Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
John F.X. Sheehan
John J. Schmitt
The first book of Samuel has been studied extensively in search of an explanation for the ambiguities, contradictions, and doublets which are found upon its pages. Previous scholarship has concentrated strongly upon delineation of the early sources of the material comprising I Samuel, or upon reasons for the ambiguity of attitudes toward the figure of Saul found in the unit I Samuel 8:1-16:13. Despite these efforts, no consensus has been reached which will explain the problems which are found in I Samuel 8:1-16:13. Despite these efforts, no consensus has been reached which will explain the problems which are found in I Samuel 8:1-16:13. In addition, it is difficult to see that a theological principle binds the material together and forms the various traditions contained in I Samuel into a unified theological statement.
This dissertation argues that the material encountered in I Samuel 8:1-16:13 is shaped theologically through careful use of chiasmus. Recognition of the chiastic structure enables discernment of a positive statement about monarchy which is in accord with the general tone of the Royal Psalms. I Samuel 8:1-16:13 states that although Yahweh is king in Israel, monarchy may still function with the restriction that people and king fear the lord and obey the commandments of Yahweh.
Although directed specifically at kingship in Israel, the overall structure of I Samuel 8:1-16:13 addresses the larger matter of authority under Yahweh. In I Samuel 8:1-16:13, the entire authority question is placed within the context of the Mosaic covenant which legitimates the proper use of authority, and reaffirms the covenantal obligations of Israel in Yahweh's regard. It also provides a entrance into the idea of the unconditional Davidic Covenant through the idea of the spirit of Yahweh which rests upon the Lord's anointed. At all times in I Samuel 8:1-16:13, the central affirmation of the Unit is: "The Lord you God is your king."