Tragedy and Biblical Narrative: Arrows of the Almighty by J. Cheryl Exum

By J. Cheryl Exum

Utilizing insights approximately old and glossy tragedy, this research bargains demanding and provocative new readings of chosen Biblical narratives: the tale of Israel's first king, Saul, rejected for his disobedience to God and pushed to insanity; the tale of Jephthah's sacrifice of his daughter in success of his vow to provide God a sacrifice in go back for army victory; and the tale of Israel's most famed king, David, whose tragedy lies within the burden of divine judgement that falls on his condominium by reason of his sins. The publication discusses how those narratives deal with such perennial tragic matters as guilt, affliction and evil.

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Saul's devotion to Yhwh is underscored in word - he confesses his sin and asks forgiveness "in order that I may worship Yhwh" (15:25, 30) and deed: "Saul worshipped Yhwh" (15:31). 40 The scene concludes on a tragically dramatic note: "Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death but Samuel grieved over Saul. And Yhwh repented that he had made Saul king over Israel" (15:35)-41 Saul fails repeatedly where Yhwh is concerned. Try as he may to do the right thing, he invariably does the wrong thing.

The Philistines are blocking characters who inhibit movement toward a harmonious society; they are caricatured, as is Samson himself, and clear distinctions are made between hero and villains. Unmistakably tragic elements appear as well — the hero's betrayal, blinding, and death providing the most obvious examples. When Milton sought to make a tragedy of the Samson story he produced a powerful drama, but even here the inherent comic plot-line which he took over from the biblical tradition defeats the realization of the tragic vision.

22 It has taken twelve verses to establish the mood and set the scene, during which time suspense has been mounting as we await the fateful confrontation. With characteristic brusqueness, Samuel asks Saul's reason for disturbing him. Saul's reply that "the Philistines are waging war against me " recalls the situation of 1 Samuel 13, when Saul first erred by offering the sacrifice in Samuel's absence. And when he implores, " I have called you to reveal to me what I should do," we remember that he did not wait for Samuel to tell him what to do then: " Seven days you shall wait until I come to you and I will reveal to you what you shall do" Samuel had said (10:8).

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