Pentecost 4B (24 June 2012)



  • 1Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11,19-23),32-49 and Psalm 9:9-20
  • or Job 38:1-11 and Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
  • 2Corinthians 6:1-13
  • Mark 4:35-41


This week we continue the series of readings from 1 Samuel, 1 Corinthians and Mark. In some ways these are familiar texts, so the challenge is to look beyond that familiarity in our quest for information about the past and wisdom for the present.

First Reading: David kills Goliath in battle

Few stories are better known than the classic tale of the young hero, David, who confronts and defeats his more powerful opponent, Goliath.

  • As a legend about the rise of the future ruler, this is a key story for the people compiling the narrative that runs from Joshua to 2 Kings.
  • As a folk tale it has many of the hallmarks of oral literature, celebrating the natural wit and courage of the rustic over the power and skill of the oppressor.
  • As a religious story it celebrates trust in divine assistance rather than one’s own capacity.
  • As a moral tale it is weakened by its acceptance of violence, including the decapitation of a wounded opponent and the grisly display of his severed head.
  • As a historical account it suffers from several problems, including the claim that David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem (still a Jebusite stronghold at the time) and a conflicting claim for the honour of having slain Goliath (see 2Sam 21:19).
  • As a literary text, the Hebrew manuscript tradition reflects extension elaborations not attested in the Greek version (17:12-31, 50, 55-58 and 18:1-5) and which seem to confuse the story.

In addition to the historical issues mentioned in this list, there continues to be debate about the historicity of the biblical description of David as a successful military leader and empire founder:

Goliath is said to come from the Philistine town of Gath:

Second Reading: Paul recounts his hardships

Paul’s catalogue of troubles provides a firsthand glimpse into the experience of some early Christians, and reminds us just how important Paul’s own letters are for our knowledge of Christian origins. Given that most other NT texts are either anonymous (e.g., the Gospels, and Hebrews) or forgeries (typically we use the euphemism, “pseudonymous” rather than directly address the moral and theological questions posed by documents published under false authorship), the value of Paul’s firsthand accounts is greatly increased.

Gospel: Jesus conquers the sea

The Gospel this week is the miracle story in which Jesus walks on the water, and there is an extensive set of notes provided at 128 Walking on Water.

The following article will also be of interest:

Jesus Database

Liturgies and Prayers

For liturgies and sermons each week, shaped by a progressive theology, check Rex Hunt’s web site

Other recommended sites include:

Music Suggestions

See the following sites for recommendations from a variety of contemporary genre:

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