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, November 11, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Life and Times of King David part 5

The Life and 
Times of King

part 5

When king David finally learned about his son’s insurrection, it was almost too late. His court had become divided over his leadership and the people had formed a social movement in favor of Absalom. Now aged and an unlikely competitor for the younger man, David was forced to flee his capital, across the Jordan to Mahanaim. Several hundred of his loyal followers went with him as he made his way east. These consisted of his servants, his runners, his soldiers and his household. However, his priests Abiathar and Zadok remained behind to report on Absalom’s actions.

Absalom's Pillar, which he built to himself, still exists.
Once outside the capital, David could then see the mood of the people. An old man assaulted him with rocks and curses. But to many of the people it looked as if David had given up the throne to Absalom. Many of them wept as he passed by, but in Jerusalem, Absalom took the capital without a struggle.

The chief adviser to Absalom recommended an immediate attack on Mahanaim, before David could gather his armies. He had about 12,000 men under his command, more than enough to claim victory if he did indeed act swiftly. But a second adviser told Absalom to mobilize all of Israel against his father. This man, Hushai, had pledged allegiance to Absalom but in reality he was a double agent for David. His suggestion was a play for time as David gathered his forces.

“You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and your father is expert in war.” Hushai told Absalom. There was enough truth in that statement to deter the young king long enough, and when he did finally attack, David was ready for him.

The battle was a rout, as the conscripted rookies of Absalom went up against the battle tested veterans of David’s troops. Thousands died in the battle and even though David had requested Absalom be spared, Joab took Absalom out as he hung from a tree by his own hair.

When notified, David went into mourning over his son. He had a great love for his children no matter what they had done to him, and he sequestered himself away in his bedroom. Joab knew that David risked losing his supporter by isolating himself and he confronted the King. “You shame those who love you today,” he told the king. “You make it clear that commanders and servants mean nothing to you as you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. If you don’t go out and speak to your men, then by morning there will be no one left!”

Joab was probably right and when David felt shame by his general’s accusation, he did indeed go out to the people. But before he could return to his capital a new cry of insurrection erupted.  A man named Sheba, a Benjaminite, made one last effort to split the kingdom that was now under one rule. Joab, loyal to a fault, followed Sheba  to the town of Abel, and the people of the town , in an effort to save their own hides, cut off Sheba’s head an threw it over the wall to Joab. Both insurrections and Sheba were now dead.

Adonija, David’s eldest surviving son, was now heir apparent. But at this time there was no precedent for succession to the throne. He was deeply concerned about the influence of Bathsheba, mother to his half brother Solomon. She had the powerful palace clique behind her and David was old and on his last legs. Adonijah had both Joab and the high priest Abiathar on his team, and he decided the time was ripe to strike. He took it upon himself to declare his King ship of Israel, and performed all the required activities for doing so. His supporters gathered for a festive banquet to celebrate.

When Bathsheba heard of this from the prophet Nathan, she went directly to the bedridden King. She told him of his son’s treacherous actions and reminded him of his promise to make Solomon king.

David immediately ordered the appointment of Solomon as King of Israel and gathered all of Solomon’s supporters for his own inauguration. When Adonijah’s followers heard the news, they quickly abandoned him. Adonijah sought sanctuary in the temple and was spared by Solomon. 

Bathsheba presents Solomon to his father the King

By this time, David, former shepherd, had reigned in Jerusalem 33 years. The about the year 960 B.C., he died in a good old age, full of years, riches and honor. He had broadened the borders of Israel, and made her richer with the spoils of  war. He left a golden age for his son Solomon who would succeed him in a time of unprecedented peace. To the world he left the city of Jerusalem, and of course, his beloved psalms.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Life and Times of King David part 4

The procession of a King's Death
The Life and Times of
King David

part 4

Saul had created the first standing army in Israel’s history. David then took it and expanded it. The cream of the armed forces were known as the “thirty”. These were the men who had fought by David’s side in his outlaw days. They formed his honorary army council and served as sort of the “congress” of the army. Under Joab they commanded the two separate branches of David’s regular military army. One branch was recruited from the Sea people, Cretans and Aegeans, among others. The second branch was formed entirely from the assimilated Philistines.

Bodyguards for the King and the palace were formed from the men of Gath, or Gittites. These were men who also ran with David during the exile.

The army had some 2,000 well trained regulars,  and there were also territorial contingents who could be called upon as were needed. These men came from the Israelite tribes and came in groups of 10, 50, 100 and 1,000 each and were lead by their own commanders.

The tools of defense were swords, javelins and spears. Armor was a helmet, a breast plate, leg guards and a leather covered wooden shield. Territorial accompaniments had to buy their own equipment. One of which, the two edged sword, was a tool of the wealthy. The rest used Ox goads, rough lances, wooden bows and arrows. Also included: bludgeons, axes and the sling.

With such a force at hand, and the elimination of the Philistine threat, David moved east toward the Jordan river. He launched wars of expansion  which took advantage of the crumbling Babylonian empire. The Hittites were no longer a power in the Near East, and the Hurrians had been destroyed by the Hittites and Assyrians. The Assyrians themselves at this time were not in a position for further military aggression. Internal strife in the Egyptian administration had weakened them  to the point that David would have to be ignored no matter whose toes he stepped on. David’s intel had notified him of all of these advantages  for a free hand in the area and he took swift action to capitalize on the situation.

David’s forces rolled in he area. He defeated one after another, the peoples who were living there: the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Moabites, and then he took out the last of the Amelikites. The latter, for those who do not know, are considered the remaining vestige of the Nephilhelm, those mixed of human and demon descent.

He stretched his kingdom south from Edom, rich in copper mines, to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. This gave Israel a potential port. Eventually, Solomon would trade from there with Arabia and Africa. When David conquered the Arameans of eastern Syria, he gained control of all trade routes to the Euphrates river.

David took part in may of those campaigns, but usually it was the brilliant commander Joab who lead the troops while David stayed at the capital. On one such an occasion, when he should have been out leading the troops in battle, David allowed his idleness to get the best of him and create gateway for other problems. Above the city, on his palace roof, he looked down and saw Bathsheba bathing.
Bathsheba enticingly bathed in the open, but for most women
of her day, this was done indoors. Unscented oil was used like cold
cream to remove dirt, then scented oil would follow.

She was the wife of a Hittite soldier named Uriah. At the time he was with Joab battling the Ammonites. David, feeling that he was King after all, sent for Bathsheba and they tripped the light fantastic. She did, however, become pregnant by the king.

David immediately called Uriah home to his wife, no doubt believing that the lines between his child and Uriah’s child needed to be blurred as soon as possible for the up and coming date.  Uriah, however, refused to return home. Instead he slept with his buddies at the door of the King’s house. A soldier in battle, kept himself sacramentally clean, and this meant no slap and tickle during war time. David then had to resort to legal murder in order to cover up the impending results of his dalliance. This meant legal murder.  David had Joab send Uriah up front in the upcoming battle and then pull back behind him in order that he may be killed in action.
A clay figurine of the period

Uriah was of course killed, and Bathsheba went into mourning. When the time was over, David married her, and soon after she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with David’s soap opera movements, and he sent Nathan the prophet, to David.

The story was now well known throughout the country and Nathan addressed the King and said, “ Thus says the God of Israel, I anointed you King over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master’s house... and also that of Israel and Judah... and if this were too little I would add to you much more. Why have you done evil in the Lord’s sight?”

David accepted his guilt and confessed to his sin against God. He probably expected Nathan to pronounce a death sentence, but Nathan assured him that he was not to die. However, the child to be born would indeed die, and Nathan left him with that.

The child lay ill for six days and David did all he could to entreat the Lord to change his mind about the fate of the boy. But on the seventh day, the child did die. David, revealing the thoughts of those at the time as to what happens when we die, stated that it was he who would go to the child but the child would never return to him.  Thus David had to live with the results of caving in to his own lust, as a fine officer and his own son, met their ends at his own hands. Bathsehba, however, would be the one to bear his future son, the future King Solomon.

Israel had become rich and secure under David, but as time passed he had become less and less of a favored celebrity. Fat with prosperity, and military superiority, the Israelites resented the taxes they had to pay, and the conscription of troops.  David’s third born son, Absalom, took full advantage of the disgruntled populace.

David’s daughter, Tamar, had been raped by Amnon, David’s oldest son, and Absalom had him killed for it two years later. This was, however, a political move more than an act of vengeance, as Absalom had now been placed in the position  of heir apparent. Tamar, never recovered.

Absalom then ran from what he knew would be David’s anger toward him. With the help of Joab, he managed a reconciliation with David a few years later. Unsatisfied, he then began to plot a rebellion among the people, hoping to gain David’s kingdom.

Absalom started politicking in the public squares and speaking out against his father’s negligence as a judge and telling the people what they wanted to hear from their leadership. He showed off before them with pomp and circumstance  and turned many toward him as they became sold on his campaign.

For four years he campaigned against David while showing himself to be both proud and humble to the populace. Then suddenly he left for Hebron, with 200 of his followers. He told his people, “As soon as you hear the trumpet say: Absalom is King at Hebron!”

The time for open rebellion had come.

.. and ever since David’s dalliance with Bathsheba, strife had never left his home.

more on this next time.    


Escape The Hezbollah