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Nocturnal Intrusions and Divine Interventions on Behalf of Judah. David's Wisdom and Saul's Tragedy in 1 Samuel 26

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image of Vetus Testamentum

A literary strand of narratives about Saul in 1 Samuel emerged in a process of rewriting Israelite-Judean history. 1 Sam 26* and a number of other episodes (1 Sam 10:8; 10:17-27; 13:7a-13a; 14:24-46; parts of 1 Sam 9; 1 Sam 16:1-13; 16:14-23; 17*; 1 Sam 28*, 31*; 2 Sam 1*) present the first Israelite king as a figure that was informed by Greek tragic heroism. More specifically, the themes and the formation of the characters in the story of David's nocturnal intrusion in 1 Samuel 26 are set side by side with the post-classical drama Rhesus. 1 Sam 26 is understood as a narrative comment on Saul's destiny in prophetic tradition. Saul's tragic heroism is described with skl “to act foolishly” 1 Sam 26:21b. Also, Qohelet's royal travesty in Eccl 1:12-2:26 alludes to this notion of Saul as a tragic king who acts foolishly (skl). He is contrasted with his glorious opponent David who succeeds (śkl) in all his endeavours.

Affiliations: 1: Philipps-Universität, Marburg


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