The books of 1 and 2 Samuel witnesses the transition of Israel from tribal confederacy to established monarchy. And during such transition, questions of identity and power are unavoidable. In the aftermath of the decline of the judges, priests abuse their priestly privileges, a people covets the centralized authority of its impious neighbors, and a throne is won, forsaken, redeemed, lost, and found again.
Mary J. Evans shows, in this dawning era of Israelite history, what is hidden behind the faults and failings of Israel’s best and brightest key characters. It is the faithfulness of God who looks on the heart and directs the path of every king and every kingdom.
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“The combination of continuity and change is important in the ongoing life of every institution or organization, including churches. Without regular changes the institution can become moribund, but where there is no continuity there is also no stability. The problem is usually to decide who should be changed and who should remain as a long-term fixture!” (Page 201)
“When leaders begin to view their leadership in terms of status rather than in terms of task, it is more than likely that they will begin to fail at the task and therefore to cease, in any meaningful sense, to be leaders.” (Page 208)
“The people of Israel could have learned much from the Philistines, as indeed could modern readers. They were able and willing to recognize that God was at work and that they needed to take action. They were able to think intelligently about what that action could be, taking into account the knowledge that they had of Israel’s God. They were able to identify and allow for the possible consequences of their action and they were able to co-operate together in taking that action. There are echoes of the image of the creator God that can be seen in all humanity and it would be foolish to think that even those who can be seen as the enemies of God and his people have nothing to teach us.” (Pages 48–49)
“We are not told if Michal’s barrenness was a punishment sent by God or a result of a deliberate decision on her part or on David’s part to avoid sexual relations. What is clear is that Michal was to be cut off from any further involvement in royal dignity that might have come from being the mother of a royal son, and that the heir to David’s throne was not to come from Saul’s family. This somewhat sour note at the end of the account of the day of national rejoicing finally shuts the door on Saul’s reign and opens the way for the account of God’s covenant with David.” (Page 195)