23 May 2010

May 23

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we read about the trouble between Israel, ruled by Ishbosheth son of Saul, and Judah, ruled by David. It starts as follows:
Then Abner [leader of Ishboshet's troops] suggested to Joab [leader of David's troops], “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.”
“All right,” Joab agreed. So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords.
A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David.
Either Abner and Joab were looking to start a war or they were stupid. I mean really, who thinks it is a good idea to engage your enemy just for fun? Who can't see that such a thing will lead to trouble.

The fighting continues, and it becomes quite personal. However, that's all boring. Much more interesting is the comment, almost a side comment, on David's family at this point:
These are the sons who were born to David in Hebron:
The oldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel.
The second was Daniel, whose mother was Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel.
The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.
The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith.
The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital.
The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David’s wife.
When did David have time to pick up four more wives? And why did he feel the need for so many. In addition to all these wives, he demands the return of Michal, Saul's daughter. I feel kind of sorry for her. Although her emotions on being returned to David are never mentioned, the emotions of the husband she is taken away from seem sincerely sad,
So Ishbosheth took Michal away from her husband, Palti son of Laish. Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, “Go back home!” So Palti returned.
It seems unlikely that most of these women could have been much more than spoils of war and raiding (David only ruled from Hebron for seven and a half years). It is not even clear that he considers all of them wives. I must say that I am not completely fond of this situation.

New Testament

Wow, the Jesus in John is actually taking some action! He washes his disciples feet.
So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
Given that Jesus took off his robe, I wonder what was traditionally worn under one.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today we start what is a psalm made up of many smaller psalms. Today's reading has psalms for aleph and beth, and the note says we get one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. That should be fun! I feel like I am missing a lot by reading it in English though. In Hebrew, according to my footnote, each of the verses within each stanza starts with the letter for that stanza. In English, it just starts with whatever.