Re-Reading Chronicles

Identity Politics and Tribalism

So, when I was in seminary, the Deuteronomist, (Judges, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Samuel) was taught to be the most fair to King Saul, even though Judges has an anti-Benjaminite/Saul bent, while the Chronicles were the most pro-Davidic.

As I was reading through 1st Chronicles today (and yes I was dozing off due to how boring it is), I took note of something. The important story in David’s rise to power, the meeting at Ziklag in 1 Chronicles chapter 12 includes the fact that it was Saul’s own kindred who were rebelling against him, the Benjaminites (v 1-3). At the meeting and battle for Ziklag in 1st Samuel 30, there is no mention of the importance of the tribe of Benjamin in, nor any mention of his followers as Benjaminites in places like 1st Samuel 22.

All of this to say that yes, we could cynically look at 1st Chronicles as pro-Davidic propaganda and chapter 12 is 1 more way of embarassing Saul’s legacy. I think however that with the tragic brutal legacy of Judges 19-21, I believe it is the Deuteronomist who is determined to P3WN Saul and the tribe of Benjamin.

So, maybe that re-reading of Chronicles and the Deuteronomist fits rather nicely with a re-reading of Esther and how important place and tribe is in the Hebrew Bible.

This is what I come up with when I take a break from watching BattleStar Galactica.

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