Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Has your boss been promoted too high? Is your boss moody and unpredictable? Do you wish your boss would get sane soon?

King Saul's servants went to him and said, "You seem to be possessed by demons. We were thinking that maybe if you got a harp player in here to play you music it might make the demons go away."

Saul said that seemed like a good idea, which showed he was desperate too. The servants then said they had heard that David, son of Jesse, was an amazing harp player, it might be good to try him. Done, and it semi-worked.

David made Saul feel better while David was playing. He didn't heal him overall.

Saul like having David around, even when he wasn't playing and made him his weapon carrier.

Saul was the first king of Israel, so he didn't have role models close at hand to copy. One reason he was king was that the people of Israel noticed all the other peoples around had kings, and they wanted one too.

Another reason they wanted a king was that the prophet/judge system wasn't working well right then. They had been going along having a main prophet, at this point Samuel, who had general ideas about good things to do, that were pretty much listened to. Then when they needed a military leader, a military leader would arise and with some miraculous or semi-miraculous help from God, would win.

The Book of Judges is stories of those leaders who arose, Samson and Deborah for example. They're sort of fun stories in an often bloody way, because they are stand alone. People are going along being agrarian and self-sufficient and maybe a little boring, and some crisis arises, and the person arises and solves the crisis, and the people fall back into being low-key and agrarian.

I imagine that maybe Saul like that low-key agrarian routine, and might have been a good one shot hero, or judge, but on-going kingness didn't suit him. It might have been too much time inside. It might have been making decisions less concrete and urgent than military decisions.

The people of Israel chose Saul to be their first king because he was a foot taller than everyone else and because he was about that much handsomer than everyone else.

And there he was, seeming possessed by demons. And getting temporary relief from a talented kid from nowhere special playing music.

That is the first story of how Saul and David met for the first time.

Right after that there is a second story of how Saul and David met for the first time.

By the time Bible stories were written down, they had been being told aloud for quite awhile, by different people, in different regions. These stories weren't necessarily consistent with each other. If you read stuff more than three hundred years old, you find that people back then, high and low, didn't care that much about consistency. It's a recent fetish, and a strong one. What the people who put the Bible together as writing did was include important stories, even if they were contradictory, and put them next to each other.

So right after Saul meets David because David is a music guy Saul meets David because David is a sling guy, eager to take on Goliath.

The Bible putter-together folks set up the ending of the harp story so it could segue into the Goliath story if you messed with the Goliath story a little, but they didn't. They said at the end of the harp story that Saul made David his weapon carrier. That would easier put David in the army camp when the very large Philistine Goliath challenged anyone in the Saul army to single handed combat. David could have already been there, as king's weapon carrier. But he wasn't. The Goliath story is a different story of how David rose from obscurity to the court of the (in over his tall head) king.

[This is recounted toward the beginning of the book First Samuel, toward the beginning of the Bible.]