A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

David tricks King Saul again (1 Samuel Chapter 26)

David steals the king's spear and water flask, then climbs a mountain to show everyone.  
From Eternity Matters Blog

This odd relationship between King Saul and David is very odd.  I thought they had made amends a few chapters ago, but I guess Saul just has it in his heart to kill or capture David.  He's kind of like Wile E. Coyote.

This time, Saul takes 3,000 Israelite soldiers with him to look for David in the Wilderness of Zith.  While camping out for the night, David sneaks into their camp and steals Saul's spear and his water flask.  After taking these he flees up a mountain and the next morning he yells out so that everyone below can hear.

Basically, David asks, "Why do you keep following me?"  Saul, who doesn't really have a good answer, eventually relents and decides to let David get away.  David returns the stolen goods, and they both part ways.

So what's up with Saul?  After David spared Saul's life previously, it really seemed he was going to forgive David.  But now he comes back?  It's just one of those bugs that we can't get rid of.  Ever get that way?  Have you ever had a task that if it isn't completed, you're day will be ruined?  Or, have you ever tried to do something but the entire universe seems focused on making you fail?

Maybe Saul's desire to get David is kind of like that.  The whole purpose of capturing David is lost, but it's an incomplete mission that can not be accomplished.  Maybe Saul's real lesson here is to know when to give up.  After all, in this case the Creator of the Universe (according to Judeo-Christians) seems hellbent on preventing the capture of David.

Even though Saul promises that he will not try to harm David anymore, do you think he will keep his promise?  Stay tuned, and we'll find out together.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

David loses one wife, while collecting two more (1 Samuel, Chapter 25)

Abigail meets David and gives him an "assload" of supplies.  Image from Grace Doctrine.

The events of this chapter occur shortly after the prophet Samuel passes away.  It's about how David collects two wives at the same time.

In the town of Maon, a rich man named Nabal and his wife Abigail lived.  Nabal owned 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats.  David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, so he sent some men over to demand that Nabal give to David whatever he has.  Their justification: they never harmed or insulted Nabal's shepherds!

Nabal says no, because he basically never heard of David before; and this pisses off David!  David complained that he and his men guarded Nabal's possessions in the desert and this is how he gets repaid - the nerve of the man.  David then began cursing Nabal and his men.  Apparently, one of the worst curses in the Bronze Age is to accuse the enemy of "pissing against the wall".  As he tells his men to strap on their swords, David says this, which is a puzzling insult to us Homo sapiens living in the 21st century: "May God curse me and worse if I leave alive a single of his men that piss against the wall!"

On the way to wreak havoc on Maon, one of Nabal's servants did confirm to Nabal's wife that David's men were nice to them.  So, she (Abigail) collects 200 loaves of bread, two wine skins, five prepared sheep, five bags of roasted grain, 100 bunches of raisins, and 200 figs and loads them on a donkey.  She meets David with literally an assload of provisions and this satisifies David. She didn't tell Nabal that she would do this.

Later, after a night of partying, Nabal wakes up sober and that's when Abigail breaks the news about what she did.  I guess the news was so heart-breaking that Nabal died of a heart attack, and then ten days later Yahweh finishes the job.

After he dies, David takes Abigail as his own wife, and then another wife named Ahinoam of Jezreel.  Wow!  I don't understand the nuances of this, but I guess Saul takes David's first wife and gives her to another man.  Maybe Saul has some sort of special privilege where he can just take a man's wife and give her to someone else?

In any case, it's a very interesting read and a very weird story.