Tag Archives | Saul

A Tale of Three Kings | Gene Edwards

The cover of Edwards' A Tale of Three KingsA Tale of Three Kings is dedicated

To the brokenhearted Christians
coming out of authoritarian groups, seeking solace,
healing, and hope. May you somehow recover
and go on with him who is liberty.

And to all brokenhearted Christians:
May you be so utterly healed that you can still answer
the call of him who asks for all because he is all.

The book’s theme is simple. God used David’s suffering under King Saul to form his character. When David’s son tried to usurp the throne, David refused to become Saul-like. I can understand how appealing this sounds to those who have suffered under abusive leadership. The fact that this book is so popular is a sad testimony to the state of leadership in the church!

While there is deep value in suffering and God uses everything in our lives to develop our character, this book offers but one answer to the problem of Saulide leadership: “What, then, can you do? Very little. Perhaps nothing” (44). To the abused, this is a counsel of despair.

Edwards’ story presupposes an authoritarian type of leadership in which the leader, for good or for ill, is anointed of God and in place to call the shots. There’s nothing for the Davids of this world to do but to endure. While rebellion is never a good solution to poor leadership, mute endurance only enables the abuser.

Jesus has demonstrated and calls for a different type of leadership—servant leadership. Perhaps the model of King and servant isn’t the best metaphor for church leadership in light of the one who washed our feet.

Edwards, Gene. A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992.

The First Book of Samuel | David Toshio Tsumura

Tsumura’s entry in Eerdman’s NICOT commentary series is strong. Here is where it’s most useful:

  1. Ancient Hebrew: The core of this commentary is Tsumura’s ability to bring out the meaning of the original language. Interconnections within the text and play-on-words come to life in English under Tsumura’s hand.
  2. Geography: There are many military exploits in 1 Samuel where the geography is taken for granted. Tsumura describes the relationship between towns and how the landscape would either benefit or imperil a military assault.
  3. Modern Translation Discrepancies: If you read 1 Samuel in a variety of English translations, you discover a number of different interpretive options. This is especially noticeable in a small group setting, where each participant has their own favored translation at hand. More than most Old Testament books, there are a number of differences between the MT and the LXX, which in turn leads to a plethora of English interpretations. Tsumura’s an expert guide at navigating the MT and LXX options.

My only real issue with Tsumura’s book was his lack of narrative perspective. The significance and theological implications of many events were passed over quite quickly. If you’re looking to wrestle with the implications of the narrative, read Brueggemann’s First and Second Samuel from the Interpretation commentary series alongside the NICOT offering. (Conversely, Brueggemann passes over a lot of the technical information that Tsumura has mastered.)

David Tsumura’s commentary is an excellent resource for any pastor or serious parishioner who wants to dive deeply into the Samuel, Saul, and David stories.

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