The ninth and tenth books of The Bible
The first book tells the story of Samuel who is dedicated by his mother to the priesthood. He grows up to be the most important religious and political figure of his day, becoming the last shofet
or "Judge" of Israel (in the sense meant by the Book of Judges
) and (somewhat reluctantly) helps establish the Israelite kingship.
The second book tells of the kingship of David, Israel's greatest king and ancestor of Jesus.
The Books of Samuel are followed by the Books of Kings
These books contain the following tropes
- Alas, Poor Villain: When Absalom is defeated, David is devastated at losing his son, and mourns so intensely that his officers finally have to give him a What the Hell, Hero? for hurting his men's morale.
- All Crimes Are Equal: In part of Samuel's harsh rebuke to Saul's incomplete genocide and rejection as King of Israel, he states in I Samuel 15:23 that rebellion is just as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness is just as evil as idolatry. note
- Armor Is Useless:
- Goliath is wearing more than a hundred pounds of armor, including a bronze helmet. However, the rock David fires at Goliath kills him instantly by going through his eye socket, which presumably was not covered by the helmet.
- David also rejects Saul's armor, as it's far too big for him.
- Artifact Title: Samuel only played a significant role in the beginning of the first book, then died in the middle and is not mentioned in the second. Those books focus more on the King David.
- ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Nathan tells David a story about a rich man who stole a poor man's pet lamb. But when David expresses outrage, Nathan reveals that the rich man was an allegory for David's Uriah Gambit and lays down his "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Asshole Victim: Goliath, Absalom, King Saul, Joab, the Philistines and the Amalekites.
- Babies Ever After: God was so pleased at Hannah giving her firstborn to His service after years of infertility that He made her quite fertile from that point on. She proceeds to have five more children.
- Badass Crew: 2nd Samuel has a list of Badasses who worked for King David, and were referred to as the "Mighty Men". The entire list is filled with stories of people killing off hundreds of people singlehanded, or fighting wild animals.
- Badass Israeli: A whole lot of them, probably most notably David and his mighty men. Saul was no wimp either.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: King David had thirty elite One-Man Army soldiers to act as his personal bodyguards, but he's such a badass he probably didn't need them anyway.
- Brats with Slingshots: Notably not David, though many, many people believe he used one. What he really used was a sling—which, in so many words, was the ancient world's equivalent of a gun or bow and arrow, rather than a kid's toy.
- Burn the Witch!: When he became king, Saul was noted for executing witches among the Israelites. Later on, though, he proved to be a hypocrite by consulting the Witch of Endor to find out about his fate in battle.
- Combat by Champion: David vs. Goliath, the most famous example in history.
- Combat Pragmatist: David defeats his massive and well-equipped foe by pegging him in the face from a distance.
- David vs. Goliath:
- Trope Namer. Goliath was more or less ancient history's André the Giant — some translations put him at nine feet tall! David, meanwhile, was hammered home as the runt of his family, the youngest of ten siblings and not much older than 18 when Goliath bellowed his challenge to Saul's army.
- On a political level, David and Saul. Saul was not a short man, and was God's anointed king (for a time) with direct control of the army. That's stiff competition for a former sheep herder.
- Defiled Forever: David's daughter Tamar, who was raped by her half-brother Amnon, who ended up living in her other brother Absalom's house as a desolate woman. This eventually results in Absalom getting even with Amnon by having him killed in a private little party.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The rejection of Saul as king just just for doing some of Samuel's duties may seem like this at the outset, but it must be noted that the high priest makes sure the king does God's commands to the letter. Saul tries to bypass this and concentrate all power on himself. He was a tyrant in the making.
- Dream Team/Badass Crew: David assembles an elite squad of thirty "mighty men" to be his personal guard. All of them had impressive achievements in battle, including one who killed 800 Philistines in one day, one who single-handedly defended an entire field, and one who "killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day."
- Driven to Suicide: Saul, eventually. And Ahithophel, when Absalom seeks advice as for what to do with King David, and prefer's Hushai's advice over Ahithophel's.
- Due to the Dead: The funeral pyres for Saul and his three sons and the burial of their ashes at the end of 1 Samuel. David later has the ashes reburied in the family tomb along with the remains of the seven men who had been killed for their ancestor's massacre of the Gibeonites.
- The Evil Prince: David's sons Amnon (raped his half-sister) and Absalom (led a rebellion). Later Adonijah, a much less overt and more underhanded type.
- Eye Scream: Saul's first great act was saving a city under siege from a warlord who would let them live if they allowed him to gouge out their eyes.
- Fatal Flaw
- Saul's tendency to follow his own way rather than waiting for a command from God.
- David's inability to control his sex drive, which lead to the poor discipline of his children.
- Joab's violence.
- Final Solution: What God, through Samuel, orders King Saul to do the Amalekites, and is punished for being insufficiently thorough in the extermination.
- Fully-Clothed Nudity: David danced before the Lord in an ephod when he successfully brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem as per the Lord's instructions. His wife Michal treats it as though he was dancing naked in public.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: King Saul changes his views on David every chapter. David actually has to prove twice that he has no intention to kill him.
- Hereditary Curse: God does this to David's family after David has an affair with Bathsheba and has her husband killed.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: David suffers one when he receives the news that Absalom has been killed. Joab has to snap him out of it with a What the Hell, Hero? speech accusing him of ruining morale by caring more for his traitorous son than his loyal followers.
- Holy Is Not Safe
- The Ark of the Covenant proves to be an equal-opportunity Doomsday Device in 1 Samuel 4-7. The Israelites bring the Ark onto the field of battle, which scares the Philistines into fighting harder instead. They capture it, then make the mistake of keeping it in the same room as an idol of Dagon. God breaks the statue and smites the Philistines with a plague of tumors and rats. The Philistine cities play hot potato with the Ark for a while before sending it back to Israel with a guilt offering. Aaaand the Israelites promptly have a whole bunch of people die from looking into the Ark.
- As David tried to bring the Ark on a cart into Jerusalem and the oxen stumbled, Uzzah used his hand to steady the Ark lest it fall off the cart, and he was promptly struck dead for doing so.
- Honor Before Reason: During a battle with the Philistines, Saul disrupted his own army by making them swear that they will not eat or drink until they have won. They had no choice but to obey, and the enemy escaped. Only Jonathan thought this was dumb.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Trope Namer. Part of David's eulogy for King Saul and Jonathan, though it is how the king has fallen in battle, not how he has fallen in might.
- 20 Bear Asses: Saul offered his daughter's hand in marriage to David, if David could bring him 100 Philistine foreskins. David one-upped him and brought back 200.
- Unusual Euphemism: Many English translations have Saul swear at Jonathan along the lines of, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman!" Needless to say, there is indeed a closer English equivalent to the Hebrew original, but apparently most translators don't like the thought of putting it in The Bible. (The Living Bible is a notable exception.)
- Uriah Gambit: Trope Maker and Trope Namer, but not in the same event. The Trope Maker is Saul sending David on missions to get him killed (unsuccessful), whereas the Trope Namer is David's attempt to get a woman and conceal his guilt by sending her husband who is one of his own loyal soldiers to death in the hands of the enemy.
- Villain Has a Point: After Absalom's rebellion fails because, despite David's explicit orders he be spared, Joab kills the rebel, David becomes extremely sad and the story clearly expects us to feel sympathy for the man who just lost one of his sons. Joab goes to his uncle and tells him to man up and behave like a king should and stop crying like a child, and criticizes him to his face how he constantly shows goodwill to people who try to harm him while showing no gratitude to those who faithfully serve him. Not even the narrative denies that Joab, morally ambiguous as he is, has something of a point by now, especially since David does just what his nephew tells him afterwards.
- Warrior Poet: David, giant slayer and great musician/poet/dancer.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Nathan reaming out David for his adultery, and his murder of Uriah.
- Joab gives one to David as well, for mourning over Absalom's death so much that he neglected to thank his men for their loyalty.
- There's also Samuel chewing out Saul for burning an offering without waiting for him to arrive to Gilgal and later for sparing King Agag and the cattle and sheep when God commanded him to kill all Amalekites.
- The Wise Prince: Prince Jonathan proves to be a wiser and more caring ruler than his father King Saul, and the earlier stories involving him tend to be optimistic...until his Tragic Bromance with to-be-king David kicks in...
- You Will Be Spared: Heroic example: twice when David had the opportunity to kill King Saul whenever the king was nearby, David refused, even as at the first time he only cut off a corner of the king's robe and his heart was smitten, realizing that King Saul was still the LORD's anointed and he cannot touch the anointed and be considered guiltless. Both incidents ended up with Saul and David walking away with their lives.