Blogging about Kings is more difficult that you might think. It's tough enough to keep the characters straight when one is just telling the Bible story. Now I'm trying to explain the way the characters in the show, with mostly different names that in the Bible, relate to the biblical characters. This might be helpful:
David Shepherd = David (obviously)
Jack Benjamin = Jonathan, the king's son
Queen Rose Benjamin = Ahinoam, the king's wife
Michelle Benjamin = king & queen's youngest daughter, Michal
the Reverend Samuel = the prophet Samuel
Evidently I missed less of the show Sunday night that I originally thought. Watching this morning on the NBC website, the show began with a pastoral scene at home on the farm. David Shepherd, our hero, is playing with a dog. Back at the house with his brothers and mom, he watches on tv the inauguration of the new capital city, Shiloh. Then, a chance meeting with The Reverend.
Reverend Samuel "anoints" David almost accidentally, cleaning a smudge of grease from his forehead. Not exactly like the deliberate vetting the prophet Samuel does in chapter 16 of 1st Samuel. There the Lord directs Samuel to choose David over his older brothers, and then pours a "horn" of oil over his head.
Though the show focuses much less on the role of Samuel in the choosing and anointing of David, the way he is portrayed seems like the way he might have been perceived by the people in the Bible story. We, the readers, see him from the narrator's perspective, sometimes from the Lord's, and occasionally in 1st person. As such, we have access to the direction of the story before it actually arrives. We get the foreshadowing. But the people, King Saul, and the king's court couldn't have known what was coming the way that we do, seeing it through Samuel's eyes. So in the show, we see Samuel from the perspective of the people. His role is still one of influence, but a much less overt influence.
Some differences between the show and the Bible in the pilot episode:
- the very obvious first, the show's setting is a very 21st Century city, whereas 1 Sam is in 1000 BC
- David's encounter with Goliath involves a tank and a rocket-propelled-grenade instead of a giant and a slingshot
- The show brings David into the king's court as the guest of honor following his act of bravery, instead of as a court musician to ease King Saul's troubled spirit (though the television David is quite a fine pianist, playing Liszt beautifully at one point)
- the TV show explains that David's father was killed in the war, while he is a part of the action in the original story
- So far in the show, Jonathan eyes David only with great suspicion, while in the original story they are the best of friends - fbff's
Similarities of note so far:
- again the most obvious, the general plotline
- there is a war going on with a militarily stronger enemy
- the king was annointed by the prophet/reverend Samuel
- Samuel anoints David as king while Saul/Silas is still ruling
- of special note because this is out of hollywood: God is real, and plays a role in history. Though there is some cynicism in the show as to the king's sincerity/devotion to God, the biblical characters also occasionally treat God with casual disregard.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
Did you notice other similarities or differences?
What did you think of the treatment given the story? Even though there are differences, do you think the tv retelling remains faithful to the spirit of 1st Samuel?
You can watch the first episode on the NBC website. I recommend it. Granted, we've only seen the first episode, but so far it is interesting, well written, well designed, well acted, and shot beautifully. Check it out!