Thanks to the wild success of shows like Game of Thrones, historical dramas have become increasingly popular and ABC's new series Of Kings & Prophets is approaching the genre with a Biblical twist. But, based on the trailers, it looks like we don't need to expect a dry crash course in theology. The Bible certainly isn't lacking in the areas of scandal and battle scenes, so it's safe to assume the show will focus on those aspects in order to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. We all know the Bible isn't a short book — so which Biblical story is Of Kings and Prophets based on? It draws from the Old Testament Books of Samuel, which focus on the tales of King Saul, the prophet Samuel, and the shepherd David.
Here's the official synopsis from ABC:
One thousand years before Christ, the first king of the Israelites, Saul, struggles to unify the 12 Israelite tribes and defend his fledgling nation against savage enemy attacks. The prophet Samuel relays a message from God to King Saul that he must destroy one of Israel’s ancient enemies. But when Saul defies that message, Samuel prophesies that the Lord will tear the kingdom of Israel from him and choose another in his place. In time, Saul comes to realize that his greatest threat will not come from his enemies, but from the shepherd, David.
Let's take a look at how these events played out in the Bible itself — although Of Kings & Prophets will follow this narrative, I assume we can expect the show to place emphasis on the battlefield scenes and the scandalous adultery:
Saul Is Anointed As King
The Books of Samuel begin with Samuel's birth. Shortly thereafter, he's brought to the tabernacle to serve God. In a battle with the Philistines, the Israelites lose the Ark of the Covenant to their adversaries — but when the Philistines are afflicted with deadly plagues, they return it. Samuel chooses to anoint Saul as King, but his destructive decisions and outright defiance of God's lead to Saul's loss of the throne.
A New King Rises To Power
David is just a child when God selects him to be the next King. After being anointed by Samuel, he proves his worth by defeating a Philistine giant during a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. Saul is hateful and envious of David and tries to steal the throne from him — but David refuses to kill Saul, even though he's given ample opportunity. Recognizing that he'll never measure up to David, Saul commits suicide during a battle scene.
King David's Flaws Are Brought To Light
Book 2 of Samuel focuses on David's reign as King. When the second book begins, he is the king of Judah, but Israel has rejected God in favor of a dynasty lead by Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth. David eventually becomes the king of Israel after Ish-Bosheth's execution and he brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, which he has selected to be the nation's capitol.
King David's sinful, imperfect side is revealed in the second half of Book 2. He engages in adultery with Bathsheba, which results in her pregnancy — and he proceeds to order the murder of her husband. David eventually repents and Bathsheba has a second child, Solomon, who will be the next king of Israel due to the death of their first child. Consumed by jealousy, David's other son Absalom plans a rebellion and the nation supports him. David recruits troops to help him regain the throne and Absalom is killed during the ensuing battle. However, David is ultimately successful and continues his reign as king.
What will happen when Game of Thrones meets the Old Testament? I'll definitely be tuning in to find out.
Images: ABC (4)