Make War Not Love

The Limits of David’s Hegemonic Masculinity in 2 Samuel 10–12

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Sara M. Koenig1
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David has been held up as an ideal(ized) man, one against whom other men are to be defined: a hegemonic male. His hegemonic masculinity is clearly visible in 2 Samuel 10–12, which takes place during the Ammonite wars. But hegemony is a social construct, and it gets expressed in social relationships. David’s relationships with three other characters in this pericope – Joab, Bathsheba and Uriah – illustrate how a hegemonic man maintains his hegemony through the trifecta of violence, sex, and race. Ultimately, David’s actions in 2 Samuel 10–12 vis-à-vis these three show the limitations and perils of hegemonic masculinity. Rather than glorifying hegemonic masculinity, this text ends up undermining it, exposing cracks in this image of masculinity.

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