To The Last Man
As children, many of us were told and retold the stories of the Bible. Stories of the Flood, Jonah, and Samson are well known and loved, but their simple childhood forms often do not delve deeper than the basic plot. But this is an opportunity that comes with imaginative and researched re-tellings of Bible story, of which To The Last Man by Glen Robinson is a good example, in which the author elaborates on a timeless classic and brings it to life, through the eyes of Ziba, Jonathan’s armour-bearer and good friend (see 2 Samuel 9, 16 and 19, for the source material).
We are all very familiar with the story of King Saul and David, as well the sometimes-awkward friendship between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. To the Last Man begins with Samuel being approached by the leaders of the tribes of Israel asking for a king to lead them. Samuel pleads for them to see reason, but they are wanting to move with the times and be like the other nations. I found myself caught up in the plot from this tense starting point. Even though I knew how it ended, it was intriguing to follow the story from a different angle and see how much Jonathan loved and served God throughout his life.
There are differences between a retelling of the Bible account and the story written by Glen Robinson. Although biblically accurate, he has added historical facts and extra plot details to make the story flow. I felt inspired to reread the biblical account and also pick up other books such as Meet the Cast: Lesser-known characters of the Old Testament by Ray Markham. After all, the stories in the Bible were put there for a reason and often we can learn much from those people who play a supporting role, as Jonathan did. Given the action in the story, To the Last Man would appeal to younger and male readers, but is an easy read for a rainy Sabbath afternoon for anyone who wants to re-discover this dramatic Bible story in a fresh way.
To The Last Man is available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand.
Sonia Knight is resources manager for Adventist Media.