Counterfeit Davids Davidic Restoration and the Architecture of 1–2 Kings -- By: Peter J. Leithart

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 56:2 (NA 2005)
Article: Counterfeit Davids Davidic Restoration and the Architecture of 1–2 Kings
Author: Peter J. Leithart

Counterfeit Davids
Davidic Restoration and the Architecture of 1–2 Kings1

Peter J. Leithart


1–2 Kings makes extensive use of what Moshe Garsiel has called ‘comparative structures’ in that the biographies of Jeroboam and Omri are analogous to David’s biography. Kings thus presents these kings as ‘counterfeit Davids’, and their dynasties as ‘counterfeit Davidic dynasties’. Further, the end of each of these counterfeit dynasties – the northern kingdom and the Omride dynasty – foreshadows the end of the Davidic dynasty in a number of particulars. Each dynasty’s end is, moreover, followed by a revival of the Davidic dynasty: the Omride dynasty is followed by the restoration under Joash, and the fall of the northern kingdom is followed by the reign of the reforming Hezekiah. In this, too, these dynasties foreshadow the end of the Davidic dynasty in 2 Kings 25, which is followed by the exaltation of Jehoiachin. Hence, 1–2 Kings consists of three embedded narratives – the story of the Davidic dynasty, the story of the northern kingdom, and the story of the Omride dynasty – and each of these has a similar shape. Each dynasty begins with a David-like figure; each ends in a similar fashion; and each is followed by a restoration of hope for the Davidic dynasty.

1. Introduction

In his study of ‘comparative structures’ in 1 Samuel, Moshe Garsiel points out that the writer draws out a number of analogies between the

judges on the one hand, and Samuel and Saul on the other.2 Samuel functioned as a judge (1 Sam. 7:15–17), and placed himself among the judges of Israel (1 Sam. 12:11). Alongside these explicit statements are numerous analogies that are left to the discernment of the scripturally-aware reader. Like Deborah, Samuel held court, judging Israel (1 Sam. 7:15–17; Judg. 4:4–5). Just as Deborah commanded Barak to fight Sisera, so Samuel ordered Saul to fight Amalek. In both stories the phrase ‘ten thousand men’ appears (1 Sam. 15:1–4; Judg. 4:6), and Kenites are mentioned in both narratives as well (1 Sam. 15:6; Judg. 4:17–22). These analogies between two judges and two battles serve to highlight a c...

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