According to the claims I have made throughout the course, the Bible assumed the shapes that we know it after the defeat of the kingdom of Israel in 722, and then for the 130 years leading up to the defeat of Judah in 587 or 586. And of course in the centuries after Judah's defeat. What we call the Persian and Hellenistic period. But defeat is only one factor in the Bible's formation. It's a necessary one, but not a sufficient one. Of course, other states were defeated, even Babylon and Persia. But where's the Babylonian Bible? Where's the Persian Bible? Where's the Mobai and the Philistine Bible? So, defeat may have been the impetus for the Bible's formation, and an important impetus, as I've tried to illustrate throughout the course. And it's the context in which the process took place. Under conditions of defeat. But, we have to take into account other factors in addition to defeat. And one of them is the resolve to admit defeat. To confront it. And to reflect upon its causes. The history leading up to it, instead of trying to confine it to oblivion, and focusing instead on an earlier golden age in times of triumph. Instead of nostalgia for a past the biblical authors focus the attention of their readers on the moment of defeat. This is interesting they in many ways are living under very different conditions in the second temple period. Important restoration has taken place in the Persian period. They've rebuilt the ruins and the temple is now functioning, the societies on the uptake. In the Hellenistic period. They have even reestablished a monarchy, but why do they make defeat the culmination of their narrative? Why don't they update the story and tell how everything that, had happened in the meantime and really make that the emphasis? To bring some new light on this point let's consider once again. The notable example of the Meshistella. I've talked about this a couple times during the course. But let's look at it from a different angle. As you now know, this inscription dates to the 9th century, the mid 9th century BCE. From the neighboring kingdom of Moab. And, when we look at the description, what we notice is that instead of an anonymous third person account, that we find in the biblical count, we really don't know who's telling the story. We see this inscription from Mesha the narrator identifies himself in the first person, and immediately he says I am Mesha. Son of Chemosh Yatti, the King of Moab, the Divonite, so he is the one who tells the story. The description then recounts the history of victory, after a time of political subjugation, and the ones who were responsible for, for that subjugation were the Israelite kings. I'm going to read you a quote from that. Omri was the king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab for many days, for Kemosh was angry with his land. And his son replaced him; and said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he said so, but looked down on him and his house. And Israel has been defeated, he has been defeated forever. And Omri took possession of the whole land of Madaba and he lived there. In his days and the, half the days of the son, 40 days, but yet Kem, Kemosh, my God, restored it in my days. And the rest of the inscription continues in this vein, describing the restoration of Moabite hegemony over lands that Israel had previously conquered. Now, if we look at this inscription, you'll see that the theological explanation for the prior defeat that that Mesha gives is quite similar to what we find in the Bible. The enemy, in this case, Israel's the enemy, witnesses success in his military endeavors, in their military endeavors because Mesha's God is angry with Moab. And that's a theology that we find within the Bible quite often. Similarly, Mesha attributes his victories to the good will of his God. Additional similarities include the way Mesha fights in accordance with divine oracles, with the prophetic message, and, Chemosh said to me, go take Nebo from Israel. And I went. And we find that very often, especially in the books of Samuel. In relation to the activities of Saul and David on the battlefield. And then there's that times when he Mesha slaughters an entire population as a sacrifice to his god, which resembles we encounter in some of the most gruesome biblical texts, these cherem texts, the ban texts from Joshua and elsewhere. All these features are so common to the biblical material, that we must reckon with the probability, that kings of Israel and Judah composed very similar inscriptions. However, the Bible differs from the narratives in monarchy conscriptions on three important points. First, although portions of it may have been originally inscribed on stone and tablets, and [UNKNOWN] the compilation of the biblical text in their present lengthy form, required a much lighter medium such as scrolls made of parchment or papyrus. This material difference not only made the text much more portable. Easier to carry throughout all the ends of the Earth, but also easier to edit and to expand, so that the text could grow over generations. In contrast Mesha's memory was inscribed on a massive stone measuring 44 by 27 inches and that stone was implanted in the ground and that ground belonged to the territory to which he laid claim as conqueror. As such, his monument, Mesha's monument constitutes and emblem of statecraft. A monument that his enemies would want to destroy. Very different than the kinds of texts that we have within the biblical writings. Number two, the primary Biblical narrative is not narrated, told in the first person. And the one telling the story is not a King. Instead we have an anonymous narrator as I pointed out. And he tells us or whoever it is tells us about his real story. We might call this narrator the story teller. The vox populi, the voice of the nation. Yet the voice of the nation that's not, is really multivocal, meaning it includes many different voices. And includes very different perspectives. It's not just one attempt to tell one story, as we have from the perspective of one dynasty or in one king, as we have with Mesha. And then number three, the third difference is, this national history in the Bible does not stop where the Moabite king concludes. Rather than commemorating a military triumph, the Biblical narrative begins, yes, with some great triumphs. Joshua and David and Solomon. But it goes on to tell about Israel's general political decline. And then it's ultimate defeat. While Mesha recounts first the defeat, during the reign of his predecessor, he turns to his own great victories and that's how the inscription ends. In contrast, the Biblical account begins with the great victories, [UNKNOWN] Israel's the God, that's Israel's god. And later by Israel's greatest human king, David. But it concludes with the nation's defeat. And this is an important point, that we can reflect on in the next episode.