Book Review: Melachim Gimmel (Kings III) by Yochi Brandes

September 29, 2011


“Melachim Gimmel” (Kings III) by Yochi Brandes is a biblical fiction book which, presumptuously enough, is a continuation of the biblical books of Kings I and Kings II. While not her first novel, this is the first “biblical” novel the former ultra-orthodox author wrote.

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“Melachim Gimmel” (Kings III) by Yochi Brandes (מלכים ג- יוכי ברנדס) is a fascinating book which attempts to turn some of the biblical stories on their heads and give the reader a new perspective. While some people find that offensive, I am not included in those and actually find those type of books captivating.

The book follows the life of Yerov’am ( Jeroboam – “the people contend,” or, “he pleads the people’s cause”), son of Nebat, an Ephraimite, and of Zeruah, a widow and the fourth king of Israel. In the bible Jeroboam is depicted as a horrible leader, a man who committed appalling acts in G-d’s eyes when he divided the kingdom. However, the author depicts Jeroboam as the “good guy”, an enlightening man who saved the kingdom from the clutches of King David.

Ms. Brandes depicts the women in this book as strong and assertive. The women are the ones who pull the string in the monarchy, sometimes David and Jeroboam, but I found it hilarious to read her description of King Solomon, known for his wisdom, but in this version is nothing but a mama’s boy who picks the ripe fruits his mother’s conniving has planted.

As with most Jewish literature, names play a huge role in this book. No name, even one invented by the author, is a whim – they are all meaningful and significant in their own way.

What I absolutely loved about the book is that it emphasizes the power of the written word. Ms. Brandis continually maintains, through her narrative, that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. While the sword determines life and death in the “now”, the pen determines life and death for future generations. The culture that is fought upon will be won by stories (the bible in this case) rather than the might of the king.

So tell me, do you think that culture stays together because of stories?


The book is divided into three parts:

Part one is when we get introduced to a child named Shlom’am (peaceful people) and follow him from childhood to young adulthood.

Part two follows Michal, King Saul’s daughter and the wife of King David. Michal is acting as if she is insane to fool everyone around her. She screams at night, lights thousands of candles all in order to hide the fact that she is in cahoots with Hadad the Edomite so she can restore the kingdom to the rightful lineage of King Saul.

Part three brings the book together when Shlom’am becomes King Yerov’am, fourth king of Israel, and fulfils the prophecy of Elisha.

Buy the English translation of this book from*
More Books by Yochi Brandes*

Zohar – Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book as a gift.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Melachim Gimmel by Yochi Brandes (מלכים ג- יוכי ברנדס)

One Comment

  • Leslie @ Tic TocOctober 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Your Choices and style as always continue to amaze me. Nice review, sounds like a winner.

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