Priestly Rites of Elimination and the Holiness Core of 2 Kings 23:4–20

Lauren A. S. Monroe

in Josiah's Reform and the Dynamics of Defilement

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199774166
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897377 | DOI:
Priestly Rites of Elimination and the Holiness Core of 2 Kings 23:4–20

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This chapter first examines unique parallels between 2 Kgs 23 and priestly, apotropaic ritual texts. It then identifies language and interests in 2 Kgs 23 found elsewhere in the Bible only in the priestly Holiness Code (Lev 17–26). Recognizing Holiness interests in the text clarifies several long-standing interpretive cruxes: the repeated emphasis on defilement (טמא); the reading bāmôt hasě'irîm (“high places of the gates”) (23:8); reference to molekh offerings referred to by name (23:10); and the recurrent theme of eradication of bāmôt (“high places”) especially as punishment for transgression. This chapter concludes that 2 Kgs 23 shares its core programmatic interests with the school of priestly thought responsible for the Holiness Code, not with Deuteronomy.

Keywords: apotropaic ritual; Holiness Code; defilement; molekh; high places; Deuteronomy

Chapter.  9001 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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