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A Tale of Three Kings

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  3,910 Ratings  ·  359 Reviews
For the many Christians who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join the thousands who have been ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published May 21st 1992 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 1980)
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Rock Rockwell
Oct 07, 2007 Rock Rockwell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hurting Christians
Shelves: christian-living
OUCH! OK - you're hurting and confused about poor leadership. So you go read a book about three kings: Saul, David, and Absolom. It is like a play unfolding before you as you turn the pages. Ah, there is Saul... now that is the bad leader who is attacking me! Ah, and there is David... that must be me! And then comes Absolom, but who is this? The mirror rises and you see your own face. ME? Not ME! The jury is still out, but don't be convinced yet if you are Saul, David, or Absolom... but time may ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all believers
I found this book in our Calvary bookstore a couple years ago and never started it, thinking it was an Old Testament study of the kings. Instead, it is a wonderfully written story (in play form in Two Acts) with King Saul, King David and Absalom. It was a call to remembrance of Who is in control and how to handle ourselves when the Christian life gets us down. Hurting Christians should read this book, especially if you've been hurt by others within your fellowship. We all should have the heart o ...more
L.A. Holly
Mar 22, 2012 L.A. Holly rated it it was amazing
When I was a very young pastor in California, my uncle (also a pastor) met me on the highway just north of Fort Worth, Texas to give me a book I just had to read.

My wife and I had been home to Texas for a visit and when we returned to California, a huge challenge faced us. There was a battle brewing, a power struggle in our young church.

My wife started reading it aloud to me as we made the 1600-mile trek back to north central California. Once she started, she could not stop. By the time we were
Apr 09, 2009 Symon rated it it was amazing
God has a university. It’s a small school. Few enrol; even fewer graduate. Very, very few indeed. God has this school because he does not have broken men and women. Instead, he has several other types of people. He has people who claim to have God’s authority... and don’t – people who claim to be broken... and aren’t. And people who do have God’s authority, but who are (mad and) unbroken.

In God’s sacred school of submission and brokenness, why are there so few students? Because all students in
Nate San
Oct 30, 2011 Nate San rated it really liked it
A great book about what to do in the midst of trials that seem unfair and obscure. Especially, as we wonder who is "of God" and who is not. God does not reveal who is anointed and we may never know. What we do have is the choice to respond well. This much, the book made clear. I have definitely faced Saul's and Absolom's. I can only hope to approach the courage of David and the where with all to stand what the way he did. This is a great read and will draw you into the storyline. I highly recomm ...more
Mar 31, 2008 Whitney rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is a follower of Christ
I went through a phase of intense bitterness/ cynicism/ dislike for many "Christian" authority figures. Alot of this was directly related to my attending a Christian University. This book was what God used to change my perspective, and teach me about the gift of brokeness.

The book is written like a story, much like some of C.S. Lewis's novels- fast reads, but sometimes takes months to process all of the hidden messages and lessons.
Robert Gilbert
Apr 11, 2014 Robert Gilbert rated it did not like it
I will say, up front, that this book does not offer any hope for those who have been “broken” or wounded by authoritative pastors. Instead, it proposes a kind of catch-22 for those within the church who are questioning the abuses of their pastors. It makes sense that this book was brought to my attention by a person who was given it by her pastor. It also alarms me to read so many reviews on Goodreads where pastors are handing these books out to the congregation. Doesn’t anybody ever wonder why ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was ok
Shelves: theology
I like Edwards' simplicity in writing, it's especially nice after reading more difficult writing styles.

But, I felt like Gene was, in places, arguing that the truth needs not to be defended (if you don't like the word "defended," because of negative associations, then use the word "upheld" or "preached" or "exhorted" or etc.). That laymen or elders or preachers don't need to watch the flock, to keep the sheep free from lies, free from wolves, free even from misguided sheep. That instead of bein
Beth Peninger
Jan 05, 2012 Beth Peninger rated it liked it
This has been on my "to read" list for awhile so I decided it was time to get around to it. A few years ago it was "the" book in the church I used to attend. That's initially how it landed on my list. Now that I have read it I think maybe the leadership at that church needs to read it again because it seems the lessons they were focused on from the book didn't exactly "take"...but that's a different story for a different time. :)
First of all it is short! I'm getting off easy this mon
Demetrius Rogers
Jan 26, 2016 Demetrius Rogers rated it did not like it
Shelves: spirituality
This has been on my list for a long time. I've heard so much about it - mainly through book reviews and such. So I finally picked it up and read it in one setting. It's a super quick read.

But I have to confess - it made me uneasy. I agree with some of the principles, but to do what the author promotes requires discernment, otherwise I believe this book can be very dangerous.

What is Edwards promoting? Submission. Carte Blanche submission to leadership - to any kind of leadership.

He uses the st
This is a great little audiobook.I loved the quirkiness of it, with the author inviting you to ‘watch’ the events unfold, in the style of a radio play. Paul Michael’s narration is absolutely perfect for this and he really helps to add to the atmosphere of the story. He really drew me into the events of King David’s life, so much so that I listened to the whole thing in an evening.
Its very funny in parts and had me laughing out loud, especially when referring to how God doesn’t always tell us wha
Michael E.
Aug 14, 2012 Michael E. rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me as a gift in 2006 by a dear friend, but I didn't read it until 2010. It is an excellent book, especially if you have found yourself at a broken state in life. The book takes lessons from the Bible written around the time of King David, and illustrates how these lessons can be internalized, and how you as an individual can grow through your broken-ness. I love the note in the book that cautions the reader that this book is to be read by you, and not for you to use to poi ...more
Fred Kohn
Jun 13, 2013 Fred Kohn rated it liked it
This book, written by a pastor, is aimed at Christians who have suffered abuse at the hands of spiritual leaders. It requires some familiarity with the story of King David. Despite not being a part of the Christian scene for many years now I found the book quite readable and insightful, and not overly religious. But I do expect that if you are the sort of Christian that requires Biblical fidelity, the author's injecting his own twist on the familiar story might bother you.
Jan 01, 2009 Larryg rated it liked it
Good lessons about how King David responded in a Godly way toward a harsh leader who was over him, and how he also responded as a leader to a young leader under him. There are good lessons here for leaders about modeling God's character in leadership. The book also addresses readers who are not leaders and urges the proper response to poor leadership.
This book is easy to read in one sitting.
Jim Putman
May 05, 2016 Jim Putman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is for anyone who is struggling with a difficult leader -- or has been betrayed by someone you were leading --this book also deals with the issue of Gods part in struggle for believers --this book helped me when I was dealing with betrayal as well as in my past when I was struggling with being under leadership that I felt was ungodly
Alma Santana
Feb 12, 2008 Alma Santana rated it really liked it
This book is an inward journey, for the brokenhearted.
I'ts about three kings, and how we can all identify to one or the other. David, Saul and Absolom(David's son). I did not put the book down, it was super easy read. only 105 pages I read it in two days. Absolutely loved it.
Jun 12, 2008 Andrea rated it it was amazing
This book provides consolation to those who have been wounded by someone in a position of importance in any degree while at the same time not allowing the reader to sulk as there is a call for self-examination.
Dec 30, 2008 A.J. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to A.J. by: Phillip McCart
Shelves: 2009-book-list
A Tale of Three Kings is one of my favorite books of all time. The way Edwards writes sparked an interest in me to read all of his other works. I love the story and the dialogue between the biblical characters. The lesson of brokenness and humility that is taught truly pierces the heart.
Feb 23, 2009 Marc rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
Powerful. A must read for anyone in a leadership position. Edwards illuminates the Godly principle of surrender through the example of David.
Kenton Kauffman
Oct 02, 2007 Kenton Kauffman rated it it was amazing
One of the most powerful books I've ever read. Very short, very poetic. If you have every considered leadership especially in the Christian sphere this is the book for you.
Jan 03, 2009 Livi rated it it was amazing
If you ever have a problem with your boss, or as a boss this is an amazing read... probably the best Christian book I have ever read.
Dec 17, 2010 Jon rated it it was amazing
An intriguing story of the life, situations, and reactions of three kings--Saul, David, and Absalom. Using the Bible's account of David's choices as a framework, Gene Edwards lays out a very powerful case for the sovereign control of our God even in the most unimaginable situations. Edwards gives a delightfully human emotion to the struggles and thoughts that could have been floating around in David's head while his troubles with Saul and Absalom were in full swing. David is painted as having ve ...more
Daniel Davis
Jan 14, 2017 Daniel Davis rated it it was amazing
An amazing book and one that every leader must read on submission.
Jun 01, 2012 Poiema rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
A wise book that can be read quickly and appears at first glance deceptively simple. It is couched as a drama, with more dialogue than action. The key player is King David and the first part of the book deals with his ascent to the throne of Israel and the second half deals with the attempted usurping of the throne by his son Absalom.

David did not take the throne away from his predecessor, King Saul, by force, though he had ample opportunity. Neither did he attempt to keep the throne by force w
Aug 23, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
What does true leadership look like? First, look to Jesus who modeled leadership & servanthood perfectly. But since most of us can't relate to perfection, King David is a great human model for us as well, which Edwards has portrayed in this story/parable of the servant king who knew how to lead and how to follow.

This book was written to broken, disillusioned Christians who are recovering from their own traumatic experiences within the Church, where leadership has too often reflected the live
Mar 07, 2012 Greg rated it did not like it

I found this to be a very confusing book from a Christian perspective. Although it is a nice story (the author actually says it is more like a Ballard), I think it can be dangerous to young Christians or those with shallow theological roots.

My main concern is that it is a story told from the parts of the Bible that are silent, as if the author was a bystander watching the events the Bible describes go on, and then filling in the gaps with his own thoughts, however he mixes Biblic
Apr 11, 2009 Kristy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
God has a university. It’s a small school. Few enrol; even fewer graduate. Very, very few indeed. God has this school because he does not have broken men and women. Instead, he has several other types of people. He has people who claim to have God’s authority... and don’t – people who claim to be broken... and aren’t. And people who do have God’s authority, but who are (mad and) unbroken. In God’s sacred school of submission and brokenness, why are there so few students? Because all students in ...more
Jerry Simmons
Nov 11, 2010 Jerry Simmons rated it it was amazing
This book is indeed a tale. It is a dramatic re-telling of the stories of Saul, David and Absalom.
There are two parts to this story. Both parts have important and valuable lessons that have such depth they cannot be fully discovered in one sitting. Then the contrast between the two parts adds even greater depth, value and essential lessons.
The first part follows the tale of David as a young man and Saul as king of Israel. In this part of the drama Edwards challenges us to face the King Saul with
Jul 02, 2012 Stacey rated it really liked it
The book is well written. The book has tells the story of three kings: Saul, David, and Absalom. It speaks of leaders, and encourages the question of which one are we. Am I a "Saul" and let my anger rage as I become jealous of others and seek to hurt them? Am I a "David" and love everyone in spite of how they treat me?

What I liked about the book is its central aspect of God wants people who are broken. God wants people who would live in pain, and allow Him to use them as His broken vessels. God
Zabdiel David Rodriguez
La historia de la monarquía en Israel y la vida de David son de mis temas predilectos en toda la Biblia. Los personajes del libro de Samuel son tan humanos como interesantes. He perdido la cuenta de las lecciones de vida aprendidas con Saúl, David y Absalón.

Precisamente por eso este libro me pareció interesante, pero no contaba con la audacia del autor. La premisa es que estamos en el teatro viendo una obra con estos tres monarcas hebreos.

La propuesta es, repito, audaz. Hay verdades que uno apre
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Gene Edwards is one of America's most beloved Christian authors. He has published over 25 best-selling books, and his signature work, "The Divine Romance," has been called a masterpiece of Christian literature. He has written biblical fiction covering nearly the entire Bible, with titles that include the following: "The Beginning," "The Escape," "The Birth," "The Divine Romance," "The Triumph," "R ...more
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“David was caught in a very uncomfortable position; however, he seemed to grasp a deep understanding of the unfolding drama in which he had been caught. He seemed to understand something that few of even the wisest men of his day understood. Something that in our day, when men are wiser still, even fewer understand.

And what was that?

God did not have - but wanted very much to have - men and women who would live in pain.

God wanted a broken vessel.”
“...he seemed to grasp a deep understanding of the unfolding drama in which he had been caught. He seemed to understand something that few of even the wisest men of his day understood...God wanted a broken vessel.” 12 likes
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