By Max Weber
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Additional resources for Ancient Judaism
The Cities and the Gibborim ON THE other end of the scale stood and stands the city ( gir). We must analyze it somewhat more closely. Doubtlessly, its antecedents in Palestine, as elsewhere, were on the one hand, the castles of warrior chiefs established for themselves and their personal following, on the other, the refuge places for cattle and » 14 « ANCIENT JUDAISM men in dangerous regions, especially those near the desert. Our tradition supplies no details about either. In his inscriptions, Sanherib speaks of King Hezekiah's numerous castles, which he claims to have destroyed.
Sam. 3:39) makes it clear that because of the might of his sib, King David was not in a position to punish him, and therefore, on his death bed, David recommended his revenge to Solomon. The hate of the distinguished sibs of Jerusalem cries out of Isaiah's oracle (22:15) against the foreign born major domus, Shebna. Normally, no king was able to conduct his government with any permanence contrary to the will of the sibs. As indicated by the context, Jeremiah considered the "sarim of Jerusalem" and "of Judah," of whom he speaks (34:19), as representatives of the richest families of the land.
In the light of the preceding reference to the military training of 'am haarez, one has the choice of assuming that the king, at the time, had men from the politically disqualified plebs compulsorily drafted and drilled and that this plebeian stratum was designated 'am haarez. Or, one may chooseto view them in the main as the national "squirearchy," which, backed by their rural following, opposed the post-exilic Yahwistic Puritans, then the opponents of the rural shrines. The participation of the 'am ha-aretz in the acclamation of kings and in counterrevolution speaks for the latter rather than the former view.
Ancient Judaism by Max Weber