ISRAEL STORY 04 – Age of Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon

SPRING 2015 BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume I: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume II: From the Exile to the Maccabees.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Boling, Robert G.  Judges.  Part of the Anchor Bible series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Doubleday, Garden City, 1975).

Bright, John.  A History of Israel, second edition.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1972).

Campbell Jr., Edward F..  Ruth.  Part of the Anchor Bible Series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1975).

Cotter, David W.  Genesis.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Creach, Jerome F. D..  Joshua.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

De Vaux, Roland.  The Early History of Israel.  Translated by David Smith. (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1978).

Gordon, Cyrus H. and Gary A. Rendsburg.  The Bible and the Ancient Near East, fourth edition.  (W. W. Norton, New York, 1997).

Hayes, John H. and J. Maxwell Miller.  Israelite and Judaean History.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by John H. Hayes and J. Maxwell Miller.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1977).

Hawk, L. Daniel.  Joshua.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Jobling, David.   1 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1998).

LaCocque, Andre.  Ruth.  Part of the Continentl Commentary series.  Translated by K. C. Hanson.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2004).

Linafelt, Tod.  “Ruth” in Ruth & Esther.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter Editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1999).

Mazar, Amihai.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible : 10,000 – 586 B.C.E.  Part of the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library edited by David Noel Freedman.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990).

Morrison, Craig E.   2 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, Jerome T. Walsh editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2013).

Myers, Eric M. and Mark A. Chancey.  Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume 3 of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by John Collins.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2012)

Niditch, Susan.  Judges.  Part of the Old Testament Library series, editorial advisory board Brown, Newsome, Petersen. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2008).

Propp, William H. C..  Exodus 1-18: A new translation with introduction and commentary.  Volume 2 of the Anchor Yale Bible, William F. Albright and David Noel Freedman General Editiors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

Provan, Iain, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III.  A Biblical History of Israel.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

Sakenfeld, Katherine Doob.   Ruth.  Part of the Interpretation Biblical commentary series, James L. Mays series editor.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1999).

Sarna, Nahum M.  Genesis.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1989).

—————–.  Exodus.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1991).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson.  The Prophets: Joshua / Judges: The early prophets with  commentary anthologized from the Rabbinic writings.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 2000).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. IIa PEAH.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1990).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. 1a SEDER MOED.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1982).

Schneider, Tammi J.  Judges.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Silver, Daniel Jeremy.  A History of Judaism: Volume 1, From Abraham to Maimonides.  (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1974).

Stern, Ephraim.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume II: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732 – 332 B.C.E.).  Part of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2001)

Walsh, Jerome T.   1 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1996).

Zlotowitz, Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Nosson Scherman.  The Book of Ruth: A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Tlmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic sources.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1976).

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Gordon p. 176: “The prevailing view considers Judges to be more historically accurate and views Joshua as a later attempt to present a unified picture.  The main topic of the book of Judges is the disorganized tribalism (as opposed to united nationhood) that prevailed among the Israelites at this time.  This lack of unity contributed to Israel’s susceptibility to subjugation by foreign rulers, both from within Canaan and without.”

The Philistines and Israelites arrived in the Palestine region at about the same time, with Philistines (sea peoples) hugging the coast, the Israelites primarily in the mountain region and the far side of the Jordan.  But then both began to expand toward one another.

Jobling (p. 7): “Specifically I argue that Samuel and Jonathan are rendered incredible as characters by the urgency of the plot function they must perform.”

Jobling (p. 17) “So far as the interactions between characters are concerned I read entirely for what the text may tell me about the point of view of its postexilic creators, and not at all in the hope of finding out anything about the eleventh century B.C.E.”

1 Samuel – how Israel transitioned to a monarchy

Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings constitute the Deuteronomic History and point of view.  Post-exilic.  Reconstruction and reinterpretation.

Jobling (p. 19): “ I experience 1 Samuel as a book that does not have its subject matter under control, that struggles with everything it has to say.  I put this down to the relationship in which this text stands to the past out of which it emerges, and for which it must account.  1 Samuel struggles with contradictions in the tradition it receives because these are still contradictions within the mindset that receives them.  The community creating and living by this text was not of a single mind about what the past had bequeathed them.”

Jobling p. 20: “Judgeship and kingship meet in 1 Samuel like two continental plates that as they distort each other leave a narrative landscape marked by every kind of thinly covered geological irregularity.”

Gordon p. 184: “Saul’s reign is to be viewed as a type of transitionary kingship.  Israel had moved away from the loose confederation characteristic of the period of the judges, but it had not yet achieved the strong central rule that would characterize the reigns of David, Solomon, and subsequent kings.”

Gordon p. 187: “(in the bible) Elhanan slew Goliath but the victory was popularly transferred to David.  Both the true and transformed versions appear in Samuel.  The Chronicler, seeing the discrepancy, tried to harmonize them.”

2 Samuel 21:15-22

15There was another battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his servants and fought the Philistines, but David grew tired. 16 Dadu, a descendant of the Rephaim, whose bronze spear weighed three hundred shekels, was about to take him captive. Dadu was girt with a new sword and thought he would kill David, 17 but Abishai, son of Zeruiah, came to help him, and struck and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men swore to him, “You must not go out to battle with us again, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.”

18  After this, there was another battle with the Philistines, in Gob. On that occasion Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, a descendant of the Rephaim.

19  There was another battle with the Philistines, in Gob, and Elhanan, son of Jair from Bethlehem, killed Goliath of Gath, whose spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam.

20 There was another battle, at Gath, and there was a giant, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He too was descended from the Rephaim. 21 And when he insulted Israel, Jonathan, son of David’s brother Shimei, struck him down.  22 These four were descended from the Rephaim in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his servants.

(Rephaim = the ancestors, in this context most likely to mean descended from the giants who used to be in the region)

Hayes p. 334 ff:  three stories in the bible of how David rose from obscurity:

  1. Was anointed by Samuel  1 Samuel 16.  Chosen over his 7 older brothers, does not appear to be connected to other ancient traditions, is not likely to be historical.
  2. Was the armor bearer to King Saul who also played the lyre
  3. Was a young warrior in the king’s army and defeated Goliath

All of these part of later legitimization for David’s kingship.  Hays p. 335: “The results are that David succeeds Saul for many reasons: (1) because of divine designation … (2) through dynastic succession: having married Saul’s daughter, David was a survivor of Saul’s family; (3) through military gallantry; and (4) because he was appointed by the people, first in Judah and later in Israel. …  God’s elect is to become king, replacing the former elect of God, from whom the blessing had been withdrawn.”

Morrison p. 9 – the basic theme of the David stories was that God frequently rescued David throughout his long life and reign (40 years).

Morrison p. 13: “While all the characters in the David Narrative were multifaceted people in real life, the narrator grants that status to David alone.  David is a complex, unfolding, and inconclusive character who, on occasion, steps outside his expected role and acts unpredictably.”

Morrison p. 13: “David’s inconsistencies, contradictions, and moments of shameless transparency allow us, modern readers, to reclaim our own experience.  We meet our own half truths, duplicities, fictions, and moral ambiguities in David more than in any other character in the David Narrative and perhaps in the entire Hebrew bible.”

The generals of Israel’s armies (Abner under Saul, Joab under David) exercise a great of influence, at times countermanding the king.

David became king in Judah (his own tribe) in the South; a son of Saul, Eshbaal, became king elsewhere.  Both likely were vassals to the more powerful Philistines.  The armies of these kings met at Gibeon in battle.  David won, uniting the people.

David went on to capture Jerusalem from the Jebusites and moved his capitol to it from Hebron.

Gordon p. 195: “David moved the capital from Hebron in the territory of his own tribe of Judah to the recently conquered Jerusalem.  In so doing he was governed by several factors.  First, as noted, Jerusalem is very easily defended.  Secondly, the city was situated on the boundary between Benjamin (the home of Saul) and Judah (the home of David), so that symbolically it served to unite the two houses and the diverse regions of the realm.   Finally, Jerusalem had not belonged to a particular tribe; in forging a united kingdom David was going to have to reduce the importance of old tribal allegiances; a capitol that no tribe could claim as its own was one way of accomplishing his goal.”

Over a few following decades David built up Israel through conquests and alliances into a unified state from the Sinai to the south and toward the Euphrates in the northeast.  It helped that the traditional powers of Egypt, Babylon, Assyria etc. were weak at the time.   The kingdom included all of what is modern Israel, Jordan on the far side of the Jordan river, Syria and Lebanon.

Biblical story of David indicates a fairly solid, though flawed, king but lousy father.  His own sons, though by different wives, plotted against him and rebelled during his lifetime and again as he aged.

Gordon p. 204: a census during the time of David (ending) records 800,000 men in the north (Israel) and 500,000 men of fighting age in the Judah (south).  Gordon rejects these numbers.  150,000 people total in urban areas, perhaps a similar number scattered in villages and farms.  “Cities were very small, and agricultural production and water resources could not have sustained a population much larger than this.”

Gordon p. 207: “Once Solomon sat on the throne (c.965 B.C.E.), he began to eliminate his enemies one by one.”  Adonijah was probably the rightful heir to the throne but was outmaneuvered by Bathsheba and Solomon.  Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei are executed, Abiathar exiled (chapter 2)  On the surface the text of this chapter approves of Solomon’s actions, but also manages to subtly question and even reject their validity.

Gordon suggests that Solomon continued to weaken the tribal system and benefit a central government.  A tactical mistake however was made.  12 districts were created in the north (only).  Taxes on each district were levied to support the king and central government each for a month – but Judah, his home tribe and home base, was excepted.  Gordon p. 209: “If this analysis is accurate, it is no wonder that Solomon experienced unrest in the north, which upon his death eventually seceded and formed its own independent state.”

Solomon’s building program was so extensive that it required forced labor from both Canaanites and Israelites – very unpopular.  Taxation also high.

Hayes p. 368: relationship of the king to the religious cult was always a matter of friction in Israel.  The prophets were clear – the king had NO proper role or right.  Regardless – the early kings especially used religion to unite and control the people.  P. 369: “The temple in origin was intended for the ark, but it became almost immediately a national sanctuary, attached to the royal palace, a spiritual center for the empire.”

Walsh p. 151 outline of the Solomon story in 1 Kings:

  • Prophet Nathan (and Bathsheba) intervene with David for Solomon (ch. 1)
    • Solomon eliminates perceived threats to his rule (ch. 2)
      • Solomon begins in a positive way (marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter, building projects) (early ch. 3)
      • Solomon uses his gifts for the people  (remainder of ch. 3, and all of 4)
        • Preparations for building the temple (ch. 5)
        • Solomon builds the temple (ch. 6, 7)
        • Solomon dedicates the temple (ch. 8)
    • After building the temple (ch. 9)
    • Solomon uses his gifts for himself (end of ch. 9, 10)
  • The tragic failure of Solomon’s reign (foreign marriages, temples for wives’ gods) (ch. 11)
  • The LORD raises threats to Solomon’s reign
  • Prophet Ahijah prophecies that Rehoboam will succeed Solomon.

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