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The Passion Narrative and the Davidic Saga

There were a number of precedents for the Passion Narrative in the Jewish tradition: the suffering righteous in the laments, the persecuted prophets, the oppressed yet vindicated human-like one of Daniel 7, the Suffering Servant of Deutero-Isaiah, and the Maccabean martyrs. I came across another possibility in Theodore J. Weeden’s article “Polemics as a Case for Dissent: A Response to Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the EyewitnessesJSHJ 6 (2008): 211-22. While I believe that most of these parallels are quite loose and stretched too far, Weeden insists on the following correspondences between the Passion Narrative and the Davidic saga (pp. 221-23):

  1. the conspiracy against David (2 Samuel 15:1-12) and Jesus (Mark 14:1, 10-11)
  2. Ahithophel’s betrayal of David (2 Samuel 15:31; 16:20-17:3) and Judas’s betrayal of Jesus (Mark 14:10f.)
  3. Ittai’s vow of loyalty to David (2 Samuel 15:21) and Peter’s vow of loyalty to Jesus (Mark 14:29)
  4. David’s flight to the Mount of Olives (2 Samuel 15:30) and Jesus’ at the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:26)
  5. the three commanders who accompany David (2 Samuel 15:19-24) and the three confidants taken aside by Jesus (Mark 14:33)
  6. David’s distress (2 Samuel 15:30b) and Jesus’ distress (Mark 14:33-35a)
  7. David resigning to God’s will (2 Samuel 15:25f.) and Jesus resigning to God’s will (Mark 14:36)
  8. the army’s plans to attack David (2 Samuel 17:1-3) and the crowd armed with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus (Mark 14:43)
  9. Joab’s deceitful kiss of Amasa (2 Samuel 20:1-10) and Judas’ betrayal with a kiss (Mark 14:44f.).
  10. The altered citation of LXX Zechariah 13:7 in Mark 14:27 conforms closer to Ahithophel’s hope that his attack on David (2 Samuel 17:2) will “all the people with him [David] will flee” when their shepherd has been killed.
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