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Breaking down unity: an analysis of 1 Chronicles 21.1–22.1

Faculty Advisor




book of Chronicles, Bible

Abstract (summary)

This study is a structural and thematic analysis of 1 Chron. 21.1–22.1, and conveys some general observations about its likely communicative intent for the post-exilic community that wrote and received the book of Chronicles. The central argument is that the disunity and conflicts in the core relationships between Yahweh–king, Yahweh–Israel, king–Israel, and king–army in the opening verses of the census narrative, while in tension with the Chronicler’s general tendency to idealize the Urzeit, are actually a key part of the message and purpose of this narrative in Chronicles and for the community of the text. It is argued that the narrative highlights the centrality of Jerusalem, the temple, the cult, and the absolute sovereignty of Yahweh; it circumscribes and nuances the role of David and the monarchy in the ‘history’ of the cult; and it advances particular relational principles for the post-exilic leaders and their community.

Publication Information

Ristau, K. A. (2005). Breaking down unity: An analysis of 1 Chronicles 21.1–22.1. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 30(2), 201-221.


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