Thursday, September 19, 2019

Listen to the voice of the words of YHWH...

In the Hebrew text Samuel says: “and now listen to the voice of the words of YHWH” (1 Sam 15:1).8 This seems to be a peculiar way of constructing the phrase, since the command “listen to the words of YHWH” would seem sufficient. The inclusion of “voice,” however, may be important in terms of evoking resonances later in the chapter, when Samuel hears the voice of sheep among the Israelites (15:14), when he accuses Saul of disobeying YHWH’s voice (15:22–23), and when Saul confesses that he yielded to the people’s voice (15:24). Furthermore, the catchwords “voice” (קוֺל [qôl]) and “listen/obey” (שׁמע [šm']) connect the instruction to destroy the Amalekites with the emphasis, prevalent in ch. 12, placed upon listening to God’s voice as a prerequisite for a successful monarchy under God (esp. 1 Sam 12:14–15). Israel and its leader should live in obedience to YHWH and his voice—a fundamental feature of Israel’s life, exemplified most concisely in the book of Deuteronomy (e.g. Deut 13:5; 15:4–5; 26:17),11 and seemingly finding its way also into the construal of Israel’s kingship in 1 Sam 15.—The Unfavored, pages 152–53

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