YMMV / Books of Kings

  • One-Scene Wonder: Josiah, king of Judah. His destruction of idols and sanctuaries of other gods in Judah is epic, he even destroys altars and statues that previous reformers had left in place, and which had been standing since the time of Solomon. He also recovers the Mosaic law and celebrates the first Passover in centuries. The chapters discussing his reign are like the muster of Patroclus in The Iliad, where he succeeds so well that he verges on changing fate; but God has already made up his mind. God informs him that he's very impressed with what he accomplished, but Israel will still be destroyed; but God will wait until after Josiah is dead for it to happen.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Omri and his son Ahab are mostly dismissed as evil failures in the books of Kings and Chronicles, though what secular historical records we have from them indicate Israel's neighbors had rather a different opinion of them. (Assyria in particular referred to Israel as "Omriland" during his reign.) In terms of foreign policy and diplomacy, they were highly esteemed and successful, and (by most accounts) popular with their subjects as well. Whether you accept that they were the bad guys depends on whether you believe in God's religious mandates as laid out elsewhere in The Bible or not: allying with other nations at the time required at least nominally accepting their gods as your own, and the believing priests and prophets writing these accounts certainly were justified to condemn kings who did so for their idolatry. One who doesn't believe God was guiding Israel might see what Ahab and Omri (and other Israelite Kings before and after them) did as necessary, good, or even laudable for diplomatically assuring their nation's survival in the presence of its more powerful neighbors. One thing acknowledged in these books and in some of the contemporary prophets is that Jehu's slaughter of Ahab's entire family did throw foreign relations into chaos, and the archeological discovery of Assyria's Black Obelisk that shows Jehu paying tribute to Assyria for protection indicates his purging of idolatry from Israel came at a high price.

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