[b-hebrew] 1 Chronicles 21 - &+N revisited

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Aug 26 15:49:31 EDT 2005


Dear Chris,

>Not too long ago, we had a conversation here 
>about ˜ËÔ &+N in 1  Chronicles 21. The most 
>common reading of this word in that verse is  as 
>a proper noun, a point on the way toward the 
>later, full-blown  concept of Satan/the Devil. 
>Most (professional) interpreters  apparently 
>think that the Chronicler could not abide the 
>idea of YHWH  inciting David to do something 
>that David later characterizes as sin  and that 
>YHWH later punishes David for having done as per 
>2 Samuel  24. During that conversation, I 
>suggested an alternate possibility:  that the 
>Chronicler uses ˜ËÔ &+N in 1 Chron 21 as a 
>typical common  anarthrous noun, and does not 
>mean to tell a fundamentally different  story 
>from 2 Sam 24, but is using (anarthrous) ˜ËÔ &+N 
>"an  adversary" as a kind of circumlocation 
>referring to 2 Sam 24's "the  anger of YHWH," 
>much as the "angel of YHWH" stands as 
>(anarthrous)  ˜ËÔ &+N "an adversary."
>At the CBA meeting recently I had a conversation 
>about this with a  couple of folks over lunch, 
>one of whom suggested that ˜ËÔ &+N  could also 
>be read in 1 Chron 21 as a common noun with a 
>purely non- supernatural referent. That is, this 
>individual agreed with the usual  consensus that 
>the Chronicler was uncomfortable with what he 
>read in  the Deuteronomistic version, but 
>instead of substituting a different 
>supernatural force, substituted a completely 
>generic, human  "adversary," a vague military 
>threat, which incited David to take the  census. 
>I have not yet thought very much about whether 
>Ò™ SWT  could be used in quite this way, but I 
>found the thought intriguing  enough to share 
>with all of you who followed that earlier thread.


HH: Thanks. One immediate thought is that a 
military adversary would be a legitimate reason 
for a census. The original census in Numbers was 
a sort of military muster. So if David was facing 
a military foe, I don't see why mustering his 
troops would have been a sin.

				Yours,
				Harold Holmyard






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