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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(D9) The Story about Joash that Was Told, but Not in the Right Place

Prof. Oded Lipschits

Joash the king of Israel was marked in the eyes of the Judean scribes, because he was the only one of the kings of Israel who captured the king of Judah on the battlefield, who conquered a city in Judah and destroyed parts of the wall of Jerusalem. Despite the information the historiographer had about Joash’s successes, as someone who was close to the prophet Elisha, as someone in whose days Israel was freed from the yoke of Aram Damascus, and most importantly – as someone who won a complete victory in the war against Judah, they refused to give him the credit and insert these stories into the frame formulae about the days of his reign. They got the idea for this from the decision to insert the set of Elisha stories in the days of Ahaziah, son of Ahab, in accordance with the ancient prophetic source that they inserted within the historiographical description, and which linked Elijah and Elisha to each other as two prophets who acted in sequence one after the other. In a similar way, the historian placed the story of Elisha’s death after Joash’s final formula, even though it was a central part of the story, and also placed the story of Joash’s victory within the story of the defeated Judean king Amaziah and not within the story of the victorious Israeli king.

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