By Keith Bodner
This tremendous observation provides I Samuel as a cosmopolitan paintings of literature, the place the reader is challenged with a story that's fraught with interpretative percentages. In his specific literary analyzing Bodner lays precise emphasis at the exciting array of characters that populate the narrative, and at the plot, in its layout and its configurations. therefore, a bunch of fascinating episodes and personalities are handed in evaluate: from the symbolically charged closed womb of Hannah to the backwards fall and the damaged neck of Eli, to the unusual journey of the Ark of God in the course of the menacing Philistine pentapolis, wreaking havoc. Then there's the advanced portrayal of Samuel the prophet, the emergence of the fugitive David as a pacesetter, and the eventual decline, insanity, and necromancy of King Saul. basically via a literary examine of its many ironies and ambiguities, Bodner amply indicates, can the richness of this vintage royal drama be totally preferred.
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Extra info for 1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary
Eli’s posture is oft-noted in the narrative, and rarely does he seems to do anything that involves movement; recall that he is introduced as ‘sitting’ on his throne in chap. 1, and he will depart by falling backwards from the same sedentary position. 18), so such immobility is not exactly surprising. On the same topic of inertia and Eli’s introduction, not only is he laying down, but now his eyes are dim and he cannot see. When Eli is ﬁrst introduced in the narrative, he is ‘watching’ Hannah’s mouth as she prays.
First, her use of ‘favor’ ([H) forms a nice wordplay with her own name (K1[), anticipating the favor that barren Hannah is about to receive from God. Second, her last word to Eli—‘…in your eyes’—is notable. Hannah’s speech is an afﬁrming one that reﬂects Eli’s ﬁnest hour in the story. From this point on, however, Eli’s eyesight will gradually grow dim, until extinguished in 1 Samuel 4. 18 may be straightforward enough, but her subsequent departure takes different routes in the RSV and NRSV. Upon leaving the sanctuary, everyone agrees that ‘she eats’, an action that, as Robert Gordon (1988: 76) comments, ‘signals her conﬁdence that her request has been heard’.
The strategy does not pay off: they suffer an even greater defeat, the ark is captured, and Hophni and Phinehas are killed. The second part of the chapter revolves around the announcement of defeat in the city of Shiloh, and the resultant uproar of the city. The third part of 1 Samuel 4 focuses on two individual recipients of the news—Eli and his daughter-in-law—and their responses to the report of the defeat and the exiled ark. Eli falls backwards and dies. Likewise, his daughter-in-law dies in childbirth, bearing a scion to the house of Eli who is born under a sentence of doom.
1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary by Keith Bodner