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King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
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King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
David, King of the Jews, possessed every flaw and failing a mortal is capable of, yet men and women adored him and God showered him with many more blessings than he did Abraham or Moses. His sexual appetite and prowess were matched only by his violence, both on the battlefield and in the bedroom. A charismatic leader, exalted as "a man after God's own heart," he was also c ...more
Kindle Edition, 388 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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If you had asked me before I read King David, how familiar I was with all the Biblical David stories, I would have told you I knew them all. After all, having been raised on daily bible study, as a fundamentalist christian, who read propaganda religious literature for entertainment, I'm certain I've read through the books of I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, and I Chronicles, II Chronicles maybe a dozen times in entirety, and who knows how many times in selection.

Naturally, fundamentalist
Sep 17, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a really interesting read so far. One theme the author touches on is how much of scripture before and after David may have been crafted by writers and theologians seeking to position David's legacy. I like the fact that the book notes the many contradictions in the bible and offers reasons why those contradictions may exist.

OK finished now - very worthwhile for anyone interested in the role of the bible in religion or life, which to my mind is anyone who considers him or herself to
Anthony Keys
Apr 16, 2015 Anthony Keys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an intriguing look into the life of King David which goes well beyond the Goliath story that we hear in Sunday school. In church, I believe we are thwarted away from stories like this, but I think that is a myopic approach. To learn that one of God's chosen people could be so flawed and so "human" gives us all hope as we struggle day to day with temptations.

I recommend this book to someone who is looking for a deeper understanding of the Bible from an historical and anthropological persp
Pat Padden
I'm listening to this book on CD during my commute. David has all of the best ripping yarns in the Bible, I think. Stories about gorgeous girlfriends, beautiful boyfriends, other peoples' wives, treasonable intrigues, military campaigns, hand-to-hand combat with a giant, life as an outlaw and a brigand, murder, and mayhem. He's got musical talent, poetic chops, courage, sex appeal, and, ultimately, God's special grace and favor. And the funny thing about him is that through it all you can recogn ...more
Aug 23, 2016 Cara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, religion
This is the third biblical history I've read by Kirsch (the others are Moses and The Harlot by the Side of the Road). Kirsch is an engaging writer who uses his imagination to help the reader enter into an ancient world that might not have existed at all, and almost certainly didn't exist as depicted in the Bible. Kirsch's theme is that David is a fully-realized human being, perhaps the first such being described in the Bible. David is cunning but at times obtuse, brave but sometimes cowardly, ho ...more
Bart Breen
Entertaining and Educational - To a point

I listened to this book on tape as read by the author himself.

This is one of what appears to be a significantly developing genre of books in the area of theology and Biblical History, designed to be read by the general populace to put in their hands what modern scholarship is saying.

This book does this reasonably well for anyone who is unfamiliar with such terms as Modern Bibical Criticism, J theory, Court Historian etc.

What is not so clear to the average
Corinne  E. Blackmer
A beautifully written biography of a brilliant and controversial leader who exercised considerable power and who had unparalleled charisma.
Aug 13, 2014 Ervin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janet Wilcox
This book isn't exactly a page-turner but is insighful and interesting to ready. It poses many contradictions about King David, and also the various authors who wrote about him. I think I'll finish it, but it's on the back burner. I'm about 1/2 through.

I hope I finish it before we get to David in OT Sunday School class...

Well--I didn't finish it before then, now I have no motivation to do so. I prefer gardening to reading this book...if I were a Bible Scholar and it were winter...I'd finish it!
Apr 02, 2016 Raymonds009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the stuff I never got in sunday school. David is so outrageous it is amazing that the story of his life was even reported in the bible. I really do not want to say more as the book needs to be taken in as a whole to get the scope of the man who would be king and change Israel forever. This is heady stuff. See for yourself.
Mar 14, 2011 Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This engaging read combines history, literature, religion, and Biblical scholarship to make a steamy story arise from Judges, Kings, and Chronicles.

I recommend this for anyone who would like to see the very human side of a icon - a bloody, passionate, lying, conniving, attractive, lovable and hateful man. This takes the Bible stories and extracts the very real person who became a legend, changing the history of the whole world, even 3000 years later.
Jim Berkin
Jul 22, 2012 Jim Berkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent & thorough analysis of the biblical David stories, comparing the "rough & honest" account in the Books of Samuel to the "cleaned up" version of Chronicles. A great way of seeing how the Ancient Israeli kingdom compared to political intrigues of its contemporary societies, via careful and logical interpretation of the bible's language. Kirsch always does a good job with this kind of material.
Jeannette Katzir
Aug 08, 2011 Jeannette Katzir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeannette by: My sister
I've just finished this book and find the REAL life of David far more exciting then the shortened, beautified version of King David in our Bible teachings. He was quite the fellow with quite the story. I find the idea of religion and mostly the Bible fascinating, and enjoy it when I hear the real story. I emphasis Story because that is what I feel the Bible is.
As someone who knows his Bible stories about as well as he knows his quantum physics, it's always a pleasure reading Jonathan Kirsch's totally engaging accounts of biblical figures. His biography of King David is no exception. Read it and you can't help but think of David as a blood-soaked warlord with a libido that would put Hugh Hefner's to shame.
Eileen Stoecklin
Sep 27, 2010 Eileen Stoecklin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you really want to know who King David the man was and what he was really like, you have to read this book. Jonathan Kirsch tells the true and exact story of King David, but in plain English and in a style that everyone can understand. This book was so captivating,I read it while on vacation and it's the only thing I remember about the whole trip.
Sep 09, 2010 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is impressive how this author can take the book of II Samuel, with only a few small portions from I Kings and Chronicles, and create an informative and entertaining 400 page narrative of King David’s life. This book manages to explore several different perspectives while not invaliding any.
Jan 28, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Kirsch takes what is considered dry material - biblical scholarship, archeology, talmudic commentary, and the bible itself - and manages to make it sexy and fascinating without sacrificing insight or fact.

My only complaint is that his writing style is damned repetitive.
Sep 08, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insight into Samuel I and II. David was one s.o.b. and his life story is that of a gangster cowboy king. Sam I and II are compelling, this book reminds you why with a retelling in contemporary language.
Good book ... brings the biblical story of King David to life. Can't imagine why anyone likes the scriptural David--unless it is merely to be able to say about oneself, "I'm not so bad." :)
Jan 01, 2013 Risha1983 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had always wanted to know more about King David because he is one of the most dynamic people in the Bible. This book give a more secular biography of him. It was a fascinating read.
Randy L.
May 04, 2013 Randy L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A secular viewpoint. Kirsch almost seems to question David's existence as well as the authorship of the preceding books. Does a good job recreating the atmosphere of the period.
Josephine J
Aug 15, 2016 Josephine J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Quite an interesting read...! And enlightening too!
Mar 31, 2013 Dany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Great disappointment! Waist of money :-(
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