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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

"The King Lifted up His Voice and Wept": David's Mourning in the Second Book of Samuel
Niu, Zhixiong

Rome: Gregorian and Biblical Press, 2013 pp. 312. €25,00

Series Information
Teologia, 200


Description: This study is the first monograph that subjects to investigation all the pericopes relating Davis’s mourning connected with human death in 2 Sam 3,26-39, for the infant born of Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11,27b-12,25, for the princes/Amnon in 2 Sam 13,23-39 and for Absalom in 2 Sam 18,19-19,9. Another unique feature of this project is that these stories are read and interpreted primarily through the lens of the Hebrew mourning rituals – an approach that has been hitherto rarely embraced. This thematic study, adopting a synchronic approach and focusing on its literary world, first conducts a close reading of each aforementioned text and then takes a collective look at them in the end. Besides allowing new meanings to surface in the reading of the individual stories, it has yielded at least the following general insights: 1 The primarily ceremonial mourning acts are not to be taken as Literal expressions of the mourners’ genuine emotions – an insight that is of paramount importance in the interpretation of certain figures at various places in the text. 2 The arrangement of the texts betrays a concentric design which strongly favors the reading of 2 Sam as one integral unit. 3. The study of the mourning texts also supports the view - noted as well by other scholars – which sees the portrait of David as a dynamic one, evolving and developing with the progress of the narrative plot of 2 Sam.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches

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Review by David G. Firth
Published 11/3/2014
Citation: David G. Firth, review of Zhixiong Niu, “The King Lifted up His Voice and Wept”: David’s Mourning in the Second Book of Samuel, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).


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