I’m working on a literature discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
In 4 separate paragraphs please state an observation, question, or comment for each one individually:
1. Now that you have read the Penteteuch, and are familiar with major plot points and characters, themes and symbols, we can use this foundation to consider Joshua’s account of the settling of the Promised Land. One major idea is that Joshua is like the second Moses: do you agree, and if so, how is this reasonable? If not, why not?
Joshua also represents a new archetype, of Military Commander, since his job is to take possession of the land and disposses inhabitants of the land.
2. Even people who have never read the Bible know the story of Samson. Think about the role of “judges” in the process of building a nation of Israel. Notice how different each judge is from another; even today we have judges who vastly differentiate form one another, and even the “Law” they are supposed to interpret. Most judges ruled for 40 years, concsistent with the meaning of four as an indication of “judgment.” Lots to comment on here, including what kind of Judge Samson was, who only served 20 years. Notice he is a nazarite, which you have already learned about. What might the symbol of hair represent.
3. In your Bibles, Ruth takes place in the time of Judges–textual information that helps us put the story in context. Ruth is the famous Moabitess (recall the event that produced the Moabites–future enemies of Israel). Why is Naomi’s family in Moab if they are enemies?
Ruth is a “short story” in terms of literature, so this is an example of how ancient writers began to distinguish litearry styles. We have 2 major female archetypes, and there are many things to note. RUth will beocme the great grandmother of King David. She is not a Jew, but will be included the the ever important line that will stretch form Abraham to Jesus in the New Testament. What do you think of this?
There is very little mention of God in this story: why?
The famous answer Ruth gives to her mother-in-law is usually well known, but for secularists, it is usually not realized that it is one woman making a vow to another woman. Interesting stuff. What kind of woman is Ruth, after all?
Boaz is wonderful. He is refreshing as an archetype of his own: a strong, faithful, respectful man, of wealth but wisdom also. He looks after Ruth and ends up her husband though older than she. Ruth is really a love story. What do you think?
4. Another archetype that combines prophet and judge. Notice the transition from the Patriarchal cycle, to judges, and eventually, kings (like all the other nations).
Samuel is a very comelling character: notice the theme of barrenness continues, and note Hannah’s song of praise and thanksgiving. Consider the role of a mother, who overcomes barrenness and consecrates her son to God out of gratitude. Wow!
Samuel and Saul have a very difficult relationship–why?
Saul is described as a head taller than the others. So far, we have had very little detail, but notice how details are becoming important.
Remember that you are using the Penteteuch as a foundation for all the readings to follow–including the New Testament.
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