By Ira Sharkansky
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Additional info for Ancient and Modern Israel: An Exploration of Political Parallels
47 The story of Naboth's Vineyard illustrates the corruption of the northern kingdom. King Ahab desired to purchase the Vineyard and was made sullen by Naboth's refusal to sell. In response, Ahab's fogeign wife Jezebel conspired to have Naboth falsely convicted of blasphemy. This led to his execution and the loss of his property. Because of this perversion of justice, the prophet Elijah predicted that both Ahab and Jezebel would be food for dogs. 48 A contemporary economist has examined the ancient sources and reaches conclusions that stand apart from conventional views.
65 The sources of the prophetic tradition are among the mysteries of the ancient Jews. Perhaps part of the explanation has to do with strict Judaic monotheism. The Jews could not satisfy their questions about misfortunes by simple stories about good and evil gods. It may have been important to the development of the prophetic tradition that the Jews' God was abstract. Ideas were more important to them than a fixed place or an object. Even when their Holy Temple and city were destroyed, the Jews could move elsewhere with their God.
Some focus on biblical themes of conquest and the creation of a purely Jewish state. Others find support in the ancient sources for modern policies of accommodation between Jews and Arabs. There is a thin line between the selective use of history and its distortion. Some writers take great liberties with ancient material. "34 Such an absolute challenges the credibility of social scientists and differs in its substance from the conclusions of other historians. 36 Other writers distort history by omissions.