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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Reconciling Violence and Kingship: A Study of Judges and 1 Samuel
Michelson, Marty Alan

Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick, 2011 pp. ix + 230. $26.00


Description: The Hebrew Bible preeminently hails King David in narratives of kingship. Israel's first king, Saul, is interpreted as a weak king whose failings contrast with David's success. Reading the stories at the end of Judges and early in 1 Samuel, Reconciling Violence and Kingship demonstrates the significance of Saul and the inauguration of monarchy independent of and preceding David's kingship. Attuned to issues of mimetic rivalry and sacrifice extending from Abimelech in Judges, Michelson argues that Saul's kingship is uniquely important in establishing the person of the king, inaugurated in order to minimize violence through sacrifice. Read in this way, Saul is not a failed king, but is truly Israel's predominant king. Israelite monarchy emerges with Saul alongside emerging practices of the sacrificial cult.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, Literature

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Review by Klaas Spronk
Published 4/27/2012
Citation: Klaas Spronk, review of Marty Alan Michelson, Reconciling Violence and Kingship: A Study of Judges and 1 Samuel, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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