Tuesday, June 19, 2012

II. Samuel 14-17: Secret Agents and Back Door Deals

Apparently no one in Israel was capable of telling anyone else what they were really thinking. Everything seemingly had to be done secretly or deceitfully (at least in the court of David). Was David (and his subjects) just that distrusting of people? Or was this just a soap opera to entertain future generations of Jews? I mean, we joke about Kennedy and his mistresses, why wouldn't the Jewish people tell tales of their leaders in a similar fashion.

Anyway, on to tonight's reading....

I'm going to skip over names and some of the associations and give a brief synopsis of this ludicrousness. For more detail, you can read it yourself.

Where last we left our characters, Absalom had run off after killing his half-brother and David was sad about it. Now, Joab saw that David was sad and wanted to get Absalom back to make him happy again. Rather than just saying, "Sire, you should really get your son back," he decided to have a woman fake an elaborate story about one of her sons killing the other and running off, asking David to pass judgement. Catching the woman in a lie and seeing that Joab was behind the scheme, David decided to have Joab go get Absalom, but Absalom would not be allowed to see David (as punishment for what he had done?).

So Absalom came home, had a wife and some kids and didn't see David for 2 years. He decided enough was enough and kept asking Joab to bring him to David. When Joab continually ignored him, Absalom decided to send a message mafia style by burning down Joab's fields. After this show of aggression, he got an audience with the king and came back into David's graces.

Next though, Absalom went behind Davis's back and began passing judgement over people in Israel (David's job as king). The men of Israel began to respect and follow Absalom which allowed him to place spies all over the city. Once David realized that his son was trying to set an overthrow into action, David took his loyal servants and fled to the wilderness.

The next actions that would have more layers of espionage than a Tom Clancy novel. One of David's old advisers turned on him and began advising Absalom (there really wasn't much loyalty as we've seen). David sent spies back to Jerusalem to let him know when the coast was clear. He then also sent one of his most trusted advisers back to Absalom to act like he was defecting. This advisers primary purpose was to make the other turn coat adviser look like an idiot. His mission is accomplished and Absalom no longer trusts this initial adviser, which leads him to go home and hang himself. now that David has his own spy in place as one of Absolom's advisers, messengers leave Jerusalem  to let David know what is going on. Their escape out of Jerusalem is quite entertaining in itself, including both a wench ratting them out and hiding in a well to avoid capture.

Surely this story will continue in our readings tomorrow night, but again I have to ask the question, "why these stories?" Why is it that these stories about David are the one's that made it into the Bible. Was it for entertainment purposes? Or was it so that future generations could see just how screwed up life was in that time? 

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