TH6317 The Interpretation of the History of Israel

Deuteronomistic History (Monarchic Period)


Plan to have more bibliography by February 14.


Major sources

Major themes

Archaeology and the monarchic period

The historical contexts of DtrH and its sources

Ambivalence about a human king

Images of David and Solomon in the Deuteronomistic History

The Davidic covenant and dynastic/messianic theology



Responses to the end of forever

Salvation history in D

Collins p. 80

Deut 6:20-25

20 Later on, when your son asks you, “What do these decrees and statutes and ordinances mean?” which the Lord, our God, has enjoined on you, 21 you shall say to your son, “We were once slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand 22 and wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and his whole house. 23 He brought us from there to bring us in and give us the land he had promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes in fear of the Lord, our God, that we may always have as good a life as we have today. 25 This is our justice before the Lord, our God: to observe carefully this whole commandment he has enjoined on us.”

Deut 26:3-10

3 There you shall go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, “Today I acknowledge to the Lord, my God, that I have indeed come into the land which the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest shall then take the basket from your hands and set it in front of the altar of the Lord, your God. 5 Then you shall declare in the presence of the Lord, your God, “My father was a refugee Aramean who went down to Egypt with a small household and lived there as a resident alien. But there he became a nation great, strong and numerous. 6 When the Egyptians maltreated and oppressed us, imposing harsh servitude upon us, 7 we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our cry and saw our affliction, our toil and our oppression. 8 Then the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders, 9 and brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 Now, therefore, I have brought the first fruits of the products of the soil which you, Lord, have given me.” You shall set them before the Lord, your God, and you shall bow down before the Lord, your God.

Josh 24:1-14

1 Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of Israel. When they stood in ranks before God, 2 Joshua addressed all the people: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: In times past your ancestors, down to Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and served other gods. 3 But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River and led him through the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac. 4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir to possess, while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. 5 “Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and struck Egypt with the plagues and wonders that I wrought in her midst. Afterward I led you out. 6 And when I led your ancestors out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued your ancestors to the Red Sea with chariots and charioteers. 7 When they cried out to the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, upon whom he brought the sea so that it covered them. Your eyes saw what I did to Egypt. After you dwelt a long time in the wilderness, 8 I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power. You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them at your approach. 9 Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, prepared to war against Israel. He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you, 10 but I would not listen to Balaam. Instead, he had to bless you, and I delivered you from his power. 11 Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, the citizens of Jericho fought against you, but I delivered them also into your power. 12 And I sent the hornets ahead of you which drove them —the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites— out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow. 13 I gave you a land you did not till and cities you did not build, to dwell in; you ate of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant. 14 “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve him completely and sincerely. Cast out the gods your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

The theological pattern of history in D

The explanation of history according to DtrH

Why was the monarchy cut off, the temple destroyed, the people exiled?

What was so evil?

Why worship LORD outside of Jerusalem?

Why did those kings secede?

Why did Solomon worship other gods? (similarly Ahab)

Why would an Israelite or someone living in the land of Israel worship other gods?

We will continue to see variations and alternative explanations of the end of the monarchy, destruction of the temple, and exile.

Retellings we won’t otherwise get to

Review of figures worth remembering (timeline)

Further reading

Martin Noth, The Deuteronomistic History. Translation of Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien (1957). Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 15. Sheffield: Sheffield, 1981.