Lectionary Year B
July 13, 2003
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

Step III: Composition

A. Immediate Context

(JFC) Pre - II Samuel 5 tells of David's coronation/inauguration and his capturing Jerusalem by defeating the Jebusites/Canaanites/Philistines and naming it for himself.
Interlude - Verses 6-12a report the ark's falling and Uzza's trying to prevent its hitting the ground, which displeased God so much He struck him dead on the spot. God's killing Uzza angered David so much that he named the place Uzza died, "Perez- Uzza(h), "Bursting Out Against Uzzah", according to the CEV. David feared God at this time and decided not to take the ark to Jerusalem so he detoured and took it to Obed-Edom's house where it stayed for 3 months during which period Obed-Edom's house was blessed, for which David is reported to take it on to Jerusalem.
Post - The verses concluding II Samuel 6, verses 20-23, find Michal confronting David for what she considered inappropriate behavior. To her David claimed he was merely honoring God and predicted that he would be great. Michal never had children.

B. Organization of Compositional Whole

(JFC) As noted previously, II Samuel continues the chronicles of I Samuel, which are about Samuel's and Saul's lives and services as Israel's first Kings and David's rise to prominence. II Samuel begins accounts of Israel's major/radical transition, definitely under God's guidance, from tribalism to a monarchy. It starts by reporting how Saul's offspring and other followers fell off the charts of leading Israel (chs. 1-4). It proceeds into David's rise to King over Judah and Israel (chs. 5-24) including David's domestic and political challenges and Solomon's assuming the throne (chs. 9-20) and a famine, the execution of Saul's descendants, more war with the Philistines, a poetic song praising God and an altar where David offers sacrifices to God to conclude the Book (chs. 21-24). Walter Brueggemann, in his Interpretation commentary, calls repeated attention to the political- technological-economic-social factors as this work's secondary aims, secondary to Yahweh's governance in the whole process of Israel's changing from "an amorphous, unstable tribal mode of life, easily open to religious idolatry, syncretism and political and military barbarism". Following the Samuel books, Israel was a centralized monarchy and much better organized under God's directives through divinely chosen Kings.

C. Issues of Authorship

(JFC) As previously noted, the Books of Samuel seem to come in real time to us as if they were written almost simultaneously with the actions they report, about 1000-960 BCE. Yet, literarily, it seems that different parts come from "varied origin and have only later been arranged in accordance with certain definite points of view", according to Hertzberg's OTL commentary. So, we might "assume", with John Bright's A History of Israel, that "these stories of the Ark (I Sam. 4:1b to 7:2; II Sam. 6 [7]) . . . were of ancient origin and in fixed form by the mid-tenth century."

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