[b-hebrew] Regnal resume variation in Kings

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Sat Jul 16 01:03:08 EDT 2005

On Jul 15, 2005, at 3:46 PM, Ben Crick wrote:

> On Thu 14 Jul 2005 (15:25:46), christopher.heard at pepperdine.edu wrote:
>> I suppose this is more of an exegetical, form-critical, or text-
>> critical question than a linguistic one, but does anyone on the list
>> know of any particular reason why these five cases should depart from
>> the "standard" (meaning "more frequently attested") formula?
>  IMHO this is simply the writer quoting his sources, as scholars do  
> when
>  citing passages from other works. The "Chronicles of the Kings of  
> Israel"
>  is certainly not the Biblical book(s) Chronicles DiB:ReY HaYYaMiYM.
>  Another source referred to is the book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13; 2  
> Samuel
>  1:18).

Ben, your opinion is shared by every commentator I've read on the  
subject (for whatever that "consensus" is worth, Jim) and I've little  
doubt that it's correct or close to correct. However, what remains  
unexplained (Karl considers it only a minor variation, and that may  
be all it is) is the reason why five such references read "behold  
them written" and all other such instances of the formula read "are  
they not written?" It's not the phenomenon of referencing other books  
that has piqued my curiosity; it is the verbal variance in the  
quotation in only these few cases.

For example, if Karl is correct to date the composition of the book  
of Kings to the Persian era, could it be that the archives were so  
badly damaged that only tiny fragments survived? Could the phrase  
"behold them written" suggest that the author could actually lay eyes  
on those documents, while "are they not written?" is the author's  
extrapolation from the fact that "he" had a few fragments of annals  
actually available? That probably doesn't hold water, but it's an  
example of the sort of thing I'm wondering about: is there an actual  
reason for the "behold them written" vs. "are they not written"  
variation in the formula(e)?

R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, California 90263-4352

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