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My People as Your People

A Textual and Archaeological Analysis of the Reign of Jehoshaphat

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Chris McKinny

My People as Your People provides an in-depth analysis of the chronology, history, and archaeology associated with the reign of Jehoshaphat of Judah. The synthesis of these various elements illuminates a diverse geo-political picture of the southern Levant in the mid-ninth century BCE. In recent years, archaeologists and biblical scholars have dealt quite extensively with the tenth and eighth centuries BCE due to both the controversial aspects of recent interpretations associated with the so-called United Kingdom and the established archaeological data relating to Judah’s rise as a significant polity in the eighth century BCE. On the other hand, the ninth century BCE has received considerably less scholarly treatment, despite the fact that many new archaeological strata have been uncovered in recent years that have a direct bearing upon this period. My People as Your People is an attempt to fill this gap in our knowledge. In accomplishing this, it both provides a nuanced understanding of Judah in the mid-ninth century BCE and also demonstrates the significance of this period in the larger setting of the history of the Divided Kingdom.
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Chapter One: Introduction

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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction



The kingdom of Judah is the focal point of the narrative of the Hebrew Bible. Specifically, the Davidic dynasty is central to the theological, political and historical themes of the writers of scripture. Despite the centrality of this dynasty, the biblical record does not devote equal written space to the monarchs that span the over four hundred year existence of David’s line. Jehoshaphat is an example of a biblically attested successful Davidic king who received notably less treatment than some of his more heralded ancestors and descendants (e.g., Solomon, Hezekiah). This is particularly the case in what is usually considered to be the source that is closest in time to the actual events, the book of Kings, which largely discusses Jehoshaphat’s reign as it relates to the ignominious Ahab, king of Israel (1 Kings 22) and Jehoram of Israel (2 Kings 3). This simple reality coupled with the timeframe (mid-9th century BCE) in which Jehoshaphat arose to power makes his reign an interesting case study for a comparison of the biblical narratives, the relevant extra-biblical texts, and the existing archaeological data.

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