Conclusion To Recipe for an Empire

Bringing it all together…

We have followed our history from the time of a loosely united tribal nation to 2 well structured kingdoms.

We covered the time from David, the charismatic-warrior-turned-king, to Jezebel, the foreign princess who became a super-queen.

We followed the creations of both Jerusalem and Shomron.

This last part is intended to tie together some of all the information that stretched across great parts of the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.

It is an attempt to draw some parallels and highlight some differences.

It is a beginning.  Please add your insights.

The start of the dynasty:

The Davidic dynasty is started by a charismatic military leader who unifies the people and expands the territory of the state greatly.

The Omrite dynasty is started by the head of the army who is enthroned by the people around him and goes on to defeat his opponent.

A capital without Israelite history:

Both David and Omri decide to create a capital that has no previous Israelite history.  It will be associated with them.  David conquers the city but buys the temple mount.  Omri buys the land of Shomron.

The religious center:

It is very important for David to have the religious center in his capital.  Despite setbacks, he brings the Ark to his city.  He plans a capital that would be as much of the religious center as a political one.  He participates (as perhaps did his sons) in the religious practices.

The northern kingdom has a religious center; the old and venerable Beth El.  But it was never the capital of the state.  During the Omrite dynasty there is an attempt to create a religious center in Shomron… for Baal (perhaps an attempt at a religious reform.) As a state-sponsored religious center, it does not survive into the next dynasty.  Beth El does.

The connection of religion and royalty (a God-chosen dynasty):

David is not only interested in glorifying God in his city, he does his best to create an inseparable link between his dynasty and the national religion.

Jezebel fulfills this function in Shomron.  She is sponsoring the prophets of Baal while hunting down the prophets of Hashem.  Would she have succeeded the Omrite dynasty, too, would have been viewed as god-chosen.

Women in the formative years of the kingdom:

How would Jerusalem have looked like without Bat Sheva influencing events both in David’s and Solomon’s lives?  The relatively new institution of monarchy might not have known what role to give her, but Bat Sheva carved out her own place.

By the time we reach Jezebel the position of the leading female figure has a name: The Gevirah.  But unlike Bat Sheva, Jezebel does not wait for her son to take the throne to reach a position of power. She rules alongside Ahab, shaping the growing kingdom at least as much as her husband did.  Apparently she did not give up her position when her husband died.  Jezebel and Maakha (mother of Aviam?) seem to both stay on, wielding ever greater power.

Women entered the world of the monarchy by marriage.  Both kingdoms made important alliances through marriage: Jezebel, the Phoenician princess, married Ahab.  The daughter of Pharaoh married Solomon, bringing as a dowry several Canaanite towns.

The son, the first great king

Neither David nor Omri got a chance to finish their work.  Both left the rest to a son that would become a great king, developing his father’s work to new levels.  But there were differences:  Omri reigned many fewer years than David, leaving it up to Ahab to firmly position the country as a powerful player in the region. Ahab left behind a strong country.  Solomon received an empire, and lived accordingly.  But he left behind a kingdom that was collapsing under the tax burden and heading towards  a split.

In the long run…

Looking at it from today’s perspective, who came out ahead: David or Omri?  Jerusalem or Shomron?  Why?

End of Course, Go Back To Descriptions

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