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David and the Messenger—Different Ends, Similar Means in 2 Samuel 1

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image of Vetus Testamentum

There are three stories in the Bible where a messenger appears and reports the disasterous results of a battle: 1 Samuel 4:12-17; 2 Samuel 1:1-16; 18:19-32. This article discusses the story of David and the Amalekite in 2 Samuel 1:1-16, and compares it to the story in 1 Samuel 4:12-17. The article tries to show that the Amalekite's report to David creates a complex situation that highlights their different motives through their clothing and their words. The result is a reversal in the balance of power between the Amalekite messenger and David.

Affiliations: 1: Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem


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