Sit at my right hand : the Chronicler’s portrait of the tribe of Benjamin in the social context of Yehud

Giffone, Benjamin D. (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The book of Chronicles is a form of consensus-building literature. The Chronicler’s portrayal of Benjamin in relation to Judah reflects an inclusive vision of “all Israel” that walks a fine line: simultaneously valuing Benjamin as an equal partner with Judah (as his “right hand”), yet still protecting the primacy of David as YHWH’s chosen ruler, the Levites as the priestly tribe, and Jerusalem as the proper cultic center. Chronicles’ portrait of Benjamin differs from that of the Deuteronomistic History, which portrays Benjamin’s relation to Judah as varied and complex. The Chronicler attempts to smooth over these difficulties by highlighting the historically close relationship between the two tribes. In this regard his goals and strategy differ from that of the Deuteronomist, who presents both the high and low points of Judah-Benjamin relations. The Chronicler’s reconstrual of the Judah-Benjamin relationship reflects the socio-political situation of late Persian Yehud, in which the relatively poor Jerusalem cult struggled to gain material support from landed nobility in the region. Material evidence indicates that the historically Benjaminite regions prospered during the Neo-Babylonian and early Persian periods. The Jerusalem cult competed with historically Benjaminite and Josephite cultic locations for the support of wealthier Benjaminite landowners. The Chronicler rewrote Israel’s narrative partly in order to garner Benjaminite support for the Jerusalem cult. This study attempts to synthesize both literary and historical observations: demonstrating a literary phenomenon—the divergent portraits of Benjamin in the Deuteronomistic History and Chronicles—and situating that phenomenon within the historical context of Persian Yehud. The study contributes to the understanding of Yehud during this period, elaborates an important motif in these two sections of the Hebrew Bible, and furthers the investigation of the so-called “Benjaminite substratum” in the Hebrew Bible.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die boek Kronieke is ‘n vorm van konsensus-vormende literatuur. Kronieke se voorstelling van Benjamin in verhouding tot Juda weerspieël ‘n inklusiewe visie van “die hele Israel” wat ‘n fyn lyn bewandel: Benjamin word tegelyk as ‘n gelyke vennoot van Juda (as sy “regterhand”) gewaardeer, terwyl die prioriteit van Dawid as JHWH se uitverkore heerser, van die Leviete as priesterlike stam, en van Jerusalem as eintlike kultiese sentrum beskerm word. Kronieke se beeld van Benjamin verskil van dié van die Deuteronomistiese Geskiedenis, wat Benjamin se verhouding tot Juda as geskakeerd en kompleks uitbeeld. Die Kronis probeer hierdie oneffenhede gelykstryk deur die histories eng verhouding tussen die twee stamme te beklemtoon. Hierin verskil sy doel en strategie van dié van die Deuteronomis, wat beide die hoogtepunte en laagtepunte van die Juda-Benjamin verhouding aanbied. Die Kronis se her-uitbeelding van die Juda-Benjamin verhouding weerspieël die sosiopolitieke situasie van die laat Persiese Jehud, waarin die relatiewe karige Jerusalem kultus gesukkel het om materiële steun te kry van die landbesitters in die streek. Materiële bewyse dui daarop dat die streke wat histories met Benjamin geassosieer is, ekonomies opgebloei het gedurende die Neo- Babiloniese en vroeë Persiese periodes. Die Jerusalem kultus het meegeding met die kultiese plekke wat histories met Benjamin en Josef geassosieer is om die steun van die ryker Benjaminitiese landbesitters te verkry. Die Kronis het Israel se verhaal herskryf, onder andere om Benjaminitiese steun vir die Jerusalem kultus te kry. Hierdie studie probeer om beide literêre en historiese waarnemings te integreer: die literêre fenomeen word verduidelik—naamlik die uiteenlopende uitbeeldings van Benjamin in die Deuteronomistiese Geskiedenis en Kronieke—terwyl die fenomeen in die historiese konteks van Persiese periode Jehud geplaas word. Die studie dra by tot ‘n beter verstaan van Jehud gedurende hierdie periode, brei uit oor ‘n belangrike motief in hierdie twee dele van die Hebreeuse Bybel, en dra by tot navorsing oor die sogenaamde “Benjamin substratum” in die Hebreeuse Bybel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86500
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