Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Sanctuary of the Altar

When Shlomo’s (Solomon’s) right-hand man Benayahu comes after Adoniyah and Yoav, both of them grab the horns of the altar. But the sanctuary offered by the altar was to allow a chance for the accused to get a fair trial. Adoniyah and Yoav seem to see it as some sort of “Home Base,” where no one can ever get them. Much like the army thought that the Ark was a magic want that guaranteed victory earlier in Shmuel (The Book of Samuel.) In both cases, it was a lethal mistake.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Buck Stops with the King

After Yoav’s (Joab) execution, Shlomo (Solomon) refers to Avner and Amasa, both of whom Yoav assassinated against David’s orders, ”And their blood shall return upon the head of Yoav… but upon David… there shall be peace forever from the Lord.” Even though David specifically ordered Yoav not to kill Avner and Amasa, the fact that Yoav did so while under David’s authority meant that David was culpable. I.e., for a king, “The buck stops here.”

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Women in Tanach

For those who mistakenly believe that women are somehow not central to Tanach (Bible): David’s first act upon abdicating the throne to his son Shlomo (Solomon) was to turn and prostrate himself top Shlomo. King Shlomo, sitting on the throne when his mother Bat Sheva (Bathsheeba) walks in, then prostrates himself to HER. It seems that she was a sort of joint-ruler, as most of Shlomo’s problems and failures didn’t begin until after her death. There are midrashim (Talmudic stories) of her spanking him for misbehavior throughout his adult life.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

David as an Old Man

At the beginning of Sefer Melachim (The Book of Kings,) we see David as an old man who can’t even keep himself warm. His son Adoniyah counts on his father’s decrepitude to usurp David’s chosen successor Shlomo (Solomon.) Suddenly David rises up, puts Shlomo on his mule, anoints him, and issues him decrees for unfinished business. It’s possible that David’s apparent frailty was actually a ruse to tempt potential conspirators to act prematurely, and it succeeds. This also provides Shlomo the pretext to eliminate Yoav (Joab,) something David had always wanted to do.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Who Really Killed Goliath?

In chapter 21 in the Book of Samuel, we read, “…and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite.”  Um... didn’t we read earlier that David slew Goliath?  One possibility: David was a royal name he took up upon assuming the monarchy, and Elchanan was his name previously (we see no references to David by name prior to his beginning on his royal track.)  Another possibility is that the giant David killed in his youth was not Goliath.  Once the back-and-forth between David and the giant ensues in Samuel I 1:17, the giant is always referred to merely as, “the Phillsitine,” or, “the uncircumcised one.”

Monday, April 01, 2013

Why David Didn't Go to War with Ammon

In Sefer Shmuel (The Book of Samuel) 21:17, David is almost killed in battle, so the people ask him to stay behind in Jerusalem next time while they go out and fight, lest “The Light of Israel,” i.e. David, is extinguished.  This is further evidence that the events in chapter 21 occurred at the beginning of David’s reign, as this would explain why, back in chapter 10, David did not go out to war against the Ammonites with the rest of the army.