King David

King David : A Biography

3.4 (55 ratings by Goodreads)
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Through a close and critical reading of biblical texts, ancient history, and recent archeological discoveries, Steven L. McKenzie concludes that David was indeed a real person. This David was not the humble shepherd who slew Goliath and became king, however, but was a usurper, adulterer, and murderer-a Middle Eastern despot of a familiar type. McKenzie shows that the story of humble beginnings is utterly misleading: "shepherd" is a metaphor for "king," and David came from a wealthy, upper-class background. Similarly, McKenzie reveals how David's ascent to power, traditionally attributed to popularity and divine blessing, in fact resulted from a campaign of terror and assassination. While instituting a full-blown Middle Eastern monarchy, David was an aggressive leader, a devious politician, and a ruthless war chief. Throughout his scandalous reign, important figures who stood in his way died at convenient times, under questionable circumstances. Even his own sons were not spared. David's story, writes McKenzie, "reads like a modern soap opera, with plenty of sex, violence, and struggles for power."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 154.4 x 233.7 x 17.3mm | 367.42g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 5 halftones, 5 line illus, 4 maps
  • 0195147081
  • 9780195147087
  • 1,016,019

Review quote

The conventional, laudatory image of David as a simple shepherd boy who courageously slew Goliath and rose to become Israel's greatest king despite some human failings is disputed by McKenzie. * Publishers Weekly * Mckenzie...uses historical analysis of the texts, augmented by archaeology and the immense body of scholarship about the ancient Middle East, to create a plausible real-life portrait of the figure who gets more space in the Bible than anybody, Moses and Jesus included....A spirited analysis. * The Fayetteville Observer * [A] remarkable book....McKenzie brings to bear all the analytical tools of the modern historian....We see a darker and more realistic David and a more troubling biblical history..... McKenzie's portrait of David is both convincing and disturbing. * Bible Review * A provocative look at a complex biblical figure....McKenzie uses biblical texts and recent archaeological discoveries to paint a searing portrait of the 'real' King David. * The Sunday Star-Ledger * McKenzie is little short of brilliant. * The New York Times Book Review *show more

About Steven L. McKenzie

Steven L. McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College. He is the author of many books on Bible Studies, including The Hebrew Bible Today and All God's Children: A Biblical Critique of Racism. He lives in more

Table of contents

Introduction: Images: The Need for a Biography of David; 1. Was there a historical David? Extrabiblical Sources; 2. Royal Propaganda: The Bible's Account of David's Life; 3. Was David a Shepherd? David's origins and youth; 4. Who killed whom? The Goliath story and David's career as a soldier; 5. Holy terrorist: David and his outlaw band; 6. Assassin: David's reign as King of Judah; 7. The cost of kingship: the policies and changes of David's administration; 8. Like father, like son: the Bathsheba Affair and Absolom's revolt; 9. Poetic justice: the last days of King David; 10. Finished portrait: a synopsisshow more

Rating details

55 ratings
3.4 out of 5 stars
5 16% (9)
4 31% (17)
3 38% (21)
2 5% (3)
1 9% (5)
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