Structure, Context And Meaning In The Samuel Conclusion (2 Sa. 21-24) -- By: Herbert H. Klement

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 47:2 (NA 1996)
Article: Structure, Context And Meaning In The Samuel Conclusion (2 Sa. 21-24)
Author: Herbert H. Klement


Structure, Context And Meaning In
The Samuel Conclusion (2 Sa. 21-24)1

Herbert H. Klement

In recent years increased attention has been devoted to the narratives of the books of Samuel. This newer interest in these books has concentrated especially on narrative technique and the type of literary portrayal found in these accounts. The peculiar nature of the concluding chapters of Samuel with its six chiastically arranged units has seldom been the object of an independent study. Nonetheless it is this more recent interest in literary forms which has increased awareness of the boundaries of literary units, and thus of the significance of beginnings and endings in determining the interpretation of those units. This study seeks, therefore, within the framework of a literary enquiry, to understand the chapters 2 Samuel 21-24 in their function as the conclusion of the Samuel corpus.

To this end an opening chapter gives an overview of the main trends in the interpretation of this group of texts in the last two centuries. It was the biographical interest in brilliant personalities characteristic of the era of Romanticism that started to have a decisive influence on the exegesis of stories about David as a history-forming personality. 1 Kings 1-2 (describing the events surrounding David’s death) has been felt since then to be an essential part of David’s ‘biography’. The current state of research is characterised on the one hand by a great multitude of different approaches, with no particular direction of research predominating, and on the other hand by a trend towards mainly synchronic literary interpretations. This latter trend forms the starting-point for the fresh investigation being undertaken in this study.

The second chapter investigates the connections of the Samuel Conclusion with the rest of the Samuel corpus. Following the studies of W. Brueggemann and J. Flanagan, the ring structure (ABCCBA) is further compared with other groups of texts in the Samuel corpus. The two lists of soldiers (2 Sa. 21:15-22; 23:8-39) are interpreted by analogy with the double lists of David’s sons (2 Sa. 5:13-16, sons born in Jerusalem; 2 Sa. 3:1-5, sons born in Hebron) and ministers (2 Sa. 8:15-18; 20:23-26). When one treats the lists in their double appe...

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