Rehoboam’s Cities

According to 2 Chronicles 11, Rehoboam built cities for the defense of Judah in this order (sites fully published and properly excavated in bold, not fully published or improperly excavated in italics):

Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-Zur

Socoh, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah,

Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Ajalon,

and Hebron.

Now, clearly, these fortresses do not date to Rehoboam’s time, since Beth-Zur was not occupied in Iron IIa. Nadav Na’aman has correlated the list with Hezekiah’s reign (based on lmlk impression distribution), Finkelstein, John Hyrcanus. It is known Mareshah was fortified in Hyrcanus’s time, and was an important site in Hezekiah’s. The same goes for Beth-Zur. Lachish, meanwhile, was barely inhabited in the days of Hyrcanus. By the order of the list, Gath is most likely Tel Goded, which had fortunes similar to those of Mareshah. Adoraim, however, is only mentioned in Hasmonean-era texts.

It seems the list dates from a combination of periods; the Chronicler might have used three or two seperate lists, or, more likely, he merely added Lachish to Azekah (or, possibly, both Lachish and Azekah) to explain the fact both were fortified cities in Jeremiah 34:7, and the Primary History did not ascribe any king to its (or their) fortification. Since Solomon would, in the Hasmonean interpolator’s eyes, be unlikely to fortify cities in Judah, the Chronicler merely ascribed this list to the next king in line.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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