David S. Vanderhooft

»Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, My Servant«: Contrasting Prophetic Images of the Great King

Volume 7 () / Issue 1, pp. 93-111 (19)

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Judean prophetic texts, especially the MT of Jeremiah, but also Habakkuk, concur that Nebuchadnezzar II functioned as an agent of Yhwh's sovereignty in the political realm. Beyond agreement on this point, however, prophetic texts articulate distinctive perspectives about the Babylonian king. The present study discusses several paradigmatic modes by which Nebuchadnezzar projected his own image, and investigates how Judean prophetic thinkers accommodated or repudiated the idea that the great king could serve the political purposes of the God of Israel. In the case of MT Jeremiah, a paramount concern was to insulate the prophet from charges of collaboration with the Babylonians by closely associating Nebuchadnezzar with the God of Israel. In Habakkuk, we find an uncharacteristic repudiation of the principle that a foreign force could fulfill a legitimate mandate of God.

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