A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Carnage Continues

The fearsome Syrians.

A Nonbeliever's SECOND Reading of the Bible

2 Samuel 10 - I like a good war novel on occasion.  One of my favorite books is The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.  What distinguishes that story from these historical texts in the Bible is a coherent plot, along with the familiarity of a culture that I am only 150 or so years removed.  When reading Biblical texts, I am reading stories of people who had no qualms about genocide, who existed at a time thousands of years before modern science and the Enlightenment, and who were essentially of the Bronze Age.

I am, however, thankful that those who were around at the time wrote these texts down, as it does give an interesting insight to how these people think and what they did. This makes it interesting from an anthropological point of view, and even a philosophical one.

In Chapter 10, David is going to war against the Syrians and the Ammonites.  He uses strategy to split up his forces, which are under Joab's command.  Joab takes half of the available soldiers and puts them under the control of his brother Abishai.  Joab's half of the army went to battle against the Syrians, and Abishai against the Ammonites.  The strategy - if the Syrians are too strong for Joab, then Abishai would have to come to his aid; and vice versa.

Well, the strategy apparently worked quite well. As soon as the Syrians saw Joab, they ran.  And as soon as the Ammonites saw the Syrians flee, they also broke and ran and fled into their city.

Upon hearing of Joab's success, David then gathered all of Jerusalem and went to war against the Syrians, and just slaughtered them - apprently taking out 700 chariots and 40,000 horsemen.

Biblical Contradictions: In this chapter, David kills 700 chariots and 40,000 horsemen. But in 1 Chronicles 19:18's account of the same battle, David takes out 7000 chariots and 40,000 footmen.

There's also a strange account in the beginning of the chapter where David said he will show kindness to Hanun, son of Nahash, because Hanun had showed David kindness before.  But the only other account where we come across Hanun and David is when Hanun either threatened to or actually gouged out the eyes of David's messengers (1 Samuel 11).

In response to this David's kind gesture, Hanun shaved off half of their beards and cut their garments up to their ass.  This shaming of David's messengers is what eventually led to the battle described above. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

King David Shows Kindness (2 Samuel, Chapter 9)

A Nonbeliever's Second Reading of the Bible

2 Samuel, Chapter 9 - If you recall previous entries, the Philistines defeated King Saul and grandson Jonathan at the Battle of Mt. Gilboa.  Well, King Saul's last descendant was a man named Mephibosheth, who was the son of Jonathan. Mephibosheth was basically the grandson of Saul.  In their attempt to flee for their lives, the young child's nurse accidentally dropped Mephibosheth and he broke both of his legs.

In Chapter 9 of 2 Samuel, King David had just finished annihilating the Philistines, and so David wanted to do some sort of kindness in honor of the House of Saul.  He asked a former servant of the House of Saul, a guy named Ziba, if there was anyone left from the House of Saul.  Ziba informed him there was, and brought Mephibosheth before David.

Mephibosheth fell on his face when he met David, and David, out of kindness and in the spirit of victory, gave Mephibosheth all the properties and titles of the House of Saul, thereby reinstating him as royalty.  

There wasn't anything to terrible about this particular chapter.  It is a straightforward account of King David trying to fix the perceived wrongs of the past.

Sorry about the long time with no posts.  It has been an interesting few years since I last made an entry in this blog.  I plan to continue this particular series and also write a lot of other things.