Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reader's Diary #369- The Good News Bible: Samuel II

The second book of Samuel continues on with the life of David, who became even more intriguing than in the first book which served to introduce him and present him as a complex individual.

In a lot of ways David comes across as the ultra-male; in almost every chapter it seems as if he's adding a wife or concubine,plus he's powerful and is not above chopping a head (or foreskin) off to make a point. Yet, in what seems to be stark contrast to this side of his personality, David is introspective, forgiving, and basically is not the self-assured (cocky) hero that is suggested by his virility. In fact, many of his actions seem to be marking a softer side of the Bible, hopefully foreshadowing things to come (the killing sprees were getting me down). It was surprising, for instance, to see him cry over the death of his son Absalom, who not only wanted him dead but also humiliated him by having "intercourse with his father's concubines" in public.

Asides from David, the only other thing I found worthy of comment was the Ark of the Covenant. In earlier books, such as Exodus and Numbers, the Ark, its specific dimensions, how the Levites had to tend to it, and so on were major focus points that dragged on and on. While it's mentioned again in Samuel 2, it is only a brief appearance and seems to have been used primarily to bridge to the earlier books. It's as if someone decided the whole ark thing wasn't working and wanted to move on, but had to at least make the transition graceful so as not to offend the few ark fans that might be sticking around.

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