The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Personal Names in the ‘United Monarchy’ Biblical Narratives: A Comparative Study

The existence of the ‘United Monarchy’ (about the 10th century BCE) has been disputed by scholars, who also question how much historical information, if any, is embedded in the biblical narratives concerning this period. Personal names shed light on our understanding of these texts. Specifically, personal names included in the ‘United Monarchy’ narratives can illuminate these texts’ origin – their chronological relation to each other, and perhaps, also suggest objective dating. Some names relating to the ‘United Monarchy’ in the Hebrew Bible come in texts common to Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, and other occur either in Samuel-Kings or in Chronicles but not in both. In this study, we aim to answer the following questions: What are the characteristics of these various groups of names? Are their characteristics similar or different? Do they resemble the characteristics of personal names found in excavated Iron Age II epigraphic finds? The substantial size of the ‘United Monarchy’ biblical onomasticon allows us to examine subgroups of names within Samuel-Kings and Chronicles and draw meaningful conclusions.