Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 17:3 (Summer 2000) p. 89
Reading Prophetic Narratives, by Uriel Simon. Translated by Lenn J. Schramm. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997. Pp. 363.
This work is a collection of different Old Testament passages analyzed by Uriel Simon. The chapters include: “The Birth of Samuel: Miracle and Vow, Divine Gift and Maternal Consecration” (chapter 1), “Young Samuel’s Call to Prophecy: The Servitor Became a Seer” (chapter 2), “Saul at Endor: The Narrative Balance between the Pitiless Prophet and the Compassionate Witch” (chapter 3), “That Man Is You!”: A King Sins, a Man Repents, and a Father Is Punished (chapter 4), “A Prophetic Sign Overcomes Those Who Would Defy It: The King of Israel, the Prophet from Bethel, and the Man of God from Judah” (chapter 5), “Elijah’s Fight against Ba’al Worship: The Prophet’s Role in Returning Israel to Its God” (chapter 6), “Elisha and the Woman of Shunem: The Miracle Worker Needs Guidance from the Beneficiary of His Miracle” (chapter 7), and the appendix: “Minor Characters in Biblical Narratives.” All of these chapters have been previously published as articles apart from chapter 7 and the last part of chapter 6. Chapters 1 and 6 were previously published in Modern Hebrew.
This review will focus on one chapter, chapter 4, to illustrate Simon’s analysis of biblical texts. In this chapter Simon compares features of David’s affair with Bathsheba with Ahab’s stealing of Naboth’s vineyard. Simon points out parallels between David and Ahab and Uriah and Naboth. After carefully summarizing the surrounding literary context of David’s narrative beginning in 2 Samuel 10, Simon analyzes the narrative account as consisting of two major parts. Simon entitles part 1 “The King’s Sins: The Anatomy of Moral-Religious Decline in the Shadow of Power” (2 Sam. 11:1–27). In the opening sentence, David takes the initiative: “David sent Joab and his servants.” In the closing sentence it is the Lord’s analysis of David’s action which comes to the fore: “But what David had done displeased the Lord.” Part 2 is entitled, “A Man Repents—The Anatomy of Recognition of the Sin and Acceptance of the Punishment.” In the opening sentence the Lord takes the initiative: “The Lord sent Nathan to David.” The closing sentence of Part 2 foreshadows the Lord’s favor: “And He sent a message through the prophet Nathan; and he was named Jedidiah at the insistence of the Lord.”
Part 1 is analyzed as consisting of four scenes: “From adultery to machinations” (characters: David and Bathsheba) (2 Sam. ll:You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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