Lectionary Year B
August 10, 2003
II Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

Step I: Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation

A. Comparing Translations

(JFC) The New International Version and the New Living Translation differ some:

6 The army marched into the field to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. -NIV
So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, - NLT

7b and the casualties that day were great-twenty thousand men. - NIV
There was a great slaughter, and twenty thousand men laid down their lives that day. - NLT

9 Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. - NIV
During the battle Absalom came unexpectedly upon some of David's men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great oak, his head got caught. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. - NLT

33a The king was shaken. NIV
The king was overcome with emotion. - NLT

B. Textural Criticism

(JFC) 6 The last word in this verse, ~yIr'p.a,, is questioned and it is noted that one Septuagint Manuscript has ~ygix]m;, "the encampment", which could be meant, if only metaphorically by the printed text. 7 The Septuagint deletes ~v'-yhiT.w:, "and there was there", which could be a scribal addition making the verse a little longer when usually the shorter versions seem more likely original. And, after @l,a, the Septuagint inserts vyai, "men", making it quite clear what was meant, although without the added term, it seems clear enough what is meant. 9 It is suggested we read with the Septuagint, the Targum and the Syriac versions lT'a;yiiw:, an unknown (by BDB) word instead of !T;YUw:, the qal, passive, imperfect of "put/set/place" as received in the printed text. If the unknown word would fit the context, perhaps it could be original, because the evidence approaches convincing.

C. Rough Translation

(JFC) 5 And commanded the King Joab and Abisha and Ittai to say, "Toward gentleness for the lad Absalom" and all the people heard to command the officials concerning this matter of Absalom. 6 And went out the people into the field to call/meet Israel and it became a forest Ephraim. 7 And were smitten/stricken there the people of Israel before the servants of David and it happened there the slaughter great in the day that one twenty thousand. 8 And it happened there that the battle was scattered [niphal, participle] over the face of all the earth and make much the forest to devour in people on account of not much as the sword was devoured the day that one. 9 And encountered/met Absalom before the faces of the servants of David and Absalom was riding on a mule and came the mule under the network of the branches of a terebinth and became strong the head in the terebinth and it was set in between the heavens and the earth and the mule which under him passed. 15 And came around/surrounded ten servants carrying weapons/utensils of Joab's and they struck/smote Absalom and they killed him. 31 And behold the Cushite/Ethiopian came and said the Cushite/Ethiopian, "He received good news [Hithpael, imperfect] strong/firm/the master the King was burning/branding Yahweh for was judging/governing him Yahweh today on account of all those having risen up against you. 32 And said the King unto the Cushite/Ethiopian, "Peace to the lad, Absalom?" And said the Cushite/Ethiopian, "It will be as into the lad as with those being enemies of my lord the King and all those who have arisen against you for evil. 33 And commanded the King unto Joab unto Abishi Ittai and he said thus that the boy to lay charge Absalom my kindred Absalom in speaking to go out my kindred Absalom my kindred my kindred.

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