A Spiritual Interpretation of the Old Testament
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- Metaphysical meaning of David.
- Symbolic outline of story of David and Goliath.
- Saul's growing antagonism toward David.
- Metaphysical significance of Solomon.
- Metaphysical significance of the division of the kingdom.
- I Samuel 17-24, 28, 31; II Samuel 7, 11-12 (scan II Samuel 13-24, I Kings 1-2); I Kings 3-12
- Let There Be Light Chapter IX-X
- Metaphysical Bible Dictionary 166
- Twelve Powers of Man p. 36
- According to your understanding, what is the main metaphysical point to be found in the story of David and Goliath?
- What does the antagonism of Saul toward David illustrate in human nature?
- In what way does Solomon symbolize an important step in the development of spiritual consciousness?
- Metaphysically, what does the division of the kingdom illustrate?
The teacher will note that question 1 asks for the main metaphysical point in the story of David and Goliath. This is meant to give the student freedom of choice. The question should be considered correctly answered if the student correctly presents his choice.
In the story of David (I Sam. 16 to I Kings 2:10) we find a pattern that is strikingly similar to that in the story of Saul. In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary we read: "David represents divine love individualized in human consciousness. . . . When David in his youth and purity daily communed with God, he closely reflected divine love. When he developed his human character, as a king in dominion over men, he manifested the limitations (negativeness) of the human in larger degree." (p. 166)
So here again we have the metaphysical symbolism of the dangers of certain inner qualities being given increasingly negative expressions through our human egos. Saul represented willingness coarsening into willfulness. David illustrates love of God coarsening into love of self for materialistic and sensual gratification.
The first great event in David's story is his encounter with and victory over Goliath. This incident is in many ways a classic example of a Bible story which lends itself perfectly to metaphysical interpretation. Rather than present an interpretation of it in essay form, let us take a look at it in bare outline form and let our imaginations construct a narrative of interpretation. The story is contained in I Samuel 17.
(1) DAVID: "beloved; well-loved" divine love in human consciousness. David especially illustrates human love for God, Truth, and goodness.
(2) ISRAELITES: thoughts and feelings turned toward Truth; all that is within consciousness as part of our growth and development of spiritual awareness.
(3) PHILISTINES: erroneous thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes which keep us bound in sense consciousness.
(4) GOLIATH: "revealing; conspicuous" a Philistine giant. He symbolizes strongly entrenched erroneous belief and its very conspicuous manifestation in a person's life.
(5) THREATS OF GOLIATH: the intimidating and frightening aspect of manifested error, often assuming gigantic proportions in the point of view of the onlooker.
(6) ARMOR OF GOLIATH: all the support of outer appearances and general acceptance which help to sustain error manifestations in the world.
(7) DAVID'S ACCEPTANCE OF GOLIATH'S CHALLENGE: love for Truth is inspired to do something to overcome manifestations of error.
(8) DAVID'S LACK OF ARMOR: love for Truth is its own defense.
(9) DAVID'S SLING: power of attention and concentration at work in our love for Truth.
(10) DAVID'S STONE: The power of the word of Truth.
(11) DAVID'S KEEPING DISTANCE FROM GOLIATH: the wisdom of keeping a place of separation in mind between one's self and the error one is overcoming; not connecting one's sense of I Am to any negative appearance.
(12) DAVID'S AIM AND THROW: the power of a Truth affirmation. Any consciously spoken affirmation of Truth (silent or audible) has a projectile-like power. It can travel anywhere within existence to find its place of fulfillment.
(13) DAVID'S STONE PENETRATING GOLIATH'S FOREHEAD: the law of the Word fulfilled; manifested as the penetrating of error appearance by the power of affirmation of Truth.
(14) GOLIATH CRASHES TO EARTH: symbolizing the return of the energy sustaining error appearance (Goliath) back into elemental substance (earth).
(15) DAVID USES GOLIATH'S OWN SWORD TO SEVER HIS HEAD: error carries its own seed of destruction. All error manifestations "lose their heads" after an encounter with a consciousness zealous with love of Truth (David).
In I Sam. 18 we read of the beginning of Saul's growing envy and antagonism toward David. This continues until Saul's death (I Sam. 31:5) Metaphysically this illustrates the reluctance of willfulness to surrender its domination in human consciousness. It is important to remember that willfulness becomes a habit--a very strong habit. Willfulness has been king for a long time in most human natures. Even when love for Truth becomes very active and very successful in helping a person progress into greater spiritual awareness, willfulness does not fade away.
Saul remained king for a long time even after David was chosen in his stead. David took no aggressive measures toward Saul, but Saul took many against David. This makes great sense on the metaphysical level meaning. Love will not seek to destroy the will, but willfulness will persistently seek to destroy our love for Truth if such love poses a threat to its continued domination of the consciousness.
Eventually, according to one account, Saul commits suicide. Again, this makes metaphysical sense. Willfulness cannot sustain itself indefinitely. When a person begins to'realize for himself the futility of continued wilfulness, he becomes willing to surrender it. Such a surrender is symbolized as the suicide of Saul. (A similar meaning is repeated later in the Bible in the suicide of Judas.)
In II Sam. 11, we read of David's infatuation for Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a soldier in David's army. David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle so that he could marry Bathsheba. Later, the prophet Nathan tells David a story about a man guilty of theft and tells David that "you are the man." (II Sam. 12:7) David declares his repentance in Psalm 51:10; "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and put a new and right spirit within me."
Elizabeth Sand Turner comments on this: "In such repentance a real healing takes place. Though the first child born to David and Bathsheba died, they rejoiced greatly in the birth of a second son, whom they named Solomon." (Let There Be Light 115)
Metaphysically this indicates that love can be expressed in many ways, not all of them in conformity to spiritual principle. But when wrongness is detected, acknowledged, and followed by sincere repentance, the divine Taw works to bring forth forgiveness and right adjustment. The lesson is repeated numerous times throughout the Bible. The cast of characters changes, but the central idea remains constant.
The story of David ends with a metaphysical meaning quite similar to the ending of the story of Moses. Moses was able to bring the Israelites to the promised land, but he was not to make the entry with them. He did not resent this, and he died very peacefully.
In David's case he was able to gather together all the materials needed to build a fitting temple for worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem, but he was not to do the actual building. David does not resent this and lovingly turns over the privilege of building the temple to his son, Solomon.
Elizabeth Sand Turner comments: "David's work was complete when he unified the kingdom and brought his people together in a closer bond than ever before. This is the function of love, to co-ordinate and harmonize the forces of our being." (Let There Be Light 119)
"Then David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. ... So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established." (I Kings 2:10, 12)
NOTE: It is interesting to observe how often the Old Testament refers to the death of a character in terms of "sleeping with his fathers" and almost always with specific mention of "being buried." Students of metaphysics today may have questions concerning this. Does a soul that has gone through a death-transition literally "sleep with its fathers"? And what is really "buried" after a transition? Is a person buried? Or is only the physical remains of the abandoned body the thing that is buried?
In the story of King Solomon is contained one of the all-time great utterances of spiritual awakening. It occurs when Solomon is told by Jehovah, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon's request was. "Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind (heart, KJVj, ..." (I Kings 3:5, 9)
Understanding is one of our twelve spiritual faculties. It is the ability of rightful knowing and the ability to perceive meaning. To ask for an understanding mind or heart is a high form of praying for illumination. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore often said that the prayer for illumination should always come first. The answer to such a prayer is usually quick and sure. Such an answer is illustrated in Jehovah's response to Solomon: "And God (Jehovah) said to him, 'Because you have asked this. . . behold, I now do according to your word. Behold I give you a wise and discerning mind (heart, KJV). . . I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor. . . .'" (I Kings 3:11-13)
The meaning of the name Solomon is "whole, complete, peace." But like a number of other Old Testament characters, the life of Solomon illustrates this meaning only in the early years of his life. Later as he gains more wealth and power, a deterioration sets in with him just as it did with Saul and David. (There is something to think about here.)
After much dissension and upheaval (with a pleasant interlude of a visit by the queen of Sheba (I Kings 10) the story of King Solomon concludes with these words: "Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father. . . ." (I Kings 11:41-43)
Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, and he fully expected to succeed his father as ruler of Israel. Things had become bad for the people under Solomon's deterioration as a ruler. They hoped things would become better if they appealed to his son Rehoboam. The appeal is spoken by Jeroboam: "'Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke upon us, and we will serve you.'" (I Kings 12:4)
They were in for an unpleasant surprise. Rehoboam's response was: My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions (I Kings 12:14)
In our Metaphysical Bible Dictionary we learn that Rehoboam represents: "That in man's consciousness which exalts the senses, that which is receptive to and comprehensive of the selfish demands of the sense thoughts and desires only", (p. 550) So once again we have in the symbolism of Bible characters an illustration of how selfish sensuality ALWAYS CAUSES THINGS TO GO FROM BAD TO WORSE! This is a metaphysical pattern which is repeated constantly throughout the Bible. Yet it is a lesson which many persons never seem to learn.
The next important event is the division of the kingdom of Israel, The ten northern tribes withdrew into a separate kingdom, retaining the name Israel. Jeroboam was ruler. Judah, the southern kingdom was ruled by Rehoboam.
The division of the kingdom and the rulerships of Jeroboam and Rehoboam symbolizes a deterioration of religious thinking in the consciousness of any individual. The tendency to externalize God, to think of Him as some kind of "formed thing" is a form of idol worship. To place our sense of I Am in outer things and conditions, instead of in divine ideas, is another form of false worship. This can result in a life that has " much tension and unnecessary confusion in thoughts and emotions. This is the symbolism of the divided kingdom. (Jesus later gives this same symbolism in his teaching concerning "a house divided against itself.")
Historically, this time became the time of need for the Hebrews to have the coming forth of the Old Testament prophets. Metaphysically, this represents the time in a person's life when he has need of corrective measures in his consciousness—especially in his religious thinking. Such efforts at correction are what the prophets represent.
Preceding Entry: Old Testament Metaphysics 9: Lesson 9 Judges
Following Entry: Old Testament Metaphysics 11: Lesson 11 Elijah and Elisha