Abstract

The book of Samuel contains numerous mentions of food, particularly in connection to David. This article examines how the Song of Hannah provides a lens for interpreting food-related events in the book of Samuel. First, it considers how the Song of Hannah describes God’s engagement with the hungry and the well-fed, along with how the surrounding narrative reinforces that picture. Second, it identifies four ways that David appears in relationship to food throughout the book. In each of these, David seems to align himself with the vision of food justice laid out in the Song of Hannah—David regularly feeds the hungry; David sometimes refuses to eat for virtuous reason; David ensures that everyone under his care receives an equal portion; and sometimes, David himself is the hungry person who is fed. Finally, it demonstrates that David’s major moral failure is characterized, parabolically, as an act of the unrighteous rich who take the food of the poor in an act of “hypocritical hospitality.”

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