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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Literary Form

THE BOOK OF SAMUEL is a work of literary art and is best read as such. Though only partly visible in translation, the literary and stylistic features are unmistakable, bearing witness to the book's artistry. The narratives excel in dramatic force and human appeal. Almost all contain a large amount of direct speech, which gives them their vivid character. Some are made up almost exclusively of direct speech; for instance, the narrative of Saul, who went to look for his father's asses and was anointed king of Israel ( 9.1–10.16 ). Conversations are usually brief, including only what is essential for the development of the plot. The same holds true for descriptions. Unlike conversations, however, descriptions of people, places, and objects are relatively rare and in many narratives wholly absent. The literary features play an important role in expressing or highlighting the narratives' ideas and values and impressing them on the readers. The book's literary character has no bearing on the question of its historical veracity, since both fact and fiction may be cast in an aesthetic mold. The book, however, should not be understood as a straightforward history of the early monarchic period.

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Oxford University Press

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