Talk:Books of Samuel

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Is this article correct? For example, 1 Sam 8 includes the condemnation that choosing a mortal king was a rejeciton of YHWH-God as King... can that really be part of the "Monarchial Source"?? You'ld honestly call that "pro-Monarchy" propaganda, that choosing Saul-David = rejecting YHWH?? A better division seems to be along the lines of WHO SAUL FOUGHT. For, in ONE version, the pro-Samuel / anti-King version, it is SAMUEL who defeats the Philistines, and then is even then rejected by an ungrateful Israel, who wants a king so that they can be like the pagan nations (!!) = 1 Sam 8, 1 Sam 10:17ff. Then, because SAMUEL has ALREADY beaten the PHILISTINES, Saul goes on to fight the AMMONITES (=1 Sam 11) and then AMALEKITES (=1 Sam 15).

MEANWHILE, in the pro-King version, Saul is sought after by Israel and is duly and properly annointed by Samuel (=1 Sam 9-10:16), and then organizes a campaign against the Philistines (=1 Sam 13-14). Saul tries to usurp Priestly authorities (1 Sam 13) and is rejected, so Samuel then goes and annoints, duly and properly, David in his stead (=1 Sam 16). This version is pro-King and portrays the king as nothing more than the old annointed judges. This is EXACTLY how JULIUS CAESAR and AUGUSTUS potrayed the new EMPIRE that grew out of the Roman Republic — they styled themselves as just First Citizens, occupying the old office of Dictator for emergencies.

It seems to me that the "Republican vs. Monarchy" analysis is flawed, and you will PLEASE NOTE that it DID come out of EUROPE in the 19th century, when the politics of the day was INDEED dominated by Republican socialists vs. Conservative Monarchial parties. It seems clear to me that the REAL division of the actual books of Samuel is along a "Pro-Prophet/Anti-King" rant vs. a "Pro-King" appology.

Out of curiousity... who are these "Modern Critics" and where can their views be found, in specific? I'd like to understand the rational of the view that the books were written later. It seems likely enough to me that they were written contemporarily, but I'd love to see the counter argument. Fieari 21:08, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

The literary structure is actually rather well-ordered for something that was apparently pieced together over time from oral tradition. The point of the book isn't simply to chronicle David's reign - that is what the Chronicles are for (go figure). Read it more carefully - note how in the first half of the book, David keeps God's law and sees spiritual, personal, and political prosperity. Then right in the middle, there's the sin with Bathsheba, you know, David committing adultery and killing the woman's husband so that nobody knows. From there the slope is downards - we see David's spiritual, personal, and political life go down the drain. Samuel wrote the book not simply as a record of events (which would most likely have been written chronologically) but as a warning to Israel: you serve God, you prosper. You turn away, you meet defeat and failure. -Crazy Hobo

Census of David[edit]

It says "God makes David angry with the people", but isn't it David who makes God angry with the people? Also I think it should say that as a result God incited (NIV)/moved (KJV) David to make a census. Jack Daw 13:18, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

"The Census of David (2 Samuel 24:1–25). Yahweh becomes angry with the people and Satan tempts David to order a census" I think that your statement is mis-leading. Your statement sounds like that this was recorded down in a document. Where?

In 2 Samuel 24:1 (KJV) "Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah." No mention of Satan can be found here.

Only in 1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV), Satan was mentioned. "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."

Therefore, your statement is only an interpretation based on 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 together. This should be made clear; otherwise readers may mistake that it is recorded down in the biblical source as such. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

A Jewish translation of the text translates 2 Samuel 24:1 in the following way - 1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them, saying: 'Go, number Israel and Judah.' This verifies that in both Jewish and Christian translations, Satan is only mentioned in Chronicles. Since this article specifically is about the Book of Samuel, it's not appropriate for Satan to be mentioned here. I'm removing it.( (talk) 23:21, 2 November 2008 (UTC))

Meribaal vs. Mephibosheth?[edit]

I'm reading the NIV and the son of Johnathon who is lame in both feet is described as being Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4:4). Is this just a discrepancy between versions or a mistake in the article or my printing? balletgirl313 00:29, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Well it says Mephibosheth in both NASB and KJV and NKJV, so that should definitely be changed. Jack Daw 14:19, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
  • The ending for Meribaal is Baal, which can refer to the owner of something (like property) but it became more closely associated with the idolatry of the heathen who surrounded the Jews. Possibly because of Ex.23:13, those who had Baal as a part of their name, had Bosheth substituted in (Bosheth means "shame"). I have covered this more extensively in my exegesis of 2Sam. 4:4 located at Scutfargus 12:21, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

External Link Removal[edit]

I have noticed in several areas which relate to religion and to Biblical topics that links are reduced to a bare minimum; many of the links which remain are innocuous and probably rarely used (e.g., links to the KJV of the Bible). I added the following link with the following verbiage:

    • 3 Online translations of 1Samuel with extensive commentary Every Hebrew word of every chapter is given along with its complete morphologly. A very literal translation is also compared to the Septuagint (the earliest Greek translation). A moderately literal English translation and a paraphrase rendering are also provided.

Originally the link was much shorter, but I felt that perhaps I needed to justify its existence, after it was removed. This is an online, 4000 page commentary on the book of 1Samuel. Every single Hebrew word is given along with its complete morphology. If a person wanted to know exactly what was "behind" the English, this is an excellent source. Within this commentary are 3 translations: one unbearably literal, one which is quite literal, and one which is somewhat of a paraphrase.

Also removed was an excellent link to a number of other commentaries on Samuel.

It is interesting that, on some topics, like "Michael Moore" and "Global Warming" there are a plethora of links; however, when it comes to the Bible or Biblical topics, the external links are often a fraction of the number of external links found elsewhere.

It is also interesting that, one topic I examined, fasting, had links to a variety of religions and their views on fasting, but not a link to Christian fasting. Maybe there is a pattern here to this censorship? Scutfargus 16:33, 13 February 2007 (UTC)—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Scutfargus (talkcontribs) 16:32, 13 February 2007 (UTC).

Edited Authorship[edit]

I changed the lines "However, this theory is not supported by most modern scholars" and "Though a slim majority of scholars disagree" to "However, this theory is not supported by some modern scholars" and "Though some scholars disagree." Using any language implying a majority is misleading, as there is no way to prove the majority without taking a survery of all the scholars in the world concerning the dating.

I also changed "What is definitely considered likely" to "What is considered likely" seeing as the former contradictory.JJ Dangerously 13:34, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Removed the phrase "though many modern academics think this is a later edit to the story and it was originally the birth narrative of Saul. Hannah pronounces a poem concerning Yahweh's magnificence that has strong similarities to the later Magnificat." This phrase implied a majority view without referring to credible surveys taken among Biblical scholars. And without citation, the supporting statement referring to "Magnificat" appears to be Original Research. 11:28, 30 July 2008


Cf. from Necromancy, where it claimed the earliest literary reference to necromancy was a Homeric text from ~700 BC. The life of Saul took place substantially before then, but I cannot provide dates to accurately place the Book of Samuel before then. If someone with access to greater resources could provide a "circa" for me I'd like it; thanks. (talk) 03:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

David and Jonathan[edit]

The article says: Saul's son Jonathan becomes friends with David, which some commentators view as romantic.
Well, some in this specific case is all, as what thing more romantic is there than disobeying one's own father at the price of one's own inherited kingdom for the sake of one's friend and for justice? The sentence makes sense only if we suppose "romantic" as an encryption of something else that is really something different. -- (talk) 19:51, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Shortened summary[edit]

I shortened the summary of the bible story. My own feeling is that this long summary was off-putting - people won't really want to read such a huge slab of writing. Also, all the detail involved obscures the main themes of the book, which is that God gives Israel two kings, in succession, only one of whom is suitable (David), but that David's sins nevertheless set the stage for later disaster. Anyway, if anyone has any comments, feel free. PiCo (talk) 12:28, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

STRUCTURE: I deleted this section entirely, and not without misgivings, but when I started looking at various commentaries it turned out that no two agreed. What that meant was that the so-called structure was just a list of the various episodes in the story, grouped together (or separated) pretty much arbitrarily. So I thought it better just to delete this entirely. On the other hand, a list of episodes could be useful, if it could be arranged as a template or side-bar to the main article. PiCo (talk) 07:07, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Article title (proposed move)[edit]

There is a discussion at the talk page for the article Books of Chronicles that suggests this page (along with Books of Chronicles and Books of Kings), be moved to article names reflecting the singular nature of the six works in the Masoretic text.

It's probably best to have individual discussions on the talk page of each article, so anyone interested should feel free to chime in below, as well as at the other talk pages. Evanh2008 (talk) (contribs) 05:13, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I suggest the discussion is centralized in one place for convenience and coordination Jpacobb (talk) 13:37, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Let's keep it at Talk:Books of Chronicles, then, as that's where it started. Evanh2008 (talk) (contribs) 20:42, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress which affects this page. Please participate at Talk:Books of Chronicles - Requested move and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RM bot 06:00, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Bathsheba image removal[edit]

The image has excessive nudity which has no relevance in the larger context of the Book of Samuel. Such nudity or sexually explicit content would have been appropriate in pages concerning human body or anatomy or actresses . Considering the religious context of the Holy Scriptures, it would be offensive or distractive to someone who is studying Book of Samuel. Thanks. Samuelled (talk) 12:27, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

The image refers to an important story described in the book -- so important that it's specifically referred to in Matthew 1:6. The image is not sexually explicit, and is in fact 17th century Christian art. I'm not seeing a problem, and consensus is clearly to retain the image. Please note WP:EDITWAR. -- (talk) 14:13, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
I think 5 or 6 different editors have re-added the image during this long-running edit war. The consensus is clear. -- (talk) 16:52, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, if the only reason for including it is the relevance of the subject matter, we could replace it with a more "modest" depiction - though very few exist. But what's with "David's letter" anyway? When did he write a letter to Bathsheba? He wrote to Joab, yes, but presumably he just sent servants to Bathsheba. StAnselm (talk) 21:56, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
But do we really want to pander to Samuelled's weird sexual fetish? Does he know there are pictures of bare table legs on Wikipedia? Does he realise that most people who study the Book of Samuel are not distracted by great art? If he's distracted from his study of the Book by bare breasts, should we worry about what happens when he discovers the Song of Songs? Rbreen (talk) 23:04, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I think we do. That's what it means to obtain consensus. Of course, the same picture is at the top of the Bathsheba article, and I think it should stay there, since it is a good representation of how she is portrayed in art. If Samuelled removes it, I will be happy to revert. StAnselm (talk) 00:01, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Seriously? One prude outvotes several other editors? That's a bizarre definition of 'consensus'.Rbreen (talk) 01:08, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Because we don't count votes, we weigh arguments. The chief argument in favour of retention is that the subject matter is relevant. The new picture has the same subject matter. StAnselm (talk) 01:29, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Right. So you give somebody a stern warning about edit warring. Then you give in to them. Rbreen (talk) 01:35, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Please do not engage in personal attacks. The whole point of edit warring is that it's bad to do, even if you're right. Samuelled's point was, at least, was worth considering. That doesn't justify the edit warring. In fact, I have no idea why he wasn't warned and reported much earlier. But this is a better way of stopping the edit warring. StAnselm (talk) 01:50, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
There's a difference between "achieving a consensus" and "giving in to tantrums". When the end result of the process is one which only one person wants, for what appears to be an entirely personal obsession, it's clearly the latter. This isn't personal; there are some things Wikipedia does very well. This isn't one of them. Rbreen (talk) 13:43, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Authorship and date of composition[edit]

the silver quarter-shekel which Saul's servant offers to Samuel in 1 Samuel 9 almost certainly fixes the date of this story in the Persian or Hellenistic periods

An editor commented that "the citation seems to be mistaken - I own this book and that page doesn't say anything about this"

Here's a direct reference - it clearly shows the exact point. It's from the 2003 edition - perhaps this editor has a different edition.

--Rbreen (talk) 21:44, 24 September 2013 (UTC)


@Altari, The article says that the Deuteronomistic history hypothesis advanced by Noth and amended by others enjoys overwhelming consensus, and this is referenced. The idea that anyone today would find J and E in Samuel is incorrect, and I don't think that's what Tsumura is saying.Please read him again, and see if he isn't referring to the pre-Noth period.

The notes by Randall C. Bailey that you sent me (thanks) say many things I agree with, but in a few places I think he's misleading. At the very beginning he talks about Wellhausen and Duhm's conclusions about the structure of the OT. Wellhausen's conclusions (at least the famous ones) were about the origins of the Pentateuch, not the OT in general. Duhm's theories were most famously on the prophets. So while it's true that together they add up to work on the OT, there's a danger of conflating them. This is to back up what I said above: the documentary hypothesis, associated with Wellhausen, applies only to the Pentateuch, not the entire bible.

The DH is only one of three ways of looking at the possible formation of the Pentateuch. The other two are the fragmentary hypothesis and the supplementary. These terms can also be confusing, because different scholars will use them in different ways. It's also best to see them as models rather then theories - these are the three ways, and the only three ways, in which the Pentateuch might have been composed, assuming it wasn't the work of a single author. It might have been done by combining at least two separate documents (meaning complete stories, running from Genesis to the end of Numbers); or by combining a number of separate fragments, none of them a complete document in the sense used above (i.e., a story with beginning, middle and end, running from Genesis to Numbers - so a complete story about Joseph, say, would be a fragment, not a document); or by adding supplements (additions, expansions) to an original document (sort of a half-way house between documentary and fragmentary approaches).

These are not theories (not hypotheses) - they're models, they're simply the only possible ways of constructing the Pentateuch from multiple sources: there are no others. In practice, scholars normally combine two or even all three of the models.

What's commonly called the documentary hypothesis is in fact a particular hypothesis (theory) developed by Julius Wellhausen. It was so widely accepted for the hundred years from 1878 to about 1980 that it came to be called the documentary hypothesis. It sets the number of source documents at four, and sets out a process and timetable for their combination by editors (redactors). It was a rather extreme example of the documentary model - there wasn't much room for the other models in it. It's now rather in disarray, following developments in the 1970s.

And it has nothing to do with Samuel. In fact it can't - it's a way of explaining how the set of books from Genesis to Deuterono0my came to be composed, but Samuel isn't a set of books, and it isn't even a single book. It was originally the first half of a very large book that took up what are now Samuel and Kings. So there's no need to explain how it came to be exposed from documents, since there's a beginning to Samuel, but really no end - it joins on to Kings.

Nevertheless, there are of course theories about how Samuel-Kings came to be. The dominant theory is fragmentary - Samuel and Kings are made up of sources, but these sources provide individual stories, they don't run continuously from the beginning of Samuel to the end of Kings. Tsumura explains this on page 13 and onwards. I imagine the explanation starts somewhere on pages 11-12, but as I said, I can't access those pages.

So, to conclude, what you want to say is, in general terms, true - very early scholars did try to find J and E in Samuel and Kings, and also in Joshua and Judges. But those attempts have been dropped. The overwhelming consensus today is that there is no sign of J and E in there. The overwhelming consensus is that the DtrH exists, that it was composed in the late 7th to 6th centuries from older sources,and that those sources are fragmentary in nature. And Noth didn't put forward a fragmentary hypothesis, his theory was on the very existence of the DtrH as a unified composition - the DtrH is not an alternative to the DH, they're two quite different things, one a theory about the existence of a unified history, but not about how it came to be composed, the other a theory about how a separate history, the Pentateuch, came to be composed.

Tsumara, page 16 onwards, gives an overview of Noth and later approaches to the DtrH. There are also the books in the bibliography of this article. For an up to date look at the documentary hypothesis and ways of approaching the Pentateuch, try Walter Houston's The Pentateuch, especially his chapters 5 and 6.

PiCo (talk) 10:41, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

So you are saying that this statement part of fragmentation is now out of favor:

Thus Eissfeldt’s theory was really a modification in which he
proposed “. . . to separate the pre-Deuteronomic materials in the
Hexateuch into three continuous strands, which he designated by
the sigla L (LaienschriftorLay-source), J, and E, his “L” in
Genesis being roughly equivalent to what had previously been
assigned to J. L is so called because it is at the other extreme from
the sacerdotal P; it reflects the nomadic and Rechabite ideal, with
its hostility to the Canaanite way of life, and is to be dated about
the time of Elijah. Eissfeldt has since traced L through Judges and
even Samuel.” 37

Even if this is out of favor hypothesis wasn't it still important enough to deserve mention as failed line of thought? This is advanced biblical authorship theory and not my normal element of investigation. Thanks for the instruction. Alatari (talk) 11:09, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
The itheory sketched in your quote certainly isn't representative. My feeling is that Wikipedia articles are aimed at entry-level readers without a detailed knowledge of the subject - no biblical scholar would come to Wikipedia to find out about his subject. We aim to give a broad but accurate overview, with good sources that the reader can then consult to get a more advanced knowledge if they wish. Of course, there's no actual policy on this, so you have to make your own mind up. PiCo (talk) 21:47, 5 January 2014 (UTC)