Sunday, December 23, 2012

True Leadership, King David vs King Saul and More From The Bible

As many of you know, I study Tanach, Bible in Matan, an excellent Jewish learning center for women in Jerusalem.  Last week one of my classes celebrated a siyum completion of the Book of Samuel, Shmuel, which we learn with Dr. Yael Ziegler.  We were asked to volunteer to say a "few words" about our studies.  And, yes, I volunteered.

I decided to speak about King David as he prepared to fight Goliath.  At the time, nobody was aware that the young man who approached with supplies for his elder brothers was the "king in waiting," the person that Samuel The Prophet had already anointed to succeed King Saul.  And that included King Saul, himself. 

David, as he was known then, had chanced upon a terrible scene.  King Saul and his soldiers were standing around terrified by the taunts of the Philistine Goliath.  David listened, observed and then marched forward and announced that he was ready to slay Goliath.  King Saul gratefully offered him the best armour available, but David, after allowing himself to be dressed in it, refused. 1Samuel 17

כִּי לֹא נִסִּיתִי
ki lo nisiti
because I didn't try these...
I see the Hebrew word נִסִּיתִי as related to the root/word נס ness miracle.  When I write about miracles I don't mean that we're supposed to stand around passively, patiently waiting.  At the siyum I quickly told the joke:
... about the man who keeps waiting for G-d to save him as his house gets covered by flood waters.  He refuses to evacuate, get into the boat or climb the ladder from the helicopter telling everyone that G-d would save him.  Once dead, he met G-d and asked:
"Where were you?  I expected you to save me."
"I sent out evacuation orders, the boat and then the helicopter, but you stood there like an idiot."
King David didn't expect G-d to kill Goliath while he stood watching.  He picked up five smooth stones.  It only took one "shot" and Goliath was dead.  I had a question for Dr Ziegler:
"Why did David need to take five stones, if he could kill him with one?"
That question hasn't left my mind.  Just three days later on Shabbat as I was reading the Torah Portion of the Week,  Vayigash,  in the OU's Torah Tidbits, by Phil Chernofsky.  This includes the dramatic speech of Judah to the Viceroy of Egypt, when he stands up to him, man to man, which causes the viceroy to break down and admit that he is their missing brother, Josef.  At the reunion, Phil mentions, Josef cried five times.

Five?  My mind went into overtime.  There has to be a connection, because the difficult relationship between Joseph and his brothers precedes and predicts the later problems between King David and the King Saul.  King David was from the Trible of Judah, and you can see that in how he stood up to Goliath, King Saul and the entire Jewish Army. 

And could Joseph have cried, because he sensed that he wasn't the leader Judah was?

Maybe that's why Joseph and his only full-brother Benjamin cried so on each other's necks.  Their father had raised them to believe that they were the natural leaders, but they weren't.  True Jewish leadership comes from Judah and was inherited by David.


in the vanguard said...

"Josef cried five times"

Please provide a source for this.

Batya said...

van, as I wrote, Phil mentioned it in Torah Tidbits, link is in the post.

anunymaus said...

Didn't Elisha ha'navi say to shoot a handful of arrows ?

Shy Guy said...

"Why did David need to take five stones, if he could kill him with one?"

The six-shooter was not invented yet.

Batya said...

a, Shy, he got 'im with the first...