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Document Details :
Title: Gli «Anziani di Israele»
Author(s): BETTENZOLI, Giuseppe
Volume: 64 Issue: 1 Date: 1983
'Elders of Israel' is a technical term for a type of collegial political authority exercised by the northern tribes of Israel. The Elders had administrative and political authority in times of peace and in war served as leaders of the army. Their power was legitimated by an oath at the sanctuary of Jahweh and was therefore inserted in the Jahwist legislation. The monarchy was confirmed by a decision of the Elders of Israel who intended to maintain a political control over it. At the defeat of Absalom, whom the Elders supported, the monarchical power tended to more centralization, depriving the tribal authorities of their autonomy. These latter, however, at the death of Solomon reaffirmed their political power against Rehoboam and worked out the political separation from Judah. In the kingdom of Israel, despite attempts by the royal court to exercise absolute power, the monarchy remained under the control of the Elders and consequently respected the original tribal autonomy.