Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry

By Frank Moore Cross Jr.; David Noel Freedman | Go to book overview

Notes to the Text
1.
The poem has been reconstructed according to the orthography used in the Northern Kingdom ( Israel) during the nintheighth centuries B.C. The general morphological and orthographic principles may be derived from the inscriptional material. A number of forms remain uncertain, however, because of the paucity of epigraphic evidence. Further discoveries of inscriptional data from this period may be expected to clarify the details; but the basic picture will be substantially unchanged. It is now quite certain that all final vowel sounds were indicated in the spelling: i by yodh, u by waw, the others, a, e, and o by he. Matres lectionis were not used to represent medial vowels in this period. We cannot determine the extent to which historical spellings were preserved or restored in the scribal practice of the day.
2.
Verses 2-4 have been omitted from the text, because of the difficulty in reconstructing this poetic introduction in its original form. The general meaning of the passage is clear, but the precise relationship between the two texts ( II Sam. and Psalm 18) can hardly be determined. A study of the parallel passages indicates that there were two early versions of the introduction (one apparently in the third person, the other in the second person). Neither of these is preserved intact in the present Massoretic texts. A third version of the same passage occurs in Psalm 144:2; it seems further removed from the original than the others, though retaining readings of value. We have in both II Sam. 22 and Psalm 18 a conflate text combining words and phrases from the older forms of the introduction. Any attempt at restoring the more original texts of the introduction must be labelled provisional. The following reconstruction is based upon the text of II Sam. 22, Psalms 18 and 144. The projected texts agree as to length and structure, represent a maximum variation as to content (insofar as these are attested by the existing texts--what other variations may have existed can only be surmised) Other. possible reconstructions would fall somewhere within the limits represented by A. and B.

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