Agents of Exaltation Monotheism, Divine Supremacy, and Focal Institutions in the Book of Chronicles Open Access

Lynch, Matthew Jeremy (2012)

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Agents of Exaltation
Monotheism, Divine Supremacy, and Focal Institutions in the Book of Chronicles

Despite the ceaseless flood of publications on the origins of monotheism, and its
alleged "refinement" in the exilic period, attention to the varieties
and functions of monotheistic discourse in the Persian/early Hellenistic period literature is
scant by comparison. I contend that this is due, in part, to scholarly assumptions that
monotheism necessitated a departure from the particularist commitments to institutions that
defined Israel's life as a nation in the land. This study questions
such assumptions through an investigation of the book of Chronicles, a work with clear
monotheistic rhetoric and clear particularist commitments to Israel's temple, priesthood, and
kingship. My primary questions are, in what kind of theological world does monotheistic rhetoric emerge
in the book of Chronicles? How does Chronicles conceive the interrelation and interaction between Yhwh qua
supreme deity and Israel's particularist commitments to the temple, priesthood, and kingship?
I suggest that (a) Chronicles depicts a highly integrated divine and
institutional world, such that (b) expressions of divine supremacy and sole divinity have
correlate expressions and manifestations in Israel's focal institutions (the temple, priesthood,
and Davidic king).
To argue this, I investigate the nature of monotheizing processes in the book of Chronicles. By monotheizing processes, I refer to
the various means by which Chronicles expresses and creates the conditions for the
expression of Yhwh's oneness and absolute distinctiveness. Monotheism and divine exaltation are part of a
mutually reinforcing dynamic between Yhwh and Israel's focal institutions (the temple,
priesthood, and kingship). This study also attends to ways that Chronicles
expresses and navigates tensions between divine supremacy and the institutional flaws that
were part of Israel's history. As such, it also challenges another scholarly perspective that
sees monotheism-institutional relationships as only fatal in Israel's thinking and experience.
Chronicles avoids claiming an intrinsic or necessary connection
between divine supremacy and Israel's institutions, but maintains vigorously its ongoing
possibility. My study thus recovers a notion of the participation of institutions in divine
reality by focusing on the idea that supposedly severed their bond-monotheism.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Introduction 1

I. Divine-Institutional Interactions and the Study of

Monotheism 3

II. Thesis Questions and Statement 14

III. A Brief History of Research on Monotheism in Chronicles 15

IV. Defining and Conceptualizing Monotheism 19

A. Divine Oneness 21

B. Divinity 22

C. Divine Existence 24

D. Toward a Conception of Monotheism 25

V. An Approach to Understanding Monotheism and its

Application to Chronicles 30

A. Modes of Monotheizing 31

B. Configurations of Divine Exaltation 38

1. Homological Configurations 40

2. Homologies in Chronicles 45

C. Rhetoric of Exaltation 46

D. Summary of an Approach to Divine Exaltation and its

Application to Chronicles 51

VI. Literary Considerations 52

VII. Historical Considerations 56

A. Population and Economic Collapse 59

B. Religious Distinctiveness in Yehud? 61

C. Yahwistic Diversity 63

D. Non-Yahwistic Diversity in Yehud and its Environs 67

E. Persian Imperium 68

VIII. Limitations 72

IX. Shape of the Study 73


I. Functional Participation: Yhwh's Exclusive Temple and the

Disappearance of Syncretism 78

A. Saul's Reign 82

B. Solomon's Reign 85

C. Athaliah's Reign 90

D. Joash's Reign 91

E. Ahaz's Reign 92

F. Hezekiah's Reign 97

G. Manasseh's Reign 97

H. Josiah's Reign 101

I. Conclusions 105

II. Qualitative Participation 107

A. Solomon's Exchange with Huram Part I: Yhwh's Fame

(2 Chr 1:18-2:17[2:1-18]). 109

B. Solomon's Exchange with Huram Part II: Idol Polemic

(2 Chr 1:18-2:17) 114

III. Material Participation: The Jerusalem Temple and Divine

Initiative 127

IV. Chapter Conclusions 141

EXCURSUS: The Temple as a Divine Image 143


I. Introduction to Priests in Chronicles 148

II. The Divine Election, Selection (by Lot), and Design of the

Priesthood 157

A. Divine Election 158

B. Divine Selection by Lot 160

C. Divine Design 160

III. The Priesthood's Inaugural Hymn (1 Chr 16:8-36) 163

A. Paradigmatic Duties 163

B. Paradigmatic Hymn 165

1. "Beyond all gods" 168

2. "Hand-made gods" 169

3. "But Yhwh made the heavens" 171

4. "Before him … in his place" 172

5. "Transferring" wealth to the One King 175

6. The Sanctuary as the Locus of the Supreme God 176

7. Conclusions 177

IV. Divine Fullness and Perpetuity: 2 Chr 2 Revisited 178

V. Jeroboam's Revolt and its Cultic Implications 183

A. Part I: The Formation of the Kingdom of Judah

(2 Chr 11:13-17) 183

B. Part II: Abijah's Polemic against the Kingdom of Israel

(2 Chr 13:4-12) 189

1. Human-made Priesthoods 192

2. A Priesthood Like the Nations' 197

C. Conclusions 198

VI. Cult Reforms and Priestly Appointments 200

A. Asa's Reforms (2 Chr 15) 201

B. Jehoshaphat's Reforms (2 Chr 17, 19) 205

C. Athaliah's Reign and Jehoiada's Reform

(2 Chr 22:10-23:21) 207

D. Hezekiah's Reforms and Ceremony (2 Chr 29-31) 210

E. Josiah's Reform (2 Chr 35) 214

F. Conclusions 219

VII. Levites as Divine Vanguard and Heralds of Yhwh's Presence

(2 Chr 20) 220

A. Vanguard Motif 221

B. Levitical Ark-Bearing and Musical Duties 225

1. Levitical Music as the Logical Extension of

Ark-Bearing 225

2. The Levitical Vanguard in 2 Chr 20 231

C. Conclusions 236

VIII. Chapter Conclusions 238


I. The Supreme King: Davidic Devotion and the Practices of

Monotheism 244

A. David's Devotion to the Ark 244

B. David's Last Will and Testament (1 Chr 29:10-19) 247

C. Conclusions 252

II. Participation: Shared Human and Divine Kingship 254

A. Davidic Participation in Divine Kingship 254

1. David Exalted as Military Commander 254

2. The Davidic Covenant and/as the Revelation of

Yhwh's Sole Divinity (1 Chr 17:16b-27) 257

3. Co-recipient of Worship? 265

B. Solomonic Participation in Divine Kingship 268

C. Davidic-Solomonic Rule: Synthetic and Summary

Reflections 276

D. Post-Solomonic Participation in Divine Kingship 278

1. Jehoshaphat 279 2. Hezekiah 285

III. Differentiating Human and Divine Rule 291

IV. Chapter Conclusions 296


I. Modes of Monotheizing 303

II. Configurations of Divine Exaltation 306

III. Rhetoric of Exaltation 315



I. The Nation and Monotheism 318

A. Samuel-Kings 318

B. Chronicles 325

II. Monotheism and Divine Presence in/at the Temple 326

A. Samuel-Kings 326

B. Chronicles 330

III. The Geography of Monotheism 335

A. Samuel-Kings 335

B. Chronicles 338

IV. Summary of Comparison 340

A. Samuel-Kings 340

B. Chronicles 341


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