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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the books of Samuel from three angles. The first angle is an overview of its content and macro-structures. Close attention is paid to the patterns in its narrative: the rise and fall of Israel’s leadership and the comparisons and contrasts between these leaders. Second, the focus shifts from the books themselves to the methods of reading them, tracing the development of narrative studies in Samuel. It advocates the integration of final form readings with investigation into historical and source-critical questions of the book, each informing and developing the other. Finally, an example of this integration is demonstrated in a narrative reading of the story of Shimei, David, and Joab in 2 Samuel 20 through the lens of its characteristics of historiography: causation, meaning, and evaluation. Attention to these categories deepens our literary reading, highlighting its values and conception of significance in the past.

Keywords: books of Samuel, history, historiography, causation, narrative readings, leadership, 2 Samuel 20, Shimei, David, Joab

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