“Indeed, there was some good in Judah” : the movement of time in 2 Chronicles 10–36.


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The concept of time in Chronicles has largely been ignored. From the 19th through the 20th century, most studies on the notion of time in the Hebrew Bible concern lexical studies, and thus treat Chronicles only in passing. Nevertheless, since the turn of the 21st century, the studies of Ehud Ben Zvi, Gary Knoppers, Kenneth Ristau, and Deirdre Fulton began to identify the complex multifaceted nature of time in Chronicles. This study offers the first monograph-length analysis of how the concept of time contributes to the literary structure and rhetoric of Chronicles. I apply a literary-comparative analysis to the history of Judah in Chronicles (2 Chr 10–36). I identify Jean Jacques-Glassner’s sinusoidal model of time as helpful in discussing how cultures in the ancient Near East perceived time both in linear and cyclical movements. I contend that 2 Chronicles 10–36 reflects a sinusoidal model of time, which combines a linear succession of kings, and a cyclical pattern that alternates between war and cult narratives. While negative kings follow a war-cult narrative sequence, positive kings have a cult-war pattern. I identify six kings who begin their reigns with an account of cultic faithfulness as “reforming kings.” Moreover, these “reforming kings” divide the history of Judah into seven sections. I offer a case study of the first and last cycles.