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A Suggestion Regarding the Meaning of 2 Kings 17:9 and the Composition of 2 Kings 17:7-23

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Abstract This article adduces Akkadian idioms to explain three formulations in 2 Kgs 17:9-11 which differ from the standard Deuteronomistic phraseology employed in 2 Kgs 17:7-23. The awkward Hebrew phrase ויחפאו. . . דברים is interpreted as a loan from Akkadian hepû + dibbu = “to break an agreement”, the following expression דברים אשר לא כן compared with the Akkadian dibbu ša lā kinnu = “disloyal talk”, and the ending of v. 11 understood in the light of an Akkadian idiom. On this analysis, vv. 9-11 appear to be composed of two strata, the original core—composed during the Neo-Assyrian period—and a later Deuteronomistic redaction which reinterpreted the initial text. The former can be understood as a very early theological response to the destruction of Samaria and Assyrian imperial claims regarding its fall which utilizes Neo-Assyrian covenantal terminology to describe the relationship between the God of Israel and His people.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew University


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