Critiquing KINGDOM of PRIESTS by Eugene H. Merrill as a graduate student of Theology
It is said everyone comes to the table with some type of bias regarding scripture; this statement is not without merit by any means. This book is fascinating, especially since starting school and the discovery of such a diminutive personal knowledge of scripture. Understanding Judges was a time without the leadership of a king allowed an all-consuming intake of this chapter about Saul.
Reading on, perhaps Merrill is sympathetic to this type of audience; one who lacks an understanding of scripture. As he moves forward he paints a vivid picture within his words. An impressive example of this is found on page 210 with “The king they demanded would create an authority structure that included the forced enlistment of Israel’s youth in royal service and the assessment of a heavy burden of taxes against which the people would someday cry out in vain protest”. (Merrill, 2008) This statement was followed with reference to where it can be found in the bible; I Samuel 8:11-18. The way his writing is constructed helps the reader gain a three-dimensional perspective of Saul’s life and the encompassing history and that era.
This literature moves from a chronological perspective of Saul’s life to his very profound relationship with David; all-the-while, taking note of specific characteristics of this man who was chosen first King of Israel. As the reader moves through the next chapter focusing on David’s life the writer is consistent with his view of the reading audience. On page 249 he informs the reader ‘the book of Chronicles begins its parallel account of Israel’s history’. These calculated descriptions into the history of scripture become specific points of reference for a reader who may be limited in knowledge of biblical history. Moreover, this story reveals a truth disguised within the opinion of the author. Merrill notes on page 269 Solomon’s birth was the result of a time when David should have been leading his armies into battle. Instead David fell into an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, thus leading to Israel’s history and third king.