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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: June 2014

14 - King Ahab to the Writers of the Books of Kings

  • Edited by Philip R. Davies, University of Sheffield
  • Publisher: Acumen Publishing
  • pp 79-84


To the persons responsible for the books of Kings – and their Deuteronomistic friends throughout generations:

May peace not be with you, may you reach the bars of Sheol untimely, may the pangs of Sheol lay a hold on you, and may your name, memory and your writings be cut off from Israel.

And now, behold, spirits [Heb: 'elohim] are coming up from the earth (cf. 1 Sam. 28.13) and, as before, when elohim are disturbed it is not a good sign for the person who caused the commotion. This time, however, it is not an old man wrapped in a simple robe, but a king in royal attire accompanied by a large royal retinue: a multitude of Israel's elders and mighty warriors.

Of course, I know that you and your deuteronomistic friends despise those who talk or consult with ghosts, but as both of us know all too well you – and they – are well aware that ghosts can speak and that when they do so, they say the truth (e.g. 1 Sam. 28.7–19).

Sure enough, you did not call me, but your wickedness came up before Yhwh and stirred the depths of Sheol beneath. So I came up from Sheol – not to go to my house, nor to the places I know, but to cry out your iniquities.