Archive for the ‘2 Samuel 22’ Tag

Victory Over the Philistines   Leave a comment

Above:  King David, by Valentin de Boulogne

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART XLVIII

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2 Samuel 21:15-22:51

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The LORD thundered out of heaven;

the Most High uttered his voice.

He loosed his arrows and scattered them;

he hurled his thunderbolts and routed them.

–Psalm 18:14-15, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2 Samuel 21-24 constitute an appendix.  They interrupt the narrative flow from 2 Samuel 20 to 1 Kings 1.  Organizing material for maximum clarity can be a challenge, and following chronology strictly does not always lead to maximum clarity.  Sometimes thematic organization is preferable.  And appendices are legitimate.

I have already covered 2 Samuel 21:1-14, based on thematic organization of material.

The material in 2 Samuel 21:15-22:51 comes from the early period of David’s reign, prior to 2 Samuel 11, perhaps even to 2 Samuel 5.  The germane Biblical authors, for all their literary, historical, and theological virtues, did not always make the material’s placement in time relative to other material clear.  That we are reading an edited, composite book composed of material with conflicting timelines complicates the matter.

The psalm of thanksgiving (2 Samuel 22) is literarily and theologically rich.  Its devices should be familiar to anyone who has read the Book of Psalms (especially Psalm 18) closely.

I reserve 2 Samuel 23:1-7 (the last words of David) for a future post, for the sake of keeping a chronology.

I have already covered 2 Samuel 23:8-39, for the purpose of thematic organization of material.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MYSTIC, AND REFORMER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Another Revolt in Israel   Leave a comment

Above:  Joab Slays Amasa

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART XLVII

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2 Samuel 20:1-26

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Repay them according to their deeds,

and according to the wickedness of their actions.

–Psalm 28:4, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Chronology is not always the organizing principle for material in 2 Samuel.  2 Samuel 20, for example, leads into 1 Kings 1.  2 Samuel 21-24 constitute an appendix.  I, trained as a historian, think about the arrangement of material.  Chronology is not always the best organizing material.  One can often make a case for moving chronologically within one theme at a time.  Appendices are also legitimate.

Joab!  Joab slew Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).  Joab ordered the death of Absalom, against David’s commands (2 Samuel 18).  Then David demoted Abner and promoted Amasa (2 Samuel 19).  (Aside:  I would have fired Joab.)  Next, some time later, Joab slew Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10) and became the commander again.  (Aside:  Why did David keep Joab around so long?)  Joab also threatened the town of Abel of Beth-maacah and accepted an offer to save the population in exchange for the head of Sheba son of Bichri, the most recent rebel leader.  David, dying, advised Solomon to order the execution of Joab (1 Kings 2:5-6).  Solomon did (1 Kings 2:28f).

How are we supposed to evaluate Joab?  Was he an overzealous patriot who occasionally violated David’s orders?  Perhaps.  Maybe David should not have permitted Joab to get away with such actions.  Or maybe Joab was correct vis-á-vis Sheba.  If had David had consented to the beheading of Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:9, the rebellion of Chapter 20 would never have occurred, according to a note in The Jewish Study Bible.  If we agree with that note, the dying David was correct to order the execution of Shimei (1 Kings 2:8-9), which Solomon made happen several years later (1 Kings 2:39-46).  Or maybe one agrees with me and disagrees with that note in The Jewish Study Bible.

Nobody is right or wrong all of the time.  One is, however, either right more often that one is wrong or wrong more often than one is right.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day, to quote a cliché.  

So, was Joab right more often than he was wrong?  Or was he wrong more often than he was right?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 14, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CALLIXTUS I, ANTERUS, AND PONTIAN, BISHOPS OF ROME; AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS, ANTIPOPE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN LYSKO, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1949

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH SCHERESCHEWSKY, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF SHANGHAI, AND BIBLICAL TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HANSEN KINGO, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND “POET OF EASTERTIDE”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Psalm 18   1 comment

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

POST VI OF LX

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes a plan for reading the Book of Psalms in morning and evening installments for 30 days.  I am therefore blogging through the Psalms in 60 posts.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 226

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One tradition attributes Psalm 18 to King David, in the context of his victories over Philistines.  Davidic authorship is less than certain, given the ancient and widely accepted ancient custom of writing something then giving credit to a famous dead person.  What is certain, however, is that Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22 are similar in content.

The author, writing as David, thanks God for the victories.  The line

Yahweh rewarded me because I was just

(Mitchell J. Dahood translation)

recurs.  The description of King David as just confounds me, even within the Psalm.  (Never mind the shabby treatment of Michal and the subsequent murder of Uriah the Hittite.)  This text reads like Davidic Dynastic propaganda to me.

The author’s descriptions of official violence disturb me.  The boasts of having pulverized, exterminated, and trampled his enemies as if they were dust, for example, are troubling.  I understand that violence is, under certain circumstances, a legitimate and necessary (for national defense) activity of a state or kingdom, but I think of it as a sad necessity, not a reason to boast.

Nevertheless, the author’s recognition of dependence upon God in triumph is refreshing.  It is easy to admit one’s dependence on God during difficult times, but perhaps less so when one is “on top.”  The urge to sing one’s own praises to the exclusion to those of God can be a powerful temptation.

May we glorify God during good times, bad times, and the times in between.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 31, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++