To begin this process of discovery, share an Old Testament story that has made you queasy or uncomfortable and explain why.
1 Samuel 17 is the story of David and Goliath. Chapter 18 begins with Saul’s son Jonathan being quite taken with David and his military exploits. Saul is galled and anxious that another should be more highly lauded in Israel than himself–her king. He is overcome by a frenzy of emotion and tries twice to kill David with a spear. Failing with traditional weapons of war, he looks to his daughters as weapons. If David accepts, Saul can use the position of father-in-law to coerce David into precarious situations in which he is likely to die. With Merab, the elder daughter, David is either demure or he sees through Saul’s machination; it isn’t clear which, but he declines the offer. With Michal, who loves David, the young hero allows himself to be persuaded. Bloodthirsty Saul requests 100 Philistine foreskins as a bride price, although it is clear that he is foremost desirous of David’s blood to be shed and that his interest in fetishes attained through murderous conquest are just a rationalization for sending David into a threatening environment. All this is nasty enough: using a daughter’s love to entrap a man he has no reason to fear and the complete dehumanization of national adversaries by everyone involved. But it is in verse 27, when the narrator glibly inserts the fact that David and his fighting men strike down 200 Philistines, that I am most revolted. Even if we were to find a way to excuse David for accepting Saul’s deal, how could we ever make sense of his decision to slaughter double?