besides those already named, in the דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים לַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִיד, “the chronicles [history of the times] of King David.” We know nothing more of this than what is said in 1 Chronicles 27:24 in connection with the account of the numbering of the people by David. “Joab,” we read, “had begun to number, but did not finish; and there fell wrath for it upon Israel, and the number was not put into the ‘account’ (De Wette) or ‘census’ of the chronicles (annals) of King David.” According to this, it was a historical work relating to the government of David, and, as it seems, chiefly of statistical-historical content and character, since, in the midst of statistical-historical lists relating to the divisions of the army, the tribe-princes and civil officials, it is cited as a work into whoseמִסְפָּר [number or census] the מִסְפָּר [number] of the arms-bearing men of the tribes of Israel was not put, whence we may infer that the preceding enumeration is taken from it. While the history of this census (comp. 1 Chronicles 21:0), narrated from a theocratic-prophetic stand-point, was doubtless contained in the corresponding prophetical work (Gad’s according to 2 Samuel 24:11), the number of arms-bearing men is here declared to be something that would have been inserted in the enumeration or register of the chronicles of David, if the census had not been interrupted by the wrath of God. Thus is intimated the point of view which prevented the recording of the number, as far as it was already determined; it is the theocratic-prophetic. This might suggest the supposition that such chiefly annalistic-statistical historical works, giving information concerning the army and the civil government, heroes and officials, household and family, were prepared by prophetical writers or under the guidance of prophets; and we might therefore here also in the “chronicles of David” recognize a prophetical work. But even supposing that the prophetical historiography never occupied itself either indirectly or directly with such annalistic-statistical records, it could nevertheless use them as trustworthy sources. It is highly probable that the officer termed סוֹפֵר Sopher (Chancellor or Secretary of State) had the care of these annalistic-statistical records whence came the דִּבְדֵי הַיַּמִים [chronicles] of David. The widespread opinion that the officer at David’s court who was called מַזְכִּיר, Mazkir or Recorder (2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 20:24; 1 Chronicles 18:15) was the official state-annalist, and had to perform the duty of a historiographer has been conclusively shown to be untenable by Bleek (Einl. p. 158, 370) and Baehr [Komm. z. d. Büchern d. Könige, Einl. X. sq.). The elaborate pragmatic writing of history was in the hands of the prophets. The Mazkir (according to Thenius on 1 Kings 4:3) was so called “because as ariibnv he had to bring to the king’s recollection affairs of state which were to be attended to, and offer counsel,” and “if it was his duty, as Bleek says (ubi sup. p. 370), always to write down immediately whatever of special importance happened, this was merely to remind the king his master, and not to write history.”—“The supposition by most critics of state-annals, besides the prophetic records, as a second authority is based on an arbitrary confounding of the records of the Chancellor for the state-archives with public state-annals.” (Keil, Introd. § 54, Rem. 3; comp. § 59). The work mentioned in 1Ch 28:24, the רִבְרֵי י׳ ר׳ [chronicles of David] was, however, very probably a collection of such official annalistic-statistic-historical records of the Sopherim. It is a natural supposition that the lists of officials in 2 Samuel 8:15-18; 2 Samuel 20:23-26 belongs to this work, although on the other hand we may presume that their names were known to the prophetical historiographers also. Yet it is true that the latter could have had little to do with the statistics of the specifically military affairs and the deeds of war, which they described only so far as seemed to them necessary from the theocratic point of view. So it is probable that the statistical-historical account of the wars of David in 2 Samuel 8:0. belonged to this work, while the therein-mentioned Ammonite-Syrian war is afterwards narrated at length, in connection with the sin of David and the intervention of Nathan, according to the prophetical work. So also the summary statement of the Philistine wars in 2 Samuel 21:15-22 and the register of heroes in 1 Samuel 23:8-29.
Perhaps the author of our Books had access to other historical records, to which might be referred such sections as 1 Samuel 17:12-31; 1 Samuel 17:55 sq., which do not seem to agree with the context. Yet this can no more be determined with certainty than the question whether and how far oral tradition was used by the author, from which the incongruences in the passages in question might be explained. It is however possible, as Naegelsbach supposes (ubi sup. p. 140), that the prophetical books discussed above contained many different accounts (from which that incongruity in 1 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 17:55 sq., may be explained), or no longer existed in proper arrangement and clearness.
Besides the historical authorities the Redactor of our Books was acquainted with poetical productions which he has inserted in his history: as, the Song of Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:1-10; David’s lament over Abner, 2 Samuel 3:33-34; David’s song of praise, 2 Samuel 22:0; and his last words, 2 Samuel 23:1-7. We leave it undecided whether these songs were known to him separately, or belonged in part to a collection of songs—as Bleek says of the last words of David, supposing that they with their superscription (1 Samuel 23:1) belonged to a mashal-collection (ubi sup. p. 362, 363)—or were all found in one poetical collection. The only authority to which he expressly refers is the Sepher Hajjashar, Boot of Jashar (2 Samuel 1:18; comp. Joshua 10:13). From this he took the beautiful lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan, which is inserted in the narrative under the title “Bow” קֶשֶׁת, 1 Samuel 23:19-27. This “Book of the Just” (i. e., “of that which is just”) (in this collective sense it is now usually explained, Vulgate: liber justorum) must have contained a collection of songs on specially memorable events of Israelitish history, and must have been in existence at the time of the composition of the present Book of Joshua and of the Books of Samuel. We cannot determine whether it contained also a continuous history of the events to which the songs refer, and was therefore an authority for the author of our Books (see Bleek, p. 150). According to Knobel (Komm. zum Pent., Schlussabhandlung, Exeget. Handbuch 13, p. 546 sq., and on Joshua 10:15) it was a “law-book,” a view which falls to the ground with the untenable view that the title means law-book.
The sources, therefore, from which the author drew, were partly prophetical histories, which described the lives of Samuel, Saul and David, from the theocratic-prophetical standpoint in pragmatic connection (comp. 1 Chronicles 29:28-30), partly official statistical-historical records of the history of David’s government (comp. 1 Chronicles 27:24), partly poetical literature. To this threefold element of the sources of the Books the content of the concluding section, 2 Samuel 21-24, clearly points. The production of these authorities is to be put partly in the time, partly soon after the time of the events to which they refer. On the ground of these contemporaneous original accounts our Books bear throughout the stamp of historical credibility; so Thenius (Einl. XV.), who, it is true, grants this of a part of the work only, otherwise admirably remarks: “1) the places and very often the time also of the events are given in part with great exactness; 2) the narrative answers fully to the character of the times; and 3) the personages act in a life-like way.”
In this section on the original authorities we must mention the principal of the very various and often contradictory hypotheses concerning the basis and construction of our Books, all of which are founded on their supposed contradictions, incongruences and repetitions, and therefore fall with this untenable presupposition.
The first hypothesis worthy of mention is that of Eichhorn (Einl. III., §§ 469, 471, 475). According to it the foundation of the Second Book of Samuel is an “old short life of David with later insertions,” which, however, are also to be referred to written sources, while the First Book was taken from an “old chronicle of Samuel and Saul,” but contained also elements of oral tradition, especially in Samuel’s history. The Books received their present form from insertions and additions which were made from oral tradition and writings.—This hypothesis is so far modified by Bertholdt (Einl., p. 894 sq., 920 sq.) that he assumes four principal authorities: 1) for 1 Samuel 31:0 and 2 Samuel 5:0, with Eichhorn the summary history of David’s government with later insertions and additions; 2) for 1 Samuel 1-7 a history of Samuel, for 8–16 a history of Saul, for 17–30 a history of David before his accession to the throne.—Further by an anonymous writer (in Paulus Memor. VIII 61 sq. Probe eines Krit. Vers. über das zweite Buch Sam.) many smaller component parts were assumed for the Second Book on the ground of supposed stylistic differences (thus 1 Samuel 31:0; 2 Samuel 1:1-16; 2 Samuel 1:17-27; 2 Samuel 4:0; 2 Samuel 5:1-10; 2 Samuel 5:11-15).—Staehelin [Krit. Unters. üb. d. Pent., p. 112 sq., 129 sq.) assumes as basis of the First Book an old work which he ascribes to the Jehovist, to which important additions were made by the Redactor, from whom also the whole of the Second Book comes.—Gramberg (Gesch. d. Religionsîdeen d. Alt. Test. II., p. 71 sq.) finds two narrations, going over nearly the same ground, but contradictory, which went side by side through a great part of the First Book and into the Second, and were worked up together by the collector.—Graf (De librorum Sam. et Reg. compositione, scriptoribus, etc., Argent. 1842) assumes as old constituent parts 1 Samuel 13:16 to 1 Samuel 14:52; 1 Samuel 17:0; 1 Samuel 18:0; 1 Samuel 19:1-17; 1 Samuel 1:0 Samuel 20-22; 1 Samuel 1:0 Samuel 23-26; 1 Samuel 27:0; 1 Samuel 28:1 f; 1 Samuel 29:0; 1 Samuel 30:0. All the rest he holds to be marvel-loving hierarchical addition—that Samuel is presented as an ideal of theocratic prophetic rule—that the judgeship of Samuel and Eli is an invention, and Saul’s election a product of his name “he who is demanded”—and that in the same way older portions and later additions in the Second Book were distinguished. On all these hypotheses see De Wette, § 179, who points out what is more or less unfounded in them, and says of the last: “This criticism is based almost entirely on what seemed to the author historically credible or not.”—On Gramberg’s hypothesis see Haevernick (p. 141) and Thenius (p. 11). The latter properly characterizes it in the remark that “sections of wholly different character are arbitrarily thrown together, and precisely those sections in which the presence of tradition cannot be mistaken, are declared to be the older.”
What Thenius says of the above-cited attempts to fix the component parts of the Books of Samuel—that they are all open to unanswerable objections—applies to his own hypothesis also. He distinguishes on internal grounds five principal parts: 1) a history of Samuel, 1 Samuel 1-7, based on information gotten from the schools of the Prophets and on trustworthy tradition; 2) a history of Saul according to tradition, probably introduced from a popular work, 8; 1 Samuel 10:17-27; 1 Samuel 11:0; 1 Samuel 12:0; 1 Samuel 15:0; 1 Samuel 16:0; 1 Samuel 18:6-14; 1 Samuel 26:0; 1 Samuel 28:3-25; 1 Samuel 31:0; 1 Samuel 3:0) an older condensed history of Saul from old written accounts, and not altered in its historical foundation by tradition, 9; 1 Samuel 10:1-26; 1 Samuel 13:0; 1 Samuel 14:0; 1 Samuel 4:0) a history of David, into which the condensed history of Saul has been enlarged by a not much later continuer, 1 Samuel 14:52; 1 Samuel 17:0; part of 1 Samuel 18:0; 1 Samuel 19:0; 1 Samuel 20:0; part of 21; 22; part of 23; 24; 25; 27; 1 Samuel 28:1-2; 1 Samuel 19:0; 1 Samuel 30:0; 1 Samuel 2:0 Sam., part of 1 Samuel 1-5; 1 Samuel 7:0; 1 Samuel 8:0; 1 Samuel 5:0) a special history of David, almost a biography, describing the second half of his life, and especially his domestic life, 2 Samuel 11:2-27; 2 Samuel 12:1-25; 2 Samuel 2:0 Samuel 13-20. The objections to this attempt to fix the original component parts of our Books are directed against the presupposition of contradictions, incongruences, repetitions, conclusions, and chronicle-like passages, from which the assumption of so many original sources is supposed necessarily to flow (see above).
The kernel of Ewald’s hypothesis is the assumption of a great comprehensive Book of Kings, of which our Books formed a component part (Gesch. I., 3 ed., p. 193–244). There was first, according to this view, an old historical work, composed soon after Solomon, perhaps in the happy times of Asa, full of very simple narrations of detached events with interspersed remarks, a work distinguished by a beautiful copiousness, lively and abounding in pictures, especially in the narration of wars; of this we have remains in 1 Samuel 13:0; 1 Samuel 15:0; 1 Samuel 30:26-31; 2 Samuel 8:0, and also in Judges 17:0 sq., 19–31. Besides this there existed in the troublous times after Jehu’s elevation a work composed by a prophetical writer who was at the same time a Levite, attractive from its high prophetical view of events, and which, commencing with Samuel’s birth and labors, as an entirely new beginning in Israelitish history, described, from a prophetical stand-point, principally the establishment of the kingdom with the origin of which Samuel’s labors were necessarily connected; of this work large connected remains, in many places in the original fulness and in almost unchanged form, are to be found in the section 1 Samuel 1 -1 Kings 1:2 (both which last chapters betray the same hand as the principal parts of First and Second Samuel), and may be followed in scattered traces even to 2 Kings 9:1 to 2 Kings 10:27. According to Ewald, the arrangement of the historical material in this prophetical book may still be clearly seen in First Samuel according to three chief points of view: 1) the basis of the history of the establishment of the kingdom, 1 Samuel 1-7, Samuel’s life, concluded with the summary 1 Samuel 7:15 to 1 Samuel 17:2) The history of Saul’s rule, 1 Samuel 8-14, with the concluding summary 1 Samuel 14:47-52. 1 Samuel 14:3) The narration concerning David and Saul, the decline of the latter, the rise of the former, in 1 Samuel 15-31. In Second Samuel, on the contrary, the original account of David’s reign, on account of the revision which it afterwards underwent, cannot be so clearly recognized. Yet its principal features may be seen in the three sections in which David’s life is described: 1) The remains of the history of David from Saul’s death to his elevation to the throne of all Israel are to be found in 2 Samuel 1:1 to 2 Samuel 7:2) The history of the middle period of David’s reign in Jerusalem, whose richer material was most condensed in the work, is found in 2 Samuel 8:1-14 (the foreign wars and victories, probably an abridgment of the before-mentioned military history), 1 Samuel 8:15-18 (internal organization), 9 (David’s ethical attitude towards Saul’s house), 10–20:22 (David’s relation to his own house), 1 Samuel 21:1-14; 1 Samuel 24:0 (the plagues). 3) Out of the latter part of David’s life belonged to the work 2 Samuel 20:25-26; 2 Samuel 22:0; 2 Samuel 23:1-7, with which the whole section fitly closed. This work, says Ewald, “the best basis for all the widely read histories of the kingdom,” was afterwards much revised, and thus on the one hand enlarged, but on the other greatly abridged, as may be seen from passages in which there are allusions and presuppositions in respect to facts and persons that were never before mentioned; so 1 Samuel 13:2; 1 Samuel 30:26-31. In 1 Sam. between chaps, 23. and 30 much of the original work is lost; 1 Samuel 24, 26 are by later hands. The sections 1 Samuel 23:8-29 and 1 Samuel 21:15 are taken from “Journals of the kings or state-annals.” With the fragments of this prophetical work, Ewald holds, and of the first-mentioned more military history are combined in our Books those of another work going over about the same period, and certainly written not much later, which, according to its traces in 1 Samuel 5-8, 31, did not have the sharply defined character of the other, though similar to it, but was drier and more colorless in style. From its author came probably the narrative of the Period of the Judges from which Judges 3:7-16 is taken.—A broader, freer form was given to this History of the Kings by a later revision, as appears plainly in our present history of Saul and David in 1 Samuel 12:0; 1 Samuel 1:0 Samuel 15-17; 1 Samuel 14:0; 1 Samuel 16:0; 1 Samuel 28:0; for these are fragments of from two to three later works. Afterwards the histories of the Kings received their present form in two revisions; first, by the Deuteronomistic redactor soon after the reformation under Josiah, who, adopting the method of the Deuteronomist, sifted, worked up and abridged the material which had been greatly increased by preceding recensions, and for the first time gathered up and skilfully combined what seemed to him the most important parts of the older works, as we see in our present history, 1 Samuel 1 -1 Kings 2:0 The basis of his book was that work of the prophetical narrator, with which, besides the material from other books, he worked in his own additions which were not numerous (1 Samuel 7:3-4, a good deal in 12; 1 Kings 2:2-4.) The work, thus greatly enlarged by the Deuteronomistic redactor, received its last revision by an author who lived in the second half of the Babylonian Exile, who edited the history of the origin of the kingdom to Solomon’s accession (1 Samuel 1 -1 Kings 2:0), “as good as quite unaltered,” according to the preceding redactor, appended some detached pieces from David’s biography which he had at first designed to omit, but, for the rest, issued the present Books of Judges, Ruth, Samuel and Kings as a connected whole, inserting the Book of Ruth (written in the midst of the Exile, and the only one retained of a number of similar fragments by the same author), with reference to the absence of genealogical statements about David’s descent in the Books of Samuel, just before those Books as a preparation for David’s history, while he put the Book of Judges, in its present form, at the head as an introduction to the whole Book of Kings. He did this for the sake of unity in the connection of the whole history after Joshua with the history of the kings; for the internal connection between the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel is shown in the statement concerning Samson, that he began to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, in which reference is made to the continuation of this history in Eli, Samuel, David. This redactor, properly speaking, merely edited anew the first half of the older large work on the Kings, which goes to 1 Kings 2:0; only the second, from 1 Kings 3:0 on, can rightly be called his own work.
In this assumption of Ewald’s of several redactors, too much play is given to conjecture without firm supports in historical data. We have, however, in those three prophetical authorities (1 Chronicles 29:28-30) and in the chronicles of David (1 Chronicles 27:24) ground sufficient to conjecture that our assumed author of the present Books of Samuel followed those authorities, writing from a prophetical stand-point, and according to prophetical points of view. That a special historical work must be assumed, from which to derive 1 Samuel 13:14, in the history of Saul, and 1 Samuel 30:26 sq. and 2 Samuel 8:0 in the military history of David, seems less probable than that the first is to be referred to the written records in the schools of the Prophets, which took careful note of the deeds of Saul and Jonathan, and the two last to the “words (דִּבְרֵי) of the days of David,” 1 Chronicles 27:24—The hypothesis of a final shaping of the Book of Kings partly by a Deuteronomistic redactor, partly by a final remodeller and collector in the second half of the Babylonian Exile, has, in relation to the history under discussion (1 Samuel 1 -1 Kings 2:0), little foundation; and it is simpler and more natural to refer the views in the discourses of Samuel which are termed Deuteronomistic (e. g. “return to God with all your hearts and serve him,” 1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Samuel 12:20; 1 Samuel 12:24) to this prophetical work, the “Words of Samuel,” and the collection and addition of the section, 2 Samuel 21-24, to the redactor who arranged and prepared the history up to 1 Samuel 20:26. The similarity in language and style between 1 Kings 1:2, and the preceding narrative in 2 Sam. may be explained by the fact that the authors of the two books used the same authority, namely, the prophetical Book of Nathan.—For the rest, Ewald’s hypothesis differs from the others mentioned, in that it represents the Book of Kings, as far as it here comes into consideration (from 1 Kings 2:0), leaving out the parts supposed to have been later introduced by various redactors, as having unity and as the finished work of one prophetic historian, and avoids the dissection of the historical material which we find in the other hypotheses. Naegelsbach rightly remarks, that the additions which this hypothesis ascribes to a Deuteronomistic redactor do not make the eighth part of the whole, and that therefore the general unity of the work is confirmed by them (ubi sup., p. 407). It must also be noted that both the division of the content of the First Book (1 Samuel 1-7. Samuel, 8–14. Saul, 15–31 David and Saul), and the division of the Second Book, the history of David’s government according to the theocratic chief points of view which control the entire narrative, cannot be more admirably presented than has been done by Ewald. But from the fact that the content of the books is evidently divided in accordance with such a theocratic-prophetic view of the history of the preparation, genesis and establishment of the theocratic kingdom under Samuel, Saul and David, we are authorized to conclude that the redactor of this history, apart from the prophetical authorities to which he had access, was himself a prophet.
§ 6. The Author And The Time Of Composition
Having discussed the original sources of our Books, we have now to consider, and in connection with one another, the two questions concerning the author and the time of composition.
What Ewald says (ubi sup., p. 211) of the author of the foundation of the Book of Kings, that he was himself a prophet, we claim for the redactor of our Books on the grounds already discussed at length; but we cannot apply to him what Ewald maintains of the former, namely, that he was also a Levite, which Ewald holds to be clear from the careful account which he takes, in the midst of so many more important events, of the fortunes of the sacred Ark and of the Priests and Levites, and from the considerable acquaintance which he clearly shows with everything pertaining to them. For a prophetical writer as such would have had that lively interest and exact knowledge; he need not have been a Levite. It is, however, further against this view, that in our Books the priesthood recedes in a striking manner into the background over against the prophetic element, and therefore “no historical work is more instructive and important than this for the understanding of the older prophetic order in Israel,” as Ewald (ubi sup.) well says.
Nothing is known to us of the person and surroundings of the redactor of our Books; on the opinions of the older writers, see Carpzov, p. 213 sq. Thenius supposes, not without reason, that, since he had access to so many good authorities, he could not have been in mean circumstances. “The Talmudical statement, that Samuel wrote the Books called after him is shown to be unhistorical by the simple fact that the history goes beyond Samuel’s death” (Keil, Introd. II. 48).—The view in some Introductions, as Eichhorn’s (Einl. § 468, p. 529 sq.), Jahn’s (Einl., p. 232 sq.), Herbst’s (Einl. II. 1, p. 139 sq.), De Wette’s (in the Beiträge I., p. 43 sq., but retracted by him in Einl. § 186), and others, that our Books had the same author with the Books of Kings, and that therefore their composition is to be put not before the latter part of the Babylonian Exile, or immediately after the Exile, is untenable; for the differences between them in form and content are too great to admit of identity of authorship. In the first place, it is a striking difference that “Kings” quotes its authority in every section, while “Samuel” never does, whence it follows that the author of the latter lived nearer to the events described, the author of the former much farther off. Again, the language is different; numerous traces of the Aramæan dialect occur in “Kings,” and almost none at all in “Samuel.” In the Books of Kings we see traces from beginning to end of their composition during the Exile, while in the Books of Samuel there is not the slightest reference to the time of the Exile. In the latter there are no direct distinct references to the Law of Moses, while in the former, even before the discovery of the Book of the Law under Josiah, the law is several times spoken of as written (1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Kings 17:37). In our Books mention is made of the various places of worship and sacrifice which existed besides the Ark without blame or hint that this was displeasing to God, while in “Kings” the worship in high places is condemned as illegal. The form of the narrative is quite different also in the two works. In “Kings” the chronological statements are carefully repeated with every king, while the chronological element is almost entirely neglected in “Samuel.” The epic breadth and copiousness which the latter shows in many parts is almost wholly lacking in the former, which gives only extracts, usually short, from its authorities to which it refers for wider information. There is no trace here of the standing character-formula which is peculiar to the Books of Kings: “He did that which was right, or evil, in the eyes of the Lord.” For all these reasons the author of the Books of Kings cannot be the same with the redactor of the Books of Samuel.—The Rabbinical view, which has had a good many advocates, that Jeremiah is to be regarded as the author of “Samuel” as well as “Kings,” because his prophecy has much similarity to them, and here and there corresponds with them in content (a view to which Grotius also, on 1 Samuel 1:1, inclines), is similarly untenable; for this proves nothing more than that the author of “Kings” was acquainted with the Book of Jeremiah (see Kueper, Jerem. libror. sacr. interpr. atque vindex, p. 55), and Jeremiah with the Books of Samuel. Staehelin (Krit. Unters., p. 137 sq.) infers from our author’s friendly attitude towards royalty, from the promises made to the House of David, and from Jeremiah’s allusions to these Books, that they were composed under Hezekiah; to which Naegelsbach excellently replies, that this is referring to a subjective motive what has a good, objective, historical ground, and Jeremiah might certainly refer to our Books, though they did not originate in his time (p. 411).
If we inquire for positive indications of the time of composition in the content and form of our Books, we can find in the formula “even unto this day” (1 Samuel 5:5; 1 Samuel 6:18; 1 Samuel 30:25; 2 Samuel 4:3; 2 Samuel 6:8; 2 Samuel 18:18), and in the explanation of obsolete expressions (1 Samuel 9:9) and old customs (2 Samuel 13:18) nothing more than the indication of a time of authorship somewhat distant from the events narrated. Nor can anything more definite, least of all the composition after the division of the kingdom, be determined from the mere distinguishing between Judah and Israel in 1 Samuel 11:8; 1 Samuel 17:52; 1 Samuel 18:16; 2Sa 2:9-10; 2 Samuel 3:10; 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 2 Samuel 19:41 sq.; 1 Samuel 20:2; for this distinction was already usual in the time of Saul and David, being based on the fact (pre-supposed in the passages cited) of such a division, which conditioned the development of the history of David’s kingdom. At first only the tribe of Judah adhered to David as its king, the other eleven tribes under the common name Israel forming a separate kingdom for seven and a half years under Ishbosheth,5 and afterwards for a short time under Absalom.
From 2 Samuel 5:5 it appears that the redactor certainly wrote after the death of David, since the whole number of years of his reign is given. But the non-mention of David’s death cannot show that he wrote shortly thereafter, as Haevernick (p. 145) maintains; for even if his death had occurred only a short while before, the author could not have maintained silence about it simply because it was generally known, and “not a matter of interest,” since he certainly did not write merely for his own contemporaries.—Further, it undoubtedly appears from 1 Samuel 27:6 (“Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah to this day”) that our author made his recension after the division of the kingdom into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Haevernick’s explanation (p. 144) that the “kings of Judah” are not here opposed to those of the kingdom of the Ten Tribes, but are the kings who sprang from and ruled Judah, is untenable. The “kings of Judah” can be understood only of the kingdom of Judah which arose after Solomon’s time in consequence of the division, in distinction from the kingdom of Israel. It is, however, uncertain at what time after the division the book was composed; probably it was before the destruction of the kingdom of the Ten Tribes, since there is no indication that the author knew of the dispersion of an important part of the people (Bleek, p. 362). “In general,” rightly remarks Keil (Comm. Introd., p. 11), “the content and language of our Books point to the time immediately succeeding the division of the kingdom, since there are no references to the subsequent downfall of the kingdoms, much less to the Exile; and the diction and language is throughout classic and free from Chaldaisms and later forms.” That the recension took place not long after the division of the kingdom may be inferred from the fact that worshipping the Lord and offering sacrifices in various places is, as already remarked, regarded not at all as blameworthy, but rather as well-pleasing to God (1 Samuel 7:5 sq., 17; 1 Samuel 9:13; 1 Samuel 10:3; 1 Samuel 14:35; 2 Samuel 24:18-25). We therefore adopt the hypothesis of Thenius, who refers (p. 14.) to 2 Samuel 8:7; 2 Samuel 14:27, in which, according to the correct Hebrew text suggested by the Septuagint, there is allusion to Rehoboam, and says of the author, that the notices, in all probability inserted by him, do not reach farther than the time of Rehoboam.—The result of our investigation is, therefore, that the Books of Samuel in their present form were composed by a prophetical writer soon after the division of the kingdom.
[On the sources, date and authorship of “Samuel,” see Art. “Books of Samuel” in Smith’s Bib. Dict, and Introd. to Samuel in the Bible Comm. The latter refers to David’s Psalms as one of the sources, points out that twenty or thirty years of the first part of Saul’s reign is omitted, and puts the book (as it stands) towards the time of Jeremiah. The difficulty of coming to a satisfactory decision on this point is well brought out by Erdmann.—TR.]
Theodoret, Quæst. in libr. I., II., Reg. Op. ed., Vaessel, Hal., 1769, Tom. I.; Nik. Lyra, Postill. in univ., S. S. Lugd., 1545; J. Bugenhagen, Annotationes in Deuteron. et Samuel, Basil., 1524, 8; Annot. in libros Sam., Argentor., 1525, 8; J. Menius, Enarratio in Sam. libr. priorem, 1532, Viteberg; J. Brentius, Homil. in libr. l., Sam., Francof. ad M., 1554, fol.; J. Calvin, Homil. in lib. I. Sam., Amstelod., 1667, fol.; H. Weller, Sam. lib. I. annotationibus explicatus, Francof., 1555, 56, fol.; P. Martyr, Comment, in II. libr. Sam., Tig., 1567, 1575, fol.; C. Pellicanus, Comment, in libr. Sam., Tigur, 1582; V. Strigel, Comment, in libr. Sam., etc., Lips., 1591, fol.; Paul Laurentius, Gründl. Auslegung über die zwei Bücher Sam., Leipz., 1616, fol.; Drusius, Annot. in loc. diffic. Jos., Judg., Sam., Arnh., 1618, 4; C. Sanctius, In 4 libr. Reg., etc., Comm., Antwerp, 1624, fol.; Critici sacri, T. II., London, 1660; Bonfrere, Comm. in libr. (4) Reg., etc., Thor., 1643, 2 Th. fol.; H. Grotius, Annot. in vet. test, Paris, 1664, III. Tom.; ed. Vogel, Hal., 1775, T. I.; A. Calovius, Bibl. illustrata, T. I., Francof., 1672; S. Schmid, In libr. Sam. Comment., Argent., 1687, ff. II. Tom. 4; Joh. Ad. Oslander, Comm. in I. et II. lib. Sam., Tubing., 1687, fol.; Joh. Olearius, Bibl. Erklärung der ganzen Heiligen Schrift, Leipz., 1678, fol. V. Theil; Polus, Synopsis criticor., Francof. ad M., 1694; J. Clericus, Vet. test, libri historici, Amstelod., 1708, fol.; Dathe, lib. histor. vet. test. Jos., Jud., Ruth, Sam., etc., Hal., 1784; J. D. Michaelis, Deutsche Uebersetzung des Alt. Test., Göttingen, 1772, Th. 4; J. H. Michaelis, Bibl. hebraica, Magdeb., 1720; J. Chr. Fr. Schulze, Comm. Norimb., 1784; Niemeyer, Charakteristik der Bibel, 4, 5, Th. Halle, 1795; Hensler, Erläut. des ersten Buchs Sam., etc., Hamb., 1795; Hoepfner u. Augusti, Exeget. Handb. d. A. T., Leipz., 1798; Maurer, Comm., Leipz., 1835; Chr. H. Kalkar, Quæst. biblic. Specim. II. (de nonnullis prior. Sam. libr. locis, etc.), Othin., 1835; O. Thenius, Die Bücher Sam. erklärt, 2 Aufl., Leipzig, 1864 (comp. Ruetschli in the Stud, und Krit., 1866, p. 207 f.); C. Fr. Keil, Bibl. Komm. über die prophet. Geschichtsbücher des Alt. Test. II. Die Bücher Sam., Leipz., 1864 [Eng. Tr. Keil on Samuel]; Bunsen, Die Bibel, etc., II, Die Propheten.
V. Dietrich, Summarien, 1578, Nürnb. fol.; L. Osiander, Deutsche Bibel Luthers mit Erklärung, von D. Foerster, Stuttg., 1600, fol.; Pfleicker, Predigten über das erste Buch Sam., Tub., 1605, fol.; Dan. Wuelffer, Saul Exrex, Predigten über die Historien des Königs Saul, Nürnb., 1670, 4; Cramer, Summarien und bibl. Auslegung, 1627, 2 Aufl., Wolfenbüttel, 1681, fol.; Vietor, David’s, Leben und Regierung in Predigten, Nürnb., 1690, 4; Wuertemberg, Summarien und Auslegungen der Heil. Schrift; Das A. T., von J. K. Zeller, Stuttg., 1677; vermehrt herausgegeben durch die theol. Fakult. in Tübingen, Leipz., 1709, 4; Gottf. Kohlreif, Betrachtungen über 30 auserlesene Oerter aus d. Büch. Sam., Ratzeburg, 1717, 8; Berlenb. Bib., 2 Th., 1728, fol.; Joachim Lange, Biblisch-historisches Licht und Recht, Halle u. Leipz., 1734, fol.; Chr. M. Pfaff, Biblia d. i. die ganze Heil, Schrift. mit Summarien und Anmerk, Tubing., fol. 8 Aufl. Speier, 1767; Starke, Synopsis II.; Richter, erklärte Hausbibel A. T. II, Barmen., 1835; Lisko, Das A. T. mit Erklärungen I. Die histor. Bücher, Berlin, 1844; O. V. Gerlach, Das A. T. mit Einl. und erklärend. Anmerk., 2 B., Berl. 1846 (5 Aufl., 1867); Calwer, Handbuch d. Bibelerklärung I., Calw. und Stuttg., 1849; Daechsel, Die Bibel, mit in den Text eingeschalteter Auslegung, mit einem Vorwort von Dr. A. Hahn, General-Superintendent, etc., I. 1, Die Geschichtsbücher, Heft 11–14, Bresl. 1865 sqq., bei Duelfer; Betbibel, 2 B. Eisleben, 1863.
M. Fr. Roos, Einl. in die bibl. Geschichten.—neuer Abdruck, Stuttg., 1857, Th. 2; Eisenlohr, Das Volk Israel unter d. Herrschaft d. Könige, 2 Th., Leipz., 1856; J. Schlier, Die Könige in Israel, ein Handbüchlein zur heil. Geschich., 1859; Hasse, Gesch. d. Alt. Bundes, 1863; Staehelin, Das Leben David’s eine histor. Untersuchung, Basel, 1866.
J. Schlier, König Saul, Bibelstunden, Nördl., 1867; J. Disselhoff, Die Gesch, König Saul’s—elf Predigten, 4 Aufl. Kaiserswerth a. Rh., 1867; Fr. Arndt, Der Mann nach dem Herzen Gottes, 19 Predigten über d. Leben David’s, Berl., 1836; F. W. Krummacher, David, der König v. Israel, ein biblisches Lebensbild, Berlin, 1867; J. Disselhoff, Die Gesch. König David’s, des Mannes nach dem Herzen Gottes, 14 Predigten, 3 Aufl. Kaiserswerth a. Rh., 1867; J. Schlier, König David, Bibelstunden, Nördling., 1870; J. Ruperti, Licht und Schatten aus d. Gesch. des Alt. Bundes, I. Samuel der Prophet, Hermannsburg, 1870.
[Besides Dictionaries of the Bible (Ersch u. Gruber, Winer, Herzog, Kitto, Fairbairn, Smith), Introductions (De Wette, Keil, Bleek, Davidson), and Geographical Works (Reland, Lightfoot, Bochart, Ritter, Robinson, Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, Thomson’s The Land and the Book, Porter in Murray’s Handbook), the following additional aids may be mentioned:
1. Jewish Commentaries.—R. Solomon Isaaki (Rashi), eleventh cent., in Buxtorf’s Biblia Rabbinica, and Lat. translation by J. F. Breithaupt, Gothæ, 1714; R. David Kimchi (Radak), 13th cent., in Buxtorf; R. Levi ben Gershom (Ralbag), thirteenth cent., in Buxtorf; Abarbanel, fifteenth century. Good suggestions may be gotten from these.
2. Patristic.—Jerome, Quæst. in Sam.; Augustine, Quest, and De Civ. Dei Lib. 17; Gregory The Great, Comm.; Chrysostom, Homilies on Hannah and on David.
3. Continental.—Ludovicus de Dieu, Critica Sacra, Amstelaedami, 1693, full of valuable grammatical observations; Die Israelitische Bibel (L. Philippson), Leipzig, 1858, represents modern liberal Jewish opinions.
4. English Commentaries.—Of the older (generally unscientific and unsatisfactory), Patrick, Lowth and Whitby has much good exposition; Walls Critical Notes are nearly useless; Gill has references to Jewish authorities; Henry is devout; Clarke is learned, but sometimes erratic and untrustworthy; the Comprehensive Commentary is a compilation not without value. Of the later, Bishop Wordsworth’s Holy Bible with Notes is devout and conservative, and has some useful quotations from patristic writers, but is marred by excessive literalness and allegorizing; the Critical and Experimental Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown is condensed and clear, useful for those who have not time for wide reading; the Bible Commentary, “by Bishops and other Clergy of the Anglican Church,” is intended to give the results of modern scientific investigation as held by orthodox Anglicans, and is a valuable and generally trustworthy work.
5. Biographies, Histories, etc.—Chandler’s Critical History of David and Delaney’s History of David are useful; Hunter’s Sacred Biography (Hannah) and Robinson’s Scripture Characters, of not much profit; the quaint sagacity and earnest piety of Bp. Hall’s Contemplations is well known; Kitto’s Daily Bible Illustrations are especially useful in giving vividness to Scripture scenes and persons; Stackhouse’s Hist. of the Bible, Milman’s Hist. of the Jews, Stanley’s Lectures on the Jewish Church, Ewald’s Gesch. d. Volkes Israel (Eng. transl. History of Israel, Clark’s Foreign Theolog. Library), Hengstenberg, Gesch. d. Reiches Gottes u. d. A. B. (Eng. transl. Hist. of the Kingdom of God under the Old Covenant), are valuable; C. Kingsley, Four Sermons on David, delivered at the University of Cambridge, sprightly and suggestive; W. M. Taylor, David the King of Israel, New York, 1875, a series of interesting and wholesome discourses; F. D. Maurice’s Prophets and Kings of the O. T. is thoughtful and candid.
6. On the criticism of the text.—Besides general works on text criticism and the Biblia Hebraica of J. H. Michaelis, mentioned above by Dr. Erdmann, we have Kennicott’s Ed. of Heb. Bib., Oxford, 1776–80; De Rossi, Variœ Lectiones Vet. Test., Parmæ, 1784; Thenius and Keil (Eng. tr., Clark’s Foreign Theolog. Lib.), in their commentaries; Wellhausen, Der Text d. Bücher Sam., Göttingen, 1871; foot-notes in Ewald’s Hist. of Israel; Strack’s Proleg. Crit. in Vet. Test.; Frankel’s Vorstudien zur LXX.; Davidson’s Biblical Criticism.—Tr.]
[‘Exegetical and Critical’ is the heading adopted for the section in this translation.]
[‘Historical and Theological’ in the translation.]
[Ewald has west, but the sense seems to require east.—Tr.]
[It is true, as Dr. Erdmann shows, that 1 Samuel 17:12-31 and 1 Samuel 17:55-58 are probably sections added by the redactor to the old narrative, which embraced 1 Samuel 17:1-11; 1 Samuel 17:32-54, but it is not necessary to suppose a contradiction between the several sections and 1 Samuel 16:14-23. The explanations criticised in the text are unsatisfactory, but there is another which diminishes the difficulty as far as we can expect, considering the antiquity of the accounts. It is this: the section, 1 Samuel 16:14-23, gives a general anticipatory account (which is quite in the Heb. style) of David’s relation to Saul, extending as far as the occurrences narrated in 1 Samuel 18:0; 1 Samuel 17:0. then describes the particular incident that led to David’s promotion, the immediate results of which are given (also by anticipation) in 1 Samuel 18:1-5; then the narrative goes back in 1 Samuel 18:6 to mention an incident which gives the key to the following history. Thus 1 Samuel 17:0 belongs in time within 1 Samuel 16:14-23, as 1 Samuel 18:6 belongs in time within 1 Samuel 18:1-5; the combat with Goliath was the means of procuring Saul’s special favor for David, and so Saul, having seen him only a few times, might easily fail to recognize him. So, too, David’s “going and returning,” 1 Samuel 17:15, is to be put in the early part of the period embraced in 1 Samuel 16:14-23, and is not inconsistent with the permanent service which appears at the close of the period, the explanation of which is given in 1 Samuel 17:0 For fuller explanation see the exposition in loco.—The obscurity of the narrative in the connection of the different sections is due no doubt to its brevity and to our ignorance of certain circumstances, which, if known, would enable us clearly to see harmony in these different accounts. The supposition of contradictory accounts is in itself very improbable, considering the fact that the events were well known and carefully recorded by competent persons. It is therefore wiser to suppose an omission of connecting facts than a contradiction in the recorded accounts.—Tr.]
[More precisely stated, under the representatives of Saul’s House; Ishbosheth was probably not king the whole time.—Tr.]
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25