Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jesus and the Restoration of the Davidic Kingdom (2.2.2. Restoring the Davidic Ideal: Pan-Israelite Restoration)

2. A Pan-Israelite Kingdom. Part and parcel of the vision of the restoration was the pan-Israelite hope—which also evoked the memory of the Davidic kingdom.[1] Of course, other kings had arisen in Israel. Yet, they were far from ideal. Abimelech is condemned in Jotham’s parable (Judg 9:7-20) and dies in disgrace, his “crime” having been “requited” by God ( Judg 9:56). His reign was most likely limited to the Josephite tribes (cf. Judg 9). Saul, who was also king, was also rejected by God (cf. 1 Sam 16:1) and failed to complete the liberation of Israel from their enemies (cf. 1 Sam 14:52; 31:1-7).

As we saw in the last section, it was under David that Israel achieved “rest” from all their enemies (2 Sam 7:2). Moreover, it was only under him and Solomon that Israel lived as unified, pan-Israelite kingdom.[2] After Solomon, the northern tribes broke away from the southern kingdom (“the house of Judah”) and formed their own kingdom, often called the “house of Israel” or “the house of Ephraim.” The pan-Israelite hope of restoration therefore often most frequently expressed in this terminology, which clearly evoked the memory of “the unity of Israel and Judah which existed in the days of David and Solomon.”[3] Not surprisingly, this language is also reflected in the Qumran scrolls (cf. CD 5:10-21 citing Isa 7 and Amos 5:26-27).[4] David, the one who had defeated the Gentiles and achieved “rest,” is therefore depicted once again in eschatological visions as the one establishing the twelve tribes in peace.[5]

[1] See above discussion of Meier.
[2] David Ravens, Luke and the Restoration of Israel (JSOT Supplement Series 119; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 62.
[3] Aune, “Restoration in Ancient Jewish Literature,” 159. Aune cites Isa 49:6-7; Jer 31:10-11; Isa 43:5-7; cf. 43:1; Ezek 37:21; Zeph 3:20; cf. 3:14; Sir 48:10; Isa 11:11-13; Ezek 37:15-19; Zech 10:6.
[4] The ingathering of the tribes is also associated with a shepherd, whom Ezek. 37:24 identifies as David, who was in fact a shepherd (cf. 1 Sam 16:11). This is also paralleled at Qumran: “And you chose the land of Judah, and established your covenant with David so that he would be like a shepherd, a prince over your people…” (4Q504 4:5-7).
[5] This is reflected in both the Psalms of Solomon and Qumran, where the Davidic “Prince of the Congregation” leads Israel in eschatological battle. Of course, it is also in the biblical tradition (e.g., Isa 11:4).

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