BATHSHEBA by Torgny Lindgren


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A leading contemporary Swedish novelist retells the story of David and Bathsheba in simple, lucid prose with his own slant on the Old Testament account: cynical as to the nature of power--whether God's or man's--romantic as to David's relationship with Bathsheba, which changes over the years from sudden unbearable lust into confidence, friendship, and lasting love. In the Scriptural account, King David, smitten with desire for Bathsheba, takes her, then marries her after sending her husband Uriah into the front lines of battle, where he is killed; she is hardly mentioned again. Lindgren, however, envisions her as the power behind the throne, advising a King almost Hamlet-like in his vacillations, and engineering the events that bring her--and then her son Solomon--to power: the rape of Tamar by Solomon's eldest son Amnon; Amnon's subsequent killing by the servants of second son Absalom; and Absalom's fatal rebellion against David. Politically astute, Bathsheba is theologically naive: her questions about the nature of God and holiness are asked in innocence; King David, his retainers, and the prophet Nathan are earnest about their often self-serving answers as they explain that holiness comes from strength and power, that God is to blame (for not intervening) when King David has someone killed; that "God has also created us to be punished. . .If mankind did not exist, God's scourge would whistle through empty space." A vivid retelling of the Biblical story--in line with current interest in the revising and debunking of patriarchal myth.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1989
ISBN: 06-015963-4
Publisher: HarperCollins
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