David Meets Saul; Soothing Music
Old Testament miniatures with Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions
390 x 300 mm
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1916
MS M.638 (fol. 26v)
The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, the Maciejowski Bible, and the Shah ‘Abbas Bible, is not only one of greatest medieval manuscripts in the Morgan, it also ranks as one of the incomparable achievements of French Gothic illumination.
The miniatures represent one of the greatest visualizations of Old Testament events ever made. Some of the stories and their heroes are well known, but there are also accounts of other Israelites who fought for the Promised Land—stories that resonate to this day. There are incredibly violent battle scenes where the implements of war are so accurately depicted they could be replicated. And there are scenes not only of murder, everyday life, and love, but also of hate, envy, adultery, and rape—all set in the scenery and customs of thirteenth-century France.
David Meets Saul
David arrives at court. He is accompanied by four of Saul's servants and a donkey carrying a young goat sent by Jesse as homage to the king. The king is exceedingly pleased with the young David. (1 Kings 16:20–21)
David's playing soothes the king. The troublesome demon departs, and the exhausted Saul is able to rest. Servants and elders gather together and remark on the boy's beautiful playing. (1 Kings 16:22–23)
Folio 26v (Latin)
Upper half: How David, sent by his father to the king, offered him a bottle of wine and bread and one kid which his father had given him to be carried on an ass, and the king loved him dearly. (I Samuel 16: 20, 21)
Lower half: How, whenever the evil spirit came upon the king, David took his harp and played it and the evil spirit departed from the king. (I Samuel 16:23)
Folio 26v (Persian)
Persian foliation: 18
Upper left margin: David’s father gave him a sheep, a bottle of wine, and some loaves of bread and said, "As you are going to the king, take along this offering." David came to the king’s court and presented his gifts. The king was pleased seeing David and he loved him exceedingly.
Lower half: Whenever Satan tortured Saul, His Excellence David would play his instrument and would sing, Satan would depart and King Saul would be relieved.
Content consultant: Richard Leson
Persian translated by Sussan Babaie
Judeo-Persian translated by Vera Basch Moreen
Latin translation by Eran Lupu
After the commentary volume accompanying the Fine Art Facsimile edition by Faksimile Verlag Luzern / www.faksimile.ch