Prophets, Priests, and Promises

Essays on the Deuteronomistic History, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah


Shortly before his untimely death Gary Knoppers prepared a number of articles on the historical books in the Hebrew Bible for this volume. Many had not previously been published and the others were heavily revised. They combine a fine attention to historical method with sensitivity for literary-critical analysis, constructive use of classical as well as other sources for comparative evidence, and wide-ranging attention to economic, social, religious, and political circumstances relating in particular to the Persian and early Hellenistic periods. Knoppers advances many new suggestions about significant themes in these texts, about how they relate one to another, and about the light they shed on the various communities’ self-consciousness at a time when new religious identities were being forged.

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Gary N. Knoppers (1956 – 2018), PhD Harvard University 1988, was John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. His research included ancient historiography, ancient Near Eastern and biblical law, inner-biblical exegesis, and the history of early Jewish and Samaritan relations. He authored numerous books, among them the Anchor Yale Bible commentary on 1 Chronicles 1–9 and 10-29 (2004) and Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations (OUP, 2013).

Christl M. Maier, Dr. theol. 1994 at Humboldt-University Berlin, Professor of Old Testament at the University of Marburg, Germany, and editor-in-chief of Supplements to Vetus Testamentum. She has published extensively on Wisdom Literature, Old Testament prophecy, and Feminist Hermeneutics, her latest work being a commentary on Jeremia 1–25 for Internationaler Exegetischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2021).

H. G. M. Williamson, PhD 1975 at Cambridge University, was the Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford until his retirement in 2014. His early research focussed on the books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, including Israel in the Books of Chronicles (1977) and commentaries on both sets of texts. More recently he has worked on Isaiah, on which he is preparing part of the International Critical Commentary (2006, 2018, and forthcoming).

H.G.M. Williamson

Part 1: History and Historiography in Ancient Judah

1 Constructing the Israelite Past in Ancient Judah (I)
 1 Introductory Observations
 2 Chronological Segmentation and Typology in Deuteronomistic Historiography

2 From Israel to Judah in the Deuteronomistic Writing: A History of Calamities?
 1 Challenges Posed by Deuteronomy’s Mandate for the Unification of Yahwistic Worship
 2 From the Steppes of Moab to the City of David
 3 “Cast from My Presence”: The Promises Annulled?
 4 From Solomon to the End of the Davidic Kingdom
 5 Conclusions

3 Constructing the Israelite Past in Ancient Judah (II)
 1 Introductory Observations
 2 Selectivity and Segmentation in Ezra-Nehemiah
 3 Selection and Segmentation in the Chronistic Writing
 4 Conclusions

Part 2: Mimesis, Prophetic Succession, and Scribal Prophecy

4 Synoptic Texts, Mimesis, and the Problem of “Rewritten Bible”
 1 Old is Good: An Overview of Mimesis in the Ancient World
 2 Reliving the Past? Examples of Mimetic Literature in the Ancient World
 3 Rewritten Bible or Mimesis?
 4 Out with the Old, In with the New: Disputes and Dangers in the Use of Mimesis
 5 Conclusions

5 Theft or Mimesis? The Non-Citation of Older Writings in Chronicles
 1 Chronicles and Joshua
 2 The Source Citations in Chronicles and in Kings
 3 Conclusions

6 “As It is Written”: What Were the Chronicler’s Prophetic Sources?
 1 Prophetic Sources in Chronicles: Recent Studies
 2 Written Prophetic Works—Unity amid Diversity?
 3 Prophetic Sources and the Evaluation of the Past
 4 Conclusions

7 “YHWH will Raise Up for You a Prophet like Me”: Prophetic Succession in Chronicles
 1 Introduction
 2 The Prophetic Legislation in Deuteronomy and Its Afterlife in Chronicles
 3 Overview of Prophetic Succession in the Monarchy
 4 The United Monarchy
 5 The Judahite Monarchy from Rehoboam to Ahaz
 6 Regeneration and Degeneration: From Hezekiah to the Babylonian Exile
 7 Conclusions

Part 3: David, the Torah, and the Temple

8 David’s Relation to Moses: The Contexts, Contents, and Conditions of the Davidic Promises
 1 Temple, Dynasty, and People in 2 Samuel 7
 2 Unconditional and Conditional: The Davidic Promises in Chronicles
 3 Conditional and Promissory: The Davidic Promises in Psalm 132
 4 Unconditional yet Renounced: The Davidic Promises in Psalm 89
 5 Conclusions

9 Blood, Toil, and Treasure: Royal (Mis)appropriations in Samuel-Kings and Chronicles
 1 The Deuteronomistic Depiction of the Monarchy
 2 The Chronistic Writing

10 YHWH’s Rejection of the House Built for His Name: On the Significance of Anti-temple Rhetoric in the Deuteronomistic History
 1 Israel in Exile: The Last Petition in Solomon’s Prayer
 2 “Once So Exalted”: The Temple in the Second Theophany to Solomon
 3 Do Manasseh’s Sins Level the Differences between Israel and Judah?
 4 Conclusions

Part 4: From Exile to Diaspora

11 Defeat, Depopulation, and Displacement: The Judahite Exile of the Eighth Century BCE
 1 Judah’s Demise in the Context of Monarchic History
 2 Judah Much Diminished: The Reign of Ahaz (743–728 BCE)
 3 From “Terror and Desolation” to Renewal: The Reign of Hezekiah (727–698 BCE)
 4 Hezekiah’s Reign in Context
 5 Conclusions

12 “Wrath without Remediation”: The Babylonian Exile and the Question of Immediate Retribution in Chronicles
 1 Immediate Retribution vs. Accumulation of Guilt
 2 “He Humbled Himself Greatly”: Manasseh (697–642 BCE)
 3 The Early Manasseh Redivivus: Amon (642–640 BCE)
 4 “He Walked in the Ways of David his Ancestor”: Josiah (639–609 BCE)
 5 A Private Exodus to Egypt: Jehoahaz (609 BCE)
 6 Banished to Babylon: Jehoiakim (609–598 BCE)
 7 A Personal Exile: Jehoiachin (598–597 BCE)
 8 The Democratization of Responsibility for Exile under Zedekiah (597–586 BCE)
 9 Conclusions

13 Whodunit? The Unlikely Disappearance of Zerubbabel
 1 A Restoration Realized or a Restoration Rejected?
 2 Royal Davidic Hopes in the Persian/Early Hellenistic Period
 3 Royal Ideology in Ezra-Nehemiah: Native or Imperial?
 4 A New Axis Mundi for Judah
 5 Conclusions

14 Argumentum e silentio? Mizpah and Ramat Raḥel in Ezra-Nehemiah
 1 The Problem
 2 Four Possible Reasons for the Silence
 3 Ezra-Nehemiah’s Reorientation of the Centre and the Periphery

15 Ethnicity and Change: The Judean Communities of Babylon and Jerusalem in the Story of Ezra
 1 The Genealogy of Identity: Introducing the Person and Mission of Ezra
 2 Teaching and Practicing Torah in the Homeland
 3 Ethnicity, Geography, and Community Identity
 4 Conclusions
Index of Ancient Sources
All those interested in the Deuteronomistic History and Ezra-Nehemiah-Chronicles, especially at the intersection of philology, history and archaeology of ancient Judah as well as the inner-biblical development of texts.
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