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A Tale of Three Kings

Author Gene Edwards
Narrator Paul Michael
Runtime 2.25 Hrs. - Unabridged
Publisher christianaudio Hovel
Downloads ZIP M4B MP3
Release Date April 15, 2011
Availability: Unrestricted (available worldwide)

Many Christians have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers. To those believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing and hope. This tale by Gene Edwards is based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom.

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This modern classic will bring light, clarity, and comfort to the brokenhearted. Many Christians have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers. To those believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join these other people who have been profoundly touched by this incomparable story. This tale by Gene Edwards is based on the biblical figures of David, Saul, and Absalom.

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Customer Reviews 24 item(s)

needs to be read by everyone
It helps one to face the cold reality about ourselves. It is not really a story for the sake of a story, but rather a self discovery book with a familiar story to help guide us. It is a sermon without sounding like a sermon.
Review by / (Posted on 10/15/2015)
Gene Edwards does it again!
A beautifully written book that holds us accountable for our own thoughts and actions when we are under attack from within our own camp. Edwards communicates with the clarity of someone who has lived long enough to observe both sides of the issue. He steps back from your situation to clarify it.
Review by / (Posted on 8/28/2015)
Most helpful book ever
Having experienced many abuses in my church, this book has reminded me that God has a purpose for every person he brings into my life. I think this is a must read for every person who thinks church has to be a perfect place. Well done Gene Edwards and thanks to Christian Audio for making it available. I wish I could make this available to every member of my fellowship.
Review by / (Posted on 6/17/2015)
a painful but much needed lesson! Well written and read.
Review by / (Posted on 3/31/2014)
Thorougly enjoyed the insights
I don't know if he's right on all that he says but it certainly brought the life of Saul and David alive for me!
Review by / (Posted on 9/28/2013)
Three Kings
A good look at David and Saul and David and Absalom. Paul Michael is a great narrarator. I highly recommend his readings of the Wendell Berry books.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free from the christianaudio Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Review by / (Posted on 8/17/2013)
Very insightful look at the life of these important Bible personalities.
The author gives insight into the life of David as a youth, a young man, and king. What we might consider his mistakes or failings could also be evidence of his reliance and dependance on God in David's life and how he interacts with persons around him, even in the face of his many conflicts, God truely reigns supreme.
Review by / (Posted on 8/23/2012)
My husband and I both loved the unique way to see this story from other vantage points.
Review by / (Posted on 7/10/2012)
When Faced with Authoritative Church Leadership
“A Tale of Three Kings” by Gene Edwards discusses how to deal with authoritative church leadership through the stories and interactions of Saul and David and David and Absalom.
I enjoyed the story-telling ability of Gene Edwards. He presents the stories as acts of a play, mostly through David's perspective. The stories were full of imagery and descriptive of emotions. However, there are some fictionalization of events, such as non-biblical dialogue between characters. This makes for good story-telling and pace, but I don't really like when authors put words into the mouths of biblical characters that they probably wouldn't say.
Although Gene Edwards didn't directly say how one should act when faced with authoritative church leadership, the book implies what one should do. I think there should have been more practical application, perhaps at the end of the book, but the book is a good starting point for discussion.
Paul Michael, the narrator, had a pleasing, expressive voice. His voice would change in quality, tone, or pitch when speaking as different characters.
This review was written as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
Review by / (Posted on 4/25/2012)
Very Good Book
This is one Great Book.
Review by / (Posted on 4/6/2012)
Loved it!
First, the narration made the book come alive very powerfully. The book ministered to me on a variety of topics (judging/judgment of others, God's sovereignty, trusting in God fully and letting go, politics to name a few). Highly recommended.
Review by / (Posted on 3/13/2012)
It's good to keep asking
Magnificent. What an incredible story that encourages you to rethink pain and suffering and the sovereignty of God. The narrator has great tone and inflection that helps to imprint the story in to your listening experience. I will recommend this to many friends.
Review by / (Posted on 3/8/2012)
Listening to this book is far greater than reading it
'[Paul Michael’s] delivery gives him an air of wisdom as he recounts seemingly firsthand experiences from these lives.

T.D. © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
Review by / (Posted on 8/25/2011)
A Tale of Three Kings
A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards recounts the Biblical stories of King Saul, King David and King Absalom in fictionalized form. As the story unfolds, the author frequently interrupts the story to give teaching regarding the themes and/or morals of that part of the story. The overall topic of A Tale of Three Kings is how a Christian should respond when hurt by church leadership or church members.

As for the audio quality of this recording, it was excellent. The narrator's voice was appropriate and he read the text at a perfect pace.

Regarding the content of A Tale of Three Kings, my response varied. I found the fiction portions entertaining enough. However, it was sometimes confusing and distracting when the author would jump from fiction to attempting to explain spiritual truths. I would have rather listened to a completely fiction book that challenged me to think or to a book in which the first half was fiction and the second half was teaching. I must respectfully disagree with some of the author's teachings. There is a lack of Scriptural basis for some of them. I only recommend this book to someone who is willing to consider what it teaches and examine it to see if it lines up with Biblical teaching.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free from Chistianaudio as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Review by / (Posted on 6/21/2011)
He who has ears, let him hear
I just finished listening to this audio book. Frankly, I think it is better than reading it, as the effect of the writer is magnified when spoken, especially here. Any man should hear this book: Father, Boss, Pastor, "King", etc. ...any man at all, as it speaks to them directly.

Co-dependant people or those who are weak willed will miss the point. The subject matter is meekness and submission, which are two words that belong to strong people, who are willing to be told what they can't do with power.

The thinking is Biblical but not presented in a balanced way. One perspective and the reality of it is being made very well here. If you are not comfortable with being given a single truth and need others to balance that for you, then avoid this book.

I admire the author's ability to discipline himself to make his point without succumbing to the temptation to explore the side issues this topic brings up. By throwing one strong punch, he makes us decide how to absorb or defend ourselves in the light of it. Brilliant and skillful, spiritual and true, God bless the effort.

As a man who does not have a lot of interest in reading outside of the Bible, I was personally enriched by a Tale of Three Kings and would easily recommend it.
Review by / (Posted on 6/19/2011)
It’s all too common in today’s church: Christians hurting Christians. A critical comment, an unforgiving stare, a no-holds-barred battle among church members. In the end one or both parties are wounded, a testimony has been harmed, and the only winner is Satan. In A Tale of Three Kings, author Gene Edwards speaks to those who have been harmed at the hands of other believers. He uses two biblical accounts – those of the relationship between David and Saul and that between Absalom and David – to deliver a message of hope, comfort, and healing.

This is a beautiful story. Edwards’ use of the stories of David’s relationship to Saul and then to Absalom to instruct and offer healing is profound. I will never look at these two stories in the same light again and will never again see church conflict as I did before, either.

The audiobook edition, read by Paul Michael, is excellent. I listened to it twice on a trip to bring my grandparents home from Florida, first by myself on the plane and then with my grandparents in the car. The narrator’s soothing voice combined with the author’s soothing words to deliver an experience unlike any other. I took much more away from my second listening and encourage you to listen more than once to gain all the insight found within the book. It’s very short, so listening multiple times is easy to do.

On a personal note, my grandparents left my church ten years ago after some sad occurrences. Two weeks after listening to this book, they started attending again. I won’t say that this book is responsible for that, but I am certain that God used it in His plan to bring them home. I praise the Lord for that.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free from the christianaudio Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Review by / (Posted on 6/13/2011)
Wonderful insight on what might have gone on behind the scenes
I LOVED it! Not only was the narrators voice so comforting and soothing, but it literally put a few of my kids to sleep! What else is better than that!?! Oh and what about the actual story, you may ask?

It was awesome also...
A Tale of Three Kings is the story of Saul, David and David's son Absalom. This fiction book is presented as if the author is talking along side of us as we sit together in a theatre watching a play take place.

The lights dim and the story begins.

Maybe you have already read the story in the Bible of these three men, but this is a version you will not want to miss. Edwards fills in details of their lives from his own imagination and mingles it with the truth we already know. Their thoughts and feelings. What they saw, dreamed and breathed.
Why was Saul so mad at David? What had happened in David's life to write that beautiful psalm about the Lord being our Shepherd? Why did Absalom want his dad's throne?

Overall it is a story of what each man chose to obey God or to fight for self? What do you do when a man is throwing a spear at you or your son rebels and tries to take over your kingdom? How do we respond in life to those who believe in God and are not making good choices?

I will defiantly be listening to this again and also coping it onto a CD to listen to in the car. It was wonderfully presented and playing out the scenes in my own imagination was fantastic. Hopefully, it can help put a couple of kiddos to sleep in the car too!

One awesome bonus to audio books for me is that I am able to pass them onto my husband.
I love books...he, well...trys to love them! Listening to books while he is driving is one of the easiest ways for him to enjoy them and actually get to "reading" them!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Review by / (Posted on 5/10/2011)
Ok for leaders but not for most Christians
A Tale of Three Kings Review –
A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards is a worthwhile listen for anyone in church leadership. This dramatic retelling of the stories of Saul, David, and Absalom should give all leaders pause to think about what kind of leader they are and how to approach leadership.
However, I do not recommend this book for the average Christian. The book seems to advocate that regardless of what our leaders do or how far they stray from God’s will, we should simply submit to them because we never know how God is using them. The book does not take into account the goft of discernment that God gives us or our responsibility as Christians to lovingly hold one another accountable.
The style of the book was very easy to listen to and helps the listener to see the drama unfold. The narrator did a wonderful job and makes the many varied voices in the book come to live. Thanks to the christianaudio Reviewers Program ( for providing the opportunity to listen to and review this book.
Review by / (Posted on 5/9/2011)
A Disaster
A Tale of Three Kings, by Gene Edwards, is a book primarily dealing with the author's perceived proper response to attacks on your person or on your ministry. The audio version, which was supplied me from ChristianAudio for review, was read by Paul Michael, who does an excellent job narrating.

The book deals with the lives of three kings, Saul, David, and Absalom, and how they dealt with conflict in their lives. Edwards takes the framework of the biblical narrative and fills in the gaps with great imagination. Any time I encounter extra-biblical imaginative fiction, I cringe. The scene early in the book where David is playing his harp and kills the bear with his slingshot doesn't seem to fit the biblical description of David delivering a lamb out of the mouth of the bear. It just seems an inherent trap in biblical fiction to legendize elements of the story.

Where this book really fails is its attempt to flip-flop between fiction and exhortation. For example, chapters 1-3 are colorful fiction about David and his rise to Saul's court, but then chapters 4 and beyond try to take the spear-throwing episode and exhort the reader to apply the vague truth of spear-throwing. It's quite a stretch and really unclear. Chapter 12 starts the fiction-exhortation cycle again... It's a disaster. Edwards would have been better off to focus on allegorical fiction and allow the reader to draw his own conclusions. The back-and-forth throughout the book is distracting and really breaks the flow of the book.

Overall, I would NOT recommend this book to anyone.
Review by / (Posted on 5/6/2011)
finding about Gene Edwards life and ministry since this book was more interesting...
Reviewed by: Derek R. Iannelli-Smith
Earl Eugene "Gene" Edwards (born July 18, 1932) is an American house church planter, a Christian author, and a former Southern Baptist pastor and evangelist. A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he is an outspoken proponent of the house church concept in the United States.

Is it a play? paraphrased Bible stories? or healing salve for those as the ‘dedication’ outlines it,

To the brokenhearted Christians coming out of authoritarian groups, seeking solace, healing and hope. May you somehow recover and go on with Him who is liberty.

And the Christians who have been, or presently are, involved in the heart-rendering experiences of a division within your fellowship. May this story give you light, clarity and comfort. And may you, too, somehow recover and go on with Him who is peace.

And may you both be so utterly healed that you can still answer the call of Him who asks for all because He is all.

This is the second time I have visited this book in my life and the first time was going through leaving a church and starting seminary. The second time on the other side of compassion fatigue and as a reviewer. Both times, visited for different reasons. First, the study of brokenness as that was what God was discipling me with at that time. Those were sweet times but also emotional times of leaving and cleaving. This time, we are slowly moving with a church plant and reviewing a book by a church planter! This time hoping to truly learn humility and not bring reproach upon Christ as we serve our church/family.

The narration of the book starts like a theatrical audio that did make it kind of interesting in the beginning. The narration was well done and clear. The ‘story-like’ theme made the 2+ hours zoom right by. It was a great experience of story telling.

The distracting weakness for me however was the disconnect between the true history of Saul, David and Absalom. For instance, Gene presents a querying David regarding Absalom’s actions and character. When in reality, David knows exactly why he is going through this with his son. A consequence of sin that started on a balcony long ago.

Book evaluation – maybe bringing a house church planter to the forefront may or may not be a good thing for the modern evangelical protestant church. However when visiting Gene’s site, I found myself getting more interested in what he is doing since writing this work in 1980.

This book would be good for anyone (really, anyone – wink) as there are elements for everyone who enjoys a good book.

There is one thing, dear reader, this book is most certainly not intended to be. It is not intended to be additional fodder in your cannon to better blast your adversaries, whatever your view. I would beg you to be done with such ancient and brutish ways. This book is intended for individual healing and private retreat.
Review by / (Posted on 5/5/2011)
Creative Storytelling, Lopsided Theology
When you're the object of attack, what do you do? Retaliate in kind? Duck and cover? A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness attacks that question specifically within the context of the Christian community, drawing on the biblical stories of three Old Testament kings: Saul, David and Absalom.

Mad King Saul chased his God-anointed successor, King David, until Saul's death, but David refused to attack Saul even when given ample opportunity. According to the biblical text, David refused to “touch the LORD's anointed,” even if that anointed one was quite obviously way off course. David later faced a similar situation when his own son, Absalom, led a coux. The author works this into an imaginative new fictional narrative of the actual biblical stories.

The narrative is a creative attempt to face all too common church divisions, specifically focusing on the relationship of submission to leadership within the Christian community. What do you do when attacked by a Christian leader? What do you do when your pastor, who may once have been solidly in line with God's will, goes far astray? Gene Edwards answers, “Even when Christian leaders err (or abuse?), do not raise your voice or revolt. Submit to your leaders.”

I applaud the creative use of the biblical stories about these three kings but “A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness” does not do justice to the issues. Certainly Christians need to take far more seriously the Christian virtues of submission and have a proper respect for the office of pastor. But in an age when once-hidden abuses of the clergy (and I speak as a pastor), it's ludicrous to simply say, “Endure poor pastoral leadership and submit to unethical behaviors from those God has placed in authority over you.” There must be a fuller account of how Christians can resist evil and address wrong-doing within the congregation.

I give the book some credit for creativity and an occasionally entertaining style, but the one-sided theology wouldn't allow the narrative to hold my attention long. Paul Michael did a great job narrating the audiobook edition (which I “read”), adding characterization to the many voices of the story.

But overall, it was a mediocre story with lopsided theology. I don't recommend “A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness.”
Review by / (Posted on 4/29/2011)
A must listen!
I recently listened to A Tale of Three Kings by author Gene Edwards for the christianaudio Reviewers Program (
The only thing I regret about this book is that it was not longer. It is a fabulous book that I would have to say every minister should read or listen to, and every Christian would benefit immensely by doing the same as well. I have read the written copy before and it has impacted my life forever. The audio book was well done and the narrator did a splendid job. His voice was a natural fit for the style of the book.

The author examines the foundational platforms of Saul, David, and Absalom, and the decisions they made in an effort to gain leadership. The themes of brokenness and trust in God to do what man should not do are gut-wrenchingly dealt with in this book.
Review by / (Posted on 4/27/2011)
Brilliant Storytelling
This is a great little audiobook.

I loved the quirkiness of it, with the author inviting you to ‘watch’ the events unfold, in the style of a radio play.

Paul Michael’s narration is absolutely perfect for this and he really helps to add to the atmosphere of the story. He really drew me into the events of King David’s life, so much so that I listened to the whole thing in an evening.

Its very funny in parts and had me laughing out loud, especially when referring to how God doesn’t always tell us what we want to know, because He doesn’t have to!! Bringing back a sense of mystery of God that think has been lost of the years.

I can see that people who are in an abusive situation in a church would not agree with this audio, and in some respects quite rightly so.

Thanks to Reviewers Program for the free copy of this audio.
Review by / (Posted on 4/27/2011)
A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
This book has been designed to address situations that happen too often in local churches. Maybe the church leader is a bit of an authoritarian. Perhaps a church member thinks he should have more authority than he currently does. Perhaps the church leader is taking the church in the wrong direction. Gene Edwards takes the biblical accounts of Saul, David and Absalom to see how we should react.

The book is written in a dramatic way, which really draws the reader in. It's not a detailed exposition of Scripture but some quite detailed Bible knowledge is required to understand what's going on. The language is fluid, dynamic, and personal. It jumps from storytelling to dialogue to direct engagement with the reader. I loved the style.

In terms of content I don't think I've ever read a book quite like it. Edwards is unashamed to directly address local church issues; if you are in a church and your senior pastor is doing things you disapprove of, how should you react? What if he starts to personally attack you? And what if you are the leader and you have someone in your congregation who is looking to split the church? Gene Edwards is not scared to tackle real issues, and he's not scared to radically pursue biblical standards.

Audio is a great medium for this book. The narrator is perfect for it, and the style of the book lends itself very well to an audio version.

I'd recommend this book to every church leader, and anyone who's a Christian and involved in leadership to any extent. This book is excellent and will highlight areas for improvement in your character, together with appropriate responses.

I got this audiobook for free from I'm not required to give a positive review.
Review by / (Posted on 4/26/2011)