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Discussion Questions: Saul and David

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Discussion Questions: Saul and David
I Samuel 8-11

  1. What do the Israelites hope for when they demand that Samuel appoint a king over them? What is God’s interpretation of their demand? What dangers does Samuel see in their having a king?

  2. Why is Saul chosen? By what ceremony does Samuel show Saul that he is to be king? Why might this be such a symbolically significant event?

  3. After being anointed, Saul has an extraordinary experience. Later, shortly after he has been acclaimed king, he is given a great task to perform. What takes possession of him in each of these experiences? What do each of these experiences tell you of the kinds of functions that Saul has as king?

  4. Read Psalm 29: How does this Psalm show why God would be reluctant to appoint a king over Israel?

I Samuel 13-16

  1. Why should Saul’s sin of idolatry so displease God that he would prevent Saul’s son from inheriting the kingship? Consider the significance of kingship in Israel.

  2. What do you think the tearing of Samuel’s cloak symbolizes? What leads you to believe this?

  3. Saul was possessed by a spirit that brought him many triumphs earlier in the story; the evil spirit that now seizes him is also said to come from God. What do you make of this?

I Samuel 17

  1. What does this story reveal about David’s character? How does his behavior in this chapter relate to its possible theme?

  2. What analogy does David draw between his job as shepherd and his job as champion of the Israelites? Why is a shepherd an appropriate symbol for a leader of a people? Be specific.

I Samuel 28-31

  1. How does Saul come to view David in these chapters and how does it affect his behavior?

  2. Read Psalm 23. How does the imagery in portion of the text parallel David’s situation as he flees from Saul? (recall that David is the author of this Psalm).

II Samuel 1-6

  1. What kinds of commands does David make as he grieves Jonathan’s death? How do they contrast with the images he uses to illustrate what he grieves for?

  2. When David unites Judah and Israel, the united kingdom is called Israel? Why, then, is the move from Hebron to Jerusalem so important?

  3. In what ways is David’s reign as king similar to the activities of a shepherd? The anointing of a king was performed not by priests but by the heads of the tribes. What does this tell us of the nature of kingship in David’s time?

  4. What is the significance of the Ark being moved to Jerusalem?

II Samuel 11-12

  1. How does Nathan the prophet use a parable to communicate God’s judgment of David’s sin with Bathseeba? Why might he have chosen this approach over others? How might it have impacted David differently had Nathan simply called out David’s sin?

  2. Compare Psalm 51, which David wrote after Nathan confronted him, with Psalm 32, which he wrote after he felt forgiven for the sin. What does each reveal about his emotional state?

II Samuel 14-19

  1. Absalom’s threat to the unity of Israel is centered at Hebron rather than Jerusalem. What is the significance of the first Israelite rebellion’s taking place there?

  2. What does Joab tell David at the end of this story? Do you agree with his assessment of the situation? Why or why not?

I Kings 2-4

  1. How do David’s dying words show why Solomon was “firmly established on the throne”?

  2. How does Solomon show hat God has in fact blessed him with extraordinary wisdom? What images amplify his wisdom?

  3. Read Proverbs 1 and Ecclesiastes 1,3. How do these portions of text show Solomon’s wisdom? What “pearls of wisdom” do you see in the text? Why do you think that Wisdom is portrayed as a female?

I Kings 5-8

  1. Why does Solomon draw a parallel between the building of the Temple to the creation of the world? Where else in this section have you seen this parallel drawn?

  2. What imaginative connections can be made between the building of the Temple and Psalm 29?

  3. How does the building of the Temple illustrate Solomon’s great wisdom? Why was David not allowed to build the Temple? (you may have to look back in the text to answer this)

  4. How might the dedication of the Temple be a high point in Israel’s history?

I Kings 10-11

  1. How does the Queen of Sheba react to Solomon and his great wisdom? Why is it important to note that there was “no more spirit left” in her after the encounter?

  2. What destructive forces undermine the power of Solomon?

  3. Read Proverbs 31:10-end, and Song of Songs 2:3-13. How do these two passages compare and contrast in their views of women? Who wrote them? What might this suggest about the authors?

Read Psalm 29 and 72. Compare and contrast the images of the heavenly king in the former with those of the earthly king in the latter. What is the significance of these similarities and differences?

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