20 May 2010

May 20

 jReference links:
Old Testament

David spares Saul again, and Saul asks David to come back home. David does not accept the offer and instead goes to King Achish of Gath to escape Saul's persecutions. I notice that David does not fear King Achish as much now that he has a band of 600 warriors supporting him. David says something during his exchange with Saul that shows that the God David followed was still very much a local tribal diety:
Must I die on foreign soil, far from the presence of the Lord?
God's presence resided in the Promised Land. To be away from that place was to be away from God's presence. It was not until later, until the Israelites were exiled from the promised land, that the Israelites really developed the idea of an omnipresent God.

David spends his time completely destroying cities and lying to King Achish about who he was killing.
David and his men spent their time raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites—people who had lived near Shur, toward the land of Egypt, since ancient times. David did not leave one person alive in the villages he attacked. He took the sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing before returning home to see King Achish.
“Where did you make your raid today?” Achish would ask.
And David would reply, “Against the south of Judah, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites.”
No one was left alive to come to Gath and tell where he had really been. This happened again and again while he was living among the Philistines.
At this point, David is nothing more than a murderous mercenary (and a liar). I wonder if the historical leader who King David was based on was, in fact, a murderous mercenary, and this story was made up to explain how he was really carrying out God's will.

We also get an entertaining story about how Saul freaks himself out after he asks a medium to bring up Samuel's ghost. Samuel did not appreciate it.

New Testament

Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha. Traditionally, this Mary and Martha are considered to be the same Mary and Martha mentioned in Luke. However, it is worth noting that in Luke's story, Lazarus does not appear at all.

One interesting aspect of this story that I had not heard about before is that Jesus is angry, although I am not quite sure at what. When he sees people mourning Lazarus' death, he gets angry, and he continues to be angry as he goes to the tomb. Is he angry over their lack of faith (even though he has not told them what he is going to do)? Is he angry over the accusations that he should have saved Lazarus (even though his anger is reported before the accusations)? Is he angry that Lazarus was buried, causing him the inconvenience of going to the tomb? I don't know!

Also, the high priest Caiaphas is said to prophesy that Jesus would die. His comment led to the other priests plotting Jesus' death (making cause and effect very murky here).

Psalms and Proverbs

Like, shortest psalm evar!
Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For he loves us with unfailing love;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!
It's like the opening and closing of the last N psalms were squished together without all the middle stuff.
Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
many advisers bring success.
I wonder what the not insignificant overlap between Christians and people who rant against President Obama's "czars" think about proverbs like this one.