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Athaliah of Judah (2 Kings 11): A Political Anomaly or an Ideological Victim?

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Chapter Summary

Athaliah is introduced in the political historiography of the Hebrew Bible as a family member of King Ahab1 (2 Kgs 8:18, 26), wife of King Jehoram of Judah (2 Kgs 8:16-18) and mother to King Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kgs 8:25-26). This chapter examines the ideological frameworks of power and gender in the story of Queen Athaliah. The chapter is aimed at interrogating the ideological facets that inhibit the Bible text and that are responsible for the heroic outlook of the 'hare' against a female politician and leader. The chapter analyzes following questions: Did Athaliah merit succeeding her son Ahaziah? What ideological custom does Athaliah contravene? What are Athaliah's merits in the political space of Judah? The chapter involves a close reading of 2 Kings. Athaliah is preserved in the narrative as the woman who violates and conflicts with archetypal customs.

Keywords: Athaliah; Bible; Judah; King Ahab1; King Ahaziah; King Jehoram

10.1163/9789004259096_008
/content/books/b9789004259096_008
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