Academic journal article Journal of Biblical Literature

"My Wife Must Not Live in King David's Palace" (2 Chr 8:11): A Contribution to the Diachronic Study of Intermarriage Traditions in the Hebrew Bible

Academic journal article Journal of Biblical Literature

"My Wife Must Not Live in King David's Palace" (2 Chr 8:11): A Contribution to the Diachronic Study of Intermarriage Traditions in the Hebrew Bible

Article excerpt

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I. Introduction and Problem Statement

The portrayal of intermarriage and its relationship to identity issues are not novel topics in biblical studies.1 These phenomena have been the focus of many recent investigations, of which the most systematic and recent treatment is probably the volume compiled and edited by Christian Frevel.2 In many of the past studies on the topic the focus was mainly on pentateuchal texts and on the prominent occurrence of the issue of intermarriage in Ezra 9-10 and Nehemiah 13. Frevel emphasizes a multiperspective approach to this issue, which would involve not only a synchronic analysis of the portrayal of mixed marriages in the various texts but also an investigation of the diachronic development of the phenomenon and the influence of sociohistorical contexts on its portrayal.

An investigation of the book of Chronicles in this regard can potentially serve not only the synchronic analysis by offering another alternative biblical engagement with the issue but also the diachronic description by figuring out how the Chronicler's particular perspective fits into the broader development. A few studies have made contributions in this regard, most recently two studies on the Judahite genealogy in 1 Chr 2:3-4:23 by Gary N. Knoppers.3 These studies generally confirm a fairly inclusive attitude in the Judahite genealogy. Knoppers indicates that the incorporation of different individuals, families, groups, and towns into this genealogy shows that the authors of the genealogy were not defensive about Judah's inclusiveness. In contrast to Ezra (Knoppers refers to 9:10-15), where the people's fragile existence in the land seems to be threatened by the phenomenon of mixed marriages, in Chronicles the phenomenon of mixed marriages is one of the means by which Judah expands and develops within the land.4 Knoppers therefore concludes:

The complex evidence provided by the Judahite genealogy augurs against postulating simplistic notions about Judean self-definition in the Persian period. Such generalizations, usually formulated with Ezra-Nehemiah in mind, provide a onesided picture of the early Jewish community in Jerusalem. Other writings, along with the evidence provided by epigraphy, testify that the Jerusalem community contained many more voices than some have been willing to countenance.5

Not many studies, however, have been devoted to the occurrence of the phenomenon of intermarriage in the rest of the Chronicler's work, that is, in the royal narratives. The intention of the present study is therefore to ask the following questions: What contribution do the royal narratives in Chronicles make toward the variegated biblical portrayal of intermarriage? What flavor does this literature add to the portrayal in Chronicles, and how does this differ or concur with what has been established in the Judahite genealogy and Ezra-Nehemiah?6

After a brief overview of occurrences of intermarriage in Chronicles, the focus will be on one prominent example, namely, 2 Chr 8:11, which has been neglected in diachronic studies thus far.7 The results of the analysis will then be brought into interaction particularly with the diachronic approach followed by Frevel and Benedikt J. Conczorowski.8 Since their diachronic approach represents a recent and fresh "deepening of the water" in intermarriage studies, the present study aims at contributing specifically to this promising direction of investigation.

II. Intermarriage in the Chronicler's Royal Narratives

There are only a few kings whose marital status is mentioned by the Chronicler in the royal narratives:

1. David. In 1 Chr 14:3 it is said that David took (???) some wives in Jerusalem and that he fathered sons and daughters with them. This reference was taken over from 2 Sam 5:13, although the mention of concubines there has not been repeated here. This reference, however, does not contain any information on the identity of these wives. …

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