Description: Current scholarly debate over the historical character of David's rule generally considers the biblical portrait to represent David as king of Judah first, and subsequently over "all Israel." The ninth-century Tel Dan inscription, which refers to the "House of David" (byt dwd), is often taken as evidence for the dynasty of Judah. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman argues, however, that references to Judah in the story of David as king do not suffice to constitute a coherent stratum of material about Judah as a political entity. Comparing the "house of X" terminology in the ninth-century Tel Dan inscription with early first-millennium Assyrian usage, then giving close examination to the "house of David" materials in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings, she understands the "house of David" as a small body politic connected to David, but distinct from any Judean dynastic context.
One implication is that the identification of Judah as a later southern kingdom may have less to do with an Israelite secession from Jerusalem than with an Israelite rejection of David's lineage and the subsequent redactional creation of Judah-centric language on the part of a Davidic coterie. Leonard-Fleckman's arguments suggest a rethinking of the rise of monarchy in Israel.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, History of Israel, Literary Approaches
Review by Klaus-Peter Adam
Citation: Klaus-Peter Adam, review of Mahri Leonard-Fleckman, The House of David: Between Political Formation and Literary Revision, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).
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