|Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 57: 1 Samuel 15:1-3, 9-30, The Sacrifice of Saul, by John Pinas or Rombout van Troyen|
One of the problems modern genealogists face is that the Internet is a wealth of information, but unfortunately a lot of it is misinformation or even disinformation! Sorting the true from the false is as difficult as it’s always been, but now there’s much more to sort through. The same is true about Biblical and theological commentary – please be very, very cautious about believing what you see on some web sites, starting with mine. I try to do my part by not posting stuff I know to be false, but an error is bound to be repeated a thousand times. I also try not to post hateful, unChristian stuff, or judgmental stuff, but I’m human, and sometimes something slips through that sounds worse than I intended. You should let me know.
Anyway, this picture seems to be The Sacrifice of Saul, by either J. Pinas or Rombout van Troyen, but I can’t find a truly authoritative reference, so who knows? (There’s a similar painting by van Troyen called The Daughter of Jephthah.)
I said in the previous step that David was in trouble with Nathan, and Saul was in trouble with Samuel. What did Saul do that was so bad? He disobeyed God directly by sparing Agag; he disobeyed indirectly by letting the people disobey God; he lost confidence in God and started sacrificing before Samuel arrived; and he blamed everybody else for what he had done. In short, he was rebellious and arrogant. And to top it all off, he isn’t even sorry – “Yeah, yeah, I’ve sinned,” he says. “But just don’t tell the people.”
Previous Step. Next Step.
"The Sacrifice of Saul" by John Pinas or Rombout van Troyen, from the Gamble family Bible, now in the private collection of Regina Hunter.
So I think we had better go with Goliath being about 9' tall (6 cubits). Since the
cubit is the length of a man's hand and forearm, which can vary a little, Goliath
could have been a little less than that. Nevertheless, his tremendous size is not
1 Samuel 17:8-33 (6/16/09)
Back in the bad old days when I worked, I had a boss that used to refer to unfunded work that should be done anyway as "God's work." The Philistines were a wealthy world power – you probably read about them in your history classes as the Phoenicians. The infant kingdom of Israel was not. The Philistines had horses and chariots; Israel had foot soldiers. The Philistines were in the Iron Age; Israel was still in the bronze age. So all in all, Saul and the army of Israel were showing keen insight and good military judgment when they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
David saw the situation differently. He wasn't concerned with the big picture, but rather with the small piece of the big picture that was directly in front of him: Goliath. True, Goliath was a big guy, and well-armed, but David sized him up and decided that overall he wasn't any bigger or better armed than a lion or a bear. And besides that, he was an uncircumcised Philistine who had the effrontery to taunt the armies of the living God. David decided that somebody had to do God's work, and that the somebody was apparently him. God doesn't expect us to solve the problems of the whole world, but he does expect us to attack the small piece of the problem that's directly in front of us.
1 Samuel 17:34-51 (4/27/09)
Shepherding was a respected profession in ancient Israel. Jacob, Moses, and David were all shepherds. Abraham was considered a man of great wealth because of the size of his flocks and herds. Shepherding wasn't an easy job: the hours were long, the responsibilities were great, and the work was dangerous. In addition to finding pasture and water, delivering lambs, and locating strays, the shepherd had to protect the flock from wild animals. Asiatic lions are smaller than African lions, but formidable nevertheless at 250 to 400 pounds. The Syrian brown bear is the smallest variety of brown bear (which includes grizzlies and Kodiak bears), weighing in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 pounds. The Palestinian shepherd also had to deal with smaller predators like the Iranian wolf (55 to 70 pounds) and the leopard (100 pounds or so). Because he routinely had to deal with lions and bears in order to protect his flock, David had no fear of the Philistine champion Goliath. "The LORD has saved me from lions and bears," David said, "he will save me from this Philistine."
1 Samuel 19:1-19, David flees from King Saul to Samuel.
We saw in I Sam. 16:13 that "the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David " when Samuel anointed him. For the most part, people took delight in David – Saul's son Jonathan was his closest friend, Saul's daughter Michal was his wife. The army loved him. Those upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rests are normally extremely attractive to other people; in fact the root of the word "charisma" is charis, which means "grace" or "favor." In the OT, man and God show "grace" about equally, although in the NT it is nearly always used to mean God's grace or favor. Saul's reaction to David's charisma was mixed. On the one hand, he also loved David. On the other, he was jealous of David's popularity and too unstable to take it in stride. Finally, David had to leave Saul's court to save his own life, and he flees to Samuel.
1 Samuel 24:1-25:1, Saul continues to pursue David; Samuel dies.
Today we read about one of several incidents in which Saul is trying his best to kill David, but David refuses to harm Saul on the grounds that Saul is the rightful king, chosen by God. Every time this happened, Saul looked worse and David looked better in the eyes of the people.
Copyright 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants. Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm. All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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