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Casting Aspersions, Writing a Kingdom: Sexual Slander and Political Rhetoric in 2 Sam 3:6-11, 2 Sam 6:16; 20-23, and 1 Kgs 2:13-25

In: Vetus Testamentum
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In the story of King David found in 1 Sam 16-1 Kgs 2, several episodes recount a sexual(ized) allegation made against a significant character: Ishbosheth accuses Abner of having relations with his father Saul’s consort in 2 Sam 3:6-11; Michal disparages David for flaunting himself during the cultic procession of the ark in 2 Sam 6:16; 20-23; and Solomon executes his half-brother Adonijah for requesting marriage to David’s former ‘attendant’ Abishag in 1 Kgs 2:13-25. This paper will argue that 2 Sam 3:6-11, 2 Sam 6:16; 20-23, and 1 Kgs 2:13-25 function as historiographic slander and serve the strategic literary purposes of the David narrative by providing explanations for political fallout between particular characters while simultaneously defending the moral stature of the kings David and Solomon.

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