A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Coronotion of Saul (1 Samuel, Chapter 10)

Saul preaching at Ramah.    Credit: By David Martin (1639-1721).This painting is more than 100 years old.

The most interesting thing about reading the Bible is marveling how simple its authors are.  We really get a feel for what impresses them.  We come across obvious errors in the text, which are irreconcilable to the dogma that the Bible is "inerrant".

Chapter 10 is basically about Yahweh's plan to make Saul more credible as a candidate for king.  The fact that Yahweh picked Saul Himself seems to escape the Israelites, who like most people just want a credible person to be in charge.

Using Miracles to Affect Politics

First, Saul has to be convinced so a series of signs happen to help him.  First, he will meet "two men by Rachel's sepulchre" who will speculate on Saul's father, feeling bad for his sons loss of sheep.  Second, he will come across three men, who will give him two loaves and some wine. Then, a public sign is practically staged so that the people will see Saul as being worthy of the crown.  This involves Saul prophesying in the company of 100 prophets.

All these signs happen in order, and when he prophesies with the 100 prophets, the people are impressed.  They ask themselves, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"

Biblical Errancy

Right here is where I want to point out one of the inerrancies.  Later on, in 1 Samuel 19:24, is another story that is supposed to be the origin of the rumor that Saul is a prophet.  The story is completely different, and involves him lying around naked!

Anyways, later on the Israelite tribes vote for a king, and when Saul is selected he is nowhere to be found.  The Israelites asked Yahweh where Saul is, and Yahweh says, "Behold, he has hid himself among the stuff."

Read that again.  I thought that was kind of funny.

Finally, when Saul is found, he stands taller than the rest of the Israelites "from his shoulders upward."  Here, we can see how being tall is an impressive trait to the Israelites.  It still is today!  While the author seems to be using Saul's height as a justification for his kingship, no one can deny that tall height is a desirable characteristic.  

The only people who don't seem to dig Saul are the children of Belial, who grumble among themselves asking, "How will this man save us?"  Their feelings toward Saul were apparently strong enough for them to not give him a coronation gift.

Mention of a Possible Lost Book

Of particular interest is mention of a possible lost book; another Book of Samuel.  Chapter 10:25: "Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book."  

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