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To what do the phrases [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] refer? The scholarly literature yields two very different answers to this question. On the one hand, it is commonly asserted that "bamoth-houses" were buildings of a more or less utilitarian function sometimes associated with bamah precincts or platforms. (1) This assertion is not in itself implausible: the fullest description of a "bamah" (so named) in the biblical record (1 Sam 9:1-10:9) represents a sanctuary complex that includes a roofed structure (called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 9:22) in which a sacral meal is eaten. On the other hand, most commentators maintain that the biblical occurrences of these phrases refer to "local shrines" without any architectural specificity. (2) How these seemingly mutually exclusive meanings are to be reconciled is not apparent, and the proponents of these views have generally passed over this question in silence. (3) Indeed, the most recent discussions of the bamah phenomenon pay little or no attention to these phrases. (4) These phrases ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is not attested) occur a total of five times in the Kings History and only in conjunction with (North-)Israel. This extremely limited distribution is all the more remarkable in view of the fact that several of these passages are obviously interrelated. 2 Kgs 23:19 reports that after attacking the sanctuary at Bethel (vv. 15-18) Josiah turned his attention elsewhere: "and even all [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the cities of Samaria which the kings of Israel had made to infuriate [Yahweh] Josiah removed, and he did to them everything that he had done in Bethel." This passage records the fulfillment of the prediction of the ill-fated man-of-god from Judah as represented by the wily old prophet from Bethel (1 Kgs 13:32): "for the word which he proclaimed by the word of Yahweh against the altar in Bethel and against all [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the cities of Samaria will come to pass." Two other passages pertain to the foreign peoples whom the king of Assyria is said to have settled in the north after the fall of Samaria. According to 2 Kgs 17:29: "each nationality was making [or: worshiping] (5) its gods and they installed (6) [them] in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] which the Samarians had made, each nationality in their cities where they were living." To teach the newcomers "the proper manner [i.e., the cultus] of the god of the land," who had loosed lions upon them, the king of Assyria is said to have repatriated one of the exiled Israelite priests who settled in Bethel (vv. 26-28). (7) Accordingly (v. 32): "they [also] were fearing Yahweh, and they made for themselves from their own number (8) bamoth-priests and [these priests] were officiating (9) for them in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]." This last passage, in turn, is linguistically and conceptually tied to the fifth occurrence (1 Kgs 12:31 + 32b): "and [Jeroboam ben Nebat] made [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and he made priests from among the people who were not Levites; ... and he stationed (10) in Bethel the bamoth-priests whom he had made."

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22 décembre
Society of Biblical Literature

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