‘Why Has Yahweh Defeated Us Today Before The Philistines?’ The Question Of The Ark Narrative -- By: Andy Stirrup
TynBul 51:1 (2000) p. 81
‘Why Has Yahweh Defeated Us Today Before The Philistines?’
The Question Of The Ark Narrativea
This study attempts to use the tools of literary criticism to bring a fresh approach to bear on the impasse which affected earlier studies on the Ark Narrative. Boundaries are established to determine the beginning, middle and end of the narrative and then an attempt is made to read that story. What emerges is a narrative which is concerned to explain, from start to finish, why the Israelites were defeated by a Philistine army, and an attempt to bring a challenge to the nation to respond appropriately to its holy God.
I. Introduction And Literature Survey
In 1926 Leonard Rost published a proposal that the author of 2 Samuel had borrowed from an earlier story which related ‘the succession to the throne of David’ and inserted it, largely unaltered, into his own history. In the same study Rost also looked carefully at the chapters which precede the Succession Narrative and identified 2 Samuel 6 as part of an earlier work. This work was not concerned with how Solomon became king after David but with the fortunes of the Ark. Rost joined 2 Samuel 6 with 1 Samuel 4-6 allowing 2 Samuel 6 to form the conclusion and climax to a cult legend which ‘depicts the fate of the Ark from its removal from Shiloh until its installation in Jerusalem’, the Ark Narrative (AN).1
TynBul 51:1 (2000) p. 82
It is a testimony to Rost’s scholarship that the thesis remained largely unchallenged until the mid 70s. Hertzberg’s commentary, for example, makes only minor emendations.2 But in the mid 70s three significant monographs on the AN were published.
In 1973 Franz Schicklberger published his analysis of the AN. He followed a path outlined by Vriezen and Schunk who argued, on the basis of vocabulary and style, that 2 Samuel 6 should be considered as distinct and independent, not the conclusion of the Ark’s story in 1 Samuel 4-6.3 Schicklberger went on further to argue that 1 Samuel 4 predated 1 Samuel 5 and 6. He saw the theology rehearsed in
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