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Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919


MUKANSENGIMANA, Rose Nyirimana. You shall not kill them: Reading 2 Kings 6:8-23 in the context of the conflict in the African Great Lakes Region. Old testam. essays [online]. 2017, vol.30, n.1, pp.103-127. ISSN 2312-3621.

The African Great Lakes Region is now renowned across the globe for its history of persistent conflicts. A pattern observable especially in the Burundi, in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a succession of political regimes where each time the new regime indicts its predecessor for failing to end the spiral of deadly ethnic conflicts. When the previously oppressed social group finally snatches power it resolves to neutralize the rival social group by becoming the new oppressor. The attitude of the leaders in this region finds echo in the OT where some Israelite kings adopted a similar strategy. This could be observed in the story narrated in 2 Kgs 6:8-23 about a kind of Israel in conflict with an Aramean king. Traumatised by the oppression that his people had suffered from the Arameans, and now in a position of strength, the king of Israel would not want to miss the opportunity to put off the threat for good by annihilating the enemy. But Elisha the good adviser to the king had a different solution, not to kill the now weak enemies but to show them an alternative way of relating. The present paper draws attention to this particular voice in the narrative that is opposed to violence; it focuses on Elisha's approach advocating for turning enemies into friends. Elisha's approach in the narrated conflict is found to be in tune with some teachings of Jesus in the gospels. The essay reads the narrative in the context of the African Great Lakes region with the aim of exploring the relevance of Elisha's pacifist approach to contemporary conflicts such as that experienced in this region of Africa.

Palavras-chave : Conflict; violence; peacemaking; pacifism; nonresistance approach.

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