Abuse of Monarchical Power: David and Achav

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Introduction

People in positions of power tend to abuse that power.  Biblical characters are no exception, and the stories of David's sin with Batsheva1 and Achav's acquisition of Navot's vineyard2 are two cases in point.  Despite the vastly contrasting reputations of the two kings, here they act surprisingly alike.  Moreover, as a whole, the two stories follow very similar plot lines, further inviting a comparison.  In each, a king, who lacks nothing, nonetheless desires a layperson's beloved property. With the aid of others, a plot is orchestrated to bring about the owner's death so that the king can take the item for himself. In the end, the king is rebuked by the prophet, but repentance serves to mitigate the punishment.

Content Parallels

The following list reviews the many similarities between the two stories:

Literary Allusions

There are no significant literary parallels between the two stories, suggesting that the text did not intend for one chapter to allude to the other.  As such, the similarities stem solely from the similar actions of the two kings who had each taken advantage of their position of power.

Points of Contrast

Alongside the many parallels between the stories, there are also several significant points of contrast, many of which center around the character and actions of the two kings:

Conclusions

A comparison of the two stories raises several questions and points to ponder:

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