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The Last Words of David (2 Samuel 23:1-7) in the Light of the Royal Prophecy

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2018, 24(1), pp.76-102
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2018.24.1.76
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : January 15, 2018
  • Accepted : February 1, 2018

Dong-Young Yoon 1

1서울장신대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The present paper purports to study the “Last Words of David” (2 Samuel 23:1-7) in the light of the royal prophecy. The prophetic constituents and thoughts that occur in the “Last Words of David” are similar those of the royal prophecy of Neo-Assyria. In the ancient Near East, the king was a key figure in the social system. When the legitimacy of the kingship was questioned, the king had to take special measures. The royal prophecy was concerned on the safety and well-being of the king and the stability of the kingship. As a result, the kings gathered these prophecies and used them to support the authority and the authenticity of the kingship. The “Last Words of David” also contains the elements of the royal prophecy. In the “Last Words of David”, the expectation for the salvation and the eternal covenant are described in the form of David’s last testament. It also includes a promise of blessing to the just king. The royal prophecy, proclaimed to or by David, consists of the nucleus of the Last Words of David. Therefore, it has been assumed that David’s last words is an extension of the original royal prophecy. David conveys divine message to his descendants in the form of the last testament. It has been contested that the Israelite royal ideology is rooted in the “Last Words of David.” Some of them even avers that the royal ideology reflected in Nathan’s prophecy (2 Samuel 7) was shaped by David’s last words. The period of which these were written are still is in discussion, however, there is one obvious point. Both of these texts containing the royal ideology have been delivered in the form of a prophecy. It is not a coincidence that the royal ideology was presented in the framework of prophecy. This is to emphasize that the royal ideology of ​the kingdom of David is not made of human thought or maneuver but is God’s will. The empires in the ancient Near East ursurped the royal ideology for strengthening their kingship and for expanding their territories. However, God opposes the abuse and the occupation of the weak by using the principle of royal ideology. He expects to do righteous reigns that fear God.

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