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The Life of David (Jewish Encounters Series) Paperback – August 26, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Part of the charm of this volume is Pinsky's luxurious prose. Thus, for example, the author comments on David's lament when David learns that his general Abner has been murdered: "Where the lament for Saul and Jonathan is like a fountain, this poem is like an engraved amulet, implicit and enigmatic, where the earlier dirge is full-throated. A lament for one who is betrayed rather than one who falls in battle..."
If the reader is looking for analysis of what the Bible "means",
this is not the book for you. For those who have always been
irresistibly attracted to the Bible's poetry and want to find a soulmate, this is a volume to read and treasure.
To call the prose of a former laureate poetic may seem odd, but one must consider how well Pinsky textures his words. Perhaps given David's own poetic nature, only one who shared his great love of language could bring the King of Israel to life. While the trip may on occasion grow strange, those who wish to deepen their understanding of King David will find much here to give food for thought.
Or, as the majority of people claim, did he do no wrong. Did Bat Sheba have a divorce decree that made David's liaison with her legal, and besides, did Uriah force David to give him Bat Sheba as a wife by blackmailing him when he was killing the giant Goliath, and therefore the marriage was illegal, as the Talmud contends? Robert Pinsky portrays David as a human being as the plain meaning of the biblical text in this beautifully written, lyrical, presentation of his life.
Pinsky is not alone in seeing the human fault-filled David. Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in his Biblical Images tells his readers that they shouldn't expect an idealized portrayal of biblical figures because: "The great men and women who serve as examples and models for all generations are not described only in terms of glowing admiration. Their failings, failures, and difficulties are described."
Pinsky describes the events in David's life and comments on them.Read more ›
It is one of the great stories of both literature and history, especially because it rings true in its details. It is especially fascinating because it happened 3000 years ago, and (if true) is unique. We have no other detailed account of a period that remote.
There is little that is pretty in it. The words "thug" and "mafioso" are often used. David is a master politician, but one who seems to have no higher goal than to defeat his enemies. He is unscrupulous. At one point he signs on as a mercenary for a tribe at war with his own people, but at the same time he raids and pillages isolated groups of that tribe, and to cover up his (double) treachery, slaughters every single person in the isolated groups he pillages. Later he steals another man's wife, and has the husband murdered. He deposes a king and delivers the king's family members to another tribe to be murdered. When one of his sons tries to depose him, he sends his henchman to fight the rebellious son, but when the son is killed, finds a way to blame the henchman, not the son. He always has it his own way. He dies in bed.
Modern people will be disgusted at how women are regarded in this period. David's first wife saves his life at great risk to her own, but David comes to despise her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Life of David was pure conjecture and did not add to what I knewPublished 3 months ago by Joan M Kiss
Good recounting of the story by a great writer. Light on scholarship, historical context, and archaeological record. Does make you want to go back to the source, i.e. Samuel I, II. Read morePublished 12 months ago by mb
I start with a confession: I knew almost nothing about the life of Israel's second king. Yes, I'd heard of David's slingshot triumph over Goliath, and I was aware of some scandal... Read morePublished on May 3, 2014 by Murray I. Suid
I was looking for a book which extracted the life of David chronologically apart from the biblical scriptures. This seems to be a good source.Published on April 11, 2014 by Melissa D. in Arizona
Mr. Pinsky has researched the text excellently and even though i was very familiar with the main contours of David's life, i found much that Pinsky elaborates that i had missed... Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by generallysatisfied customer
In this book Robert Pinsky makes a Biblical story most of us know (or at least think we know) come to life for he makes David, the poet-king, and his world (a world of clans and... Read morePublished on October 30, 2010 by Inna Tysoe
I thought this book was written in poor taste and I don't know where the author got his information. I know he definitely did not receive it from the Bible. Read morePublished on September 17, 2010 by PennyLou
A challenge to digest perhaps for the intellectual lazy,but well worth the effort. As some one already summed " About a Poet,For a Poet,By a Poet" In short Mr. Pinsky, Bravo!Published on April 14, 2008 by C. D. Besetsny