Updated: 6.19.2003


Betrayal and Healing: 1 and 2 Samuel

An Online Course

 Instructor: Dr. Jin Hee Han


Email: jhan@nyts.edu

To send an email to Dr. Han directly from this page: click here.

Fax/Voicemail: 1-206-984-1228


Course Web: https://nyts475.tripod.com/samuel.htm
(Please do not add www after http://)


Class Notes


June 1-23, 2003



Course Description:

The major focus of the course is on the two books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible commonly known as the Old Testament.  These two books are replete with captivating stories that revolve around the theme of betrayal and healing. The cases in point include the adoption of monarchy in spite of Samuel's warning, the conflict between Saul and David, the massacre at Nob, the choice of Abigail, the Bathsheba affair, the rape of Tamar, and the revolt of Absalom. As we explore the situations in life that pitted the nation and the family against one another, we venture to study what it means to be loyal in the biblical sense of the word.


n       This is an online course. Contact hours, course assignments, and work load are comparable with any traditional course.  The major difference is that you will be participating in class over the internet at hours you choose.  Students matriculated in other ATS seminaries are advised to check with their advisor before they register.  Standard rules of add/drop apply, and students who withdraw from the course are expected to remove from their electronic storage any non-public-domain material they have acquired in connection with this course.  Some parts of the course are password access only.

n       You will need (1) a computer with internet access and (2) a working email address.  Be sure to leave your email address with the Registrar, and send to the instructor an email that contains your name and phone number.  Students registering from other ATS seminaries must also include the name of their school and their academic advisor.  Please note that this course will generate a large number of emails.  Be sure to have enough space in your email account, and refrain from sending emails on topics remotely related to this course.

Required Textbooks

(You can purchase these books at the UTS bookstore.  You may also order them through online bookstores at Augsburg Fortress Online Store, Cokesbury, Amazon, etc.)

l       Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel.  Interpretation.  Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990. BS1325 .B78 1990 ISBN 0804231087

l       Joyce G. Balwin, 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary.  Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries 8. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988. BS1325.3 .B35 1988  ISBN: 0877842582 (pbk.)

l       David Jobling, 1 Samuel.  Berit Olam.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998. BS1325.2 .J55 1998  ISBN 0814650473 (alk. paper)

l       Baruch Halpern, David¡¯s Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King.  Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 2002. BS580.D3 H26 2001 ISBN 0802844782 (alk. paper)

Sessions and Assignments

Please read the following section very carefully.  The design is intentional and is part of the covenant that governs this course.

¡¤         Keep up with the reading assignment as directed by the instructor via emails.  Each student is responsible for generating at least one email that deals with the reading material.  Please send it to the entire class, asking for their response.  The instructor will be more interested in generating discussion than assuming the role of a dispenser of answers.  Indicate on the subject line which part of the reading assignment that your email is responding to.  An email without a subject line will not be opened.  Refrain from asking a fact-type question for which you can find an answer on your own, but concentrate on your own thoughts and observations.

¡¤         During the period of June 1 to 15, plan to log on at least once a day for at least 10 days, and respond to study questions (click on it) for the passages listed below.  The following contains the guidelines of completing this part of the course assignment.

1.      Log on, and get your study questions at the course discussion board (click on it).

2.      Write a paragraph of 125-150 words for each question.  You can work on as many sessions as you want, but are allowed to pose your answers for only one session per day.  Also note that you cannot remove your paragraph once you post it.

3.      Please avoid posting partial answers.  Be sure to formulate complete sentences for each posting.

4.      Incidentally, please be aware that the banner right below the title of the session contains an ad from the company that offered the board free of charge.  Please do not be concerned with the banner, for it does not concern the content of this course.

¡¤         Come back to the course discussion board regularly, read other students¡¯ postings to the study questions, and respond with a paragraph of 75-100 words.  Try to avoid general comments like ¡°terrific¡± or ¡°terrible¡± or ¡°I love it!¡±

¡¤         Prepare an online presentation of 650-700 words on one of the articles listed below.  Start working on it as early as possible, but wait until you are asked to send your presentation via email.  Ordinarily, you can expect to bring your presentation when the relevant session is in full swing.

You will find the complete citation for each article below, so that you can locate it easily.  For your convenience, the articles have been scanned and are available to the members of the class only (to honor the fair use code of copyright laws).  A few students of NYTS volunteered to have them scanned, and the readability of scanned images varies, as they had to limit the size of the files.  If you have difficulty reading any of the articles, please use the hard copy in the library.  Also, note that a complete set of the articles is found on reserve at the circulation desk of the NYTS library.  If you have difficulty accessing any of these articles, please send an email to the instructor.  When you are asked to make your presentation, send a copy of your presentation to the instructor and the members of the class as an attachment to your email, inviting them to respond to you.  The presenter¡¯s work will be assessed by the degree in which they are capable of generating reflections from other members of the online class.  In the event the article contains non-English words, you will surely want to find out what the words mean through your own research.    The presence of unfamiliar words in the article is no excuse for less than adequate response.  Articles will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.  As soon as you register, send your first and second choices via email.  An article will be assigned for anyone who has not signed up by May 18.

¡¤         Prepare a final research paper on ¡°David and Saul: Who Betrayed Whom?¡±  The maximum length of the paper is five (5) pages, double-spaced, plus a single-spaced bibliography with 8-10 relevant entries.  Do not add a title page!  The paper is due by June 30, 12 p.m. (The final grades will be reported to the registrar by July 31.) Late papers will receive no credit, and in extraordinary medical emergencies extension must be petitioned before June 30.  It is recommended that the final paper be saved as a Microsoft Word document and sent as an attachment to an email.  Final papers written in other formats should be printed and faxed to 1-206-984-1228.   Ask for an electronic receipt via email.  Final papers transmitted as part of the email messages, which tend to lose formatting codes, will earn zero point for the course grade.



The total hours of online interaction should be approximately 32 hours.   One should plan to spend additional hours on completing reading and written assignments (online and offline).  At the close of term be sure to indicate how many hours you have spent on-line and off-line for this course.


Intellectual Integrity and Plagiarism

Plagiarism will result in dismissal from the online class with a failing grade (F).  The instructor reserves the right to reverse any letter grade at any time.


Reading (10%)
Study Questions (50%)
Presentation (20%)
Final Paper (20%)
Participation (plus or minus)

Course Schedule

Session I   "The Capture of the Ark of the Covenant" (1 Samuel 4-5)


  1. Spina, Frank Anthony. "A Prophet's 'Pregnant Pause': Samuel's Silence in the Ark Narrative (1 Sam 4:1-7:2)." Horizons in Biblical Theology 13 (1991) 59-73.
  2. Smelik, K. A. D. "The Ark Narrative Reconsidered." In New Avenues in the Study of the Old Testament. Leiden: Brill, 1989, p.128-144.
  3. Campbell, Antony F. "Yahweh and the Ark: A Case Study in Narrative." Journal of Biblical Literature 98 (1979) 31-43.  [TSK]

Session II    "Give Us a King" (1 Samuel 8-11)


  1. McCarthy, Dennis J. "Compact and Kingship: Stimuli for Hebrew Covenant Thinking [1 Sam 9:16; 10:1; 16:1-13; 10:25; 8:11-17]. In Studies in the Period of David and Solomon and Other Essays International Symposium for Biblical Studies, Tokyo, 1979. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1982, p.75-92.  [YRS]
  2. Abramski, Shmuel. "The Beginning of the Israelite Monarchy and Its Impact upon Leadership in Israel." Immanuel 19 (1984-1985) 7-21.  [JO]
  3. Birch, Bruce C. "Choosing of Saul at Mizpah." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 37 (1975) 447-457.

Session III    "Royal Impatience and Trouble for the Land" (1 Samuel 13-14)


  1. Williams, James G. "Sacrifice and the Beginning of Kingship." Semeia 67 (1994) 73-92.  [BYK]
  2. Sternberg, Meir. "The Bible's Art of Persuasion: Ideology, Rhetoric, and Poetics in Saul's fall [1 Sam 15]." Hebrew Union College Annual 54 (1983) 45-82.  [AB]
  3. Humphreys, W. Lee. "From Tragic Hero to Villain: A Study of the Figure of Saul and the Development of 1 Samuel." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 22 (1982) 95-117.  [EJM]

Session IV    "A New King" (1 Samuel 16)


  1. Prouser, O. Horn. "Suited to the Throne: The Symbolic Use of Clothing in the David and Saul Narratives." Journal or the Study of the Old Testament 71 (1996) 27-37.  [SKL]
  2. Howard, David M., Jr. "The Transfer of Power from Saul to David in 1 Sam 16:13-14." Journal of the Evangelical-Theological Society 32 (1989) 473-483.  [LJ]
  3. North, Robert. "David's Rise: Sacral, Military, or Psychiatric [1 Sam 16,17]." Biblica 63 (1982) 524-544.  [CP]

Session V      "David and Jonathan" (1 Samuel 19-20)


  1. Brueggemann, Walter, "Narrative Coherence and Theological Intentionality in 1 Samuel 18." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 55 (1993) 225-243.  [RM]
  2. Lawton, Robert B. "Saul, Jonathan and the 'Son of Jesse.'" Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 58 (1993) 35-46.  [SW]
  3. Perdue, Leo G. "'Is There Anyone Left of the House of Saul': Ambiguity and the Characterization of David in the Succession Narrative." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 30 (1984) 67-84.  [FT]

Session VI    "The Massacre at Nob" (1 Samuel 21-22)


  1. Begg, Christopher T. "The Massacre of the Priests of Nob in Josephus and Pseudo-Philo." Estudios Biblicos 55 (1997) 171-198.
  2. Reis, Pamela Tamarkin. "Collusion at Nob: A New Reading of 1 Samuel 21-22." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 61 (1994) 59-73.  [VB]
  3. Hubbard, Robert L. "The Hebrew Root pg` as a Legal Term." Journal of the Evangelical-Theological Society 27 (1984) 129-133.  (no longer available)

Session VII    "Bathsheba" (2 Samuel 11-12)


  1. Nicol, George G. "The Alleged Rape of Bathsheba: Some Observations on Ambiguity in Biblical Narrative." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 73 (1997) 43-54.
  2. Exum, J. Cheryl. "Bathsheba Plotted, Shot, and Painted." Semeia 74 (1996) 47-73.  [YUL]
  3. Lee, Archie C. C. "The David-Bathsheba Story and the Parable of Nathan." In: Voices from the Margin. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991. p. 189-204.  [KCS]

Session VIII    "Tamar" (2 Samuel 13)


  1. Gray, Mark. "Amnon: A Chip Off the Old Block? Rhetorical Strategy in 2 Samuel 13.7-15: The Rape of Tamar and the Humiliation of the Poor." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 77 (1998), p. 39-54.  [NW]
  2. Reis, Pamela Tamarkin. "Cupidity and Stupidity: Woman's Agency and the 'Rape' of Tamar." Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society 25 (1997), p. 43-60.  [LB]
  3. Dijk- Hemmes, Fokkelien van. "Tamar and the Limits of Patriarchy: Between Rape and Seduction (2 Samuel 13 and Genesis 38)." In: Anti-covenant. Sheffield: Almond Press, 1989. p. 135-156. [MYL]

Session IX    "Absalom" (2 Samuel 15-19)


  1. Daube, David. "Absalom and the Ideal King." Vetus Testamentum 48 (1998) 315-325.  [DN]
  2. Stone, Ken, "Sexual Power and Political Prestige: The Case of the Disputed Concubines." Bible Review 10 (1994) 28-31, 52-53.  [CT]
  3. Polzin, Robert. "Curses and Kings: A Reading of 2 Samuel 15-16." In: The New Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993, p. 201-226.  [MB]

Session X    "Rizpah" (2 Samuel 21)


  1. Exum, J. Cheryl. "Rizpah: [2 Sam 21:1-14]." Word & World 17 (1997) 260-268.  [JH]
  2. West, Gerald. "Reading on the Boundaries: Reading 2 Samuel 21:1-14 with Rizpah." Scriptura 63 (1997) 527-537. (no longer available)
  3. Winters, Alicia. "The Subversive Memory of a Woman: 2 Samuel 21:1-14." In: Subversive Scriptures. Valley Forge, Pa: Trinity Press International, 1997, 142-154.  [PA]

 Relevant Journals

Bible Review
Biblical Theology Bulletin
The Bible Translator
Biblical Archaeology Review
Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Expository Times
Harvard Theological Review
Israel Exploration Journal
Journal of Biblical Literature
Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
Journal of Near Eastern Studies
Journal of Semitic Studies
Literature and Theology
Vetus Testamentum
Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

Core Bibliogaphy

Alter 1981 The Art of Biblical Narrative
Alter 1999 The David Story
Baldwin 1988 1 and 2 Samuel

Brueggemann 1985 David's Truth
Brueggemann 1990 First and Second Samuel
Fokkelman 1981-1990 Narrative Art and Poetry in the Books of Samuel (3 vols.)
Gordon 1984 1 & 2 Samuel
Gunn 1978 The Story of King David
Gunn 1980 The Fate of King Saul
Halpern 2002 David¡¯s Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King
Jobling 1998 First Samuel
Klein 1983 1 Samuel
McCarthy 1980 1 Samuel
McCarthy 1984 2 Samuel
Noth 1981 The Deuteronomistic History
Polzin 1989 Samuel and the Deuteronomist: 1 Samuel
Polzin 1993 David and the Deuteronomist: 2 Samuel
Robinson 1993 Let Us Be Like the Nations: A Commentary on the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel
Rost 1982 The Succession to the Throne of David
Sakenfeld 1983 Faithfulness in Action
Sternberg 1985 The Poetics of Biblical Narrative
Trible 1984 Texts of Terror

After the Term


Course Evaluation (Please cut and paste the following questions into your word processor, and upon completing it, mail it as an attachment to your email to the registrar of NYTS.)


1.                  How many hours have you spent to work on this course?

A.      Online:

B.       Offline:

2.                  Which part of the course worked best?  Why do you think it did?

3.                  Which part of the course created challenges?  What do you think it caused it?

4.                  Describe the role the instructor played in this online learning environment.

5.                  Describe the role the online class members played in this setting?

6.                  Was there any resource you wish you could have had to make this course more meaningful?

7.                  Comment on how the course affected your learning either in biblical studies or general theological pursuit.

8.                  Comment on how this particular course is related to other courses you have taken in your seminary education.