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[Synoptic-L] a story duality in Chronicles?

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  • Ken Olson
    Brian, This is a clarification of my earlier post (10/12) on the story duality in 2 Chronicles 35, but based on the MT rather than the LXX. THE STORY DUALITY:
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 16, 2001

      Brian,

      This is a clarification of my earlier post (10/12) on the story duality in 2 Chronicles 35, but based on the MT rather than the LXX.

      THE STORY DUALITY:

      According to Brian Wilson, "A story duality may be defined as the occurrence of two stories (narratives or parables) in the synoptic gospels such that (i) one story has at least ten word roots the same and in the same order as in the other story, and (ii) when these similar words, together with the sentences in which they are set, are omitted from one story, this does not make more consistent sense than the story as a whole, but when the words with the sentences in which they are set are omitted from the other story, the remainder does make more consistent sense than the story as a whole."

      I believe there is a story duality in the 2 Chronicles 35.20-27, which contains a story shared with 1 Kings 22.29-38. The KJV text of 2 Chronicles 35.20-27 (with transliterated Hebrew words it shares with 2 Kings 22.29-38 placed in brackets) reads:

      20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
      21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
      22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised [HTXPs] himself, that he might fight [LHLXm-BV] with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight [VYBA LHLXm] in the valley of Megiddo.
      23 And the archers shot at king [LMLk] Josiah; and the king said [VYAMR] to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded [KY HXLTY].
      24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot [Mn-HMRKBH], and put him in the second chariot [RKB] that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
      25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
      26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
      27 And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

      The KJV text of 1 Kings 22.29-38 (with transliterated Hebrew words it shares with 2 Chronicles 35.20-27 placed in brackets) reads:

      29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.

      30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle [BMLXMH]; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised [VYTXPs] himself, and went into the battle [VYBVA BMLXMH].

      31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.

      32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.

      33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.

      34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king [AT-MLk] of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said [VYAMR] unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded [KY HXLYTY].

      35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot [BMRKBH] against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot [HRKB].

      36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

      37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

      38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.

      Observations:

      (1) There are at least ten Hebrew word roots the same and in the same order in these two stories. Note that the first two transliterated words appear in a different order in the English text, but are in the same order in the Hebrew text. [For the Hebrew text I am following, see: http://shamash.org/tanach/tanach/text/transliterated.tanach/ (Steve Gross's Transliterated Tanach). I would also like to acknowledge my use of the Interlinear Study Bible at http://www.biblestudytools.net/InterlinearBible/ . I admit to being mostly ignorant of Hebrew. If I have made errors here, corrections are welcome.]

      (2) If these ten words, together with the verses containing them (30, 34, 35) are omitted from the story in 1 Kings 22, this does not make more consistent sense than the story as a whole. If, however, these ten words together with the verses in which they are set (21, 22, 23, and the first part of 24; I am assuming here that I have the latitude to include 21 along with the other verses as one block) are omitted from the story in 2 Chronicles 35, the remainder does make more consistent sense than the story as a whole.

      There are two difficulties in verses 21-24 in Chronicles. First, these verses appear to make the Egyptian king not only the agent, but also the prophet, of God. In the story from 1 Kings 22, it is the prophet Micaiah who pronounces doom on the king; here that role is taken by the king of Egypt. According to Sara Japhet: "Neco's words appropriately refer to his own god, 'god who is with me', and may suggest that the statue of his deity was physically 'with him', carried into the battlefield. According to v. 22, however, when this address is qualified as coming 'from the mouth of God', the reference is certainly to the one God, with a capital G. This presents a major theological difficulty. Although it is true that foreign emperors were seen as the Lord's instrument in the history of his people, this case is different, since Neco threatens Josiah by the name of his own god, the god of Egypt. It is only to be expected that Josiah would not pay heed--specifically because of his piety. How could Josiah accept Neco's claim that his revelation from his own god was actually a message to Josiah from the Lord? For Josiah to accept Neco's words by refraining from war would imply the acknowledgment of the validity of the Egyptian God!" (I and II Chron., 1056-57). It seems odd that Josiah should be punished for not obeying "the words of Necho" and for his failure to recognize them as coming "from the mouth of God." The difficulty seems to have troubled the author of 1 Esdras, for when he retells the story, he renders it "Josiah… did not heed the words of the prophet Jeremiah from the mouth of the Lord" (1 Esdras 1.28).

      Second, as Japhet observes: "the motive of 'disguise', which is essential to the story of Ahab's last war, is completely out of context in the case of Josiah" (I and II Chron., 1043). There is no apparent reason for Josiah to have disguised himself, and the disguise plays no further role in the story. Again, later retellers of the story of Josiah's death seem to have recognized this as an oddity. The LXX version of 2 Chronicles 35.22 replaces "disguised" with "strengthened," while the author of 1 Esdras simply omits the reference to Josiah disguising himself (1 Esdras 1.28).

      If verses 21 through the first part of 24 are removed from 2 Chronicles 35.20-27, the remainder reads:

      20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates, and Josiah went out against him,
      24 and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
      25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
      26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
      27 And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

      This version of the story not only avoids the two difficulties mentioned above, but also resembles the account of Josiah's death in 2 Kings 23.28-30 fairly closely.

      Conclusions:

      There is a story duality in 2 Chronicles 35. Story dualities are not an original invention of the writer of Greek Notes.

      THE SOURCE CRITICAL HYPOTHESIS

      The Chronicler's main source for the death of Josiah was 2 Kings 23.28-30. However, the story in Kings posed a theological problem for the Chronicler. According to Japhet, "Within the framework of the Chronicler's historical philosophy, the untimely death of Josiah must be conceived as punishment and be preceded by some sin. Moreover it must be a willful sin, committed after an express warning has been delivered" (I and II Chron., 1042). As the Chronicler's theology required Josiah's death in battle to be the result of Josiah's intentional disregard of a divine warning, the Chronicler borrowed from 1 Kings 22 the story of King Ahab's death in battle as a result of his disregard for the word of the Lord delivered by the prophet Micaiah. Some of the elements borrowed from the Ahab story do not fit well in their new context. Necho, king of Egypt, makes a strange prophet of the Lord and Josiah's disguising himself seems entirely superfluous. Removing the elements borrowed from 1 Kings 22 from the story of Josiah's death in Chronicles does not quite restore the story to the form it had in 2 Kings 23.28-30, but does brings us fairly close.

      REFERENCES

      Sarah Japhet, _I and II Chronicles: A Commentary_ (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993).

      Best Wishes,

      Ken

      Kenneth A. Olson
      Graduate Teaching Assistant
      Department of History
      2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
      University of Maryland
      College Park, MD 20742                   
      kaolson@...

      I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything - T.H. Huxley

    • Brian E. Wilson
      Ken Olson wrote -- ... Ken, Many thanks for taking such immense trouble to use transliterated Hebrew and literal translations, and so on, to produce your piece
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 19, 2001
        Ken Olson wrote --
        >
        > According to Brian Wilson, "A story duality may be defined as the
        >occurrence of two stories (narratives or parables) in the synoptic
        >gospels such that (i) one story has at least ten word roots the same
        >and in the same order as in the other story, and (ii) when these
        >similar words, together with the sentences in which they are set, are
        >omitted from one story, this does not make more consistent sense than
        >the story as a whole, but when the words with the sentences in which
        >they are set are omitted from the other story, the remainder does make
        >more consistent sense than the story as a whole."
        >
        >I believe there is a story duality in the 2 Chronicles 35.20-27, which
        >contains a story shared with 1 Kings 22.29-38. The KJV text of 2
        >Chronicles 35.20-27 (with transliterated Hebrew words it shares with
        >[1] Kings 22.29-38 placed in brackets) reads...

        Ken,
        Many thanks for taking such immense trouble to use transliterated
        Hebrew and literal translations, and so on, to produce your piece of
        thinking on story dualities.

        It seems to me that you are saying that 1 Kings 22.29-38 and 2
        Chronicles 35.20-27 are two stories that form a story duality in which
        1 Kings 22.29-38 is the simple dua-story, and 2 Chronicles 35.20-27 is
        the composite dua-story.

        I agree that you show that (a) one story has at least ten word roots the
        same and in the same order as the other, and (b) that when these similar
        words, together with associated adjoining words are omitted from the
        second story, the remainder makes more consistent sense than the story
        as a whole in which they are set. I would accept, therefore, that you
        have shown that two of the three criteria laid down in the definition
        are met.

        However, my immediate gut reaction to reading the first story (the story
        in 1 Kings) is that it has been formed by making additions to an earlier
        story. Without even considering "story dualities" but just by reading
        the story through, the references to the King of Israel deciding to
        disguise himself would seem to be an addition that sits loosely in what
        was originally a simpler account. So also, the narrative seems to have
        been artificially extended to include the idea that the king ordered his
        servants to take him out of the battle, this command then being
        disobeyed, and instead the king being propped up in his chariot with the
        battle being continued until evening when he eventually died. Also, the
        ending concerning the dogs licking the blood being "according to the
        word of the LORD which he spake" seems to be tacked on as an additional
        "theological" comment. This first story therefore seems to have
        embroidering additions that have been added to an originally simpler
        version. The story would seem to read much more smoothly without these.

        When, in fact, you look at these apparently additional parts, they turn
        out to include the "word-roots the same and in the same order" that you
        find from your comparison with the second story you consider, and which
        you show in upper case letters (except with one deletion, and one
        addition, as I set out below). In fact, if the word-roots the same and
        in the same order together with their adjoining associated words are
        omitted this *does* produce a story which makes more coherent sense than
        the story as a whole that contains it. In other words, the criterion
        concerning the first story not including material making more coherent
        sense if the word-roots the same and in the same order are omitted, is
        not met, as I show next.

        The following is a transcription of your version of the KJV of the first
        story, with the "word-roots the same and in the same order" shown in
        transliterated Hebrew letters (upper case) and also (again, in upper
        case) the adjoining words that go with them. In the last verse of your
        version, I have presumed to indicate additionally that the word "LORD"
        is also one of the word-roots the same and in the same order, since it
        also occurs in a corresponding position in the closing words of the
        second story. (The MT has YHWH in both instances.) I have used asterisks
        to draw attention to this alteration (it is not really a correction) I
        have made --

        FIRST VERSION

        29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to
        Ramothgilead. 30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will
        disguise myself, and enter into the battle [BMLXMH]; but put thou on thy
        robes. And the king of Israel disguised [VYTXPs] himself, and went into
        the battle [VYBVA BMLXMH]. 31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty
        and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither
        with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. 32 And it came
        to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they
        said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight
        against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 And it came to pass, when the
        captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel,
        that they turned back from pursuing him. 34 And a certain man drew a bow
        at a venture, and smote the king [AT-MLk] of Israel between the joints
        of the harness: wherefore he said [VYAMR] unto the driver of his
        chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded
        [KY HXLYTY]. 35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was
        stayed up in his chariot [BMRKBH] against the Syrians, and died at even:
        and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot [HRKB].
        36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going
        down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own
        country. 37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they
        buried the king in Samaria. 38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of
        Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour;
        according unto the word of the ****LORD [YHWH]**** which he spake.

        The following is the same as the above but with the word-roots the same
        and in the same order and their associated wording omitted, but with one
        apparent exception which I explain after setting out this second version
        --

        SECOND VERSION

        29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to
        Ramothgilead. 30 And 31 the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two
        captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with
        small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. 32 And it came to
        pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that
        they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to
        fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 And it came to pass,
        when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not
        the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. 34 And a
        certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote [[[the king]]] of Israel
        between the joints of the harness: 36 And there went a proclamation
        throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man
        to his city, and every man to his own country. 37 So the king died, and
        was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

        Exceptionally, I have not omitted the word "the king" in the phrase "the
        king of Israel" in verse 34 even though the word "the king" within this
        phrase is one of the words you list as belonging to the word-roots the
        same and in the same order. This is because the phrase "the king of
        Israel" is clearly very much part of the first story but is nowhere to
        be found in the second story with which it is compared. Indeed "the king
        of Israel" appears in the opening words of the first story, and is the
        subject of the story, the phrase "the king of Israel" occurring seven
        times in it. He is described as simply "the king" only three times --
        towards the end of the story when he is ostensibly dying, and when he is
        dead. I think it is reasonable, therefore, to allow the non-omission of
        this one word (in Hebrew) even though it corresponds to the same word in
        the second story.

        It seems to me that this second version set out above is more coherent
        in meaning than the first version. In particular, in the first version
        the king died twice -- once in verse 35 ("and he died") and again in
        verse 37 ("So the king died"). In the second version he died only once
        (verse 37). Again, there appear to be two arrivals of evening, one in
        verse 35 "at even" and the other in verse 36 "about the going down of
        the sun". In the second version, however, there is only one arrival of
        evening (in verse 36). Furthermore, in the first version, the account of
        Ahab actually telling Jehoshaphat that he was going to disguise himself
        and was not going to wear his robes, and ordering Jehoshaphat that he
        must wear his robes in the battle, would appear to be ham-fisted. If
        Ahab was trying to put Jehoshaphat in the firing-line, he would hardly
        have given him explicit advance warning. Also, if Jehoshaphat was a
        king, Ahab would hardly have been so blunt as simply to order him to
        wear his robes. The second version does not have this difficulty, since
        it does not contain this material. Furthermore, the references to the
        blood running into the middle of the chariot (verse 35) and the same
        blood being "licked by the dogs" (verse 38) all seem artificially
        contrived to lead up to the theological comment that this was "according
        to the word of the LORD which he spake". According to one commentary I
        have on I Kings, "this verse (38) is editorial, with reference to
        21.19" - that is to say, the references to blood and dogs licking the
        blood in verses 35 and 38 are an editorial addition that attempts to
        make the account fit the details of the prophecy of Elijah concerning
        Ahab in I Kings 21.19. There is no such apparently contrived fulfilment
        of prophecy in the second version, however.

        There are therefore various indications that, if the word-roots the same
        and in the same order together with adjoining associated words are
        omitted from the first version, the remainder contains material that
        **does** make more consistent sense than the first version as a whole.
        In other words, the remaining criterion of a story duality is not
        fulfilled -- that when the word-roots the same and in the same order
        together with their associated adjoining words are omitted from one
        story, this does **not** make more consistent sense than the story as a
        whole.

        It follows that the two stories, 1 Kings 22.29-38 and 2 Chronicles
        35.20-27, do not form a story duality, since one of the three criteria
        is not met.

        By what documentary hypothesis, then, can we account for the
        similarities between the two stories? The answer is surely what has been
        recognized for many years by scholars, that 1 and 2 Chronicles were
        written at least a century after 1 and 2 Kings, and that the writer of 1
        and 2 Chronicles used 1 and 2 Kings as source material. The writer of 2
        Chronicles produced his account of the death of Josiah in 2 Chronicles
        35.20-27 on the basis of the account of the death of Ahab he found
        already written in 1 Kings 22.29-38. The lack of consistent meaning
        within the later story is the result of a lack of consistent meaning in
        material (with some word-roots the same and in the same order) in the
        earlier story in which editorial additions had been made awkwardly.
        There is therefore nothing exceptional about the similarities of wording
        between 1 Kings 22.29-38 and 2 Chronicles 35.20-27. The similarities can
        be easily understood as simply the result of a later (by possibly two or
        three centuries!) writer having adapted the earlier story on the death
        of one king to produce his story of the death of another king.

        I would again suggest that the story dualities that I have shown occur
        in the synoptic gospels are a very unusual phenomenon indeed. It should
        be noted that the Logia Translation Hypothesis does not posit that story
        dualities are not to be found anywhere outside the synoptic gospels. The
        significance of story dualities observed in the synoptic gospels is that
        the Logia Translation Hypothesis fits their occurrences well, but the
        2DH, GH and FH would seem not to do this. My hunch at the moment,
        however, is that story dualities do not exist outside the synoptic
        gospels, but are original to the writer of the Greek Logia of the LTH. I
        would suggest that such an unusual approach, found in some two dozen
        pairs of stories in the synoptic gospels, is very unlikely to be found
        anywhere else.

        Best wishes,
        BRIAN WILSON

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