This substantial commentary presents 1 Samuel as a sophisticated work of literature, where the reader is challenged with a narrative that is fraught with interpretative possibilities. In his distinctive literary reading Bodner lays special emphasis on the intriguing array of characters that populate the narrative, and on the plot, in its design and its configurations.Thus, a host of intriguing episodes and personalities are passed in review: from the symbolically charged closed womb of Hannah to the backwards fall and the broken neck of Eli, to the strange tour of the Ark of God through the menacing Philistine pentapolis, wreaking havoc. Then there is the complex portrayal of Samuel the prophet, the emergence of the fugitive David as a leader, and the eventual decline, madness, and necromancy of King Saul. Only through a literary study of its many ironies and ambiguities, Bodner amply shows, can the richness of this classic royal drama be fully appreciated.
Keith Bodner is Professor of Religious Studies, Atlantic Baptist University, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
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