Biblical gangsters

We’re working through 2 Samuel at church at the moment, during Bible Study on Wednesday I was struck by the thought that the book reads like a gangster novel (I’ve read quite a few, I consider myself an expert). There’s a touch of Arthurian legend about David and his champion (Joab) and Saul and his (Abner).

Someone ought to use the narrative structure of Samuel 2 to write a mafia drama. In chapter 2 there’s this cool scene where Saul’s Capo (Mafia for captain) Abner decides that Ish-Bosheth will take over running Saul’s family.

Then Saul’s family meets David’s family for a bit of a discussion (2:12-13), family enforcers Abner and Joab decide to let the up and comers earn their bones – and twelve of the men knife each other (2:14).

Then Abner whacks Joab’s brother (2:13). But David’s family gets more powerful, and people stop paying tribute to Saul’s gang (3:1). Before long, Abner falls out with his Godfather and wants to switch families after an argument about some broad (3:6-21). Joab doesn’t like this, so tricks him, and sends him to sleep with the fishes. His Don (David) doesn’t like this (3:22-38).

Ish-Bosheth goes to the (metaphorical) mattresses, but two of his capos betray him, killing him on his (literal) mattress. David whacks them (4:1-12).

And the rest of the book plays out a bit like the Godfather, David, like Michael Corleone, comes to power, has to deal with the betrayal of a family member, the jostling for power of his “family”, while taking over the kingdom of his predecessor.

Who says the Old Testament can’t be fun…

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

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