Eavesdropping scenes are common features of ancient and modern literary creations. However, in spite of the contemporary interest in the literary and artistic character of biblical narratives, eavesdropping scenes in biblical narratives have received little scholarly treatment. This paper engages the presence, use and functions of eavesdropping scenes in biblical narrative. In particular, eavesdropping scenes aid characterization, trigger the plots of stories, introduce turning points, and increase the mimetic qualities of the story. On the other hand, eavesdropping scenes breach the borderlines between the private and public spaces by taking readers into the private world of biblical characters. On this discourse level, the reader also becomes an eavesdropper by overhearing/ reading the conversations situated in these eavesdropping scenes. In the same way, the narrator also shares the posture of the eavesdropper in the hearing/retelling of the story to the intended readers.
Komarova and Levin“Eavesdropping and Language Dynamics”104. On the possible use of this means to protect conversation from eavesdropping in biblical narrative see P. Kyle McCarter Jr. I Samuel: A New Translation with Introduction Notes and Commentary. Anchor Bible 8 (New York: Doubleday 1980) 288 and Keith Bodner “Is Joab a Reader-Response Critic?” jsot 27 no. 1 (2002) 28.
Similarly“The reader is absorbed in the storyworld without being aware of the author-narrator as a communicator or a guide, unless there are explicit features in the text that explicitly acknowledge these pragmatic agents . . .” See Arthur C. Graesser and Cheryl Bowers, “Who Said What? Source Memory for Narrator and Character Agents in Literary Short Stories,”Journal of Educational Psychology91 no. 2 (1999) 285.
SternbergThe Poetics of Biblical Narrative420. Auld also observed “Saul changes the order of the three elements from Doeg’s report and ignores the earlier disjunctive word order. The origins of the sword are passed over and food and sword are lumped together in one giving.” See Auld I & ii Samuel 267.