By J. Cheryl Exum

Utilizing insights approximately historical and sleek tragedy, this examine deals not easy 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 achievement 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 residence by reason of his sins. The publication discusses how those narratives deal with such perennial tragic concerns as guilt, discomfort and evil.

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Is his problem that he is, as Good puts it, " a man not fitted for a job that should not have been opened"? 57 The tragic vision, until relatively modern times, has typically cast as its hero a royal figure such as we find in Saul. The privileged position of kings, which enables them to break laws ordinary people must respect, renders them well suited to tragic treatment. In Israelite as in Greek thought, the king in his roles as mediator and representative of the kingdom stands in a special position between the sacred and the profane58 and, as the Deuteronomistic Historian is fond of pointing out, the people's welfare depends upon the king's proper performance of the royal functions symbolized by obedience.

Neither in Samson Agonistes nor in the biblical account does the hero's death carry the final or the central message. 12 Although tragic elements are present, the matrix of the Samson story is best described as comic, which does not necessarily mean that we like the way the story ends. In spite of Samson's suffering and death, the story, with its emphasis on restoration and resolution, exemplifies the classic vision, a vision that can tolerate distress and defeat because life, Israel's life, goes on.

Not just sexual desire but also the spirit of Yhwh drives Samson to confront the Philistines (14:19; 15:14). Significantly, Yhwh does not promise that Samson will ultimately deliver Israel from the Philistines, only that he will be the first to do so, 13:5. The opposite holds true for Saul, of whom Yhwh says, " he will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines" (9:16). Do we have here a hint of divine unreliability? 56 Saul's early successes against the Ammonites and the Philistines are cancelled out by his final failure to deliver Israel.

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