REL 113: Old Testament, Week 7.  The United Monarchy:  Israel’s “Golden Age.”  RJDKnauth
Readings:  Ruth, 1-2Samuel, 1Kings 1-11.  Hill ch. 10-11, OTP pp. 145-146 (Gezer Almanac).
Topics:  The beginnings of monarchy and the Philistines.  Samuel, Saul, David and Solomon.

Ruth:  “Wisdom Tale” or “Novella;”  David’s ancestry;  the foreigner who exemplifies Israelite ideals.
The Kinship basis of Israelite society.  Apologetic for David? vs. anti-Moabite propaganda (Numbers).

1-2 Samuel:
Samuel as Priest/Prophet/Judge – leader in Israel.  Shiloh as cult center (connection w/ Deuteronomist).
“Ark narrative” (1Sam 4-7):  re transcendence of God vs. fetishism.  Victory tour of Philistia.
The problem of orderly succession (Eli’s sons, Samuel’s sons) and the institution of Monarchy:
Honoring the sons above God; Children not following in the father’s footsteps; Need for continuity. 
Samuel’s anti-monarchic speeches (1Sam 8, 12. Cf Gideon/Abimelech story and parable in Judges).
Monarchy = Oppression, taxation, slavery.  Anti-kingship-like-the-nations >> anti-Solomon (?).
Saul – Israel’s last Judge, first King.  Fighting the Philistines – need for continuity, standing army.
Charismatic reluctance; Continues to farm; Calling out the troops (cutting a covenant); Confirmation.
Rejection of Saul: “Obedience, not sacrifice.” Tragic Hero.
The Rise of King David.  “God looks at the heart.”
David vs. Saul.  Friendship of David and Jonathan. Jonathan as Charismatic Son. Death of Saul.
The Israelite Charismatic Leadership Ideal (again).  The problem of dynasty.
David’s adoption of Jerusalem as new capitol, bringing in the Ark.  Regal-Ritual City.
1Sam 7:  The Davidic Covenant.  Conditional or unconditional? A dwelling place for God?
The role of Nathan the court prophet:  confronting the king (more on this later).
David’s “succession narrative”: sin and chaos among children.  Who will inherit the kingship?
Failure to punish >> Absalom’s Rebellion.  Unconditional love; Miniature Exile (Chiastic structure).
>>“If God is pleased…”:  David as the “man after God’s own heart.”
David’s wives; foreign marriages/alliances; the office of “queen mother;” wife as key to legitimacy.

1Kings 1-11:
Deathbed charge to Solomon – get rid of all the enemies?
Solomon and the beginning of Dynastic Rule, Kingship “like the nations.”  Compare Deut 17.
Solomon’s Phoenician Temple – a new tabernacle?
Legends of Solomon’s wisdom and riches, foreign wives/alliances >> idolatry.
Standing army, conscripted labor and taxation, foreign influence –> downfall of union.

***Short assignment and discussion topic (due Friday)***

David seems to make just as many mistakes as Saul, if not more. 
Why did God reject Saul whereas David is seen to exemplify the “man after God’s own heart”?

Small Group Questions:

  1. According to Samuel, was Saul chosen by God? What indications do you have in the text of the author’s opinion of Saul’s basic character?  How did he mess up?  Why was this significant?  What is the theological message underlying this?
  2. Was David chosen by God? What indications do you have in the text of the author’s opinion of David’s basic character?  How did David mess up?  Was he punished?  How? Why is this significant?  What is the theological message underlying this?
  3. In what ways are David and Saul different?  What is the theological significance of this?
  4. What about Jonathan?
  5. What about Absalom? Was he justified in his actions according to the text? What is his character?
  6. What about Solomon? Was Solomon chosen by God?  What indications do you have in the text of the author’s opinion of Solomon?  How did Solomon mess up?  Was he punished?  How?  Is there a theological message underlying this?

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