Through a close and critical reading of biblical texts, ancient history, and recent archeological discoveries, Steven L. McKenzie concludes that David was indeed a real person. This David was not the humble shepherd who slew Goliath and became king, however, but was a usurper, adulterer, and murderer--a Middle Eastern despot of a familiar type. McKenzie shows that the story of humble beginnings is utterly misleading: "shepherd" is a metaphor for "king," and David came from a wealthy, upper-class background. Similarly, McKenzie reveals how David's ascent to power, traditionally attributed to popularity and divine blessing, in fact resulted from a campaign of terror and assassination. While instituting a full-blown Middle Eastern monarchy, David was an aggressive leader, a devious politician, and a ruthless war chief. Throughout his scandalous reign, important figures who stood in his way died at convenient times, under questionable circumstances. Even his own sons were not spared. David's story, writes McKenzie, "reads like a modern soap opera, with plenty of sex, violence, and struggles for power."
Steven L. McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College. He is the author of many books on Bible Studies, including The Hebrew Bible Today and All God's Children: A Biblical Critique of Racism. He lives in Memphis.
"McKenzie is little short of brilliant."--The New York Times Book Review
"A provocative look at a complex biblical figure....McKenzie uses biblical texts and recent archaeological discoveries to paint a searing portrait of the 'real' King David."--The Sunday Star-Ledger
"[A] remarkable book...McKenzie brings to bear all the analytical tools of the modern historian....We see a darker and more realistic David and a more troubling biblical history....McKenzie's portrait of David is both convincing and disturbing."--Bible Review