By Keith Bodner
This vast remark offers I Samuel as a cosmopolitan paintings of literature, the place the reader is challenged with a story that's fraught with interpretative chances. In his specified literary studying Bodner lays unique emphasis at the fascinating array of characters that populate the narrative, and at the plot, in its layout and its configurations. hence, a bunch of fascinating episodes and personalities are handed in evaluation: from the symbolically charged closed womb of Hannah to the backwards fall and the damaged neck of Eli, to the unusual journey of the Ark of God throughout the menacing Philistine pentapolis, wreaking havoc. Then there's the complicated portrayal of Samuel the prophet, the emergence of the fugitive David as a pacesetter, and the eventual decline, insanity, and necromancy of King Saul. simply via a literary examine of its many ironies and ambiguities, Bodner amply exhibits, can the richness of this vintage royal drama be totally preferred.
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Extra resources for 1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary
If the having of sons is anything like the having of kings, Eli is going to face his share of parental problems. 19-21 Just as there is a contrast emerging between the son of Hannah and sons of Eli, so there is something of a contrast between the parents as well. 19-21 provides a vignette about Samuel’s parents, and a snippet of their life after depositing Samuel with the priest. Their annual journey to sacriﬁce in Shiloh continues, and Hannah brings a gift for the growing youngster year after year.
All bull aside, Hannah also brings a skin of wine to Shiloh. According to Num. 8-10, this is entirely appropriate. But in light of all that has happened, Hannah’s transporting a skin of wine injects of moment of levity into the weighty event of Samuel’s nazirite dedication. The skin of wine reminds the reader that her son is not to partake of such beverages, and when she presents both the lad and the wine to Eli, there must be an ironic moment: you accused me of drunkenness, now I present to you the object of my prayer (a son who will not drink wine) along with a skin of wine.
Yet both will fall down (forward) at different times before the end of 1 Samuel. By analogy, kingship will be a problematic institution if it is built on the principle of outward appearance, and the goal of the Deuteronomist in this stretch of narrative is to illustrate that reliance on such perception is fallacious. Along with Hannah’s story, then, one can hear the story of kingship emerge in these lines. If the accents are faint early in the poem, by the time the crescendo of Hannah’s song occurs, the ‘king’ is explicitly intoned.
1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary by Keith Bodner