David’s Second Sparing Of Saul According To Josephus -- By: Christopher Begg

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 48:1 (NA 1997)
Article: David’s Second Sparing Of Saul According To Josephus
Author: Christopher Begg


David’s Second Sparing Of Saul According To Josephus

Christopher Begg

Summary

This article offers a detailed comparison of Josephus’ version, in Antiquities 6:310-319a, of the story of David’s second sparing of Saul in relation to its Biblical source, 1 Samuel 26 (as represented by the MT, the Qumran scroll 4QSama, the Septuagint, the Vetus Latina, and the Targum). Questions addressed include: the Biblical text-form(s) used by Josephus, the distinctive features of his presentation of the episode, and the messages this may have been intended to convey to his Gentile and Jewish readers. It is hoped that the methodology of this study might serve as a paradigm for the study of other first-century figures whose use of the Old Testament is an important theological feature: namely, Philo and the early Christians writers of the New Testament.

1 Samuel 26 relates a poignant moment in the tortured interactions between Saul and David, i.e. the second sparing of the former’s life by the latter and the final encounter between the pair prior to Saul’s death as described in 1 Samuel 31.1 In this essay I propose to investigate Josephus’ retelling of the episode in his Antiquitates Judaicae (hereafter Ant.) 6.310-318(319a).2 My investigation will

take the form of a detailed comparison of Josephus’ version with its Biblical source as represented by the following major witnesses: MT (BHS), 4QSama,3 Codex Vaticanus (hereafter B),4 and the Lucianic (hereafter L) or Antiochene manuscripts5 of the LXX, the Vetus Latina (hereafter VL),6 and Targum Jonathan of the Former Prophets (hereafter TJ).7 By means of this comparison, I hope to find answers to such overarching questions as: Which text-form(s) of 1 Samuel 26 did Josephus employ? What rewriting techniques did he apply to the data of his source and what distinctive features to his version did these generate? Finally, what influence did Josephus’ awareness of the intended audience(s) for his Ant. (i.e. [Roman] Gentiles and fellow Jews) have upon...

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