top of page

Loading Video . . .

These Are My Sons, by Jonathon Roberts, explores the life of David as reflected through his children and picks out the themes of "Lies" and "Genealogies" from the texts of:
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)1 Chronicles 3:1-9 (Genealogy) Jonathon decided to film a live performance for this special post.

​1 Chronicles 3:1-9

These are My Sons


Jonathon Roberts


Curated by: 

Spark+Echo Arts


Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

Loading primary passage...

Loading Passage Reference...

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.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Jonathon Roberts is a composer and sound designer for games, film, theatre, and ensembles. His style grew out of classical and jazz training, and evolved through quality life adventures: touring the country in an RV with a one person theater piece on the Apostle Paul, living in Brooklyn with an improv music ensemble, performing in a downtown NYC absurdist comedy band, and a long stint writing music for the renowned slot machine company, High 5 Games. He has released four albums including the latest, Cities a song cycle personifying biblical cities. He created the popular podcast/web series ComposerDad Vs. Bible, in which ComposerDad accepts intense compositional challenges from a mysterious Bible while out with his kids. He frequently collaborates on music and theater projects with his wife, actor Emily Clare Zempel. They live in Beacon, NY, with their two boys and a tangled box of electrical cords.

Jonathon Roberts

About the Artist

I Make Tents

The Sower


There Is Room

Consider Me a Partner


The Day Is Almost Here



Remember Me


How Beautiful

I Am a Fool

The Constant

Ecclesiastes Cows


Fools for Christ