This week we feature our last work on the theme of “lies”. These Are My Sons, by Jonathon Roberts explores the life of David as reflected through his children. This work is our first piece to respond to genealogies. Jonathon decided to film a live performance for this special post.

This song responds to:

1 Chronicles 3:1-9 (Genealogy)
2 Samuel 3:2-5 (Genealogy)
2 Samuel 5:1-16 (David becomes King)
2 Samuel 13:1-34 (Amnon rapes Tamar, Absalom kills Amnon)
2 Samuel 18:9, 14-15 (Absalom killed)
1 King 1:5-27 (Adonijah sets himself up as king)

 

These Are My Sons

 

Lyrics:

I’m in the land of the matriarch on the hill
I’m in the land where my father and my mother lay down
They lay down, I’m alive, I’m alive,
I’ve got it All

I wonder why all the love is gathering round me
Another baby born, Another baby born, One more baby born
I got it, I got it all

These are my sons and this is my daughter
I love them I love them
They are my soul

I’m in the city of the capital. I’m the king
I am the one who built up the wall,
I’m alive, I’m alive,
I got it all, I got it all

I wonder why I wonder who am I that I have been brought this far
I got it all
I wonder why, I wonder why

Look how my babies have grown,
Look how my babies have turned
I thought they were wiser than I
So why all the lies?
The lies, the lies, the lies,

One has carried a sword,
One has stolen a heart
One has severed a nation
I had it all, I had it all

These are my sons and this is my daughter
You loved her, You loved her.
It wasn’t love.
You took her soul.

You hated and died
You punished with a coward’s hand
Only to rise up in a tree, your throne

And you, you say you’re a worthy man
But you’re a lost deceiver
You’re spoiled, your charms are lies

Oh, my sons.

 

From the Artist

When I read the Bible I often find myself skimming over the lists of names. I forget that these are real people with full lives, emotions, a history, and a legacy. I set out to reverse this habit in myself while writing this song. I found lists of David’s sons and daughter in the Old Testament and started to imagine what his relationship might be with each of them. How did this relationship evolve as David’s life changed, from being in Hebron to Jerusalem? What about when his sons got caught up in acts of lies and jealousy? I focused on three sons: Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah. I imagined the love that David had for them but also the tremendous regret and sadness he felt at their behavior. Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, Absalom punished and murdered Amnon and ultimately died in disgrace hanging by his hair from a tree, and Adonijah was a charmer who unsuccessfully tried to seize the throne only to be killed as well. David is a noble man; his unending love and trust for God in his life and written in the Psalms is in an inspiration for us all. Still, how would he feel when looking at this same list of his sons that we see. The song begins with the David’s joy of bearing children and his rise in power and ends with an imagined scene of David addressing his sons, expressing his frustration, anger and regret. At times he may even see and blame himself.

 

 

 

CRW_9414a-Lo-Fi-velvet-crunchy-peeled_HEADSHOTJonathon Roberts is a composer and performer from Wisconsin living in New York City. His compositions range from solo piano/vocal pieces to large ensemble works, electronic music and theatrical sound designs, drawing from a classical background influenced by pop, jazz, and musical theater. He performs in NYC and across the continent with Spark & Echo and The Renaldo The Ensemble. He has an ongoing goal of setting the entire Bible to music and has toured the US with the multimedia theater work Project Paul, a piece he created with Scott Baye and Christy Bagasao. 

 

 

Jonathon Roberts and Spark & Echo are Resident Artists.

This work is copyrighted by the artists and used here with permission.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, ESV®. Copyright ©1002 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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