3/13 Kitah Dalet: Samuel and Saul
Posted on March 19, 2016
Last Sunday, Kitah Dalet continued with the story of Samuel, picking up where we left off the week before (after the Philistines return the Ark to the Israelites). We learn that Samuel, the last of the Judges, is a good and just ruler, but that his sons are not. The Israelites, feeling underserved and insecure in their leadership, demand that Samuel appoint a king to rule over them, like other countries have. Samuel speaks with G-d about this request and does his best to convince the Israelites that this is a bad idea, but the people persist, and Samuel finally appoints Saul as the first king of Israel.
This narrative gave us the opportunity to discuss the potential positives and negatives of monarchy. Before we read through Samuel’s reasoning, the students worked in small groups to come up with multiple reasons why kingship might be good or bad for ancient Israel. When we read through Samuel’s speech to the Israelites, the students found that they had independently discovered many of the points Samuel attempts to make to the Israelite people. They were equally able to put themselves in the Israelites’ shoes, and delivered many convincing pro arguments, as well. I was impressed with the tenor and sophistication of the conversation we were able to have, and look forward to more discussion as we move through Saul’s reign and into David’s.