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  • Professor Christine Hayes: We were talking last

  • time about the establishment of the monarchy or kingship in

  • Israel and I want to say a little bit about some of the

  • features of Israelite kingship, and today I'll be coming back

  • frequently to the Israelite notions of kingship and royal

  • ideology. But to start off:

  • one of the most important things to realize is that the

  • king in Israel was not divine, as he was in Egypt,

  • or even semi-divine.

  • Occasionally, he offered sacrifice but he

  • didn't play a regular role in the cult.

  • Israelite royal ideology was heavily indebted to Canaanite

  • royal ideology. You have similar language

  • that's applied to the kings of Israel.

  • The king is said to be appointed by the deity or

  • deities to end wickedness, to enlighten the land,

  • he is the channel of prosperity and divine blessing for the

  • nation. All of this is true of

  • Canaanite kings as well, and the king,

  • as we've seen, is spoken of as God's son.

  • That doesn't imply divinity.

  • It's a metaphor, the metaphor of sonship.

  • It was used for the Canaanite gods as well,

  • and it expressed the special relationship between the king

  • and the deity. It was the same relationship as

  • was found between that of a suzerain and a vassal,

  • and in our suzerainty treaties, also, the vassal is the son of

  • the suzerain. It's a kind of adoption,

  • and what it means is that the one who is metaphorically the

  • son is to serve the father loyally,

  • faithfully, but is also susceptible to chastisement from

  • him. And that's what we saw in

  • Nathan's statement or pronouncement or prophecy to

  • David last time. Michael Coogan points out that

  • the notion of the sonship of the king was revolutionary.

  • It was a deliberate effort to replace an earlier understanding

  • according to which the entire nation of Israel was God's son.

  • You remember during the plagues in Egypt when God refers to

  • Pharaoh as having oppressed His son, Israel, His firstborn.

  • As Yahweh's son, the king now is standing

  • between God and the people as a whole.

  • And we're going to return in a moment to this new royal

  • ideology and what's really going to be a very tense juxtaposition

  • with the covenant theology.

  • But first I want to say a little bit more about the

  • characters of David and Solomon before going into the way royal

  • ideology was later developed.

  • In the Bible, David is second only in

  • importance and in textual space to Moses;

  • the amount of space that's devoted to him,

  • is second only to Moses.

  • There are three characteristics of David which stand out,

  • and the first is that he's described as being quite

  • proficient in music and poetry and so we'll see that later

  • tradition is going to attribute to him not only the invention of

  • various instruments but also the composition of the Book of

  • Psalms. It seems to make sense that he

  • would be the composer of the Book of Psalms in that he has a

  • reputation for poetry and music.

  • He is also credited with great military and tactical skill and

  • confidence. He deploys his army on behalf

  • of Israel but he also, once he is king,

  • deploys his army within Israel against his rivals.

  • Third, he is depicted as a very shrewd politician.

  • And it was David who created permanent symbols of God's

  • election of Israel, God's election of David

  • himself, God's election of David's house

  • or line or dynasty to rule over Israel in perpetuity.

  • It is said that he conceived the idea of a royal capital.

  • He captured the city of Jebus, Yebus--it was a border town so

  • it was free of any tribal association.

  • I guess it's sort of like Washington, D.C.;

  • it's not located really within any one tribe;

  • and he captured this and built it up as the city of David.

  • The city was going to be renamed Jerusalem and it would

  • become understood as the chosen city,

  • the place where God caused His name to dwell:

  • as Deuteronomy said, there would be a place where

  • God would choose to cause His name to dwell.

  • And so Jerusalem becomes a symbol of God's presence,

  • it becomes a symbol of Israel's kingdom, the monarchy;

  • it becomes a symbol of the dynasty of David.

  • It is referred to as the City of David.

  • David transfers the Ark to this city and so he makes it the home

  • to the ancient witness of the covenant, the Sinaitic Covenant.

  • The added implication is that the Davidic dynasty has

  • inherited the blessings of the covenant.

  • It is somehow fulfilling the promise to the patriarchs,

  • which is also associated with the nation of Israel at Sinai.

  • He planned a temple that would become the permanent resting

  • place for the ark and a cultic center for all Israel but the

  • building of this temple was left to Solomon so we'll discuss it

  • and its symbolism when we get to Solomon.

  • But according to the biblical record it was still David who

  • made the chosen dynasty, the chosen city,

  • what would eventually be the temple, into permanent and

  • deeply interconnected symbols of the religion of Israel.

  • And it's really with David that the history of Jerusalem as the

  • Holy City begins.

  • Now the biblical assessment of David is initially relatively

  • positive, and this changes shortly after his ascension to

  • the throne. Beginning in 2 Samuel from

  • about chapter 9 to 20 and then on into the first couple of

  • chapters of Kings, you have a stretch of text

  • which is often referred to as the Court History or the

  • succession narrative of David.

  • The critical question that drives this particular

  • historical fiction is the question of succession:

  • who will succeed David?

  • He has many children but one by one his sons are killed,

  • or they're displaced or disqualified in one way or

  • another, until finally there is Solomon.

  • There are lots of wonderful major and minor characters in

  • this drama. It's a very complex drama,

  • lots of intrigue and passion, but the material in this

  • section also presents a rather unusual portrait of David.

  • He's weak, he's indecisive, he's something of an anti-hero.

  • He stays home in the palace while other people are off

  • leading battles and fighting the wars.

  • He enters into an illicit relationship with a married

  • woman, Bathsheva (or Bathsheba).

  • He sees to it that her husband is killed in battle to cover up

  • his affair. It's this combined act of

  • adultery and murder that earns him a sound scolding from

  • Nathan, the prophet Nathan--we'll come

  • to that when we talk about prophets next week.

  • But God punishes him with the death of his son.

  • And it's really from this point on in the story that we see

  • David losing control over events around him;

  • his control declines.

  • He is indecisive on the whole question of succession and that

  • leads to all kinds of resentment and conflict as well as revolts.

  • There's one revolt, which is a revolt in support of

  • his son, Absalom.

  • That's a revolt that the Deuteronomistic historian also

  • indicates was a punishment for his affair with--for David's

  • affair with Bathsheba.

  • But during this revolt David flees from his enemies,

  • he's stripped of his crown, he's degraded.

  • When Absalom is killed David weeps for his son uncontrollably

  • and this only angers his own supporters who fought so

  • earnestly against Absalom in his defense;

  • it's a very poignant moment.

  • But by the end of the story, David is almost completely

  • impotent, and senile even.

  • The prophet Nathan and Bathsheba plot to have

  • Bathsheba's son, Solomon, named the successor of

  • David and there really is no point at which there's any

  • divine indication that Solomon has won divine approval,

  • no divine indication that he is the one.

  • It happens through palace intrigue, particularly with

  • Bathsheba and Nathan.

  • But the northern tribes--there are signs throughout the story

  • of the hostility of the northern tribes and that's a warning

  • sign, that's a warning sign of future

  • disunity. This whole court history is

  • just a wonderful, masterful work of prose.

  • You're going to be reading something from a book by a

  • fellow named Meir Sternberg, which is I think just a

  • wonderful study of the Bathsheba story.

  • Some speak about all of this unit as being authored by the J

  • source. You need to know that source

  • theory has undergone so many permutations.

  • There really isn't any standard view but I think the idea that

  • the sources J, E, P and D extend beyond the

  • Pentateuch is now generally no longer accepted so you will

  • sometimes see people talking about the J source as going all

  • the way through the end of Second Kings and being in

  • fact--J is the author of the court history.

  • But for the most part I think most people think of the source

  • theory as applying to the Pentateuch,