The Death of Saul in the Book of Chronicles

Weighing in on a dispute between two modern interpreters of Chronicles, Peter Leithart argues that the book deliberately highlights similarities between Saul, the first Israelite king, and the wicked Ahaz, who ruled the kingdom of Judah many generations later. Each was succeeded by an archetypal good king: respectively, David and Hezekiah. And this isn’t the only internal parallel regarding Saul:

[Rudolph] Mosis . . . finds a contrast between Saul and Josiah with regard to the “word of the Lord.” Saul’s failure to guard the Lord’s word is one dimension of his transgression [“against the word of the Lord” which, according to Chronicles, brought about his demise], and King Josiah’s righteousness is evident in his insistence on following “the word of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 34:21). These are the only two places where the phrase “the word of the Lord” appears in Chronicles [in conjunction with the Hebrew word for “keep” or “guard.”] Josiah is the last to [follow God’s word], and Judah goes into exile because she rejects and mocks the prophets, the Lord’s messengers. The collapse of Saul’s house because of his transgression . . . foreshadows the complete collapse of exile.

Read more at First Things

More about: Chronicles, Hebrew Bible, Hezekiah, King Saul, Religion & Holidays

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy