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The Biblical Saga of King David

John Van Seters

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ISBN: 978-1-57506-170-2

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The Biblical Saga of King David

John Van Seters

The biblical story of King David has been interpreted in many different ways, arising from the variety of methods used in and the intended objectives of the studies: Does the narrative contain insight into and information about the early history of the Judean monarchy, or is it merely a legendary tale about a distant past? Can we identify the story’s literary genre, it sociohistorical setting, and the intention of its author(s)? Is an appreciation for the wonderful literary qualities of the story compatible with a literary-critical investigation of the narrative’s compositional and text-critical history? Van Seters reviews past scholarship on the David story and in the course of doing so unravels the history of these questions and then presents an extended appraisal of the debate about the social and historical context of the biblical story. From this critical foundation, Van Seters proceeds to offering a detailed literary analysis of the story of David from his rise to power under Saul to his ultimate succession by Solomon.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
The biblical story of King David has been interpreted in many different ways, arising from the variety of methods used in and the intended objectives of the studies: Does the narrative contain insight into and information about the early history of the Judean monarchy, or is it merely a legendary tale about a distant past? Can we identify the story’s literary genre, it sociohistorical setting, and the intention of its author(s)? Is an appreciation for the wonderful literary qualities of the story compatible with a literary-critical investigation of the narrative’s compositional and text-critical history? Van Seters reviews past scholarship on the David story and in the course of doing so unravels the history of these questions and then presents an extended appraisal of the debate about the social and historical context of the biblical story. From this critical foundation, Van Seters proceeds to offering a detailed literary analysis of the story of David from his rise to power under Saul to his ultimate succession by Solomon.

1. Introduction

The Scope of the Study

The History of Scholarship on David

The Literary-Critical Analysis: Julius Wellhausen

Form-Criticism: Gunkel and Gressmann

The Thematic Analysis of Leonhard Rost: The Succession Narratve

The David Story as the Beginnings of History Writing: Von Rad

The Succession Narrative and Wisdom: Whybray

The History of David’s Rise

The New Redaction-Critical Approach: Veijola

The Prophetic History of David

The Literary – Final Form Approach

Redaction-Critical Disintegration of the Old Consensus: Dietrich

A Different Approach to the David Story: Van Seters

The Genre Debate

Summary

2. The David Saga within its Social and Historical Setting: Part 1

Historical Documents from the David-Solomon Era

The David Tradition and the Biblical Archaeology Debate

The Socio-Archaeological Approach and its Advocates: the Biblical Archaeology Debate

Comparison between the Amarna Age and David’s Reign: la longue durée

Summary

3. The David Saga within its Social and Historical Setting: Part 2

The Search for Historical Sources within the David Story

The Lists of David’s Officials, His Sons, and His Military Officers

David’s Wars

David the Mercenary and the Use of Mercenaries in Greece and the Near East

The Assyrian period

The Saite period

The Rise of Mercenaries in the Greek World

The Persian period

Mercenaries in the story of David

David and his Band of Mercenaries

The Use of Mercenaries in King David’s Army

Conclusion

4. David and Saul: the Problem of Multiple Accounts

The Beginning of the Story of David

The Story of David and Goliath

The Problem of the Textual Differences in Hebrew and Old Greek

The Story of David and Goliath within its Literary Context

5. David’s Life in Saul’s Court and David as an Outlaw

David as a Member of Saul’s Court

David and Jonathan

David and Michal

David’s Flight from Saul

David and Abiathar

David Spares Saul’s Life Twice

David and Abigail

David among the Philistines: Observations on 1 Sam 27-31

Competing Ideologies in the Story of David and Saul

6. David Becomes King of Israel: the Dtr’s View

The Death of Saul in Dtr and in the David Saga

David’s Accession to the Throne: Competing Accounts

David and his Wars (2 Sam 5:6-12, 17- 25; 8:1-14; 10:15-19)

David’s Capture of Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:6-12)

The Philistine Wars (2 Sam 5:17-25; 8:1)

Wars against Moab, Edom, the Arameans and the Ammonites

Literary Observations on the Wars of David

David and the Ark (2 Sam 6)

The Divine Promise to David (2 Sam 7): A Retrospective Survey

2 Sam 7 within the David Story and the Larger DtrH

David’s Final Admonition to Solomon and the Succession

Summary

7. A Portrayal of Life in the Court of David: The David Saga

David’s Conflict with Ishbosheth for Control of Israel

David and the Return of the Ark

David’s Conflict with Ishbosheth for Control of Israel

David and Mephibosheth

The Bathsheba Affair

Rape and Murder in the Court of David

The Revolt of Absalom

David’s Victory and the Death of Absalom

The Sheba Revolt

The Final Struggle for Succession to the Throne

Summary

Conclusion

Understanding Dtr’s David within His Larger History of Israel

David’s Rise to Power within the David Saga

The David Saga as a Radical Revision of Dtr’s View of the State

The Significance of Genre

The Royal Ideology of the David Saga and DtrH Compared

Final Remarks

Appendix: The Division of Sources (Dtr and the David Saga)

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