King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel (Ballantine Readers Circle)
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Rather the task falls to his son, and the Chronicler allows David himself to explain why.
Even so, another sharp point of irony remains hidden in the biblical text. Solomon, as we shall now see, was no less of an intriguer than his father, no less ruthless in his lust for power, no less willing to shed the blood of even his closest kin. David's final legacy to his son—and his specific deathbed instructions—will leave the throne of Israel awash in blood. Her eyes are as dark as the tents of Kedar. I want my God back; and they send me a girl. The courtiers who hovered around the royal bedchamber in the palace at Jerusalem fretted over his flagging spirits and failing health.
Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he could get no heat.
Tales of Power and Passion: King David Then and Now
The biblical source who closed out the Book of Samuel with lofty theological musings and ornate psalm-singing may have lost interest in the flesh-and-blood David, but here we find an author, possibly the Court Historian, who felt obliged to describe how David's life really ended. In fact, the final scene in the life of David originally appeared in the Book of Samuel, scholars suspect, but some later biblical editor cut it out and pasted it in the Book of Kings, perhaps in an effort to emphasize the legitimacy of the king who followed him to the throne.
As a shepherd boy, David bested Goliath in single combat, according to the biblical life story, and he managed to dodge King Saul's well-thrown spear. He spent years as a fugitive, a bandit, and a mercenary, all without suffering an injury or a defeat. He survived Saul's maniacal efforts to track him down and kill him, and he ultimately prevailed over Saul and his sons in the struggle for the kingship of all Israel.
He fought uncounted battles against the traditional enemies of Israel, and he reigned for forty years over a court and a country that pulsed with assassination and betrayal and conspiracy. No one—not political rivals, rebellious sons, or cuckolded husbands—had been able to touch David. And yet, precisely because he was a mortal man and nothing more, he was eventually overtaken and brought down by the quiet but relentless passing of the years. To symbolize the ravages of age and time, the biblical author focuses on the very quality that had always animated the figure of David in the Bible—his love for women—and here David suffers the unkindest cut of all.
Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin, and let her stand before the king, and be a companion unto him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat. She was recruited for duty in the harem, conveyed to the palace, and prepared for her introduction to the king. Surely the sight of Abishag the Shunamite, the warm touch of her young flesh against the king's chest, would revive his flagging spirits. But even as the alluring Abishag was ushered into David's bedchamber, the king continued to shiver helplessly beneath his bedclothes.
Would the next king of Israel be Adonijah, David's eldest surviving son, or Solomon, the late-born son of David and Bathsheba? These two contested with each other for the throne, and the wishes of the dying king would be crucial in determining which one of them would occupy it when their father died.
The very idea of dynastic succession was something wholly new in ancient Israel, and no law or custom was available to resolve the conflicting claims of Adonijah and Solomon. Indeed, if a son of David succeeded him to the throne, it would be the first peaceful succession in the short history of the Israelite monarchy.
Adonijah, as the eldest son, seemed to take it for granted that he would inherit the crown one day.
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For as David's health began to fail, Adonijah began to ape his deceased brother by acting like a king without wearing a crown. Joab, David's ever-ruthless but ever-faithful general, sided with Adonijah, and so did Abiathar, the high prie st who had survived Saul's slaughter of the priests of Nob and remained loyal to David ever since.
Solomon was more subtle in his politicking but no less effective. Close to Ceiling Lights Pendant Lights. Body Lotions Face Creams.
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