By Robert Pinsky
Poet, warrior, and king, David has loomed huge in fantasy and legend during the centuries, and he maintains to hang-out our collective mind's eye, his flaws and inconsistencies making him the main approachable of biblical heroes. Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate of the U.S., plumbs the depths of David’s existence: his triumphs and his mess ups, his appeal and his cruelty, his divine future and his human humiliations. Drawing at the biblical chronicle of David’s existence in addition to at the later commentaries and the Psalms——traditionally thought of to be David’s personal words——Pinsky teases aside the various strands of David’s tale and reweaves them right into a wonderful narrative.Under the clarifying and eye-catching gentle of Pinsky’s erudition and mind's eye, and his mastery of photograph and expression, King David——both the fellow and the belief of the man——is introduced brilliantly to life.From the Hardcover version.
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Extra info for The Life of David (Jewish Encounters)
In an incident that is told twice with two different sets of detail, David stealthily takes evidence from an unaware Saul that he has spared him: the spear and water jar sneaked from next to the king's bed while he sleeps (i Samuel 26:10—25, attributed to the Earlv Source); a piece cut stealthily from his garment while he urinates (1 Samuel 24:1—22, Late Source). Then David presents the evidence to Saul—"Behold, I spared y o u . " And Saul repents: "You are more righteous than I. " But the cycle keeps recurring, suspicion and forbearance and murderous intent, lurching on the contorted axle of Saul's brooding, his terrified rage at the quicksilver, evasive and invincible David who attracts the love of Michal.
And when he rose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. T h y servant slew both the lion and the bear. And this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living G o d . " T h e respectful formula of " t h y servant" authorizes the naked assertion of prowess. Fluent, fluid, David who runs at Goliath—like a point guard ready to flick the basketball here or there—might be maddeningly quick of speech and thought and foot for the larger men: an agile shape-shifter.
But when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, T h e y have brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to slay us and our people. T h e y sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not slay us and our people. For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. " So after death and panic spread through the city the Philistines send for priests and diviners, their best experts in magic, to advise them how the ark can be returned.