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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Resentful, Uppity Servants, Tanach, Bible Lesson

Yesterday at Matan, Dr. Yael Ziegler, King David: Unified Nation, Divided House,  taught us 2Samuel Chapter 9 which begins when King David asked if there were any survivors of the family of King Saul, his predecessor, the first King of the Jewish Nation. 

The representative of the House of King Saul was a servant named, צִיבָא Tziva, who told him about the lame Mephiboshet, son of Jonathan, with whom King David had pledged eternal alliance. King David basically adopts Mephiboshet, providing him with income. 

Then Yael gave us more information about what later on happens between King David, Mephiboshet and Tziva, which is mentioned in this Bible lesson, see part II, on the Herzog College site.  To quickly summarize, Tziva connives to make King David believe that Mephiboshet was disloyal.  David believes him and rewards his "loyalty" with Mephiboshet's property.  See 2Samuel Chapter 16.

Bells started "going off in my head."  Could this Tziva be the unnamed servant of the young Saul who directed him to Samuel The Prophet? See 1Samuel Chapter 9
ה הֵמָּה, בָּאוּ בְּאֶרֶץ צוּף, וְשָׁאוּל אָמַר לְנַעֲרוֹ אֲשֶׁר-עִמּוֹ, לְכָה וְנָשׁוּבָה--פֶּן-יֶחְדַּל אָבִי מִן-הָאֲתֹנוֹת, וְדָאַג לָנוּ. 5 When they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him: 'Come and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and become anxious concerning us.' ו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, הִנֵּה-נָא אִישׁ-אֱלֹהִים בָּעִיר הַזֹּאת, וְהָאִישׁ נִכְבָּד, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-יְדַבֵּר בּוֹא יָבוֹא; עַתָּה, נֵלְכָה שָּׁם--אוּלַי יַגִּיד לָנוּ, אֶת-דַּרְכֵּנוּ אֲשֶׁר-הָלַכְנוּ עָלֶיהָ. 6 And he said unto him: 'Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is a man that is held in honour; all that he saith cometh surely to pass; now let us go thither; peradventure he can tell us concerning our journey whereon we go.' ז וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל לְנַעֲרוֹ, וְהִנֵּה נֵלֵךְ וּמַה-נָּבִיא לָאִישׁ--כִּי הַלֶּחֶם אָזַל מִכֵּלֵינוּ, וּתְשׁוּרָה אֵין-לְהָבִיא לְאִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים: מָה, אִתָּנוּ. 7 Then said Saul to his servant: 'But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God; what have we?' ח וַיֹּסֶף הַנַּעַר, לַעֲנוֹת אֶת-שָׁאוּל, וַיֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה נִמְצָא בְיָדִי רֶבַע שֶׁקֶל כָּסֶף; וְנָתַתִּי לְאִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים, וְהִגִּיד לָנוּ אֶת-דַּרְכֵּנוּ. 8 And the servant answered Saul again, and said: 'Behold, I have in my hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver, that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.'-- ט לְפָנִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, כֹּה-אָמַר הָאִישׁ בְּלֶכְתּוֹ לִדְרוֹשׁ אֱלֹהִים, לְכוּ וְנֵלְכָה, עַד-הָרֹאֶה: כִּי לַנָּבִיא הַיּוֹם, יִקָּרֵא לְפָנִים הָרֹאֶה. 9 Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said: 'Come and let us go to the seer'; for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer.-- י וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל לְנַעֲרוֹ טוֹב דְּבָרְךָ, לְכָה נֵלֵכָה; וַיֵּלְכוּ, אֶל-הָעִיר, אֲשֶׁר-שָׁם, אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים. 10 Then said Saul to his servant: 'Well said; come, let us go.' So they went unto the city where the man of God was.
I've always found this event rather peculiar.  Saul seems so lacking in decision-making and leadership skills.  The servant leads him around, the reverse of what you would expect from a potential king.

Could that servant have been Tziva?  It would make sense.  If he is the old veteran servant from King Saul's time, then King David knew him well and Tziva was certainly comfortable as go-between.  He would be taking care of the fourth generation of the line and chafing at the lowly role by the time he deceived King David about Mephiboshet's loyalty.

I asked Dr. Ziegler and she thought for a moment.  She replied that she has never seen a commentary that says what I just said, but that does not mean that I was wrong.

She then quoted from our chapter, 2Samuel 9:
ט וַיִּקְרָא הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֶל-צִיבָא נַעַר שָׁאוּל--וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו: כֹּל אֲשֶׁר הָיָה לְשָׁאוּל וּלְכָל-בֵּיתוֹ, נָתַתִּי לְבֶן-אֲדֹנֶיךָ. 9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him: 'All that pertained to Saul and to all his house have I given unto thy master's son.
From the text, it does appear that Tziva was that old servant. Apparently after decades of work playing #2, he rebelled.

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