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

Old Testament

By Paul Borgman

The biblical tale of King David and his clash with King Saul (1 and a couple of Samuel) is among the such a lot colourful and perennially well known within the Hebrew Bible. lately, this tale has attracted loads of scholarly consciousness, a lot of it dedicated to exhibiting that David used to be a miles much less heroic personality than seems at the floor. certainly, a couple of has painted David as a despicable tyrant. Paul Borgman presents a counter-reading to those reports, via an attentive studying of the narrative styles of the textual content. He specializes in one of many key gains of historical Hebrew narrative poetics -- repeated styles -- taking certain observe of even the small adaptations every time a trend recurs. He argues that such "hearing cues" might have alerted an historical viewers to the solutions to such questions as "Who is David?" and "What is so incorrect with Saul?" The narrative insists on such questions, says Borgman, slowly disclosing solutions via styles of repeated eventualities and dominant motifs that yield, eventually, the ideally suited paintings of storytelling in historical literature. Borgman concludes with a comparability with Homer's storytelling procedure, demontrating that the David tale is certainly a masterpiece and David (as Baruch Halpern has stated) "the first really glossy human."

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This is Saul at his best. The people making Saul their king that day ask that those who hadn’t wanted him as king be put to death. Saul refuses, and leads the people in rejoicing. Together with their king and Samuel, Israel offers ‘‘sacrifices of well-being before the Lord’’ (I, 11:15). The repetition of the celebratory location as Gilgal is a reminder of a challenge left hanging in the story: go to Gilgal, the prophet had told Saul, after the very first anointing; wait for me seven days to perform the sacrifices.

This brief episode, the boy as foil to the man, functions in the same way as a longer episode with which we close, a moral tale in which Saul’s son serves as foil to his father. What Saul isn’t, but should be, is demonstrated in a story sandwiched between the two wrongdoings and the exposure of King Saul as a fearfully clutching leader. saul: three anointings 31 Saul’s Doubled Wrongdoing as a Frame for Jonathan, and What Is Right (I Samuel 14:1–52) What’s wrong with Saul is suggested in part by what’s right about his son Jonathan.

2 Who Is David? Multiple Introductions Pattern 3 David plays more roles, in more situations, than any modern protagonist. —Lore Segal After all is said and done, we are still left with Samuel’s greatest enigma, the figure of David himself. —Everett Fox Who is the creature who pleads with Achish [Philistine king] to go into battle against Saul and Jonathan and then laments for Saul and Jonathan? ’’ nicely summarizes the central question which the entire Davidic history seeks to answer. ’’ —The story’s Nabal, I Samuel, 25:10 The story’s multiple introductions of David, consist of four brilliantly clear vignettes that do not add up to any apparent coherence of 38 david, saul, and god character.

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