…those were my thoughts while reading through the book of Samuel over the past couple weeks. Samuel is a book filled with murder, rape, and incest. In it, we observe power plays, betrayal, and unceasing war.
The injustices against women are evident. Throughout the book, women are tossed around like property to be used and abused in whatever manner the men of power see fit. Consider King Saul’s daughter, Michal, for example. Saul gave her away to David which was a good selection for her since the Bible reveals that she was in love with David. Saul, on the other hand, simply used her as a pawn in his endless pursuit to capture and kill David. (She was actually the second daughter Saul tried to pass off to David. Read 1 Sam 18.)
Never-the-less, Michal married David and proved herself faithful to him. David was forced to flee from the hands of a jealous Saul. Saul takes David’s absence as an opportunity to marry Michal off to someone else (1 Sam 25:44). By this time, David had married two other women. Are the reality show themes setting in yet?
After Saul’s death on the battle field, David demands that his wife, Michal, be returned to him. Therefore, his wife is taken and returned to David, as her second husband goes weeping behind her. Finally, her second husband is forced to return home to grieve his lost (2 Sam 3:13-16). Don’t believe me? It’s in the book, and this is just one of many scandals recorded. The poor guy was probably Young and Restless; David was suffering through the Days of Our Lives, and Michal was probably no longer Bold and Beautiful.
Which made me think…King Solomon, David’s son, was right when he wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).” Look how far we have fallen. Then I wondered, “What is the difference between the life stories recorded in Samuel and the current reality series, say The Kardashians franchise shows, The Real Housewives (though most of them are not even wives) of wherever, or The Basketball Wives shows?”
Seriously, people watch these shows for their entertainment value, and Christians read the Bible for a much deeper purpose I think. We could tie a nice theological bow on this but that would not promote dialog, would it? This question is an important one concerning culture and the church, and maybe how we can reconcile the two. It may also lead to questions as to why it is important to read the Old Testament. Why did God choose to include this historical book in the sacred text that is the Bible? What does he want us to learn? There are history lessons of course, worthy of the notable phrase, “Those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it,” but what are the other purposes to consider? Finally, we must ask the, “So what?” question.
Here’s to learning in community.
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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