Tuesday, December 15, 2009

101: David Sings... And Sings Some More & 2 Samuel: In Review

2 Samuel 22-24
Smoke rose from [God's] nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it. - 2 Samuel 22:9

Surprisingly little happens in these sections. Chapter 22 is a huge song that David sings to God. The song makes God seem a lot like what I imagine Satan would look like (if Satan were actually in the bible). He breaths fire out of his mouth and darkness surrounds him wherever he goes.

Chapter 23 lists the "mighty men" of David.

Finally, in chapter 24 something happens. God gets angry at Israel for some reason (he's back!). And David keeps apologizing for whatever they did. God gives David three options:
Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land?
David chooses the three days of plague and God kills seventy thousand people. David hurriedly builds an alter to sacrifice animals to God, thus stopping the mass killing. God apparently only returns to kill people.

2 Samuel: In Review
For a book named Samuel, there is very little (read: no) Samuel. I'm very curious as to why this book isn't named "David". Speaking of missing characters, God is pretty much absent. He only returns to randomly kill people for arbitrary reasons (or reasons we never even get to find out about).

Of course, David, who is probably the biggest "sinner" in these chapters, never has to feel God's wrath. Is it too much to ask for God to show some consistency?

I'm trying not to put any more Christmas stories in the news section, but that's all I can find for today. Is Christmas in the White House constitutional?

My opinion is that Christmas in the white house is absolutely constitutional. As far as I'm concerned the White House is the president's (and his family's) private abode for the extent of his term. Yes, the White House is funded by taxpayers, so what? Rest assured though, if the president were really a Muslim and he wanted to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr (the conclusion of the month of Ramadan), Christians would be up in arms to stop him.

(via The Examiner)


  1. Aw, I thought we'd get a review of 2 Samuel today. Next we get to move into Kings with Solomon and Jeroboam and Rehoboam and Elijah and whatnot.

    As for why God is angry - well, God's always angry apparently. My reading is that God's angry because David took a census of the soldiers in his kingdom, and that God for some reason didn't want him to do that. I suspect because God doesn't want anyone to get credit for victories other than God - if you have to go out and confirm you have a decent fighting force before you go out to bust heads, you're trusting something silly like military strategy instead of something real like the Power of God, and God doesn't like that.

    Then again, in the NIV it apparently suggests that God was mad at Israel so he made David demand the census so that God could unleash his anger on Israel. Seems kind of roundabout to me - much like God hardening the heart of the Pharaoh in Exodus so that Moses and Aaron have to spend an inordinate amount of time convincing him to let the Israelites go instead of God just smiting the Pharaoh and then telling the Israelites to pack up and move.

    I wonder what the original lesson of these stories was supposed to be - in my eye the only lesson that you can really take out of them is that God is kind of a dick and you really don't want to piss him off, but he can make you do things to piss him off if he feels like it so in the end you're best off just giving him the burning meat he likes so much, getting the hell out of his way, and hoping he ignores you.

  2. bah, it didn't post the most recent one... fixing

  3. In review is up, and the post has a name now... It helps if I schedule the right thing to post.

    As for the census. It does seem that God is somehow mad as a result of the census, that God himself commanded David to take. David is "conscience-stricken" after he takes the census. But that still doesn't explain why God was originally angry (taking the census seems to be some sort of punishment for what he was originally angry about).

    This section is confusing to say the least.

  4. Bryan,

    I only relatively recently found this blog, and I'm really enjoying it, but I do have one complaint: the white text on black background is absolute murder on my eyes. In order to read more than two or three entries at a time, I find I'm having to copy the text into notepad to read it.

    Please carry on!

  5. I've changed the background slightly. I think the blog might be ready for a complete revamp but hopefully that makes it a little better in the meantime. If not you could always subscribe using google reader, which puts the blog into a black on white frame (from what I understand, I'm not a google reader user).

    Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Bryan,
    I know you are perplexed that God is seemingly absent throughout much of 1-2 Samuel. But consider the following theological significance of these books so far. The Abrahamic (Gen 12, 15, 17, etc.) and Mosaic (Exo 20ff, Lev, Deut) covenants are being worked out in redemptive history through 1-2 Samuel as God is exalting the meek/humble to fulfill His plans. Notice the bookends of 1-2 Samuel which include Hannah’s humble song and David’s humble song. God exalted his humble servant David and brought to a fulfillment more than ever before the promises He made.

    Certainly David had his severe faults and failures which are NOT glossed over in the text but highlighted as you noted. Yet upon the introduction of David to the reader he was a very humble servant who trusted in the Lord. Consequently, through him, God promised a permanent dynastic succession that would never cease. 2 Samuel 7 is fascinating in that David wants to build a “permanent house” (temple) for God, but God instead says, I will build you a “permanent house” (i.e. an everlasting dynasty.) This is refered to as the Davidic Covenant which will come up again in future reading. Conceptually, David was the humble, anointed (in Hebrew “messiah”) servant of the Lord who brought about a seeming fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. Thus…

    As promised to Abraham, Israel experienced a population explosion, peace and security under his reign.

    As promised to Abraham, Israel achieved control of the “promised” land most fully under David.

    As stipulated in the Mosaic code for kings, David exercised, in part, righteous, wise, and just leadership under which the people of Israel prospered.

    As anticipated in the Mosaic code, the reign of David represented a time where God consecrated a people (Israel) to Himself through his messianic/anointed king and endowed the people/nation with royal splendor.

    However, because of David’s sins, there was a failure of this particular anointed one to secure the permanence of God’s blessings and presence which would result in the breakup of the kingdom.

    This brief “golden era” of the Davidic and partially Solomonic kingdom would begin to provide the framework for something even greater to come.

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were an ideal King who would not have David’s faults?

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were an ideal King who would always reign with righteousness, justice, and equity?

    Thus, I would not view God as being “absent” at all in the outworking of His redemptive plan through 1-2 Samuel.

    But the story is not over yet...



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