Friday, June 05, 2009

David Spares Saul, again!

David spares Saul
A few years ago I drew a picture of King Saul asleep in a cave, while David, who was hiding in the same cave with his men, cut off the corner of Saul's cloak while he slept. I'm not the only Bible artist who has depicted this scene in this way. I've seen a number of pictures like this over the years by different artists. (See samples 1, 2.)
So what did we all do wrong? Well, we all got our Bible stories mixed up! In 1 Samuel 24, Saul didn't go into the cave to sleep, he went in to use the toilet! This is probably why we don't see that many pictures depicting this scene, although Annie Vallotton managed to illustrate this scene both accurately and discreetly.

Mistakes like this stem from the fact that there are a number of Bible stories which are very similar, but not the same. This is another reason why we need to read each story very carefully before illustrating it! The picture above is from a very similar story when King Saul was again hunting down David. It's found in 1 Samuel 26. In this story David and Abishai go down into Saul's camp at night and they take Saul's spear and water jug from his side while he sleeps. Abishai wants to kill Saul with his spear while they have the chance, but David will not allow him to because Saul had been appointed by God.

The best way that David could show Saul that he meant him no harm was by taking Saul's belongings from his side while he slept. This clearly displayed to Saul that David could easily have killed him if he had wanted to. Just as David had done previously in 1 Samuel 24 when he cut off the corner of Saul's cloak. I've drawn Saul's bodyguard Abner soundly snoring in the foreground.
As always, all comments welcome!


Bible artist said...

Before anyone comments "I didn't know that they had toilets in caves in Bible times?" Yes they did, but not the flushing type!

Bible artist said...

In this story David reminds me of the nation of Israel. David would have happily lived in peace with Saul, but Saul could not rest until David was defeated.
Israel has made it clear that, given the chance, they would live in peace with their neighbors, but their neighbors will not rest until Israel is wiped off the map! This is probably the only reason why, without Divine intervention, there can be no lasting peace in the Middle East. Whatever solution our proud world leaders might arrive at can only be a temporary one. I believe that the Hebrew meaning of the word Jerusalem is "God will provide Peace". Only God can and will provide a lasting peace in the Middle East.

deboraw said...

Graham, I'm amazed at the things God provides for:

Deu 23:12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
Deu 23:13 and thou shalt have a paddle... Deu 23:14 for Jehovah thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

Did they label the caves His/ Hers or Kings/Queens? Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Yes, I was thinking along these lines Deboraw while I was putting the final touches to the picture of Jonah.
God provided both the storm and the great fish, then He provided both the heat and the shade! All to teach valuable lessons about Himself to Jonah.

I'm not sure if the caves were labeled, but I imagine that the smell would indicate which caves were used for sleeping in and which were toilets!

Larrie said...

I teach our Kindergarten and 1st grade Bible class. Can I have permission to use this picture of David sparing Saul in my class? I want to make a puzzle out of it for the kids to put together and glue onto construction paper. I would not use the picture for any other purpose. Thanks!

Bible artist said...

No problem Larrie. I'm not sure what the quality will be like.

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