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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reconstructs royal legal history in Iron Age II Israel and Judah. It notes the biblical, inscriptional, and archaeological evidence available to the legal historian, commenting especially on the challenges of working with material in the Books of Samuel and Kings. It treats five major aspects of monarchy and law that emerge from the source material and that have been debated among scholars: constitutional authority, judicial administration, land rights, international relations, and cultic reform. In treating these and some additional minor legal topics, the chapter offers a portrait of the ideal Israelite and Judahite king as both guarantor of justice for his people and himself law-abiding. At several junctures, the chapter observes discrepancies between legal practice and legal ideals that were sometimes widely shared and at other times more narrowly programmatic.

Keywords: legal history, monarchy, constitutional law, Israelite tribes, royal administration, judges, land rights, property law, taxation, international relations, diplomacy, treaty, Neo-Assyrian Empire, cult centralization

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