‘Special Forces’: A Stereotype of Benjaminite Soldiers in the Deuteronomistic History and Chronicles.”

Bibliographic Information: 

Giffone, Benjamin D. “‘Special Forces’: A Stereotype of Benjaminite Soldiers in the Deuteronomistic History and Chronicles.” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 30.1 (2016): 16-29.

Description:

This article explores one point of contrast between the characterizations of Benjamin-Judah relations in the DtrH and Chronicles. The argument is that the Deuteronomist offers a stereotype of Benjaminite “special forces,” which the Chronicler then co-opts in service of his own agenda. The remarkable aspect of this cooption is that the Chronicler does not retain or adapt any of the Deuteronomistic material that contributes to this Benjaminite stereotype, only the stereotype itself—i.e., the stereotype only manifests itself in the Sondergut material. The article suggests that the Chronicler repurposes the stereotype in service of a conciliatory agenda: the reincorporation of wealthy Benjaminites into the Jerusalem temple’s sphere of influence. The irony of “Benjaminite” left-handedness is not a new observation; this essay suggests that they should be linked to the motif of “skill with longdistance weapons.” The two motifs are linked in three ways: 1) in practice, they represent a deviation from “regular” hand-to-hand warfare; 2) they overlap within the narratives; and 3) both are specifically linked to Benjaminites—left-handedness by the irony of the name, and long-distance weaponry by the fact that Benjaminites are characterized uniquely among the tribes by that skill (i.e., whenever Benjaminites are noted in a tribal list as having skill with the sling or bow, they are the only tribe that possesses that skill).

Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis