Recently, archaeologists discovered what they think is a missing section of 1 Samuel. It is a section of the book which describes what Saul did after he chased David out of his courtroom. You might remember, David was ‘hired’ by Saul to play his harp in order to sooth Saul’s soul when evil spirits tormented him (1 Sam 16:14-23).
The recent discovery tells of how after David departed, Saul was left with no choice but to call on Israel’s philosophers to come and comfort him. And apparently, it did not go well. Instead, of refreshing his soul, these debaters of the age reasoned why bad things happened to good people and why men like Saul suffered as they did. The missing section claims that these foolish lovers of wisdom only exacerbated the problem and that Saul actually pinned a couple of them to the wall with his spear.
Apparently, they were not as agile as David. Nor were they as existential as David, either—meaning, they did not exist.
In truth, there is no such archaeological account and there were no such philosophers. But you already knew that because surely no king would hire philosophers for solace and comfort. Philosophers do well to afflict the comfortable, but they are less skilled at comforting the afflicted. Continue reading