Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Life and Times of King David

The Life and Times 
Of King David
David, Israel’s greatest leader, defeated the Philistines and subdued them, breaking their power forever. His gifts as a poet, soldier and statesman make him, of all Israel’s kings, the most beloved by his people and the most respected by his enemies.

A brilliant leader, decisive and just, David transformed Israel from a weak and divided kingdom into a formidable empire. This transformation paralleled his own progress from shepherd to king. Throughout his life he was loyal to the Lord and the prophets, a fact that brought him victory against his foes and forgiveness for every human weakness, His colorful court history, written by a close friend, makes him better known to us than any other Old Testament person.

David was indeed, the Lord’s anointed one.

Toward the end of the eleventh century B.C., Israel was finally getting a leg up on its hated enemies, the Philistines. Under the direction of King Saul, several victories had given them the advantage in the foothills and valleys of central Canaan. Saul, however, butted heads with the prophet Samuel more and more. Samuel felt that all too often the King had ignored the special privileges of the prophet’s position. Samuel was soon told to anoint a new monarch for the young kingdom of Israel.

“I repent that I have made Saul king,” said the Lord to Samuel, “for he has turned back from following me, and has not performed my commands.” He ordered Samuel to go to the land of Judah “to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

Samuel feared that Saul would kill him if he learned of the selection of a new king. The Lord reassured him and Samuel then headed for Judah. When he arrived the people were alarmed to see him. The elders came to him asking if he did indeed come in peace. He told them he had come in peace to sacrifice to the Lord, and requested that Jesse and his sons be present.

But when he saw the seven boys that Jesse brought with him, he told them that the Lord had not chosen any of them.

“Are all of your sons here?” Asked Samuel.

“There remains yet the youngest,” responded Jesse, “but he is keeping the sheep.”

“Send and fetch him,” ordered the prophet and David, who was “ruddy... had beautiful eyes, and was handsome,” was brought in.

“Arise, anoint him... this is he,” said the Lord to Samuel. The prophet did as he was commanded and... “the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.”
The Negeb landscape where David hid from Saul
David was then sent back to the hills, where he wandered with the flock of sheep and goats during the day seeking good pasture. The wells in the hills provided the water the animals needed.  In the summer he would sleep with his animals under the sky, curled up in a sheepskin coat. The winter months were guarded against with a tent, cave or stone sheepfold. He ate lots of bread, cheese and olives. The hours were long and lonely and David used this time to play his lyre and write songs. He also gained a widespread knowledge of the territory and rugged terrain of Judea.

As a shepherd he carried a studded club, almost three feet long to protect the flock from predators, and humans alike. He also carried a leather sling which he had made himself. He could throw stones for a considerable distance with it, and developed a great accuracy. With it he could warn an errant sheep of going astray or fell a wolf, bear and even a lion. In his day this is a close as one came to missile defense systems, but it was accurate nonetheless.

David continued his life as a shepherd even after his anointing by Samuel, while at Gibeah, only seven miles away, Saul, unaware of David, continued to war with the Philistines. Breaking with Samuel he fell into deep depression. At times, he approached madness, for the Spirit of God had left him and an evil spirit tormented his mind. His servants suggested that music may indeed clam his mind.

“Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me,” ordered Saul.

One of his men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse who is skillful in playing and the Lord is with him.”

David was sent for and brought to the castle at Gibeah. It was more of a fort than a royal palace in design and was only two stories tall and rather plain in decor. David played his lyre and sang for the king, and, as his servants had hoped, “Saul was refreshed and the evil spirit departed from him.”

Saul came to love the young musician, in a way of admiration and gratitude, not philio. He then appointed the young boy armor bearer. But David never forsook his families’s duties and traveled back and forth from the palace to his father’s home to care for his sheep at Bethlehem.
Valley of Elah

David was then attending to the flock while Saul was arrayed for battle against the Philistines at the Valley of Elah, in the foothills of the Judean mountains. Three of David’s brothers were in the army of Saul. David’s father sent him to them with some parched grain and ten loaves of bread as well as 10 cheeses for their commander. “See how your brothers fare,” charged Jesse.
As David arrived he could hear the clamor of the Philistines as they lined up for battle. He left his gifts with the keeper of the baggage and searched out his brothers. He ignored their commands to leave and when Goliath stepped out to challenge the army, David was in its ranks.

Goliath challenged them to send their best man out to go mano a mano with him. The bet was for the victor of the fight to the death to lead his people into mastery of the populace.

These sorts of duels between warriors, to decide  the victory between two armies were common place. Sometimes the duels were only between two men, as the term duel would suggest, but at other times they involved groups of elite fighting men who would face each other. The soon to be King David would himself have a group of three men who were such a team. They were known as his greatest warriors. Commanders often loved this sort of thing for it cut way down on military attrition of soldiers. When one considers that an army may have only 12,000 soldiers, it is easy to see why this was the case. The Israelites however, rarely practiced this custom.
David and the slingshot

Goliath was about nine feet eight inches tall. He had the best armor, a bronze helmet and had chain mail that weighed 150 pounds. Greaves of bronze adorned his legs and a huge spear was slung between his shoulders. The spear was so large that its head weighed 20 pounds or so. Just image how long and thick this rod had to be in order to be effective.

No one answered Goliath’s challenge. But David, standing close by, wondered aloud who the hell this Philistine with a foreskin was who dared to challenge the armies of the living God! Saul himself warned him to check his mouth and get back to daddy, but David instead ran out to meet the giant.

Using his field tested missile defense system to the amazement of the armies surrounding him and the giant, he actually felled the Philistine.  He then ran over and beheaded the giant. In the time it takes to throw a stone, the Philistines had lost the battle and a hero was born.

David beheads Goliath
Jonathan, the prince of Israel, was deeply impressed and gave David his best sword, girdle and bow. They made a covenant of friendship that day which would stand the test of time.

more on David and his lifetime in the next segment.

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