YHWH and Israel in the Book of Judges: An Object-Relations Analysis

Deryn Guest

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In the Book of Judges the narrator presents an image of the good parent YHWH whose enduring love and loyalty is offset by his wayward child Israel who defaults on the relationship repeatedly. Biblical scholars have largely concurred, demonstrating the many faults of Israel while siding with YHWH’s privileged viewpoint. When object-relations theory (which examines how human beings relate to each other) is applied to Judges, a different story emerges. In its capacity to illuminate why and how relationships can be intense, problematic, rewarding, and enduring, object-relations theory reveals how both YHWH and Israel have attachment needs that are played out vividly in the story world. This book reveals how its narrator engages in a variety of psychological strategies to mask suppressed rage as he engages in an intriguing but rather dysfunctional masochistic dance with a dominant deity who has reputation needs.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages194
ISBN (Electronic)9781108568562
ISBN (Print)9781108476508, 9781108700924
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Publication series

NameSociety for Old Testament Study Monographs
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • YHWH
  • Israel
  • Psychology
  • Object-Relations theory


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