Posts Tagged ‘Samuel’

Musings on 1 Samuel

Posted: February 15, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

Our family continues our nightly sacred text readings. We are currently exploring the Hebrew Bible story of 1 Samuel. Samuel, was the son of Hannah. A beloved wife, who was barren, and being mocked by the second wife for not providing children to their husband (yes biblical marriage at work). Hannah in her devoutness went to the Holy, and dedicated the baby if she was able to be a servant of God.

Hannah was found to be with child, and probably put of weaning for a bit longer than was necessary, for she was struggling. Struggling with her vows and promises, keeping her yes to yes…for she did not want to take her son to be raised in the Temple by the High Priest Eli, whose sons were–for lack of a better term corruptly abusive in all ways to the people. Yet, she followed through on her vow, with the joy of the life she had created, and nurtured that was now on a new path.

The path was that of being the last Judge and the first prophet Israel had since Moses. He was the high priest, the connector to the Holy for the people in their theocracy. Samuel’s ascension over Eli’s sons also leaves a lesson that those of faith need to re-learn, and should’ve been living the whole journey. See the sons were corrupt, they were stealing the sacrifices, and forcing the faithful into sexual relations (pedophilia, rapists). It took until Samuel for Eli’s family’s punishment to roll out, and the voice of the victims to be heard.  We are having an Eli moment now with the Jehovah Witnesses, Willow Creek, Southern Baptist/Canadian National Baptists; and Roman Catholic Church to name but a few… also with the desecration of the Imageo Dei, that is that all are wholly and beloved images of God, the corruption of power and creating the false dualism of Us-Them is what is tearing apart the Methodists for they are more concerned with sexual labels, than with the beloved wholly and blessed brother and sister of this world.  Just like Eli’s family was leading Israel astray and causing harm…so too are we in the religious now.

If it needed a further showing of what inter-generational trauma, and unresolved pain can do. Samuel has to deal with the people looking at their lives and not seeing the end of tyranny as a good thing and getting back on track, but as a moment to throw out the God with the priests– for they want a king. And God complies, with Saul who is anointed to lead the kingdom. So starts the lessons, as Shakespeare would point out about power and corruption.

For Saul, as king, believes that he is the final authority on what is right and wrong in life. His impatience leads him to take on the role of priest-prophet for he does not like Samuel’s tardiness. In essence he supplants God with himself and makes the worship about him, not the Holy Mystery that exists in everything and everything exists in. His power madness begins to show, and God lays the smack down for his downfall with the rise of the runt-shepherd as the new anointed–David…and we shall see how Saul’s tyranny unfolds, and David’s own corruption and possible causes, as my family continues the read (Currently ending Chapter 18).

What moments are you like Samuel?

When may you be Saul?

What can youd do to connect deeper in your walk with the Holy?

Chapter One

Posted: November 4, 2016 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

The arrow had struck chest, yet it was not the chest it was aimed at. Speare had done something that if he had thought about it would have fallen under the realm impossible. That’s right, he had vaulted out of the booth almost snake like to tackle sweater down. The chest struck was literally a promotional treasure chest for some Sponge Bob Square Pants Happy Meal toys.

A quick glance up and the screech of truck tires. The shooter was making good an escape. Speare was on his feet and moving out of the restaurant. Not sure if this is something that would fall under the normal restaurant protocols of phoning the police. It was definitely a new one on Speare having a prospective client shot at by a bow and arrow.

By the time he got to the parking lot, the stereo typical fire engine red dually truck was already onto 32 ave NE and flying. Sirens stated that police had been called. It always amazed Speare how each first responder group had their own siren sound. Speare headed back into the restaurant to enjoy his free refill and see if Samuel had any answers as to who would send an assassin archer his way.

Unfortunately once inside, the refill on his McCafe was the easy part. Samuel was no where to be seen. During the futile chase to get a license number, the accountant like man had made his own escape. Speare takes out his flip phone and dials an all to familiar bookstore number.

“Hey Sax why is your hubby referring folks to me?”

Not a very helpful opening line, but it was strange that Natan would refer someone, and not give an inkling that danger could be afoot with the usual deductive fun and games. Speare sipped on his coffee as the constables came in. They looked at the arrow in the display, the shattered glass, and then a Constable Fox noted Speare sipping his coffee.

“Aw fuck me, how did I not know this crazy ass call would somehow involve you?” Fox said. He had been a constable in District five for many years, almost came across some days as a stodgy Irish cop out of Murdoch Mysteries with his world views. But Speare did like him. Speare flipped shut his phone to open up the conversation, Sax hadn’t had time to respond to Speare’s opening salvo anyways, his friend would understand.

“Here’s the quick 411 cause my cuppa is almost done. Bloke name Samuel, looked like an accountant, or that actor out of Little Shop of Horrors, Rick Moranis, had set up a meeting to discuss a case. Our meeting was interrupted by said arrow coming through the window. I went to chase the shooter.” Speare stated.

“And while you nicked out, so did the client.” Fox finished. “Did you at least get the license number?”

“No one ever gets the license number.” They said in unison, sadly this was a dance they had danced more often than either of them wanted to admit to.

Speare continued though, “Didn’t see the shooter, but a dually fire engine read truck bolted out of here heading towards Barlow or Deerfoot at the time after the arrow went through.”

Fox just nodded, scratched some more in his notebook. His partner was handing out statement papers, and checking patrons/staff ID’s. Speare took a paper and wrote out the simplistic tale again just as he had related it. One copy to the cop, another copy to him. He would add it to the collection, two more of these and Speare was certain he could redo the wall paper in his apartment.

The constables cleared the restaurant after recording contact information, and would await some crime scene guys to go over, but really they were not expecting to find much.

Speare headed towards the circle route bus stop that would take him down to the c-train, Sax’s shop was downtown and he needed to go speak with him in person. Maybe either Sax or Natan would have a way of connecting with this mysterious Samuel, or fleshing out a bit more about why someone was shooting arrows at him. Arrows, Speare never for a minute realized he would miss bullets.

 

Sax stared at his store phone. Something was terribly wrong with the referral Natan had made to Speare. Only reason Speare disconnected calls so quickly was either violence or police or both. Yet Sax also did not remember Natan stating he had referred any new people to Speare.

Sax clicks on the speed dial option for home (which is really an upstairs apartment owned with the bookstore). “Hey love, when you get this call back. Something hinky with Speare and some bloke named Samuel.”

The book store door chimes went. He was a smallish Rick Moranis looking man in a sweater vest and bow tie. If Sax was not certain he would swear this man was an accountant from musical theatre. “Hello and Welcome to sax and Such books. Are you looking for anything in particular?”

That’s when the man’s eyes went a brilliant emerald green as he looked right at Sax.

“Where is Natan? Where is my soulmate?”

 


Introduction

                Many modern commentators will get hung up on the historic accuracy of 1 & 2 Samuel, speak of how they were written pre-exile to Babylon which is why they give such an unauthorized version of the royal family as opposed to Chronicles which is the sanitized or authorized version post-exile. But this phenomenon of literalism is a recent 100 year invention and misses the point of the beauty of the inspired nature of the Biblical Text.  For years they were told and retold, read, not as literal black and white truth, but for the deeper meaning, the mythology, that is the eternal truth discovered within that lends itself to revisiting the text again and again. This short reflection is going to look at David, shepherd King of Israel and reflect on what this collection of stories means for our own spiritual journeys. There are five in the cycle of David and:

Each of these speaks to an eternal truth that may or may not aid our journeys today, but one day.

Goliath

                It was war, funny how that happens in the Hebrew Bible that which Christians refer to as the Old Testament. These are stories that I will not hide, are filled with blood, misogyny and hate. Yet again, we must dig deeper.

                Let us set the stage, the stories of Samuel opens with Hannah, a woman who is barren which pretty much renders her as a non-entity in her culture. She prays to God promising to dedicate the baby to God. Voila, Samuel is born, and handed over the priest to be raised and Samuel becomes a prophet. During this time the people feel that direct communion and leadership with God and want to be like everyone else (possibly a metaphor of peer pressure for today?) and that they want a king. God relents as most good parents will; the adolescent must grow up, and be given just enough rope to sample the world without being destroyed by it. So God locates what a typical King should be, that is the all powerful Saul.

                And enter the ongoing war dynamic. Israel is at war with the Philistines, it is a constant cycle, but the leader of the Philistines is a man named, Goliath, who quite possibly could be one of the left over Nephilim from Genesis 9 with how he is described. The die is cast as a challenge is laid down, any of you can defeat me, and the invading army will turn back, but if we beat your champion you are ours. Contrary to popular opinion there was no brave souls among the armies of Israel, but one shepherd boy was hearing voices. Yup, those fun voices, and the call of God, picking up five smooth stones he went to the battlefield and told the king his plan. Saul was a bit sheepish, but let’s face it, send the boy to his death or go and die yourself.

                David was provided with armour, and told the “proper” ways to conduct the battle, but what is the point of this story? Simple, that the proper or traditional ways are not always what is needed, David shucked the armour and weapontry away, and entered the field with his crook, slingshot, and five stones. How did it end?

                The boy one, and became a favourite of the king, but it was illuminated that this David was to replace Saul as a more righteous king.

Saul

                The Saul-David dynamic is a yin-yang story while it unfolds before Saul dies. It is two sides of the same coin, Saul the one in rebellion, David the one on the path to God. Running from the Holy, communing with the Holy. Where Saul felt he needed to jump through the hoops of tradition and the rules, but impose his own control on God and place God in the familiar box, David realized that the rules were created for man, not man for the rules, and as such there was flexibility, understanding and love within them.

                From my reading, this story is more about the self transformation of an individual as the king transitions from the selfish Saul to one focused on the selfless love of God, but the journey is not always that simple, for there are things that we bring alongside that twists a person.

Jonathan

                Soul Friend, or as we would say in the 21st century, Soul Mate, this is how Jonathan, Saul’s son, relationship with David was described. You can culturfy all the kissing and hugging to death that you want, but what you have within this story is a love story. Two souls becoming one, and a culture that would not accept it, mostly because Jonathan’s father was attempting to save his job and whack David the man who was his succession plan which doesn’t lend itself too well for an in-laws relationship.

                When Jonathan dies, it falls apart for David. This falling apart leads into polygamy, but also a viewpoint within David that sees his female romantic partners as property that are there only to pleasure the king.

Bathsheba

THIS IS NOT A STORY OF ADULTERY. For adultery to happen it takes two consenting parties choosing to break their vows of monogamy with another and inter into a sexual or intimate relationship with one another. What this is, is a predatory relationship of David wanting to step outside the norm for gratification of a power-sexual dynamic.

                Bathsheba was bathing on the roof most likely because her menstruation cycle had just ended and under “Levitical” law she was deemed unclean. It was due to the fear of the power of the women’s blood that led to laws around uncleanliness with menstruation, because tribal cultures of the period say the power of life and death within menstruation. So she was ritually cleaning (baptizing) herself to be able to enter the women’s segregated side of the tent of worship after her 7 day cleanse.

                David knew he would see naked women who were to be kept separate when he stood up on his roof to pleasure himself. It was like the original porno. But masturbation (wasting the male seed, which was seen as the source of life as well) was not enough. David needed more, and his concubines were not doing it, he was never allowed to actually fruitfully live his life with Jonathan. All this coalesced into the rape dynamic. Soldiers were dispatched to seize Bathsheba and bring her to the King’s chamber.

                Think about what she was feeling, humiliation and shame at this time of ritual and worship being told that she was to come to see the king, barely clothed led through the city at night by soldiers to David. Scared, humiliated, cold, and confused she stands before this aroused warrior. Smelling the sex off of him towards her, she had not way out, in fact this power dynamic would play out in later feudal systems where the first night of claiming virginity became the right of the sovereign to ensure a couple could wed, which is where the term F-U-C-K came from (Fornication Under Consent of the King).

                David raped Bathsheba, impregnating her. When this was discovered, wanting to continue to control her (the psychosis of a rapist), he plotted the revenge murder of her husband. Once that was accomplished and the son was delivered, David’s madness knew no bounds.

                Kyle Baker did an amazing graphic novel on the story of David that I would recommend to anyone, the closing scene is of David lost in his psychosis committing infanticide, killing the child born out of the rape. Sending a culminating message to Bathsheba, I own you, you have no power.

                Not a story of love, but rather a story of the depths a person can take corruption to and the hatred of self and sickness that can exist within a person.

Nathan

                Nathan is the agent of original restorative justice (okay not really, that was back in the garden) for he gives David the wake up call. The call, you are on thin ice, and God is seeking a regime change. David was hit where he lived. His power, and self-awareness came through the mentoring relationship with Nathan. The healing journey for the offender, and the victim begins.

                It also speaks to redemption and healing with the birth of Solomon, the one who would build the Temple, because it was through Solomon that Bathsheba was actualized as a human being, for David became less, and Bathsheba’s son redeemed the nation of Israel.

                Nathan was the change catalyst, an ancient Phoenix Project for sex offenders, that if the times allowed for it, I could see David releasing Bathsheba, unfortunately due to the culture dynamic releasing Bathsheba would have caused harm, as she would have had to turn to temple prostitution or the sex trade living rough in the city and dying in the gutter. David’s heart changed and it went from a power dynamic to a healing dynamic.

Conclusion

                The point of the David narrative is not to show the historical truth of Israel as a nation, and not just a tribal society. It is not to sing the praises of Mandom, or how wonderful a person David was. It is showing that no one is beyond redemption, that life is a struggle, as the Buddhist call it, Dukkha, that ambivalence of choice we are constantly living in and that are choices have consequences. These consequences depending on the choice are positive or negative, but not just for us. We live in interdependent communities in which our choices affect others as well.