An Inner Biblical Exegetical Study of the Davidic Covenant and the Dynastic Oracle

Author: Gakuru, Griphus
The Davidic covenant is one of the most controversial theological themes in the Old Testament. Its problems concern the literary and theological relationships among the texts that express it, especially with regard to its conditionality, continuity, and relationship to the Sinaitic covenant. This study uses an inner-biblical exegetical approach to arrive at a solution. It reveals that to maintain the continuity of the Davidic covenant tradition, the theologians and ideologists of Old Testament times reinterpreted and applied to it their respective new and challenging circumstances, by adding glosses to the original dynastic oracle, by rephrasing it, by quoting sections of it, or by merely alluding to it with a certain understanding of it in mind. It is this contextual re-interpretation and reuse that accounts for the apparent inconsistencies and contradictions.


“Dr. Gakuru has tackled an old and important issue in a fresh and insightful way, first by highlighting with great clarity the diffuseness of the dynastic promise tradition. . . and then by reconstructing the history of the ideas, as promise and covenant, as it unfolds in the OT. He does not shirk the reconstructive task of sorting out his texts chronologically as well as ideologically. . . He has bold new hypotheses and his monograph will stimulate further discussion about the place and significance of this key ideological concept within the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.” – R. Gordon

“. . . Gakuru has drawn discriminatingly on similar prophetic texts from ancient Mesopotamia. He argues that the closest parallel is to be found, not in the well known letters from Mari, but in Neo-Assyrian royal oracles from the time of Esarhaddon. This comparison provides a convincing starting-point for determining the original extent and Sitz im Leben of the dynastic oracle which became the basis for the Davidic covenant tradition. The introductory chapters of the book provide a valuable survey of recent work on the Davidic covenant itself and the related themes of covenant in general, kingship and dynasty. . . . The result is a rich and satisfying treatment of a major topic of Old Testament theology which does justice to both the unity and the diversity which it exhibits.” – G. I. Davies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The concepts of covenant, kingship and dynasty in the ancient Near East and ancient Israel
3. Determining the traditum: the genre, origin and literary growth of 2 Sam 7: 1-17
4. The interpretation of the dynastic promise in 2 Sam 7: 1-17 in the ‘Synoptic Texts’
5. The deuteronomistic reinterpretation of the dynastic oracle
6. The dynastic promise in the classical prophets
7. The Chronicler and the dynastic promise
8. Conclusions and implications for further study