Anonymous: The Crusader Bible - folio 23v (1240-1250)


(Morgan Library & Museum, New York, USA)

An illuminated page made by an unknown 13th century French artist. This page comes from the Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Bible or Maciejowski Bible, and is a medieval picture Bible which shows events from the Hebrew scripture, Typical of these Medieval books the scenes are shown in contemporary settings - in this case in 13th century France. Who commissioned the Bible is unknown. Originally this bible only contained images but the various owners added text to each scenes. Latin text was first added, Shāh Abbās I of Persia (reign 1588-1626) added Persian text and later inscriptions were added in Judeo-Persian. This page shows three scenes from Books of Samuel:

Top: Saul kills Nahash and the Ammonites. A scene from 1 Samuel 11. King Nahash of Ammon had conquered the tribal lands of Gad and Reuben and laid siege to the city of Jabesh-Gilead. The citizens of Jabesh-Gilead sent out messengers for help and Saul, a herdsman at this time, responded by raising an army and defeated (and killed) Nahash in battle at Bezek. The scene shows Saul killing Nahash by cleaving his skull. The other soldiers of Nahash are attacked by a group of soldiers who are coming from Jabesh-Gilead. An interesting detail is the man on the left who is raised off the ground as he catapults a huge stone.

Lower Left: Samuel anointing Saul. Also a scene from 1 Samuel 11. Following his victory over Nahash, Saul is anointed by the prophet Samuel as the new king of Israel.

Lower Right: Saul sacrificing to the Lord. This is probably 1 Samuel 13. King Saul planned a military campaign against the Philistines and the prophet Samuel said that he would arrive in 7 days to perform the necessary rites. After 7 days had passed Samuel still hadn't arrived and the soldiers were getting restless. Saul prepares for battle by offering sacrifices Samuel arrives just as Saul is finishing sacrificing and reprimands Saul for not obeying his instructions.
Page from 1240-1250

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