Geographical and Historical Observations on the old North Israelite Gideon tale in Judges

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In this paper we deal with the Gideon story in the Book of Judges. We first propose identification of the different layers in the text: the old, heroic North Israelite tale; the work of the North Israelite author (of the «Book of Saviors») who put the story in writing in the first half of the 8th century; and Deuteronomistic and post-Deuteronmistic layers. We then reconstruct the old tale and deal with its geographical and historical stage-settings. Geographically, the old tale describes events which commence in the territory of the clan of Abiezer, west-southwest of Shechem. The actual confrontation takes place near Shechem and the Midianites are chased to the Jordan Valley somewhere north of Succoth (the association of the story with the Jezreel Valley is a result of a misunderstanding by a post-Deuteronomistic author). The leaders of the enemy are then pursued in the Gilead, to the area of Rabbah. Historically, the story may preserve memories of incidents that took place before the rise of the Northern Kingdom, perhaps in the 10th century BCE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2017


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