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Episode 220: Joel Baden – The Historic David


Pete 

You’re listening to The Bible for Regular Folks, the one God-ordained podcast on the web. I’m Pete Enns.

Jared 

And I’m Jared Byas.

[Jaunty Intro Music begins]

Jared 

Welcome, everybody, to this episode of the podcast. At present we’re speaking about “The Historic David,” to not be confused with the…not historic David I assume?

Pete 

[Chuckles] Yeah.

Jared 

With—

Pete 

You’ll have to simply hearken to the podcast to seek out out.

Jared 

With professor Joel Baden.

Pete 

Yeah. Joel teaches at Yale. And you already know, he’s an enormous man in Hebrew Bible and he writes all types of stuff, and together with a guide that’s related for right now’s episode. It’s known as The Historic David: The Actual Lifetime of an Invented Hero. There’s your trace.

Jared 

Precisely. If that’s not a provocative lead-in to this episode, I don’t know what’s.

Pete 

Sure, it truly is.

Jared 

All proper, let’s get to it.

Joel 

[Jaunty music plays over clip of Joel speaking] “You recognize, our fashionable thought of historical past, you already know, ‘because it really was’ or this form of goal ‘I’m simply going to inform the information, ma’am’ form of historic writing, that’s not one thing that existed, I don’t know, most likely till a pair hundred years in the past.”

Pete 

All proper, Joel, thanks for being right here. It’s nice to have you ever on the podcast.

Joel 

My pleasure.

Pete 

Properly let’s speak about David, lets? That’s the David within the Bible. And simply give us a 30,000 foot overview of the place the story is discovered, to begin with, and simply what this lengthy story of David incorporates usually.

Joel 

Positive. So we decide up the story of David showing on the scene proper in the course of the guide of 1 Samuel. So, it’s going to final for the remainder of 1 Samuel, all of two Samuel and path off into the primary couple of chapters of 1 Kings. So we’re speaking about really an virtually unthinkably great amount of textual content dedicated to, actually, the biography of 1 character. There’s actually nothing else prefer it within the Bible. Moses has acquired a bunch of stuff, clearly, within the Torah, or the Pentateuch, nevertheless it’s not biographical a lot. That is actually David’s story. It locations him as actually the central character of your entire Hebrew Bible. The place we’re, after all, is that you already know, we’ve gotten—being in 1 Samuel, we’ve left the world of the judges, of Samson, and Deborah and all of them, and we’ve come to Israel’s very first thing resembling a king in Saul, David’s predecessor. And Saul has had his ups and downs, largely downs, and we all know already from the Saul story that God is upset at Saul and goes to boost up, because the textual content famously says, “a person after my very own coronary heart” to switch Saul—and that’s going to be David.

So David enters the scene in the course of Saul’s reign, simply as God has turned his affections away from Saul, in comes David to step as much as the plate because it have been. The story itself—it’s a ramble, it’s an epic, it’s type of wonderful in its scope. We’ve acquired David as a youth, within the David and Goliath story, famously. You image this little teenage child, you already know, I believe he must be scrawny even when the work don’t all the time make them that approach. You bought this child going through up towards the enormous, he’s acquired battles that he wins, he has marriages (a number of marriages, greater than you’d assume one man would want, however I’m not one to guage). And he’s acquired child issues. There’s a narrative about who’s going to succeed him, which one among his sons is it going to be? It finally ends up being Solomon, that’s an entire story unto itself. There’s rebellions towards him by his personal youngsters, Absalom, most famously. He’s in energy, he’s out of energy, he’s again in energy. He’s hated by the folks, he’s cherished by the folks. And ultimately, you already know, he dies a cheerful demise of outdated age, you already know, not earlier than he’s handed on some recommendation to Solomon on learn how to maintain the household in energy.

Pete 

Not learn how to be a superb king, however learn how to maintain the household in energy.

Jared 

Proper. Properly, that type of goes to the primary query we need to speak about. As a result of we’d prefer to take a step again and have a look at what sort of factor are we taking a look at after we have a look at the story of David? And also you name it an apology. So what do you imply by that? After which, what proof do you’ve got for studying the David story that approach? In some methods, I believe that’s what we’re going to be speaking about the remainder of this episode, however possibly you’ll be able to level us to a couple components that lead you there.

Joel 

I believe the very first thing to speak about is like, after we’re studying the Bible, we really don’t typically ask the query of, I believe, style. It’s simple whenever you’re studying poetry, you’re like, oh, this poetry, not prose, or that is legal guidelines and never narrative, no matter. However, you already know, not all narratives are simply simple historic recountings. In actual fact, I’d go as far as to say none are. You recognize, our fashionable thought of historical past, you already know, “because it really was,” or this form of goal, “I’m simply going to inform the information, ma’am,” form of historic writing—that’s not one thing that existed, I don’t know, most likely til a pair hundred years in the past, however in any case, actually not again in historical Israel. The aim of writing wasn’t simply to document what occurred precisely because it occurred. All the things was written. And I imply, that is true of every thing from Genesis 1 onward. Each story, each narrative within the textual content is written to be able to convey one thing to the reader, to persuade us of one thing. So, even simply to step again and say, simply ask the query: Why am I studying this story? Why did anyone assume, “I ought to write down this story on this approach”? That in itself, is I believe, is form of the very first step to beginning to learn the Bible in what I consider as no less than a extra fascinating approach than, “Properly, it’s telling me the precise information precisely as they occur.” So as soon as we begin saying that, we are able to ask questions like: okay, so what is that this story making an attempt to do to me, as a reader? What’s it making an attempt to perform? What sort of emotions for the characters am I imagined to have? Am I supposed to love the characters or dislike the characters? Whose aspect am I imagined to be on? How is the textual content convincing me that so and so is sweet, and so and so else is unhealthy or, you already know, these sorts of cues?

And the David story, as you stated, I categorize as an apology. Now, apology clearly doesn’t imply what on this case, what it means to most individuals right now, which is “I’m sorry.” An apology within the literary style sense is—we all know it right now, I believe largely, basically, as what we consider as “spin.” An apology says, “Sure, I do know that stuff occurred. Nevertheless it’s not what you assume. It didn’t occur precisely the way in which it appears to be like or may appear.” And once more, we’ve this type of factor. We don’t name them apologies, though we most likely ought to. However we see this factor on a regular basis right now in media, in politics. You recognize, the instance I believe I take advantage of lots is, you already know, if you happen to have been to look again on…effectively, there’s so many examples of this now—however you look again on, I don’t know, again when the federal government shut down, nonetheless a few years in the past, that 10 years in the past now or no matter it was. And also you have been like, okay, the federal government for certain shut down. Who’s guilty for that? You recognize, as you learn totally different folks’s takes on it, from the totally different sides, “It’s the Democrats’ fault”, “It’s the Republicans’ fault.”

How do you—every a type of narratives of the agreed upon occasions of the previous is coloured by, okay, so who’s at fault? Who advantages? Who’s guilty? Who’s the actual hero of the story? These are all apologies of their approach, and that’s what the David story is doing too. I believe what it’s doing is it’s taking observable recognized issues about its important character, David, after which going to nice lengths to inform us: “However I promise it’s not as unhealthy because it appears to be like.” And this isn’t me imposing some, you already know, later literary style onto the biblical textual content, fairly the opposite. Among the best examples of an apology that we’ve comes from earlier than David’s time, from the Hittite Kingdom up in Turkey, from in regards to the 14th century BCE. The place we’ve a textual content, you already know, known as The Apology of (I’m not even going to hassle with the king’s title, it’s an excessive amount of to say). A textual content created by a king to clarify how it’s he ended up on the throne. Why did he want to clarify that? As a result of he wasn’t the subsequent in line. Proper? And naturally, kingship was imagined to be hereditary. And this man was not the subsequent in line. How did he find yourself on the throne? He goes by means of this complete story, “Properly, the gods favored me. However, you already know, the one who was imagined to be king actually didn’t like me, and so he tried to kill me. I didn’t attempt to kill him. However as soon as he tried to kill me, I needed to kill him. After which I ended up on the throne and the gods and the folks actually favored that.”

Which not solely is a good instance of texts making an attempt to clarify how one thing unlikely occurred and it wasn’t the principle character’s fault, it’s additionally type of precisely the identical factor the David story is. David is a child from nowhere, backwater Judah, which was not a very bustling metropolis or space again then. How did this no-one find yourself king of all of Israel and Judah mixed? You recognize, within the historical world, you don’t luck into kingship. You need to—you get there both since you have been born into it, or since you went and wished it and acquired it…besides within the David story. Within the David story, the entire story actually goes—particularly, you already know, the rise of David, the story about how he acquired to be king—the entire story is “he actually didn’t need that in any respect, however stuff simply stored occurring.” And, you already know, the crown, I imply, I’m not even making this up, the crown actually falls into his lap within the Bible. And that’s, you already know, I believe that raises the sorts of questions like: Okay, so since that appears so unlikely, from every thing we all know traditionally, what is that this—what’s this textual content actually making an attempt to do?

Pete 

Mhmm. So can I ask the query, simply to possibly make this a bit extra concrete: What’s the spin really within the David story? You’re saying “it’s not that unhealthy”? Or may you flesh it out a bit bit extra? Is it extra to it than that?

Joel 

Positive. Oh, yeah, certain. I imply that—I used to be form of alluding to it a second in the past—the large spin, actually within the first a part of the story, in his rise to energy—the large spin is “he didn’t need this.” And it’s essential to say that as a result of, after all, he finally ends up as king after Saul and Saul’s son Jonathan die. So you already know, usually, you’d see a no person who involves be king, when the earlier king and that king’s inheritor die, as I don’t know, probably suspicious. Particularly when, because the Bible itself admits, you already know, the earlier king (that is Saul) was satisfied that David was in truth making an attempt to usurp the throne, was making an attempt to commit a coup. Saul is satisfied of this. Saul tries to kill David. David finally ends up operating away from Saul and residing amongst and dealing for the Philistines, Saul’s enemies, and in reality, the very individuals who kill Saul in battle. After which as soon as Saul is useless, the crown is delivered to David—I imply, really, like dropped at him in individual and handed to him. The spin right here is, regardless of all of these recognized information, that you already know, Saul was king and Jonathan ought to have been subsequent, they each died on the hand of the Philistines for whom David was working—and Saul thought that David was making an attempt to do precisely this. The spin of the textual content is, “Yeah, however that’s not really the way it occurred.”

Jared 

Yeah, and when simply studying by means of your guide, the apology or spin is critical as a result of there are issues that occurred, that may’t be denied, and so we’ve these type of anchor factors of issues that occurred, however we’ve to have the ability to spin it as a result of we are able to’t simply deny it or we are able to’t simply make it up. And so, as a result of for me rising up, my Sunday faculty factor was like, effectively the Philistines are the enemy, however there in our Bible, David is working with the Philistines. And that’s a clue that possibly one thing else is occurring.

Joel 

Proper, and this occurs many times. For those who have been to form of step again from the David story, and simply form of have a look at it in form of structural define, I believe what you’d see—and I, a lot of folks have acknowledged this—what you see is a lot of unhealthy stuff occurs. A number of folks die, not simply Saul and Jonathan, however you already know, husbands of people that change into David’s spouse (I’m considering right here of Abigail). The story of how Abigail turns into David’s spouse includes, by the Bible’s personal admission, David operating a safety racket. Like a, you already know, like a minor mafia Don, and killing—or not killing—and Abigail’s husband dying, in line with the textual content, simply on the hand of God. At which level Abigail’s like, “Positive I’ll be your spouse.” However there’s this—time and again, you already know, even after he’s come to energy, when he’s waging battle towards Saul’s descendants, and the previous common of Saul’s kingdom, you already know, he says, “I can convey Saul’s kingdom over to your aspect,” and you already know, terrific, that occurs—after which that man dies, is murdered. All these items simply appears to be like unhealthy. It’s simply, he’s surrounded, David is surrounded by demise in his story, and each single demise that happens advantages him politically and personally. And the textual content goes to huge lengths for each single one among them to say, “however David didn’t do it” or “however David wasn’t there” or “however David didn’t need this.” You recognize, and so the story itself is one among stuff you’d by no means need to say about your king. Or particularly, particularly your like, founding father legend king, proper? Which is what David actually turns into. However whenever you’re studying the books of Samuel, it’s simply episode after episode of stuff that basically shouldn’t occur. Dangerous stuff. Absalom, his son, tries to commit a coup towards him and succeeds for some time, after which is killed. And even that demise, proper? Famously, David weeps profusely over the demise of Absalom, though there’s no different approach that story ends besides with David essentially needing Absalom to die. It’s all these items all through.

Jared 

Possibly we are able to simply nerd out a bit bit, however are you able to say extra—you speak about Joab being a central a part of this apology. He’s virtually form of a obligatory character to tug off this apology. Are you able to say extra about who Joab was and the way does he operate on this apology?

Joel 

Positive. Within the story of David, Joab is his right-hand man, proper? He’s his consigliere, to not be too heavy handed with the mafia analogies right here. However he’s his common, he’s his prime common. And it’s an astonishing characteristic of the story that when there are political opponents that want eliminating, all too typically it’s Joab who does the soiled deed. And once more, repeatedly it’s—you already know, Joab, Joab stabs like two or three folks within the story, all the time essential figures that wanted eliminating. And each time David’s like, “What a horrible factor you’ve carried out, Joab, eliminating my strongest enemy.” And you already know, curses Joab and, you already know, swears that each one these horrible issues will occur to Joab as a result of he was such an terrible one that, after all, by no means will get, I don’t know, fired for any of these things, after all. You recognize. Joab performs the a part of like, the—precisely form of, I assume precisely like in a mafia household proper? The, you already know, Don Corleone isn’t really killing anybody himself.

Jared 

It creates a distance, so believable deniability.

Joel 

Certainly, I imply, and never simply believable deniability, as a result of the Bible is definitely making the case it’s precise deniability, proper? There’s precise denial. One in all my favourite examples of this, and it’s the story I used to be simply speaking about, is when the overall from Saul’s military form of flips sides and involves David and meets with David and says, “I introduced the north over to your aspect, David.” Thrice in that, no less than thrice on this one chapter it says, you already know, “when he left David’s aspect, he was fully unhurt.” And even that alone is solely not an goal recording of historic reality. That’s clearly supposed to say, “no matter is about to occur to this man, David had nothing to do with it.” That to me can be a stunner of a giveaway. “When he left David, he was completely secure.” To say that time and again, in a single chapter, is a bit bit on the order of, you already know, “the girl doth protest an excessive amount of.”

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Pete 

Okay, so, I need to ensure we get to a few issues right here, as a result of we are able to’t speak about David with out speaking about two tales: David and Goliath, after which David and Bathsheba. So, let’s undergo these tales. And, you already know, give us an outline of, first, David and Goliath, and the way that story suits into the spin.

Joel 

David and Goliath might be—David and Bathsheba is the opposite one—might be probably the most well-known of the episodes within the David story. I imply, we nonetheless discuss on a regular basis about, you already know, David-and-Goliath sorts of confrontations. That is proper at first. And once more, as I stated earlier on, proper, you image David as form of like a child. He’s not even actually sufficiently old to be in battle in line with this story, proper? His brothers have gone to struggle and he’s simply come to test on them, and, you already know, he simply occurs to be the one who’s courageous sufficient to go face down this large one-on-one. Setting apart any query of you already know, whether or not it’s traditionally correct, that is precisely the type of story that establishes David as worthy of kingship. He has, you already know, he walks out, he’s the one one in your entire nation courageous sufficient to struggle off the Philistines. That’s a slap within the face to Saul who made his title preventing the Philistines. The entire story is, I believe, you already know, clearly supposed to tell us (and I believe that is how everybody has all the time taken it) this man is the person “after God’s personal coronary heart” proper? That is the, that is the deserving subsequent king of Israel.

The issue with the story—there’s two issues with this story. Right here’s the—I’ll do the, just like the sillier of the issues first—Is that you just learn the David story, you get to what some may name the boring components, which is form of the itemizing of the soldiers who’re in David’s military amongst David’s fighters, and what their exploits have been. This can be a little form of Homeric part of, you already know, pithy type of descriptions, “Ah, then there was this man who fought three lions along with his naked palms within the valley of no matter, he was a fantastic warrior. After which there’s this different man who confronted down 50 enemies by himself.” After which we examine “this one man, Elhanan who killed Goliath,” after which like, describes Goliath completely. You recognize, Goliath, this large of a person, this large Philistine from Gath, who had a spear like a weaver’s beam, proper? Like these precise exact descriptions. You’re like, “wait a second, I don’t assume there are two Goliaths. That appears unlikely.” And so this no less than raises the likelihood, to my thoughts, chance, that this checklist of David’s warriors exploits was form of a one thing of an unbiased, freestanding type of factor. And anyone got here alongside was like, “Properly, David wants a killer story to love, vault him into place of fame. Let’s simply take this one.” And so David will get this expanded model of the story about killing Goliath.

I imply, that no less than raises some questions in regards to the validity of this story. The larger and higher downside is that this: we virtually all of us play this outstanding form of…outstanding logical trick in our heads after we learn the Bible. It doesn’t occur simply right here, it occurs in all places, the place anyone would say like, to a fairly you already know, effectively learn biblical reader—”Discuss to me about like, how it’s that David turns into well-known, or rises to some form of some form of fame.” And also you’ll hear, “Oh, effectively you already know, clearly he killed Goliath, that was an enormous one, you already know, when he was a child. And you already know, when Saul was having his form of suits as a result of the Spirit of God was troubling him, David soothed him with the lyre.” That is—these are two extremely well-known photographs of David, once more, each of them effectively preserved in artwork and that form of factor. So we’re acquainted, I believe. The David-playing-the-lyre-for-Saul stuff is deeply related with David being the creator of the Psalms, these are longstanding massive sorts of traditions about David.

The issue is within the biblical textual content they don’t go collectively, regardless that they’re in chapters proper subsequent to one another. So let me clarify what I imply by that. In 1 Samuel 16 we meet David for the primary time. And we meet David for the primary time when Saul has, you already know, this evil spirit from God has been placed on him, and he’s struggling a bit bit with it. They usually’re like, “We have to discover somebody who can soothe this man.” And somebody’s like, “There’s this child I heard of, David” who has already in a form of aspect second, has already been secretly anointed by Samuel as king in a Cinderella-style choice course of the place they like undergo all of the brothers after which it’s like “Oh, it should be the youthful one whose heel suits within the shoe.” Samuel has anointed David in secret after which anyone fortuitously is like, “Oh, I hear this David child can play the lyre.” And David is delivered to Saul and performs the lyre and Saul is soothed, and he’s like, “I like this child. I’m going to maintain him by my aspect as my arms bearer,” is what Saul says when David performs the lyre for him in chapter 16. After which Saul sends a word to David’s father, Jesse, and is like, “Hey, simply to let you already know, I’m going to maintain your child with me as my arms bearer. And he can play the lyre for me.” Superior. That’s all effectively and good. After which we get to chapter 17 and Saul’s on the market on the battlefield of the Philistines, and…the place is his arms bearer? He’s dwelling along with his dad. And that’s bizarre, to begin with. After which when David does present up, and he like, goes out into the battlefield, he’s like, you already know, going through off with Goliath, Saul turns to his common and goes, “Who the hell is that?” And also you’d assume the response can be like, “That’s your arms bearer. I assume he’s like A-WOL, or has been.” However you already know, they’re like, “I don’t know, I’ll discover out who that’s” as in the event that they’ve by no means seen him earlier than.

Pete 

So there are two introductions to David.

Joel 

There’s two introductions to David they usually each do the identical factor, form of functionally, proper? They each convey Saul—convey David into Saul’s courtroom. As a result of the tip of the Goliath story is similar, proper? You recognize, Saul sees David do that courageous factor. He’s like, “Hey, why don’t you come hang around with me? I’m going to inform your dad,” proper? So, you’ve acquired these two tales which are functionally a doublet. How did David, a no person child, find yourself hanging out with Saul within the royal courtroom? One story is as a result of he performs the lyre so properly. And one story is he confronted down Goliath. However they don’t, they completely don’t go collectively. Leaving apart the query of like, is one or the opposite traditionally correct, the presence of two competing tales within the textual content proper subsequent to one another doing the identical factor and never working collectively? Type of that in itself raises for me no less than the query of: Okay, so who’s answerable for writing and developing these tales? There’s somebody making an attempt to perform one thing. Once more, that is, you already know, what’s the intention of the textual content, what’s the intention of the author? It’s to get us to know that David is worthy, that David is particular, that David is destined for excellent issues, regardless that David will spend the subsequent many chapters denying that he’s in any approach.

Jared 

The one factor I’d point out earlier than we transfer on from that’s whenever you learn the guide and skim the story as spin, as you already know, that is making an attempt to defend the way in which wherein David got here to the throne, so to talk. That David and Goliath story, I all the time love the half the place he goes—when he first reveals up on the scene, he’s like going round asking, “What occurs once more if I kill this Goliath?” They usually’re like, “Oh, effectively, you already know, you mainly get—you get the daughter of the king in marriage, which mainly places you in line, you already know, for the throne.” After which he retains asking, it says that he requested a few occasions, after which his oldest brother mainly will get actually mad at him as a result of he’s like, “I do know you. I do know what sort of individual you’re. You’re out to get one thing out of this.” And simply…For me, rising up, I all the time learn that story because the older brother is simply jealous and, clearly, you already know, goes towards God’s will and all of this—however then whenever you learn it within the context of the entire story, you’re like, effectively, possibly he did. Possibly he did know his brother.

Joel 

It’s a humorous factor that occurs really—simply you already know, whereas we’re on the subject, it’s a humorous factor that occurs the place there are folks on this story who say the true issues about David generally. You recognize, Saul says the fitting factor. Saul’s like, “You are attempting to get my throne,” and he turns to Jonathan, who’s, you already know, enamored with David. And he’s like, “You’re siding with this man? You’re simply going at hand him our, you already know, our legacy, our Throne, our inheritance, the kingship?” He appears to be like in any respect these folks round he’s like, you already know, he sees David come again victorious from battle and he’s like, “Man, the folks love him. Subsequent factor he’s gonna need is to be in energy.” And he says all this stuff after which he tries to kill David repeatedly, each in his courtroom after which chasing him down. He’s like consistently accusing David of eager to usurp the throne. All of which I believe is nearly actually true! However the story presents Saul as loopy. So it’s as in the event that they’re recognizing the truth that folks have been for certain saying this stuff about David. However what sort of individual would say this? Proper? Solely a loopy individual would assume that David really wished that. They usually actually put it within the mouth of anyone who they portrayed as loopy. Regardless that every thing Saul says really comes true.

Pete 

It’s like they must…I imply, again to David and his elder brother Eliab and the accusation mainly that David is formidable. From what Jared learn, you get that impression. And it looks as if that creates a bit little bit of a rigidity in a-man-after-God’s-own-heart enterprise. I believe no less than it does. However there’s a way wherein naming it could be higher than not mentioning it in any respect.

Joel 

Yeah, I believe that’s a very nice remark. And I believe that, once more, that is a part of what occurs in spin is, you already know, “individuals are going to inform you that it was like this, nevertheless it wasn’t.” However it’s a must to say the primary half, proper? Saying the primary half really does some rhetorical be just right for you. It makes it so that you just’re not—it makes it sound much less fully made up in a way. It’s like, “No, I do know that that is what individuals are saying, and regardless that it’d look this manner, and it’d even look this method to folks on the time, you already know, to the folks round him.” However David will get the entire alternative to show time and again that he wished none of this, proper? When Saul tries to kill him and David sneaks up on him twice and is like, “I may have killed you, however I didn’t. See how trustworthy I’m? See how little I need this? You’re chasing me down for no cause in any respect.” When Saul and Jonathan die and David weeps and wails, and he has this excellent lament over them. You recognize, he demonstrates many times, in his personal phrases, that he didn’t need it. However you’re proper, the folks on the market who lay accusations towards him, they’re a part of the story too.

Pete 

Proper. And like proper after that, with Eliab, you already know, accusing his brother of ambition, that’s whenever you get to the precise narrative of the killing of Goliath. And David comes out wanting actually good there. It’s like, yeah, all that stuff…”However have a look at what he did.” And he’s like tremendous Israelite right here, he’s like complete king materials, proper? He’s honoring the Lord, he’s defying the armies of the Philistines, and he simply goes at it in fairly brief order. So yeah, I can see your level of getting each of these parts within the narrative. It’s not simply, you already know, a pleasant story that solely props up, you already know, your chief. It acknowledges the issues, however then form of deflects them a bit bit.

Joel 

Yeah, I imply, one of many issues—I don’t understand how far down this rabbit gap you need to go, however you already know, one of many issues that I contemplate a very nice form of knowledge level for studying David’s story in Samuel as apology is the opposite story of David within the Bible, which is, you already know, the retelling of it within the E book of Chronicles—which is a whole bunch of years later and effectively distant from any occasions and has not one of the unhealthy stuff in it. There’s not a single trace of adverse something about David, he’s good. There’s no riot towards him. He has no issues with Saul. Proper? All the things is completely whitewashed, and polished and cleaned up in a approach that, when you’ve learn Samuel, reads as ridiculous in a way. Nevertheless it’s clear that at that time, they don’t should be convincing you that David is nice. Proper? They’ll simply, you already know that David is terrific at this level, when Chronicles is being written, you already know, a whole bunch of years later. Which is why whenever you return then to learn Samuel, you’re like, man, they’re each acknowledging all this unhealthy stuff. Not simply the unhealthy issues that occurred, however the unhealthy issues folks have been saying and rebutting it immediately. That means so strongly to me that they should have felt—somebody should have felt the necessity to do that, proper?

Folks should have recognized what occurred, recognized what was saying, even possibly thought some nasty issues about David. And these writers have been like, okay, effectively, how will we be sure that form of the historical past written by us, the victors, makes it clear that David was in truth, nice? There’s an argument being made in that textual content that, once more, is under no circumstances dissimilar—and it’s really easy as of late to show to politics, however you already know, you might watch whichever your most well-liked information channel is and get basically the identical type of factor occurring. The place, you already know, we’re going to speak about what’s happening, however our man goes to return out wanting nice and the opposite man goes to return out wanting unhealthy. “Are you able to consider they’re saying these items about Trump or Biden or whomever? Are you able to consider they’re saying that stuff about him? That’s simply jealous pettiness. Right here’s what’s actually happening.” You recognize, I believe we’re simply all tremendous aware of it, even when we don’t give it some thought, you already know, as being the identical factor. We’re aware of it from right now’s political and media panorama. We simply don’t actually often take into consideration the Bible as enjoying politics and media, however it’s.

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Jared 

Properly Pete talked about earlier, we all know, the David and Goliath story is one well-known story, an instance of how we are able to discuss in regards to the form of the story of David. The opposite is Bathsheba. However I’d broaden that out, simply type of like what we did with Goliath within the introduction of David and all of that, to simply type of David’s relationship with ladies, basically, is problematic. And possibly you’ll be able to discuss a bit bit, possibly we begin with Bathsheba, however I’d like to speak about it within the context of the opposite ladies in David’s life and the way they find yourself being married to him.

Joel 

Yeah, as I stated at first, David’s acquired lots of wives sequentially. They usually mainly all, no less than those that we all know something about, are…just like the deaths that occur round him, the marriages that occurred round him are additionally often to his political profit. No less than as offered to us on this story. So we’ve, you already know, David marries Saul’s daughter Michal, which is one thing of an sudden twist. He was imagined to marry a unique one, however Saul type of rescinds that supply and David finally ends up marrying Michal as a substitute. That’s an enormous deal in case you are keen on entering into the kingship, however that’s advantageous to him. Nevertheless it doesn’t go wherever, that individual marriage. Maybe as a result of she’s childless? The story presents it—or, I imply, she turns into childless at a sure level. But in addition as a result of he will get kicked out of the courtroom, you already know, after they’ve been married. She helps him run away. The well-known you already know, “doll within the mattress” trick.

He marries Abigail—this story that I used to be mentioning earlier the place Abigail’s husband Nabal (or Nah-ball), in inexplicable divinely ordained circumstances that profit David who has been on the run from Saul, and, you already know, [David] runs this safety racket with this wealthy man Nabal [and] finally ends up with all of Nabal’s huge quantities of wealth and animals and land and his spouse. That’s, you already know, clearly advantageous. Weirdly, the one marriage that isn’t seemingly politically advantageous is the Bathsheba one. Which is type of a captivating blip because it have been within the story of David. Bathsheba and her story are actually, to not complicate issues an excessive amount of, are actually a part of the Solomon story. Which is to say, I believe we’ve acquired one thing comparable happening with Solomon that we do with David, which is folks writing the story of Solomon in a approach that makes Solomon look good and obligatory, as a result of Solomon additionally mustn’t have been the subsequent king after David. He was the fourth son, what was he doing? How did he find yourself in energy? It’s the identical type of questions, proper? How did this man, this fourth son find yourself in energy? “Properly, first son, the eldest son died and the second eldest son dedicated treason towards his father and the third eldest son dedicated treason a lot later…So anyway, that’s how he ended up as king.”

However the Bathsheba Story is one which I believe is unabashedly unhealthy for David. And that’s one of many causes I believe it so captures the creativeness. And definitely, it’s one of many causes that it has been, form of weirdly, a favourite story even for individuals who learn this textual content very actually and to take its morals very severely. As a result of Bathsheba’s story, and also you guys most likely know this higher than I, the Bathsheba Story is the place folks flip to to say, “David sinned similar to everybody else. He was a man similar to everybody else. He was a person and he had his flaws however even, you already know—what the story teaches us is that even the flawed one that sins could be redeemed and welcomed again.” Someway, whenever you love David lots, and Jewish and Christian custom actually cherished David lots, even the story that makes him look most horrible just like the Bathsheba story in some way turns into some extent in his favor. However the Bathsheba story itself is I believe a unmitigated catastrophe narratively, no less than, for David. He sees a girl, he decides I’m going to take that girl, he does. He has her husband killed in a very vicious form of approach, not earlier than making an attempt to, you already know, form of get out of bother for having impregnated her. He has Uriah killed and is delighted by it. After which is simply proven the error of his methods when the prophet Nathan is like, you already know, famously, “You’re the [rich] man” within the parable of the wealthy man and the poor man. However there’s no political profit to David from that individual pairing. Which is why I believe it stands out. It’s additionally the longest episode of David and one among his wives. And Bathsheba is the one one who comes again once more within the story, as she does later when David could be very outdated and he or she places Solomon on the throne. Nevertheless it’s a—yeah, it’s the episode that in a way, humanizes David as we’re studying the Bible, it humanizes David whilst it’s merely extra simple about what a foul man he’s.

Pete 

He actually is.

Jared 

Properly, can I ask yet one more query as a result of I believe that is fascinating, and it’s a bit extra conjectural, however I believe it’s fascinating sufficient to say. And that’s Ahinoam, how she features on this textual content.

Joel 

Yeah, so 98% of the folks listening to this are gonna say “who?” I’d guess. As a result of, I imply, I grew up figuring out these tales, and even I used to be…I imply, it’s such a passing factor. It simply says in like one little passing verse comparatively early within the story, you already know, “after which David married Ahinoam.” And also you’re like, “Alright, effectively, that didn’t imply a lot to me.” However there are solely, there’s solely two occasions that somebody with that title is talked about within the Bible. One is right here with David marries this individual. And one is earlier after we discovered that that’s the title of Saul’s spouse. And I don’t assume it’s an enormous leap to recommend that possibly one of many issues that David did in his unrelenting need for energy was to form of steal Saul’s spouse. Now, which will sound like a type of loopy factor, however the capacity to sleep with the king’s spouse is the power to commit a coup. That is, in truth, precisely what Absalom will do again to David later within the story. Absalom will sleep with David’s concubines, thereby asserting his energy. If you are able to do that and get away with it, you’re the king. I believe that’s a fairly good rule throughout: if you happen to can sleep with the king’s spouse and live on, you most likely are king now.

And I believe that is what—I believe probably that is possibly what David did—he slept with Saul’s spouse. The issue is he didn’t get away with it. As a result of Saul then begins pursuing him and kicks him out of the courtroom and begins chasing him across the nation. You recognize, the opposite little little bit of proof for that is Ahinoam disappears from Saul’s story after this, and when Saul has future kids, they’re stated to be born from his concubine Rizpah. So we’ve each Ahinoam displaying up within the David story and disappearing from the Saul story on the similar time. Now, I’d recommend that that is probably the identical type of spin, it’s simply spin by means of extremely robust downplaying. You recognize, they couldn’t deny the very fact I assume that David married Saul’s spouse, however they don’t make it right into a story. They accomplish it just by eradicating her from Saul’s, you already know, household tree and easily, there’s one verse of like, “And David married Ahinoam, anyway, the place have been we?” After which it goes on from there, as a result of that may be—it’s such a manifest coup try to sleep with the king’s spouse. It’s speculative, however you already know, one of many issues I assume I need to say within the massive image is it’s all type of speculative. In a way, what we’re making an attempt to do right here just isn’t essentially to say straight out, “Ah, that is what really for certain occurred,” as a result of in a way, that’s simply as unhealthy as being like, “What the Bible says is strictly what really occurred.”

What I’m actually after right here is to consider why the Bible tells tales the way in which it tells tales. What are the authors making an attempt to perform? And even when, you already know, we disagree in regards to the chance of this or that reconstruction of what could have underlaid the tales it’s informed, it’s actually a query of like, how will we learn the Bible? That I believe is what’s actually at stake right here.

Pete 

You recognize, the large image—what I’m listening to and for you youngsters at dwelling, the message of the David story just isn’t “be like David.” It’s—possibly it’s to simply accept the type of literature that the story is and to learn it as an grownup, you already know, with asking questions of style and goal. I really like the query, you already know, why was the story ever written this manner? I believe that alone is only a good thing I believe for folks to stroll away with, from an episode like this. Thanks a lot for taking the time to hang around with us, and nice speaking to you about David.

Joel 

Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks, guys.

Outro 

[Jaunty outro music plays] You’ve simply made it by means of one other episode of The Bible for Regular Folks. Because of our listeners who assist us every week by ranking the podcast, leaving a evaluation, and telling others about our present. We couldn’t have made this wonderful episode with out the assistance of our Producer’s Group: Brian, Tracie Falconburg, Shelly Shepherd, Mark Kupets, Michelle Mastin, Jeanne and John Hawkins, Tom Hoy, Justin Bodeutsch, Drew & Regina Forsyth, and Bryant Culpepper! As all the time, you’ll be able to assist the podcast at patreon.com/thebiblefornormalpeople, the place for as little as $3/month you’ll be able to obtain bonus materials, be a part of a web based neighborhood, get course reductions and rather more. This episode was dropped at you by The Bible for Regular Folks workforce: Brittany Prescott, Savannah Locke, Stephanie Speight, Tessa Stultz, Nick Striegel, Haley Warren, Jessica Shao and Natalie Weyand!

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