Saul the Levite and His Concubine: The “Allusive” Quality of Judges 19

in Vetus Testamentum
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It is without question that Judges 19 manifests an overt anti-Saul, pro-David bias, with a number of references (e.g., Gibeah; Bethlehem; Jebus; the dismembered concubine) that point clearly to each figure. At the same time, it features a handful of markers that elude easy explanation. These include the Levitical identity of the protagonist, the adulterous concubine, the reference to Ramah, the destination of “the House of Yahweh,” and the Ephraimite host. Rather than view these details as either secondary or unrelated to Saul, I propose that they also represent tools in service of the overarching anti-Saul polemic. More specifically, these markers reflect awareness of a Saul-based version of 1 Samuel 1-2. This proposal in turn sheds light on questions regarding the composition and transmission of a separate Saul complex.

  • 3

    Already in 1869M. Güdemann identified the text as an anti-Saulide document (Tendenz und Abfassungszeit der letzten Kapitel des Buches der Richter [mgwj 18; Berlin 1869]). Jüngling takes Judges 19 to be an anti-Saul episode composed in the monarchic period (Richter 19); a similar argument on this front is maintained by Stipp (“Richter 19” pp. 197ff.). U. Becker likewise recognizes the anti-Saulide pro-Davidic bent of Judges 19 but proposes a terminus post quem of the mid-monarchic period (Richterzeit und Königtum: redaktionsgeschichtliche Studien zum Richterbuch [bzaw 192; Berlin 1990] p. 297). Y. Amit highlights the “hidden” Saul polemic in Judges 19-21 as a whole in a number of essays; see e.g. “Literature in the Service of Politics: Studies in Judges 19-21” in H.G. Reventlow et al. (ed.) Politics and Theopolitics in the Bible and Postbiblical Literature (Sheffield 1994) pp. 28-40.

  • 11

    For the former stance see Amit“Who Is Lent to the Lord?” in In Praise of Editing in the Hebrew Bible: Collected Essays in Retrospect (Hebrew Bible Monographs 39; Amsterdam Studies in the Bible and Religion 4; Sheffield 2012) p. 174. The phrase belongs to W. Dietrich The Early Monarchy in Israel: The Tenth Century bce (Biblische Enzyklopädie 3; Leiden 2007) p. 255.

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  • 16

    SchleyShiloh pp. 153-54.

  • 28

    SogginJudges p. 284.

  • 30

    See discussion in GrossRichter p. 807. To his mind the scribe understood בֵּיתִי to be an abbreviation for “the House of Yahweh.”

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  • 52

    See e.g. NiditchJudges p. 191.

  • 55

    Lasine“Guest and Host in Judges 19” p. 39.

  • 59

    See e.g. WinterFrau und Göttin p. 47; H.-J. Stoebe Das erste Buch Samuelis (Gütersloh 1973) p. 114; McCarter i Samuel p. 81. For a discussion of all of the available mss. see E.C. Ulrich Jr. The Qumran Text of Samuel and Josephus [hsm 19; Missoula 1978] p. 57.

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  • 60

    McCarter1 Samuel p. 81 with reference to Cross Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic pp. 201-203.

  • 68

    Stipp“Richter 19” pp. 220-24.

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