Thursday, May 07, 2009

Follow-up on 1 Samuel 10

For those of you reading the NRSV, you find the following paragraph between the end of 1 Sam 10 and the beginning of 1 Sam 11: Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-Gilead.

This material is found in the first scroll of Samuel found in the fourth cave at Qumran, as well as in the work of the Jewish historian Josephus "Jewish Antiquities" Book 6, Chapter 5, Section 1. It is on the basis of these two sources that the translators of the NRSV thought it necessary to add the material. While this information may be true (and I have no reason to doubt the testimony of Josephus) I think it should not be included in the Scriptures. It did not survive in the canonical form of 1 Samuel in the Hebrew text, nor does it appear in the ancient versions.

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