Eat Your Way to Perdition: Food and the Judgement of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12–14

In: Biblische Zeitschrift
Timothy Yap Independent Scholar 11 Regan Place, Rooty Hill, NSW 2766 Australia

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This article argues that the notion of food plays an important role in the structural and thematic developments of the story of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12–14. Food and the language related to it are not only mentioned throughout the vicissitudes of Jeroboam’s saga, but they also serve three literary functions. First, the motif reveals the attitudes of the tale’s characters and their responses towards Jeroboam’s reforms and God. Second, food also serves as a test of one’s faithfulness to God’s word. Third, for those who are disobedient to Yhwh’s word, food serves as judgement. In short, the narrative of Jeroboam is a reversal of the food chain. From being host of one of Israel’s greatest feasts, Jeroboam’s household will take a plunge to become dog and bird food.

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