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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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Jehu’s Dung Heap

Jehu’s Dung Heap

On Royal Decommissioning of Religious Space

(p.40) 3 Jehu’s Dung Heap
The King and the Land

Stephen C. Russell

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 traces the background of the violent rituals through which Jehu decommissioned Baal’s temple in 2 Kings 10:18–28. These rituals of defilement fall into two distinct groups: some have affinities to Priestly tradition while others have affinities to Deuteronomistic tradition. The chapter also observes a number of grammatical seams, repetitions, and points of narrative tension in 2 Kings 10:18–28. The chapter argues that the narrative is not from the hand of a single scribe but was composed in two distinct stages, which it reconstructs. An earlier independent story described Jehu’s destruction of one temple of Baal. In a second stage, that independent narrative was revised into a tale of complete, national religious purge and was incorporated into the larger story of Jehu’s rise. The chapter closes by comparing the narrative to cult reforms undertaken by two other ancient Near Eastern kings, Sennacherib of Assyria and Nabû-šuma-iškun of Babylonia.

Keywords:   Jehu, Baal, decommissioning, temple, cult reform, Priestly, Deuteronomistic, book of Kings, ritual, violence

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