Absalom and Achitophel

by

John Dryden

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The Jebusites Term Analysis

The native inhabitants of Jerusalem in Israel. In Dryden’s poem, the Jebusites begin to lose all their rights; their taxes are raised, their land is seized, and their religion is discredited. The Jebusites are outnumbered by the Jews in Israel 10 to 1, and they are forced to live under David’s rule. There is widespread prejudice against the Jebusites in “Absalom and Achitophel,” and Achitophel manages to turn the people against David’s brother by claiming he is a Jebusite. The Jebusites are a metaphor for Roman Catholics during Dryden’s own time, who were outnumbered by Protestants 10 to 1 and suffered similar discrimination in England.

The Jebusites Quotes in Absalom and Achitophel

The Absalom and Achitophel quotes below are all either spoken by The Jebusites or refer to The Jebusites. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Absalom and Achitophel published in 2001.
Absalom and Achitophel Quotes

Th’ inhabitants of old Jerusalem
Were Jebusites, the town so called from them,
And theirs the native right—
But when the chosen people grew more strong,
The rightful cause at length became the wrong,
And every loss the men of Jebus bore,
They still were thought God’s enemies the more.
Thus, worn and weakened, well or ill content,
Submit they must to David’s government;
Impoverished and deprived of all command,
Their taxes doubled as they lost their land,
And, what was harder yet to flesh and blood,
Their gods disgraced, and burnt like common wood.
This set the heathen priesthood in a flame,
For priests of all religions are the same.

Related Characters: David
Page Number: 116-117
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Jebusites Term Timeline in Absalom and Achitophel

The timeline below shows where the term The Jebusites appears in Absalom and Achitophel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Absalom and Achitophel
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
The Jebusites are native to Israel, but as the “chosen people” grow stronger, they begin to lose... (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
...but it is also rife with lies to please “fools” and confuse the “wise.” The Jebusites worship the same gods as Egypt, but with odds of “ten to one” in Israel,... (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
So the Jebusites begin to use deception. They mix and socialize with the Jews, looking for converts, in... (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...quietly stokes “jealousies and fears” and tells anyone who will listen that David is a Jebusite. Achitophel knows that his argument is “weak,” but it is believed by many in the... (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
...it comes to a war, nor will the Jews support the Pharaoh to help the Jebusites. (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...them? David is not a tyrant, and he doesn’t abuse the Jews or favor the Jebusites. If he was a tyrant, it would be easier for Absalom to go against him,... (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
...He will have to turn to his friends for help, and his friends are all Jebusites and “Pharaoh’s pensioners.” (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...they are not afraid to raise up Absalom as a “lawful prince” and condemn the Jebusites. The most vocal are the “hot Levites,” who want their “belov’d theocracy” back. Others join... (full context)
Politics, Allegory, and Satire Theme Icon
God, Religion, and the Divine Right of Kings Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...freedom is at stake, he says. Egypt and Tyrus are threatening their trade, and the Jebusites are threatening their religion. Absalom claims to still respect David, but as David befriends his... (full context)