In my post, I Kings 8’s Allusion to II Samuel 7, I mentioned I Kings 8:16’s allusion to II Samuel 7:8:
II Samuel 7:8: 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…(NRSV)
I Kings 8:16: Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from any of the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.’
I Kings 8:16 omits the word that II Samuel 7:8 uses for prince: nagid.
Is this significant? I’m not sure. I read P. Kyle McCarter’s comments on nagid in his Anchor Bible commentary on I Samuel (178-179, 186-187). According to McCarter, the term often occurs in reference to God’s appointment of a king-designate, who is sanctioned by the prophet. Nagid usually refers to someone who hasn’t become king yet. McCarter sites I Samuel 9:16; 10:1; 13:14; II Samuel 5:2; I Kings 14:7; 16:2; cf. II Samuel 7:8.
I’m not entirely sure if this works. I mean, why can’t nagid simply mean “ruler”? When David told Michal that God appointed him nagid in place of her father, Saul, was he getting excited about being a king-designate, or the actual ruler (II Samuel 6:21)? Years before David became king, and Abigail stopped him from killing Nabal, telling him that he won’t want bloodguilt when God will command him to be a nagid, what did she mean by nagid? The king-designate who hadn’t yet ascended the throne? David was already that! He had been anointed by Samuel, and he wasn’t king yet. I think nagid probably means “ruler.”
Moreover, while McCarter is correct that I-II Samuel and I-II Kings often use the term nagid in reference to a prophet designating a person king, that’s not always the case. Job uses it to refer to nobles (Job 29:10). Ezekiel calls the head of Tyre a nagid (Ezekiel 28:2).
Moreover, I read in the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament that Psalm 76:12 uses nagid as a parallel with the Hebrew word for king, melek.
Still, it’s interesting that nagid can occur in the context of two things: (1.) military leadership (I Samuel 9:16), and (2.) prophetic sanction (the references McCarter cites).
We see (1.) in II Samuel 7:8-9, in which, after calling David a nagid, God promises to cut off his enemies before him. But I Kings 8:16-19 doesn’t mention David’s battles, but focuses rather on his desire to build the temple. Could this have something to do with its omission of the word nagid?
For (2.), I wonder if the Deuteronomist is big on prophetic sanction. That is something I’ll have to check in Weinfeld, and perhaps in the commentaries I have on Samuel and Kings. In Exodus 18, Jethro suggests to Moses that he establish a judiciary. In Deuteronomy 1, Jethro is out of the picture. Could the Deuteronomist have problems with God using intermediaries, and that’s why he omits nagid in I Kings 8:16? He prefers for God to appoint the king directly? At the same time, I know Deuteronomy 18 discusses prophets, so Deuteronomy isn’t against them. But it will still do me good to check out what Weinfeld has to say about the Deuteronomist and prophets.
I know this post is kind of a stretch, but this is a place for me to brainstorm. Actually, I’m close to writing my paper, and that’s good.