January 2010

David the King: The Escape of David

Biblical texts more often than not move quickly. Whole generations are glossed over with little mention beyond names, entire lives rendered irrelevant to the story. So, when any text of the Torah slows down, the implication is that these moments are of incredible importance. Chapters 19 and 20 of First Samuel concentrate on individual scenes and the details of complex conversations, lingering on social nuance and plot points like few scriptural texts ever do. It's clear in these chapters that we're not just reading a moral document, we're consuming entertainment.

David the King: Jonathan and David

Last week we went over the story of young David's battle with the Philistine champion Goliath. While this display of prowess was impressive, the social intrigue that happens in the wake of the contest is arguably more important and more meaningful. At this point in First Samuel (chapter 18 specifically) the story becomes considerably more dense. Many events take place in the space of a single chapter and it's easy to miss a number of the many important details along the way. One element that has been a source of much debate and distraction over the ages is the relationship between David and Jonathan, Saul's son and the heir apparent to the throne of the two kingdoms.

David the King: The Fall of Goliath

Easily one of the most famous stories of Jewish scripture is that of the fight between David an Goliath. Its imagery resonates with people throughout time; a small, gentle boy triumphing over a very big, fearsome foe. In chapters 16 and 17 of First Samuel we see the first appearance of David and his quick, surprising battle with Goliath the Philistine champion. Taken in the context of the book and the time in which it was written, we'll find that this well-known story doesn't mean exactly what it's interpreted to mean in popular analysis.

David the King: The Sin of Saul

The book of First Samuel has a lot of very interesting ideas. Perhaps the most interesting is its clear assertion that it's wrong, possibly even a sin, to ask for a king. It's important to remember that, according to this story, Israel didn't have a king prior to Saul. It was only in a moment of desperation as the nation was on the brink of being conquered by the Philistines that the people begged for an absolute ruler. The book spends the duration of its length describing just why asking for a king is the worst thing a nation can do for itself.