Damien F. Mackey
The genealogy of the heroine Judith (8:1), despite its being “the longest genealogy of any woman in the Bible, sixteen known ancestors …”, must contain gaps, ranging as it does through at least seven centuries – from the era of Moses and the Exodus to the lifetime of Judith during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah.
With this in mind, I should like to speculate about the identification of the “Idox” (Douay-Rheims), or “Ox”, in 8:1: “Now it came to pass, when Judith a widow had heard these words, who was the daughter of Merari, the son of Idox …”.
If “Idox” (“Ox”) were not Judith’s actual grandfather, but one of her prominent ancestors, then Iddo – at the approximate time of King Asa of Judah – may be a candidate for him. Iddo was one who recorded histories and genealogies:
For Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:29): “As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat?
For Rehoboam (12:15): “As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies?”
And for Abijah (13:22): “The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, including his deeds and sayings, are recorded in the writings of the prophet Iddo”.
And an historian of Judah, too, was Isaiah, whose ancestor the prophet Iddo must also have been if I am right in my thesis,
A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah
and its Background
that Isaiah and Judith were closely related.
Did not Isaiah write a history of King Uzziah of Judah (2 Chronicles 26:22): “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz wrote”?
Further on (in section iii, “Dodavah”), I hope also to make a geographical connection between the prophet Iddo, enlarged, and the Simeonite ancestors of Isaiah and Judith, including Idox. We read of the importance of Iddo at http://livwat.com/past/iddoknows.html
A long time ago … there was a prophet in Israel or Judah whose name was Iddo. He is mentioned several times in the Bible and must have been quite important, though we know little that is specific about him. Iddo must have been a prolific writer, since his works are cited as providing background information for several of the kings mentioned in the Chronicles (see 2 Chr. 9:29, 12:15, and 13:22).
This Iddo was an acknowledged prophet of God, and as noted above is credited with writing several important books dealing with the history and genealogies of Israel. …. In referring to the writings of Iddo, in 2 Chr. 12:15 a very common word is used, rendered “records” in the NIV, and often found in the KJV as “chronicles”. It is a word used of all kinds of written records, spoken words, sayings, and so forth. However, the writer here specifically tells us that the records he referred to were not general, but specifically dealing with genealogies. Yet, they recorded events of the reign of Rehoboam, and so are not simply name lists, but also records of what the people in the genealogy did. A similar example might be found in 1 Chr. 4:38-43, where historical notes are mixed in with the genealogical account. In fact, much in the genealogies of Chronicles, or even those found in other Old Testament scriptures, may be transcribed from Iddo’s work that is referred to here in Chronicles.
Besides his records of genealogies, Iddo is also said to have written a “story” (KJV) or “annotations” (NIV) in 2 Chr. 13:22. This is an unusual word in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, occurring only twice, the other place being 2 Chr. 24:27. An English rendering of the word would be “Midrash”, which is a name later generations of Jews would apply to the Rabbinic commentaries that came to carry great weight in interpretation. In fact, some English Bibles translate the word “midrash” as commentary. It seems likely that Iddo the prophet was responsible for a sort of commentary on the existing scriptures of his time, but a commentary that was recognized as being produced by a prophet and cited as authoritative and accurate. Such a commentary might consist of explanatory annotations (as the NIV renders the word), which clarified ancient terms and places that had shifted meanings and names in the passage of time. We see examples of such “midrash” in the writings of Moses, where we have explanations for later generations of Israelites who had lost touch with what earlier generations had known and taken for granted (such as place names, Gen. 35:19, Gen. 28:19, or historical notes such as Deut. 3:13b-14, which talks about Jair, a judge who did what is mentioned here many years after Deuteronomy closed, Judges 10:3-5). Whether such historical comments are what has been preserved of the “midrash of Iddo”, or whether some other prophet(s) did the same kind of work, we have in this reference to Iddo a clue to how God provided a Bible to his people that was always relevant and understandable.
Incidentally, the other reference to Iddo’s writing, 2 Chr. 9:29, refers to the “visions of Iddo”, and uses a Hebrew word that occurs only this once in the Old Testament, a word which means “a vision or a revelation”. This prophet’s work must have been not only prolific, authoritative and influential, but also remarkable, and unique. ….
[End of quote]
Was it Iddo (Idox?), then, who had organised the Simeonite genealogy (Judith 8:1), which, much later, at the time of Judith, required only to be connected to Judith’s father?
Less happily, the prophet Iddo has been identified by some with the ill-fated “man of God” who denounced King Jeroboam I of Israel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iddo_(prophet)):
Some, such as Rashi, identify [Iddo] with the unidentified “man of God” from I Kings 13:1. Iddo, on account of his prophecies against Jeroboam, has been identified by Josephus (“Ant.” viii. 8, § 5) and Jerome (“Quæstiones Hebraicæ,” to 2 Chron. 12:15) with the prophet who denounced the altar of Jeroboam and who was afterward killed by a lion (I Kings xiii).
[End of quote]
But more promisingly, Jerome, as we read from the same article, “identifies Iddo also with the Oded of II Chron. xv. 8”.
Because Iddo and Oded appear in the Old Testament quite lacking in biographical details, without any genealogies attached, or geographical origins given, then we have a fair degree of speculative space within which to work. Moreover, an identification of Iddo with Oded is entirely plausible, chronologically, given that Oded’s son was a contemporary of King Asa. And the great king listened to “Azariah son of Oded”, as he later in his old age would refuse to do with “Hanani the seer” (2 Chronicles 16:7-10).
For, as we read earlier in 15:1-9:
The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded’.
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.
Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
From “Azariah son of Oded” to “Eliezer son of Dodavah [Doda-vah]” I think may now be a logical step. For one, Azariah and Eliezer (or Eleazar) are “Associated Biblical names” (http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Eliezer.html#.VqGLjE3759A).
The names Oded and Dodavah have, at least, some phonetic similarity.
And we find the forthright Eliezer, just like Azariah, not holding back when addressing a powerful king, this time it being Asa’s son, Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:37): “Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made’. And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish”.
And, finally, we are provided with a much-needed piece of geographical information: “Dodavah of Mareshah”.
In my thesis, and in:
The Book of Judith Expands the Prophet Isaiah
I had argued for an identification of the Bethulian town chief official, “Micah” (Judith 6:14-15):
Later, when the Israelites came down from Bethulia, they untied Achior, brought him into the town, and took him before the town officials, who at that time were Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon, Chabris son of Gothoniel, and Charmis son of Melchiel.
with the prophet Micah of Moresheth (Micah 1:1; cf. Jeremiah 26:18):
The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
“Uzziah”, in turn, being the prophet Isaiah himself.
Dodavah’s “Mareshah” and Micah’s “Moresheth” (no mention here of – Gath) may therefore be referring to the same place.
Whether or not Iddo and/or Oded and Dodavah are to be identified with Idox (Ox) the ancestor of Judith, the former three names may yet pertain to the one same prophet of Israel at the approximate time of King Asa of Judah.