Some of the best-known biblical episodes are found in the story
of David s rise to kingship in First and Second Samuel. Why was
this series of stories included in the Bible?
An answer that has become increasingly popular is that this
narrative should be interpreted as the apology of David, that is,
the personal justification of King David against charges that he
illegitimately usurped Saul s throne. Comparisons between the
History of David s Rise and the Hittite Apology of Hattu ili, in
particular, appear to support this view that the biblical account
belongs to the genre of ancient Near Eastern royal apology.
Having presented this approach, Randall Short argues that the
biblical account has less in common with the Hittite apology than
scholars have asserted, and he demonstrates how interpretive
assumptions about the historical reality behind the text inform the
meaning that these scholars discern in the text. His central
contention is that this story should not be interpreted as the
personal exoneration of David composed to win over suspicious
readers. Rather, composed for faithful readers represented by
David, the story depicts the dramatic confirmation of David s
surprising election through his gradual emergence as the beloved
son of Jesse, Saul, all Israel, and yhwh Himself.
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