STU\DIES IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

A series of monogrQphs designed to provide clergy and laymen with
the best work in bibheal scholarship both in this country and abroad.
AiMtlJrJ' EditD""
C. F. D. MauLI!,L:r&Marg....t Proftmr oj DhiinilJinlh, Unhlmiryo/C.",bridgt
JAMBS B.... ProfmOT ofOld r"kJmellt Liltrat"", alii! Tb«J!fJll.
Pri""fOn Ybeologi<al S,minary
ACKROYD, S."""I noDidJan Proj",or o/OUT"t",,""f Studirr,
Uninrdty of Lo"""n
FLOYD FILSONj Proftuor Gf f\"TtaJ TuJam6l1t IJJ;raJnN and HiFlory,
MCCD"""" TIHolo!J<a1 S""i""'J, Cbicago
G. ERNE'lT Wp"c;m, Pro/trior ojOld TfSfammf UhforJ' Dill! Th,.logy
at HaT;;arJ UnitJlniry
. ".'-:1,
STUDIES IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
STUDIES IN
DEUTERONOMY
GERHARD VON RAD
TriJlISIaJld iD'
DAVID STALKER
-;:rLL - q \
,
ftI"lIP no••'•
""'11'1'1 'J'." t':l·'
1"\,,,\IIUll'I
SCM PRESS LTD
BLOOMSBURY STRBBT LONDON
)
l
CHAPTER SEVEN
THE DEUTERONOMISTIC THEOLOGY
OF HISTORY IN
THE BOOKS OF KINGS
A SHORT time ago a detailed study of the Dcuteronomistic
histories appeared in
Studim: it closed what was It grievous and mortifying gap
in writing on the Old Testament.1 Noth subjected the
literary question to a fresh revision, but whatJu.s now
become abundpltly and concl,;,sivelY,clear is thatJthis
work is not the outcome of a literary process of reoactton :
it merits without qualification the rare and exalted title of
historical writing. On the one hand, all kinds of older
historical material have been gathered together and com-
bined into a thematic unity by means of a comprehensive
framework. On the other, tl1e choice of material is obviously
restricted, and for all that lies beyond the theology of
history which is to be demonstrated, the reader is contit;ually
directed to the sources. This is the exercise ofthe functlon of
the historian in tl1e strictest sense of the word. It is cer-
tainly historical writing claiming to be very in
kind-it has actually a unique theological stamp upon It-
and that explains Why it was misconceived in the period
which kept believing that it had to measure it only by the
positivistideal ofan 'exact writing of history'. It is 0:U
Y
this
specific theological claim which the work makes that 1S to be
discussed here. The literary technique of the Deuterono-
mist-the way in which he welds together into unity, with
tl1e help of a comprehensive framework. all kinds of sources
for a king's reign and, apart from that, refrains from any
contribution of his own except occasional parenthetical
observations and comments-that literary technique must
'M. Noth: (JberJiifmmgsguthithtlit!H Sflirlien. Schriften tUr
Gd. Gmll., 18. Jahr, Geisftm4sI. KJoIIl. J943.
74
The DmterOl1omistio Tbe%fl oj History
here be taken for granted as known.' We call these histories
Deuteronomlstic because they take as normative for their
judgement of the past certain standards laid -down either
exclusively or chiefly in Deuteronomy.2
We know that through Deuteronomy the question of the
pure Jahweh cult in Jerusalem, as against all the Canaanite
cults of the high places, became (1!'tim!w stantis et cadentis
ecclesiae. It is by this criterion, which had become absolutely
obligatory for his own time, that the Deuteronomist now
measures the past; and it is well known that, in the light of
it, aU the sovereigns of the kingdom of Israel are judged
negatively, because they 'all walked in the sins of Jeroboam,
the son of Nebat'. Of the sovereigns of the kingdom of
Judah, however, live receive qualified approval, and two
(Hezekiah and Josiah) actually unrestricted approval. To
the secular historian such a method of judgement will
appear unjust and cmde. As a matter of fact, the Deuter-
onomist makes absolutely no claim to appraise the kings at a
given moment in relation to the particular historical
adon confronting them.
8
The judgement passedon the Icings
is not arrived at on the basis of a balanced reckoning of a
number ofpros and cons, by means of an average, as it were.
of their achievements and their sins of omission. It is in
keeping with this work's peculiar theological claim, which
1 The present investigation is restricted in principle to the Deuter-
onomistic parts of the great historical oomplex. We can dispense with
an exact and detailed delimitation of the Deuteronomistic framework
and the other Deuteronornlstic additions because, in all that is essential,
the O. T. Introductions are in agreement about the literary division of
these parts.
• The justification for our .study to the Books of is
that in every respect a new seetlon begrns for the Deuteranom,st w,th
Solomon, and it is only then that the histories come to their real
subject.
S How completely different is the way in which the author of the
history of the succession of David is able to let the reader see the
import of the poli!ica1 and human c0t1.lplications in which king was
involved as a chaln of sombre necess1ty r von Rad: Arc!Jwflit' KnltIIr-
gtsthkhk, 1944, pp. H fr.
75
Sl1idies in Deulcronomy
is that it presumes to know the final judgement of God, that
so much more is said about the kings in the sense of
'either-or' than in the sense of 'and-and'. It follows that
the Deuteronomist is not concerned with the various good
and evil actions, but with the one fundamental decision on
which he was convinced judgement and salvation finally
depended. In this respect the Deuteronomistic histories
definitely allow the kings the moment of a free decision for
or against Jahweh, while the so-called claBsical histories in
Israel had portrayed men really more as the passive objects
of God's designs in history.
The question whether objective justice waS done to these
kings, in that they were measured against a norm which did
not in fact apply in their time, is possibly a specifically
modem one. None the less, the question docs present itself
here in this form: was the standard applied by the Deuter-
onomist, viz. the insistence on centralised worship, some-
thing absolutely new in Israel? Admittedly it was 'unknown'
in the monarchical period, but we did see that Deuteronomy
docs not conceive ofitselfas something new, and it is, more-
over, in fact only a large-scale up-to-date readaptation of the
most varied standards that did apply in the past. And the
history of the cult shows us that in its early period, the
period of the old amphictyony, Israel was in fact conscious
to a great extent of her necessary conformity to this norm.
The Deuteronomistic standard of judgement thus appears
in a somewhat different light from that in which we pre-
viously believed it necessary to view it. With all that,
one may safely reckon that possibly at all periods of
history, the past, viewed in the light of criteria which have
become obligatory for a later age, has always to a certain
extent been put in the wrong subjectively, but that never-
theless from that time onwards the objective right and
necessity of such judgements cannot be doubted.
The great events in the shadow of which the Deuter-
cnomist wrote were the catastrophes of 72.1 and 586,
7
6
The D"I/tronomistk Theology of History .
happenings which. in his eyes had undoubted theological
significance; they expressed Jahweh's rejection of both
kingdoms; ever since, saving history with Israel had been
at a standstill. This is the clue to the understanding of the
Deuteronomist: he is 'Writing at a time when there was
distress and perplexity because no saving history was taking
place. It is possible to connect the hcJlth1e which have often
been noticed in these histories with this quite unprecedented
situation. In the circumstances, the correct standards for
many of the facts of the past may actually no longer have
been at the Deuteronomist's disposal. But of course the
Deuteronomist's sole concern is a theological interpretation
of the catastrophes which befell the two kingdoms. Con-
sequently, he examined past history page by page with that
in view, and the result was quite unambiguous: the fault
was not Jahweh's; but for generations Israel had been
piling up an ever-increasing burden of guilt and faithless-
ness, so that in the end Jahweh had had to reject his people.
The demand for centralised worship is certainly not the
onlyone which the Deuteronomist,followingDeuteronomy,
makes of the kings; he asks if the kings trusted Jahweh
2. Kings 18.1), he asks if they were 'perfect' with
Jahweh I Kings 11.4; IH, 14). Of course it
is predominantly cultic sins which he mentions.
1
He is very
often content with the awkwardly redundant statement that
a king had not followed the 'ordinances, commandments
and statutes of ]ahweh'. A very decided of de-
scriptive power is noticeable here. What the"Deuteronomist
means is obviously that the king in question and his period
had not been able to satisfy the whole of the divine demand
for obedience. It is therefore the question concerning
complete obedience that the Deuteronomist puts to the
kings.
1 Especially in the great epilogue to the fall of the lciogdom of
18l'acl in 4 Kings '7·7if.
77
Sludi&s i/1 Deutero/1tJmy
T h i ~ question of obedience is the first fundamental ele-
ment in the Deuteronomistic presentation of the history.
But alongside this subjective co-efficient, and continually
corresponding to it, there now appears in Israel's history
another, an objective one. We meet it when we enquire
about the manner of the divine intervention in history.
The Deuteronomist's conception is manifest!y this: Jahweh
revealed his commandments to Israel; in case of disobedience
he threatened her with severe punishment, with the judge-
ment of total destruction, in fact. That had now actually
taken place. Jahweh's words had been 'fulfilled' in history
-they had not 'failed', as the Deuteronomist is also fond of
saying.
l
There thus exists, the Deuteronomist means, an
inter-relationship between the words of Jahweh and history
in the sense that Jahweh's word, ouce uttered, reaches its
goal under all circumstances in history by virtue of the
power inherent in it.' This conception can be reconstructed
very clearly from the Deuteronomist's work. We refer to
that system of prophetic predictions and enctly noted
fulfilments which runs through the Deuteronomist's work.
With it we may speak of a theological.chump, no less than
in the case of the 'framework schemel, even if it is used
more freely and with greater elasticity, corresponding to
the nature of the subject.
(I) Prop/Jecy:
Jahweh establishes the kingdom of David at the hand
of Nathan. His son will build a house fOf Jahweh.
2 Sam. 7.];.
Fuljilmmt:
l Kings 8.20: 'Jahweh hath fulfilled the word that he
spake.' Solomon has ascended the throne and built
the temple.
1 Josh. 21.4j; "P4;] Kings 8.)6; z Kings 10.10.
'Dent. P.47: Jahweh's word ls not 'vain' (j?j).
(7
8
\ _ ~ ~ )
Thu DtNterofll)miJlk Tbeqlogy oj Hlilory
(2) Prqpbery:
1 Kings 11.29 if: Ahijah the ShlIonite: ten tribes will
be taken from Solomon's kingdom, because he has
forsaken Jahweh, worshipped other gods and not
walked in Jahweh's ways.
Fulfilment:
1 Kings u.ljb: Rehoboam rends the kingdom, bring-
ing on the catastrophe: 'but the cause was from Jahweh
to establish (O'P'iJ) the word which he spake by Ahijah
the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.'
(;) Prophecy:
1 Kings I; : An unknown prophet: At Bethel a descen-
dant of David-Josiah-will slay the priests of the
high places on the altar, and bum men's bones upon it.
Fulfilment:
2 Kings 2;.16-i8: Josiah pollutes the altar at Bethel by
burning men's bones upon it 'according to the word
ofJahweh which the man of God had proclaimed ... '.
(4) Prophecy:
1 Kings 14.6 if: Ahijah the ShlIonite: Jeroboam, whom
Jahweh made prince over Israel, has done evil above
all that were before him. Therefore Jeroboam's king-
dom will be rooted up, 'as a man taketh away dung,
till it be all gone'.
FU/jiffllent;
I Kings 15.29: The usurper Baasha exterminates the
house of Jeroboam 'according to th.e word of Jahweh
which he had spoken by his servant Ahijah the
Shilonite ... '. .
(y) Propheo:
I Kings 16.1 if: Jehu ben Hanam: Baasha, raised by
Jahweh to be prince over Israel, has walked in the ways
of Jeroboam and made Israel to sin, therefore it will
befall him in his house as befell the house of Jeroboam.
79
SID.
Stflfiiu in V",terOf/oH(J
Fulfilment:
I Kings 16.11: 'Thus did Zimri destroy all the house
of Baasha, according to the word of Jahweh which he
had spoken to Baasha by the prophet Jehu.'
(6) Prophecy:
J.08h. 6.2.6: 'Whoso rebuildeth Jericho, let the founda-
tIOn stone cost him his first-born, and the setting up
of the gates his youngest.'
FIIIft/ment:
I,Kings 16.;4: Hiel rebuilds Jericho: 'At the cost of
his first-born Abiram did he lay the foundation and at
the cos.t of his youngest Segub did he set up gates,
to the word of Jahweh which he had spoken
by Joshua the son of Nun:
(7) Prophecy:
I Kings 2.2.l7: Micaiah ben IrnJah: brael will be scat-
tered and without shepherds; let every man return to
his house in peace.
Fmfilm61lt:
I Kings f: (without being specially pointed out
by the Deuteronomist) Ahab succumbs to his wound.
Every man to his house I
(8) Propbecy:
I Kings 2.U1 f: Elijah's prophecy of doom against
Ahab and hh house. .
Ftdfilment:
] Kings 2.1.2.7-29: Because Ahab humbled himself at
the word of judgement, it will only overtake his son.
(Cp. 2. Kings 9.7 f.)
(9) Prophecy:
1. Kings 1. 6: Elijah: Ahaziah ofJudah will not recover'
he must die. '
80
The DeuterofJomiilk ThroloO of History
Fulfilment:
2. Kings 1.17: Ahaziah died 'according·to the word of
Jahweh that Elijah had spoken'.
(10) Prophecy:
2. Kings 1.1.10 If: Unknown prophets: Because of the
sins of Manasseh evil will come upon Jerusalem, 'such
that whoso hcareth of it, both his ears shall tingle'.
Fulfilment:
2. Kings 1.4.1.: Jahweh summons the Chaldeans, etc.,
against Judah, 'according to the word of Jahweh which
he had spoken by his servants the prophets'. 2 Kings
23.2.6 is also important: in spite of Josiah's reform
Jahweh does not leave off his great wrath. Because of
Manasseh's provocations, Jahweh had resolved to
destroy Judah as well.
(n) Prophecy:
2 Kings 22. I If: Huldah: Josiah will be gathered to
his fathers and not see the evil that comes upon
Jerusalem.
Fulft/ment:
2. Kings 2.3.3°; The body of Josiah, who had fallen at
Megiddo, is brought to Jerusalem and buried there.
Of course, this conspectus can only give a rough indi-
cation of the theological structure of the Deuteronomistic
historical work within the Books of Kings. In actual fact,
in this connection the Deuteronomist demands the keenest
attentiveness on the part of his readers: they are to discern )
this all-prevailing correspondence between the divine word
spoken by prophets and the historical events even in
those cases where notice is not expressly drawn to it. (It j'
was to illustrate it that the Deuteronomist took in the
Elijah and the Isaiah stories as we1I.)l J;n. general we may
1 Whether. we can ipeak of aa. accoWlt of the prophet Ahijah the
Shilowte as a 'well-rounded unit' and put it on the same plane as the
lsi')
\..../'
SI"dit.r in DCJller()tJomy
take. as .axiomatic that the Deuteronomist has given
explicIt notices of a fulfi1ment mostly in those cases where
the matter was not so directly obvious to the reader
while he could dispense with them at any point where
history spoke for itself. On the other hand we have to
bear in mind that on the literary side the Deu'teronOmist is
working almost exclusively with traditional material which
(( in. its tum does not now everywhere fit in quite smoothly
, wlth the theological principles. In many
respects It has ItS own lmport and then again cannot be
easily adapted to the Deuteronomistic !fhema. We tend to
overestimate the freedom which antiquity used with tra-
ditional material.
Taken individually, these prophecies raise a considerable
number of questions. There need be no doubt that, as far
as concems source, these citations go back in most cases to
genuine words. That is evidenced by the pictorial
phraseology, which is quite undeuteronomic, and the
jJarallefismm membroTHm in which to some extent these
oracles are still preserved.
1
There cannot, however, have
been a very large store of such sources accessible to our
author, else he would not have cited three times-and
indeed against three different kings-the words 'him that
dieth ... in the city shall the dogs eat, and him that dieth
in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.'ll As to who this
was, the material at our disposal
IS altogether too slight to allow conclusions to be drawn.
One would be reluctant to set the prophecy ofan Ahijah or
accounts of BUsha and Isaiah, as Noth does (op, fil., p. xu),
seems very questionable to me. At leasl the literary question is then
di1fetent, for, contrary to what we find in the other acCOunts
1ll the aCCOUtlt of Abijah the DeuleronOallsl's band bas had the
part. Ahijah's ptophecy now stands entirely within the context of the
question as to Jahweh's plans with the
heIrs to the thtone and kingdom of David,
1 e.f:;.in 1 Kings 14.10, IS; 16.4; 2 Kings 21.1'.
S1K.ings 14.II; 16,4; 21.24.
h
The Deutmmomistit Theology oj History
a Jehu ben Hanani or the unknown prophet of z
ZI 10 ff on the same plane as that of the so-called wrIting
That prophecy seems to be lacking in the
wider conceptions of history. The focus 15 solely on the
national history of Israel, and there it speaks of Jahweh
immanent in history, acting in judgement or ..N?ne
the less, it could well be that prophecy of a,
stamp is discernible behind this body of outlined
in rigid schematic form. The s own con-
ception of the main element in the office
to expression in 2 Kings 17,13: gives tesbrnony
(i'37ij) through it, in virtue of which the prophets call for
repentance and the keeping of the com;nandments.
This Deuteronornistic theology of histOry, the theology
of the word finding certain fulfilment in history, on
that account the creative word in history, may be
in respect of its origin, to It IS
interesting now to observe how the D,euteron- )
ornist makes this presupposition of his that the hIStory of
the two kingdoms is simply the will of and, the ,
word ofJahweh actualised in history. As such,lt IS meafl;11lg-
ful' thus the course of events in both the kmgdoms IS to
be "read: looking backwards. The in which the
Deuteronornist uses the actual course of,hlstory as a .theo-
logical criterion appears in pn;sentauon of history
of the two kingdoms from qwte different srandpomts.
The doom of the northern kingdom is really sealed
with the first sin, the apostacy of Je:oboam V The
stereotyped observation about the real gwlt of all the other
kings is that they walked in the sin of J.eroboam.
the Deuteronomist had to reckon wlth the complication
that Jahweh had in actual fact spared 0is .for
another two centuries. This enigma, which was m realIty,
1 1 Kings 14. l6: 'Uahweb) shall give Israel up because of sim
which Jeroboam committed and which he led Israel to COmm1t.
8J
SfNdies in Dmfmnomy
ofcourse,no more than a postponement ofpunishment,finds
its explanation in ]ahweh's grace, through which relative
good, even in kings who were rejected, was not passed Over
uncredited. Ahab humbled himself at the word of judge-
ment, and so the judgement upon his house was not fulfilled
in his own lifetime (x Kings :1.1.29). Jehu had, in spite of
his rejection, done some things which were well-pleasing
to ]ahweh, and therefore his children Ullto the fourth
generation were to sit upon the throne of Israel (2. Kings
10·3°; Xj.I2.). During a time of severe oppression at the
hands of the Syrians, Jehoahaz had implored ]ahweh's
help, and Jahweh had thereupon held out his hand in grace
over the sinful kingdom (2 Kings I.P3; 14.2.6). But then
the tragic end did come, and in his great epilogue in 2. Kings
]7·7 ff the Deuteronomist shows how transgression of
]ahweh's commandments had brought judgement in its
train. The sources-theological sources, that is-which the
Deuteronomist uses to build up his picture are perfectly
plain: he had given to him ]ahweh's will as shown in the
'ccimmandments in Deuteronomy, and the actual course of
the history of the northern kingdom, as Jahweh's word
which is creative of history, had shaped it.
With the history of the kingdom of Judah the position is
different. That history, too, appears in the first instance as
a story of human disobedience, with the cloud of God's
judgement gathering ever thicker. How in this case is the
divine forbearance, the much more extended span of divine
patience, to be explained? This leads us to mention an
element in the Deuteronomist's theology of history which
we have so far left out of consideration.
Jahweh says to Solomon in 1 Kings It. I; : <•.. butI will
not rend away all the kingdom; one tribe will I leave to thy
son, for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake,
which I have chosen.'
Ahijah the Shilonite says to Jeroboam in 1 Kings II.;2:
, ... but the one tribe shall remain to him for David my
84
The DuJferollomiJtic Theology of History
servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, which I have
chosen.' hi
11.36: ' ..' . but one _will I to s son,
that a light may always 'f) remam before me for
my servant DavId ''17 in Jerusalem, the dty
which I have chosen, to let name ?well ,
Of Abljam the Deuteron01l11st says in 1 Kings 15.4: ,,'
but for David's sake Jahweh left him a light in )e;nsalem,
in that he set up his son and let Jerusalem remau:.
Of Jehoram the Deuteronomist says in z Kings 8.19:
, ... but Jahweh would not destroy fot his
David's sake, as he had promised to glve him always a light
(for his children).' .
By the light which )ahweh promised to DaVId the
Deuteronomist means, of course, what the Nathan
prophecy in z Sam. 7, where Jahweh leglt1mJSeS and gua.r-
antees the Davidic dynasty.l It see hOW.lO
the Deuteronomist this prophenc tradition IS fused wlth
the Deuteronomic theology of the cult-place and the, name;
that is how two traditional elements of completely
are here united into a whole (cp.
] Kings Il.;6). But the Deuteronomist ?oes not
this deuteronomised Nathan prophecy slt?Ply to the
reason for Jahweh's patient forbearance Wlth kingdo1')1
of Judah. This traditional element has an essentially greater
part to play. ,. eh
David says to Solomon 10 r Kings z:4: May
establish the word: ' ... there shall not fall a man to Slt on
the throne of Israel.' .
Solomon says in his prayer at the consecraUon of the
temple in 1 Kings B.zo: <Now hath Jahweh fulfilled the
word that he spake; for I am risen up in the room of my
father and have set myselfon the throne ofIsrael, as Jahweh
1 Pre.deuteronornic referencell for this expression are 1 Sam. u ,17;
Ps. IF, 17 (cp. 1 Sam. I,n).
8j
StHmO! in DIIPeronomy
promised, and have built the house for the name ofJahweb,
the God ofIsrae1:
On the same occasion in r Kings 8.2.j: 'And now,Jahweh,
thou God of Israel, keep with thy servant David the
promise thou gavest him: there shall never fail thee a man
to sit before me on the throne of Israel:
]ahweh says to Solomon in I Kings 9.j: ' ... so will I
let the throne of thy kingdom remain upon Israel for ever,
as I promised thy father David: there shall never fail thee
a man upon the throne of Israel.' ,
These passages, like the others quoted above, all belong,
from the point of view of literary criticism, to the special
theological schema within and around which the Deuter-
onomist built his work, and therefore have a special
significance for the ends he had in view. They exhibit a
traditional element which is whollyundeuteronomlc,namely,
a cycle of definite Messianic conceptions.
This leads us at once to ask how the picture of David is
built up in particular. The actual history of David is
noticeably free from Deuteronomistic additions. This is
astonishing in view of the constant mention of David in
the course of the history that follows as the prototype of a
king who was well-pleasing to Jahweh. The reasons for it
are, however, probably only literary: David was treated in
a document which was of such range and so well con-
structed that in face of it the Deuteronomist had to refrain
from his usual technique of inserting theological glosses
and comments in brackets. Apart from the well-known
distortion of the meaning of the Nathan prophecy in 2, Sam.

r
3, it is only at the end of the history of David that the
Deuteronomist makes any comment, and even so the
picture which he himself had of David is not made dear.
But the case is remarkably different in the Deuteronomistic
presentation of post-Davidic history.
xKings H' Solomon walked in the statutes ofhis father
David
&6
The Dmterot1fJ!lJistit Theology of History
5.I7: David was prevented from building the temple by
his wars, but David is still the spiritual originator of the
building of the temple.
8.17 f: David proposed to build the temple; in that he
did well.
9.4: David walked beforeJahweh '1n integrity of heart
and uprightness' rr-?1 ClJf).
r L4: David's heart was perfect with l.
tI
II.6: David followed Jahwe1I l..
(ilJfl7 Ny.?;).
rr.33: David walked in Jahweh's ways and did what was
well-pleasing to him "r.cr mWp'2).
r 1.38: David walked in Jahweh's ways, did what was
well-pleasing to him, and kept his statutes and command-
ments.
14.8: David kept ]ahweh's commandments and
him with all his heart, doing only what was well-pleaSing to
Jahweh i''J 1'20).
15.3: David's heart was perfect with Jahweh.
15.5: David did what wa.s weIl-pleasing to and
turned not aside from anything that he commanded all
the days of his life, save only, the matter of UrIah the
Hittite (":0 " '!II;) 1IrN').
r j. II: Asa did what was well-pleasing to ]ahweh, like
his ancestor David.
2. KlDgs 14.3: Amaziah did what was well-pleasing to
Jahweh; but not like his ancestor David.
r6.2.: Ahaz did not do what was well-pleasing to Jahweh,
like his ancestor David.
St1Idies in Detd"()tJof!{Y
18·5; Hezekiah did what was well-pleasing to Jahweh
wholly as David did.
2.I.r Jahweh to David (sir) and his son Solomon:
In this temp,le and 1n Jerusalem, which I have chosen out
of all the tnbes of Israel, will I cause my name to dwell
for ever.
,a2:J!: Josiah walked wholly in the way of his ancestor
DaVId.
This list, too, is wholly made up of sentences of 'the
picture has only one conceivable
mean:ng: It DaVId, and not, as was often said, Solomon,
:who IS the king after the heart of the Deuteronomist. He
15 the prototype of the perfectly obedient anointed and
therefore model fDr all succeeding kings in J
But what of David is this, whD walked before
Jahweh 'f'jl whose heart is perfect with
Jahweh, and who did only (j;''J) what was well-pleasing to
J,ahweh? ,unquestionably it is not the David of the succes-
SIOn . storIes, that. essentially. contradictory personality,
tenaCIOUS, persevermg and VIgorous in public life but
weak in his own household, a man was
many a time ensnared in guilt, yet in the end graciously led
by Jahweh through every entanglement. This quite human
has nDW had a completely independent cycle Df con-
ceptIOns. upon it, namely, that of the ideal,
DaVId, exemplary in obedience. The Deuter-
onolTllst, brings in the first place for a cycle
which must have been living in
?-me.)"It IS hard to say how and where this pictuJ:e
ong:tnatecl,"of a David whose dross was all refined
In P
. 4 ay.
s. 132 meet the picture of the David who was
exemplary obedience. But above all it seems to pre-
suppose ISaIah too.
1
Be that as it may; in the acceptance of
1 e.g, In. 1.,U.
88
Tk DeHterOfl()mistk Theology of EMory
this strong tradition the Deuteronomist has gone farthest
from the theological rock whence he was hewn, namely
Deuteronomy!; and the large place which the Deuterono-
mist gives this tradition in his work shows that the Deuter-
onomic tradition had not been able to assert itself in all its
,purity. The Messianic cycle of conceptions, which was
obviously very strong, had forced its way into it and made
itself good. The attempt so deliberately to set the whole
business of the temple to David's credit is truly astonishing.
Perhaps there was something which made it necessary for
the temple tradition with its comprehensive cultic content
to be brought still more under the aegis of David and so
gain fresh authorisation.
Finally, the Deuterollomist for his part was only being
true to the tradition given to him. There given to him
as a principle creative in history not only the word of
Jahweh's curse upon the transgressors of his command-
ments, as it appears in Deuteronomy, but also the prophetic
word of promise in the Davidic covenant. The Deuter-
onomistic presentation Df the history had tD reckon with
both Df these given quantities; the DeuterDnomist in fact
attributes the form and the course of the histDry of the
kingdom of Judah to their mutual creative power. This
enables us to set down an important conclusion: according
to the Deuteronomistic presentation, Jahweh's word is
active in the history of Judah, creating that history, and that
in a double capacity: 1, as law, judging and destroying; 2.
as gospel-i.e., in the David prophecy, which was constantly
being fulfilled-saving and forgiving. It is the Nathan
promise which runs through the history of Judah like a
«a:rJxwv and wards off the long merited judgement from
the kingdom 'for the sake of David' .
Immediately the question arises: But how did it turn out
1 According to the Deuteronomist's writing, 'the represClltacive
concern for maintalning the relation between God and people lies' on
the king (Noth, op. p. 1n), a thoroughly undeuteronomic idea,
89
SJyJjes in Deuleron01J!y
in the cnd? Was the word of grace after all the weaker
coefficient and was it finally driven from the field of history
by the word of judgement? The actual end of the history of
the kingdom of Judab, as well as the fact that in the later
monarchical period the Deuteronomist no longer says
anything about the saving function of the Nathan promise,
seem to point in this direetion. It is as if the "7 ':791]
lost their power to protect as human guilt grew ever greater.
Surely the theological dilemma in which the Deuteronomist
finds himself at the end of his work is palpable: on the one
hand, he was the last person to reduce any of the terrible
severity of the judgement; on the other, he could not, nay
dared not, believe that Jahweh's promise, i.e., the light of
David, had died out for ever; for a word of Jahweh's
uttered hlto history never falls. Thus there can be no doubt,
ill our opinion, that we can attribute a special theological
significance to the fim.l sentences of the Deuteronomist's
work, the notice about the release of Jehoiachin ftom
prison.
In the thirty-seventh year after the deportation of king
Jehoiachh1 of Judah, on the twenty-seventh day of the
twelfth month, Evil Merodach, the king of Babylon, in the
first year of his reign, granted amnesty to king ]ehoiachin
of Judah and released him from prison. He spoke kindly
to him and assigned him a place above the place of the
other kings that were with himin Babylon. He was allowed
to put off his prison clothes and eat constantly at the king's
table his life long. His maintenance. the settled daily main-
tenance, was toIpjm by the killg, as mucll as he
required, his life long.
To be sure, nothing is expressed in theological terms
here, but something is justhinted at, and with great reserve.
But for all that a happening is mentioned which had the
significance of an omen for the Deuteronomist, a fact from
which]abweh can start again, ifit be his will. At all events,
the passage must be interpreted by every reader as an
90
\
.\
p
I
I
The Detlterllflomiltif Theology of History
indication that the line of David has not yet come to an
irrevocable end.
l
, Noth in his essay has already cut the ground away ftom
verdicts which in the main are absolutely unfair to this
historical writing. Refusal to enter into the great problems
of internal politics is not to be explainelLsimply as incapa-
city on the part of the DeuteronomistIWhat the Deuter-
onomist .:e:.:.sents is really a history of tfic creative word of
]ahweh. JWhat fascinated him was, we might
functionIng of word in And so, in
reamy,-ther-eIleSTn claim. ,The
decisive factor for Israel does not in the things which
ordillarily cause a sUr in history, nor in the vast problems
inherent in history, but it lies a few very simple
theolo ital and prophetic the
n SOlt1so __ f
Jahwch which gives continuity and aspiration to the
pllffiOmenoiiof history:-Wh1chlI11.ites" the-ya:rlethmd in-
toforrna-wlrGlenililie Slgl1t of God.
'Thus the Deutetonomisrslmmw.i'rlJexCJiipTa:iyVitlditywhal'
saving history is in the Old Testament: that
of of ]ahweh con-
in andsalvaticin'a.nchiirected
- .. _.. '-
1 '!'he verses contain 'a note which allows fOt hope in God's gtace',
1. KOhl.r: Tbeof. d. A.T., p. 77.
• The Deuteronomist makes King Solomon give clear expression
to this relation ofcorrespondence between word and history: 'what thou
hast promised with thy mouth, thou hast fulfilled with thy hand.' r Kings

KJoIIl. and it is well known that. in the light of it. as it were.st w.. became (1!'tim!w stantis et cadentis ecclesiae. It is in keeping with this work's peculiar theological claim. by means of an average.study to the Books of ~ings.. It is Ythis specific theological claim which the work makes that 1S to be discussed here. This is the exercise ofthe functlon of the historian in tl1e strictest sense of the word. 0:U ~Irger 'M. To the secular historian such a method of judgement will appear unjust and cmde. live receive qualified approval. refrains from any contribution of his own except occasional parenthetical observations and comments-that literary technique must here be taken for granted as known.clear is thatJthis ~re~t work is not the outcome of a literary process of reoactton : it merits without qualification the rare and exalted title of historical writing. the O. On the one hand. and for all that lies beyond the theology of history which is to be demonstrated. that the Deuteronomist now measures the past. pp. Gmll. J943. We can dispense with an exact and detailed delimitation of the Deuteronomistic framework and the other Deuteronornlstic additions because. but whatJu. H fr. with tl1e help of a comprehensive framework. is that in every respect a new seetlon begrns for the Deuteranom. Noth: (JberJiifmmgsguthithtlit!H Sflirlien. the reader is contit. 74 75 .s now become abundpltly and concl. aU the sovereigns of the kingdom of Israel are judged negatively. in all that is essential. It is by this criterion.1 Noth subjected the literary question to a fresh revision. which had become absolutely obligatory for his own time.' We call these histories Deuteronomlstic because they take as normative for their judgement of the past certain standards laid -down either exclusively or chiefly in Deuteronomy. apart from that. the son of Nebat'. because they 'all walked in the sins of Jeroboam. S How completely different is the way in which the author of the history of the succession of David is able to let the reader see the import of the poli!ica1 and human c0t1.The DmterOl1omistio Tbe%fl oj History CHAPTER SEVEN THE DEUTERONOMISTIC THEOLOGY OF HISTORY IN THE BOOKS OF KINGS A SHORT time ago a detailed study of the Dcuteronomistic histories appeared in Noth~s Oberlieferungsg~!CkichtJkb8 Studim: it closed what was It grievous and mortifying gap in ou~ writing on the Old Testament. the Deuteronomist makes absolutely no claim to appraise the kings at a given moment in relation to the particular historical ~itu­ adon confronting them. tl1e choice of material is obviously restricted. T. 1944. which 1 The present investigation is restricted in principle to the Deuteronomistic parts of the great historical oomplex..sivelY. all kinds of older historical material have been gathered together and combined into a thematic unity by means of a comprehensive framework.2 We know that through Deuteronomy the question of the pure Jahweh cult in Jerusalem. and it is only then that the histories come to their real subject. It is certainly historical writing claiming to be very distinctiv~ in kind-it has actually a unique theological stamp upon Itand that explains Why it was misconceived in the period which kept believing that it had to measure it only by the positivistideal ofan 'exact writing of history'. As a matter of fact. Schriften tUr K~lligI' Gd.lplications in which ~he king was involved as a chaln of sombre necess1ty r von Rad: Arc!Jw flit' KnltIIrgtsthkhk. however. Introductions are in agreement about the literary division of these parts. Of the sovereigns of the kingdom of Judah. Jahr.th Solomon. Hift~. as against all the Canaanite cults of the high places. 8 The judgement passed on the Icings is not arrived at on the basis of a balanced reckoning of a number of pros and cons. of their achievements and their sins of omission.ually directed to the sources. The literary technique of the Deuteronomist-the way in which he welds together into unity. and two (Hezekiah and Josiah) actually unrestricted approval. all kinds of sources for a king's reign and. On the other. Geisftm4sI. • The justification for eonfi~g our . 18.

1 He is very often content with the awkwardly redundant statement that a king had not followed the 'ordinances. 1 Especially in the great epilogue to the fall of the lciogdom of 18l'acl in 4 Kings '7· 7 if. commandments and statutes of ]ahweh'. but we did see that Deuteronomy docs not conceive ofitselfas something new. but for generations Israel had been piling up an ever-increasing burden of guilt and faithlessness. something absolutely new in Israel? Admittedly it was 'unknown' in the monarchical period. so that in the end Jahweh had had to reject his people. one may safely reckon that possibly at all periods of history. The question whether objective justice waS done to these kings.4. It is possible to connect the hcJlth1e which have often been noticed in these histories with this quite unprecedented situation.1 and 586. Of course it is predominantly cultic sins which he mentions. moreover. 76 . A very decided f1a~ging of descriptive power is noticeable here.-r~ C~ C. but with the one fundamental decision on which he was convinced judgement and salvation finally depended. the correct standards for many of the facts of the past may actually no longer have been at the Deuteronomist's disposal. With all that. In this respect the Deuteronomistic histories definitely allow the kings the moment of a free decision for or against Jahweh.1). The great events in the shadow of which the Deutercnomist wrote were the catastrophes of 72. he examined past history page by page with that in view. the question docs present itself here in this form: was the standard applied by the Deuteronomist. the insistence on centralised worship. None the less. that so much more is said about the kings in the sense of 'either-or' than in the sense of 'and-and'. in that they were measured against a norm which did not in fact apply in their time. The Deuteronomistic standard of judgement thus appears in a somewhat different light from that in which we previously believed it necessary to view it. This is the clue to the understanding of the Deuteronomist: he is 'Writing at a time when there was distress and perplexity because no saving history was taking place. he asks if the kings trusted Jahweh (n~¥ 2. has always to a certain extent been put in the wrong subjectively. In the circumstances. the past. the period of the old amphictyony. IH. in his eyes had undoubted theological significance. saving history with Israel had been at a standstill. and the result was quite unambiguous: the fault was not Jahweh's.Sl1idies in Deulcronomy is that it presumes to know the final judgement of God. 14). ever since. and it is. makes of the kings. It follows that the Deuteronomist is not concerned with the various good and evil actions. 77 . he asks if they were 'perfect' with Jahweh (. It is therefore the question concerning complete obedience that the Deuteronomist puts to the The D"I/tronomistk Theology of History kings.-rl.following Deuteronomy. And the history of the cult shows us that in its early period. in fact only a large-scale up-to-date readaptation of the most varied standards that did apply in the past. Israel was in fact conscious to a great extent of her necessary conformity to this norm. viz. But of course the Deuteronomist's sole concern is a theological interpretation of the catastrophes which befell the two kingdoms. Kings 18. is possibly a specifically modem one.?~ I Kings 11. but that nevertheless from that time onwards the objective right and necessity of such judgements cannot be doubted. happenings which. What the"Deuteronomist means is obviously that the king in question and his period had not been able to satisfy the whole of the divine demand for obedience. Consequently. The demand for centralised worship is certainly not the onlyone which the Deuteronomist. they expressed Jahweh's rejection of both kingdoms. while the so-called claBsical histories in Israel had portrayed men really more as the passive objects of God's designs in history. viewed in the light of criteria which have become obligatory for a later age.

1 Josh. His son will build a house fOf Jahweh.. (4) Prophecy: 1 Kings 14.1 if: Jehu ben Hanam: Baasha. The Deuteronomist's conception is manifest!y this: Jahweh revealed his commandments to Israel. reaches its goal under all circumstances in history by virtue of the power inherent in it. Thi~ Thu DtNterofll)miJlk Tbeqlogy oj Hlilory (2) Prqpbery: 1 Kings 11. there now appears in Israel's history another. raised by Jahweh to be prince over Israel.. We refer to that system of prophetic predictions and enctly noted fulfilments which runs through the Deuteronomist's work. corresponding to the nature of the subject.10. '. bringing on the catastrophe: 'but the cause was from Jahweh to establish (O'P'iJ) the word which he spake by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. We meet it when we enquire about the manner of the divine intervention in history. therefore it will befall him in his house as befell the house of Jeroboam. in case of disobedience he threatened her with severe punishment. Fulfilment: 1 Kings u. and continually corresponding to it. (y) Propheo: I Kings 16. "P4. That had now actually taken place.. whom Jahweh made prince over Israel. 'Dent. ouce uttered.29 if: Ahijah the ShlIonite: ten tribes will be taken from Solomon's kingdom.47: Jahweh's word ls not 'vain' (j?j).' Solomon has ascended the throne and built the temple. no less than in the case of the 'framework schemel. But alongside this subjective co-efficient.]..) Prophecy: 1 Kings I. I Kings 15.ljb: Rehoboam rends the kingdom.29: The usurper Baasha exterminates the house of Jeroboam 'according to th.6 if: Ahijah the ShlIonite: Jeroboam. Fulfilment: 2 Kings 2. l There thus exists. 2 Sam. Jahweh's words had been 'fulfilled' in history -they had not 'failed'.. (I) Prop/Jecy: Jahweh establishes the kingdom of David at the hand of Nathan. even if it is used more freely and with greater elasticity.' (. (78 \_~~) 79 . 21.)6. '. till it be all gone'. : An unknown prophet: At Bethel a descendant of David-Josiah-will slay the priests of the high places on the altar.Sludi&s i/1 Deutero/1tJmy question of obedience is the first fundamental element in the Deuteronomistic presentation of the history. Fuljilmmt: l Kings 8. an objective one. the Deuteronomist means. and bum men's bones upon it. z Kings 10. because he has forsaken Jahweh. 7. Therefore Jeroboam's kingdom will be rooted up. in fact. P.4j. worshipped other gods and not walked in Jahweh's ways.chump.. an inter-relationship between the words of Jahweh and history in the sense that Jahweh's word. has done evil above all that were before him. has walked in the ways of Jeroboam and made Israel to sin. as the Deuteronomist is also fond of saying. with the judgement of total destruction. FU/jiffllent.' This conception can be reconstructed very clearly from the Deuteronomist's work.16-i8: Josiah pollutes the altar at Bethel by burning men's bones upon it 'according to the word ofJahweh which the man of God had proclaimed . . With it we may speak of a theological.20: 'J ahweh hath fulfilled the word that he spake.e word of Jahweh which he had spoken by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite .] Kings 8. 'as a man taketh away dung.

in this connection the Deuteronomist demands the keenest attentiveness on the part of his readers: they are to discern ) this all-prevailing correspondence between the divine word spoken by prophets and the historical events even in ~ those cases where notice is not expressly drawn to it. 2.' The DeuterofJomiilk ThroloO Fulfilment: 2.2. both his ears shall tingle'. etc. 'such that whoso hcareth of it. against Judah.2. 'according to the word of Jahweh which he had spoken by his servants the prophets'. it will only overtake his son.2..7-29: Because Ahab humbled himself at the word of judgement. 2 Fmfilm61lt: I Kings 2.17: Ahaziah died 'according·to the word of (6) Prophecy: J.7 f. Kings 2. Kings 1. ac~rding to the word of Jahweh which he had spoken by Joshua the son of Nun: (7) Prophecy: I Kings 2. Of course.t of his youngest Segub did he set up th~ gates.n. general we may 1 Whether. (8) Propbecy: I Kings 2. let every man return to his house in peace. Jahweh had resolved to destroy Judah as well..4: Hiel rebuilds Jericho: 'At the cost of his first-born Abiram did he lay the foundation and at the cos. Because of Manasseh's provocations. (It j' was to illustrate it that the Deuteronomist took in the Elijah and the Isaiah stories as we1I. Fulfilment: 2. 2 Kings 23. 6: Elijah: Ahaziah ofJudah will not recover' ' he must die. we can ipeak of aa.Z'3~ f: (without being specially pointed out by the Deuteronomist) Ahab succumbs to his wound.)l J.2.: Jahweh summons the Chaldeans. I ~ If: Huldah: Josiah will be gathered to his fathers and not see the evil that comes upon Jerusalem. . is brought to Jerusalem and buried there.3°.. let the foundatIOn stone cost him his first-born. this conspectus can only give a rough indication of the theological structure of the Deuteronomistic historical work within the Books of Kings. (Cp. who had fallen at Megiddo./' . Ftdfilment: ] Kings 2. Every man to his house I Fulft/ment: 2.4.1. The body of Josiah..l7: Micaiah ben IrnJah: brael will be scattered and without shepherds.Kings 16.10 If: Unknown prophets: Because of the sins of Manasseh evil will come upon Jerusalem.' (10) Prophecy: 2. In actual fact.Stflfiiu in V".11: 'Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha.3.) (9) Prophecy: 1. 6. Kings 1. Kings 1. lsi') \. according to the word of Jahweh which he had spoken to Baasha by the prophet Jehu. Kings 1. Kings 9.08h.6: 'Whoso rebuildeth Jericho.1.1. and the setting up of the gates his youngest. (n) Prophecy: Kings 22.U1 f: Elijah's prophecy of doom against Ahab and hh house. accoWlt of the prophet Ahijah the Shilowte as a 'well-rounded unit' and put it on the same plane as the 80 SID. F IIIft/ment: I.terOf/oH(J Fulfilment: I Kings 16. of History Jahweh that Elijah had spoken'.6 is also important: in spite of Josiah's reform Jahweh does not leave off his great wrath..

hlstory as a . The doom of the northern kingdom is really sealed with the first sin. it could well be that prophecy of a. p. 16.nandments. the apostacy of Je:oboam V The stereotyped observation about the real gwlt of all the other kings is that they walked in the sin of J.lOn outlined in rigid schematic form. in virtue of which the prophets call for repentance and the keeping of the com. 21.1 There cannot. however. the .'ll As to who this ~euteronomistic' ~rophet was. That is evidenced by the pictorial phraseology. the Deuteronomist had to reckon wlth the complication that Jahweh had in actual fact spared 0is kin~dom .. 1 1 Kings 14.axiomatic that the Deuteronomist has given explicIt notices of a fulfi1ment mostly in those cases where the matter was not so directly obvious to the reader while he could dispense with them at any point where th~ history spoke for itself. It IS interesting now to observe how fund~ental the D. At leasl the literary question is then ~mplctely di1fetent. the theology of the word finding certain fulfilment in history. contrary to what we find in the other acCOunts 1ll the aCCOUtlt of Abijah the DeuleronOallsl's band bas had the decisiv~ part. which is quite undeuteronomic. these citations go back in most cases to genuine P!QEb~ words.II. S 1 K.11lgful' thus the course of events in both the kmgdoms IS to be "read: looking backwards.. and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat. That prophecy seems to be entite~y lacking in the wider conceptions of history.4. IS. which was m realIty. On the other hand we have to bear in mind that on the literary side the Deu'teronOmist is working almost exclusively with traditional material which (( in. 16. 8J . xu). 2 Kings 21. its tum does not now everywhere fit in quite smoothly . In many respects It has ItS own lmport and then again cannot be easily adapted to the Deuteronomistic !fhema.for another two centuries. h The Deutmmomistit Theology oj History a Jehu ben Hanani or the unknown prophet of z f9~gs ZI 10 ff on the same plane as that of the so-called wrIting pr~phets. Taken individually.in 1 Kings 14. The focus 15 solely on the national history of Israel.theological criterion appears in hi~ pn. We tend to overestimate the freedom which antiquity used with traditional material. else he would not have cited three times-and indeed against three different kings-the words 'him that dieth . The Deuterono~st s own conception of the main element in the prophe~c office ~omes to expression in 2 Kings 17. One would be reluctant to set the prophecy ofan Ahijah or accounts of Elij~. for.4.) ornist makes this presupposition of his that the hIStory of the two kingdoms is simply the will of Jah:w~h and.. ~t as . acting in judgement or m~rcy.24. these prophecies raise a considerable number of questions.10. as~~<:rtaining to ol~!<phecy.SI"dit. the material at our disposal IS altogether too slight to allow conclusions to be drawn. as far as concems source.. As such. 1 e. This enigma. in the city shall the dogs eat. and there it speaks of Jahweh immanent in history. word ofJahweh actualised in history.N?ne the less.euteron. seems very questionable to me.r in DCJller()tJomy take. have been a very large store of such sources accessible to our author.sentauon of th~ history of the two kingdoms from qwte different srandpomts.1'. wlth the peute~onomist~s theological principles.eroboam. as Noth does (op.ings 14. l6: 'U ahweb) shall give Israel up because of .13: ~ahweh gives tesbrnony (i'37ij) through it. an~ on that account the creative word in history. and the jJarallefismm membroTHm in which to some extent these oracles are still preserved. This Deuteronornistic theology of histOry. Ho:ve~er. f~r1y dis~mct stamp is discernible behind this body of pre~ct. may be descr1be~ in respect of its origin.f:. Ahijah's ptophecy now stands entirely within the context of the sp~cilically Deuteronomi~tie question as to Jahweh's plans with the heIrs to the thtone and kingdom of David.. There need be no doubt that.~e sim which Jeroboam committed and which he led Israel to COmm1t. The wa~ in which the Deuteronornist uses the actual course of. fil.lt IS meafl. BUsha and Isaiah.

that a light may always (O'''~)J 'f) remam before me for my servant DavId (":I:t~ . Of Abljam the Deuteron01l11st says in 1 Kings 15. Jehu had. Jahweh says to Solomon in 1 Kings It. 7. that is-which the Deuteronomist uses to build up his picture are perfectly plain: he had given to him ]ahweh's will as shown in the 'ccimmandments in Deuteronomy. but the one tribe shall remain to him for David my 84 The DuJferollomiJtic Theology of History servant's sake. and for Jerusalem's sake. as Jahweh's word which is creative of history.6). the much more extended span of divine patience.'~) in Jerusalem.4: .. But the Deuteronomist ?oes not ~enuon this deuteronomised Nathan prophecy slt?Ply to ~1Ve the reason for Jahweh's patient forbearance Wlth t~e kingdo1')1 of Judah. The sources-theological sources. eh David says to Solomon 10 r Kings z:4: May J~w establish the word: ' .2.in the Nathan prophecy in z Sam. butI will not rend away all the kingdom. Ahab humbled himself at the word of judgement. where Jahweh leglt1mJSeS and gua. With the history of the kingdom of Judah the position is different. and for Jerusalem's sake..' . : <•. I.id. to let m~ name ?well t~ere. one tribe will I leave to thy son. through which relative good.. Jehoahaz had implored ]ahweh's help.no more than a postponement ofpunishment. with the cloud of God's judgement gathering ever thicker. name.1. Kings ]7·7 ff the Deuteronomist shows how transgression of ]ahweh's commandments had brought judgement in its train.. but one tri~e _will I le~ve to s son. and the actual course of the history of the northern kingdom.lO the Deuteronomist this prophenc tradition IS fused wlth the Deuteronomic theology of the cult-place and the.' . the throne of Israel. 1 Sam. Kings 10·3°.17. what is~a.rantees the Davidic dynasty. which I have chosen. there shall not fall a man to Slt on .P3.SfNdies in Dmfmnomy ofcourse. appears in the first instance as a story of human disobedience.finds its explanation in ]ahweh's grace. too. that is how two traditional elements of completely diffe~t prove~ance are here united into a whole (cp. This traditional element has an essentially greater part to play..I2.zo: <Now hath Jahweh fulfilled the word that he spake. to be explained? This leads us to mention an element in the Deuteronomist's theology of history which we have so far left out of consideration.36: ' .' Ahijah the Shilonite says to Jeroboam in 1 Kings II.. Of Jehoram the Deuteronomist says in z Kings 8. done some things which were well-pleasing to ]ahweh.. espeC!~y ] Kings Il.' Solomon says in his prayer at the consecraUon of the temple in 1 Kings B. . and so the judgement upon his house was not fulfilled in his own lifetime (x Kings :1. 8j . Xj. IF.6). How in this case is the divine forbearance. 14. But then the tragic end did come.29).l It i~ intere~~ng ~o see hOW.. even in kings who were rejected.' hi 11. as Jahweh ''17 1 Pre...' but for David's sake Jahweh left him a light in )e.' .).. the dty which I have chosen. and therefore his children Ullto the fourth generation were to sit upon the throne of Israel (2. 1 Sam. By the light which )ahweh promised to DaVId the Deuteronomist means. 17 (cp. I. . as he had promised to glve him always a light (for his children). in that he set up his son and let Jerusalem remau:. had shaped it. which I have chosen.. in spite of his rejection. for I am risen up in the room of my father and have set myselfon the throne ofIsrael.19: .2: . but Jahweh would not destroy lU~ fot his se~ant David's sake.nsalem. . and in his great epilogue in 2.deuteronornic referencell for this expression are Ps. for David my servant's sake. of course.. was not passed Over uncredited. u . and Jahweh had thereupon held out his hand in grace over the sinful kingdom (2 Kings I. During a time of severe oppression at the hands of the Syrians.n). That history.

7· r 3. Apart from the well-known distortion of the meaning of the Nathan prophecy in 2.8: David kept ]ahweh's commandments and fo~owed him with all his heart. well-pleasing to him (fl~ii7 '~'$i'f "r. r L4: David's heart was perfect with Jah~eh l. rr. &6 The Dmterot1fJ!lJistit Theology of History 5.namely.j: 'And now. keep with thy servant David the promise thou gavest him: there shall never fail thee a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel: ]ahweh says to Solomon in I Kings 9.).38: David walked in Jahweh's ways. like his ancestor David. but David is still the spiritual originator of the building of the temple. save only.?f ''J!:!~ 1'20). a man upon the throne of Israel.. This leads us at once to ask how the picture of David is built up in particular. This is astonishing in view of the constant mention of David in the course of the history that follows as the prototype of a king who was well-pleasing to Jahweh.Jahweh.5: David did what wa.?. and kept his statutes and commandments.3: David's heart was perfect with Jahweh. however. . it is only at the end of the history of David that the Deuteronomist makes any comment.~). doing only what was well-pleaSing to Jahweh r~tI i''J n. II. like the others quoted above. as I promised thy father David: there shall never fail thee .. r j.J~(-". and have built the house for the name ofJahweb.) 1IrN')..17 f: David proposed to build the temple. 15.33: David walked in Jahweh's ways and did what was mWp'2).S tHmO! in DIIPeronomy promised. 15. 2. II: Asa did what was well-pleasing to ]ahweh.6: David followed Jahwe1I complet~ly l. 14. the God ofIsrae1: On the same occasion in r Kings 8. They exhibit a traditional element which is whollyundeuteronomlc. in that he did well. 9. KlDgs 14.2. 8. ClJf).2.fV~. (ilJfl7 ''J!:!~ Ny. but not like his ancestor David. ~ the matter of UrIah the Hittite (":0 '~7 " lil~:$-"~~ '!II.' These passages. a cycle of definite Messianic conceptions. thou God of Israel. did what was well-pleasing to him. like his ancestor David.s weIl-pleasing to ]ahwe~ and turned not aside from anything that he commanded ~lm all the days of his life.I7: David was prevented from building the temple by his wars.4: David walked beforeJahweh '1n integrity of heart and uprightness' rr-?1 J~'7.? .cr r 1.: Ahaz did not do what was well-pleasing to Jahweh. r6. The reasons for it are. and even so the picture which he himself had of David is not made dear. Sam. The actual history of David is noticeably free from Deuteronomistic additions. and therefore have a special significance for the ends he had in view.j: ' . all belong. from the point of view of literary criticism. probably only literary: David was treated in a document which was of such range and so well constructed that in face of it the Deuteronomist had to refrain from his usual technique of inserting theological glosses and comments in brackets. x Kings H' Solomon walked in the statutes of his father David ('J~ /"I'i'~~). to the special theological schema within and around which the Deuteronomist built his work.3: Amaziah did what was well-pleasing to Jahweh. so will I let the throne of thy kingdom remain upon Israel for ever. (il~il7 C~ tI !. But the case is remarkably different in the Deuteronomistic presentation of post-Davidic history.

~esslaruc ~onceptJons which must have been living in hi~ ?-me. In. The attempt so deliberately to set the whole business of the temple to David's credit is truly astonishing. p. in the acceptance of 4 1 e. :who IS the king after the heart of the Deuteronomist. But above all it seems to presuppose ISaIah too. namely. as was often said. 1n Jerusalem.storIes. 1 n). It is the Nathan promise which runs through the history of Judah like a «a:rJxwv and wards off the long merited judgement from the kingdom 'for the sake of David' . as gospel-i. wholly as David did. op. The DeuteronolTllst."of a David. 88 89 . whose dross was all refined ~way.ist. contradictory personality. Hezekiah did what was well-pleasing to Jahweh Tk DeHterOfl()mistk Theology of EMory this strong tradition the Deuteronomist has gone farthest from the theological rock whence he was hewn.a2:J!: Josiah walked wholly in the way of his ancestor DaVId. This enables us to set down an important conclusion: according to the Deuteronomistic presentation. in the David prophecy. as it appears in Deuteronomy. Solomon.r-.le and 2.St1Idies in Detd"()tJof!{Y 18·5.U.e. yet in the end graciously led by Jahweh through every entanglement.ahweh? . th~s brings ~idence in the first place for a cycle o~ . which was constantly being fulfilled-saving and forgiving.. and that in a double capacity: 1. a man wh~ was many a time ensnared in guilt. 1. will I cause my name to dwell for ever. is wholly made up of sentences of 'the Deut~ron~m. ~J1.I. Perhaps there was something which made it necessary for the temple tradition with its comprehensive cultic content to be brought still more under the aegis of David and so gain fresh authorisation. the DeuterDnomist in fact attributes the form and the course of the histDry of the kingdom of Judah to their mutual creative power. The Deuteronomistic presentation Df the history had tD reckon with both Df these given quantities. This list. 2. Immediately the question arises: But how did it turn out 1 According to the Deuteronomist's writing. judging and destroying. the Deuterollomist for his part was only being true to the tradition given to him. that of the ideal. This quite human plc~re has nDW had a completely independent cycle Df conceptIOns. that. essentially. and who did only (j. 132 ~e meet ~gam the picture of the David who was exemplary ~ obedience. ~e picture has only one conceivable mean:ng: It I~ DaVId.g. but also the prophetic word of promise in the Davidic covenant. He 15 the prototype of the perfectly obedient anointed and therefore th~ model fDr all succeeding kings in J erus~em. tenaCIOUS. namely Deuteronomy!.''J) what was well-pleasing to J. whD walked before Jahweh 'f'jl :l~? t1~f.. But what ~d of ~ David is this. The Messianic cycle of conceptions. and the large place which the Deuteronomist gives this tradition in his work shows that the Deuteronomic tradition had not been able to assert itself in all its .unquestionably it is not the David of the succesSIOn . superi~posed upon it. which I have chosen out of all the tnbes of Israel.. as law.r Jahweh sai~ to David (sir) and his son Solomon: . persevermg and VIgorous in public life but dangero~sly weak in his own household. theoc~atlc DaVId. creating that history. Jahweh's word is active in the history of Judah. Finally. too. In P s. exemplary in obedience. a thoroughly undeuteronomic idea. In this temp.purity. whose heart is perfect with Jahweh.)"It IS hard to say how and where this pictuJ:e ong:tnatecl. and not. had forced its way into it and made itself good. 'the represClltacive concern for maintalning the relation between God and people lies' on the king (Noth. which was obviously very strong.1 Be that as it may. There ~W~§ given to him as a principle creative in history not only the word of Jahweh's curse upon the transgressors of his commandments.

.r: Tbeof.t. he could not. the passage must be interpreted by every reader as an 90 .. the light of David. granted amnesty to king ]ehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. 'Thus the Deutetonomisrslmmw. '1 '!'he verses contain 'a note which allows fOt hope in God's gtace'.~ functionIng of th~ivine word in ~ And so._. Noth in his essay has already cut the ground away ftom verdicts which in the main are absolutely unfair to this historical writing. 77.sents is really a history of tfic creative word of ]ahweh. the settled daily maintenance. • The Deuteronomist makes King Solomon give clear expression to this relation ofcorrespondence between word and history: 'what thou hast promised with thy mouth.\ p \ I I indication that the line of David has not yet come to an irrevocable end. Evil Merodach.l .i'rlJexCJiipTa:iyVitlditywhal' saving history is in the Old Testament: that is'2:-P!~S of hist()ry_wro~hjs... i. _. that we can attribute a special theological significance to the fim.e..' r Kings 8·~4· .-ther-eIleSTn tlu~emendous claim. . in reamy. as well as the fact that in the later monarchical period the Deuteronomist no longer says anything about the saving function of the Nathan promise. Refusal to enter into the great problems of internal politics is not to be explainelL simply as incapacity on the part of the DeuteronomistIWhat the Deuteronomist . but something is justhinted at.. He spoke kindly to him and assigned him a place above the place of the other kings that were with him in Babylon. his life long. and with great reserve. JWhat fascinated him was. had died out for ever.ites" the-ya:rlethmd ind1v~enOmet1a toforrna-wlrGlenililie Slgl1t of God. nor in the vast problems inherent in history. seem to point in this direetion. thou hast fulfilled with thy hand. KOhl. ill our opinion. A. d.~. the king of Babylon. he was the last person to reduce any of the terrible severity of the judgement.~g~~t andsalvaticin'a. n SOlt1so yt~__ f Jahwch which gives continuity and aspiration to the pllffiOmenoiiof history:-Wh1chlI11.oYf~rdsa£ulfilmen. He was allowed to put off his prison clothes and eat constantly at the king's table his life long.!~v_~!1E in iu. a fact from which]abweh can start again.SJyJjes in Deuleron01J!y The Detlterllflomiltif Theology of History in the cnd? Was the word of grace after all the weaker coefficient and was it finally driven from the field of history by the word of judgement? The actual end of the history of the kingdom of Judab.IIY_i?. in the first year of his reign. p.~_ or~ of ]ahweh con~ tinua.:e:. His maintenance. we might say. believe that Jahweh's promise.T.l sentences of the Deuteronomist's work. was certifi~~ to I pjm by the killg.i~... Surely the theological dilemma in which the Deuteronomist finds himself at the end of his work is palpable: on the one hand. but it lies ~plying a few very simple theolo ital and prophetic fi. as mucll as he required. 1. In the thirty-seventh year after the deportation of king Jehoiachh1 of Judah. on the other. nothing is expressed in theological terms here... It is as if the "7 ':791] lost their power to protect as human guilt grew ever greater.JQtmeQJ~Y. the notice about the release of Jehoiachin ftom prison.1I1da~insa1Joutthe 11.nchiirected t. Thus there can be no doubt. nay dared not. .:. To be sure._-~ _. But for all that a happening is mentioned which had the significance of an omen for the Deuteronomist. for a word of Jahweh's uttered hlto history never falls. on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. At all events.The decisive factor for Israel does not ~ in the things which ordillarily cause a sUr in history. ifit be his will.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful