Josiah and the Priests of the High Places (2 Kings 23: 8a, 9)

Ernest Nicholson

in Deuteronomy and the Judaean Diaspora

Published in print January 2014 | ISBN: 9780198702733
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191772313 | DOI:
Josiah and the Priests of the High Places (2 Kings 23: 8a, 9)

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The key text in the title is re-examined, and it is argued that the widely accepted interpretation of it is based upon a misreading of the Hebrew of v. 9, which does not state that the rural priests, whose altars Josiah is said to have banned, were relocated to Jerusalem but narrates rather that they remained resident in their neighbourhood communities, that is, among ‘their brethren’, which cannot therefore refer to the priests of Jerusalem. This calls for an alternative understanding of Josiah’s action towards these priests in v. 8a. It is further argued that the use of the term ‘brethren’, which has a distinctively Deuteronomic ring to it, suggests that v. 9, and with it v. 8a, is a secondary editorial insertion into an earlier account into which, indeed, it introduces some incoherence. The notion of cult centralization is probably a development of the exilic period.

Keywords: centralization; Hebrew; Josiah; Jerusalem; brethren; priests

Chapter.  11028 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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