A Successful Biblical Novel?

In her recent novel, The Secret Chord, Geraldine Brooks attempts to recreate the story of King David. David Wolpe deems the book “skillful and eloquent,” and attributes part of its success to Brooks’s choice of narrator:

Brooks succeeds here by fashioning a compelling narrative voice in the prophet Nathan. In the Bible itself, Nathan plays a key role in the Bathsheba saga and the succession at the end of David’s life. The book of Samuel does not state that Nathan was present at the events he narrates in Brooks’s account, or even knew the people he quotes. But Nathan is a reasonable choice to see the many sides of David: lover, warrior, poet, musician, murderer, penitent, leader, father, son, king. The king’s protean personality comes through in the biblical story. Brooks tries to flesh it out, with the inevitable loss of the Bible’s cryptic power but with a gain of fully orchestrated scenes that, in the Bible, are single notes. When describing [David’s son] Amnon’s rape of [his sister] Tamar, for example, Brooks forces the reader to encounter the full depravity and cruelty of the event.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Arts & Culture, Book of Samuel, Fiction, Hebrew Bible, King David


In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan