Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington Bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
A Catholic reads the Bible, Week 14: Better not call Saul
There needs to be a 614th commandment. (For those who need a reminder, here's my column on the original 613.)
While reading the book of Samuel, I realized that there should be a straightforward wording of this sin, "Thou shall not be jealous of your fellow man."
I mean more here than just not coveting your neighbor's wife or house. I mean something deeper and far more prevalent.
And you know if I am suggesting a new commandment, it's got to be bad.
The Book of Samuel tells the stories of Saul and David. After getting through the bloody mess of Judges and the generosity of Ruth, Samuel has been amazing. It's pure history on the establishment of the kings of the Israelites.
I found Saul immediately intriguing.
The initial description of his character was so surprising because other than age, we haven't gotten much personal descriptions of the Bible's main characters thus far. Saul is described as, "There was no other Israelite handsomer than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people." In other words, Saul was tall, dark and handsome.
I was either going to love or hate Saul, I thought, or it seems like similar thoughts went through God's mind.
Saul goes from being in favor with God to being on the outs pretty quickly. Saul makes a mistake and God "regrets" choosing him as king.
I felt bad for Saul, as I can't imagine falling out of favor with God. Can you imagine how painful that must be?
Saul wallows. Another tall man comes into the picture -- David. And of course, he is in favor with God and slays the Philistines.
Saul is the one who instructs David to go into battle with the Philistines. I gathered that Saul thought that his plan would be get rid of the newly chosen one.
But, David dispatches with the Philistines. To this day it's not Saul and Goliath, its David and Goliath.
It's here where my 614th commandment is necessary.
These Bible pages ooze with jealousy.
As David succeeds, my new commandment kept rattling around in my head. God is no longer the most important thing in Saul's life: it's holding onto power.
When Saul starts throwing spears at David, it's over for me. My empathy is gone.
Saul's actions made me uncomfortable. We haven't really learned much since the days of David, have we?
I mean, people aren't throwing spears at each other, but jealousy is a common emotion we all deal with.
That maniacal maneuvering that Saul exhibits that makes me wonder whether it needed to be spelled out more clearly for him. And while I felt uncomfortable, it got me wondering about my own actions and thoughts.
When I ran a leg of a marathon recently, I felt jealous of those runners who were breezing by me. But I didn't trip anyone borne of that jealousy.
Instead, I should have realized if I had trained more, I would have been better off. This was me being misguided.
It's that little modification in my thoughts that I have to be more mindful of going forward.
I left off this week in the middle of Samuel, so I can't wait to continue reading to see where this goes.