Hezekiah and the Dialogue of Memory

Hezekiah and the Dialogue of Memory

Song-Mi Suzie Park
Copyright Date: 2015
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  • Book Info
    Hezekiah and the Dialogue of Memory
    Book Description:

    Hezekiah is a critical figure in the Hebrew Bible, which credits him with major political, social, and religious reforms in Judah’s history and the weathering of a major crisis in the invasion of the Assyrians under their emperor, Sennacherib. Examining the different accounts of Hezekiah’s reign in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah, Song-Mi Suzie Park describes a “Hezekiah complex” that developed over a long time, in which the figure of Hezekiah served as a symbol for the vicissitudes of Judah’s history. The king could be understood as a positive reformer of the “pagan” ways of the country, or as a sinner, at least partly responsible for the threats and disasters that befell Judah, from Sennacherib’s invasion through the Babylonian exile more than a century later. By showing how the stories about Hezekiah developed over time through a process of response and counterresponse, forming at the end a dialogue of memory, Park elucidates the ways in which biblical stories in general function as loci of continual dialogue, dispute, and discussion.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-9434-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    Jerusalem was about to fall. The Assyrian army stood ready at the city’s gates. It had been sent by Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, in 701 bce to wrest back control of his territories in the aftermath of a collective uprising of vassal states in the Levant. As it ravaged the towns in the outlying Judean countryside, it gradually made its way to the center, to Jerusalem. In Judah’s capital city, Hezekiah, a descendent of David, ruled as king. Some speculate that Hezekiah, who came to power sometime in the eighth century,¹ might have been the leader and instigator of...

  6. 1 The Beginning of Hezekiah’s Reign and Sennacherib’s Attack in 2 Kings 18:1—19:9
    (pp. 19-78)

    In order to begin our delineation of the redactional process that led to the mixed biblical tradition about Hezekiah, we first have to determine where to begin our study: Which narrative initiated the series of address and redress that underlies the development of the Hezekiah complex? This chapter will show that 2 Kgs. 18:1–12, which acts as a bridge between the pericope about the fall of the North in 2 Kings 17 and the subsequent narratives in the Hezekiah complex, especially the story of the Assyrian attack, is the natural and logical starting point of the complex. Once we...

  7. 2 The Continuation of the Hezekiah Complex in 2 Kings 19:9b—20:19: Source B2, The Tale of Illness, and the Visit of the Envoys
    (pp. 79-132)

    As we have seen in the preceding chapter, the dialogue concerning Hezekiah, reflected in the biblical stories about this figure, resulted from a series of responses and counter-responses. In particular, Source B1, in responding to the unresolved questions in 2 Kgs. 18:1–12, affirmed the reliability of royal theology, but did so incompletely. This sense of insecurity about the theology was further exacerbated with the addition of Source A during the time of Josiah. As we will elucidate in this chapter, the space opened up by the addition of Source A led to further supplementation of the Hezekiah complex in...

  8. 3 The Hezekiah Complex in Isaiah 36–39
    (pp. 133-196)

    Our delineation of the Hezekiah complex thus far has assumed that it was originally situation in the book of 2 Kings and only later borrowed and inserted into the book of Isaiah. This chapter will examine in detail the evidence and argumentation for the priority of the context in 2 Kings. In so doing, we will also elucidate the changes made by the Isaianic editor to the earlier version of the Hezekiah complex in the Deuteronomistic History. By slight alterations to the narratives about Hezekiah and by the particular placement of the complex, the Isaianic editor purposefully reshaped the prior...

  9. 4 The Hezekiah Complex in 2 Chronicles 29–32
    (pp. 197-254)

    Continuing our delineation of the redactional development of the Hezekiah complex, we now turn to an examination of the narratives about this figure in 2 Chronicles. The most noticeable change in the Chronistic version is the idealized portrayal of Hezekiah, and the concomitant reduction of the assertion-and-doubt pattern that was present in the complex in 2 Kings. Varying theological and historical motivations underlie these changes. Namely, by the time of the Chronicler, Hezekiah’s reign was viewed retrospectively as one of the high points of Israelite history¹— a period in which the divine promises of salvation were made manifest. As a...

  10. 5 Conclusion
    (pp. 255-264)

    Two questions provoked our examination of the dialogue of memories about King Hezekiah reflected in the biblical narrative: Why are there so many stories about Hezekiah in the Hebrew Bible? And why do these stories portray the king in a contrasting manner? In order to address these questions, this study has traced and analyzed two types of literary developments. The first development concerned the redactional growth of the stories about Hezekiah in the Hebrew Bible: Why and how did the story of Sennacherib’s 701 attack, the story of Hezekiah’s illness, and the story of the visit of the Babylonian envoys...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-300)
  12. Index
    (pp. 301-318)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 319-319)