Archive for the ‘Joab’ Tag

The Accession of King Solomon   Leave a comment

Above:  King Solomon

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART LIV

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

1 Kings 2:13-46

2 Chronicles 1:1

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

The king rejoices in your strength, O LORD;

how greatly he exults in your victory.

–Psalm 21:1, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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

2 Chronicles depicts the accession to the throne and the consolidation of power by Solomon as having been orderly and neat.  1 Kings 1-2 reveal the ugly truth, though.  Farewell, Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei.

Royal successions have frequently been bloody.  Intrigues related to that much concentrated power have often ended in body counts.  Solomon was neither the first nor the last monarch to order the execution of a relative to secure a hold on power.

I am a cinephile.  These deaths remind me of the climaxes of all three Godfather movies.  The unseemly combination of violence and professions of piety remind me of The Godfather (1972), in particular.  The memory of Michael Corleone standing as godfather to his nephew and renouncing Satan while Corleone family hit men murder people fits the scene in 1 Kings 2:13-46 thematically.

I dislike David.  I also dislike Solomon.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

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

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

The Death and Legacy of King David   Leave a comment

Above:  David and Solomon with the Madonna and Baby Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART LIII

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

2 Samuel 23:1-7

1 Kings 2:1-12

1 Chronicles 29:26-30

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 47:2-11

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

In all his activities he gave thanks

to the Holy One Most High in words of glory;

he put all his heart into his songs

out of love for his Creator.

–Ecclesiasticus 47:8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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

After reigning for about forty years and six months, David died.  His record was mixed–more mixed than some Biblical authors admitted.  Other Biblical sources, however, were honest about David’s moral failings as a man and a monarch.

David’s final advice to Solomon in 1 Kings 2 combines piety with orders for executions.  One reads of plans to punish (by killing) Joab and Shimei, both of whom David had spared in 2 Samuel–Shimei in Chapters 16 and 19, and Joab in Chapters 2, 18, 19, and 20.  The Corleone family–er, Davidic Dynasty–was about to settle accounts.

To repeat myself from a previous post, I do not like David.  I even have strong sympathies for Saul.  I perceive unduly negative press regarding the first King of Israel.  I perceive a pro-Davidic filter in accounts of Saul.  I conclude that Saul was not as bad as we are supposed to think, and that David was much worse than we are supposed to think, according to the texts.

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”

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

David’s Attempts to Restore Unity   Leave a comment

Above:  King David

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART XLVI

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

2 Samuel 19:1-43 (Protestant)/19:2-44 (Jewish and Roman Catholic), or, as the Eastern Orthodox call the text, 2 Kingdoms 19:2-44

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

Turn to me and have pity on me,

for I am left alone and in misery.

The sorrows of my heart have increased;

bring me out of my troubles.

Look upon my adversity and misery

and forgive me all my sin.

–Psalm 25:15-17, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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

David was victorious and relatively magnanimous following the events of 2 Samuel 15-18 (the rebellion of Absalom).  The King, for example, demoted Joab, who had committed insubordination, caused the death of Absalom, and behaved insensitively toward the grieving David.  But David let Joab live.  David promoted Amasa to take Joab’s place.  The King even rejected another suggestion to have Shimei (who had cursed him 2 Samuel 16) executed.  Unfortunately, David changed his mind years later (1 Kings 1:8-9) and Solomon ordered the death of Shimei (1 Kings 2:36-46).

Unity remained elusive in the immediate wake of the rebellion of Absalom, however.  There was no way David could unfry that egg.

2 Samuel 19 presents David favorably.  He stands in contrast to the lying, insensitive Joab and the pitiful yet loyal Mephibosheth.  The narrative also presents David as a broken, humbled man not eager to shed more blood immediately after a bloody rebellion.

This was the first rebellion.  The second one followed in Chapter 20.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THE FEAST OF ALBERTO RAMENTO, PRIME BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENT CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERARD OF BROGNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOHN RALEIGH MOTT, U.S. METHODIST LAY EVANGELIST, AND ECUMENICAL PIONEER

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

The Final Battle and the Death of Absalom   Leave a comment

Above:  The Death of Absalom

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART XLV

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

2 Samuel 18:1-33 (Protestant)/18:1-19:1 (Jewish and Roman Catholic), or, as the Eastern Orthodox call the text, 2 Kingdoms 18:1-19:1

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

LORD, how many adversaries I have!

how many there are who rise up against me!

How many there are who say of me,

“There is no help for him in his God.”

–Psalm 3:1-2, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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

Ahimaaz was in a difficult political situation.  He was loyal to King David, so the news of the defeat and death of Absalom seemed to be positive.  On the other hand, David (a terrible father, who had driven his son to rebellion) had, unbeknownst to Ahimaaz, given orders to the commanders (including Joab) to deal gently with Absalom.  Joab had violated that order.  David wanted to end the rebellion, of course, but he did not want Absalom to die either.  On that day, many people died because of David and Absalom.

David wore two hats, so to speak.  He was both a monarch and a father.  David seemed to be the king and not a father when dealing with Absalom (especially in 2 Samuel 14:33) most of the time.  If he had been Absalom’s father (as opposed to the emotionally distant king) more often, the rebellion may never have occurred.  Yet there was David, in father mode, in the designated portion of scripture for this post.

The line separating the personal from the political frequently does not exist for powerful people.  Life does not always permit neat categories.  On the other hand, the separation of the personal from the political can be a virtue.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THE FEAST OF ALBERTO RAMENTO, PRIME BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENT CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERARD OF BROGNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOHN RALEIGH MOTT, U.S. METHODIST LAY EVANGELIST, AND ECUMENICAL PIONEER

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

Posted October 3, 2020 by neatnik2009 in 2 Kings 14, 2 Samuel 18, 2 Samuel 19, Psalm 3

Tagged with , , ,

The Return of Absalom   1 comment

Above:  David and Absalom

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART XLI

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

2 Samuel 14:1-33

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

Then the king said to Joab, “I will do this thing.  Go and bring back my boy Absalom.”

–2 Samuel 14:21, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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

Joab engineered the return of Absalom.  Yet King David did not forgive the former exile.  Father and son did not speak for two years after Absalom returned.  In Samuel 14:33, for example, David was “the king,” not “the father.”  Reconciliation was formal and insincere.  Absalom remained violent, resentful, and unrepentant for the murder of Amnon.  David had not forgiven Absalom.  And if David had sympathies for Tamar, the author of the text seemed not know of that attitude.

Based on the text, I conclude that David remained unchanged from Chapter 13.

He who troubles his household will inherit wind….

–Proverbs 14:29a, Revised Standard Version (1952)

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1971) defines “reconcile” several ways, including the following:

To settle or resolve, as a dispute.

“Reconcile” derives from “conciliate,” derived from the Latin conciliare, or

to bring together.

To reconcile, then, is to bring together again.

David and Absalom did not really come back together.  Regardless of how approximate they were, they were far apart emotionally.  David contributed greatly to the storm about to overtake his realm and his family.  He either could not or chose not to recognize the threat Absalom constituted.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARY RAMABAI, PROPHETIC WITNESS AND EVANGELIST IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE, ANGLICAN POET, ART CRITIC, AND HYMN WRITER

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

Posted September 29, 2020 by neatnik2009 in 2 Kings 14, 2 Samuel 13

Tagged with , , , , , ,

King David Versus the Ammonites, the Arameans, and the Philistines   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of King David

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART XXXVII

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

2 Samuel 10:1-19 and 12:26-31

1 Chronicles 19:1-20:8

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

“Let us be strong and resolute for the sake of our people and the land of our God; and the LORD will do what He deems right.”

–Joab, in 2 Samuel 10:12, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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

King David’s Ammonite war frames the story of Uriah and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 and 12), absent from 1 Chronicles.

Ammonite court politics caused the Ammonite war.  Nahash, King of Ammon, had died.  Hanun, listening to bad advice, mistook David’s official condolences for a spy mission then humiliated his envoys.  David’s forces won battles, though.  They did so against superior Ammonite-Aramean forces.  The author meant for us to understand that God was on the side of Israel in this war.

1 Chronicles 20:4-8 tells of another war against Philistines.  It seems that keeping Philistines down was difficult.  This passage mentions Elhanan, who slew the brother of Goliath.  This passage contradicts 2 Samuel 21:19, which says that Elhanan slew Goliath.  This language in 2 Samuel 21:19 is very similar to that in 1 Chronicles 20:5.  2 Samuel 21:19, of course, also contradicts 1 Samuel 17, which tells us that David slew Goliath.  If I were a Biblical literalist, this matter would bother me.

Back to the beginning of the Ammonite war….

David had kept faith/kindness (hesed) with King Nahash of Ammon, just as he did with Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9.  The text makes the connection between those two chapters.  We readers are to think positively of David in his dealings, with Mephibosheth and his treaty partner, the King of Ammon, according to the text.

One translation of hesed is “kindness.”  Kindness is absent from the end of the story; the forced labor of prisoners of war, although common in the region at the time, indicates the opposite of kindness.  Kindness is also absent toward Uriah the Hittite in 2 Samuel 11.

David, in these and other cases, practices hesed selectively.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 31, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICODEMUS, DISCIPLE OF JESUS

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

Abner, Ishbaal/Ishbosheth, and David   Leave a comment

Above:  The Assassination of Ishbaal/Ishbosheth

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

PART XXX

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

2 Samuel 3:1-4:12

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

The wicked are perverse from the womb;

liars go astray from their birth.

They are as venomous as a serpent,

they are like the deaf adder which stops its ears,

which does not heed the voice of the charmer,

no matter how skilled his charming.

–Psalm 58:3-5, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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

Ishbaal/Ishbosheth was the King of Israel in name only.  The real power behind the throne was Abner, who had made him the monarch.  Abner also began to ally himself with David.  Then Joab slew Abner for having killed Asahel in 2 Samuel 2:25-32.  Ishbaal/Ishbosheth died via assassination.  Then David had the assassins executed.

The narrative goes to great lengths to establish David’s innocence in the deaths of Abner and Ishbaal/Ishbosheth.  One may surmise that rumors of David’s complicity circulated widely.  Human nature does not change.  However, the speed at which lies circulate varies according to technology.  They spread more widely more rapidly in this age of social media than in previous times.  One may acknowledge, however, that lies spread rapidly in antiquity, too.

My only other point is to object to the use of wives–including Michal–as political pawns of powerful men, such as David.  People do have inherent dignity, do they not?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2020 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT JEANNE JUGAN, FOUNDRESS OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN LEARY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR AND THE MARGINALIZED

THE FEAST OF KARL OTTO EBERHARDT, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, MUSIC, EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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

Posted August 30, 2020 by neatnik2009 in 2 Samuel 2, 2 Samuel 3, 2 Samuel 4, Psalm 58

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Ego and Humility   1 comment

Apostle Paul

Above:   The Apostle Paul, by Rembrandt van Rijn

Image in the Public Domain

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

The Collect:

Compassionate God, you have assured the human family of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Deliver us from the death of sin, and raise us to new life,

in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 39

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

The Assigned Readings:

2 Samuel 14:1-11 (Thursday)

2 Samuel 14:12-24 (Friday)

2 Samuel 14:25-33 (Saturday)

Psalm 30 (All Days)

Acts 22:6-21 (Thursday)

Acts 26:1-11 (Friday)

Matthew 9:2-8 (Saturday)

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

To you, Yahweh, I call,

to my God I cry for mercy.

–Psalm 30:8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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

We read of forgiveness in the lections from the New Testament.  Saul of Tarsus receives forgiveness and a new mandate from God.  (Grace is free yet not cheap.)  Jesus forgives a man’s sins during a healing in Matthew 9.  Critics who are present think that our Lord and Savior is committing blasphemy, for their orthodoxy makes no room for Jesus.  The healed man becomes a former paralytic, but Christ’s critics suffer from spiritual paralysis.

The language of 2 Samuel 14 indicates that King David has not reconciled with his son Absalom, who had killed his (Absalom’s) half-brother, Amnon, who had raped his (Absalom’s) sister, Tamar, in the previous chapter before he (Absalom) had gone into exile.  The entire incident of pseudo-reconciliation had been for the benefit of Joab.  The false reconciliation proved to be as useless as false grace, for Absalom, back from exile, was plotting a rebellion, which he launched in the next chapter.

The juxtaposition of Saul of Tarsus/St. Paul the Apostle, the paralyzed man, and Absalom is interesting and helpful.  Both Saul/Paul and Absalom had egos, but the former struggled with his self-image as he made a pilgrimage with Jesus.  Absalom, in contrast, did not strive to contain his ego.  No, he permitted it to control him.  We know little about the paralyzed man, but we may assume safely that a runaway ego was not among his problems.

If we are to walk humbly with God, we must contextualize ourselves relative to God.  We are, in comparison, but dust, and God is the proper grounding for human identity.  Proper actions will flow from appropriate attitudes.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL CUFFEE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO THE SHINNECOCK NATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT CASIMIR OF POLAND, PRINCE

THE FEAST OF EMANUEL CRONENWETT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MARINUS OF CAESAREA, ROMAN SOLDIER AND CHRISTIAN MARTYR, AND ASTERIUS, ROMAN SENATOR AND CHRISTIAN MARTYR

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

Adapted from this post:

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-proper-5-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

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

He Who Lives By the Sword…   1 comment

Above:  The Death of Absalom, by Gustave Dore

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

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.

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

2 Samuel 18:9-15, 24-19:3 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David.  Absalom was riding his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.  And a certain man saw it, and told Joab,

Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.

Joab said to the man who told him,

What, you saw him!  Why then did you not strike him there to the ground?  I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.

But the man said to Joab,

Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not put forth my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, “For my sake protect the young man Absalom.”  On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.

Joab said,

I will not waste time like this with you.

And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak.  And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.

(Joab orders Ahimaaz not to tell David what has happened.  Then Joab sends a Cushite to update David and decides after all to let Ahimaaz run after the Cushite.  Ahimaaz then passes the Cushite.)

Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone.  And the watchman called out and told the king.  And the king said,

If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.

And he came apace, and drew near.  And the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gate and said,

See, another man running alone!

The king said,

He also brings tidings.

And the watchman said,

I think the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.

And the king said,

He is a good man, and comes with good tidings.

Then Ahimaaz cried out out to the king,

All is well.

And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth, and said,

Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.

And the king said,

Is it well with the young man Absalom?

Ahimaaz answered,

When Joab sent your servant I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.

And the king said,

Turn aside, and stand here.

So he turned aside, and stood still.

And behold, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said,

Good tidings for my lord the king!  For the LORD has delivered you this day from the power of all who rose up against you.

The king said to the Cushite,

Is it well with the young man Absalom?

And the Cushite answered,

May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be like that young man.

And the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said,

O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!  Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

It was told Joab,

Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.

So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people; for the people heard that day,

The king is grieving for his son.

And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.

Psalm 86:1-6 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me,

for I am poor and in misery.

2 Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful;

save your servant who puts his trust in you.

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God;

I call upon you all the day long.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

5 For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving,

and great is your love toward all who call upon you.

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer,

and attend to the voice of my supplications.

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

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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

He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.  I refer to Joab, not Absalom.  This is what the 1968 Encyclopaedia Britannica says about Joab:

JOAB (fl. 1000 B.C.), Jewish military commander under King David, his mother’s brother, figures chiefly in the biblical second Book of Samuel.  He led the commando party which captured Jerusalem for David, and as a reward was appointed commander in chief of the army.  He played a leading part in many of David’s victories (e.g., against the Ammonites and Edomites) and led the loyal force which crushed the rebellion of David’s son Absalom.  Utterly devoted to David, Joab thought he knew David’s interests  better than David himself did; hence his killing of Absalom when David had commanded that his life be spared.  Joab showed characteristic ruthlessness in the treacherous murder of two of his potential rivals:  Abner, Saul’s former commander in chief, who had killed Joab’s brother Asahel, and Amasa, who mustered the men of Judah for David against the revel leader Sheba.  Joab obeyed under protest when ordered by David to carry out a national census.  During David’s last words he supported his son Adonijah’s abortive bid for the throne, and was executed by the successful Solomon.

This entry comes from Volume 13, page 2, by the way.

The 1962 Encyclopedia Americana (Volume 16, page 148) says this about him:

JOAB, King David’s nephew and commander in chief of his armies.  He helped put David on the throne by defeating Abner, military leader of Saul’s forces.  Later he killed Abner to avenge the earlier slaying of his own brother Asahel, and possibly to remove a dangerous rival to his power.  He conducted David’s foreign wars and put down Absalom’s revolt, slaying Absalom with his own hands.  David then attempted to supercede him with Amasa, Absalom’s general, whom Joab also assassinated to retain his position.  He assisted David in putting to death Uriah the Hittite, the first husband of Bath-sheba.  Finally, he supported Adonijah, David’s rightful heir, against Bath-sheba’s son Solomon.  For this Solomon had put him to death, allegedly at the behest of dying David (I Kings 2:28-34).

Sometimes Joab obeyed his uncle and king; other times he did not.  Joab killed others who threatened his position, until Solomon had him killed.  The pattern of Joab’s life led to the manner of his death.

Of course, bad things do happen to good people, and sometimes nonviolent people die violently.  For example, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., advocated nonviolent social and political change but each man died because somebody shot him.  And Jesus, was not violent, but agents of the Roman Empire put him to death via execution.  Often people who seek to appeal to the best elements of human nature die because they anger people interested in nurturing the worst elements of human nature.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that those who live by the sword have set themselves on a course which will end badly.  This rule applies to nations as well as people; those nation-states, kingdoms, and empires which seek enemies more often than friends succeed in that goal, but fail in the long term to establish stability and peaceful relations with neighbors.  They might gain short-term military glory, but, in the long term, it is better to have more allies and friends than enemies.

God, as I understand God via Jesus, is the deity of shalom, a word with many meanings.  Translated as peace, hello, and goodbye, shalom means far more.  The Oxford Companion to the Bible explains (on page 578)  that shalom can refer to all of the following:

  • Health
  • Restoration to health
  • General well-being (including sound sleep, length of life, a tranquil death, and physical safety)
  • Good relations between peoples and nations
  • Tranquility and contentment
  • Wholeness
  • Soundness
  • Completeness
  • Peace in God

Joab was not on the path of shalom.

May you, O reader, and I be on and stay on that path, however.  Shalom to you.  Shalom to your relatives, friends, and neighbors.  Shalom to your enemies.  Shalom to people you will never know.  Shalom to the United States.  Shalom to all nations.  Shalom to the State of Israel.  Shalom to the Palestinian Authority.  Shalom to everybody.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BASIL THE GREAT, FATHER OF EASTERN MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCH

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/week-of-4-epiphany-tuesday-year-2/

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

Posted January 11, 2012 by neatnik2009 in 2 Samuel 18, 2 Samuel 19, Psalm 86

Tagged with , , ,