Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Where the Saying Comes From
Is Saul also among the prophets?
I plan on spending some time (and some posts) on one of my favorite Biblical figures, Saul, and I'd like to kick it off with a nice little contradiction. There's two places in the Bible where a (supposed) single author explains where the above saying came from (I know, it's not as in vogue as it used to be to ask about Saul's prophetic abilities) and he gives different stories. The book is 1 Samuel and in chapter 9 we learn that Saul is to become a great king, the leader of god's people. Chapter 10 shows Samuel seeing the signs that are told to him by Samuel so that he can be convinced that he will be king of god's people. Part of this is that god will come upon him and he will begin to prophesy, which is what happens. When the people see this, they ask, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" Thus explaining where the quote comes from.
Or does it? Chapter 19 tells a different tale altogether. By then, Saul is already king, but he's worried about David who is to take his place (more on that in a later post). So, he sends out people to kill David, but to no avail. He keeps sending people and they keep coming under the spirit of god and prophesying. So, Saul goes himself and the spirit of the lord comes over him and he to begins to prophesy, taking off all his clothes and lying naked all day and all night with the other prophets, which is why people ask, "Is Saul also among the prophets."
So, which story is true? Like so many tall tales, it's a story with multiple origins where some people swear that it happened one way, and others swear it happened a different way. The question is, why is god's book undetermined on the origin of the story? Why couldn't god get it right?
Update: I typo-ed Chapter "18" instead of "19." The error has been fixed. The correct chapter is 19.