The Outlaw David ben Jesse: Reading David as Geronimo in exile?

  • Daniel L Smith-Christopher Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles
Keywords: David, narrative criticism, Geronimo


Descriptions of the years before David becomes King, particularly the narratives of 1 Samuel 19-30, have often emphasized David as a kind of “rebel” leader in relation to Saul’s attempts to capture him.  However, when read in conjunction of Eric Hobsbawm’s famous concept of “Social Banditry”, these “rebel” or “outlaw” themes take on a more serious tone.  Reading the Biblical narratives next to the events surrounding the famous Native-American leader Geronimo only serves to further highlight the potential significance of “outlaw” themes in the Samuel narratives.  However, when the widely noted “superscriptions” on some of the “Davidic” Psalms are brought into the discussion, more serious evidence emerges for an actual historical-textual interest, perhaps during the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods, in David’s “outlaw” life as a period of particular interest to exiles.


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