Methods in biblical scholarship (Peter)

Andrew Davies a.davies at
Fri Dec 31 13:55:17 EST 1999

Isn't it time, Peter, to face the fact that we have two *written* sources
that an editor of Samuel has used?

I don't agree with the attempts at harmonization that have been proposed
either, but, with respect, Ian, this is plain ridiculous.  It is possible,
though not to my mind the best explanation, to propose the existence of two
variant accounts which have both been used in Samuel, but how on earth can
you conclude they are written sources?  There's no evidence for that at all
in this instance (though I'm happy to admit textual sources were drawn upon
elsewhere in the DtrH), and it seems the only reason for suggesting it would
be to push back the date of authorship of Samuel unnecessarily.
It seems to me that here as always the simplest explanation is the best.
The Amalekite is clearly lying in the hope of gaining a reward.  He finds
Saul and his armour bearer dead, takes the royal insignia and decides to
take the credit, expecting David to be delighted and reward him handsomely
(otherwise why would he go to David, who, remember, is not the next in line
for the throne?).  This is quite straightforward and seems to me to be the
plain sense of the text.

Andrew Davies
Mattersey Hall, England

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