Biblica 80 (1999) 269-271


Chronistic Tendency in 1 Chr 18,10-11


1 Chr 18 runs parallel to 2 Sam 8. Between the two chapters there are a few differences which are stylistic in nature or are related to the transmission of the text. In only a few cases is it a disputed question whether or not the difference betrays a Chronistic point of view. These include the omission in v. 2 of David’s harsh treatment of the Moabites, the addition in v. 8b of the remark that the bronze which David took from the Aramean cities was used by Solomon for the temple, and the change with respect to the position of David’s sons in v. 17.

        It is the contention of this article that a case of Chronistic tendency occurs in vv. 10-11. According to 2 Sam 8,10 King Toi of Hamath sent his son to David on a diplomatic mission with "(wyh wdybw) articles of silver, gold and bronze". The words wyh wdybw are omitted in Chronicles, which, moreover has ylk lkw instead of the first ylk in the Samuel text. The result is that Chronicles now has "and all the articles of gold, silver and bronze", which is only very loosely connected with what precedes, if connected at all. RudolphGalling: "und in seiner Hand waren goldene...Geräte";
NRSV: "He sent all sorts of articles of gold...";
TOB: "[pour le féliciter] et pour lui apporter toutes sortes d’objets d’or...";
Tanakh; NJPST: "[he brought with him] all manner of gold... objects".

        This type of translation is basically based on the text of Samuel. This translation would be justified if there were any reason to consider the omission as accidental but no such reason has been adduced. Instead, there are strong reasons to assume the change to be deliberate.

        If we leave the Samuel text aside for a while, then the obvious transla-tion is that in which "all the articles of gold, silver, and bronze" is no


longer connected with what precedes, but is the proleptic object of "dedicate" in v. 11, taken up by Mt): "As for all the articles of gold, silver and bronze, David dedicated them also". As far as I am aware, only Braun maintains this division. This rendering, based on a smooth syntax, is the most natural translation of the text of Chronicles. That we have here indeed a deliberate restructuring of the text is confirmed by the addition of lkw, "and all". In the first place, the waw marks a new clause. Secondly, "all" is meaningless if the text is understood on the basis of Samuel: Hadoram came with (a number of) articles, not with "all articles"2, but in Chronicles it makes good sense: all articles which had been taken as spoil were dedicated (see below).

        The decisive question, of course, is what the Chronicler may have intended by this change. The answer lies, I propose, in the fact that wyh wdybw refers to a gift, and the Chronicler was not willing to have gifts from foreign kings used for the temple. He did not object to spoils of war being used that way, since in that case David or Solomon (vv. 8.11) assigned for the temple what in fact belonged already to God. In this connection it is interesting to note a small but telling difference between this verse and its parallel. 2 Sam 8,11 has: "These also King David dedicated to YHWH together with the silver...that he had dedicated from all the peoples...". Chronicles has "the silver...that he had taken ()#&n) from all the peoples...". Although the Samuel text can only refer to spoil, the Chronicler wants to make this explicit by using the unambiguous "taken [as spoil]".

        This dogmatic change was possible with only a small textual change. By leaving out wyh wdybw the articles were no longer gifts from Toi (or Tou), brought to David by Hadoram. The diplomatic mission now marks the victorious end of David’s campaign against Hadadezer. In the new sentence, which begins with lkw, the Chronicler implies that the articles had been taken as spoil from Hadadezer and the emphatic Mt)-Mg "these also", connects with v. 8. The Chronicler wants us to understand that these articles were taken as spoil in addition to that mentioned in vv. 7-8. It is true that in v. 8 it is Solomon who actually used the bronze for the temple, but no doubt the Chronicler implies that Solomon only used what David had assigned for this purpose; compare ch. 22; 28; 2 Chr 5,1.

        The above is confirmed by two other changes in v. 11, which commentators do not link up with the omission in v. 10. The Samuel parallel of 1 Chr 18,11, 2 Sam 8,11, reads "These also King David dedicated to YHWH together with the silver and the gold that he had dedicated from all the peoples which he had subdued, from Aram, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek, and from the spoil of King Hadadezer, son of Rehob of Zobah". Instead of "from Aram" Chronicles has "from Edom". Commentators consider this a case of interchange between waw and daleth, as often occurs. Michaeli and Rudolph think that "Aram" is the older text on the basis of the Samuel parallel; Williamson and Japhet do not commit themselves with respect to this question. However, the


change seems to be deliberate: if the last part of v. 11 refers to Hadadezer of Aram, then the mention of Aram in the list of other nations from which spoil was taken would be strange. This problem was very elegantly solved by the Chronicler with the minimal change from "Aram" to "Edom".

        The same difficulty was faced by the Chronicler at the end of the Samuel text, where the spoil of Hadadezer is explicitly mentioned. There was no problem in adding this spoil to the articles brought as tribute by Hadoram. Things are different in Chronicles: the mention of the spoil of Hadadezer was impossible now that v. 10, as restructured by the Chronicler, was meant to refer to the spoil of Hadadezer. Therefore, these words are omitted altogether.

        In conclusion: after the Chronicler had omitted wyh wdybw he made three other changes to adapt the text to the new implied meaning, one in v. 10 and three in v. 11. To deal with these changes in isolation is overlooking their inner cohesion and missing an interesting piece of Chronistic thinking.


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The omission of wyh wdybw and the addition of lkw in 1 Chr 18,10 are deliberate. The last part of v. 10 now connects with v. 11 and refers to the spoil of Hadadezer instead of to the gift of King Toi. This interpretation is confirmed by three other Chronistic changes in v. 11.


1 Names of authors without title refer to the following commentaries: K. GALLING, Die Bücher der Chronik, Esra, Nehemiah (ATD; Göttingen 1954); W. RUDOLPH, Chronikbücher (HAT; Tübingen 1955); J.M. MYERS, I Chronicles (AB; Garden City 1973); H.G.M. WILLIAMSON, 1 and 2 Chronicles (NCBC; Grand Rapids 1982); R. BRAUN, 1 Chronicles (WBC; Waco 1986); S. JAPHET, I & II Chronicles (OTL; London 1993).

2 Commentaries and translations render lk therefore with "all sorts of" (see before), or leave it untranslated (e.g. REB). This rendering is more an indication of the problem than a solution of it.