Download The Book of Judges (Old Testament Readings) by Marc Zvi Brettler PDF

By Marc Zvi Brettler

The e-book of Judges has commonly been handled both as a old account of the conquest of Israel and the increase of the monarch, or as an historical Israelite paintings of literary fiction. during this new technique, Brettler contends that Judges is basically a political tract, which argues for the legitimacy of Davidic kingship. He skilfully and accessibly exhibits the strain among the tales of their unique types, and the way they have been altered and reused to create a booklet with a really assorted which means. very important analyzing for all these learning this a part of the Bible.

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Example text

All of the narratives of the major judges begin with a note about Israel doing what is evil in YHWH’s eyes, and most conclude with a note about the land being “tranquil” for a period of time. ” An editor of Judges most likely puzzled over this reference to Shamgar in the Song of Deborah, and resolved his quandary by assuming that Shamgar would only be worthy of mention if he was an important figure, likely a judge. This puzzlement was solved by writing Shamgar into the text in 3:31, immediately before the period of Deborah, so he could be alive as a contemporary of Jael when the reader reached the Deborah–Barak material in chapters 4–5.

This is immediately evident by comparing the length of the stories; the exploits of Othniel are narrated in five verses (3:7–11), while those of Samson occupy four chapters comprised of ninety-one verses (chapters 13–16). The difference between these two is not merely in length; several of the stories, such as the Samson material, are clearly composite. A group of stories about an individual have been edited together, forming a cycle of stories (Amit 1999: 222). This is also clearly the case with the Gideon stories, as evidenced by the alternation between the names Gideon and Jerubbaal, as well as other features which distinguish two groups of stories that have been combined (Amit 1999: 222–66).

In examining these three stories, I will focus on the central questions: Why were they composed? What did they mean? How might the structure and historical background of each story contribute to its meaning? In addressing these questions, I will examine whether each story originally existed as a separate narrative before it became incorporated into Judges, in which case I will explore the story’s meaning as a separate narrative, without considering its relation to the rest of the book. Given the background of the previous two chapters, these questions about composition and meaning become particularly pressing.

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