Abstract: King Saul was not only Israel’s first monarch, but he was also her first sacrilegious ruler, a point on which the two historiographical books in the Hebrew Bible agree. However, each respective corpus delineates Saul’s portrayal in uneven and distinctive representations, varying in theological perspective and emphasis. 1 Samuel presents a complex account of Saul’s rise to power and his subsequent fall from divine favor, and culminates with Saul’s battlefield suicide. 1 Chronicles, however, shows no interest in Saul’s life, but begins and ends with his suicide. Though Chronicles uses the antecedent Samuel as a source, the story of Saul’s suicide and its ramifications experience a conceptual metamorphosis, resulting in considerable shifts in the perception of human and divine agency. Relatedly, Chronicles is temporally posterior to Samuel, finding its inception following the Judean restoration in the Second Temple period’s postexilic milieu. This paper seeks to uncover these shifts manifested in Chronicles by elucidating each account, highlighting the relationship between human and divine agency. Attention to the shifts yields a different sacrilegious Saul and an altered concept of divine transcendence, both birthed in the cradle of the Judean community in the Second Temple period.
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 7, 2015
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