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However, a ben chail refers just as little as its literal Spanish equivalent, "hidalgo," to the possessor of any sort of land. The bne chail by virtue of economically inherited wealth are fully capable of equipping themselves, and hence, represent those who, economically, are fully capable of war service and war duties, therefore, from politically privileged sibs. These sibs held power when and wherever costly weapons and training were decisive in war. 18 Also where, as so often in early antiquity, a hereditary charismatic city prince (nasi) stood at the head of the city, he had to share power as primus inter pares, with the elders ( sekenim) of the sibs, and with the family heads ( roshi beth aboth) of his own sib.

The garrisons probably had castle-fiefs. Some of the cities described in the Amama letters were obviously castles of this type. The charismatic chieftains also possessed castles, as did David and, in early times, Abimelech. Economically and politically, the cities of the tradition represent very different phenomena. The city could be but a small fortified agricultural community with a market. In this case it differed only in degree from a village. If fully developed, however, the city throughout the ancient Orient was not only a market place, but above all a fortress and, as such, seat of the army, the local deity, his priests, and the respective monarchical or oligarchical authorities of the body politic.

11:27 and Num. 21:25, 32). , without political rights. The master sibs are, or are held to be, city dwellers. In Jeremiah's home town, Anathoth, there are "only small people" who lack understanding of his prophecy (Jer. 5:4}, so he goes into the city of Jerusalem where the "great men" are, in hope of better success. All political influence lies in the hands of these "great men" of the capital city. When under Zedekiah, at Nebuchadnezzar's command, at times, others than the "great men" are in power and, particularly, control the office, it is held to be an anomaly.

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