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  • print format
year: 2013
isbn: 9783727817373
pages: X-260 p.
Terror of the Radiance
Assur Covenant to YHWH Covenant
Richard-Jude Thompson investigates Martin Noth’s conclusion about the Deuteronomistic History (DH) that the people of Israel had committed apostasy ceased to obey the law code of YHWH, and thus lost their land. Scholars have challenged Noth’s hypothesis and even the existence of such a history. The present study adopts a thematic reading of the DH as a coherent corpus of writing with a consistent message. A close reading reveals a god, YHWH, who declares war on other gods (’elohîm ’aherîm) and commands his followers to conquer and to sanctify the mountain of the Emorites (har ha’emorî; Deut 1:7) and the land of Canaan (’eres kəna'an; Deut 32:49) to YHWH. The sanctification includes the killing of the people living there: “When you attack them, you shall annihilate (haharem taharîm) them entirely. Do not make a treaty with them and do not show mercy to them” (Deut 7:1-2). Throughout the DH, YHWH and his spokespersons, the nəbî’îm, reward obedience and punish disobedience. Because the disobedient people of Israel fail to enforce YHWH’s command to remove the nations of Canaan and their ’elohîm ’aherîm, YHWH enforces imperial law and sentences them to national death and exile.
The author hypothesizes that the DH depicts an imperial, military covenant. After a survey of the inscriptions of the second-millennium BCE Levant, the Hittite empire, the Neo-Assyrian empire, and the first-millennium BCE Levant, the study concludes with a hypothesis that the evidence points to the ideology of the Neo-Assyrian empire as the historical precedent for the Dtr covenant. The study challenges two presuppositions that underlie both the DH and its scholarship: that of the tôrah as law and that of YHWH as a unique god.