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The Subversive Dimension of the Story of Jehoshaphat’s War against the Nations (2 Chron. 20:1–30)


In: Biblical Interpretation
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The miraculous victory of Jehoshaphat and the Judeans in the conflict against Moab, Ammon, and Edom (2 Chron. 20:1–30) displays all the characteristics of a holy war, but the active involvement of Yhwh, the main component expected in such a narrative, is skillfully muted and the circumstances leading to the victory remain evasive. The present analysis reveals that the Chronicler disguised the narrative as a holy war story in order to conceal the subversive message in a subliminal layer of meaning. In this way, the Chronicler reveals that the victory of the Judeans over their enemies was reached through the transgression of Yahwistic taboos. These findings reveal the existence, in the Chronicles, of a subversive dimension especially turned against Jehoshaphat. They account for a disagreement between the Chronicler and the opinion of potential readers concerning the reign of this king. The possible origin for the Chronicler’s singular attitude is discussed.


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