The Deuteronomistic History and Israel’s Kings

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The perspective of Dtr [Deuteronomistic Historian] is clear: Israelite worship should be centralized. As such, he uses Jeroboam as a literary tool to construct the portraits of and pass judgment on northern kings. As rivals to the Davidic throne, northern kings, are almost always judged negatively. The bad kings are like Jeroboam. The standard by which they are measured has little to do with their comprehensive behavior as kings, but instead is concerned with their actions for and against uncentralized worship and (in)fidelity to the deuteronomistic covenant. This issue becomes of the utmost importance in the eyes of the historian. Despite other kings’ wrongdoing—emptying the temple treasury (Jehoash, 2 Kgs 11:15), warring against the other kingdom (Asa, 1 Kgs 15:16), even idolatry (Omri, 1 Kgs 16:25-26) — for Dtr, Jeroboam remains the evil king par excellence.