Injustice Made Legal: Deuteronomic Law and the Plight of Widows, Strangers, and Orphans in Ancient Israel

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Injustice Made Legal: Deuteronomic Law and the Plight of Widows, Strangers, and Orphans in Ancient Israel by Harold V. Bennett Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2002. 222 pp. $28.00 (cloth). ISBN 0-8028-3909-6.

THE CONTENTION OF THE author is that the laws regarding widows, strangers, and orphans found in Deut 14:22-29; 16:9-15; 24:17-22; and 26:12-15 "used a category of socially weak but politically useful persons as pawns in a scheme to siphon off percentages of produce and livestock from ... farmers and herders ... during the Omride administration" (p. 173). The argument is bolstered by an examination of the socioeconomic conditions described in the Elijah-Elisha tales (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 9), including the apparent conflict between the Baal and the "Yahweh-alone" subgroup and the apparent breakdown of administrative control during the Jehu-led civil conflict.

The analysis of these texts is based on critical legal studies (CLS), a movement that "analyzes the role that laws play in maintaining relations of domination and subordination" in specific societies (p. 14). …