Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Learning Something New About Samuel and David

Living in Shiloh, one of the most important locations of Jewish History, certainly has had an effect on my life. Over the years here, I've spoken to many people, diplomats, politicans, journalists and sundry visitors, about its history, the Biblical and modern.
The Biblical figures of Chana and Shmuel, (Samuel,) played very crucial roles in the develpment of Jewish History, the transition between the anarchy that existed during the time of the Judges and monarchy, the annointing of the first Kings, Saul and David. Of course, I've studied the subject, but there's always so much left to learn.
Yesterday I was at a fantastic lecture at Matan by Dr. Yael Ziegler. Sometimes Frequently, when I hear talks about King Saul, I find myself strongly and vociferously disagreeing. I consider him to have been a terrible king. He wasn't a true, natural, leader and he disobeyed G-d's orders, which had been conveyed by Samuel. Later on, he further proved his unsuitability by concentrating his energies on attacking David, rather than destryong his nation's enemies.
Not long ago, at a different venue, the speaker and I argued about King Saul. I brought up the fact that after the capture of Amalek, he didn't excecute them all including killing the live stock as G-d had commanded. The lecturer countered that:
"The people told him not to."
But, I reminded her, there is nothing like that in the text of the Bible, only Saul's verbalising it as an "excuse."
"But that's what he said."
"Maybe he lied," was all I could say in response.
It's the only thing that makes sense and is perfectly consistent with the narrative and his character, as proven by King Saul's actions.
Samuel the Prophet, strongly, almost obsessively, mentored King Saul. He did the opposite with King David. David had to establish his leadership on his own, and more crucially, David had his own communications with G-d.
David was a strong, daring and brilliant leader. If Samuel had been at his side, it would have had been a terrible distraction and would have totally crippled his development.
Dr. Ziegler asked us: "How did Samuel assist David?" According to the Biblical text, they had no additional contact after David was annointed king. We all guessed incorrectly, including yours truly. And then Dr. Ziegler gave her excellent answer: "Samuel wrote Megilat Ruth, the story of David's ancestors."
It's nice to learn something new.


Risa Tzohar said...

I have heard recordings of Dr. Ziegler and she is very impressive. Is she a regular at Matan? Are there recordings of these shiurim available?

Batya said...

She gives a number of shiurim there, and she makes an effort not to duplicate the same material in connected topics. I don't know about recordings.

Unknown said...

At the time, Dovid was considered a Moabite as there were those who said that the prohibition of accepting a ger from Moav also applied to women. It was Samuel who gave the psak (that hd been forgotten since Boaz) that it only applied to men. Thus, Ruth was a valid convert and her Dovid was eligible to become king. Megillas Rus was Shmuel's answer to the question when Doeg brought it up.

Batya said...

Yes, thanks. I learned that a number of years ago when I was studying Tanach with Rabbi Nissan Ben Avaraham.

Soccer Dad said...

I was going to post something similar to Sabbah Hillel and cite the introduction to Rabbi Bachrach's "Imma shel malchut."

Batya said...

I guess a sincere convert can really change the world. You guys may not go for this, but think of the female Biblical characters who really made a difference when the men had given up.

LauraBo said...

I have a question that I begin to ponder this morning. How long was it after David was annointed king before he became king?

Batya said...

Sorry, offhand I don't know exactly, but it was a few years.