Josephus’ Retelling Of 1 Kings 1 For A Graeco-Roman Audience -- By: Christopher Begg

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 57:1 (NA 2006)
Article: Josephus’ Retelling Of 1 Kings 1 For A Graeco-Roman Audience
Author: Christopher Begg

Josephus’ Retelling Of 1 Kings 1 For A Graeco-Roman Audience

Christopher Begg


1 Kings 1 relates the tumultuous circumstances which eventuated in Solomon’s being designated David’s successor. This article offers a detailed comparison between the biblical account and its retelling by Josephus in his Antiquities 7:343-362. The study focuses on two overarching questions: (1) which text-form(s) of 1 Kings 1 did the historian utilize? and (2) what kinds of retelling techniques has he applied to the biblical data and with what purposes and effects did he employ those techniques?

1. Introduction

1 Kings 1 tells of the rather disreputable circumstances surrounding David’s designation of Solomon as his successor: the aged king’s decrepitude, Adonijah’s grasp for power, the machinations of Nathan and Bathsheba, and the ignominious flight of Adonijah and his partisans.1 In this essay I wish to examine the retelling of the biblical chapter by Josephus in his Jewish Antiquities (hereafter Antiquities) 7:343-362.2 My study will address two overarching questions in

particular: (1) With which of the varying ancient textual witnesses for 1 Kings 1, that is Masoretic Text (hereafter MT),3 Codex Vaticanus (hereafter B)4 and the Antiochene or Lucianic (hereafter L) manuscripts5 of the Septuagint (hereafter LXX), Vulgate,6 and Targum Jonathan of the Former Prophets7 do Josephus’ affinities lie? and (2) What kinds of retelling techniques does the historian apply to the data of his Vorlage[n] and what is distinctive about his version as a result of their application?

To facilitate my comparison between them, I divide up the material of 1 Kings 1:1-53 and Antiquities 7:343-362 into six parallel segments as follows: David & Abishag (1:1-4//7:343-344); Adonijah’s move (1:5-10//7:345-347); Nathan and Bathsheba’s initiative (1:11-31// 7:348-352); David’s directives realised (

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