Apparently God felt like he has not had a good genocide in awhile, so Samuel tells Saul that God wants him to fight the Amalekites:
Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.Sault wins, but he disobeys Samuel's commands.
Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.This really annoys God, and he tells Samuel,
I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command.Now, I know that the Biblical conception of God changed over time, but it certainly feels odd to me, as someone use to a God who is considered all knowing and eternal, to have a feeling such as regret attributed to God. It seems downright ungodly.
Samuel tells Saul that he has lost God's favor and will lose his kingdom. He then kills the Amalekite king after telling him,
As your sword has killed the sons of many mothers, now your mother will be childless.I imagine that the Amalekite king, if he was thinking anything other than "I am about to get killed!" was thinking "Dude, Saul killed all the Amalekites but me and some animals. My mother is already dead." In short, way to be a jerk Samuel.
Samuel goes away from Saul along with God's favor. He secretly anoints David, the youngest son of many sons of Jesse. From that time, the Spirit of the Lord comes to David and leaves Saul. Instead, God sends Saul tormenting demons,
Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.Not very nice, but then again, God hasn't killed significant number of Israelites in ages. He's probably getting antsy.
Today's reading contains the well known story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus tells the woman's accusers,
All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!According to my reading, this whole story is not found in the most ancient manuscripts. The funny thing is that my translation put that note at the very end of yesterday's reading. It's almost like they wanted to put a day of separation between the implication that this well known story may not be authentic and the story itself.
Jesus then goes on to "respond" to people who, like me, get frustrated that Jesus just goes around declaring himself to be God's son and wonderful and the way to salvation and all that:
The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”
Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”So Jesus' response is that his self testimony is valid because he knows that it is true and because his non-present Father whose voice only he can tell supposedly corroborates his testimony? Any deluded lunatic with an imaginary friend can claim as much. There is still no reason for anyone else to believe that he is right.
Psalms and Proverbs
Today's psalm is one of those ones that the New Testament wants us to think is about Jesus even though there is no good reason to think so.