Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Year: 2 Sam 16-18 for Apr 3

If you think biblical religion is just an attempt to read God into everything, read this part of the history, 2 Sam 16-18.

Starting with chapter 13

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Year: 2 Sam 13-15 for Apr 2

There is fulfillment of Nathan's earlier words (2 Sam 12:11) in these chapters. The reader had expected it. Now it is fleshed out.

The previous chapter hinted -- barely -- at a future for Solomon (12:24-25). Nothing is said about Solomon yet, but lots about the perils of David's other sons' pursuit of something very like what their father had done (13:1-2, in Amnon's case -- passion; 14:30 in Absalom's case, echoing 11:15-17 in its manipulation).

Is there also a common thematic element of father-sons patterns in these stories? Amnon was the oldest, and David is "fooled" by devotion to Absalom to permit that which dooms Amnon (13:27). This is eerily like the patriarchal reversals of eldest sons' fortunes, but with a negative downturn: the younger (but not the youngest) carries out the prophet's words of 12:11-12.

New Year: 2 Sam 10-12 for Apr 1

The chequered aspect of the career of David is indicated in these chapters (2 Sam 10-12), and not lost on later writers (Mt 1:6b).

Nathan the prophet gains his voice back as well, which had been corrected from its halting initial false start in 2 Sam 7:3; cf. 7:4-7.

The matter-of-factness of how chapter 11 (11:6-17) describes David's actions is capped by Joab's providing a way of using understatement to "the messenger" (11:19), who repeats the whole thing through 11:24. This repetition makes us ask "why are the details portrayed not once, but twice?" For emphasis! Verily, verily! Lest we miss how devious David was. Lest we idolize him.

The next chapter (2 Sam 12) not only brings the moral conclusion of the previous chapter out (11:27), but expresses what God did about this sin in David. Is this a prefigurement of the way 2 Sam 7:14-15 describes the dealings of God with the whole house of David?

What did God do about this sin in David? There were permanent consequences of this sin (12:10-12). We definitely see an outworking of 2 Sam 7:14-15 in Nathan's words in 12:13. How is the reader to understand these consequences, combined with David's reactions to them? The outworking of these consequences are over a year, covering the birth of two sons to Bathsheba.

The most surprising and unexpected and dramatic comment in this whole story of consequences is about the second son, born after the first died: "Now the Lord loved him and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the Lord's sake" (12:24-25). Not too many people know that Solomon is also named Jedidiah for the Lord's sake.