The evil in Gilgal (Hos 9:15-9:15)

“Every evil

Of theirs

Began at Gilgal.

There I began

To hate them.

Because of the wickedness

Of their deeds,

I will drive them

Out of my house.

I will love them

No more.

All their officials

Are rebels.”

Gilgal was the original west bank camping grounds, east of Jericho, in Joshua, chapters 4-5. There Saul was also anointed king in 1 Samuel, chapter 11, despite the fact that Samuel was opposed to him. Gilgal was, nevertheless, the home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 2. Yahweh, via Hosea, said that all the evil things began here at Gilgal, as they entered the promised land. Yahweh began to hate the Israelites there, because of their wicked deeds. Yahweh was going to drive them out of his house, because he was not going to love them anymore. All their officials were rebels against Yahweh.

Samuel (Sir 46:13-46:20)

“Samuel was beloved by his Lord.

He was a prophet of the Lord.

He established the kingdom.

He anointed rulers over his people.

By the law of the Lord

He judged the congregation.

The Lord watched over Jacob.

By his faithfulness,

He proved to be a prophet.

By his words,

He became known as a trustworthy seer.

He called upon the Lord,

The Mighty One,

When his enemies

Pressed him on every side.

He offered in sacrifice

A sucking lamb.

Then the Lord thundered from heaven.

He made his voice heard

With a mighty sound.

He subdued the leaders of the enemy

In Tyre.

He subdued all the rulers of the Philistines.

Before the time of his eternal sleep,

Samuel bore witness before the Lord.

Samuel bore witness before his anointed.

‘No property,

Not so much as a pair of shoes,

Have I taken from anyone!’

No one accused him.

Even after he had fallen asleep,

He prophesied.

He made known to the king his death.

He lifted up his voice from the ground.

In prophecy,

He wanted to blot out

The wickedness of the people.”

Next Sirach praises Samuel, the prophet who was a judge and founder of the monarchy. There is a Hebrew biblical book called Samuel that was later divided into 2 parts. He was a beloved trustworthy faithful prophet. He called upon the Lord when the enemies surrounded him. He offered a sacrifice of a lamb. He defeated the enemies at Tyre and the Philistines. Samuel anointed 2 kings, Saul and David. He never took any property from anyone, not even a pair of shoes. Even after his death, prophecies from the grave came to the king. He continually wanted to blot out the wickedness of his people.

A prayer for help (Ps 54:1-54:2)

To the choirmaster leader, with stringed instruments, a Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, ‘David is in hiding among us’

“Save me!

O God!

By your name,

Vindicate me by your might.

Hear my prayer!

O God!

Give ear to the words of my mouth!”

This short Psalm 54 refers to an incident in the life of David from 1 Samuel, chapter 23. This event also involved Saul, who is generally the heavy or bad person in these psalms. He is usually the opposite of the good David, but rarely mentioned. This time it is a group of Ziphites who went to King Saul to tell him where David was hiding. In this choral psalm with stringed instruments, David wanted to be saved. He called on God to help him by hearing his prayer. He was trying to get away from King Saul. His plea was directly to God. He wanted to be vindicated.

The boastful man (Ps 52:1-52:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, ‘David has come to the house of Ahimelech’

“Why do you boast?

O mighty man!

Why do you boast?

What is the mischief done against the godly?

All day long

You are plotting destruction.

Your tongue is like a sharp razor.

You are a worker of treachery.

You love evil more than good.

You love lying more than speaking the truth.”

Selah

Psalm 52 is loosely based on 1 Samuel, chapter 22, where Doeg the Edomite told Saul where David was hiding.  This choral Davidic psalm asked why he was boastful.  This probably refers to Saul rather Doeg the Edomite.  He was planning all day mischief against the good godly people.  His tongue was like a sharp razor as he loved evil more than good.  He was a worker of treachery.  He loved lies more than truth.  This first section ends with a meditative musical interlude pause, a Selah.

David asks Yahweh to hear his lament (Ps 7:1-7:2)

“A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to Yahweh concerning Cush, a Benjaminite.

Yahweh my God!

In you,

I take refuge.

Save me!

From all my pursuers,

Deliver me!

Like a lion,

They will tear me apart.

They will drag me away.

No one will rescue me.”

Once again this Psalm 7 is a lament or shiggaion of David. A shiggaion is an emotional mourning psalm. This psalm has a specific indicent found in 2 Samuel, chapter 18, when the Cushite brought him the bad news that David’s rebellious son Absalom had been killed in battle. However, the addition of a Benjaminite might refer to Saul at an earlier time, since Saul was from the territory of Benjamin. There is very little mention of the death of David’s son. This is more about the enemies of David who were attacking him, like Saul. David wanted to take refuge in Yahweh. He wanted to be saved from all his pursuers. He felt that they were like lions, who would tear him apart and drag him away. He asked to be rescued by Yahweh because no one else would.

The prayer of Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 4:30-4:33)

“When Judas saw that their army was strong, he prayed, saying.

‘Blessed are you!

O Savior of Israel,

You crushed the attack of the mighty warrior

By the hand of your servant David.

You gave the camp of the Philistines

Into the hands of Jonathan, the son of King Saul,

To the man who carried his armor.

Hem in this army

By the hand of your people Israel!

Let them be ashamed of their troops and their cavalry!

Fill them with cowardice!

Melt the boldness of their strength!

Let them tremble in their destruction!

Strike them down with the sword of those who love you!

Let all who know your name praise you with hymns!’”

Judas Maccabeus saw that they had a strong army, so he prayed to the Savior of Israel, God. He reminded God of how he had saved David against the Philistines in 1 Samuel, chapter 14. Now he was asking God to hem in the army of his enemy. He wanted them to become ashamed and cowardly so that their strength would melt. He hoped that they would be destroyed by the sword. He wanted the name of the Lord known and praised. He was praying for God’s help by reminding God what he had done in the past. He was comparing himself to the men at the time of King Saul.

Michal despises King David (1 Chr 15:29-15:29)

“As the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh came to the city of David, Michal daughter of King Saul looked out of the window. She saw King David leaping and dancing. She despised him in her heart.”

Again, this is almost word for word from 2 Samuel, chapter 6. Michal, King Saul’s daughter who was married to King David, saw him leaping and dancing. She despised him because he had broken her marriage to Paltiel. At one time she had actually helped him to escape from her father in 1 Samuel, chapter 19. This biblical author does not go into the dispute between Michal, his first wife and daughter of King Saul, because she scolded David for his vulgar dancing. She felt that her family, father and brothers, had lost the throne because of King David. He in turn did not have children with her.