The Book Of Samuel – Bronze Age reality in two parts.

29 May

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The Divine Comedy, which is the Bible, relates the trials and tribulations in exactly the same way a contemporary reality show is portrayed on television. The actors are given a definitive set of rules that must be obeyed. If they adhere to those rules then life will run smoothly, but not necessarily easily. As soon as there is deviation from the plan, or suddenly the actors think they know better than the producers then enmity ensues. We then as viewers are allowed to enjoy twelve weeks of ordinary people trying to survive together, who can’t even live together, in glorious Technicolor. This is analogous of God’s curse. Without the spirit of God, there’s nothing but mayhem, confusion and ultimately retribution.

Saul is a chosen man rather than an anointed King. Selected not because of his heart or spirit but because he fits the idea of what a king should be. Saul is the Charlton Heston of the Hebrews, who thanks to his good looks, stature, and possibly dimpled chin, is elected. God takes offence at the notion of earthly kingship, as being the jealous Supreme Being that he is declares himself the true monarch, and therefore the only one his people should worship. God uncharacteristically relents, knowing as he does that the tribes should be careful for what they wish, and so through Samuel allows Saul to become god on earth. As always total power – even where sky gods are concerned – corrupts totally, and we see Saul suffer the slings and arrows of human folly, demonstrating himself to be a vain, jealous, malicious mortal – not dissimilar in fact, to the Christian God himself! God as we have seen in the past chooses those he sees fit to advance therefore Saul, in classic Bronze Age foreshadowing, is doomed before he ever wears the crown.

Saul is the traditional flawed character whom we all love to hate. He cannot suffer the military successes of his son Jonathon and who despite his initial love for David eventually comes to hate him as well. A “Napoleon” figure who thinks he knows best, who time and again ignores the will of God, and who eventually loses God’s spirit; a presumptive Mafia boss whose lack of respect for the god-father eventually leads him to sleep with the fishes.

God it would appear is neither fair nor unfair; it is simply his way or the highway. Pressured or perhaps disenchanted by the will of the people he allows them an experience of totalitarian power in order to teach them a lesson. Saul is the fall guy, who as in most tragic literature offers darkness in order that people can recognize the light when they see it. Without Saul there wouldn’t have been a David, and therefore in God’s infinite wisdom it was necessary for the Hebrews to suffer before they could finally find grace. It is Saul who is the biggest loser and who is voted off the island, and David who is invited to come on down. It’s God’s casino and one chooses to play the tables at one’s own risk.

 

 

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