The TL:DR Bible: 1 Samuel 10-12

Chapter 10:

Sam breaks out some oil and pours it over the head of Saul and kisses him and they live happily ever after.

No, no, no, okay, it was probably a kiss on the forehead or cheek as a blessing.

He tells Saul that Saul will be king, and to prove it, when he comes back his way, he’ll meet two people who will tell him that the donkeys he was looking for have been found and his dad is now worried about him. Then he’ll meet three men walking with three goats, carrying three loaves of bread, and a jug of wine who will give him two loaves of bread. This is starting to sound like a David Lynch production. Then he’ll meet a group of prophets coming down from the high places that God supposedly hates and the Spirit of God will fall upon him and he’ll prophesy with them and be changed into another man. When all that happens, Saul is go to Gilgal and wait for Sam to show him what to do.

Then all that stuff happened, and people made up a proverb that isn’t really a proverb about it and Saul went home.

Then Sam called everyone together to play a little dice game to choose their king. But he has to get a bit passive aggressive about it first.

Sam: Well, I guess God, who delivered you from Egypt and led you here and helped you beat all your enemies just wasn’t good enough for you. So let’s choose your king.

Israel: Again… not really about God. We’re just tired of having to wait for a functional government until some bloke stands up and says “God picked me.” God could literally come down here at any time and just run the country.


Israel: Whatever. Just roll the D20, check the DM handbook, and see if we get a good king.

Sam rolls a 3.

Sam: Looks like you get the promising military commander, but ultimately paranoid delusional homicidal ruler. Come here, Saul.

Israel:  Looks like he’s hiding with the luggage.

Sam: Well, that’s your king. God chose him. Isn’t he tall and handsome?

Israel: We’re starting to go back to the gay thing again, aren’t we?

Sam: Yep.


Chapter 11:

So the Ammonites invaded and besieged Jabesh-gilead and they said, “Hey, dude, what the hell? We’re not interested in war. We’ll let you rule us.”

Ammonite king: Okay, but I get to gouge you all of your right eyes. It’ll be cool. You’ll all look like pirates!

“Well, you know, that does sound swell, but could you give us a few days to ask everyone else for help, but if no one comes to help us, we’ll go with the pirate thing, okay?”

“I have no reason to agree to this, but okay, I’ll give you a sporting chance.”

So the messengers reach Saul and he goes berserk, grabs a pair of oxen, hacks them to pieces and sends out his own messengers saying, “Draft notice. If I’m crazy enough to do this to my own cows, just think of what I’ll do to yours if you don’t come and fight for me.”

So everyone comes out and fights and Saul slaughters the Ammonites and saves Jabesh-gilead.

And everyone’s like, “Hey, any of those jerks who didn’t want this crazy guy as king should die.” But Saul forbids it. “It’s a happy day! Let’s party! We can kill rebels later.”

So they hold an official coronation and everyone is happy. But this is the bible, so that can’t last.


Chapter 12:

So despite saying the God chose Saul, Sam is back in passive aggressive whining mode. “Oh, I wasn’t good enough for you? God wasn’t good enough for you? You HAD to have a king. Your just like your fathers. You’ve abandoned God and you’ve chosen a king. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to ask God to wreck your crops with a thunder and hail storm. God? Wreck their food with thunder and hail.”

God, of course, wrecks their food with thunder and hail.

Israel: Okay, okay, sheesh. Fine. I guess we sinned by not wanting “the random warlord who periodically shows up every 3 or 4 decades and hears voices” system of government. Please don’t kill us all.”

Sam: Okay, you’re really bad, awful people, but keep following God or He’ll kill you and the king He chose for you.

And if this seems like there are two opposed viewpoints on whether the monarchy is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s because there are. I’m guessing earlier versions of the narrative played up the monarchy as a good thing and Saul as more of a heroic figure, while later versions written in the Exile or post-Exile period when the priests were in charge, saw the monarchy as more of a corrupting influence on Jewish society. Thus Samuel seems to go from being really supportive and happy about making Saul king to being sort of a whiny dick.

Anyway, next time we meet Saul’s son Jonathan, there’s more war, and God gets really pissed at Saul for not committing genocide good enough.


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