Today's reading is very confusing, mostly because it deals with a lot of people that I only half remember and never bothered to become familiar enough with to keep straight. So let's review who they are and their roles in today's readings:
- Zadok and Abiathar: priest. David sent them back to Jerusalem with the ark with Absalom rebelled. They act as go betweens for David and the eldars of Judah.
- Amasa: Absalom's commander over the army. David bribed him with leadership over his army if Amasa could get Judah to recognize David as king again. He is later killed by Joab.
- Joab: David's commander over the army. David replaced him with Amasa to win back the people of Judah. He later kills Amasa with an underhanded dagger to the stomach (presumably because of jealousy).
- Shimei: The man who cursed David as he fled from Jerusalem. David shows him mercy.
- Abishai: One of David's warriors and Joab's brother. Loyal to David, but has a murderous streak. This shows in today's reading when he declares that Shimei should be killed for having cursed David.
- Ziba: A former servant of Saul and a servant of Mephibosheth. He told David that Mephibosheth was trying to take over Jerusalem in the king's absence.
- Mephibosheth: Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson. He claims that Ziba deceived him and David and that he had wanted to flee to David. It is unclear which of them, if either, is telling the truth. David decides to split Mephibosheth's land between the two showing that he is also uncertain about who is trustworthy.
- Barzillai: Brought David food and supplies while he was fleeing from Absalom. David rewards him, but since Barzillai is an old man, he asks the the reward go to his son, Kimham.
- Sheba: A new character. Stirs up yet another rebellion against David.
I think the main point of this reading is to remind us that politics are messy and confusing and often involves unsatisfactory compromises.
We also read this interesting and rather sad tidbit:
When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and placed them in seclusion. Their needs were provided for, but he no longer slept with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died.
We finish the Gospel of John today, and with that we finish the gospels! Hurrah! Onto something new. But first we must finish today's reading.
Jesus appears again to a number of the disciples. As they fish unsuccessfully, he blesses them with fish. One of the disciples recognizes Jesus and Peter swims to him. Jesus charges Peter with taking care of his sheep (three times). Then the author of the gospel claims to have really been there and that, therefore, his testimony is reliable. Remember, however, that the gospel of John is unlikely to have been written by an eye witness.
Psalms and Proverbs
Today's psalm seems to be a full one, but ends rather abruptly. The last two verses are:
I am tired of living
among people who hate peace.
I search for peace;
but when I speak of peace, they want war!