June 1 – 1 Samuel


Here are some homework questions for 1 Samuel (do all the questions for your homework). Enjoy this book–it’s the beginning of an incredible story. Remember that Alter has a great section on the two different introductions we have to David: reread that carefully from The Art of Biblical Narrative (pp. 147-53).

1. In a Jewish Bible, Ruth does not provide a buffer between Judges and Samuel. What is the composite effect that arises from moving directly from Judges into the first story in 1 Samuel. How do you understand this relationship?

2. Pay really close attention to 1 Samuel 8, the people’s clamoring for a king and the anointing of the king that follows. What is Samuel’s and God’s response to the people’s demand for a king? What do you make of Saul as the chosen leader (ideally, you want to draw out certain details in the introduction of Saul and extrapolate a bit into this question)?

3. In class we will discuss the possibility of Saul as a tragic figure. Do some preliminary thinking about this, and maybe a little homework. What are the characteristics of a tragic hero? In what way does Saul fulfill those characteristics? In what way does he complicate that profile?

4. Why do you think the book is called “Samuel” (and not “Saul” or “David”)?

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