When looking at the literary history of the dynastic oracle in 2 Sam 7:1-17 and its narrative embedding in the historiographic concept of Samuel and Kings, one can argue that in the beginning, there was a royal oracle of salvation shaped by a common Ancient Near Eastern royal ideology. Even though the exact wording or the original ‘Sitz im Leben’ of the oracle cannot be identified with any certainty, some observations in the literary structure of the narrative indicate that the ‘deuteronomistic’ narrator in 2 Sam 7 used an earlier form of the dynastic oracle in order to combine it with the motive of building the temple and creating a coherent story that plays a key role in the historiographic structure of his narrative work. Later (dtr) editors enhanced the concept of building the temple over the dynastic promise and interpreted the time of David as the final stage of Israel’s conquest of the land. The dynastic oracle has not been revoked, but the political reign of the Davidides has been relativised, so that the text was opened up for new interpretations and applications, which can be studied in the wide range of its history of reception.
The historical King Solomon has been discussed and debated by many scholars over the years. It is interesting, however, to see that the historicity of the city list of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer has been accepted by traditional and more radical scholars alike, who have suggested historical contexts in the 10th, 9th, or 8th century BCE for it. In this article we examine the list from a primarily literary point of view, placing it in the broader context of royal ideology in the ancient Near East and arguing that it may preserve memories of great cities from the Canaanite era.