Year of Scripture – Day 90

1 Samuel 15 – 1 Samuel 17

These three chapters are packed with good things.

  • The future of the kingship is torn away from Saul
  • David is anointed as the future king
  • David ends up as Saul’s servant
  • Goliath threatens the Israelites
  • And David takes on the giant

Each and every one of these could deserve a blog in and of themselves. Yet, I’m going to go in a totally different direction. Not because it’s April Fool’s Day, but because it is worthy of a few minutes to reflect on the version (translation) of the Bible you are reading.

Personally, for our Year of Scripture, I’ve been relying on the NIV. However, from time to time I’ve been flipping back and forth to the NRSV and the Message. Each as their own merit and adjust the language to best suit their intended reader. Sometimes, these changes make things a bit interesting.

Take for instance, Saul’s health and well being in Chapter 16:14-23. I found it troubling to read in the NIV, “an evil spirit from the LORD.” I asked, does God send evil spirits? So then out of curiosity, I turned to some other sources. The Message, calls it a “Dark Mood” (my personal favorite). The NRSV states “an evil spirit from God” and the NKJV calls it a “distressing spirit.” Either way things weren’t well for Saul as he turned from God, but to call the spirit of God evil, I had to turn the page and look else where.

Another instance came with the death of Goliath. How did the giant actually die? As youth we always think it is with the stone that David slung, yet as we read we hear things a bit differently. The NIV tells us after David killed him, he drew his sword and cut off his head. The NRSV says, he drew his sword, killed him, and then cut of his head. The NKJV, David took Goliath’s sword, killed him, and then cut off his dead. Lastly the Message says, David finished off the job by cutting off his head.

Details I know, but still details that tell the story. Did David kill Goliath with his stone, stab him after he was knocked out with the giant’s sword, or was death achieved by cutting off his head? Guess we might never know, but how did you read the story?

Pastor Bailey

Our next reading: 1 Samuel 18 – 20

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