Sunday, March 8, 2009

One of The Most Dramatic Scenes In The Bible

1 Samuel Chapter 15
כג כִּי חַטַּאת-קֶסֶם מֶרִי, וְאָוֶן וּתְרָפִים הַפְצַר: יַעַן, מָאַסְתָּ אֶת-דְּבַר יְהוָה, וַיִּמְאָסְךָ, מִמֶּלֶךְ. {ס} 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.' {S}
כד וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל-שְׁמוּאֵל חָטָאתִי, כִּי-עָבַרְתִּי אֶת-פִּי-יְהוָה וְאֶת-דְּבָרֶיךָ: כִּי יָרֵאתִי אֶת-הָעָם, וָאֶשְׁמַע בְּקוֹלָם. 24 And Saul said unto Samuel: 'I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words; because I feared the people, and hearkened to their voice.
כה וְעַתָּה, שָׂא נָא אֶת-חַטָּאתִי; וְשׁוּב עִמִּי, וְאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַיהוָה. 25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.'
כו וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-שָׁאוּל, לֹא אָשׁוּב עִמָּךְ: כִּי מָאַסְתָּה, אֶת-דְּבַר יְהוָה, וַיִּמְאָסְךָ יְהוָה, מִהְיוֹת מֶלֶךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. {ס} 26 And Samuel said unto Saul: 'I will not return with thee; for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.' {S}
כז וַיִּסֹּב שְׁמוּאֵל, לָלֶכֶת; וַיַּחֲזֵק בִּכְנַף-מְעִילוֹ, וַיִּקָּרַע. {ס} 27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his robe, and it rent. {S}
כח וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, שְׁמוּאֵל, קָרַע יְהוָה אֶת-מַמְלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעָלֶיךָ, הַיּוֹם; וּנְתָנָהּ, לְרֵעֲךָ הַטּוֹב מִמֶּךָּ. {ס} 28 And Samuel said unto him: 'The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. {S}
כט וְגַם נֵצַח יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא יְשַׁקֵּר וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם: כִּי לֹא אָדָם הוּא, לְהִנָּחֵם. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie nor repent; for He is not a man, that He should repent.'
ל וַיֹּאמֶר חָטָאתִי--עַתָּה כַּבְּדֵנִי נָא נֶגֶד זִקְנֵי-עַמִּי, וְנֶגֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְשׁוּב עִמִּי, וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֵיתִי לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. 30 Then he said: 'I have sinned; yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.'
לא וַיָּשָׁב שְׁמוּאֵל, אַחֲרֵי שָׁאוּל; וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ שָׁאוּל, לַיהוָה. {ס} 31 So Samuel returned after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. {S}
לב וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל, הַגִּישׁוּ אֵלַי אֶת-אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק, וַיֵּלֶךְ אֵלָיו, אֲגַג מַעֲדַנֹּת; וַיֹּאמֶר אֲגָג, אָכֵן סָר מַר-הַמָּוֶת. {ס} 32 Then said Samuel: 'Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.' And Agag came unto him in chains. And Agag said: 'Surely the bitterness of death is at hand.' {S}
לג וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל--כַּאֲשֶׁר שִׁכְּלָה נָשִׁים חַרְבֶּךָ, כֵּן-תִּשְׁכַּל מִנָּשִׁים אִמֶּךָ; וַיְשַׁסֵּף שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת-אֲגָג לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, בַּגִּלְגָּל. {ס} 33 And Samuel said: As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. {S}
לד וַיֵּלֶךְ שְׁמוּאֵל, הָרָמָתָה; וְשָׁאוּל עָלָה אֶל-בֵּיתוֹ, גִּבְעַת שָׁאוּל. 34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeath-shaul.
לה וְלֹא-יָסַף שְׁמוּאֵל לִרְאוֹת אֶת-שָׁאוּל, עַד-יוֹם מוֹתוֹ, כִּי-הִתְאַבֵּל שְׁמוּאֵל, אֶל-שָׁאוּל; וַיהוָה נִחָם, כִּי-הִמְלִיךְ אֶת-שָׁאוּל עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. {פ} 35 And Samuel never beheld Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel mourned for Saul; and the LORD repented that He had made Saul king over Israel. {P}

There's just so much power struggle and action to this, and the use of pronouns in verse 27 makes it most interesting. I had always envisioned the deposed King Saul pathetically grabbing Samuel's robe, like Potifor's wife grabbed Joseph's. But just now as I look at it, I see that Samuel most probably ripped his own robe as a sign of mourning. It's very much like the ancient custom of parents mourning their child as dead if the child had married a non-Jew.

Shabbat Zachor, the special, pre-Purim Sabbath we're commanded to remember what Amalek did to us... and still does... is a very special Shabbat for me. Thirteen years ago I was injured in a terror attack, when an Arab terrorist drove into a few dozen of us who were waiting for a bus or ride. It happened the week before Purim. So the very next Shabbat, the Shabbat before Purim, Shabbat Zachor, we had a massive gathering for Seudat Shlishit, the third Shabbat meal, in Shiloh. Other neighbors had been waiting at the bus stop, but I was the only one injured.

So this is the time of the year my mind is very occupied with Amalek. I'll post more on Shiloh Musings.

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