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D2 OUDE TESTAMENT, 2001-2002;




Frank Crsemann, Jahwe allein ist Knig - Traditionsgeschichte von 1 Sam 8,7 und 12,12, pp. 73-84 of Der Widerstand gegen das Knigtum Introduction Crsemann states: 1Sam 8, 11-17 describes polemically factual relations of power(s) (72). Cf. I Kings 9:22a, 22b; I Sam 8:17. According to him, the addressees against whom the polemic is directed, are rich Israelite people (peasants). Central verses from I Samuel 8:7 - ~h,yle[]

%OlM.mi Wsa]m:( ytIao ~k,yheloa? hw:(hy.w:

12:12 - ~k,K.l.m:

A pre-Dtr tradition The Dtr-Dtn reform-conception, with its strong kingship-critical tendency, could not use the title of king for Jahwe. So in Dtn-Dtr thought the image of Jahwe as king is wholly strange (74). Yet, Dtr doesnt follow the alternative posed in the two texts cited above: either a mundane king or Jahwe as heavenly king; finally Dtr accepts, though critically, mundane kingship in Israel. So in verses 8:7 and 12:12 we probably have a pre-Dtr tradition. Whether this tradition was once part of the socio-critically arguing layer in I Sam 8 and 12, is for now still a question. Speaking of God as king The title king is in no way an original part of the faith in Jahwe, but a relatively late description, which arose from the cultural environs of Israel. In this environment, however, the divine king is absolutely no contradiction to the human king on the contrary: both belong together (75). According to Crsemann, this goes predominantly for Egypt and Ugarit. So speaking of Jahwe as the only king seems to be typical for an Israelite theological tradition. Roots of the Jahwe-as-king tradition The religious centre of talk of Jahwe as king was, of course, the temple cult at Jerusalem. Here, Jahwe was honoured as highest god, king of the gods, king of the world, but also as the king of Israel, and of the individuum. This talk had its roots in 1

Jebusite, pre-Davidic traditions. The same applies to the linking of this language with old-Israelite traditions, especially that of the Ark of Jahwe ( I Sam 6). Other HB-texts about kingship There are three further passages, which might help us a little further: Judges 8:22f, Deuteronony 33:5 and Numbers 23:21. I: JUDGES 8 Jdgs 8:22f is a text, which, according to Crsemann, who pays not much attention to it, [a text which] consciously ignores the concept of king (75). In it we find a contrast of Jahwes kingship with kingly, earthly reigning:
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon: You, rule over us - you, and your son, and the son of your son also: for you have delivered us from the power of Midian. And Gideon said to them: I wont rule over you, nor shall my son: the Lord shall rule over you.

II: NUMBERS 23-24 Further, in the order which Crsemann has, the book of Numbers requires our attention. According to Crsemann, the materials of chapter 24 are older than those of chapter 23, especially the speeches, so we start with chapter 24. It contains two main speeches by Balaam: 1) vv. 3-9, and 2) vv. 15-19. In these speeches we find allusions to the kings Saul (v.7) and David (v.17f.). In Balaam s first speech in ch. 24 intervention for Israel. the victory of king Saul over Agag is central to Jahwes Balaams second speech in this chapter is a glorification of

David and his political sucess. Now we can look to chapter 23 especially verse 21. This chapter evokes clearly another picture. The speech-texts at least seem to be younger than those in chapter 24. In Nmb 23 we have two speeches, delivered by Balaam: 1) vv. 7-10, and 2) vv. 18- 24. The earthly king doesnt play a role, the unassailability of Israel is exclusively and directly traced to Jahwe himself to his blessing (vv.8.20), his action (v.23b), and his presence. For the decisive factor for Israels security is described in verse 21b as 2


Jahwe, his God, is with him (

wOM[i) and %l,m, t[;Wrt. in his midst. (transl.: FCr)

The Lord, their (= the Israelites) God protects them; he is their celebrated king. ( Groot Nieuws Bijbel , 1986)

Therefore, Israel cant be struck neither by undebatable that

!w<a;( nor



It is nearly

%l<m< means Jahwe in this text.

Traditio-historically, Nmb 23 is ascribed by Crsemann to E, because it sees Jahwe as Israels one and exclusive king; and it is identified as a pre-exilic text, whereas chapter 24 is acscribed to J, because it sees the earthly king as decisive for Israels security.


Moses issued for us the Law; it is a rich possession for the community of Israel. The people got a king when its leaders gathered and the tribes of Israel came together.

In my Groot Nieuws Bijbel (1986), verses 4 and 5 are placed between verse 1 and 2. Apparently, the position of these verses in the beginning of this chapter in MT is difficult to approve of. But I wont dwell with this question; I shall only summarize Crsemanns view. Crsemann sees verses 2-5 and 26-29 as the Rahmenpsalm: the Mose-Segen. Verses 6-25 are the Stmmesprche. Now I mention some obervations of Crsemanns: Verse 4(a) is probably a gloss. Neither in vv.6-25, nor in vv.26-29 is there any mention of kingship. In the Rahmenpsalm the way of reasoning runs as follows: *Jahwe comes from Sinai in a theophany; *in vv. 3.(4b).26f his relation to Israel is described; here,

^r,z.[,b. gives the tone; *the result of Jahwes relation with Israel is Israels xj:B, (v.28); this security is the theme of the last verses of ch. 33.

So, the mention of some earthly king in verse 5 is not integrated in our chapter, so it must be secondary, together with verse 4a. But, says Crsemann, this requires assumptions which are too complicated. So there is no other possibility than this, that in verse 5 we have a reference to the kingship of Jahwe. Theologically, this verse could be a conscious anti-image for the rise of the first Israelite kingdoms (82), especially those of Saul and David. It states that Jahwe is the only legitimate and superior king of Israel. This contradicts overtly the kingship traditions from Jerusalem.

This view we have already discerned in Nmb 23. But also on other points can we find similarities between these chapters from Numbers and Deuteronomy : *the image of Israels living apart from the surrounding nations ( Dt 33:28, Nmb 23:9), referring to a period pre-dating Davids inclusion of Canaanite cities and other non-Israelite territories in Israel; *pre-monarchial traditions: theopany, Sinai- and Exodus-traditions; *the image of Israel as a tribal people.

These texts could thus safely be dated after the formation of the monarchial state more precisely: the Salomonic period and before the collapse of the Northern Empire.

A central point of attention in this discussion should be that the concept of (Jahwe s) kingship is to be intimately linked with Israels political security.