29 May 2010

May 29

Reference links:
Old Testament

I have internet. Hurrah!

Fake reconciliation! Fake reconciliation going the other way! Rebellion! Flight! Very exciting.

David seems to be the type who does not engage in much self reflection, but can see himself in a story when it is made obvious. We first saw this a couple days ago, when David sees that his behavior with Bathsheba and her husband is wrong only after the prophet Nathan gets a visceral reaction out of David with a story.

Today, we see something similar as Joab tries to reconcile David and Absalom. Joab gets a woman to tell a tale of murder between brothers to the king. David says that he would protect the woman's living son even though he had committed murder. The woman asks the king why he would do that for her but not his own son. David has an, "ah hah!" moment and lets Absalom return to Jerusalem.

However, David's reaction when Absalom returns is confusing. Today's reading opened with the line,
Joab realized how much the king longed to see Absalom.
 But then we read that after Absalom returned,
Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. But the king gave this order: “Absalom may go to his own house, but he must never come into my presence.” So Absalom did not see the king.
Either the king had very mixed feelings toward Absalom (understandable) or Joab was wrong in his reading of the king's feelings.

Absalom resents this false reconciliation and expresses his displeasure to Joab (by way of burning a barley field). Joab then arranges for Absalom  to appear before the king, and the two seem to really reconcile.

But it seems that Absalom only cared about the appearance of reconciliation. As soon as he had the king's favor again, Absalom starts scheming behind David's back to win the hearts the people and start a rebellion.

In response to this threat, David flees. It makes one wonder how strong a king he actually was that he had to flee at even the thread of a rebellion.

New Testament

Today we read about Jesus' betrayal and arrest. You may notice that in the Gospel of John, Jesus never prays to have this torture taken from him. That scene is part of what humanized Jesus. Leaving it out was clearly an intentional decision by the author of this gospel. That author did not want Jesus to be a suffering human who prays for God to change his mind. Such a Jesus is not consistent with the Jesus who is perfectly at one with God.

Psalms and Proverbs

מ (mem) and נ (nun).