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2 Samuel 22:12-15

Context

22:12 He shrouded himself in darkness, 1 

in thick rain clouds. 2 

22:13 From the brightness in front of him

came coals of fire. 3 

22:14 The Lord thundered 4  from the sky;

the sovereign One 5  shouted loudly. 6 

22:15 He shot 7  arrows and scattered them, 8 

lightning and routed them. 9 

1 tc Heb “he made darkness around him coverings.” The parallel text in Ps 18:11 reads “he made darkness his hiding place around him, his covering.” 2 Sam 22:12 omits “his hiding place” and pluralizes “covering.” Ps 18:11 may include a conflation of synonyms (“his hiding place” and “his covering” ) or 2 Sam 22:12 may be the result of haplography/homoioarcton. Note that three successive words in Ps 18:11 begin with the letter ס (samek): סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ (sitro sÿvyvotav sukkato).

2 tc Heb “a sieve of water, clouds of clouds.” The form חַשְׁרַת (khashrat) is a construct of חַשְׁרָה (khashrah, “sieve”), which occurs only here in the OT. A cognate Ugaritic noun means “sieve,” and a related verb חשׁר (“to sift”) is attested in postbiblical Hebrew and Aramaic (see HALOT 363 s.v. *חשׁר). The phrase חַשְׁרַת־מַיִם (khashrat-mayim) means literally “a sieve of water.” It pictures the rain clouds as a sieve through which the rain falls to the ground. (See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry, 146, note 33.)

3 tc The parallel text in Ps 18:12 reads “from the brightness in front of him his clouds came, hail and coals of fire.” The Lucianic family of texts within the Greek tradition of 2 Sam 22:13 seems to assume the underlying Hebrew text: מִנֹּגַהּ נֶגְדּוֹ עָבְרוּ בָּרָד וְגַחֲלֵי אֵשׁ (minnogah negdoavru barad vÿgakhaleesh, “from the brightness in front of him came hail and coals of fire”) which is the basis for the present translation. The textual situation is perplexing and the identity of the original text uncertain. The verbs עָבְרוּ (’avÿru; Ps 18:12) and בָּעֲרוּ (baaru, 2 Sam 22:13) appear to be variants involving a transposition of the first two letters. The noun עָבָיו (’avav, “his clouds”; Ps 18:12) may be virtually dittographic (note the following עָבְרוּ), or it could have accidentally dropped from the text of 2 Sam 22:13 by virtual haplography (note the preceding בָּעֲרוּ [baaru], which might have originally read עָבְרוּ). The term בָּרָד (barad, “hail”; Ps 18:12) may be virtually dittographic (note the preceding עָבְרוּ), or it could have dropped from 2 Sam 22:13 by virtual haplography (note the preceding בָּעֲרוּ, which might have originally read עָבְרוּ). For a fuller discussion of the text, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 74-76.

4 tn The shortened theme vowel indicates that the prefixed verbal form is a preterite.

5 tn Heb “the Most High.” This divine title (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. See especially Ps 47:2.

6 tn Heb “offered his voice.” In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the preterite form in the preceding line. The text of Ps 18:13 adds at this point, “hail and coals of fire.” These words are probably accidentally added from v. 12b; they do not appear in 2 Sam 22:14.

sn Thunder is a common motif in Old Testament theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 179-83.

7 tn Heb “sent.”

8 tn The pronominal suffixes on the verbs “scattered” and “routed” (see the next line) refer to David’s enemies. Some argue that the suffixes refer to the arrows, in which case one might translate “shot them far and wide” and “made them move noisily,” respectively. They argue that the enemies have not been mentioned since v. 4 and are not again mentioned until v. 17. However, usage of the verbs פוּץ (puts, “scatter”) and הָמַם (hamam, “rout”) elsewhere in Holy War accounts suggests the suffixes refer to enemies. Enemies are frequently pictured in such texts as scattered and/or routed (see Exod 14:24; 23:27; Num 10:35; Josh 10:10; Judg 4:15; 1 Sam 7:10; 11:11; Ps 68:1).

9 sn Lightning is a common motif in OT theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 77:17-18; 144:6; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 187, 190-92.



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