Goliath (So what?)

Dan Wagner Dan.Wagner at datastream.net
Thu Feb 8 19:51:12 EST 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at mclink.it]
> Sent: Monday, February 05, 2001 22:55
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Goliath (So what?)

Oops, i'm behind on the list and just now read this! But i'm happy to see
that ...

> >> > You'll find that the words [the brother of] are missing 
> from 2 Samuel
> 21:19.
> >> > Compare 1 Chronicles 20:5. Elhanan slew *Lahmi*; David 
> slew Goliath.
> >> > Ben
> >>
> >> This is perhaps POSSIBLE, but I think you will find
> >> that almost all modern commentators agree that the
> >> Chronicles version is an attempt to harmonise the
> >> obvious discrepancy.
> >
> >So what?  Is this truth by consensus?  We have to ask what kinds
> >of presuppositions these commentators begin with, what their
> >attitude toward the text is, and a host of other questions.  More
> >important, we have to look into the text itself, not what somebody
> >says about it.
> The text is rather transparent, Dave. While one can easily explain why
> "Lahmi brother of" crept into Chr, the explanation fo the 
> loss of these
> words in 2Sam is much more contorted.

... that i already answered this point by accident! Works very well when you
look at the whole picture of what's going on, eh?!

> The Chr version is much more synthetic than the 2Sam version 
> (while Josephus
> supports some of 2Sam's longer text, though his approach to 
> the Chr writer's
> problem was to omit the Elhanan episode),

The Samuel text was already corrupt before Josephus' time because the LXX
reflects it also. So this may explain why he didn't know what to do and
omitted the Elhanan episode.

> yet it can still 
> have this extra
> material. If one were to posit that the editor of 2Sam worked 
> in the extra
> material, but omitted the words, "Lahmi brother of". It's 
> highly unlikely,
> Dave.
> Ian

Sorry, Ian, but i think your interpretation is the more difficult to see. In
fact, i agree with you that some hypothetical late editor of Samuel would
have been most unlikely to edit in something extra while omitting "Lahmi
brother of"--which is thus evidence for the fact that there was no such
person nor any redaction. If there were, the redactor would have sought to
*correspond* the text to 1Sm. 17 (and to Chronicles, depending on how late
you are talking about), but no redactor did that. Scribes saw their text as
sacred (perhaps in part because of Deut. 12:32) and typically had a fear to
edit them when copying (to either add or subtract was taboo), even in the
case of an apparent discrepancy. If redaction were as many see it, we'd not
be finding these discrepancies. But the fact is that this one is explained
by textual transmission and lacunae, not by various layers of tradition
imposed by different redactors through time.

Dan Wagner

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