Two hallmarks of a literary masterpiece are an enticing beginning and a splashy ending, and Richard Elliott Friedman’s extended version of J has two of the best. But could the same author have written both?

The title of “In the Day” is borrowed from this opening passage:

Genesis 2:4b. In the day that YHWH made earth and skies— 5. when all produce of the field had not yet been in the earth, and all vegetation of the field had not yet grown, for YHWH had not rained on the earth, and there had been no human to work the ground, 6. and a river had come up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground— 7. YHWH fashioned a human, dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became a living being.

In the Day” closes with the death of King David and the transition of power to Solomon in 1 Kings 2. The last chapter begins with David’s final words to his son:

1 Kings 2:1. And David’s time to die drew close. And he commanded Solomon, his son, saying, 2. “I’m going in the way of all the earth. And you shall be strong and become a man. 5. And, also, you know what Joab, son of Seruiah, did to me, what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, to Abner, son of Ner, and to Amasa, son of Jether: that he killed them, and he shed the blood of war in peace, and he put the blood of war in his belt that was on his hips and in his shoe that was on his feet. 6. And you shall act according to your wisdom, and don’t let his gray hair go down in peace to Sheol.

7. “And show kindness to the children of Barzillai, the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, because they were close to me when I was fleeing from Absalom, your brother.

8. “And Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, is here with you. And he cursed me, a sickening curse, in the day I went to Mahanaim, but he came down to me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by YHWH, saying, ‘I won’t kill you by the sword.’ 9. And now, don’t hold him innocent, because you’re a wise man, and you know what you’ll do to him: and you’ll bring his gray hair down in blood to Sheol.”

10. And David lay with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David. 11. And the days that David ruled Israel were forty years: he ruled in Hebron seven years and ruled in Jerusalem thirty-three years. 12. And Solomon sat on the throne of David, his father, and his kingdom was very secure.a