Yahweh’s Promise to David in the Books of Kings

In: Vetus Testamentum
Troy D. Cudworth University of Oxford

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The books of Kings lack the internal consistency found in the books of Chronicles regarding rewards and punishments for the good and evil actions of Israel’s kings (i.e. the doctrine of retribution). This paper argues that the books of Kings portray all the different kings in light of their respective evaluations to emphasize the strength of Yahweh’s promise to the Davidides for a lasting dynasty. First, the text uses the reigns of bad southern kings to stress Yahweh’s abundant faithfulness when the Davidides behaved at their worst. Second, it inserts accounts of the many failed northern dynasties to demonstrate the uniqueness of Yahweh’s abundant mercy specifically for the Davidides. Third, it illustrates the fragility of the good southern kings to suggest that the continuation of their line depended not on them, but on their merciful God who remained faithful to his covenant with them.

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