A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

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."

Wow!

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.