Robert Pinsky and King David

"He endures and overcomes whatever tries to pull him down at each stage of life: the upstart lad's dismissal by elders and superiors; the endangered youth's contest with authority that is capriciously malign and affectionate; the mature man's struggle for conquest or subjugation; the ambitious man's exacting wiles, inclusing fiegned insanity and juggled loyalties and ruthless violence and reckless seduction and vengeance foregone. He survives the self-injuring lust of middle-age; he endures the guilts and regrets of fatherhood, with the rape of Tamar leading to the loss of Amnon, and the consequent loss of Absalom a wound to the father David infliced by David's own power and willDavid suffering all to triumph over all, as he must now suffer, and triumph over, not only the weakness of age, but gigantic death itself, be extending his will beyand the grave."

So poet laureate Robert Pinsky describes King David in his newly published The Life of King David. Pinsky's reflections are rooted in the Old Testament story from First and Second Samuel as well as the midrashic and Talmudic literature. It is obvious that he has spent years contempleting the meaning of David's life.

The years of study and contemplation were worth it, as Pinsky captures the very essence of David, his humanity. David is shepherd boy, giant slayer, poet, warrior, king, father, adulterer, murder. David is a hero who is not perfect; a leader who makes bad decisions. Despite all this, David is beloved of God.