Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 November 2020
Chapter 2 focuses on the depiction of Israel’s first kings in the Books of Samuel and 1 Kings 1–2. This chapter deals with narratives about the early days of kingship and the portrayal of kings and members of the royal court who are affected by various ailments and disabilities. The kings and members of the royal court discussed include Saul, who descends into madness; the unnamed son of David and Bathsheba; and David himself, who suffers the effects of old age later in his life. It is shown how royal illness frames David’s and Solomon’s succession to the throne and how royal illness can be framed by sinful behavior. When read against the backdrop of Israel’s and Judah’s monarchic past, the imagery of illness surrounding Saul and David engage in a larger debate about the correct form of leadership and problems inherent to kingship.