Old Testament/New Testament – spot the difference

Not that I have actually read the New Testament yet…


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Cartoons to be struck by lightning for…

OK, so there’s a slender chance the scribblings I put down about the Old Testament will see the light of day some day.  In the meantime, some fun – and extremely blasphemous – cartoons.


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Picking and choosing, choosing and picking…

Hot damn. I finished the Old Testament.  All it took was a very very long train journey (like, from Beijing to Moscow).  And I kept notes of what was worth blogging (Not. That. Much).  And it will drib and drab out over time.  Meanwhile, here’s a corking cartoon (from here).

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Forged – Writing in the Name of God etc

Bart Ehrman is used to it. The University of North Carolina religious studies professor stoked evangelical ire with his previous bestsellers The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed  and Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. He’s doing it again with Forged: Writing in the Name of God — Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (HarperOne, 2011).

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Solomon cometh and goeth: 1 Kings 1 to 11

David snuffs it, despite being wrapped in virgins.
Solomon creates his own little Treadstone of wetwork before he becomes king and –
* almost does conjoined infant surgery
* builds a gaudy temple and a gaudy palace
* gets in a sex haze and worships the wrong gods
* and finally dies.

1 Kings 1
Oh boy, would I like to end up in a nursing home with these perks!

Verse 1-2 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

Up turns Abishag, very fair, but she is not shagged – “The king knew her not”.
Here comes trouble

Verse 5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Some, but not all, follow him, and Nathan (the prophet) goes to Bath-sheba and gives her advice so Solomon will be king.
So she goes to David to wise him up to the usurpation.

Verse 20-1 And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

And Nathan turns up, as planned, and David orders Solomon be anointed as his successor. It’s done and

Verse 40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

This displeases Adonijah, naturally. And scares his supporters.

Verse 49 And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.

And Solomon says he may or may not whack Adonijah…

Verse 52 And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.

Can’t say fairer than that. Solomon summons Adonijah, who then gets sent home.

1 Kings 2
Torch is handed to new generation…

Verse 1-2 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;

Obey the Lord, kill that lying fracker Joab.

Verse 6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.

David maybe holding a grudge from being scolded?
Oh, and David says “I promised not to kill Shimei with a sword, so you’re gonna have to kill him somehow else…”

Verse 8-9 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.

With David, you always have to read the fine print, eh? Or had to, since the turd is dead, and not before time. Good riddance.

Verse 10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

Adonijah comes to Bath-sheba whining about how unfair it is, he was the Popular Choice for king. His consolation prize? He wants it to be Abishag the unshagged nurse to David.

Bath-sheba asks Solomon “can I have a favour.” “Yes, whatever you like.” “Give Abishag to Adonijah.” “The bastard DIES TODAY!!” Nice way to keep your word, Solomon.

Verse 24 Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.

Solomon gets Benaiah to do the wetwork, but there’s pushback from the priestly class over this extra-judicial murder…
So Solomon sacks the troublesome priest. Joab gets nervous, flees. Benaiah, who’s rapidly becoming Solomon’s favourite Treadstone agent, finds Joab, who says “I’ll die here at the altar thank you, I ain’t going back to Solomon.” Benaiah calls that in to HQ. “Kill him then” says Solomon, citing the deaths of Abner and Amasa as justification.

Verse 33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD.

And Solomon puts Shimei under house arrest in Jerusalem, on pain of death. This works, but after some years Shimei is gone to Gath following some runaway slaves. Solomon hears about this AWOL and says

Verse 44 The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;

Benaiah does the killing. “And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.”

1 Kings 3
And Solomon parties like it’s 1979 .

Verse 1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

God turns up in a dream and gives Solomon a wish.
Solomon wisely wishes for the wisdom of Solomon.

Verse 9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

In dreams begin responsibility and all that…
God’s chuffed and maybe relieved (though not surprised, obviously)

Verse 11-2 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee

And as a sign or respect/love/whatever, Solomon ALSO gets riches and honour and a provisional offer of a long life…

Verse 14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

And Solomon wakes up, goes to the ark of the covenant, makes offerings and feeds his servants. And who should turn up but the two women disputing over one baby. One explains about the other…

Verse 19 -20 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
20: And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

Solomon calls for his sword, to perform some ad hoc surgery on conjoined twins … well, one healthy baby actually. In Joseph Heller’s “God Knows” it’s because Solomon is a bit dim – makes Palin look like Einstein sort of dim.

Verse 26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

Solomon gives the baby to the one who didn’t like the surgery idea, cos she’s defo the mum. And this impresses folks?!

Verse 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

1 Kings 4
List of Solomon’s crew. Yawn.

Verse 7 And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.

List of them, yawn. Then some poetic bits.

Verse 20-1 Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

And everything’s good, and Solomon’s really smart blah blah

Verse 32-3 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

1 Kings 5
Hiram, one of David’s chums, is told by Solomon about the plans for a BIG Temple, and asked to provide cedar trees out of Lebanon.
Hiram’s delighted to get the contract (non-competitive tenders are great if you’re winning them) and talks delivery methods.

Verse 9 My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.

And Solomon sends a big old workforce to Lebanon, and they come back with great stones, costly stones and hewed stones. If the foundations be deployed, what can the righteous do???

1 Kings 6
And we get architectural blueprints of the Temple, which is a prefab sprout..

Verse 7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

God pitches in with a reminder of His promise.
And these nouveau riche types. They just don’t have Taste.

Verse 21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.

Gaudy, gaudy, gaudy.
Oh gawd, more gaud. And finally, it’s built. Seven years…

1 Kings 7
His own house took 13 years. And we get its dimensions. Cubits of this, cubits of that. Brass this, Gold that. I think I prefer smiting.

1 Kings 8
The ark of the covenant gets wheeled out.

Verse 5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.

God chuffed, Solomon grandstanding.
And Sol wisely does some pre-emptive begging for hypotheticals.

Verse 47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;

And some incipient Lord’s Prayer

Verse 50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:

Solomon finally shuts up, throws a big party.

Verse 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

1 Kings 9
Construction complete, God turns up in a dream with the same threat/promise. Obey and live long and prosper or Disobey and mayhem and stuff will result.

Verse 7-8 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?

Solomon seems to have misjudged the reward to his loyal cedar contractor.

Verse 12 -3 And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not. And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.

But (after some political geography – yawn) Solomon and Hiram seem to have patched things up, because Solomon makes a Red Sea navy

Verse 27-8 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

1 Kings 10
Ah, here comes trouble…

Verse 1-2 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

He tells all, shows all, and she’s ruefully convinced…

Verse 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

She showers loads of gives (120 talents of gold, spices, stones) on Solomon, and meanwhile the navy’s doing well

Verse 11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

Almug? Wikipedia says “According to the Book of First Kings (1 Kings 10:12), and the Second Book of Chronicles (II Chronicles 2:8; 9:10-11), it was used, together with cedar and pine, in the construction of Solomon’s Temple including the crafting of musical instruments for use in the Temple. Likely the wood was brought by the ships of Tarshish, sent from the Red Sea port of Ezion-Giber, from the distant country of Ophir, and was very valuable.”
Sheba goes home. She could at least have left Solomon with some taste. Here we go again…

Verse 18-9 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.

And Solomon makes Monty Burns look like a sink council-estate dosser.

1 Kings 11
I’m getting a little jealous of this Solomon clown.

Verse 1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

But his 700 wives and princesses and 300 concubines befuddle him, since they come from peoples worshipping other gods, and in a sex haze your brain does funny things.

Verse 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

He starts worshiping Ashtoreth and Milcom in the middle.
And he must be senile. Does he not know what happens when you do this?

Verse 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

That’s dysrationalia, plain and simple.
Sure enough, God gets peeved and

Verse 14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.

And God seems to have done some convenient time travel stuff here, or set the ball rolling while still being all lovey dovey with Solomon, because the chronologies don’t add up.

Verse 21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.

I mean, it’s all time-y wime-y.
And some other rebels are promising future spoils for present support. Always a risky strategy…

Verse 30-1 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

And voila, Solomon’s dead.

Verse 42-3 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

Good place to stop for the day. Rehoboam is toast, me feels…

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Absolom absolutely dead, Joab berates David and God changes his mind: 2 Samuel 17 to 24

Loads of people die, including Absolom.
Joab does some upward management, since his boss is a bit clueless…
In which Joab gets given head by a wise woman.

2 Samuel 17
Ahithophel offers to do a surgical strike on David

Verse 2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only:

Husai, David’s spy is asked his opinion on the black op, and says “bad idea, David will be hiding sin some pit. He manages to convince Absolom to do a full frontal assault
He gets word back to David to peg it.
A couple of David’s spies have to hide in a well to evade capture.
David legs it over the Jordan, and Ahithophel not only resigns but declares they can take his pensions and shove it…

Verse 23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.

Absolom is on the hunt for David. And David is given provisions…

Verse 28-9 Brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.

2 Samuel 18
David wants to lead from the front,

Verse 3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.

And as they soldiers are leaving, David is heard telling the three commanders to deal gently with Absolom.
There’s your standard big bloody battle in the wood of Ephraim.

Verse7-8 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

And Absolom goes out on a limb…

Verse 9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

And Joab berates a witness for not taking the opportunity to smite Absolom. The witness points out David’s given orders… Joab gets irritated and takes executive action…

Verse 14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.

Ok, this is beautiful, and doubtless will lead to Joab getting his head cut off or some such…

Verse 15 -17 And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.

Joab sends one messenger to tell David nothing, and another begs to be allowed to follow with actual news. Joab consents, David gets the “no news” and then the “Absolom’s very dead” news in quick succession.

Verse 33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

2 Samuel 19
David’s major moping mangles morale. Joab’s justifiably jagged.

Verse 5-6 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.

How’s this for reading your boss the riot act!!!

Verse 7 Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

David schlepps back to Jerusalem to be king again, and Shimei begs for mercy. Abishai the son of Zeruiah wants Shimei to shimmy off this mortal coil at the hand of David. David seems tired off all the blood-letting…

Verse 22-3 And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.

And David isn’t too pissed at a servant who didn’t leg it with him. And he lets an 80 year old who kept his army fed stay put and die in his own city, sending his son Chimham as a substitute.
And there’s a people of Judah/people of Israel barney too…

2 Samuel 20
Sheba leads the Israel side against the Judah side.
David does a Bluebeard on his harem…

Verse 3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.

He orders Amasa to get everyone together in three days. Amasa, amazingly, tarries overlong. David gets impatient. Joab, well, Joab breaks that ‘Though Shalt Not Kill” commandment…

Verse 10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

And they besiege a town called Abel. A “wise woman” in the town strikes a deal…

Verse 22 Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.

2 Samuel 21
And for Saul’s sins the poor and very young and old must, it seems, be punished. That’s a very sane and rational God, isn’t it…

Verse 1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

So David tries to buy them off, bu the Gibeonites don’t want silver or gold or property. What then?

Verse 5-6 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.

Sparing Mephibosheth (name presumably too long for a death certificate?) David keeps his end of the barbaric ritual.

Verse 9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

And the mother of the victims, Rizpah, is all upset (can’t think why). And David mixes Saul and Jonathan’s bones with the victims. Which is fine.
Oh, more war with the Philistines, and the amusingly named son of Goliath (sequels are always rubbish, no?)

Verse 16-7 And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David: But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.

More battles (sans David) and it turns out Goliath has some genetic issues…

Verse 20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.

2 Samuel 22
And David gives a massive shout-out to Da Lord.

Verse 21 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

And there’s 51 brilliant verses of this…

2 Samuel 23
Ah, at last, David’s dying.
And we get a list of the martial accomplishments of his crew. Including defending a …lentil patch.

Verse 11-2 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

And David’s thirsty for some water from the well in Bethlehem, currently in Philistine hands.

Verse 16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

Then a very tedious list of people under David’s command, including, um Uriah the Hittite. You know, Bath-sheba’s husband who didn’t appreciate being cuckolded and was sent on a suicide mission?

2 Samuel 24
God’s pissed, wants a war. David tells Joab to get an order of battle.

Verse 2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.

Joab and co kvetch, but follow orders.

Verse 9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

David has senseless census-orderers remorse and apologises to God.
And via Gad the prophet God gives David a choice of seven years famine, three months running away from the enemy or three days of pestilence.
And David plumps for three days in Punishment Park, which kills seventy thousand men “from Dan even to Beer-sheba”.
And God seems here to change his mind! Either that or not be omniscient…

Verse 16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.

David doesn’t want collateral damage, wants only him and his father’s house punished. So following Gad’s instructions he builds an altar on someone’s threshingfloor, insisting on paying the price and not using the guy’s burnt offerings, presumably in case God should think David a schnorrer.
And apparently altars and burning stuff stops plagues….

Verse 25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

Should someone tell the CDC?

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Rape, murder, treason; another normal kinda OT day: 2 Samuel 9 to 16

So, David shags Bath-sheba, sends off her husband (Uriah) to die. God is pissed off.  Amnon rapes his cousin, Tamar and gets killed by Absolom, who goes rogue.

2 Samuel 9
David tracks down Jonathan’s lame son, who throws himself to the ground and presumably wonders if he’s about to be executed. David reassures him

Verse 7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

David tells the servant he will serve. “Right on” says the servant. And David seems keen to redeem himself in the eyes of the disability community…

Verse 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

2 Samuel 10
David sends a good will gesture of servants to a grieving son of a King. But for reasons that escape me, folks are suspicious of David. Can’t think why…

Verse 3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?

So for the servants/spies it’s a close shave.

Verse 4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.

They report back to David.

Verse 5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.

The Ammon lot hire a whole bunch of Syrian mercenaries.
David’s lieutenant Joab kicks some ass.

Verse 13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.

And David goes on a punitive raid over the river…

Verse17-8 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.

And the Syrians stop helping the children of Ammon. Simples.

2 Samuel 11
While Joab is out fighting and defending Israel, David is tarrying still at Jerusalem…

Verse 2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

Uh-oh, this is going to go Badly Wrong. For “Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
So the King gets what the King wants, droits de seigneur and all that…

Verse 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

But forsooeth, she is knockedeth uppeth.
David gets Uriah along for a chat and tries to buy him off with “a mess of meat.” Uriah is having none of it. David demands an explanation (probably by now convinced himself that Uriah is in the wrong!)

Verse 11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

David gets him drunk. Still no dice. So David then sends Uriah off to Joab with sealed orders, and it’s just like Freddie Forsyth’s “The Fourth Protocol

Verse 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

Joab does as he’s told, and sure enough, Uriah the Hittite is Hit.
Joab sends a messenger back to David, who sends a message back.
Meanwhile, Bath-sheba is told Uriah’s a heap of dirt now, and she mourns him.

Verse 27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

There may be trouble ahead…

2 Samuel 12
The Lord sent Nathan (angel? Emissary? What?) to tell David a story about a rich guy who used a poor guy’s only lamb to feed a stranger. David displays some myside bias.

Verse 5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

And then the trap is sprung…

Verse 7-9 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

Wriggle out of THAT one, David! Interesting that God blames David for killing Uriah, even though he didn’t actually pull the trigger. I mean, he only put a gunsight around him and encouraged the Ammonites not to retreat but to reload…
Anyhow, the Lord is seriously pissed off.

Verse 11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

Anyhow, the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons…

Verse 15-6 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

The kid dies and the servants are dead scared to tell David.

Verse 19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

David takes it well, changes clothes, worships the Lord, and eats what’s put in front of him. His servants are confused. David is pragmatic. While the kid lived, he fasted to ask God to keep the brat alive.

Verse 23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

And the grief fades enough for him to get jiggly.

Verse 24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.

Joab has almost won a battle, but wants David to finish it off in case the captured city got named after him.
David turns up, wins the battle and deals oddly with the captives. Torture or just humiliation?

Verse 31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 13
One of David’s sons has fallen for his cousin. NFN, surely?

Verse 2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

Amon’s “subtil” friend has a plan involving sick beds and asking David to ask Tamar to nurse Amnon.
It all goes to plan, he’s alone with her and says “wanna shag?”

Verse 12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

Then the little turd rapes her. And maybe projects some of his entirely justified self-loathing onto her.

Verse 15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

And he kicks her out.

Verse 19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

But at least her brother Absalom will do the right thing, right.

Verse 20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

Gee, victim of sexual assault told to shut up so her attackers reputation doesn’t suffer. Didn’t see that coming at all.
Still David hears about it, the fucking hypocrite is angry. Er, plank in own eye, much?
Oh Absolom, Absolom, now your uncle/father (it’s not clear) is pissed off, NOW you decide you don’t like the evil little rapist bastard? Nul points, mon ami.

Verse 22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

Two years later, on a sheeping trip, Absolum tries for revenge.

Verse 28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous and be valiant.

Amon’s killed, and everyone else flees. David initially is told all his sons are dead and that leads him to tare his garments etc, but then Jonadab (Amnon’s friend who hatched the plan that led to the goddam rape) says “Nah, it was just Amnon.”
The sons turn up at David’s, while Absolom quite sensibly runs for his life
And after three years

Verse 39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

2 Samuel 14
Joab, son of Zeruiah, (what a GREAT scrabble word that would be!) gets an actress to come to David with a tale that one of her sons killed the other and there’s revenge afoot and it’s all fugly.
It is of course, a trick to get David to lose his myside bias already. This is what good courtiers do, innit?
Ah, very poetic

Verse 14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him

Finally the shekel drops for David (obviously not the sharpest tool in the box) and he tells Joab to go fetch Absolom.

Verse 22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant.

Absolom, who’s pretty bling and has a very full head of hair, comes back. Has kids (including one he calls Tamar), but is not allowed to see David. So Absolom the ungrateful swine torches Joab’s fields.

Verse 30 Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.

Joab says “WTF?!!!” And Absolom explains his side of it.

Verse 32 And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.

And it’s arranged, with David giving Absolom a kiss of… absolution? Something else. Stay tuned…

2 Samuel 15
Absolum kits himself out with chariots and horses and a crew and says he’d make a better judge (than David), which is successful Perception Management.

Verse 6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

So after 40 years (shurely shome mishtake?) he asks David for long service leave to take a trip to Hebron. Granted.

Verse 10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.

David gets wind of the conspiracy when it is too late to stop it.

Verse 14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.

They’re all legging it and David tells a slave Ittai the Gittite that he’s free to go.

Verse 21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.

David insists, the Gittite gits.

Verse 24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.

David tells Zadok to take the ark back to Jerusalem and he may (God willing) follow.

Verse 30 And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

And David sends some guy called Hushai on a hush-hush spying mission, under cover of telling Absolom that David is willing to be his servant…

2 Samuel 16
Someone called Ziba brings provisions for David’s people.
David gets rocks thrown at him by Shimei, of the house of Saul, who tells David he’s getting exactly what he bally well deserves.

Verse 8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

Normally I disagree with these Fred Phelps types, but I’m willing to make an exception…
One of David’s lieutenants/sons wants to kill Shimei, but David says “nah, God’s telling him to say that. Who knows, maybe I’ll build up some karma points through forbearance…”

Verse 12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

Hushai tells Absolom there should be a referendum on who gets to be king.
Absolom asks his adviser what to do and they say “shag the concubines. That’ll piss off David, publicly, and your allies morale will go up “the hands of all that are with the be strong.”
So Absolum shags the concubines.

Verse 22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

And this advice is God’s way of influencing events, it appears…

Verse 23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

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