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Back to the Prophets
II Samuel: King David's Tragedies and Triumphs

This course was offered in Fall, 2017.

This Fall, we complete our study of the book of II Samuel.

King David’s dreams and promise are on the verge of collapse. Having consolidated his united kingdom, he has established a Davidic Empire. Jerusalem is the dominant political and military force in the entire Levant. But, as a Divine consequence of the Bathsheba/Uriah affair, and his own bumbling of family matters, he is betrayed or deserted by many of those closest to him. His household dissolves in a sea of incestuous rape and murder. Ultimately, his own beloved son, Avshalom, leads a violent rebellion that has David running for his life from Jerusalem.

Only the unmatched viciousness of David’s uncle saves the day, and David is confronted by the limits of power and loyalty. His once brilliant future seems mostly behind him. His last years consist of hanging on to his throne and nursing his well-earned wounds.

This is not a weekly “torah-study” class, but an in-depth exploration of each chapter and verse, uncovering the religious, historic and cultural messages of the author, and the historical context of the book’s composition and its first audiences.

Our class' methods are eclectic, including text-critical and literary approaches. These are enriched by archaeological information and contemporary scholarship, and are spiced and profoundly enriched with classic midrash and later Jewish interpretations of Biblical messages.

We will read and study in English with occasional references to the original Hebrew (fully explained for non-Hebrew speakers). Class members will be expected to read a chapter or so each week in preparation for class discussions.

Bring a Jewish Bible (Tanakh) to class. The more translations, the merrier!


# Sessions
Date & time

Thursdays, September 28 - December 21 (no class 10/5, 10/12, 11/23)
7:30 - 9:15 pm

$175 for the public
$160 for members
Session Time Days Location Instructors
Sep 28 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Oct 19 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Oct 26 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Nov 02 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Nov 09 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Nov 16 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Nov 30 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Dec 07 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Dec 14 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Dec 21 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen


Contra Costa Jewish Day School

955 Risa Road

Lafayette, CA 94549


Class meets in the school Makom/Library


Ken Cohen

Ken Cohen Ken Cohen, MA, former President of Lehrhaus Judaica. He holds a Master's Degree in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union and is an adjunct faculty member at San Francisco State University. Ken lectures widely on topics including the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and ancient Israelite history.