Functional Yahwism And Social Control In The Early Israelite Monarchy -- By: Andrew E. Hill

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 29:3 (Sep 1986)
Article: Functional Yahwism And Social Control In The Early Israelite Monarchy
Author: Andrew E. Hill

Functional Yahwism And Social Control In The
Early Israelite Monarchy

Andrew E. Hill

Gary A. Herion*

The ever-increasing application of modern social-science concepts to the OT text is directly responsible for this paper on the development of the early Israelite monarchy. Unquestionably, such approaches to the development of ancient Israel’s political and religious life have made significant contributions to our understanding of the OT milieu.1 In addition the utilization of contemporary anthropological, economic and socio-political models in the analysis of the OT has demonstrated clearly the merits of interdisciplinary research. In this same manner the present study not only affords a new perspective on the complexities related to the emergence of the monarchy on the stage of Israelite history but also seeks to further interdisciplinary research on the early monarchy by outlining its growth from a management functions perspective, yielding a nearly complete management paradigm dating back three millennia.

This fact notwithstanding, the application of modern social-science concepts to the OT often fails to disclose adequately the true nature of the relationship between the politics and religion of ancient Israel. This is due in large measure to the inability of such concepts to account fully for the dynamic variable of individual faith in Yahweh.2 Our study, through the application of a management functions model to the OT historical record, seeks to show first the value of this particular modern social-science concept in understanding the maturation of the Israelite monarchy while underscoring the need for continued restraint and discrimination in the employment of such models, given their innate deficiency to properly address the role of personal faith in the sociopolitical process.

In discussing the development of the Israelite monarchy from a social-sci-

*Andrew Hill is assistant professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Illinois, and Gary Herion is a teaching fellow in Bible and religion at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

entific approach, J. R. Rosenbloom states that “the gaining of power and its perpetuation requires ruthlessness.”3 That King David opted for the ruthless exercise of brute force in obtaining and consolidating his empire is beyond dispute. 4 In fact, analyzing David’s rise to prominence G. E. Mendenhall writes: “The glorification of Yahweh and the ‘divine warrior’… has...

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