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The Sanctuary of the Gibeonites Revisited

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The article examines three biblical narratives in which the city of Gibeon and its inhabitants play a major role ( Joshua 9; II Sam 21:1-14; I Kgs 3:3-15a). It is suggested that Gibeon's sanctuary played—directly or by inference—a significant role in the plot of the three stories. The story of Joshua's treaty with the Gibeonites, ostensibly describing an event in the conquest of Canaan, in reality reflects a hidden Deuteronomistic satirical polemic whose background must be sought in the time of its Jerusalemite author of the late 7th to early 6th centuries BCE. The polemic's stimulus lies in a Gibeonite reaction to Josiah's cancellation of their sanctuary in the time of the author. Clarifying the relation of the Jerusalem and Gibeon temples is important for understanding the rise of the former, as well as the absence of the latter in the Dtr historiography.

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