On the Deuteronomist history (And the majority of the prophets) A shocking discovery this morning

by HowTheBibleWasCreated 5 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • HowTheBibleWasCreated

    Every now and then I come ac ross a person in ancient times that blows my mind. For instance at one time I agreed with many that in 175BCE Antiochus place a statute of Zeus in the temple and nothing was there before. But lo and behold several sources from then claim that before Zeus was an idol of Set-Typhon in the temple (Synchronism) It was really Judas Maccabee and his family that were the original 'Deuteronomists' (Not Josiah)

    But two thing bugged me.

    1. Daniel quotes Jeremiah in chapter 9 alluding to the 70 years And Jeremiah is by the same hand as Deuteronomy (This is so obvious I will not even bother to explain why here. That is a whole book to itself)

    2. We know that had written historical texts from Genesis to Kings already based on the book of Enoch and it's early stages (It was written over time)

    But then this morning I reread Daniel 9 and the answer was right there. 164 BCE is solidly fixed for Daniel however chapter 9 is so weird in the text that it is NOT original to Daniel. In fact if we count down we could conceivably end up in the late second century BCE if we start in the right place. Also Daniel 9 used Yahweh several times and uses phrases like 'law of Moses'. It has Daniel praying regarding guilt of the exile. No Daniel 9 is Deuteronomist additions. Yahweh is and Moses are omitted elsewhere and Daniel 1:1 is NOT based on the book of King. In fact it cause too many problems. So this left me banging my head over my dates. Sirach is written in 130 (Not 180) and knows the books of kings and even Nehemiah. (Never heard of Ezra) So we know kings existed before 130 BCE. But can we narrow Deuteronomists material even closer?

    Genesis -1 Kings 10 (removing Deuteronomy and all material based on it) leads to a beautiful story of Eden to Peace. At 1 Kings 11 everything and everyone gets well F**ked up.

    I casually searched records from the Maccabean revolt and dynasty and all of the sudden I found it>>>

    Eupolemus a historian in the time of Judas/Jonathan/Simon in 155BCE he listed the kings of Israel:

    • Moses: Prophesied for 40 years
    • Joshua son of Nun: Prophesied for 30 years and established a sacred tabernacle at Shiloh.
    • Samuel: Prophetic reign is not given a period of time.
    • Saul: By the will of God, Samuel chooses Saul to be king, and Saul rules for 21 years, then dies.
    • David: David son of Saul becomes king, subdues the region through warfare, and dies.
    • Solomon: Reigns and builds the temple.

    Note several issues:

    No history past Solomon! David is Saul's son? (Actually remove the Deuteronomist material and you can reach that conclusion!) He does mention a Jeremiah but portrays him as fictional (I will throw a kind bone and say Jeremiah was likely a historical oracle in the 7th century BCE and Baruch likely recorded some oracles which I believe are mostly lost.

    Now let me say this is a very hot smoking gun!

    155-130BCE is the timeframes involved for not only Deuteronomy the history called the Deuteronomist History but also Jeremiah and much additions or even composition of prophets and even many Psalms.(Provers, Job, Ecclesiastes (A Stoicism document) predate this by a century likely and never mention later kings. Proverbs actually makes up an imaginary king in chapter 31!

    This was way later then I even liked or wanted. Thus raises a whole new layer to the Hasmonean dynasty. But more important the fact is that the texts from 1 Kings 11-2 Kings 25 uses two source documents. The Kings of Israel/The Kings of Judah which are fairly accurate. These documents unlike other material in the bible were NOT Babylonian or Greek or Egyptian legends. The most accurate section of the bible is indeed 1 Kings 11-I2 Kings 25 (Obviously mostly based on kings annuals)

    Glad I found this key historian!

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Regarding the idea of David being the son of Saul, a couple of days I was reading parts of Rutherford's book Religion and looking up Bible verses quoted by it pertaining to Saul and the witch (spirit medium) of Endor. While reading the context of those verses I thought I read something which said that David was Saul's son, but I didn't spend much thought on that apparent observation.

    By the way, 1 Chronicles disagrees with 1 Samuel regarding whether Saul inquired of YHWH/Jehovah or not before visiting the witch (spirit medium). Also the account (by the writer of the account) is making the claim that the medium really did see the spirit of Samuel (and not some demonic imposter of Samuel) and that Saul really did hear and have a conversation with the spirit of Samuel.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Regarding me a few days ago thinking I had read the Bible say David was a son a Saul, I think that I had misread a verse while skimming quickly through the book of 1 Samuel. 1 Samuel 16:20 (NASB - Updated Edition) says "Jesse ... to Saul by David his son." The reference to "his son" is speaking of the son Jesse, but perhaps it could be argued that the Deuteronomist modified that verse to have it say (or seem to say) that David was the son of Jesse instead of Saul.

    HowTheBibleWasCreated, is there a verse in the Bible which says, or implies, that David was the son (not the Son-Law) of Saul? If so, what verse is it?

    Thanks for mentioning that Eupolemus wrote that David was the son of Saul. That was new information to me. Today I searched for details about that and the following are some things I found.

    http://graceandknowledge.faithweb.com/Eupolemus.html says: 'Moving on to what Eupolemus had to say about the reign of Saul’s successor David, it is noteworthy that Eupolemus calls David the “son” of King Saul rather than “son-in-law.” A later manuscript of Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica, shows an alternate reading here of “son-in-law,” but that is most likely a scribal gloss that brought Eupolemus’ text back into explicit accordance with biblical history. It is possible that when Eupolemus called David the son of Saul, he only meant that David was Saul’s successor and had a familial relationship with him (along the lines of Daniel 5:13, where Nebuchadnezzar is said to be the “father” of his descendant and successor Belshazzar son of Nabonidus – cf. Baruch 1:11). Another hypothesis is that it was Polyhistor who mistakenly called David the son of Saul as he quickly scanned Eupolemus to make an epitome of his text. However, Wacholder proposed (pages 130-131) that Eupolemus may have intentionally altered the relationship of David and Saul in order to elide the historical accounts of David’s rivalry with Saul and Saul’s son Ishbosheth. As we shall see, Eupolemus adopted a rather free approach to interpreting and relating Israel’s history.'

    https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/eupolemus says: "Fragment 2 is the longest single remnant of a Greco-Jewish text prior to *Philo. The reigns of Joshua, Samuel, and Saul and his son (sic) David are all mentioned briefly."

    https://thebiblicalreview.wordpress.com/tag/hellenistic/ seems to be the web page you found about what Eupolemus wrote. I notice that it says in the part the following:

    'Eupolemus was a Jewish-hellenistic historian in the 2nd century BCE. and wrote work entitled On the Kings in Judea. The only surviving fragments are from Alexander Polyhistor’s On the Jews, preserved by Clement of Alexandria (c. CE 150-216) and Eusebius of Caesarea (c. CE 260-340).


    Fragment 2 historiographically traces the lineage of prophets and kings in the early Judean monarchy. Eupolemus traces it as follows:

    • Moses: Prophesied for 40 years
    • Joshua son of Nun: Prophesied for 30 years and established a sacred tabernacle at Shiloh.
    • Samuel: Prophetic reign is not given a period of time.
    • Saul: By the will of God, Samuel chooses Saul to be king, and Saul rules for 21 years, then dies.
    • David: According to Polyhistor, David son of Saul becomes king, subdues the region through warfare, and dies.
    • Solomon: Reigns and builds the temple until the end of Fragment 2.

    Historiography and Re-appropriation

    Anybody who knows their Bible 101 recognizes that this history of the Judean kings is highly idealized. Already the Deuteronomistic Historian [1] and Chronicle each have unique trajectories and historiographical aims. Each re-appropriates the narrative of the emergence of the ancient Israelite monarchy for their own aims. Eupolemus’s Fragment 2 contributes to an alternative approaches to ancient Israel’s history written for a unique audience.

    Based on this idea, I wonder what happens if we choose to understand David as Saul’s son not a scribal error [2].


    2] “Eupolemus”, tranlsation and commentary by F. Fallon, ed. James Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha vol. 2 (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1983), 861-872, Fragment 2, n. g, comments that the “error in identifying David as Saul’s son is probably due to a misunderstanding by Alexander Plyhistory. MS B has corrected the error to son-in-law”.'

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Correction: In my prior post where I said "... the son Jesse ..." I meant to say "... the son of Jesse ...".

  • HowTheBibleWasCreated

    Disillusioned there are a few areas. David is of course Saul's son-in-law in the current narratives. However David has three introductions.

    1 Samuel 16 that you quoted I feel is late and Deuteronomist having Samuel anoint David among his brothers as one of Jesse' sons.

    There are two more 1 Samuel 17.has two narratives and both are amusing:

    1 Samuel 17:12-15 seems to state the obvious but watch my highlighting>>...Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons. The man was an elderly old man in the days of Saul. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle; and the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest; and the three oldest followed Saul. 15 Now David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.- WEB

    The texts twice repeats the three sons and introduces Jesse into the narrative as a side note. ;The original likely only had the bold. (My theory)

    I need to mention that verse 12-31 are not original to the LXX translation. Even the NWT 1984 reference bible has a footnote.

    Not after verse 31 David and Saul are in an argument and the if we removed David's Greek tale of slaying lions the text seems to indicate David and Saul have a close relationship. This whole next several verses contradict chapter 16 where the Deuteronomist says David is a man of war. and an armor bearer Here he is a child who has never used armor.

    Note however the third introduction to David by the idiot trying to merge the accounts in verse 54-58 in the World English Bible with my italics

    David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

    (What a fool to add this verse^^^ David would not conquer Jerusalem for awhile)

    55 When Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the captain of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?”

    (If we assume the Deuteronomist is thrusting David into a pervious story then this makes sense. But in this narrative it become laughable and Saul in need of medical help.)

    Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I can’t tell.”

    56 The king said, “Inquire whose son the young man is!”

    57 As David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.

    (That was a worthless journey to Jerusalem with a rotting head uphill and a downhill hike back to Saul. This is so forced onto the account it ludicrous.)

    58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, you young man?”

    David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”


    As for a direct reference the problem is that 1 Samuel 18 continues this narrative however there is a massive doublet later with David sparing Saul's life twice. The oldest one says:

    It came to pass, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. -1 Samuel 24:16 WEB

    The other version uses the previous thus at 1 Samuel 26:17-

    17 Saul recognized David’s voice, and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?”

    There is obviously a text that has been reworked and in some versions like the latter copies of the Septuagint even removed a large chunk of the David and Goliath story to harmonize things.

    So the original question in the original J story (Yahwist) was David Saul's son. The answer is simple. I have no clue! LOL. Actually I am still researching this but I find the three introductions to David and Jesse very intrusive and will be following that lead eventually.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Thanks for your reply. The verses you mentioned, 1 Samuel 24:16 and 1 Samuel 26:17, are important. 1 Samuel 26:21 (NASB - Updated) says 'The Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again ... and verse 25 says 'Then Saul said to David, "Blessed are you, my son David; you will both accomplish much and surely prevail.' ..." That latter verse is definitely one I remember reading a few days ago when I was reading the surrounding verses to the account in chapter 28 about Saul going to the medium of Endor! [I specifically remember reading the words "... you will both accomplish much and surely prevail ..." of 1 Samuel 26:25.]

    Thank you for referring me to chapter 26 since that helped me to find the verse I had earlier read which clearly said David is the son of Saul.

    1 Samuel 17:15 about David feeding (or tending to) Saul's sheep reminds me of John 21:15-17 where, according to the according to the account, Jesus tells Peter to feed/tend and shepherd the figurative sheep of Jesus.

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