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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Life and Times of King David part 2

"The Lord gave you into my hand in the cave...but I spared you." 1 Samuel 24.10
In an En-gedi cave like this, David spared Saul's life, even though Saul was trying
to kill him. He and his men also hid out in these caves, whose cool recesses
offered shelter not only from men but from the blazing heat of the desert
The Life and Times of King David

part 2

With his great victory, David was now a sports hero so to speak. Now a full fledged leader in the army of the king, his victories mounted and grew.  He had sudden fame and glory and all the women came out of the city singing his praises.

“Saul has slain his thousands, David his tens of thousands!”

Saul had promoted David due to his prowess in battle, and the obvious advantage of having someone with God’s hand on him didn’t hurt either. The public adoration for David didn’t help him in the eyes of the king. Naturally, he began to distrust David’s inner motives. Suspicion of a threat to his throne grew within Saul.

Still suffering from the fits of madness, he twice throws his javelin at David, attempting to impale him. David was younger and more agile and thus able to avoid the javelin. Saul, however, couldn’t admit this advantage over himself and saw it as obvious help from God in David’s ability to avoid certain death. This only added to his suspicions of a threat to the throne. No matter how many times he sent him out to meet the Philistines in battle, they failed to kill the boy. David’s popularity, and obvious favor of God over Saul, began to steam roll in the constituency.

Saul then offered his eldest daughter to David in marriage, if he won even more victories. David never married her however, since Saul abruptly gives her to another. But he tries again with his younger daughter Michal, who had a bad jones for the young hero. The price of marriage? 100 Philistine foreskins. A task I cannot imagine: circumcising 100 dead men and collecting their penis skin. Oh my!

Saul must have thought this impossible if not repulsive and surely David would get himself killed trying such a stunt. Please make sure they are all dead first, or you’ll have quite the fight on your hands! But David brought back 200 foreskins instead. Michal was his, and seemingly David was invincible.

Saul then called on Jonathan to kill David. But Jonathan pleaded David’s case siting his service and record, and Saul relented. They even reconciled for a time, but it was only a temporary respite.

Even Michal got into the act of going against he father for the sake of David. Upon hearing of Saul’s plan to have soldiers bring him to the palace to be slain, she warned him to save his life. She tried to fool the soldiers when they arrived  with the phoney “pillow under the covers routine” and claims that David was ill and couldn’t be moved, but the soldiers didn’t fall for it and discovered the ruse.

"And the servants of David went out and met the servants
of the son of Saul at the pool of Gibeon.... and the battle
was very fierce that day" 2 Samuel 2.13, 17
The probable scene of this encounter a stair well that leads
down to the water table. This was discovered in 1956 by archeaologists.
It was a circular pit , 37 feet across, cut from solid rock to a depth of 82 feet.
Almost 3,000 tons of limestone had to be removed. Village women would have
to descend the stair and then climb back up with water pots on their heads.
The 79 step climb must have made for some well toned ladies.

David had fled in the night, and ended up in Ramah, a few miles away, in the safety of Samuel the prophet. Saul pursued him there, but God intervened and had the soldiers and Saul himself become overwhelmed with a type of religious dancing in praise of God.

David then secretly met with Jonathan to discuss the problem and asked him just what it was he had done to deserve the wrath of Saul. Jonathan assured David that Saul would have no success at killing him and the two men renewed their friendship.

The feast of the new moon was the next night, and as tradition would have it, David was obligated to be at table with Saul. When he wasn’t there Saul was furious, and Jonathan had to lie to Saul with the excuse that David had been given leave to visit his brothers in Bethlehem.

In the morning, after an evening of near death from his own father’s javelin tossing, Jonathan met with David secretly in the field, and the two  said farewell for the time being. They both knew that David would now be a wandering outlaw in the wilderness until Saul’s death.

David then moved on to Nob, where he received the sword of Goliath which had been left in the care of Ahimelech the priest. No doubt thinking that he would not be found in the Philistine town of Gath, he fled there, only to be seized by the King’s soldiers. When brought to King Achish, David faked madness like a man in a rubber room.

Achish of course, tossed David out, as David had expected. In his day, the insane were thought to be touched by the divine, and therefore inviolable. The Philistines released him and he fled to a cave in Adullam, near the border between the two territories of Judah and the Philistines.

In this area all those who were the outcast, the indebted, the receivers of Saul’s ire, and those considered a rebel, gathered around David. They survived off of the kindness of local shepherds and farmers and kept one step ahead of Saul’s pursuit. In time, the followers of David grew, and became a small army of rebels unto themselves.

David’s army soon encountered the philistines in battle and overran a force at Keliah. With 400 men under his command, he soon demanded tribute from the settlements in the hills. Nabal from  Carmel, a rich man who owed David tribute, refused to pay and David planned to march against the town. Abigail, Nabal’s wife moved quickly however, and brought David tribute on the way from town. Nabal was so incensed that he had a cardiac arrest and died.

Due to the days in which he lived, a King’s power was often measured by how many wives he had in his harem. (That would make someone I know very, very weak!) And David married Abigail in recognition for saving him from something called “blood guilt”. He was loath to avenge himself by his own hand.

Saul, however, had continued his pursuit of David and had killed Ahimelech and his family for the kindness he had shone to David. The priest's son had escaped Saul and warned David to run from the enclosed town of Keilah, and David once again avoided Saul.

David and his men led the life of guerilla fighters in Judah. They offered protection to those who fed them and wrentched provisions from the uncooperative rich. Like Robin Hood, they shared with the poor, all the while harassing king Saul's men. In this rendering, the meal would be lentils and figs with goat's milk. Weapons and water flasks were enough of a burden to carry without the cares of food maintainence. Living on the run required a light travel bag.

Saul followed David and his men to the edge of the Dead Sea. He stopped to “drain the dragon” in a cave that held David and his men in the back, where they were hiding. David got close enough to have killed Saul, but refused to think of such a thing as he still held the King in his position.  Instead, he cut off part of Saul’s garment and then when Saul was a good distance away, he called to him, waving the garment piece, and displaying his innocence of any claim to the throne.

Saul was tearfully repentant upon the realization of what he had done, but still could not rid himself of his hatred for David. Such is the result of physical addiction to internal emotions. Later on David would again sneak into camp where Saul was sleeping, and took his spear. Easily the young King could have killed his tormentor, but instead he continued to hold him in honor.

Once again, David had spared the life of his aggressor.

More on this in the next installment   

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