Contents and View-point (§ 1).
    Date and Sources (§ 2.)
    Historicity and Chronology (§ 3).
    The Text (§ 4).

1. Contents and Viewpoint.

II Kings xvii. 7 sqq.). That the promise to the house of David (I Kings xi. 32, 36, 39) was not to fail appears to have been confirmed in the view of the author by the fact that Jehoiachin in his exile was restored to honor, this being a pledge that God would keep his promise to his people. The keynote is struck in the mention of Solomon's cult of the high places and the relation of each king of Judah to this cult is specifically noted, while throughout rune the relation of the people to prophetic teachings, this last especially characteristic of these books. The point of view of the editor of the sources from which the book was compiled is unmistakably that of the Deuteronomist and preexilic prophecy; viz., that the cause of the destruction of the kingdoms was the ever-renewed cult of the high places and the idolatry connected with it. Yet it is not to be maintained, with Wellhausen, that the priestly view is excluded and that there is no knowledge shown of the distinction between Levites and priests or of the Mosaic tabernacle (I King vii. 4) and that consequently the chronicler's representation is to be set aside. Similarly the assertion that the Aaronic line of priests has no mention either overlooks the Zadokite succession which came in with the supersession of Abiathar (I Kings ii. 26-27) and continued in the Zadok-Eleazar line till the exile, or attempts to nullify it by regarding that line as not Aaronic on the ground that I Sam. ii. 27 sqq. (asserted to be a prophecy after the event) predicted the extinction of the Aaronic line; but this prophecy affected only the house of Eli and not the entire priesthood (cf. II Sam. xv. 24 for the Zadokite-Levite conception). The distinction between priest and Levite as made in Deut. xviii. 3, 6, is certainly preexilic.

2. Date and Sources.

The terminus a quo for the final redaction of the book is set by the mention of the restoration of Jehoiachin to honor (II Kings xxv. 27 sqq.) in 561 B.C. But the original author must have worked before the exile about 600 B.C. under Jehoiakim, who is the latest king in connection with whom occurs the usual Deuteronomic formula closing the account of a reign. A second editing is seen in the passage II Kings xvii. 19-21, still before the exile of Judah. From this second hand proceeded the synchronistic data given for the two kingdoms,--materials not found in the sources employed by the first editors. Reference to these sources is very characteristic of the whole work. Thus there is note of the book of the acts of Solomon (I., xi. 41), fourteen references to the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah, and seventeen to the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel. These have been supposed to be the official records of the respective kingdoms, but the frequent changes of dynasty in the northern kingdom make this supposition untenable. They must rather have been works which indeed employed official documents and sources but were freer handling of the materials than were official records. From such sources were obtained the statistical data such as the age of the king at accession, the length of his reign and the political situation. It is also debatable whether the editor had in mind two works as sources (for Israel and for Judah) or one in two parts. Besides these sources others were employed, such as a prophetic-historical narrative like that from which the Elijah-Elisha portion is taken: also the piece II, xviii. 13-xx. 19, repeated in Isa. xxxvi.-xxxix., in which xvlll. 14-16 is from a still different source (as is shown by the spelling of the name Hezekiah). This duplicated passage is probably original neither with Kings nor Isaiah. Similarly II., xxiv. 18-xxv. 30 is paralleled by Jer. Iii. but is not original with Jeremiah. The Septuagint refers in I., viii. 53 to a "book of the ode," possibly the book of Jasher (Josh. x. 13), the word "ode" coming in through a misreading by transposition of letters (shyr instead of yshr).

3. Historicity and Chronology.

So far as the political relations are concerned, the historicity of these books is recognized. The especial point of attack in this matter has been the Elijah-Elisha narratives, so rich in miracles paralleled only in the events ascribed to the times of Moses and Joshua. But it is to be noted that the marvels at the Carmel sacrifice, as in the desert at the giving of the law through Moses, and again in Elijah's removal from earthly life without passing the gates of death, are no


more extraordinary than the work he was called to perform, midway between Moses and Christ, in winning a victory for the worship of Yahweh. The circumstances of the northern kingdom at the time were such as to correspond with the atmosphere of miracle in which this prophet lived. Difficulties are found also in the chronology of the books. The regnal periods of the kings are given in full years, a result of a round rather than an exact reckoning. The Talmud suggests that the reckoning was from Nisan to Nisan, after a method which appears in the New Testament in the account of the resurrection, which equates the parts of three days with three full days, and in Josephus. This method of reckoning appears definitely in II Kings xviii. 9-10, where the siege of Samaria is given as lasting three years, though beginning in the seventh and ending in the ninth year of Hoshea. Similarly, while David's reign in Hebron is given in II Sam. v. 4-5 as seven and a half years, in I Kings ii. 11 it is given as seven years. Other cases of disregard of portions of a year might be given, but not in a uniform and consistent manner, the consequence being that an exact chronology can not be obtained from these books. The totals are vitally affected, as when the reigns of the kings of Judah from Solomon to the destruction foot up to 260 years and of the kings of Israel to 241 years. A recognized means of correction is found in the Assyrian annals, and of the attempts to use this means especially noteworthy is that of Kamphausen, who requires only six changes in the data of Israelitic succession to reconcile the differences in Assyrian and Israelitic chronology. See TIME, BIBLICAL RECKONING OF.

4. The Text.

The original text of the Biblical authors is no longer extant; the Masoretic text does not exactly reproduce this, nor does it agree with that which formed the base of the early versions. If reference is made to the extreme care exercised by the Masoretes in regard to the text they received, it must also be recalled that this care was not exercised in the earliest times, as is proved by the widely different texts sometimes found in parallel passages. Thus in the parallels II Kings xviii. 13-xx. 19 and Isa. xxxvi-xxxix. the Isaiah passage affords fifteen examples of the scriptio plena, that in Kings only three, as opposed to corresponding scriptio defectiva in the other. Other changes are due to glosses and marginal notes which copyists have received into the text. The testimony of the manuscripts of the Septuagint testify to changes in the Hebrew; thus the Alexandrine codex is nearer to the Masoretic text than is the Vatican, yet the intent of the translators to be faithful is manifest in that they reproduced in Greek letters Hebrew words which they no longer understood. Moreover, that the Greek translators had access to some of the sources of the Hebrew is shown by additions not found in the present Hebrew text. Care must be exercised, however, not to overestimate the value of the Septuagint for textual criticism, since the differences between extant representatives of this text differ so widely. Of the fragments preserved in the Hexapla of Origen the version of Aquila is a close reproduction of the Palestinian text, that of Symmachus is clear and elegant, that of Theodotion partakes of the character of a recension of the Septuagint on the basis of a text approximating the Masoretic. The Targum of the prophets affords little textual help, partaking as it does of the paraphrastic rather than of the literal and containing additions to the text. Where it can be used, however, it is the earliest witness to the Palestinian text on its mother soil. The Vulgate of Jerome has also considerable value since it testifies to the text of the end of the fourth Christian century.

(W. VOLCK†.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The leading commentaries are: O. Thenius, Leipeic, 1873; K. C. W. F. Bähr, in Lange, Eng. transl., New York, 1874; G. Rawlinson, in Bible Commentary, London, 1874; C. F. Keil, Leipsic, 1878, Eng. transl., Edinburgh, 1877; G. Hammond and G. Rawlinson, in Pulpit Commentary, 2 vols., London, 1881-89; A. Klostermann, Munich, 1887; J. R. Lumby, in Cambridge Bible, Cambridge, 1888; F. W. Farrar, in Expositor's Bible, 2 vols., London, 1893-94; R. Kittel, Göttingen, 1900; W. E. Barnes, in Cambridge Bible, 1908. Special topics are treated in: A. Clemen, Die Wunderberichte über Elia und Elisa, Grimma, 1877; J. Meinhold, Die Jesaiererzählungen xxxvi-xxxix, Göttingen, 1897. On text-criticism, B. Stade, in ZATW, iii.-vi (1883-86), passim; A. Morgenstern, Die Scholien des Gregorius Abulfarag . . . zum Buch der Könige, Berlin, 1895; J. Berlinger, Die Peschitta zum I. Buch der Könige, Berlin, 1897; F. C. Burkitt, Fragments of the Book of Kings according to . . . Aquila, Cambridge, 1897; C. F. Kent, Student's Old Testament, vol. ii., New York, 1905 (valuable); W. D. Crockett, A Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings . . . in the Text of the Version of 1884, London, 1906. Consult also the principal works on Old Testament Introduction under BIBLICAL INTRODUCTION, and for chronology the works cited under ERA; TIME, BIBLICAL RECKONING OF.


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