A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Philistines don't want David to join them in a battle against Israelites

Philistines wage war against the Israelites.  

1 Samuel, Chapter 29 - Apparently, it had escaped me that in Chapter 27 that David had actually joined the Philistines, after reconciling with Saul twice.

Well, in this chapter David and his 600 Israelites want to join the Philistines.  After all, they've been living in their lands for a few years now.

During a pass-in-review of all the lords of Philistine and their armies before their King Achish (Achish might just be a Philistine title for a king, too); David and his 600 Israelites also march past the king.  However, the Philistine lords ask, "Why is this Hebrew among us?  Isn't this David, the man whom they sing of: "Saul has killed his thousands; David his tens of thousands"?

"Don't let him go to battle with us, unless he is an adversary," said the Philistine lords.  By the way, the word "adversary" in Hebrew, which this story was translated from, is "Satan".  The Philistines basically called David "Satan", which in context wasn't that bad of a thing, ironically.  

I guess it's puzzling to see a Hebrew join their nation and so gleefully go to war against his own people.

After all this protest from the lords of Philistines, the King Achish capitulates and informs David that he can't go to battle with them against the Israelites.  

David, disappointed, took his 600 men and left while the Philistines departed to meet the Israelites in battle at a place called Jezreel.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

King Saul Resorts to Summoning Spirits (1 Samuel, Chapter 28)

After God abandons him, King Saul asks a witch to summon 
the spirit of the recently deceased Samuel.

1 Samuel, Chapter 28.  This chapter is actually highly entertaining.  The Philistines have raised a giant army against King Saul and the Israelites, and Saul fears for his life.  He tries to contact Yahweh (aka 'God') but Yahweh is no longer with him, and thus no longer communicated with him.  As the chapter says, "... the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim."

Remember the Urim?  It was a contraption that was set into a magical vest that helped divine messages from God (or revelations).  Well, the Urim wasn't working and Saul was getting desperate.  So, he resorts to witchcraft - which is possibly an even bigger no-no than what Saul did wrong in the first place.  If you remember, the reason why Saul's on Yahweh's shit list is because he failed to kill ALL of the Amelekites.

Saul requests of the which to summon the spirit of the recently deceased Prophet Samuel (whom this book is named after).  Saul's reason for speaking with Samuel is because Samuel was very close to Yahweh.  Well, the witch was able to summon a spirit who answered to the name of Samuel, but the spirit did not give Saul comforting advice.  Also of interest, while she was summoning the spirit of Samuel, she reported to Saul that she saw gods ascending from the earth.

Samuel basically said, "Yea buddy, because of your little stunt sparing the lives of those Amelekites, Yahweh's basically going to hand you and all the Israelites over to the Philistines.  But don't worry, you and all your family will be hanging out with me in the land of the dead by this time tomorrow."

Needless to say, this panicked Saul quite a bit.

While this was a sad chapter for Saul, there are a few interesting things we can take from this chapter.  First, we can delve into the minds of the ancient Israelites and learn about how they divined information from their god(s).  Secondly, the Israelite conception of a god is very different than the modern interpretation.  They didn't believe in one god; they believed in many.  This is evident from the witch's comment, "I saw gods ascending from the earth."

Even though she was a witch, the author and the ancient Israelites believed that though there were many gods; Yahweh was the most important of them.  They were very much like a cult of Yahweh.  It is from this belief of worshiping one god only instead of the others which monotheism would later evolve.