356 THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE MEN OF JOAB AND ABNER AS A POSSIBLE ORDEAL BY BATTLE? Otto EISSFELDT has drawn the attention already in 1951 to the battle or bout between the picked or choice men 1) of Abner with those of Joab (2 Sam. ii 12 2). Where, before the paper of EISSFELDT was written, scholars were almost unanymous that the whole story was a later fabrication or legend, ErssrEi.DT invariably has proved that the historical reliability is beyond doubt. His view is so well established with examples from the Mediterranean World that we need not repeat it here. At about the same time Y. SUKENIK has drawn the attention to the same matter, but with parallel material from a Reliefstele of Tell Halaf. SUKENIK has arrived independent from EISSFELDT to the same conclusion, viz. that a real contest and battle between the picked soldiers of Abner and Joab took place 3). Especially the meaning of the verb shg is interpreted not as play, but as fight in a battle in all earnest 4). This important discovery is more or less accepted by modern commentators 5). In light of our advanced knowledge of solemn pledges and cove-
Vetus Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1970
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