Cross, Dtr, and II Samuel 7

In this post, I want to highlight the parts of II Samuel 7 that Frank Moore Cross believes are Deuteronomistic, according to his Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. But I’m not going to highlight every part he deems Deuteronomistic, but only the parts that correspond with the Book of Deuteronomy. I’ll color the Deuteronomist parts in red. After the red part, I’ll cite in parenthesis the Hebrew phrase, as well as the corresponding passages from Deuteronomy. I’ll include comments in purple. The translation is the New Revised Standard Version.

2 Samuel 7:1 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 (immach; Deuteronomy 31:8, 23).” I don’t think that makes this passage Deuteronomistic, for immach occurs all over Genesis and in Exodus 3:12 and 18:19.
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 (mithalech; Deuteronomy 23:15) in a tent and a tabernacle. Cross also cites Genesis 3:8 and Leviticus 26:12, so this is not uniquely Deuteronomistic. But how’s Deuteronomy 23:15’s claim that God walks amidst the camp of Israel jive with the argument that Deuteronomy is anti-anthropomorphism when it comes to God, which is why it says God’s name and not God himself lives in the temple? Maybe the Deuteronomist had no problem with God visiting and moving about the Israelites to help them in battle, but he thought saying God was limited to an earthly sanctuary went too far (I Kings 8:27).
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 (see v 3) 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 (ve-samti maqom; Deuteronomy 1:33) 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 (ve-lo yosiphu bene-avlah le-anoto; Deuteronomy 26:6), as formerly, These passages in Deuteronomy don’t use all of these words, only maqom and anah, the word for “afflict.” I’m not in the mood to do a word-study on these words. This is a passage that McCarter also says is Deuteronomistic, though.
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, 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, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
23 Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people, and to make a name for himself, doing great and awesome things 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; 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; 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 (Deuteronomy 1:5 uses this word to refer to Moses, not God) 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.”

Okay, I didn’t do everything I said I would. I looked more at the passages that Cross views as Deuteronomistic but that McCarter does not. I don’t think those passages are necessarily Deuteronomistic, since their phraseology occurs in non-Deuteronomistic sections of the Pentateuch.

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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