King David

In a provocative and profound essay in this magazine (“A King in Israel,” May 2010), the late Michael Wyschogrod proposed that the Jewish state define itself as a democratic, constitutional monarchy. Israel, Wyschogrod suggested, should rename its head of state—the president elected by its . . . . Continue Reading »

Music Man

Readers often find the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles stultifying. These pages contain list after list of names, with occasional mini-biographies thrown in to break up the monotony. Chronicles is hardly the first place we turn to for deep insight into human nature. Yet the fact that Chronicles . . . . Continue Reading »

David's Sin, David's Son

The son of David has no name, none that the author of Second Samuel thought to record. Yet this son of David will die for David’s sin. (2 Sam. Chapters 11-12) The story of the unnamed son of David is a disturbing one, and disgusting in scale. It starts with David, great king of Israel, and it . . . . Continue Reading »

Mirror of Magistrates

For Christians, 1 and 2 Samuel are “history.” For Jews, they are among the writings of the “Former Prophets.” But the books can also be read as wisdom literature, especially when we recognize that biblical wisdom is royal wisdom. What follows is a sampling of the many lessons about good and . . . . Continue Reading »

Plundering the House

No sooner is David anointed to be Saul’s successor than he starts plundering the king’s house.His victory over Goliath wins the admiration of the women of Israel, who praise him more highly than they praise Saul.Jonathan recognizes that David will be the next king, and he strips off the . . . . Continue Reading »

Foreshadowing in 1 Samuel 14

1 Samuel 14 records the second of Saul’s three falls: He sins when he sacrifices impetuously without waiting for Samuel (ch. 13), when he attacks Jonathan for eating during a battle (ch. 14), when he refuses to carry out the ban against the Amalekites (ch. 15).Chapter 14 is also about . . . . Continue Reading »