'Sit At My Right Hand': The Chronicler's Portrait of the Tribe of Benjamin in the Social Context of Yehud
Giffone, Benjamin D.
New York: Bloomsbury, 2016 pp. xviii + 270. $114.00
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 628
Description: Benjamin is portrayed in Chronicles differently from how he is portrayed in the Deuteronomic History. In the latter, Benjamin's relation to Judah is shown as varied and complex, incorporating both highs and lows. The Chronicler, by contrast, smooths over these difficulties by emphasizing the historically close relationship between the two tribes.
Benjamin D. Giffone sees in this evidence that the Judah-Benjamin relationship reflects the socio-political situation of late Persian Yehud, in which the relatively poor Jerusalem cult struggled to maintain material support from landed nobility in the region. Material evidence shows that the historically Benjaminite regions prospered during the Neo-Babylonian and early Persian periods. The Jerusalem cult competed with cultic locations known for their alliances with either Benjamin or Joseph for the support of wealthier landowners. It is within the context of this struggle for support that the Chronicler rewrote Israel's narrative - partly to garner Benjaminite support. Giffone synthesizes observations that are literary and historical to reveal a literary phenomenon - the differing portraits of Benjamin - and situate this within the historical context of Persian Yehud. In so doing, Giffone offers a new understanding of Yehud during this period, and elaborates an important motif in these two sections of the Hebrew Bible.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, 1-2 Chronicles, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches
Review by Leslie C. Allen
Citation: Leslie C. Allen, review of Benjamin D. Giffone, ĎSit At My Right Handí: The Chroniclerís Portrait of the Tribe of Benjamin in the Social Context of Yehud, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2017).
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