David, Saul, and God: Rediscovering an Ancient Story by Paul Borgman

By Paul Borgman

The biblical tale of King David and his clash with King Saul (1 and a couple of Samuel) is among the so much colourful and perennially well known within the Hebrew Bible. lately, this tale has attracted loads of scholarly recognition, a lot of it dedicated to displaying that David used to be a miles much less heroic personality than appears to be like at the floor. certainly, multiple has painted David as a despicable tyrant. Paul Borgman presents a counter-reading to those reviews, via an attentive interpreting of the narrative styles of the textual content. He makes a speciality of one of many key good points of historic Hebrew narrative poetics -- repeated styles -- taking unique word of even the small adaptations every time a development recurs. He argues that such "hearing cues" may have alerted an historic viewers to the solutions to such questions as "Who is David?" and "What is so fallacious with Saul?" The narrative insists on such questions, says Borgman, slowly disclosing solutions via styles of repeated situations and dominant motifs that yield, eventually, the excellent paintings of storytelling in old literature. Borgman concludes with a comparability with Homer's storytelling method, demontrating that the David tale is certainly a masterpiece and David (as Baruch Halpern has acknowledged) "the first actually glossy human."

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13 To whom will the lot fall—who will be Israel’s first king? The story’s audience shares the secret with Saul and Samuel because of the prior anointing of Saul, in private. All in Israel, including Saul presumably, await the verdict. The lot-drawing narrows down to Saul. saul: three anointings 21 But he is not present! Although Samuel has told him that he is God’s choice as ruler over Israel, Saul excludes himself from the lot-drawing among all the tribes gathered (I, 10:1). Why has he neglected to join in?

His deep-seated problem surfaces once again as a fear-based need for revenge, a capacity to ruin even a good thing: eat no food, he demands of his troops, until ‘‘I have been avenged on my enemies’’ (I, 14:24). Until I have been avenged? As a result of the king’s foolish and apparently self-serving dictum, the troops grow dangerously faint and end up committing sacrilege by finally succumbing to their hunger. They eat slaughtered sheep and oxen with blood. Saul’s rash oath creates a double taboo: violation of the oath itself and of ritual purity by eating meat with blood.

But the people had already balked at the rule of these sons, asking instead for a king: after all, Samuel’s elevation of his sons as judges had already been disastrous. The two sons ‘‘turned aside after grain; they took bribes and perverted justice’’ (I, 8:3). As suggested, echoes of Eli’s two sacrilegious and manifestly evil sons have helped to suggest, before Saul enters the scene, that the people’s request for a king has some merit, in spite of their desire to have a king ‘‘like other nations’’ (I, 8:5).

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