This book undertakes a reassessment of the Deuteronomistic History in response to recent developments which raise questions about Martin Noth’s understanding of the history as a unified and well planned work. The reassessment is carried out via a literary critical, linguistic and contextual analysis of the text, in particular those passages which are generally regarded as Deuteronomistic compositions.
The author argues that the history was indeed a well planned and unified work, but one that ended at 2 Kgs 23:23 with the reign of Josiah. It was principally a story of Israel’s leaders and Moses and Joshua (Deuteronomy to Judg 2: 10), the period of Israel from the judges to the monarchy (Judg 2:11 to 1 Sam 11:15), and the period of Israel under the prophets and kings (1 Sam 13:1 to 2 Kgs 23:23).
Subsequent redaction was carried out in three main stages. The first was a fairly straightforward updating of the history to stage accounted for the exile by applying the history’s critique of the northern kings to the Davidic dynasty. The third stage transferred its attention to the people and sought to transform the history from a story of Israel’s leaders into a story of the people’s failure to observe the law.