“The sins of Jeroboam”: The Religious Responsibility of the Israelite Kings

**Exciting news! I’m currently in the process of launching an online course exploring the Second Temple Period—including the blank page between Testaments—expected to launch this September. If you’re interested in more information or early registration, please fill out the form at the bottom of this post. (Updated July 24, 2020)**

Without doubt, the emergence of the monarchy in Israel precipitated a dramatic shift in Yahwist religion. Under the Davidic kingship, the previously tribal-based religion was transformed into an increasingly systematized state cult that formed the basis of monarchial legitimization. This process climaxed under Solomon with the establishment of the Temple in Jerusalem, which served as an exclusive cultic centre located in the heart of the kingdom’s political power base. Ultimately, this change led to the emergence of an “official theology of king and temple propagated by the court officials and priests of the state sanctuary, and second a theology of resistance supported by political and religious opposition groups frequently oriented in Yahweh religion from the time before the state” (Albertz, 105). Despite the probable existence of such resistance groups, the king of Israel, wielding both political and religious authority, was nonetheless without rival within the confines of his own state.  

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Blank Page: The Ptolemies in Judaea

Alexander the Great is dead. His glorious empire has fractured. Jerusalem is ruled by the Ptolemies. Spanning the fourth and third centuries BC (approximately 301 to 200 BC), the Ptolemaic dynasty in Judaea is fraught with conflict.

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Blank Page: From Ezra to Alexander

The Old Testament dwindles to silence so innocuously, so subtly, that it almost closes without notice. The year is circa 430 BC and all has been set aright: the children of Israel have begun to return from Persian exile; the Temple has been rebuilt, albeit ingloriously; the Law has been reestablished; and a portion of Jerusalem’s wall has been reconstructed.

Welcome to the Second Temple period, where the Old Testament ends and the blank page begins.

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