The Poor Man's Ewe Lamb (2 Sam 12:1-4) in intersectional, interspecies perspective

Suzanna R. Millar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Nathan tells David a story about a rich man who takes and kills a poor man's lamb (2 Sam 12:1-4). This, it turns out, is figurative for David's own deeds of killing Uriah the Hittite and taking his wife. The story and its application suggest the intersecting power dynamics between groups: rich and poor, male and female, native and foreigner - and, crucially, human and nonhuman. This article argues that intersectional analysis should include an interspecies dimension, and explores these dynamics at work through various mechanisms of relation. Low status human groups are connected with nonhumans through animalisation, and are thereby delegitimised. Nonhuman animals and animalised humans are positioned as objects within mechanisms of domination, such as exploitation, exchange, and semiosis. The relationship between the poor man and lamb, though, offers another possibility: alliance. Care can be extended across species lines, with implications for intergroup relations throughout the intersectional web.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalVetus Testamentum
Issue number2
Early online date13 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 2 Samuel
  • animals
  • intersectionality
  • interspecies
  • power dynamics


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