Book Review: The Treasured King

The Treasured King:  A Walk Through The Life Of David, by Jeff Middleton

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Adams PR Group.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

From time to time I review books for a PR group, and this is at least the second [1] book that I have received without specifically asking for it.  This book deals with a subject that is near and dear to my heart in a variety of ways.  The life and works of David loom large in any study of the Bible, and the author does a good job in untangling these various issues in a thoughtful and accessible manner that is also in accordance with the biblical text, which he urges the reader to read alongside his own text.  David was a great king, and one whose writings in the Psalms in particular loom large in the liturgy of Judaism as well as Christianity.  And David was a person whose life is full of tensions and contradictions, full of life and struggle, and one who serves as an example and as a cautionary tale in a variety of ways.  Taking a walk through the life of David is a good thing to do from time to time, and this is an excellent book to accompany one through that walk.

Coming in at just over 200 pages and divided into fourteen chapters and various other material, this book is certainly efficient and effective, and it does so by leaving the large quotations of scripture to the reader to follow along in the translation of their choice, as this book could have easily been far longer with such material included.  After a foreword and introduction the author talks about the life of David in mostly chronological fashion, ending with some thematic chapters.  First the author talks about the anointing of David as king after Saul’s failures (1) and then looks at his famous victory over Goliath (2).  The author then skips to David’s period on the run from Saul and looks at lessons from the cave (3) as well as waiting on God (4) and looks at the period where David received blessings by serving the Philistines (5) before accepting God’s redirection into the monarchy (6).  The author looks at David’s graciousness to Mephibosheth (7) and his adultery with Bathsheba (8) as well as the confrontation of that sin (9) and the purpose of the resulting pain and suffering to David’s own family (10).  The author examines David’s Psalm of Praise (11), his humility as a leader (12), Psalm 23 as a psalm for the ages (13), and David’s role as a model for the King of Kings that was to come (14), before closing with a conclusion and some accountability group questions for the reader.

A great deal of the worth of this book comes from the author’s willingness to deal with the tangles and complexities of David’s character.  This book is no whitewashing of David’s own behavior and the author confronts the author’s sin and lack of faith and on the ethical demands that being a godly Christian place on believers.  There is no room for ragamuffin gospels here even as the author points out that too many people have failed to recognize God’s grace in having too tough-minded a view.  To be sure, this book does not cover many of the psalms in detail and it certainly glosses over certain aspects of the life and background of David–it shows comparatively little interest in David as a military leader, for example.  Likewise, the author does not get involved in questions about the historicity of David, assuming the Bible to be a reliable historical account, which is precisely the right way to go about this subject, even if reference to David in the Tel Dan and Mesha tablets would have been useful as well as historical context of the importance of David as king in the ancient world.  Even so, these are quibbles, as anyone who is going to write a comprehensive book about the life and times of David is going to bring their own perspective to the material.  Even where I would not agree with all of the author’s comments, this is definitely a book that provides a worthwhile and biblical perspective of David’s life that provides a worthy challenge for contemporary believers to wrestle with our own tensions and contradictions and shortcomings.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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