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The King and the LandA Geography of Royal Power in the Biblical World$
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Stephen C. Russell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199361885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199361885.001.0001

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David’s Threshing Floor

David’s Threshing Floor

On Royal Dedication of Land to the Gods

(p.16) 2 David’s Threshing Floor
The King and the Land

Stephen C. Russell

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 reads the description of David’s purchase of Araunah’s land in 2 Samuel 24 in light of ancient Near Eastern texts depicting royal power over land, especially land sales and land grants. Kings enjoyed administrative rights in all land within their territory, but could not legally seize land from landowners without just cause. Furthermore, kings could dedicate land to their gods. There were two types of land dedication in the ancient Near East: the transfer of administrative rights and of productive rights in land to the god. Literary motifs associated with depictions of both types are found in 2 Samuel 24. The account in 2 Samuel 24 vindicates David as an ancient Near Eastern king who is scrupulous in his dealings with his god.

Keywords:   David, Araunah, land rights, land sale, land grant, book of Samuel, king, ancient Near East

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