Just Deceivers: An Exploration of the Motif of Deception in the Books of Samuel

By Matthew Newkirk

An in-depth study of the depiction of lies and deception in 1 and 2 Samuel, demonstrating a complexity of attitude towards falsehood in the text.

ISBN: 9780227175507


Is it ever right to lie? Does the Bible allow us to deceive? These are perennial questions that have been discussed and debated by theologians for centuries with little consensus. Entering this discussion, Just Deceivers provides a fresh analysis of this important topic through a comprehensive examination of the motif of deception in the books of Samuel. While many studies have explored deception in other Old Testament texts – especially the patriarchal narratives of Genesis – and a few articles have initiated examination of this motif in Samuel, Just Deceivers builds upon this groundwork and offers an exhaustive treatment of this theme in an important portion of the Hebrew Bible. Newkirk takes the reader through the books of Samuel, investigating every occurrence of deception in the narrative and exploring how the author depicts these various acts of deception, and then synthesises the results to offer an exegetically based theology of deception. In so doing, this study both challenges commonly held views concerning the Bible’s stance on falsehood and illustrates the importance of attending to the sophisticated literary character of biblical narrative.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 262

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Matthew Newkirk (PhD, Wheaton College) is Professor of Old Testament at Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan.


List of Tables
Foreword by Daniel I. Block

1. Introduction
2. Deception in the Explicit Statements of the Old Testament
3. Deception Intended to Prevent Death or Harm in the Books of Samuel
4. Deception Intended to Cause Death or Harm in the Books of Samuel
5. Deception Intended to Benefit Someone Else in the Books of Samuel
6. Deception Intended to Benefit the Deceiver in the Books of Samuel
7. Conclusion

Scripture Index


Endorsements and Reviews

In Just Deceivers, Newkirk tackles a tough topic – how Bible readers are to come to terms with the surprisingly numerous accounts of deception in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. Combining careful research, a broad acquaintance with pertinent primary and secondary literature, a lucid and inviting writing style, and sound judgment throughout, Newkirk’s book should find a place on the reading lists not only of students of the books of Samuel but of all who have ever puzzled over ‘lying episodes’ in the Bible.
V. Philips Long, Professor of Old Testament, Regent College, Vancouver

Pastors and biblical commentators, students of Scripture and Christian ethicists will need to pay careful attention to this work in the future.
Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

This book is a very useful contribution to studies in the Book of Samuel and to an understanding of the biblical perspective on deception.
Benjamin J.M. Johnson, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 1