In recent years, the Midrashic novel has become a new addition to the genre of the literature by selecting biblical characters that have compelling parts in the story, but little text to explain their full part in the biblical drama. Most of these stories are about women in the bible, but Joel Cohen has chosen a male character, the prophet Nathan.
Nathan, who was prophet to King David, has but a scant thirteen verses in 2 Samuel, Chapter 12, in which he confronts David and his great sin, the complicity in the death of Uriah and his adultery with Bathsheba. Nathan, who anointed David, feels duty bound to admonish the great King of Israel and proclaim judgment upon David for his transgression. David offers little resistance to his court prophet and repents for what he has done, but not without the punishment of Nathan’s prophecy. What must Nathan have thought before this dramatic scene and what of his relationship with the King afterwards?
Joel Cohen has developed an intriguing inner dialogue in Midrashic tradition to fill in the gaps for Nathan’s story intertwined with David’s story. He has also added Jewish legends, Talmud, and biblical text as side commentaries. These additional readings lend color, texture, and meaning to the great story of King David and his righteous prophet Nathan.