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From D to Q: A Study of Early Jewish Interpretations of Solomon's Dream at Gibeon
David Mclain Carr
Not yet published
Publication Date
January 1997


“This revision of a 1988 Claremont dissertation begins with a redaction critical analysis of 1 Kgs 3:2–15 which finds four levels: a pre-Deuteronomistic Vorlage, the first (Josianic) Deuteronomistic edition, and two later Deuteronomistic hands. Carr discusses how each of these levels has reinterpreted the original Gibeon story. He then treats interpretations of this story in later histories of Israel—2 Chron 1:1–13 and Josephus (Ant. 8.21–25)—and in ‘Instructions’—Qoh 1:12–2:26, Wisdom of Solomon, and Q 12:22–31 (reconstructed, but following Luke’s versification).

The hermeneutical process used by these early interpreters involves both preservation/ stability/inter-textuality, i.e., retaining a Vorlage or source, and recontextualization/ adaptabitiy/counter-textuality, i.e., altering a received text by supplementing it or placing it in a new context. The original Vorlage behind 1 Kgs 3:2–15 was a dream epiphany which advocated Solomon’s right, as David’s successor, to be equipped with a “hearing heart” in order to rule and in which Solomon was rewarded with riches and honor because of his cultic piety at the Gibeon sanctuary. Dtr neutralized the royal ideology of his Vorlage by making the story a petition from Solomon for legal wisdom and his reward from God contingent on his obedience to the Deuteronomistic program. Later Deuteronomistic editors stressed cultic centralization and the heroism of Solomon by modifying Dtr’s complaint (3:3) that Solomon used bamôt like the one at Gibeon. As for later histories, Chronicles recounted this story to show how God equipped Solomon with wisdom, riches, and honor in order to build the temple.…

The ‘Instructions’ further expanded the didactic nature of the Gibeon story. Qoheleth used Solomon’s reputation to undermine the message of traditional wisdom; Solomon found no happiness or lasting reward in his incomparable wisdom and wealth. Wisdom of Solomon democratized the Kings and Chronicles narratives and integrated them with Proverbs 8 in order to counter Qoheleth by arguing for immortality as a reward for the righteous. Q also subverted traditional wisdom by making Jesus, not Solomon, the new instuctor, and nature, not Solomon’s wealth, the measure of splendor. … [This work] presents its reader with insightful exposition and challenging questions. The range of Carr’s interests and of the material he covers in the volume is impressive.”
—Steven L. McKenzie, Journal of Biblical Literature