Study Guide

2 Samuel Allusions

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical References

"The Crooked Man" by Arthur Conan Doyle 
In this classic Sherlock Holmes story, the tale of David's adultery with Bathsheba proves to be a key piece of evidence in unraveling the mystery of a British colonel's death.

Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden
In this political satire, Dryden uses the story of Absalom's rebellion to create a veiled allegory of contemporary events, and poke fun at the foibles of the politicians of his era.

Absalom! Absalom! by William Faulkner 
Faulkner's classic novel uses the Absalom-David conflict in telling the tale of another struggle between a son and a father. But Faulkner's tale is set in the South, and it also manages to analyze the Civil War, slavery, and plenty of other serious American issues.

God Knows by Joseph Heller
This novel by the author of Catch-22, takes a wry and comic look at David's life. It's told in the form of David's deathbed memoirs, as he reflects on his relationships with Bathsheba, Jonathan, and all the rest.

The Rape of Tamar by Dan Jacobson
The title of this book is pretty self-explanatory: Dan Jacobson's novel takes Amnon's abominable rape of Tamar as it's starting point, crafting a work that was initially hailed as a masterpiece at the time of its release (at least, according to the back of the book, at any rate.)

Certain Women by Madeleine L'Engle
By the beloved author of A Wrinkle in Time, this book takes the story of David's relationship with his wives and tells it in the form of a modern day story.

Pop Culture References

Movies

Footloose In the '80s smash-hit, Footloose, Kevin Bacon tries to convince a small-town minister (played by John Lithgow) that dancing is cool with God. His ammunition? It's the scene where David dances before God after bringing the Ark into Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6:14.

Musical Theater

King David by Alan Menken and Tim Rice
Tim Rice (who wrote the lyrics for the Lion King) teamed up with Alan Menken for this 1997 Biblical Broadway musical in the style of Rice's early hits with Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Songs

"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
The original version by Leonard Cohen didn't get much play—but later versions by Jeff Buckley and John Cale became extremely popular (the latter being included in Shrek). Cohen's lyrics directly refer to David's role as a musician, and his act of adultery with Bathsheba ("You saw her bathing on the roof / Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.") An article about the song's influence is included below. (Look in the "Audio" section for more on "Hallelujah".)

"The Angel of Death Came to David's Room" by MewithoutYouThis song by the spiritually-inclined rock band deals with David's death (which is actually in 1 Kings), but it also talks about events from 2 Samuel, like the Bathsheba situation.

"Mad About You" by Sting
David's intense love for Bathsheba forms the basis of this track by the former Police songwriter. (As Owen Wilson said in Zoolander, "I don't know Sting's work, but I appreciate the fact that he's making it." Well…now, you know.)

TV

Kings (2009 TV Series on NBC)
This NBC series vanished on short-notice. But it was on just long enough for people to remember that it had something to do with the story of King David's life.

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