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David's Politics: Servant, Rebel, King (Hardback)
  • David's Politics: Servant, Rebel, King (Hardback)
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David's Politics: Servant, Rebel, King (Hardback)

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£49.95
Hardback 160 Pages / Published: 21/11/2016
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David's Politics evaluates what we can learn about politics by studying David's life as presented in the Books of Samuel through the first two chapters of 1 Kings. I begin by discussing the rules for kingship set forth in Deuteronomy and carry this through to the elders' demand that the prophet Samuel appoint a king. Despite his reluctance he appoints Saul, who has many military successes. But when he fails when he fails to annihilate the Amalekites God withdraws his grace and Saul falls into a state of depression, which grows worse as the story progresses. David is called to Saul's court as a musician. I argue that he has three roles, first as a servant to King Saul, second as a rebel against Saul, and third as king. As a servant to Saul, David establishes his credentials as a warrior and also becomes the king's son-in-law. As a rebel against Saul, David again takes actions that solidify his future support in Israel and Judah. David has two opportunities to kill Saul, but refuses to kill him. He also cements his political support in Judah. After becoming king, David's military successes are the prime reason for his support. He also administered justice, which may have further bolstered his legitimacy. Indeed, David did what was right "all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1 Kings 15:5). By committing adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah's wife, and by having Uriah murdered, David brings grief upon himself and his family: the rape of his only named daughter, the murder of Amnon, his first-born son and the death in battle of Absalom, who is probably David's oldest surviving son. Throughout most of this account David displays remarkable political sagacity, and more can be learned studying his life than that of any other king of Israel or Judah.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498545518
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 237 x 165 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
David's Politics evaluates what we can learn about politics by studying David's life as presented in the Books of Samuel through the first two chapters of 1 Kings. . . Throughout most of this account David displays remarkable political sagacity, and more can be learned studying his life than that of any other king of Israel or Judah. * Israel Book Review *
David is the most fully described Biblical character, warts and all. Abramson does a fine job of bringing the details to a wide audience, and putting them in the context of national and regional politics. His book also reminds us that there isn't much new in the behavior of people who reach the top. -- Ira Sharkansky, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Abramson has provided a political scientist-eye view of the ancient politics of leadership and ambition. David is revealed as a master politician, yet over a long career one who exhibited faults of short-sightedness, miscalculation, weakness of will, and other frailties. By Abramson's reckoning, David and the Promised Land he governed were as complex and multi-faceted as the modern Middle East today. -- Kenneth A. Shepsle, Harvard University
Paul Abramson continues his astute political exploration of the Bible that he began in his earlier book, Politics of the Bible (2012). This time he focuses on King David, perhaps the Hebrew Bible's most controversial and intriguing human character. David helped to consolidate the rule of the Israelite kings, but his life was an amalgam of deeds and misdeeds: he showed bravery and cunning in confronting the giant, Goliath, and mercy toward his predecessor as king, Saul, but adultery, mendacity, and murder marred his personal life. David serves as an echo, 40 centuries years ago, of charismatic political figures in the last century or two, and Abramson does an excellent job of recounting his life and analyzing his politics. -- Steven J. Brams, New York University

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