The Resemblance is Uncanny
A couple of years ago, I compared contemporary Christians who expressed their desire for an authoritarian ruler to the ancient Isrealites who wished for a king. In both instances, the groups had lost faith in God to protect them and wanted to rely on a strong man. In the biblical book of Samuel, a king was requested of the prophet, a request which he initially rebuked. Eventually, after Samuel spoke with God, on the Lord’s command, he relented and found the people a king in the form of a man named Saul. His change of heart came with a strict warning to the people of how a king would treat them.
When Christians started favoring eliminating the legislative and judicial branches of the government, it looked like they wanted Donald Trump to be the next Saul. Supporters who back autocracy might not be the only thing that the Donald has in common with old king Saul. Consequence of Sound has a post about a “music man” who played show tunes to tame then president Donald Trump when he was at his most difficult.
According to a new book by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, the “music man” was the only person who could manage Trump’s “terrifying” temper, playing hit songs from musicals to help calm him down.
This reminds me of Saul, who would go into deep boughts of depression that were only relieved by the music of his successor to the throne, David. Psychology Today has an account of the healing properties of music, using this biblical example.
The verses told the story of King Saul who had become tormented by a feeling of melancholy. Saul’s servants suggested that they find a musician who could play for him to soothe his psyche. One of the servants suggested a young man named David who he heard was a skilled musician. Saul was in agreement and so the servants went to find the young David and brought him to King Saul. It then says the following: “And it happened that whenever the spirit of melancholy from God was upon Saul, David would take the lyre (harp) and play it. Saul would then feel relieved and the spirit of melancholy would depart from him” (I Samuel, 16:23).
Saul was not only melancholy, though. He was frequently calmed from great anger by David’s music. The piece goes on to refer to David as a “musical therapist.” I’m intrigued by the continuing parallels between Saul and DT beyond just the demands of their constituencies. The fact that both of them, who came to power in similar circumstances, needed musical therapy, proves to an even greater extent that ancient stories have current applications.