‘He Trains My Hands for War’: Divine Warrior Imagery and Subordinated Kingship in 2 Sam 22

Within the book of Samuel, the request for kingship (1 Sam 8) creates a certain degree of ideological conflict by undermining the role of Yahweh as Divine Warrior, a central attribute to His kingship. Throughout the book, the author conveys a high view of this role of Yahweh, and indicates that any appropriate form of kingship must still be subordinated to Him in this area. This paper argues that the song of David in 2 Sam 22 functions not only to articulate just such a subordinated kingship, but also serves to harmonize the ideological conflict introduced earlier in the book. The warrior imagery present within the song will be examined and discussed, both as it pertains to Yahweh, and to David. This will include drawing parallels to other ancient Near Eastern analogues of kingship where appropriate. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it will be shown how the framing of the text, and the language used, subordinates the warrior imagery of David to Yahweh. Finally, the proposed ideology of 2 Sam 22 surrounding the Divine Warrior and subordinated kingship will be compared to other pivotal texts (the Ark Narrative, 1 Sam 8, and 1 Sam 17) within Samuel to illustrate its contribution to the overall theology of the book.

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