1 Samuel 15-17

Chapter 15

The violence continues (well what did you expect?). I haven’t been doing the math, but it would seem to me that, given the population of the world at that time, the number of soldiers and casualties described so far in the bible is unrealistic. Hundreds of thousands (e.g. see v 4) seem to be fighting and dying in every chapter of every book. Surely the region would be a ghost town by now?

So god orders more killings; he want every one of those nasty Amalekites dead. Wanna hear an apologist defend this?

Chapter 16

We hear of Yahweh’s replacement for Saul; young David is the new ‘chosen one’. I found that interesting for two reasons.

1) Verse 14 “Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.” A number of scholars have attempted to retrospectively diagnose biblical characters with modern diseases.
2) Verse 23 immediately launched an old Sunday school song into my brain “little David, play on your harp, Allelu, Allelu”. Now it’s stuck there like an ear-worm. Here are 2 versions of it. The first is performed by kids (gotta get them while they’re young). The second is a fancy arrangement by a polished choir. There is a huge market in the US for contemporary Christian choral music, and no musician can seem to escape this stuff.


david-goliathChapter 17

We’re back to version and translation issues again. Here’s the familiar story of David and Goliath. Inerrant bible? NOT! First, just how tall was Goliath? Well…. In the Hebrew version he is 6 cubits and 1 span [which totals about 9.75 feet or 3 meters]; but the Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek version read 4 cubits and 1 span [which totals about 6.75 feet or 2 meters (from the footnote to the online version of the NLT). Quite a difference.

Next, compare 1 Sam 16: 18-23 with 1 Sam 17: 55-57. Saul either knew David, or he didn’t. He either knew who David’s father was, or he didn’t. And either David was Saul’s armor-bearer, in which case he would have been at or near the battle with Saul; or he wasn’t, in which case he would have been tending his brothers’ flocks while they were at battle. No contradictions in the bible? Sure….

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