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Ehud and Joab: separated at birth?

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Although rarely noticed, the portrait of Ehud in Judg. iii 15-22 and that of Joab in 2 Sam. iii 27 and xx 8-10 actually bear an uncanny resemblance to each other. Given the number of parallels within such brief accounts, it seems more than likely that the resemblance is not accidental, but represents the conscious use of allusion on the part of one of the authors. Rhetorically, a case is made that the Ehud account has priority and that the Joab accounts were composed to echo the former. If so, this may have significant implications towards the evaluation of Ehud. For contrary to the largely positive evaluations of Ehud by contemporary commentators, the allusion to Ehud in clearly uncomplimentary accounts about Joab may suggest that an early tradition exists that views the use of deception by Ehud with a degree of disquietude.

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