Structure in 2 Kings 13

Structure in 2 Kings 13 November 28, 2017

The bulk of the Chronicler’s account of the reign of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13) is taken up with a long speech by the king, delivered before a battle with Jeroboam of Israel. Standing on Mount Zemaraim (“Twin Peaks”) he calls Israel to return to Yahweh with a “Shema”: “Hear me, Jeroboam and Israel” (13:4).

After that, the speech turns chiastic:

A. Yahweh gave rule to David, 13:5

B. Jeroboam rebelled, 13:6-7

C. Do you come with force and golden calves? 13:8

D. You drove out priests, 13:9

D’. Our priests minister, 13:10-11a

C’. You have forsaken Yahweh, 13:11b

A’. Yahweh is with us, 13:12

Yahweh’s name appears seven times in the speech. Though spoken by Abijah, it is a summons from Yahweh the God of creation and time.

The speech is marked by intricate microstructures. Verse 8 has a parallel structure. Woodenly translated:

A. You say to strengthen yourselves

B. before the kingdom of Yahweh

C. by the hand of David.

A’. You a great multitude with you

B’. and golden calves

C’. which Jeroboam made for gods

On the one hand the kingdom of Yahweh (B); on the other hand, golden calves (B’). The hand of David administers the kingdom of Yahweh (C), while the hand of Jeroboam constructs gods for Israel to worship.

Verses 10-11 describe the work of the true priests who serve at Jerusalem’s temple:

A. We have not forsaken Yahweh

B. Priests and Levites at work serving Yahweh

C. Ascensions morning by morning to Yahweh

C1. Incense

C2. Bread

C3. Lampstand

C4. Lamps evening by evening

B’. Do guard duty of Yahweh

A’. You have forsaken

The five items listed for the temple service are grouped into three categories – burning ascension offerings and incense on the altars; the showbread on the lampstand; attendance to the lamps of the lampstand. The list stretched from the morning offering to the evening trimming of wicks. The verses describe the main services of the temple, and stretch from sunrise to sunset.

The list of temple duties contains 30 words total, divided into 7 clauses:

1.Burning ascensions: 7 words

2. Burning incense: 2 words

3. Piles of bread on the table: 5 words

4. Golden menorah: 2 words

5. Lamps to burn evening by evening: 4 words

6. Guard duty to Yahweh our God: 7 words

7. You have forsaken him: 3 words

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