Moshe Weinfeld and Dtr in II Samuel 7

I’m writing a paper, and blogging is one way for me to organize my thoughts. The topic is biblical intertextuality, which is when one biblical text interacts with another biblical text.

My professor recommended that I “discuss II Samuel [7], the deuteronomic emendations of that chapter, and then the intertextual links to 1 Kgs 8:1-30…This would require you to cross reference ‘Place of my name’ phraseology and its function within a theological framework.”

In this post, I want to highlight the Deuteronomic emendations of II Samuel 7. I will identify them using the late Moshe Weinfeld’s classic work, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), particularly his appendix on “Deuteronomic Phraseology.”

The translation is from the New Revised Standard Version, and I have colored the Deuteronomic emendations in red. I have also placed in parentheses the reference from Weinfeld, where he ties the phraseology to passages in Deuteronomy.

I’ll be writing posts for this paper off-and-on, since there will be days in which I’ll be researching rather than writing. My purpose in this post is to have something I can refer back to when I sit down and write my paper.

Here we go!

1 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him,
2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.”
3 Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.”
4 But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan:
5 Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?
6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle.
7 Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”
8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel;
9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly,
11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.
12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build a house for my name (p. 325#6), and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings.
15 But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
17 In accordance with all these words and with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?
19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD; you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord GOD!
20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD!
21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it.
22 Therefore you are great, O LORD God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you (p. 331#5), according to all that we have heard with our ears.
23 Who is like your people, like Israel (p. 328#11)? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it (p. 326#1) as a people (p. 327#16a), and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things (p. 329#17) for them, by driving out before his people nations and their gods?
24 And you established your people Israel for yourself to be your people forever (p. 328#11); and you, O LORD, became their God.
25 And now, O LORD God, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever (p. 315#1, 1a); do as you have promised.
26 Thus your name will be magnified forever in the saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel’; and the house of your servant David will be established before you.
27 For you, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you.
28 And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant;
29 now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you; for you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

Some thoughts:

1. I’m not sure how much these parts in red are emendations, since the text doesn’t seem to make much sense without them. Maybe the emendations include things not in red as well. There are other commentaries that refer to “Deuteronomic additions,” and I want to take a look at them, too.

2. vv 5-7 define the issue as David wanting to build God a house “to live in” (Hebrew, yashav). For Weinfeld, the Deuteronomist does not have an anthropomorphic view of God that says he lives in a house, so he emphasizes in v 13 that the house is for God’s “name,” not God himself.

I wonder to what extent “pagans” believed that deities dwelt in their temples. Did they think that their gods only lived in temples, or that they lived elsewhere (e.g., heaven) as well? I read a commentary a while back that said that the priestly author of the Hebrew Bible–the one who stresses that God lives in an earthly sanctuary–did not think that the earthly sanctuary was God’s permanent residence, but rather that he only visited there in times of worship. I’ll have to dig that source up. Does yashav have to mean that God made the temple his permanent residence–as in, he’s there all of the time?

We do know that I Kings 8:27 stresses that God does not literally dwell in a house on earth, so I can see Wienfeld’s point that there is some anti-anthropomorphistic theology going on with the Deuteronomist.

I’d like to read Sandra Richter’s The Deuteronomistic history and the name theology, which is on Google books. She takes a look at scholarship on this issue. I’ll get to some of that this week.

In my next post for this paper, I may look at I Kings 8:1-30. I want to highlight the Deuteronomic emendations there, as well as the allusions to II Samuel 7.

Stay tuned!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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