Historical Analysis of 1 Samuel 16:1-7
The books of Samuel describe the very beginnings of kingship in Israel and give a detailed account of the reigns of Israel’s first two kings Saul and David. The selected pericope (1 Samuel 16:1-7) is often grouped amongst what scholar’s label as the third narrative. The third narrative is largely known as the historical narrative that tells the story of David’s rise to power and gives evidence that “The Lord is with him”. Without question, this text is pivotal because God sends Samuel to anoint young David as King of Israel. However, before the writings of the Deuteronomistic Historian are discussed in regards to the book of Samuel, one must understand the backdrop of the text. After the successful crusade to take the Promised Land documented in the book of Joshua, Israel began a gradual spiritual decline that progressed for more than three centuries. During this time Israel was a confederation of tribes scattered all over the land God promised their ancestor Abraham. Over time Israel’s commitment to obey Yahweh had waned. As a result, the nations that initially were defeated by Israel began to regain strength, and eventually conquered their former captors. During this time, God sent deliverers, or judges, to rescue His people from their distress, but every deliverance was short lived. By the end of Judges the spiritual, social and political condition of the nation had sunk to an abysmally low point in her brief history. Israel had departed from following Yahweh and gone after the idols of the surrounding pagan nations and “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Our pericope, written by the Deuteronomistic Historian, commences at the end of the period of Judges in the 11th century B.C. Here the writer walks us through Israel’s transition from a theocracy, or state ruled by a religious leader, to a monarchy, a state ruled by a political leader. Furthermore, the first...
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