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The woman from Tekoa (2 Sam. 14) and the character of judicial wisdom in Ancient Israel

Johnson, Dylan. R. 2023. The woman from Tekoa (2 Sam. 14) and the character of judicial wisdom in Ancient Israel. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 48 (1) , pp. 50-68. 10.1177/03090892231170645

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Through the lens of comparative legal history, this study re-examines the story of the Wise Woman of Tekoa (2 Sam. 14.2–24) as a narrativized legal petition—an ancient Near Eastern epistolary sub-genre known from cuneiform and alphabetic inscriptions. This brief juridical parable offers a unique account of justice and adjudication largely independent of its ideological depiction in the Pentateuchal law codes, making it a critical text in the study of biblical law. In particular, it evokes two distinct forms of judicial wisdom in the context of legal self-help and royal adjudication. By comparing and contrasting this parable with other texts dealing with similar themes, I outline the diverse ways that biblical writers explained the intersections of law, wisdom, and justice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0309-0892
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 3 April 2023
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2023 07:38

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