Yahweh’s Promise to David in the Books of Kings

In: Vetus Testamentum
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  • 1 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.

  • 8

    Cf. R. Smend, “Das Gesetz und die Völker: ein Beitrag zur deuteronomistischen Redaktionsgeschichte,” in Probleme biblischer Theologie: Gerhard von Rad zum 70 Geburtstag (ed. H. W. Wolff; Munich, 1971), pp. 494-509. See also W. Dietrich, Prophetie und Geschichte: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk (frlant 108; Göttingen, 1972). More recently, F. B. Wissmann, “Er tat das Rechte . . .”: Beurteilungskriterien und Deuteronomismus in 1 Kön 12-2 Kön 25 (AThANT 93; Zürich, 2008).

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  • 10

    Cf. de Pury and Römer, “Deuteronomistic Historiography,” p. 72. See also J. Van Seters, “The Deuteronomistic History: Can It Avoid Death by Redaction?,” in The Future of the Deuteronomistic History (ed. T. Römer; betl 147; Leuven, 2000), pp. 213-222.

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  • 13

    Cross, Canaanite Myth, pp. 278-285.

  • 16

    See Knoppers, Two Nations under God, vol. 1, pp. 87-90.

  • 21

    Cross, Canaanite Myth, pp. 279-281.

  • 23

    See Knoppers, Two Nations under God, vol. 1, 201.

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