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Children in Ancient IsraelThe Hebrew Bible and Mesopotamia in Comparative Perspective$
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Shawn W. Flynn

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198784210.001.0001

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Once a Child, Always a Child

Once a Child, Always a Child

Chapter:
5 (p.172) Once a Child, Always a Child
Source:
Children in Ancient Israel
Author(s):

Shawn W. Flynn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198784210.003.0005

This final chapter is both a conclusion and a brief consideration of one final category in a child’s life. It offers an overview of how children likely functioned in the domestic cult, and thus explores the child’s ongoing role as “child” even into adulthood. This is reinforced by a discussion of delinquency and the consequences for not upholding the domestic context as the child faced growing responsibility. The logic of the child’s domestic-cultic value in the pre-birth stage and as expressed in the material culture of childhood burials is extended to the expectations placed on them to promote the domestic cult. The role of children in the domestic cult forms the basis for one final application of this lens to the biblical text, specifically Ezekiel 16. This final reading leverages various aspects of the entire study, showing that the Hebrew Bible uses the child’s value as a social promotion of YHWH to the domestic cult.

Keywords:   child delinquency, Ezekiel 16, inheritance contracts, YHWH, Hebrew Bible

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