still life from Old Woman Praying Maes

The Past Casts a Long Shadow

Saul is from Gibeah (1 Samuel 10:26). (!!)

An Old Woman Reading the Bible
The daily lectionary for May 11 includes 1 Samuel 10:1-11:15

Gibeah is the site of the atrocity in Judges 19 (Judges 19:12ff). The aftermath of that atrocity draws in Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21), so that the people of Gibeah are related to the people from Jabesh-gilead after that.

Saul’s first act as king is to rescue the people of Jabesh-gilead from the eye-gouging Nahash (1 Samuel 11:5ff). It incorporates a creepy echo of the story from Judges 19 (1 Samuel 11:7).

In the end, the men of Jabesh-gilead will keep the bodies of Saul and his sons from being desecrated at Beth-shan (1 Samuel 31:11-13), and mourn for them.

So the Bible gives us the roots of both the first kings of Israel from the time of the Judges, Saul’s in the book of Judges, David’s in the book of Ruth.

People like that story of Ruth. But if anyone in ancient Israel ever asked you where you were from you’d probably feel bad having to tell them Gibeah, because you would know they would think they knew something about you, and it wouldn’t be good. It makes me think this might explain … a lot, something … about Saul.

Added 7.18.18 – But the Chronicler remembers Saul’s family being from Gibeon. (I Chronicles 9:35) Maybe because the Chronicler remembers everything in a rosier light. Or maybe just because, Gibeah, Gibeon, by the time the Chronicler is writing it’s all the same?

still life from Old Woman Praying Maes

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