Friday, December 11, 2009

97: David: Lover or Tyrant?

2 Samuel 8-12
David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. - 2 Samuel 8:2

David defeats the Philistines, again. Why do I feel like I've said this about four times now? How defeated can they get? David also defeats the Moabites and decides to play a little game (Saw style). He makes the Moabites, that he captures, lay down in a line and measures them off. Every two lengths he kills, and the third length he spares. This is plain old sadistic. What motive could he possibly have for doing this? Of course, God remains silent on what is murder as far as I'm concerned (he's back to not saying much).

David then fights other random armies and defeats them. The part that stands out is that he captures some horses. You'd think he could use horses for his own army. Instead of using them he hamstrings them. Hamstringing is when you cut the tendons in a horses legs (for all of you that didn't read Deuteronomy). I'm not sure why he goes out of his way to be cruel. Even if he just wanted to kill them (which is pretty cruel in and of itself) he didn't have to torture them first.

Before Jonathan's death, he had a son (whose name was Mephibosheth, worst name ever?). His son became crippled in an accident. When David hears of Jonathan's son he has him brought to Jerusalem. David gives all of Saul's land to Jonathan's son and has his servants farm the land to provide for him. I find it strange that someone who can show such compassion can turn around and execute two thirds of his prisoners.

When the king of the Ammonites dies, David sends a delegation to express his condolences. The Ammonites think these are spies so they chop off half their beards and cut out the butt of their pants. Yes, this means that David's delegation is now wearing assless chaps. I'll give you the quote just so you know I'm not making this up (2 Samuel 10:4):
So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away.
The mental picture is priceless. The bible has actually entertained me.

David is so pissed when he hears about his delegation that he starts a war with the Ammonites. To be fair, David pretty much starts a war with everyone.

Oh wow, this next section is priceless. The chapter is 2 Samuel 11 if you want to read it for yourself. David at his palace one day when all of the other men are at war. He sees a woman bathing from the roof of the palace and has one of his servants go find out about her.

It turns out that this woman is a husband of a Hittite, Uriah. This doesn't stop David, he tells his servant to go get her and he sleeps with her. A few weeks later she tells him that she is pregnant. Oops. I seem to recall that if a man sleeps with another man's wife that he is supposed to be put to death. David knows this so he calls back Uriah from the battle lines. He tells Uriah to go home, in hopes that he will sleep with his wife. He doesn't go home because he feels bad that all the other men are still at war. Uriah is what I like to call a "nice guy", there aren't too many of those in the bible.

The next night David gets Uriah drunk but he still won't go home and sleep with his wife. David is running out of options. Finally, David sends Uriah back to the battle lines with a message for the commander. He tells the commander of the army, in the letter, to put Uriah on the front lines and make sure that he is struck down. Yes, David is conspiring to kill this person so that he can take his wife.

This terrible scheme works. Uriah dies and David steals his wife. At the end of this chapter there is a tiny little gem of a sentence:
But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
I've been waiting for a sentence like this for a long time. As far as I'm concerned, this ends any argument that says God disapproves with silence. If the writers of the bible can mention that God disapproves here why can't they mention it other places?

God is so upset with David that he tells him he is going to have a man sleep with his wives in broad daylight. God is also going to kill David's son. What? What did this child do to deserve death?

God does indeed kill David's child. David has another child with the same wife and they name him Solomon.

Occasionally I'll run across a story that blows my mind. This is one of those occasions.

A middle school teacher in Ohio is accused of branding a cross onto one of his student's arms. This was apparently during a science lesson. I wonder what lesson branding crosses is? I seem to have missed that one.

This same science teacher reportedly kept a bible on his desk at all times, and attempted to teach creationism. He also kept the ten commandments hanging in his classroom. I wonder what the ten commandments has to do with science?

My skepticism is kicking in. There has to be more to this branding story. Maybe it was an accident and it just happened to look like a cross? I only say this because the news stories seem to be making a bigger deal about the bible on his desk than they are about him branding a student.

(via The Columbus Dispatch)


  1. The report written by the third party consulting firm is available online. It's a quick 15 pgs. I would include the link, but it seems I'm not permitted to copy links into my comment. The quickest way to find that report is go to John Freshwater's Wikipedia page. It's reference 1.

    The school's reason for terminating John was pretty much insubordination. It seems he was told to remove all religious items, including his bible, he did not in the time alloted.

    John was effectively fired last year, but it seems he is currently on unpaid leaving pending public hearings. These hearings have been going off and on for over a year now.

    The hearings are now for the defense, and the news coverage seems to favor him. You need to see the earlier news stories, plus the HR consultant's report to get a more complete picture.

    John Freshwater is friends with Dave Daubenmire, a former High School football coach. Dave was removed from his position in nearby London OH after he was sued numerous times for insisting on praying with student/athletes. Dave is a local hero with a talk radio show(seems to internet only). I suspect w/o Dave Daubenmire's help, John would be old news by now.

  2. I had a substitute teacher bring up that David and random married woman story in a class once. Although it was just "a king" because he couldn't be caught proselytizing in school (although he was an ordained minister, so what can you expect?). I always wondered why he got so offended at the proposition I made that perhaps the king should've stepped down from the throne and been persecuted for breaking his own laws. I never actually realised it was from the bible.



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