We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

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.

Jehu's Legacy

Two of the nine chapters the DH devotes to the next 120 years of history concern themselves with the Jehu purge, and a third is given over to Athaliah's brief queenship in Judah. Then the DH skips rapidly through events of the Jehu dynasty. This was the longest-reigning dynasty, at just about a century, that Israel would ever have—roughly from 842 to 745—and through the fateful final decades of Israel's life as a nation. By contrast, the Chronicler gives four verses to the Jehu purge and presents episodic coverage of the period's events in Judah in seven chapters. Complicating historical reconstruction is the fact that the regnal spans given for Judah's five rulers for this 100-year period add up to 144 years.

On the other hand, the literary portrayal of the period is enriched by three collections of material belonging to the genre of books named for prophets—Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah of Jerusalem. These books present not only the prophets' words but also minimal accounts of their adventures.

Jehu's move had been commissioned through prophetic word, presented to Elijah but carried out by Elisha. It commenced at the military post in Ramoth-gilead, where Jehu was holding council with his top army command. Israelite presence at Ramoth-gilead presumes an advance position in the to-and-fro conflict with Damascus. Once again, a military leader was selected, and Jehu is given a two-generation patronymic, son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi (see 2 Chron. 22.7 )—which may indicate only that he was “somebody,” though his status is not made clear. The emphasis on prophetic designation is unusual in the DH, since the outcome is disastrous for Israel and Judah, and it does not take a prophet or a DH editorial comment to make that apparent.

Jehu was proclaimed king by his army colleagues and at once set out for Jezreel, where King Jehoram was recuperating. It was a mark of disenchantment with the old regime that the messengers who were sent to meet Jehu as he approached joined his cause. In quick order, Jehoram of Israel, Ahaziah of Judah, Queen Jezebel, and finally seventy sons of Ahab in Samaria were wiped out. In reporting the demise of the seventy, the DH offers a sardonic explanation. Jehu gives an intentionally ambiguous order—“bring me the heads of the royal house” (2 Kings 10.6 ; my translation)—which the people of Samaria dutifully obey by decapitating the victims. This allows Jehu to absolve himself of complicity in the massacre of the king's family, but the report goes on to tell of the sweeping removal of Ahab's entire government: priests, friends, leaders, cronies—together with the whole religious establishment dedicated to the worship of Baal. The Baal temple was turned into a latrine. Moreover, Jehu's force encountered kin of Ahaziah of Judah en route to Samaria, whom Jehu instructed to “take alive.” The report is that all forty-two were slaughtered—a curious account, which again implies that Jehu's intent and the sequel are out of accord (2 Kings 10.12–14 ).

As for the effects of Jehu's purge, the evidence comes in from all directions. Jehu had killed Ahaziah of Judah, leaving Athaliah, Ahab's daughter, a path to the Judean throne, which she quickly secured by wiping out the rest of Ahaziah's family. Any rapport between Israel and Judah ended. The slaughter of Jezebel must have meant the end of association with Phoenicia. Stresses had already developed with Damascus, as the Dan stela makes plain, and now they escalated; the DH mentions this in an expanded summation of Jehu's reign in 1 Kings 10.32–33 , reporting Hazael's capture of all the Transjordanian holdings of Israel from Gilead to the Arnon River (Ammon and Moab).

In 841 BCE by Assyrian reckoning, and hence very soon after Jehu's purge, Shalmaneser III campaigned westward again. He left an account of his successes on the Black Obelisk, depicting Jehu groveling before him and recording the tribute he exacted: “Tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden beaker, pitchers of gold, lead, staves for the hand of the king, javelins.…”

The economic impact of closing off the flow of commerce over the Palestinian land bridge from Phoenicia to the Red Sea can only be guessed. Most farmers and herders, probably 85 percent of the population, would have hardly noticed. Their lot was largely fixed, except that they could elect to turn some of their terraced strips and even valley floors to the raising of surplus olives and grapes if there were consumers with resources to make it worthwhile doing so—and if it seemed worth the risk of turning away from grain staples. Given the uncertainty of sufficient rain from one year to the next, they probably stayed with their survival base, although some would have taken the risk of growing for profit. Presumably, a merchant and commercial element developed, when there was peace along the line of commercial flow. They would have been the ones to feel hardest the impact of choking off trade, as would the royal court, their consumers.

Archaeology indicates that iron smelting and forging to produce agricultural tools was done locally, but the iron ore sources were in the south, on both sides of the Dead Sea and on down into the Arabah. These sources were inaccessible without an entente with Edom and (for Israel) passage through Judah. The importing of more exotic commodities (such as spices, incense, and gold) would have stopped. If the absence of such luxury (and ritual) items marks an economic downturn, both Israel and Judah would have suffered from it during the Jehu aftermath. The DH and the Chronicler gave only the barest of hints about these matters. Prophetic writings and archaeological artifacts point out social and economic conditions more explicitly.

The biblical historians treat Athaliah's reign in Jerusalem sparely, but the story of court intrigue dominates what we hear. A sister of Ahaziah and daughter of Jehoram—that is, a woman specifically identified as being in the direct line of the Davidic monarchy—Jehosheba (in Chronicles Jehoshabeath) by name, was able to hide one surviving son of Ahaziah, Jehoash, within the royal palace for six years. A priest named Jehoida, whom the Chronicler identifies as Jehosheba's husband, engineered this seven-year-old's placement on the throne. The ceremony and the language marking that placement recall themes both of a royal covenant with the Davidic line and a covenant between deity and community based in the commitments associated with Sinai (compare 2 Kings 23 and the activity of Josiah).

Especially important in this narrative is the appearance of a segment of the population designated “the people of the land” (2 Kings 11.14, 18, 20 ) who ratified and rejoiced over what had happened. This societal ingredient was important to the DH's account of reform and the implementation of traditional values throughout the remainder of the Judean monarchy. These people were some sort of landed gentry, a group with tangible political influence. Given what has been said about land tenure and patrimony, they were probably heads of households with landholdings who retained political influence, the younger sons serving in the military and the priesthood. Some such interlock between the people and the monarchy would mean that this was a popular movement, not merely the activity of a small elite, but for such an interpretation much depends on the degree to which land tenure had moved out of the hands of the many and into those of a few. The narrative in 2 Kings 11.4–21 seems to be depicting a popular overthrow of the current rule.

Note that the queen could assert control, and note further that the story does not suggest her gender being the primary factor in DH's negative judgment on her reign. Instead the focus falls on the existence of a temple to Baal in Jerusalem—the first reference to such an institution there—implying that the fault lay in Athaliah's membership in the Omri-Ahab line, sharing its religious perspective. When the clash came that ended her reign, she could cry “Treason!” (2 Kings 11:14 ). Implicitly her rule is conceded by the DH to have been considered legitimate at least by parts of the Jerusalem establishment. The story provides a rare glimpse of the people and institutions of Judah—a cycle of guards captained by military leaders which went on and off duty on the Sabbath; a priest of Yahweh's Temple who could bring to bear sanction and equipage; a pillar that emblemized royal designation and/or authority; a group called the Carites who formed a kind of praetorian guard; the action of the “people of the land.” For the DH to narrate so much about the Judean monarchs is unusual. The chapter is a unique resource for institutional history. The Chronicler's account of the incident presents other details, including replacing the cycle of military with Levites from throughout Judah and designating the participants as “the whole assembly.” These are hints of other ideologies at work, but they still indicate a popular movement.

The result of the intrigue was the ascendancy of Jehoash (Joash) for a forty-year reign. We need to adjust this span because it is a round number and because the time frame for the Jehu dynasty must, as previously noted, be compressed; 836 to 798 BCE is a sensible proposal. The DH approved Jehoash because Jehoida was his mentor (the Chronicler augmented this motif), but he still did not meet the DH's ultimate test: the removal of the high places. DH focused on the repair of the Temple and the noteworthy claim that, once started, the repairs were carried out with integrity. What that signals in the way of a restoration of popular consciousness hints at recovery of political and social will. If so, it did not last. Disenchantment with Jehoash set in by the end of his reign, and he was assassinated by his own servants—no talk here of a popular movement—with his son Amaziah succeeding him.

At this point the DH notes that “Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem” (2 Kings 12.17 ). This isolated bit of information, and Jehoash's response—to buy Hazael off with gifts—is paralleled by the report that Jehoahaz king of Israel, Jehu's son and successor after a twenty-eight-year reign, also had to deal with Hazael (2 Kings 13.3 ) and indeed did so for his whole reign ( 13.22 ). Hazael, then, had a long reign, from about 842 to almost 800 BCE. The mention of the threat to Jerusalem places Hazael at Gath in Philistine territory; unencumbered by any constraint from an Assyria that was now tied up with concerns closer to home, he had both Israel and Judah at his mercy. According to 2 Kings 13.7 , Jehoahaz was left with a symbolic parade guard of fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand foot soldiers (perhaps to be read as ten contingents from various households, or about a hundred men).

This is the period to which many authorities now assign the narratives of encounters with Syria contained in 1 Kings 20 and 22 (see above). In any case, the depiction of the two small kingdoms incapable of coping with Syria applies to the second half of the ninth century BCE. The diversion in 2 Kings 13.14–19 to the report of Elisha's death, which includes Elisha's instruction to King Jehoash about victories over Syria (Aram) but portrays an omen of an insufficient three victories instead of the needful five or six, coheres with this hypothetical proposal as well. Three successful clashes with Syria were not enough.

One side or the other of the year 800 BCE, Assyria's return to the scene had a direct impact on Syria's power. By that time, Adad-nirari III was on the Assyrian throne and was old enough to begin anew the drive to the west. Probably in 796, but perhaps even earlier, he crushed Damascus and defeated Hazael's son, Ben-hadad (the third ruler of that name, if the Syrian succession has been correctly reconstructed here). Adad-nirari received tribute from Israel as well, according to his “summarizing inscription” on the Tell er-Rimah stela; but Syria's threat had been reduced, and Damascus and Hamath apparently returned to fighting one another. The note in 2 Kings 13.25 , that Jehoahaz's son Jehoash recovered territory from Ben-hadad, fits with all this. The most plausible meaning of 2 Kings 13.5 , according to which “the LORD gave Israel a savior,” is that Adad-nirari was perceived as the hidden agent of divine relief.

Relief from external danger there may have been, but conflict resumed between Judah and Israel. Amaziah had succeeded Jehoash (Joash) of Judah; Jehoash (Joash) had succeeded Jehoahaz of Israel. The DH reports briefly a Judean defeat of Edom, followed by a clash with Jehoash of Israel, brazenly invited by Amaziah but disastrous for him. Jehoash captured Amaziah at Beth-shemesh west of Jerusalem, advanced to his capital and broke down a segment of the city wall, pillaged the Temple, took hostages—and departed. Then, for the third time in as many reigns, the Judean monarch was assassinated, to be succeeded by a son. With Amaziah, as for his father, Jehoash, the ancient historians give no reason for the conspiracies that removed them. Meanwhile, in Israel, Jehoash's reign completed its course very soon after Amaziah's death. It had been roughly sixty years since Jehu's purge. To the ancient historians it had been an undistinguished time. Except for Elisha's final intervention with Jehoash of Israel and a note from the Chronicler about a confrontation between a prophet and Amaziah over the Edomite venture, the historians gave their accounts without including the prophetic voice.

In the course of the second decade of the eighth century BCE, around 788 for Jeroboam ben-Joash (perhaps a throne name recalling the first Jeroboam, who was ben-Nebat) and 785 for Azariah/Uzziah, the fortunes of Israel and Judah took a turn for the better. Both reigns were lengthy; the DH gives Jeroboam II forty-one years and Azariah/Uzziah fifty-two. But neither historian dwelt on their accomplishments. Jeroboam II is the subject of seven verses in the DH, and he does not appear in the narrative account of the Chronicler at all. One interesting fact does appear in 1 Chronicles 5.17 : “All of these [the tribal family of Gad in Transjordan] were enrolled by genealogies in the days of King Jotham of Judah, and in the days of King Jeroboam of Israel.” Jotham was Azariah's successor, and most chronological reconstructions place his reign after the end of Jeroboam's. The text does not have to mean that they overlapped. More important is the suggestion that a census of at least the Transjordan population was carried out in the mid-eighth century, because a census is taken for tax and/or military purposes. Jeroboam may have conscripted for military action; military might, and “how he fought,” are features of the DH's summation in 2 Kings 14.28–29 . The collocation of the two kings' names may hint at cooperation between Israel and Judah.

The seven verses in 2 Kings 14.23–29 about Jeroboam II are tantalizing, their wording unusual. The DH gave him the usual negative assessment of failing to depart from the ways of the northern kings since his distant predecessor of the same name. Then:

He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath [“the access to Hamath”] as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. For the LORD saw that the distress of Israel was very bitter; there was no one left, bond or free, and no one to help Israel. But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash.

The restoration of the territorial boundaries reached to the ideal northern extent of the land promised to Israel in Numbers 34.7–9 and implicitly attained by Solomon (1 Kings 8.65 ). To the south, it reached to the east coast of the Dead Sea, the limit sometimes attained by the kingdom of Israel. Confirmation that Jeroboam actually held all this territory derives from the sarcastic words in Amos 6.13–14 . There the prophet scoffs at people's rejoicing over victories in Transjordan, at “Lo-debar” (“nothing”) and Karnaim (“horns”)—actual locations in Gilead and Bashan mentioned with fair frequency in the Bible, but here with their names bearing double meanings along the lines of “not-much” and “two horns of pushing people around—big deal!” Amos then threatens the arrival of a nation that “shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi Arabah”—the same spread of territory that Jeroboam had reclaimed.

The DH's passage about Jeroboam goes on to speak of lamentable conditions in Israel (a motif unique to this passage) and portrays the attention of the national deity to the bitterness of life. What “no one left, bond or free” suggests can only be imagined. The verb to save (the Hebrew root is the one used about the relief provided by Adad-nirari III, the “savior” of 2 Kings 13.5 ) expresses both the need and the relief under Jeroboam. Jonah, known otherwise only from the comic prophetic legend that bears his name, was the prophetic announcer. The highly theological assessment in 14.26–27 combines with the cry and the hope of Amos and Hosea.

The DH also claims that Jeroboam “recovered for Israel Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah.” The first clause is best understood as recovery of commercial access and treaty relationship with the two Syrian states. The second claim, about Judah, remains puzzling.

Azariah/Uzziah (it is not clear which was the throne name and which the given name) also receives seven verses from the DH, but the only historical information we have about him concerns his illness, a skin disease that caused his quarantine in a separate house and led to his son Jotham becoming regent. The Chronicler gives the disease an etiology—it is punishment for his participation in illegitimate rituals—but also offers political information. Uzziah, he says, rebuilt Eloth (Elath), the Red Sea port; he defeated the Philistines; he secured the Negeb; he received tribute from the Ammonites; and he fortified Jerusalem and armed it with new military machinery.

Together, Israel and Judah had reestablished circumstances that would let commerce flow and employ many people and their skills, bringing a time of prosperity. Archaeological evidence throws light on the scene. Deep in the Negeb, the oasis of Kadesh-barnea, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south-southwest of Beer-sheba, lay along the road from Elath to Gaza, a key trade route. Destroyed by Shishak in the late tenth century, it reemerged as a fortress around 800 BCE, whether at the instigation of Uzziah or one of his predecessors cannot be determined. The fortress measures 60 meters by 40 meters (200 feet by 130 feet) with salients at the corners and midway along each side of a ramparted wall 4 meters (13 feet) thick. Fifty kilometers (30 miles) south and east, not far off the Gaza-Elath road, lay another rectangular structure that may have been a fortress or a rest stop, at a site called Kuntillet Ajrud, excavated in the mid-1970s. Efforts have been made to determine, from the kinds of pottery found, who would have lived at these outposts. Kadesh shows “Negebite” pottery styles otherwise thought to be from local dwellers in the wilderness, combined with Judean styles; Ajrud has none of the local Negebite styles, but combines Judean styles with styles identified as Israelite. Tentatively, this is another indication of Judean-Israelite cooperation, as well as of the use of local populations as part of military garrisons.

From Ajrud comes evidence of the religious life of the time, in the form of ink graffiti on the doorjambs and painted drawings with graffiti on walls and Judean-style storage vessels. Some inscriptions are blessing formulas invoking the god of Israel. One noteworthy graffito runs across the headdress of a crowned, dwarfish, bovine-headed figure standing in front of another such figure; adjacent to the upper right is a seated female playing a lyre. Interpretation of all the ingredients is difficult. The forward crowned figure clearly has a penis with testicles or a tail, while the one behind him has indications of breasts but no penis or tail, despite earlier reconstructions that supplied her with what looks like a penis. The two then may be a male deity and his consort. The text, probably added subsequently, identifies them as “Yahweh of Samaria and his asherah.” The seated lyre player may also be a depiction of the goddess Asherah, drawn by still another hand. Very likely the whole collection indicates a mixture of religious motifs, pointing to Canaanite worship and to a linking of Yahweh with the goddess Asherah. What “his asherah” means is uncertain, because in the Semitic languages a possessive suffix is not added to a personal name. All in all, a picture emerges of mixed religious piety, something of a kind that official religious policy, not to mention the “true” prophets of Yahweh, would have abhorred. The reference to Yahweh of Samaria and the spelling of Yahwistic names in the blessing formulas again point to northern participation in trade activity and possibly defense deep in Judean territory.

With Jeroboam's reign in the north, there emerge the earliest of the “writing” prophets, those for whom books of their sayings were gathered by their followers and edited into a tradition of their words and work. Hosea was a native northerner, whereas Amos's home was in Judah. Both aim what they have to say at the population of the north, designated as Ephraim by Hosea. For Amos it is seldom possible to tell when he is addressing Israel as a state and when as the whole people of God, but some of his words name Samaria, while other passages are directed to Bethel. Aid in sensing the targets of their vehement critique comes from archaeological evidence, including the Samaria ostraca and the Samaria ivories, from analogies of other developed agrarian societies provided by comparative sociology, but most of all directly from their pungent words and symbolic actions.

The Samaria ostraca sketch a picture of a capital peopled by the king's retinue and mulcting the neighboring countryside. The locations mentioned in the ostraca suggests that the region from Samaria southward to Mount Gerizim, above the city of Shechem, was the main source of supply for the capital; other regions probably supplied royal and military centers at cities such as Megiddo, Aphek, Hazor, Bethel, and Dan, along with lesser centers like Shechem and Tirzah.

Amos's prophecy stressed social injustice. His main target was the families living in Samaria, whom he portrayed as wallowing in luxury and leisure at the expense of the populace in the towns and villages of the countryside, and probably even those living around the citadel of the capital itself. Those exploited in this way are designated not only the “poor” and the “needy,” but also “the righteous” ( 2.6; 4.1; 5.11–12 ). Amos, from the village of Tekoa south of Bethlehem, himself a landed person with social standing (according to his answer to the priest at Bethel who challenges his credentials [ 7.1 ]), was indignant at economic and social conditions in the north. But since his tradition was doubtless carried south and augmented after Samaria fell, his critique must have fit conditions there as well.

The proposal of sociologists that Israelite society in the time of Jeroboam II and his successors be analyzed as an “advanced agrarian society” is convincing. The principle of patrimonial inheritance had largely given way to a system in which gifts (prebends) of land from the throne had produced estates held by people who lived most of the time at the court. As part of the same development, lands in the hands of common folk were acquired by the large landowners when small landholders could no longer survive economically. A system of “rent capitalism” is likely to have come into play whereby the landed peasantry had to sell land in bad seasons in order to buy seed to plant what land they retained, and a cycle began that ended in peasantry operating as tenant farmers, owing their livelihood to their patrons. An economic elite came to possess most of the land; more and more people became landless. In the midst would have been people of commerce, who traded in necessities like tools and seed, as well as in luxury items.

One of the symbols for the life of luxury is the use of carved ivory, either as furniture inlay (“beds of ivory” in Amos 6.4 ) or as figures carved in the round. The impressive collection of ivory pieces found at Samaria, all belonging to the eighth-century BCE layers of the “ivory house,” illustrates this aesthetic dimension of life at the capital. The style of carving is a thorough mixture of Egyptian, Phoenician, and Syrian motifs, in some cases involving inset lapis lazuli imported from Egypt. The ivory probably came from the elephants indigenous to the river valleys of Syria. No more graphic indication can be cited of the cosmopolitan influences at play among the wealthy of Samaria. While few motifs can be specifically connected to Baal iconography, the worship of Baal at the capital is best illustrated by the proportion of Baal-compounded names in the Samaria ostraca.

Amos and Hosea are better seen not as themselves downtrodden and thus protesting “from below,” but as informed and empathic observers from the ranks of the well-to-do, indignant at the effects of the unfolding social and economic structure. Amos is appalled by unfair trade practices ( 2.6 ), by fines imposed on and levies taken from the indigent ( 2.8, 11 ), by the violation of the rights to adjudication for those who protest and the bearing of false witness ( 5.10 ). Corollary to these injustices are the lavish expenditures at the court or among the gentry: houses of hewn stone, summer homes, overstocked pantries, and the high living that goes with the binge of overindulgence translated “revelry” ( 6.4–7 )—a social and religious ritual (in Hebrew, marzeah) that appears in texts from the second millennium BCE to the Byzantine period.

Exploitation of the righteous was interwoven with religious injustice, combining hollow if punctilious practice ( 4.4–5 ) with the likelihood that participation in worship, a valued aspect of all Israelite life, was denied the poor because they had no time or resources. For Hosea the dimension of worship was paramount; unjust practices combined with a lying interpretation of tradition and of worship. Hosea laid the practice of injustice and of disillusionment at the door of the priests (Hos. 4.4–10; 5.1–2; 6.9 ). An unholy alliance of king and religion, resulting in a violation of the ideology of northern kingship and worship, will result in the rejection of the calf of Samaria ( 8.5 ). Hosea's words and agenda accord with those of Deuteronomy and of E.

While Amos and Hosea were excoriating royal, priestly, and judicial leadership, they laid equal responsibility on the people. Recalling the standards of social justice claimed as foundational for the people Israel, both appeal to the norms and terminology of the Sinai covenant (Hos. 4.1–3; 8.1–3; Amos 3.1–2 ). Amos in particular, in the litany that critiqued the nations with whom Israel and Judah have been involved in foreign relations across the centuries ( 1.3–2.3 ), invoked a theme of desired covenantal peace among the nations—also an ingredient in the ancient hopes of Israel. These indications of the wider pertinence of the prophetic message suggest that the audience of Amos and Hosea extended outward throughout the land. The message may have been carried by their followers. We must not assume that the prophets were heard by very few and dismissed as disgruntled killjoys.

What was the common lot of people in the towns and villages away from the capital and the cities of royal patronage? Tirzah and Shechem are towns near Samaria, which at this time probably did not fall under the direct aegis of the court. At Shechem in Stratum VII, the layer that ended with the Assyrian destruction of 724–722, a well-preserved “four-room” house and its surroundings have been excavated. This typical architectural plan involves a central room entered at one end, with rooms along the other three sides; the side chambers can be subdivided into various combinations. A hundred or more examples of the layout have been found from Hazor to Beer-sheba, at Mizpah, Tirzah, Tell Qasile, and across the Jordan River—in short, in virtually every excavated Iron Age town.

The Shechem house had two full stories and probably an upper partial story. On the ground floor, in addition to cobbled rooms housing the family's donkeys and perhaps their fatted calves, were rooms for their provender as well as for food and fuel storage. The central room contained at first a food-processing (grapes? olives?) or dyeing installation, later supplanted by a huge hearth for some such industry as the preparation of lime. The family practiced diverse agriculture and cottage industries.

At a secondary construction stage, rooms were added along one side wall, probably to accommodate an expanding family. The addition encroached upon a spacious yard next to the house where bread was baked, but where there was also space for recreation. Another similar house lay across the yard, perhaps combining with the first one to make up a family compound.

This complex was sited near the western perimeter of town, near what is likely to have been one of the town gates. In construction and in extent of surroundings, it contrasts with contemporary housing closer to the center of town—more closely compacted, and farther from the gate where business was transacted and justice administered. A similar pattern has been noted at Tirzah. An interesting question is whether this indication of relatively small social distinction means social stratification, and whether people such as those who lived in House 1727 at Shechem or the “good” homes in Tirzah had the discretionary resources and power sufficient to engage in the unjust practices Amos denounced.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2021. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice