David: The Divided Heart (Jewish Lives)
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David Wolpe, whom Newsweek called “the most influential rabbi in America,” takes a fresh look at biblical David in an attempt to find coherence in his seemingly contradictory actions and impulses. The author questions why David holds such an exalted place in history and legend, and then proceeds to unravel his complex character based on information found in the book of Samuel and later literature. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of an exceptional human being who, despite his many flaws, was truly beloved by God.
than to oppose his own troops when he is preparing for combat. So he backs down and reports to David that he will have to forgo the battle due to the objections of the Philistine captains. David, continuing to play the role of eager ally, protests that he has done nothing to earn the suspicions of the Philistine troops. Achish agrees, but explains that the matter is effectively out of his hands. Would David have fought alongside the Philistines? Classical Jewish commentators remain mostly silent
devastates his land, captures his family, and threatens the loyalty of his men. He confronts the crisis with several crucial attributes, all of which are dramatically enacted: First, he is clearly beloved of God, who answers David’s agonized question about whether to pursue the enemy. Then he fortuitously finds a man, a cast-off slave, to direct him, which is either a stroke of astounding luck or a further demonstration of God’s protective intervention. He directs a battle with complete success,
But in his soul Joab is a man of the sword. He will not forget the death of his brother at Abner’s hand. Fighting between the house of Saul—Ish-Bosheth, Abner, and their troops—and the house of David, led by David and Joab, does not abate. Although David, with his base in the South, proves stronger, the northern forces are sufficient to prevent any final victory. As often happens in the story of David, it is a personal rather than a military incident that determines the outcome. Abner and
book but for convenience divided into two, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. Scrolls are unwieldy). Virtually all modern scholars of the Bible discern at least two major strands, and perhaps more: the story of David’s rise and the struggle for succession. Some divide the primary documents into an earlier and later contribution. Competing stories jostle one another for narrative or theological priority. Sometimes this leads to evident contradictions—it is hard to figure out the sequence of David’s anointing,
written to me on their page. In the name of the whole family, my father submitted the following: And David sang many songs. The people listened and heard. They sang his songs and were comforted. They loved David and thanked the Lord for him. He became a beloved gift unto all the people. Deeply touched, I went right to the book of Samuel to find the source. I soon realized my father had selected, arranged, and added to create the message. It was also then that I became fascinated by my