Thursday, October 20, 2011
Samuel Shows Off (1 Samuel, Chapter 12)
Samuel, the guy who with the help of Yahweh crowned the Israelites' first king, goes out to the people and tells them what's up.
"I heard your voice and have made a king for you. He walks among you today. Tell me, is there any among you who can say I stole from them, lied to them, or received a bribe? Anyone?," taunted Sam. (12:1)
Of course, I think that if this story is true there was probably quite a bit of deception going on, as this is basically Samuel playing politics. He's going to make an argument saying that God (Yahweh) is on his side. This is where religion meets politics.
The Israelites, the Bronze Age superstitious tribesmen that they were, had no reason to think that Samuel was lying, so they reply, "No, you haven't lied to us or deceived us!"
I like to imagine Samuel doing flourishes with his hands, like a televangelist, when he recounts how Yahweh led their people out of Egypt, and the early history of the Israelites, with their various eras of slavery and liberation, and all the times that Yahweh killed even them when they chose not to believe.
He's essentially saying that Yahweh brought them to where they are today.
"Behold the king you have chosen, and whom you have desired! Behold, God has given you a king!" exclaimed Samuel!" exclaimed Samuel, probably to the roar of a crowd.
"If you obey His (Yahweh's) commandments, then you and the king's reign shall continue. But, if you don't ... you know what happens, and what has happened in the past!" (12:5-15)
Of course, it doesn't say it, and I'm not sure how historical this story is, but if it is indeed a historical account and some scribe was writing down everything Samuel was saying, this next part is pretty cool.
Storm clouds were probably coming their way, and any good shaman could use it as a way to emphasize their message. "Now see this - today is harvest day, is it not? I will call upon God, and He will send thunder and rain, so that you will see that by asking for a king, you've actually done a wicked thing." (12:16)
Samuel "called" upon Yahweh and sure enough, thunder and rain happened; and the people were scared of both Yahweh and Samuel.
"Follow Yahweh, your God, and live; but if you should falter in your faith, both you AND your king will be consumed," concluded Samuel. (12:19-24)
These quotes attributed to Samuel aren't verbatim of course, I'm reading a King James version, but this is basically what is being said.