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וַיֹּ֨אמֶר שָׁא֜וּל אֶתְּנֶ֤נָּה לֹּו֙ וּתְהִי־לֹ֣ו לְמֹוקֵ֔שׁ וּתְהִי־בֹ֖ו יַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים וַיֹּ֤אמֶר שָׁאוּל֙ אֶל־דָּוִ֔ד בִּשְׁתַּ֛יִם תִּתְחַתֵּ֥ן בִּ֖י הַיֹּֽום׃ (WLC)

“I will give her [Michal] to David,” Saul thought, “so that she may be a snare to him, and the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “For a second time* now you can be my son-in-law.” (BSB)

*The ESV notes "Hebrew by two".

The preceding account of Saul offering Merab to David isn't in the Septuagint, nor is the "for a second time". So it seems this phrase was added along with Merab's offer in an attempt to merge Merab's and Michal's offers together. How is "for the second time" intended to be taken here though? I'm seeing three main suggestions:

  • "You will be my son-in-law for the second time"
  • "You have a second chance to be my son-in-law"
  • "Saul spoke for the second time, saying, you can be my son-in-law"

Note: I'm wondering about the implications of this phrase as is (sans wider context). Merab is noted to be the wife of Adriel (2 Samuel 21:8), but arguments could be made for extraneous circumstances that saw Saul marry Merab to David then change his mind and marry her to Adriel after, considering he showed no qualms marrying Michal to Paltiel after already having married her to David later (1 Samuel 25:44).

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I have no reason to doubt the Masoretic Text as we have it. The LXX is patchy - at times offering preserved text that is presumably older and at other times taking great liberties with the Masoretic text. That is, why believe a manifestly less reliable translation over the original text?

The second possibility you list is probably correct,

"You have a second chance to be my son-in-law" (You've had one opportunity to become my son-in-law -- it didn't come to pass -- this is a second opportunity.)

This is made more credible in view of the law in Lev 18:18 that prevents two sisters marrying the same man while both are alive.

And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

If you have "arguments could be made" then you should set them out so they can be debated.

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    Thank you. I must've explained myself badly though -- I'm not seeing any reason to doubt the MT's longer account here either. However, "why believe a manifestly less reliable translation over the original text?" That's assuming 1. the Masoretes had the original text and 2. it wasn't altered in the (debatably) 1000 or so years since the LXX was translated. Although in the case of 1 Sam, the LXX appears to have been translating a different text than the one in the Masoretes' possession, so it's not so much about not believing the MT as examining how a potentially different offshoot compares. – user28665 Feb 14 '19 at 5:08
  • I didn't flesh out the arguments because I felt that'd open up a new topic. I'm not asking about the likelihood of this contextually (because I agree, Leviticus presents a problem -- although Tamar suggesting David would allow Amnon to marry her presents a similar problem, so perhaps the law wasn't being observed in full); I'm wondering about the implications of the Hebrew alone, even if it would seem to present a contradiction. – user28665 Feb 14 '19 at 5:16
  • My apologies, in that case I am unsure what you are asking. – user25930 Feb 14 '19 at 6:04

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