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Source Theories and Genesis 1 - 11


Many people believe that the Genesis 1 - 11 was combined from older sources, which themselves evolved over a long period of time, and was combined into the form we have now by a master editor or redactor. One particular source theory is the “Documentary Hypothesis,” although there are others. The belief in multiple sources does not necessarily mean that:

In this section, I will examine Genesis 1 - 11 to see why scholars believe it is composed from multiple sources, and whether these arguments are persuasive.

The Creation Accounts

J and P · Only J · Only P

¹ In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ² The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.

³ God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. ⁴ God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. ⁵ God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

⁶ God said, “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” ⁷ God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. ⁸ God called the expanse “sky”. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.

⁹ God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear;” and it was so. ¹⁰ God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering together of the waters he called “seas”. God saw that it was good. ¹¹ God said, “Let the earth yield grass, herbs yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with their seeds in it, on the earth;” and it was so. ¹² The earth yielded grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with their seeds in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. ¹³ There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

¹⁴ God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs to mark seasons, days, and years; ¹⁵ and let them be for lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth;” and it was so. ¹⁶ God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. ¹⁷ God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light to the earth, ¹⁸ and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. ¹⁹ There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

²⁰ God said, “Let the waters abound with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.” ²¹ God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. ²² God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” ²³ There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

²⁴ God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;” and it was so. ²⁵ God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.

²⁶ God said, “Let’s make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” ²⁷ God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. ²⁸ God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” ²⁹ God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. ³⁰ To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;” and it was so.

³¹ God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

¹ The heavens, the earth, and all their vast array were finished. ² On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. ³ God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done.

⁴ This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made the earth and the heavens. ⁵ No plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Yahweh God had not caused it to rain on the earth. There was not a man to till the ground, ⁶ but a mist went up from the earth, and watered the whole surface of the ground. ⁷ Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. ⁸ Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. ⁹ Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ¹⁰ A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became the source of four rivers. ¹¹ The name of the first is Pishon: it flows through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; ¹² and the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and onyx stone are also there. ¹³ The name of the second river is Gihon. It is the same river that flows through the whole land of Cush. ¹⁴ The name of the third river is Hiddekel. This is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. ¹⁵ Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. ¹⁶ Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; ¹⁷ but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

¹⁸ Yahweh God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” ¹⁹ Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature became its name. ²⁰ The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper comparable to him. ²¹ Yahweh God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. As the man slept, he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. ²² Yahweh God made a woman from the rib which he had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. ²³ The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of Man.” ²⁴ Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. ²⁵ The man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.

The Fall and Cain and Abel

The Fall into Sin and the story of Cain and Abel are believed to be entirely from the “J” source, and for this reason, I do not include them here.

The Genealogies from Adam to Noah

The Flood Story

Some reasons include:

J and P · Only J · Only P

⁵ Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil. ⁶ Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. ⁷ Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground—man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky—for I am sorry that I have made them.” ⁸ But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes.

⁹ This is the history of the generations of Noah: Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God. ¹⁰ Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. ¹¹ The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. ¹² God saw the earth, and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

¹³ God said to Noah, “I will bring an end to all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them and the earth. ¹⁴ Make a ship of gopher wood. You shall make rooms in the ship, and shall seal it inside and outside with pitch. ¹⁵ This is how you shall make it. The length of the ship shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. ¹⁶ You shall make a roof in the ship, and you shall finish it to a cubit upward. You shall set the door of the ship in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third levels. ¹⁷ I, even I, will bring the flood of waters on this earth, to destroy all flesh having the breath of life from under the sky. Everything that is in the earth will die. ¹⁸ But I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ship, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. ¹⁹ Of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ship, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. ²⁰ Of the birds after their kind, of the livestock after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort will come to you, to keep them alive. ²¹ Take with you some of all food that is eaten, and gather it to yourself; and it will be for food for you, and for them.” ²² Thus Noah did. He did all that God commanded him.

¹ Yahweh said to Noah, “Come with all of your household into the ship, for I have seen your righteousness before me in this generation. ² You shall take seven pairs of every clean animal with you, the male and his female. Of the animals that are not clean, take two, the male and his female. ³ Also of the birds of the sky, seven and seven, male and female, to keep seed alive on the surface of all the earth. ⁴ In seven days, I will cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights. I will destroy every living thing that I have made from the surface of the ground.”

⁵ Noah did everything that Yahweh commanded him.

⁶ Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. ⁷ Noah went into the ship with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, because of the floodwaters. ⁸ Clean animals, unclean animals, birds, and everything that creeps on the ground ⁹ went by pairs to Noah into the ship, male and female, as God commanded Noah. ¹⁰ After the seven days, the floodwaters came on the earth. ¹¹ In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the sky’s windows opened. ¹² It rained on the earth forty days and forty nights.

¹³ In the same day Noah, and Shem, Ham, and Japheth—the sons of Noah—and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered into the ship— ¹⁴ they, and every animal after its kind, all the livestock after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. ¹⁵ Pairs from all flesh with the breath of life in them went into the ship to Noah. ¹⁶ Those who went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God commanded him; then Yahweh shut him in. ¹⁷ The flood was forty days on the earth. The waters increased, and lifted up the ship, and it was lifted up above the earth. ¹⁸ The waters rose, and increased greatly on the earth; and the ship floated on the surface of the waters. ¹⁹ The waters rose very high on the earth. All the high mountains that were under the whole sky were covered. ²⁰ The waters rose fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. ²¹ All flesh died that moved on the earth, including birds, livestock, animals, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. ²² All on the dry land, in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. ²³ Every living thing was destroyed that was on the surface of the ground, including man, livestock, creeping things, and birds of the sky. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ship. ²⁴ The waters flooded the earth one hundred fifty days.

¹ God remembered Noah, all the animals, and all the livestock that were with him in the ship; and God made a wind to pass over the earth. The waters subsided. ² The deep’s fountains and the sky’s windows were also stopped, and the rain from the sky was restrained. ³ The waters continually receded from the earth. After the end of one hundred fifty days the waters receded. ⁴ The ship rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on Ararat’s mountains. ⁵ The waters receded continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were visible.

⁶ At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window of the ship which he had made, ⁷ and he sent out a raven. It went back and forth, until the waters were dried up from the earth. ⁸ He himself sent out a dove to see if the waters were abated from the surface of the ground, ⁹ but the dove found no place to rest her foot, and she returned into the ship to him, for the waters were on the surface of the whole earth. He put out his hand, and took her, and brought her to him into the ship. ¹⁰ He waited yet another seven days; and again he sent the dove out of the ship. ¹¹ The dove came back to him at evening and, behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters were abated from the earth. ¹² He waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; and she didn’t return to him any more.

¹³ In the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth. Noah removed the covering of the ship, and looked. He saw that the surface of the ground was dry. ¹⁴ In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.

¹⁵ God spoke to Noah, saying, ¹⁶ “Go out of the ship, you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. ¹⁷ Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh, including birds, livestock, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply on the earth.”

¹⁸ Noah went out, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives with him. ¹⁹ Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, whatever moves on the earth, after their families, went out of the ship.

²⁰ Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. ²¹ Yahweh smelled the pleasant aroma. Yahweh said in his heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. I will never again strike every living thing, as I have done. ²² While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”

¹ God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. ² The fear of you and the dread of you will be on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the sky. Everything that moves along the ground, and all the fish of the sea, are delivered into your hand. ³ Every moving thing that lives will be food for you. As I gave you the green herb, I have given everything to you. ⁴ But flesh with its life, that is, its blood, you shall not eat. ⁵ I will surely require accounting for your life’s blood. At the hand of every animal I will require it. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, I will require the life of man. ⁶ Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in his own image. ⁷ Be fruitful and multiply. Increase abundantly in the earth, and multiply in it.”

⁸ God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, ⁹ “As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you, ¹⁰ and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the livestock, and every animal of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ship, even every animal of the earth. ¹¹ I will establish my covenant with you: All flesh will not be cut off any more by the waters of the flood. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.” ¹² God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: ¹³ I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth. ¹⁴ When I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud, ¹⁵ I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. ¹⁶ The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” ¹⁷ God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

The Genealogies from Noah to Abraham

Example from David and Goliath Story

Why would an editor stitch together multiple stories while leaving contradictions in the original text, as source critics believe is done the flood story? Perhaps both sources were believed to be sacred? Or maybe the editor didn’t know which one was correct, and wanted to keep both? But if that is the case, why wouldn’t they explicitly say this—and why would they stitch the stories together, creating an odd hybrid of the two? One can speculate, but it is difficult to understand.

While the motivation for splicing stories may be unknown, we do know at least one instance in the biblical texts where splicing occurred—the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel.

The Masoretic tradition—which most western Bible translations are based off—has a second copy of the David and Goliath story spliced into the original story. The Septuagint—a translation of the Old Testament into Greek that Jesus quoted from in the New Testament—does not contain the spliced in story. Note that the Septuagint is often abbreviated using LXX.

Here is the David and Goliath story (1 Samuel 16.17 - 18.6), taken from the Masoretic text. The verses which were added are highlighted in red. Each story reads coherently on its own.

When reading the text, note that David is introduced twice (once in the original, and once in the spliced in story). The setting for the story is introduced twice (once in the original, and once in the spliced in story). Also, Saul, who already knew who David was and who his after was, asks “Whose son are you, you young man?” He already knew David and “loved him greatly.” This apparent difficulty in the text can be explained by the fact that two sources were spliced together.

LXX and Additions · Only LXX · Only Additions

¹⁷ Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.”

¹⁸ Then one of the young men answered, and said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and Yahweh is with him.”

¹⁹ Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.”

²⁰ Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, and a container of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by David his son to Saul. ²¹ David came to Saul, and stood before him. He loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer. ²² Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight.” ²³ When the spirit from God was on Saul, David took the harp, and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

¹ Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle; and they were gathered together at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. ² Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and encamped in the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. ³ The Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. ⁴ A champion out of the camp of the Philistines named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span went out. ⁵ He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he wore a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. ⁶ He had bronze shin armor on his legs, and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. ⁷ The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. His shield bearer went before him. ⁸ He stood and cried to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to set your battle in array? Am I not a Philistine, and you servants to Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. ⁹ If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.” ¹⁰ The Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel today! Give me a man, that we may fight together!”

¹¹ When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. ¹² 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. ¹⁶ The Philistine came near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. ¹⁷ Jesse said to David his son, “Now take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers; ¹⁸ and bring these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers are doing, and bring back news.” ¹⁹ Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. ²⁰ David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took and went, as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the place of the wagons, as the army which was going out to the fight shouted for the battle. ²¹ Israel and the Philistines put the battle in array, army against army. ²² David left his baggage in the hand of the keeper of the baggage, and ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. ²³ As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and said the same words; and David heard them. ²⁴ All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were terrified. ²⁵ The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? He has surely come up to defy Israel. The king will give great riches to the man who kills him, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.”

²⁶ David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done to the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

²⁷ The people answered him in this way, saying, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”

²⁸ Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride, and the naughtiness of your heart; for you have come down that you might see the battle.”

²⁹ David said, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” ³⁰ He turned away from him toward another, and spoke like that again; and the people answered him again the same way. ³¹ When the words were heard which David spoke, they rehearsed them before Saul; and he sent for him.³² David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

³³ Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”

³⁴ David said to Saul, “Your servant was keeping his father’s sheep; and when a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb out of the flock, ³⁵ I went out after him, and struck him, and rescued it out of his mouth. When he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and struck him, and killed him. ³⁶ Your servant struck both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” ³⁷ David said, “Yahweh who delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go! Yahweh will be with you.” ³⁸ Saul dressed David with his clothing. He put a helmet of bronze on his head, and he clad him with a coat of mail. ³⁹ David strapped his sword on his clothing, and he tried to move; for he had not tested it. David said to Saul, “I can’t go with these; for I have not tested them.” Then David took them off.

⁴⁰ He took his staff in his hand, and chose for himself five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag which he had. His sling was in his hand; and he came near to the Philistine. ⁴¹ The Philistine walked and came near to David; and the man who bore the shield went before him. ⁴² When the Philistine looked around, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and had a good looking face. ⁴³ The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” The Philistine cursed David by his gods. ⁴⁴ The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky, and to the animals of the field.”

⁴⁵ Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of Yahweh of Armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. ⁴⁶ Today, Yahweh will deliver you into my hand. I will strike you, and take your head from off you. I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines today to the birds of the sky, and to the wild animals of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, ⁴⁷ and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh doesn’t save with sword and spear; for the battle is Yahweh’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

⁴⁸ When the Philistine arose, and walked and came near to meet David, David hurried, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. ⁴⁹ David put his hand in his bag, took a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine in his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. ⁵⁰ So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. ⁵¹ Then David ran, stood over the Philistine, took his sword, drew it out of its sheath, killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. ⁵² The men of Israel and of Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as Gai and to the gates of Ekron. The wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and to Ekron. ⁵³ The children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines and they plundered their camp. ⁵⁴ David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent. 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?”

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

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

¹ When he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. ² Saul took him that day, and wouldn’t let him go home to his father’s house any more. ³ Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. ⁴ Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him, and gave it to David, and his clothing, even including his sword, his bow, and his sash. ⁵ David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely; and Saul set him over the men of war. It was good in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

⁶ As they came, when David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with instruments of music. ⁷ The women sang to one another as they played, and said,

“Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his ten thousands.”

Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have credited David with ten thousands, and they have only credited me with thousands. What can he have more but the kingdom?” ⁹ Saul watched David from that day and forward. ¹⁰ On the next day, an evil spirit from God came mightily on Saul, and he prophesied in the middle of the house. David played with his hand, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; ¹¹ and Saul threw the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” David escaped from his presence twice. ¹² Saul was afraid of David, because Yahweh was with him, and had departed from Saul. ¹³ Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

¹⁴ David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and Yahweh was with him. ¹⁵ When Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he stood in awe of him. ¹⁶ But all Israel and Judah loved David; for he went out and came in before them. ¹⁷ Saul said to David, “Behold, my elder daughter Merab, I will give her to you as wife. Only be valiant for me, and fight Yahweh’s battles.” For Saul said, “Don’t let my hand be on him, but let the hand of the Philistines be on him.” ¹⁸ David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?”

¹⁹ But at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as wife. ²⁰ Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David; and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. ²¹ Saul said, I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Therefore Saul said to David, “You shall today be my son-in-law a second time.” ²² Saul commanded his servants, “Talk with David secretly, and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now therefore be the king’s son-in-law.’ ”

²³ Saul’s servants spoke those words in the ears of David. David said, “Does it seem to you a light thing to be the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man, and little known?”

²⁴ The servants of Saul told him, saying, “David spoke like this.”

²⁵ Saul said, “Tell David, ‘The king desires no dowry except one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies.’ ” Now Saul thought he would make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. ²⁶ When his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the deadline, ²⁷ David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might be the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as wife. ²⁸ Saul saw and knew that Yahweh was with David; and Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him. ²⁹ Saul was even more afraid of David; and Saul was David’s enemy continually. ³⁰ Then the princes of the Philistines went out; and as often as they went out, David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was highly esteemed.


Toy, E. (2014). The Composition of 1 Samuel 16-18 in Light of The Septuagint. In The Greek and Hebrew Bible (pp. 333-362). doi:10.1163/9789004275973

This book chapter explores the differences in 1 Samuel 16-18 between the Masoretic tradition and the Septuagint in great detail. My presentation is simplified. For example, I do night highlight all of the one-word additions. Furthermore, there are a few places where the Masoretic text is missing words that are in the Septuagint. To read a thorough and detailed analysis, including comparisons of the Greek and Hebrew, I would recommend reading this excellent chapter in detail.