Samuel through Solomon
1 Samuel 1 - 7
The Last Judge of Israel
We meet Samuel, the last judge and the greatest prophet in Israel since Moses.
This man hears God audibly.
He is a king-maker and the mouthpiece of God, and he gets more terrifying as he ages (kinda like some of the rest of us). There's a chiasm in this story but we won't be covering it in class. The details are in the Study Guide as Bonus Material in case you'd like to check it out.
1 Samuel 8 - 11
Israel Crowns a King
Saul, the first King of Israel, suffers from Imposter Syndrome.
The Israelites insist on a king like everyone else has. Samuel is horrified, but they insist. So the Lord himself picks out their first king, a man named Saul.
You'd think it would be happily ever after...but no. This is the Bible, after all. Saul cannot get past himself, and the wheels start to fall off the wagon pretty much right away.
1 Samuel 12 - 15
Saul is Screwing Up Royally!
It's like every time he does something, he messes up. And every single time it has to do with disobeying a specific instruction from God. Why does Saul make this so much harder than it needs to be?
Samuel pulls no punches. He rakes Saul over the coals no matter who's watching and listening. Saul tries to save face and gets caught in his lies by Samuel. Embarrassment after public embarrassment can't be helping with Saul's Imposter Syndrome. I'm getting a little worried about where this is heading.
1 Samuel 16 - 19
David fights Goliath, but Saul fights a giant too
At first it seems like simple arrogance combined with a serious case of Imposter Syndrome, but this week King Saul develops a full-fledged case of paranoia.
David arrives on the scene and quickly becomes a national hero. Saul does not react well at all, as you can imagine.
1 Samuel 20 - 25
What happens when enemies fall into our grasp?
The answer might surprise you. The power struggle between King Saul and David is life or death. David flees Saul's court and is betrayed. Pressed to breaking point, David faces a tough choice when he catches Saul unawares. Would it be self-defense to kill Saul while he can?
Mental illness plays a surprising role this week--leading to David's escape from a Philistine ruler. The ending is not so happy for Nabal, a man whose name literally means "fool."
In the discussion we wrestle with the whole concept of revenge and what that looks like for God's people.
1Sam 26 - 2Sam 2, 1 Chr 10
David joins the Philistines. Talk about a plot twist!
Philistines are Israel's arch-enemies. But sure enough, David joins forces with them and even marches to battle with them against Israel.
No. Really? David, as in King David? Yup.
We've got a crazy story this week with another tragic ending. This time we say goodbye to Saul, and we'll take some time in our breakout groups to think about how different the two leaders have been.
We're to a part of the Bible where the stories are told in more than one book. Sometimes they're copied from one to the other, but often the authors add additional details so it's worthwhile to read both versions. This week's parallel to 2 Samuel 2 is in 1 Chronicles 10.
2 Sam 3 - 9, 1 Chr 11-17
Two Kings. Two Commanders.
Something's Gotta Give!
King David and King Ish-Bosheth. Commander Joab and Commander Abner. The struggle that began between Saul and David is about to bear fruit.
David continues to have a heart for the Lord, but cracks are beginning to show. He makes some big mistakes this week.
2Sam 10-13, 1 Chr 18-20
David and Bathsheba, Tamar and Amnon
Entitlement and privilege are a deadly combination.
I know...these folks in the Bible are over the top. They are so human! It hits painfully close to home. There are some trigger warnings this week: rape, murder, and infant death. But even in these depths, God shows up.
God does not throw us away. Ever.
2 Sam 14 - 19
Absalom Makes His Move
After Absalom kills his brother Amnon in revenge for the rape of his sister Tamar, Absalom flees across the Jordan. There he bides his time...convinced he is King David’s rightful heir.
Through a little subterfuge, Absalom is given another chance and returns to King David’s court, only to betray him by sparking a palace coup! The tables are turned and now David is exiled across the Jordan. Will David prevail or will Absalom retain his grip on the throne?
2Sam 19-23, 1 Ki 1-2
David Fights Back
David fights back against Absalom and wins, but his kingdom comes at the cost of his son’s life. David is heartbroken.
There’s a strange sequence of events as David returns to Jerusalem. He meets the same cast of obscure characters he met on the way out...wait a second...could this be a chiasm? We pull out our backpack tools to see what hidden secrets we can discover.
1 Kings 3-10, 1 Chr 22 to 2 Chr 9
Solomon, Wisdom, and the Temple
After a rocky start, Solomon builds a grand and peaceful kingdom with a brand new Temple as its centerpiece. The Lord grants his wish for wisdom to rule the people and throws in massive riches and honor for good measure.
Solomon is so famous that eventually the Queen of Sheba decides she’s gotta see this for herself. Spoiler alert: She’s not disappointed.
We find out what the Israelites thought about hell and life after death (you might be shocked). And we had a very deep discussion about Wisdom -- Is Wisdom a person? Why isn't Wisdom talked about in church?
1 Ki 11, Song of Songs,
Solomon's Got It All - Wealth, Wisdom, and Women
What could possibly go wrong? Solomon has absolutely everything going for him--good looks, wealth, wisdom, everyone admires him, and the Lord picked him to be king.
But he throws it all away. No kidding. The smartest, wisest man in the world fails completely. How can this be? We hear from Solomon in his own words this week as he looks back on what went wrong.
Special thanks to Robert Cottrell
for his cameo appearance as King Solomon