Many Old Testament stories in the history books seem to have no message but that human-beings are broken and need mending, are sinful and therefore keep spoiling God’s lovely world and hurting each other! Then along comes this story to remind us of another truth… 1 Samuel 24  is set amid political jostling and attempted murder in the beginnings of the Hebrew monarchy. Yet the story has not one, but two, real heroes. For here young David and poor old, broken and probably insane, Saul both act with gracious nobility.  Read More →

This podcast may benefit from a set of notes, either as an alternative to the audio/screencast or as a reminder (since has a high information content). It is also longer and less fun than most, so if you like miss it out unless later in the series you need to come back to it for the framework… The system suggested here is not intended to be completely scholarly and precise, far less exhaustive, rather it is meant to be simple and convenient, necessitating some approximations and simplifications. Two main genres It can be helpful to distinguish poems and songs. Not so much because songs implyRead More →

For 1 Samuel I am going to cheat again, I just don’t think I can beat the hilarious introduction the first king, Saul, receives. In these two podcasts (again repeated) 1 Introducing Saul Still Introducing Saul   I’ll point up some of the fun in the tale of Saul and the donkeys 🙂 So, here are links to the audio: Introducing Saul (1 Samuel 9) Still introducing Saul (1 Samuel 9) Notes   [ + ] 1. ↑ Introducing Saul Still Introducing SaulRead More →

Just when you begin to wonder if any Bible story is really suitable for simple Sunday School reading, and have begun to suspect that the Bible has no message but: Humans are broken and need mending, humans are sinful and therefore they keep spoiling God’s lovely world and hurting each other. Along comes a story to remind us of another truth… Just as the story of Ruth  followed the grime of Judges, so now in 1 Samuel 24 we get a story, set amid the war and political jostling of the beginnings of the Hebrew monarchy, with not one but two real heroes. Both protagonistsRead More →

Yes, like some of the Bible writers, I just can’t resist a pun, especially if it really does help carry the message 🙂 And in this case I think it does, more specifically after we have noticed quickly some of the good stuff in the famous David and Goliath story of David and Goliath. For this podcast, perhaps as homework, you might want to play with a computer Bible… and you might also want to return to the comments, and discuss the vexed question of the nature of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit…Read More →

This is the story in which we hear the interface between Judges, “Everyone did as they saw fit, for there was no king in Israel”, and the story of the Hebrew kingdoms. In these few chapters there is loads of good stuff to notice (for a start try): Humour in the Bible: Part 1: Introducing Saul Humour in the Bible: Part 2: Still Introducing Saul Direct speech in biblical narratives But this time I’ll restrain myself, and just mention one or two neat narrative details. Instead I’ll talk more about the big theological picture. Quotation in title from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (without apologies to Aristophanes)Read More →

Three great chapters, full of well crafted narrative, with a stirring  song thrown in! There is too much detail to notice in the way these stories are told, you’ll have to watch for the fun yourselves. In this ‘cast I’ll focus more on the song, and not so much on its detail as overall how it works. (For more background on this see my Why Read the Bible? Dreams and visions which is part of a longer series of reflections on Lost Treasures of the Bible: reading “from another place”: reading for a change that was earlier published as part of the Fetschrift for Brian Smith:Read More →