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The Coup of Jehoiada and the Fall of Athaliah: The Discourses and Textual Production of 2 Kings 11 Open Access


Other title
2 Kings 10
1 Kings 21
Hebrew Bible
2 Chronicles 22-23
Politics of Descent
2 Kings 9
2 Kings 11
1 Kings 11
1 Kings 14
Norman Fairclough
Discourse Analysis
2 Samuel 7
1 Kings 12
1 Kings 22
2 Kings 12
1 Kings 15
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bench, Clayton H.
Supervisor and department
Lifshitz, Felice (Women's and Gender Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Braun, Willi (History and Classics)
Koenig, Sarah (Biblical Studies)
Seely, David (Religious Education)
Westerman, Richard (Sociology)
Gow, Andrew (History and Classics)
Religious Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The general purpose of this study is to explore the discourses that guided and constrained the textual production and reproduction of 2 Kings 11, the report of Jehoiada’s coup and Athaliah’s execution. The specific aim of this study is to determine how and why Athaliah’s execution was not incorporated into the Deuteronomistic History the same way that other Ahabite death reports were incorporated into it. In 1 Kings 14-2 Kings 10, there is a fairly consistent literary framework composed of prophetic oracles against Israelite kings, conspiracy/coup reports, and oracle fulfillment reports. However, in 2 Kings 11, Athaliah’s execution is not reported along with an oracle fulfillment report as was the case with other Ahabite death reports. Approaching 2 Kings 11 from a discourse critical perspective shows that the Jehoiada’s coup and Athaliah’s execution were not initially a part of the Deuteronomistic History; rather, 2 Kings 11 was initially produced as a basic coup report. As can be seen from an analysis of the interdiscursivity and intertextuality of 2 Kings 11, once this text was finally incorporated into the deuteronomist’s historical framework, 2 Kings 11 was successively redacted and reproduced in Late Monarchic Judah and Persian Period Yehud. The discourses that guided and constrained this process of production and reproduction were concerned with Joash’s dynastic legitimacy and the legitimacy of the Jerusalem-centered Yahweh cult. As a result, Athaliah’s Israelite heritage and her short period of rule in Jerusalem had to be delegitimized. Those producing and reproducing the text within this discursive framework attempted to mystify Athaliah’s genealogy. They also reported her reign outside of the normal formulaic regnal structure so as to skip and delegitimize her reign. In doing so, the connection between Ahaziah and his son, Joash, was strengthened creating a sense of continuity between the two, an important element of Davidic royal ideology. This study shows that the discourses that influenced the production and reproduction of 2 Kings 11 were Judahite-centered discourses concerned with retelling Judah’s history within an oracular framework. Nathan’s oracle to David (2 Samuel 7) and the prophetic oracles against Israelite kings in 1 Kings 14-2 Kings 10 played a central role in determining how Jehoiada’s coup and Athaliah’s execution would be reported as compared to other coups and death reports in 1 Kings 14-2 Kings 10.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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