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This chapter shows how the story-cycles of Elijah and Elisha use royal illness to provide a Yahwistic perspective for the political and cultic crises of the ninth century. In 1 Kgs 22:52–2 Kgs 1, Elijah uses Ahaziah’s illness as an opportunity to emphasize the superiority of Yahweh as the national god of Israel. In a similar vein, we witness in 2 Kgs 8:7–15, how Elisha uses the illness and death of Ben-Hadad to anticipate the disastrous effects of Hazael’s reign, which leads to a temporary period of hardship for the Israelites and can be interpreted as a punishment for Baal-worship. In both instances the oracles associate the king’s illness and premature death with the cultic misconduct of dynasties and people.
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