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YMMV / Books of Samuel

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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: As many people have remarked down the centuries, the lesson of David vs. Goliath can easiy be read as "Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight".
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Absalom. Was he an arrogant usurper, or was he motivated by vengeance for his sister, Tamar? David did nothing to punish Amnon for raping Tamar, and Absalom’s sense of wounded justice seemed to be his Start of Darkness. That, however, does not excuse the fact that he in turn publicly raped many of David’s concubines—or at minimum, had sex with them under very coercive circumstances.
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    • Joab can be seen as either The Lancer or the Token Evil Teammate. While David was merciful to his former foes, Joab did the dirty work of killing these foes and ensuring David’s (and his own) hold on power. David may have viewed Joab as the Token Evil Teammate, but David never had Joab tried or executed during his own reign. Instead, he ordered Solomon to do it once Solomon became king. David seemed to recognize Joab’s importance and feared what would happen if he was absent. Only when Joab threatened Solomon’s succession was David ready and willing to move against him.
    • Bathsheba has been traditionally described as participating in a mutual romantic affair with David, even possibly intentionally seducing him by bathing naked outside. Alternately, she may be a cautionary tale about the need to dress modestly to avoid the Male Gaze. Conversely, it's becoming more common to point out that even in the best case scenario, the circumstances were Questionable Consent at best, since David ordered her to be brought to him and she didn't exactly have the free choice to refuse the king's orders.
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  • Best Known for the Fanservice: David is commonly remembered as the king who saw Bathsheba bathing on the roof, and who... did some other things too? The dancing is an aversion, since David in the text wasn't even shirtless but Michal's words mislead people into thinking he was naked or undressed.
  • Depending on the Artist: David, oh so very much.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Saul is described as handsome and he became a villain. It is unknown whether he kept his looks, though. There is also Absalom, who was as handsome as his father David.
  • Ho Yay: David and Jonathan were like the Naruto and Sasuke for medieval Yaoi Fangirls.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Saul crossed it when he killed the priests of Nob and their family and livestock. His act was so grave that only Doeg the Edomite of his troops supported him in that act.
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  • Never Live It Down: "David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1 Kings 15:5).
  • Values Dissonance: Basically, Saul lost his divine support after disobeying divine orders by being insufficiently thorough committing a genocide in which every man, woman, child and animal of the nation of Amalek was to be exterminated. In fairness, the Amalekites were Asshole Victims who mocked God and launched many unprovoked attacks on the Israelites.
  • Wheelchair Woobie: Mephiboseth.
  • The Woobie:
    • Michal, Saul's daughter, because David is such an incredible jerk to her. Early in the story, she loves him and marries him, and saves his life from her own father when he wants to have David killed, risking her own in the process. Then, David runs away and never even tries to contact her for years, and marries other women instead. All right. Michal is then married to another man, and is apparently happy with him — but then David (who is now the king) suddenly wants her back again and has her dragged away from her new family, with her husband following her along the way crying for her as she is taken away. Then David publicly humiliates Michal by saying he really prefers slave girls to her, and boasts that he is now king instead of her father and brothers (who were killed in the meantime), and there's nothing she can do about it—"And I will yet be more vile than thus." And he is, because, as one final atrocity against her, he has Michal's five sons from her second marriage murdered and left to rot.note  How Michal must regret that she saved him, that time many years ago...
    • Poor, poor Tamar. Her half-brother Amnon rapes her and David does nothing to punish him. Her brother Absalom is the only one to care about her, and even he tells her to be quiet about the rape.

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