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Chapter 5

It is in here that F&S try to show that Samaria and Judah (Nablus/Shechem and Jerusalem) were always distinct states, and never united under a single “Palestinian state” (my term, not theirs) until the Hasmoneans. As I have admitted in my two non-reviews, F&S are correct (however, this was only shown to be around 2007-8, not before). There is good reason for not supposing a Jerusalem-centered United Monarchy even if one assumes the High Chronology, since the Temple Mount and the City of David were not even connected during the entire Iron IIA (late 10th-9th century BC). However, some evidence F&S use is simply wrong. Shechem was never mentioned in Egypt until the Amarna letters. The MB Hill Country and its city-state system only began after the fall of the Middle Kingdom, not before. The EB hill country situation is a special case, two nameless sites, Tell el-Farah (N) and et-Tell (S) (probably NOT Tirzah and Ai) dominating the N. and S. hill country respectively. This already showed signs of regional divisions, but it cannot be compared to the post-EB situation of a less important Transjordan and and greater focus on political, rather than economic centers in the Hill Country. It is true that the Omride dynasty was always far more powerful than the dynasty of David, however, both had fortifications (Judah had the Temple Mount [assumption], Nasbeh/Mizpah, Lachish IV, Beth-Shemesh, and the Beersheba Valley and Kh. Nahas), Judah’s emerging some decades after the Omrides’, and both had spectacularly little evidence of widespread literacy (something achieved in both regions in the 8th century, Israel, naturally, coming over half a century earlier). F&S’s descriptions of Hazael, the Omrides, and Mesha are accurate.