ancient israelite history: united monarchy

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Ancient Israelite History: The United Monarchy of Saul, David and Solomon


  • 1. Ancient Israelite History: United Monarchy (c. 1030-930 BCE) By Jacob Gluck 12/7/2011
  • 2. David Plays the Lyre for Saul, Rembrandt
  • 3. Factors contributing to formtion of monarchy.Philistine threatAmmonite threatInternal social pressure (charismatic leader no longer sufficient).More space in Bible devoted to this period than to any other: parallel stories (1sam8 -1kings11 and 1chron3 - 2chron9)Things to keep in mind:Literary criticism: different strands in the historical accountarchaeologyMinimalist vs. maximalist views.
  • 4. Philistines.Saul rises to throne in face of philistine military threat (sea peoples).Sea peoples finally stopped by Rameses III c. 1180 bce.Sea peoples setled in coastal plain of Canaan between Gaza and Jaffa: Gaza, Ashdod,Ashkelon, Gath, Ekron.Each city ruled by seren (Greek Tyrannos)Skilled warriors. Weapon of Bronze and Iron.Expanding into hill country from Aphek (Northern foothill).Ark of covenant captured in Aphek battle (EbenEzer).Philistines install garrisons in hill country. E.g. GebaSome Israelites hide in caves.
  • 5. The Ark of the Covenant, Tissot
  • 6. Anointing of Saul by Samuel: Three traditionsSaul is looking for his fathers lost she-assesSamuel casts lots at Mizpah.Saul rescues Jabesh-gilead from Ammonite attack. Coronation at Gilgal.Saul is tall and strong well qualified as warriorSamuel: variously regarded as judge, prophet and priest.First battle at Michmash a success.Philistine threat involved guerilla warfare; no great armies (Saul has about 600 aboutme near Gibeah).David distinguishes himself in repelling philistine advance from south.Sauls mistake: fighting in the open plain near Mt. Gilboa. Diverging traditionsconcerning his death.Other enemies: Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, king of Zobah and Amalekites.Amalekites: special enemy first to attack Israel from the rear, unprovoked.Samuel denounced Saul for sparing Agag and animals.Saul became king at 1 and rules for 2 years? (1Sam 13:1).
  • 7. Economic and political conditions: non-specialized society -- no smith in Israel so as toprevent weapon manufacture. Philistines craft agricultural implements: plowsharemattock, ax. (1Sam 13:19-22).Sauls kingship a family matter.Saul portrayed as bad king in bible. (written by Davids partisan, priest Abiathar?).He is jealous of him, after having given him his daughter Michal; tries to kill himseveral times.Origin of federation: Judahites joined Saul in battle against Philistines despite rift.Sauls kingdom includes: M. Ephraim, Benjamin and GileadNo capital. HQ is near Gibeah under pomegranate tree (1Sam 14:2).Archaeology: Not really kingdom mostly farms and villages. Shiloh destroyed byfire c. 1050 BCE, seemingly by Philistines following Ebenezer battle.Israelites population: about 50,000.By contrast, Philistine civilization was urban.
  • 8. Reign of David.Israel emerges as national entity: king, army, extended territory, commerce withneighbors.Some scholars claim that no archaeology warrants belief that statehood was achievedbefore 9th cent in North, 8th cent. In South.Seems refuted by mention of Bet Dawid by Mesha of Moab and Hazael of Damascus.Golden age: 7 years Hebron. 33 years Jerusalem.Glorification of Judah seems Paradoxical in light of:1. David is from Bethlehem in south.2. Sauls adversary.3. fought alongside the philistines.Two accounts for Michal marriage:David hired as armor bearer.David defeats Goliath.David appointed commander of a thousand; is very successful.
  • 9. David escapes to Adullam: every man in distress, in debt or discontented joins him.Abiathar the priest descendant of Eli, and Gad Yahweh prophet join David.Achish king of Gath gives Ziklag to david.David remains loyal o Judah by battling the Amalakites.Afeter mt. Gilboa battle, David anointed king in Hebron.Philistines are okay David is a vassal.Both Eshbaal and Abner ben Ner are killed due to personal vengeance.All elders of Israel then submit to David; solemnized by covenant.Philistines are now alarmed. They attack in Valley of Rephaim and Gibeon but lose bothbattles (2Sam 5:17-25)David then captures Jebus/Jerusalem (Canaanite until then).Ark of the Covenant brought to Jerusalem from Kiriath-jearim. Religion of Yahweh nowserves as unifying factor.David cemented alliances by marrying Abigail of Carmel, Ahinoam of Jezreel andMaacah of Geshur (Transjordan).David subjugates nations in east (Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites.Incidents with Ammon: David sends condolences to Hanun Nahashs successor and hismens beards and garments are cut. In the ensuing battle Hadad-ezer the Aramaean isdefeated. David took the crown of Milkom from his head (2Sam 12:30).
  • 10. By subduing Aramaeans and gaining control of trade routes, Israel becomessuperpower.Traded with Hiram, Phoenician king of Tyre.Still, no central administration; may be a strong chiefdom.Davids royal cabinet: Joab son of Zeruiah over the army Jehoshaphat recorder Zadok and Ahimelech son of Abiathar priests. Seraiah secretary. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethite and Pelethites.David met resistance for temple and census plans. Gad opposed census butsupported construction of altar at site of Aranuah the Jebusite.Guiding principle of David: organization and centralization.
  • 11. Succession Issues and rivalry.Meribbaal (Mephibosheth) eats at David table. David marries Michal. However, Davidallows Gibeonites to take revenge against Sauls descendants.Amnon killed by his brother Absalom.Absalom killed by Joab after failed revolt.Benjaminite opposition to David joined with Absalom in revolt.Adonijah has support of Abiathar, Joab, and Gad,Solomon has support of Nathan and Zadok and Banaiah.
  • 12. Analysis.Accounts tend to glorify David and Solomon. E.g. Davids promise o Bathsheba seemslike literary artifice; it was more like a coup dtat in Davids old age.David is successful militarily but no lasting political control is achieved. David defeatedPhilistines as far as Gezer (Gezer not included until Solomon).Relationship with Hiram: commercial in nature, towards the end of his rule.Moab merely paid tribute. Client king installed in Ammon. Local governors in AramDamascus and Aram Zobah.Jebusite Jerusalem did not change much in Davids reign.breakthrough in Hebron archaeology is from 10th cent. BCEDavids resign represents a seizing of opportunity in the void generated by decline ofAssyria and Egypt.Accomplishments:Joined house of Israel and JudahMade Jerusalem capital of bothCreated for a brief period one of the most important powers in ANE.Laid foundation for (Hebrew God) Yahweh religious institutions.
  • 13. Solomon.David was preoccupied with military and political pursuits, Solomon withconsolidation and administration.Disposition of Enemies. Adonijah and Joab executed for scheming against king. Abiathar exiled to Anathoth. Shimei put to death.Pharaoh (Siamun?) destroys Gezer (1Kings 9:16) and makes alliance with Solomongiving him his daughter and Gezer as dowry; his reflects a weak Egypt.Solomon develops commercial relations with Hiram.Marries Naamah the Amonitess (1Kings 14:21).Solomon rules over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) to Philistia as far asthe Egyptian border. They were bringing gifts and were subject to him all his life(1Kings 4:21).
  • 14. Solomons Administration.Solomons cabinet. Azariah, son of Zadok, priest. Sons of Shisha were secretaries. Jehoshaphat was recorder. Benaiah was in command of the army. Zadok and Abiathar were priests. Azariah (son of Nathan) was over the officers. NEW. Zabud (son of Nathan) was priest and kings friend. Ahishar was in charge of palace. NEW. Adoniram was in charge of forced labor. NEW.Egyptian influence in bureaucratic structure.Dor Megiddo and Beth-shean now part of Israel.Divided into 12 administrative districts with prefects/governors for each. Governors oftenmarried Solomons daughters.Each district must provide for the royal palace one month per year (includes providinghorses and chariots).Receipt of tribute from administrative ter


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