How ancient Israelites thought about the institution of kingship is deeply rooted in the ancient Near Eastern ideology of kingship. Kings were viewed as extensions of the rule of deities, the providers of life and welfare and order. Kings ensured that life for the people under his (and the deity’s) rule went along as it was intended. Trees were emblematic of these ideas, as they spoke of the fertility of the land, the presence of life in an otherwise arid, hostile environment, and a metaphorical connection between heaven and earth. In this episode of the podcast we interview Dr. William (“Rusty”) Osborne, an expert in this kingship metaphor, to help us navigate these concepts.
Book: Trees and Kings: A Comparative Analysis of Tree Imagery in Israel’s Prophetic Tradition and the Ancient Near East