24 May 2010

May 24

Reference links:
Old Testament

Ishbosheth is murdered in his bed. David proves to still dislike those who kill royalty and has the murderers killed. The text reads very oddly. In addition to there being redundant information in two of the paragraphs (the lineage of the murderers), there is also a random, completely out of place feeling, insert about Jonathan's crippled son Mephibosheth. This paragraph says that he was crippled and then he is not mentioned for the rest of today's reading. Very odd.

Now that Ishbosheth is dead, David is able to become king of all of Israel. He wins the city of Jerusalem, which was controlled by Jebusites. This passage has more awkward bits.
On the day of the attack, David said to his troops, “I hate those ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ Jebusites. Whoever attacks them should strike by going into the city through the water tunnel.” That is the origin of the saying, “The blind and the lame may not enter the house.”
Buh wah? That doesn't even make sense. I am starting to wonder if this section of this book underwent some major corruption at some point. The foot notes do not indicate this, but there are so many parts that are just bizarrely awkward to read.

David has the ark moved to Jerusalem, and God has a temper tantrum. Reminds us of the old days of the Torah!
But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God.
Come on God, the dude was just trying to help.

This incident kind of pissed off David, so he left the Ark at someone's house for a few months before brining it back to Jerusalem. This leads to some marital strife.
But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.
...
When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”
David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.
The easy reading of this passage is that Michal, Saul's daughter, is proud and haughty and resents David's behavior. God, however, approves of David's behavior and so strikes Michal barren for criticizing her husband.

However, there are at least two ways of reading this passage that are more interesting. Michal was Saul's daughter and David's first wife. If she had had a son with David, he would have had a super legitimate claim to the throne despite all the other children he has had by this point. This would have gotten in the way of the story which will build on a narrative of Solomon becoming king. Hence, the story needs to make it clear that Michal did not have children.

Another way of reading this passage is that Michal's comments were not about David's behavior at all. Consider this passage from earlier,
After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters.
Michal is David's first wife. She was given to another man whom she seem fairly happy with and then David forced her back to him. By the time we get to today's reading, David had the six additional wives named in yesterday's reading plus "more concubines and wives".

Thus, this exchange could really be about David's licentious ways. Notice that the mention of servant girls (young, nubile servant girls) is nearly as much a focus of Michal and David's conversation as the dancing itself. In particular.
Michal: How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls [Why were you flirting with those servant girls? It made you look like an idiot!]
David: But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished! [They didn't think so. Watch as I go seduce one of them into my harem.]
New Testament

Jesus predicts Peter's denial. This is another of those few stories that overlap between the Gospel of John and the synoptic gospels. This is followed by more blabling.

Psalms and Proverbs

ג [gimel] and ד [daleth] today! This psalm is a good review of the alphabet.

Also, a fine proverb today,
If you listen to constructive criticism,
you will be at home among the wise.