A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yahweh Chooses Saul As King of the Israelites (1 Samuel, Chapter 9)

In Chapter 9, a young man named Saul is introduced.  He's tall, handsome, and "goodly".  In fact, he's the "goodliest" man of all the Benjamites.  One day he was sent, along with a servant, to look for his father's donkeys, and he went all over the land looking for those damned donkeys, too!

Finally, as fate would have it, he happened upon the city in which Samuel (the current judge) was waiting for him.  The night before, Yahweh (God) told Samuel that around this time tomorrow the man who He chose to be king of the Israelites would appear. 

So, from the humble origins of a man looking for his dad's donkeys, Saul stumbles into quite a conundrum.  He finds the donkeys at least, because they were apparently found by Samuel.  Saul was surprised by all the special treatment he was receiving, for he was a member of the smallest of the Israelite tribes, and was of fairly simple origins. 

The chapter ends in cliffhanger fashion with Samuel just about to break the news to Saul.  After some fine dining, Samuel tells Saul: "Ask your servant to leave (and the servant leaves) and stand still for awhile, for I am going to show you the Word of God."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Israelites Demand a King (1 Samuel, Chapter 8)

King Saul, from Wikimedia Commons

While Samuel was a good judge, his two sons were apparently a couple of crooks; caring mostly about money, taking bribes, and having bad judgment in general.  So, the Israelites didn't want these two guys running the show.  Instead, they wanted to have a king to judge them.

Samuel was a little butthurt about this and consulted old Yahweh.  Yahweh said by wanting a king, they are rejecting Me, and this is made most abundantly clear by the fact that they are still worshiping other gods!  

Yes, the Israelites are still worshiping other gods!  It's almost like this one isn't obvious enough for them.

Yahweh instructs Samuel to let the people know what a king entails, and Samuel does as he is told.
Sammy boy let's the Israelites know that a king will take all their firstborn sons and use them to ride his chariots in battle, or as foot soldiers; and that a tenth of everything they own will belong to the king.

The Israelites didn't mind that all, and still wanted to have a king to rule over them.  Samuel reports this to the Creator of the Universe, and so He instructs Samuel to appoint a king.  The chapter ends with Samuel calling out to the men of the city, "Go ye every man unto his city."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Retrieving the Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant found ... at DragonCon!!!  Photo by Olaf Gradin

Retrieving the Ark of the Covenant (Chapter 7) - Since last time, the Philistines have been in a mad dash to rid themselves of the Ark of the Covenant, which has brought nothing but suffering to them.  In Chapter 7, the Ark finds itself in an old house in the town of Kirjathjearim, where it stays for about 20 years!

Finally, Samuel suggests to the Israelites that if they give up the gods Baalim and Ashtaroth, then Yahweh will free them from the Philistines.  So, the Israelites drop the two other gods and begin worshiping Yahweh fervently. 

After the Israelites do this, Samuel then asks the Israelites to gather in the valley of Mizpeh.  Whent he Philistines get word of this movement, they send men out to deal with what they think was an attempt at rebellion by the already beaten Israelite people.
However, after praying to Yahweh and after Samuel sacrifices a young lamb, God takes out all the Philistines who rose up against the Israelites and the chapter ends very quickly after that.