The Characterization of David’s Sin Through Intertextual Parallels in Samuel, Genesis, & Judges

I will argue in this paper that the author of Samuel utilized previous characters and events to shed light upon the transition taking place in 2 Samuel 10–14. I will demonstrate that the author connects the characters and events to previous characters and events in Samuel, as well as those in Genesis and Judges. Various studies of David’s characterization have recognized intertextuality in Samuel’s presentation of David (see Clines, Jacobs, Firth, Westbrook, Bodner, and others). Yet, observations of this narrative technique have been underdeveloped in studies of David’s Sin in particular and the general unraveling that takes place in 2 Samuel 10–14.
Regarding methodology, I will establish author-intended parallels that connect the events and characters of 2 Samuel 10–14 with those found elsewhere. I will begin with the previous events and characters in Samuel and then expand into Genesis–Judges. While earlier narratives in Samuel recount the humbling of David’s enemies, this unit of Samuel begins the reversal of David himself. Some of David’s actions align him with Eli, Saul, and others. Moving out from Samuel, the events surrounding David and his Sons are also connected with those of Dinah (Gen 34), Tamar (Gen 38), Joseph (Gen 37; 39), the Levite with his Concubine (Judges 19–21), and others. Consistent author-intended intertextual connections provide clarity to the characterization of David in 2 Samuel 10–14 and color to the narrative presentation of David’s sin.

4 thoughts on “The Characterization of David’s Sin Through Intertextual Parallels in Samuel, Genesis, & Judges”

  1. The study of characterization
    The study of characterization through inter-textual linking is important to narrative interpretation, but this proposal may be more creative than compelling.

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  2. Jonathan Ahlgren
    Interesting inter-textual study. Gary has already pointed out some of the connections between Jacob and his sons compared to David and his sons (as I followed in my paper on intertextuality in Samuel two years ago). But we have hardly exhausted the study or explored all of the possibilities.

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