Steve Ray combines biblical archaeology, Catholic apologetics, and wacky humor to teach viewers of his “Footprints of God” video series about the Bible in an engaging, memorable way. David and Solomon: Expanding the Kingdom is the sixth installment of the series, and focuses on showing how the lives of these two kings of Israel prefigured the life and teachings of Christ.
The video primarily focuses on the life of David, from his humble beginnings as a shepherd to his rise to the greatest king of Israel. Ray shows us both the accomplishments and the failings of this larger-than-life figure, helping us to understand how he remained a heroic leader despite his serious misdeeds. Ray takes us on a tour of the actual sites in the Holy Land where significant events occurred, explaining the events that led the people of Israel to demand that God give them a king and how this led to the height of their power before ultimately leading to their exile. He emphasizes God’s covenant with David and how it came to be fulfilled by Jesus.
Ray also leads us through the life of Solomon, again drawing parallels between events in his life and the life of Jesus. He draws upon rabbinic tradition to break open the prophecies and sayings about the kings of Israel and to explain their deeper symbolism.
As with the other videos in the series, the ultimate focus is on how the stories of the Old Testament prefigure and help us better understand Jesus. This interpretation is in keeping with centuries of Catholic biblical exegesis and draws the viewer in as the Bible is “decoded.”
Ray’s enthusiasm is what keeps us engaged in his detailed explanations of Biblical archaelogy and history, and he uses puns and vivid metaphors to help us remember key points. As a result, his video is both educational for those already familiar with the Scriptural passages he discusses, and easily understood by those who know little about David and Solomon. I’ve used this and other videos in a classroom setting with high school students and found them to be an effective, memorable tool for introducing kids to sacred Scripture.
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