Mark Leuchter, «Eisodus as Exodus: The Song of the Sea (Exod 15) Reconsidered.», Vol. 92 (2011) 321-346
This study continues a line of inquiry from the author’s previous essay regarding the 12th century BCE battle traditions embedded in the Song of Deborah (Judg 5) as the basis for a nascent Exodus ideology surfacing in the Song of the Sea (Exod 15). Exod 15 is identified as developing an agrarian ideal into a basis for national identity: Israel’s successful struggles against competing Canaanite military forces echoing earlier Egyptian imperial hegemony is liturgized into a myth where YHWH defeats the Egyptian foe and then settles his own sacred agrarian estate.
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326 MARK LEUCHTER
spective, a state could form without a large centralized power struc-
ture or urban-based economy. Instead, a central locus of authority
could insinuate itself into decentralized rural systems founded upon
kinship structures, creating new dynamics of allegiance and socio-
economic affiliation 20.
Such a state model derives from extant systems of lineage/kinship
and socio-economic interaction between them already in place
throughout the hinterland, and which remained as such even as a state
emerged as a discernible sociological entity 21. Centralization and ur-
banized economy, as defined by Jamieson-Drake, constitutes only one
form of a state, one that admittedly emerges in late 8th century BCE
Judah but which does not preclude other, earlier manifestations of a
state. Rather, the literary, anthropological and archaeological evidence
pertaining to the Iron I-IIa periods points to the shift from chiefdoms
to a state in a rudimentary form by the Iron IIa period 22, and one that
grew into the standards identified by Jamieson-Drake in the Iron IIb
period. The ramifications of the foregoing are that one can speak of
royal scribes in periods before the late 8th century BCE, and indeed
there are grounds for seeing resources for scribalism surfacing even
before this time. Certainly, the recent discoveries of the Tel Zayit and
Tel Qeyeifah inscriptions indicate that literacy â€” while not wide-
spread by any means â€” was alive and well in the 10th century BCE 23.
logical Research and American Schools of Oriental Research, Jerusalem, May
29-31, 2000 (eds. W.G. DEVER â€“ S. GITTIN) (Winona Lake, IN 2003) 63-73.
STAGER, â€œPatrimonial Kingdomâ€.
HALPERN, â€œJerusalem and the Lineagesâ€, 59-75, notes that the clan sys-
tem remained intact at least down to the reforms of Hezekiah but suffered
thereafter. As I have noted elsewhere, however, clan integrity is evident in
later periods as well, as suggested by the reflections upon lineage diversity
in the Book of Jeremiah, cf. M. LEUCHTER, â€œThe â€˜Prophetsâ€™ and the â€˜Levitesâ€™
in Josiahâ€™s Covenant Ceremonyâ€, ZAW 121 (2009) 36-44.
For an overview of factors leading to this type of state, see C. MEYERS,
â€œKinship and Kingship: The Early Monarchyâ€, The Oxford History of the
Biblical World (ed. M.D. COOGAN) (New York â€“ Oxford 1998) 178-183.
As of this writing, very little has been published regarding the Khirbet
Qeyeifah inscription beyond the fact that it was discovered in situ in an early to
mid 10th century stratum and that it incorporates some language suggesting a royal
administration. For a consideration of the inscriptionâ€™s impact upon a reconstruc-
tion of 11th-10th century Israelite sociology, see J.M. HUTTON, The Transjordanian
Palimpsest. The Overwritten Texts of Personal Exile and Transformation in the
Deuteronomistic History (BZAW 396; Berlin 2009) 170.