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The Oxford History of the Biblical World An in-depth chaptered work by leading scholars providing a chronological overview of the history of biblical times.

Conclusion

The early Iron Age village communities would not have survived without the protective and integrative function afforded by the emergent state. At least in the tenth century BCE, villagers do not seem to have suffered from the changes wrought by the superimposition of an urban-based state system over the existing territorial lineages. The flow of goods and servitors into the capital as the result of the military genius of David and the diplomatic sagacity of Solomon precluded the exploitation of the agrarian population. It is no wonder, then, that these first two members of the Davidic dynasty achieve great elaboration and respect in the legendary accounts of the early monarchy in the Bible. The Israelite people as a whole were well served by the establishment of a monarchy in its early stages, for it brought widespread social, economic, and political stability.

The need for historical myths and heroes is characteristic of every national culture; and such myths and heroes invariably arise from the uncertainties and insecurities of its beginning stages. The exceptional actions of individuals, in this case the first three biblical kings, were expanded as symbols of the processes that successfully resolved the difficulties surrounding the emergence of the new culture, Israel's early monarchy.

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Oxford University Press

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