The function of the Root ͆kl in Shaping the ideal figure of David in 1 Samuel 18

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Abstract

The fourfold recurrence of the root s̈kl in 1 Samuel 18 to describe David (vv. 5, 14, 15, 30) calls for an explanation. While David's characterization as mas̈kîl would seem to refer, above all, to his success in battle, a broader analysis of s̈kl in wisdom-related contexts, as well as elsewhere in the Deuteronomistic History, demonstrates that mas̈kîl functions as an epithet, bestowing upon the holder a wider sense of "success" that is intimately linked with Divine patronage. Thus, David's characterization as mas̈kîl in 1 Samuel 18 promotes a more comprehensive definition of the ideal king, in contrast to the more restricted prerequisite of military skill associated with Saul. While it is most likely that the story in 1 Samuel 18 is composed solely from pre-Deuteronomistic strands, the intensity with which the root s̈kl is employed with relation to David corresponds with the Deuteronomistic agenda of portraying David as the ideal king.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalVetus Testamentum
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • David
  • Ideal king
  • Maskîl

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