Radak's Commentary on Divrei HaYamim


Yitzhak Berger

This Edition

This edition of Radak on Chronicles originated as a dissertation (Yeshiva University, 2003) and appears here with only minor changes. It provides references, punctuation, text-variants, and extensive notes. Since the completion of the dissertation, additional books and theses on Radak and on Jewish interpretation of Chronicles have been authored by Yaakov Fried, Leeor Gottlieb, Naomi Grunhaus, Isaac Kalimi, Ayelet Seidler, Yechiel Tzeitkin, Eran Viezel, and Verónica Vives, and the reader is encouraged to consult their work. An annotated English translation of the Chronicles commentary is available in book form (The Commentary of Rabbi David Kimḥi to Chronicles: A Translation with Introduction and Supercommentary [Brown Judaic Studies 345; Providence: Brown University, 2007]).

The Commentary

Radak’s commentary on Chronicles is among his earliest works of exegesis, with only his commentary on Proverbs having apparently preceded it. (For a defense of the authenticity of the Proverbs commentary, click here.) The Chronicles commentary is far less thorough than Radak’s later efforts, attesting to a more limited exegetical program. In addition, manuscript evidence shows that Radak made substantial changes over time, especially after composing his works on parallel material in Samuel and Kings. For example, early versions of the commentary on Chronicles show little to no engagement of philosophical concerns and far less citation of rabbinic material. Extensive discussion of the commentary’s distinctiveness and its relationship to earlier works on Chronicles appears in article form (“Radak’s Commentary to Chronicles and the Development of His Exegetical Programme,” JJS 57 [2006], 80–98). For an analysis of the role of rabbinic exegesis in Radak’s commentaries, especially in light of his work on Chronicles and the relevant manuscript evidence, click here (courtesy of Cambridge University Press).

Explanatory Notes

Beyond elucidating Radak’s comments and referencing parallel material in his other works, the notes to this edition regularly compare Radak’s interpretations to those of his medieval predecessors. These include the tenth-century commentary attributed to a student of R. Saadia Gaon (המלתרס"ג), the eleventh-century commentary erroneously attributed to Rashi (המלרש"י), the eleventh-century commentary in MS Munich 5 erroneously attributed to R. Joseph Kara (המלרי"ק), and Targum Chronicles. Radak did not possess the Targum, was clearly working with pseudo-Rashi, and shows familiarity with some material that appears in the other two works. In the case of pseudo-Kara, which is not available in print, relevant material is provided in the notes as fully as is warranted, often in the form of verbatim quotation. (For discussion of some striking features of the commentary of pseudo-Kara, especially regarding biblical poetry, click here.) The notes also incorporate evaluation of Radak’s comments by later figures, including Joseph Weisse and Judah Jeitteles (of the school of Moses Mendelssohn), Malbim, modern scholars of Chronicles, R. Benjamin ben Judah of Rome (whose commentary appears in several manuscripts), and R. Samuel Masnut and R. Solomon ibn Melekh (whose commentaries are substantially based on Radak). For select bibliography including works cited, click here.

Textual Apparatus

A key to symbols used in the edition appears below. The base-text of the edition is MS Escorial G II 6. For a full description of the text-witnesses and their interrelationships, along with a detailed account of policies of editing, click here.  Policies for inclusion of text-variants apply to the PDF version of the edition. The version presented in the Mikraot Gedolot section of the website features only a limited selection of variants.

ס  MS Escorial G II 6
א  MS Parma 3569
ב  MS JTS Lutzki 865
ד  MS Modena 145/Nonantola 13
ר  MS Marucelliana C.CCCLXI
ת  MS JTS Lutzki 784
ט  MS St. Petersburg II A 6
ק  MS Oxford Opp. Add. 125
ו  MS Vatican 89
ג  MS Strasbourg 4028
מ  MS Munich 363
פ  MS Paris 198
נ  First printed edition (Venice 1548)
ש Commentary on Chronicles of R. Samuel Masnut
ל  Commentary on Chronicles of R. Solomon Ibn Melekh (Mikhlal Yofi)
General Symbols
*   An asterisk appears to the left of a word in the text of Radak that departs from the reading found in the base-text.  For a series of words, asterisks appear both before and after the correction.  Such words are similarly marked when cited in the apparatus.
+   This symbol, appearing in the apparatus, denotes that the specified witnesses contain the additional material that is indicated.
ח'‏   This symbol, appearing in the apparatus, denotes that the specified witnesses omit the indicated material.
א    Where a word appears twice in a line in the text, a letter superscript in the apparatus indicates which occurrence of the word is intended.  For example, אמרא refers to the first appearance of the word אמר in the relevant line.
1    A number superscript after a symbol of a witness (e.g. 1פ) indicates that the variant provided derives from a later scribe’s emendation of that witness.
( )  Parentheses surround material in the apparatus that goes beyond mere citation of variants.
?   A question mark that immediate follows a variant (e.g. אמר?‏) denotes that the variant cannot be read clearly.  A question mark immediately following a symbol of a witness (e.g. פ?נ אמר) indicates that the variant is unclear only in that particular witness.  A question mark standing alone (e.g. אמר ?‏; or פ ?‏) appears in place of a word that is so obscured as to defy even speculative representation.