King David and the Future of Academic Bible Scholarship

By the beginning of the 21st century, Bible scholars had become divided into rival interpretive schools, each locked into its own rigid orthodoxies, writes Mark McEntire. Postmodernists, archaeologists, and practitioners of literary or historical-critical analysis grew accustomed to writing solely for their ideological brethren. A new study by Jacob L. Wright, focusing on the story of King David, has attempted to combine the best of these varying approaches, with much success. Wright also draws on comparisons between modern commemorations of war and the Book of Samuel’s desire to tell the story of the civil war between Saul and David. McEntire writes:

[Wright’s] methodological alacrity finds its greatest payoff in the conclusions about a “War-Torn David.” The biblical authors use the past to address their own present, which we can understand in light of our own present. According to Wright, “The same activity that produced the monuments dotting our [American] national landscapes propelled the Bible’s formation. Using representative individuals, the biblical writers appealed to memories of wartime contributions and sacrifice as they addressed issues of belonging—both within the community of Israel and between Israel and other peoples.” People of all eras struggle to make their version of a great story the dominant one and to decide who is allowed to attach themselves to the tradition surrounding the story. . . .

Read more at Marginalia

More about: Biblical criticism, Biblical scholarship, Hebrew Bible, King David, King Saul, Samuel

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security