A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Monday, May 06, 2013

King David slaughters and loots from his enemies

King David massacres the Philistines and the Moabites.  Image from BibleStudyOutlines.org

2 Samuel, Chapter 8 - This chapter again reiterates King David's ongoing slaughter of the Philistines and Moabites.  One interesting piece of data is his maiming of captured horses, after securing 1000 chariots and 700 horsemen.

It also should be noted that those 700 horsemen is a disputed number, because in 1 Chronicles 18:4, it says David actually took 7,000 horsemen.  Maybe it's a recording error, but that just goes to show the problems inherent to these ancient documents.

David then goes on to slay the Syrians, to the tune of 22,000 men!

From all his conquests, he gathered plenty of loot, including the golden shields of the servants of Hadadezar.

So, way to go David!  At this point of the Bible, he's really kicking ass!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Did God Lie to David? (2 Samuel Chapter 7)

2 Samuel 7:5 - Thus saith the Lord, shalt thou build me a house to live in?

2 Samuel Chapter 7 - The gist of Chapter 7 is this - David, if you build me a temple and your kingdom will last forever.  Thousands of years of later, we know this is not true.  I know that metaphorically people can say that it is still in existence, but that explanation doesn't fly well.  In fact, that's not the only promise that was broken here.

Here's a list of some of the promises spoken by Yahweh (the God of the Bible), via a prophet named Nathan, to David.

1.  "Build me a temple, and your kingdom will last forever."  (7:13) However, David's kingdom died 400 years after the death of King Solomon.

2.  "I will establish a permanent place for the people of Israel, and the "children of wickedness" (presumably other nations) will no longer bother them." (7:10)  We know this isn't true at all.

3.  "When your days are fulfilled, and you sleep with your fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom." (7:12)  Okay.  That was just weird.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

David exposes himself? (2 Samuel, Chapter 6)

Uzzah tries to keep the ark steady because the oxen shook it.  For this, God smites him.  From ldsseminary

2 Samuel, Chapter 6 - This is kind of a weird chapter.  It starts off with David gathering 30,000 Israelites and marching off with the Ark of the Covenant.  The ark was in a brand new cart and was driven by two individuals, Uzzah and Ahio.

At a particular part of the road, known as Nachon's Threshingfloor, the ark began to shake because of the oxen.  Uzzah tries to steady the ark so it doesn't fall and ZAP!  God kills him.  It says God killed Uzzah "for his error".  I guess the error may have been the placement of his hands?

King David started to fear the Ark of the Covenant, and didn't want to bring it into his city.  Instead, he left it at some guy named Obededom the Gittite.  Obededom actually capitalized off this, because in the three months that Obededom possessed the Ark, God blessed him and his family.

After hearing that Obededom was being blessed, David sent for the Ark to enter into the city of David.  To honor the entrance of the ark, David sacrificed "oxen and fatlings".  Fatlings!!!  I had to look that up in the dictionary.  A fatling is a young animal that was fattened for slaughter, perhaps similar to veal?

What happens next is even more bizarre.  Apparently, as the Ark is being brought into the city, David was dancing and I think his junk must have been hanging out!  Michal, the daughter of the previous King Saul, looked out the window and saw him.  Later, when she met David, she said, "How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!"

David replies with what seems like a taunt, "God chose me before your father, and before all his house, to appoint me over all the people, over Israel, so I will dance and play before the Lord." 

His last retort before the end of the chapter, "I will be more vile than this, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou has spoken of, I will have them in honor."


And then, for no apparent reason, the chapter ends like this:  Therefore, Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death.  

Monday, January 07, 2013

Assaulting the Jebusites and Philistines (2 Samuel, Chapter 5)

While waiting in the mulberry trees, King David and his troops awaits the sound of God 
moving through the trees before advancing upon the hapless Philistines.
Image from the Jim Bakker Show Blog

2 Samuel, Chapter 5 - This chapter is about King David rousing his troops and the subsequent assaults and victories on the Jebusites and the Philistines, along with some of the repression done by the Israelites to keep these people in line.

It starts off with some grumbling from the Jebusites, who are not a fan of David and don't want him around.  So, David takes the Jebusite stronghold of Zion, which becomes the City of David.  He rallies the people to his cause, saying in the eighth verse: "Whoever gets out of the gutter and kills the Jebusites, and the lame and blind whom I hate, that person shall be made a captain (in the army)."

As King David established his kingdom and it grew, David gathers more wives and concubines.  In other words, David has his own harem!  It doesn't say how many, but they started getting pregnant real quick.

Word of King David's rising kingdom came to the nearby Philistines, who decided to seek him out.  It isn't clear in the King James version if they were seeking him out for military means, or just to meet the new king. But what happens is that after the Philistines come and camp in the nearby valley of Rephaim, David inquires in Yahweh (aka God) what he should do.  Yahweh, of course, wants David to slaughter all the Philistines.  God and David both destroy the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim.

However, more Philistines came and once again camped in the valley.  So, God lets David in on a bit of strategy.  He advises David and his troops to go around the Philistine encampment into a grove of mulberry trees, there to await "the sound of a going" in the tops of the mulberry trees (5:23).  David follows the advice and waits patiently until indeed a rustling was heard in the trees.  He gave the orders to advance upon the Philistines and left death in his wake.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

More Bronze Age Bloodshed (2 Samuel, Chapter 4)

Above: Rechab and Baanah bring the head of Ishbosheth to King David.
From www.keyway.ca

(2 Samuel, Chapter 4) - Once again, I am simply astounded by the mentality of people living in the Bronze Age.  As a fan of archaeology, the glimpse of the mindset of these ancient peoples, as offered throughout the Old Testament, is a priceless treasure.  It's just unfortunate that people today STILL take this as a guide of moral truth.

In the aftermath of the fall of King Saul, much of the people comprising the House of Saul have fled or have been killed.  Ishbosheth was the king who was installed by the general from the House of Saul named Abner, to rule over lands still loyal to the House of Saul.  If you recall, Abner was assassinated in the previous chapter, and King David was angry about this assassination, cursing the assassins and their progeny to a life of poverty and leprosy.

This chapter has a similar story.  Two assassins, Rechab and Baanah, whom I believe used to be captains in Saul's army, assassinated the newly installed King Ishbosheth, in the hopes of getting in the good graces of King David.  They cut off the head of Ishbosheth and approached King David with the head. David was not happy with this assassination, and had his own men kill the two, and then cut off their hands and feet and hang them over a pool in Hebron.  He also had the head of Ishbosheth buried in a sepulcher there, as well.

Friday, December 14, 2012

David asks for his wife, whom he'd originally bought for 200 foreskins

Above: David asks for his wife, whom he had paid 100 Philistine foreskins for.  
Oh wait, that's wrong - he actually paid 200.  From Sparklesdelicious

2 Samuel, Chapter 3 - This chapter is basically about the civil war between the up and coming House of David, and the ever-weakening House of Saul.  David has about seven wives by now, and is pumping out children like no other.  This news of giving birth to more children was probably great news in the Bronze Age; nowadays people wouldn't be nearly as excited.  In any case, I think the news of all these children is a sign that the House of David is gaining power, and is in favor with the big guy upstairs, also know as God or Yahweh.

Finally, Abner (the last of the House of David) asked for a truce between he and David.  David agrees, but with a very odd term.  Abner may not see David's face until he brings Michal, the daughter of Saul.  Michal was David's previous wife, whom he had actually bought for 200 Philistine foreskins (although it says 100 in this particular section), and then later "gave" her to a gentleman named Phaltiel.  So, Abner fetched Michal to give to David, and her husband Phaltiel followed behind crying.  That's just messed up.

Later, Abner is assassinated by the brother of Asahel, whom Abner had killed in the preceding chapter.  King David was pissed at this, and basically cursed the assassins for their deed.  He cursed them and all their descendants to a life of being poor lepers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Abner kills Asahel.  From Johann Christoff Weigel, 1695

Chapter 2 is basically about the aftermath and all the ensuing drama from the power vacuum left over after King Saul's untimely death on the battlefield against the Philistines.  

David was made King over Judah, but some of Saul's family and followers did not like this.  For instance, a general named Abner went and installed Saul's son Ishbosheth as the king over Jezreel,Gilead, Ephraim, Benjamin, and over the Ashurites.  Abner was the captain of the deceased Saul's army.

Abner then took some men and went down to a place called Gibeon, where some of the newly installed King David's followers sought him out, under a general named Joab.  It seems that Joab and Abner were trying to negotiate some sort of compromise.  The meeting was an odd one, because at some point Abner said, "Let the young men rise, and play before us."  Joab told them to arise, and the "game" they played was something more like the Romans' version of decimation, but instead all died.  Or maybe the King James Bible wasn't written clearly, and this was just meant to be more like a gladiatorial fight.

Anyhow, twelve young men for each side got up, grabbed the head of his opponent and then thrust his sword into his opponent's side, so that all 24 of them fell down in unison.

A battle ensued between the two armies, and after realizing that the battle would be won by Joab, Abner tries to make his escape.  One of Joab's lieutenants, Asahel, sees this escape attempt and pursues Abner.  , Abner winds up having to kill Asahel (pictured above) with the blunt end of his spear.

My personal thoughts on this chapter is just to marvel once again at level of detail offered by the book's authors, and also how interesting it is for us to have this little window into the minds of these Bronze Age people.