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Talio, The Retributive Law Of God, Toward Saul And David

2254 words - 9 pages

Within The David Story, the Hebraic code of justice revolves around retributive justice and how it is administered by God. Simply stated, talio is the law of God. This law is a form of retributive justice, more so a punishment identical to the crime committed. All Kings of Israel must be chosen by God, and undergo a number of steps to ascend to the throne. The first king, Saul, loses the divine favor of God after his disobedience is showcased. His predecessor, David, acts out unjustly and also loses divine favor. Once God's scornful words come to fruition, both David and Saul bear the brunt of their wrongdoing. This justice creates a sense of equilibrium weighing one's offenses against one's punishment, and balances them. Within The David Story, the law of talio is defined by God, and once Saul and David disobey God's commands, the law of talio is used in a manner in which fits their crimes and sets out for justice, and like punishments for their crimes.
Before actually attaining the role of king, both David and Saul must forego a number of events to have a rightful claim to the throne. First and most importantly, they are anointed by God's power, proclaimed openly, and lastly, unanimously acclaimed by the people. Because God guarantees their power on Earth, it is highly evident that these men must still obey the Lord. Adding to this, it seems as if David and Saul have a proverbial contractual agreement with God. When the rules of this proverbial contract are broken, it is God that determines the repercussions.
As stated above, Saul undergoes the three steps of ratification for a king; he is anointed, proclaimed, and acclaimed. Soon thereafter, Saul commits three offenses against God and his kingship goes into decline. God presides over how justice is distributed, and Saul's offenses do not go unnoticed. Saul's first offense occurs when he performs the priest sacrifice without waiting for Samuel, God's handpicked prophet. In return, Samuel scolds Saul, he says,

You have played the fool! Had you but kept the commandment of the LORD your God that He commanded you, now the LORD would have made your kingdom over Israel unshaken forever. But now, your kingdom shall not stand. The LORD has already sought out for Himself a man after His own heart and the LORD has appointed him prince to his people, for you have not kept what the LORD commanded you (1 Samuel 13:13-15).

This quote emphasizes the notion of having a contractual agreement with God, but also shows God's power and how he can distribute it. While the law of talio is not explicitly shown here, it is important to show exactly what events lead up to this. Saul's second offense occurs when he (and his troops) vows to God to not eat until he defeats the Philistines. Unbeknownst to him, Saul's son, Jonathan violates the oath by eating causing Saul's eminent defeat. Saul's third and final offense happens when God tells him to kill all the Amalekites and their livestock. Disobeying God's...

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