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1–2 Samuel: The Story of Saul and the Reign of David
Transcript of 1–2 Samuel: The Story of Saul and the Reign of David
OT Foundations weeks 10–11
1–2 Samuel: The Story of Saul
& the Reign of David
History and Society behind the Text
Formation and Transmission of the Text
Structure and Literary Features of the Text
Reception/ History of Interpretation
Personal and Pastoral Application
[Interpretive Methods and Assumptions]
"My father was a
and he went down into Egypt
with a few people and lived there
and became a great nation,...but the Egyptians mistreated us.... Then we cried out to the LORD....
So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm...
"He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Deut. 26:5–9)
Leave the old life for a new land.
Nationhood, reputation, favour and protection and worldwide impact
Israel's monarchic history
C. 1000-586 B.C. (Iron Age II) going by twin annals of royal lines of Israel (northern kingdom) and Judah (southern kingdom)
1 Samuel-2 Kings/1-2 Chronicles
Israel's pre-monarchic stories
c. 1400-1000 B.C. by narrative's internal implied chronology (1 Kings 6:1) linked via monarchy chronology into attested ANE history, or about 1250-1000 on the alternate chronology
Israel's pre-settlement origins
Israel's original ancestors
Set in the early 2nd millennium BCE, judging by narrative's chronological hints (esp. Exod. 12:40 in Hebrew text) and genealogical information
Humanity's primordial origins
Concerns the 4th-3rd millennia BCE, based on the impression created by the genealogies of Genesis 5, 11 & other cultural references in Genesis 1–11
Covers 1450-1400 B.C. by the narrative's internal implied chronology (esp. 1 Kings 6:1) linked via the chronology of Israel's subsequent kings into attested ANE history
An Alternate Chronology
We are encouraged by factors such as...
The evidence for symbolic use of numbers such as 40 and 480 in the Bible,
The Egyptian dominance of Canaan until the end of the C13th BC, and
The notable reign of Rameses II 1279–1213 BC,
...to think in terms of a late thirteenth-century exodus.
Middle Bronze (2000–1550)
Late Bronze (1550–1200)
Iron I (1200–900)
Iron II (900–586)
little historical movement in Pentateuchal narrative
little historical movement in Pentateuchal narrative
TWIN KINGDOMS (926)
FALL OF SAMARIA (722)
FALL OF JERUSALEM (586)
Promises to the Patriarchs (12–50)
Themes of the Pentateuch: The Covenants
: The Takeaway
EMPIRES AND CULTURES AROUND ISRAEL
Middle Kingdom (2055-1650)
Third Intermediate Period (1069-664)
Memphis (Lower E.)
Thebes (upper Egypt)
Avaris (E delta)
Old Babylonian (2000–1595)
North: Hurrians (main kingdom: Mitanni)
South: Kassites, based in Babylon (~400 year dynasty, ending in 1157 BC)
New Kingdom (1550-1069)
South: Kassites (ending 1157) and Elamites
New Kingdom (1550-1069)
North: Assyrians, varying in strength
North: Hittites, Middle Assyrian, incursions by Egyptians
East of Eden
Harran in Aram
Presence of God
Proximity to God
Absence of God
Alienation from God
The restoration of the presence of God to people, and of people to the presence of God.
Specifications for Sacrifices (1–7)
Purification and Atonement (11–16)
Qualifications of a Holy Nation (17–27)
Ordination of Priests (8–10)
and Additional Laws
Kadesh to the Plains of Moab
Camped beside the Jordan... and Additional Laws
the Sinai generation
the conquest generation
Jewish exiles with the chance to rebuild in Yehud (Judah), c. 500 BC.
Israelites on the cusp of the Promised Land, c. 1250 BC.
historical content retained in the cultural memory of Israel
needs of the present audience shape the presentation of the past
a scroll discovered in the Jerusalem temple in Josiah's time (c. 622 BC) that evoked a reaction suggestive of the message of Deuteronomy
The Feedback Effect in Biblical History
How the audience's situation affects historical accounts
Parts of Deuteronomy seem to
show a very clear consciousness of the final outcome of Israel's time in the Promised Land. Prophetic anticipation is one explanation, though Moses is not said to be 'prophesying' in these texts. Could the final outcome have affected the way the book was composed in its final form?
See 28:36-68; 30:1-10 ("When all these things have happened to you" 30:1 NRSV)
Focus for Understanding 1–2 Samuel
Keeping the Law
Knowing the Law
Formalizing the Covenant
loses control of Canaan in the course of the twelfth century
The claimed 'collapse' of Bronze Age civilization in the region and the weakness of great powers such as Egypt and Assyria permitted the proliferation of newer nations such as the Arameans, the Philistines, the E. Jordan nations, and the Israelites.
On the rise:
Phoenicia (Tyre, Sidon)
Philistines (Sea Peoples)
Edom, Moab, Ammon
Not yet important in relation to Israel:
Snapshot of the Region 1200–1000 BC
Breaching the Defences
Occupying the Land
Dividing the Land
Renewing the Covenant
Careers of the Judges
Paying attention both to the
of Israel's early kingship and the
interpretation of that history in the Samuel text....
Our goal is to appreciate the story of the rise of David and his dynasty to the throne of Israel guided by the hand of God.
While the writer is interested in confirming the legitimacy of David's claim to the throne of Judah, his kingdom illustrates some aspects of what the Kingdom of God might be meant to be.
(not his real name - see 1 Chron 8:33)
Images courtesy of Zondervan TextbookPlus
The Tel Dan Inscription
Though David paid
a heavy price for abusing his covenant kingship, he still represented God's choice as king over the people of God. He ultimately found atonement, and received the promise of an ongoing dynasty over Judah, expressed in terms of a 'son of God' relationship, foreshadowing the greater
Son to come.
From creation to the post-exilic priesthood via genealogies
(1 Chron. 1–9)
(1 Chron. 10)
(1 Chron. 11–21)
Provision for Solomon, the Priesthood and the Temple
(2 Chron. 1–9)
The History of Independent Judah
(2 Chron. 10–36)
Basalt monument found in three pieces, with much missing.
Contains reference (in white) to the 'House of David' (
Writer may have been the Aramean king Hazael (843-?) (1 Kings 19:15–17; 2 Kings 8–13).
Writer apparently takes credit for killing King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah (compare 2 Kings 9:21–28; Jehu and Hazael may have had a co-operative relationship).
David "is the first human being in world literature" - historian Baruch Halpern (Provan et al,
Biblical History of Israel
Spheres of Control of Saul, David and Solomon
ISRAELITE SOCIETY PICTURED
Nomadic, pastoral, tribal
Settled rural, pastoral & agricultural, tribal
Rural & some urban, pastoral & agricultural, clan-based, elder-guided
Urbanizing, monarchic, kingdom-based administration
1 K. 2:10
Retrospectives on David
Samuel: Last of the Judges
(w. Ruth, 1-2 Chronicles,
Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther)
Proposed Source Documents for 1–2 Samuel
Narrative of David's Rise
Succession Narrative/Court History of David
Review: When do the elements of a kingdom of God (& Abrahamic promises) appear in the story of Israel?
What does the Davidic Covenant add to the promises to Abraham and the Sinai covenant?
It validates a theocratic (God-led) monarchy.
It endorses a dynasty, that of David.
It enshrines Jerusalem as the holy city, and, indirectly and somewhat hesitantly (in 2 Samuel 7),...
It endorses Jerusalem's sanctuary as the highest national holy place.
Theme: Covenant and Kingdom
The book(s) of 1–2 Samuel wrestle with the question of the compatibility of a monarchy with Israel's covenant relationship with Yahweh.
Israel's struggle over this issue moves through three stages in the course of the narrative
When Religion Runs into Politics
"It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king" (1 Sam. 8:7)
"The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed
him ruler of his people"
(1 Sam. 13:14)
Read 2 Samuel 7:1–16
Transition (5-6): Ark's Journey
Priest & Sanctuary
Shiloh (in the north)
Plea for a King (8)
Prophetic Anointing (9)
Public Selection (10)
Testing in Combat (11)
Public Confirmation (12)
Prophetic Anointing (16)
Testing in Combat (17)
Public Sympathy and Saul's Envy (18–19)
David on the Run
A Failure to Wait (13)
A Flawed Victory (14)
A Failure to Obey (15)
within Judah (21–26)
in Philistia (27–31)
One thing to notice about this transition is that it separates responsibilities between the roles of ruler, prophet and priest
When Saul makes a sacrifice in 1 Samuel 13, he blurs the line between the carefully separated roles of political leader and prophet.
The Opening Theme: Hannah's Song (1 Samuel 2)
What sorts of values and truths does Hannah's song celebrate?
Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.
2 "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
3 "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.
4 "The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.
6 "The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's; on them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails;
10 those who oppose the LORD will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed."
The Closing Theme: David's Song & Oracle
(2 Sam. 22:1-23:7)
How does David's oracle, below, 2 Sam. 23:1-7, and his much longer psalm that occupies ch. 22 (= Psalm 18) reflect on the story of David that comes before them?
These are the last words of David: "The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse, the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, the hero of Israel's songs:
2 "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.'
5 "If my house were not right with God, surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part; surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire.
6 But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand.
7 Whoever touches thorns uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear; they are burned up where they lie." (NIV 2011)
Potential debate topic: should we see David more as hero, or more as villain? Find your biblical evidence.
Further Thematic Issues
What's at stake in David's friendship with Jonathan (20; 23:15-18)?
How does David discover the will of God (e.g. 23:1-13)?
Why is it important that David spares Saul's life when he has the choice (chs. 24, 26)?
Is that really Samuel in chapter 28?
Would David actually have fought for the Philistines?
Questions from David's years on the run:
Interpreting Old Testament Narrative
the context of the story
developed through action and dialogue
in which conflict or difficulty is almost indispensable, creating tension, and one event leads to another
where the plot is leading
Themes: the main idea(s) of the story
by a narrator (‘omniscient’)
the shape of the plot
imagery, symbolism, metaphor, rhythm, irony, linking words, motifs (recurring ideas that serve main themes), etc.
tension, emotion, spectacle, etc.
Justification of self or others?
Clarification of the truth?
Narrative is mostly indirect, a non-propositional form of revelation.
The reader is given the responsibility of making ethical and spiritual judgments about events.
Period commentary on events and persons makes writer's judgment explicit.
The broader perspective of biblical theology is important - the unfolding of God's purposes.
The reader is therefore called to patience.
God's work in individual lives and in his communities provides +ve and -ve spiritual models.
The real-life feel aids application.
Notice the similarity of this sequence to that concerning Saul 1 Samuel 9–11.
At the end of 1 Samuel, how would you describe:
The question of the kingship?
The condition of the kingdom of Israel?
The position of the kingdom of God?
National Sanctuary/ Sacred City
Does David's Israel fall short of the ideal Kingdom of God? If so, how?
Can David's kingdom therefore model the kingdom of God in any way, or not?
Is the Davidic Covenant conditional or unconditional? Supply biblical evidence.
Does it promise eternal duration to David's line?
Does it imply impregnability for David's sanctuary, i.e. Jerusalem and its temple?
Kingdoms Falling Short