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The Books of Samuel together with the Books of Kings comprise the Septuagint's four Books of the Kingdoms.(1) Study of the Greek versions of these books has focused quite naturally on textual criticism. Sidney Jellicoe, for example, writes, "The Hebrew text of these books [Samuel-Kings] has reached us in a state of considerable disorder, and the main value of the Septuagint has not unnaturally been measured in terms of an aid to restoration."(2) The Books of Samuel have received particularly close attention as a result of the finds in the Qumran Cave 4.(3)
Textual criticism of the Septuagint needs to be informed by an awareness of the theological tendenz of the translators. I. L. Seeligmann observes that one of the features of the Septuagint is "the creative power of the theology of the translators."(4) In spite of this, relatively little attention has been paid to the theological tendenz of the Septuagint. In this note I examine one aspect of the theology of the Books of the Kingdoms, namely, a pro-temple bias. This bias is manifest in the alteration and expansion of narratives concerning the temple at critical junctures in its history: (1) the founding of the site for the temple in Jerusalem, (2) the promise to build the temple, and (3) the dedication of the completed temple.
Founding of the Temple
The narrative concerning the founding of the site for the temple in Jerusalem has a small addition in the Greek version, which may be seen by comparing the Hebrew and Greek versions of 2 Sam 24:25:
[HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]
And David built there an altar to YHWH and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings and YHWH answered the prayer for the land and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. (2 Sam 24:25)
[GREEK TEXT OMITTED]
And David built there an altar to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And Solomon added to the altar afterwards because it was little at first. And the Lord hearkened for the sake of the land, and the plague was averted from Israel. (2 Kingdoms 24:25)
In this case, the Septuagint's addition is undoubtedly secondary.(5) Although the expansion seems innocuous, it looks forward to Solomon's construction of the temple and Solomon's altar. There can be no question that the translator intended the reader to make a connection between David's altar and the Solomonic altar which was placed in the temple.
The significance of the Septuagint's change can be best understood in the context of other texts with a similar concern. For example, the author of the Books of Chronicles also underscored the connection between David's altar and Solomon's temple. After David had built the altar on the threshing floor of Ornan, according to the Chronicler, David declared, "Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offerings!" (1 Chr 22:1). Chronicles later makes the connection between Ornan's threshing floor and Mount Moriah where Abraham sacrificed Isaac (2 Chr 3:1).(6) These narratives are part of a pro-temple agenda in the Books of Chronicles which has been widely recognized in scholarly literature.(7) A recently published, fragmentary text from Qumran, 4Q522, also emphasizes the connection between David's altar and the Solomonic temple.(8) Thus, the Septuagint follows a well-established tradition that connects the altar that David built with the temple altar. The Septuagint's concern for the connection of David's altar to the altar in the Solomonic temple suggests that it too was motivated by a pro-temple ideology. This supposition is supported by other variances from the Masoretic text.
The Promise to Build the Temple
Three variants in 2 Kingdoms 7 have an ideological undercurrent that emphasizes the command to build the temple. The ideology of 2 Kingdoms accords with that of the Books of Chronicles; however, the text of 2 Kingdoms 7 shows only minimal agreement with 1 Chronicles 17. This indicates that a Greek translator's ideologically motivated interpretation rather than a different Hebrew Vorlage accounts for the …