A modern reader will be excused for not seeing at first glance any connection between King Saul as an anointed one (i.e. “messiah”) and the concept of messiah as it applies to Jesus. But Thomas L. Thompson has brought out some interesting concepts in common.
Saul was a messiah of Israel, and as a messiah he was struck down by God. David’s lament over this event is rich in messianic themes. One finds the same themes repeated in the Gospels in connection with the death of the messiah Jesus. I am closely following Thompson’s arguments here in pointing out the messianic motifs that we find in common in Old and New Testaments.
Saul is described metaphorically as the anointed (messianic) shield of Israel:
O mountains of Gilboa,
Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings;
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. (2 Samuel 1:21 New American Standard)
Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. (2 Samuel 1:21 King James)
For the interlinear Hebrew, transliteration and translation see http://biblehub.com/interlinear/2_samuel/1-21.htm:
I quote Thompson’s discussion in his 2001 SJOT article (repeated in The Messiah Myth), while indicating my own additions in italics. I’ll then point out what I see as similar thoughts on the messiah as applied to Jesus. Continue reading “An Old Testament Messiah Struck Down by God”