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Saturday, May 13, 2017

2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20

This is the story of David seeing Bathsheba bathing and then commanding her to his palace, having sex with her, and sending her back to her home, all while her Hittite husband was at war.

I think it's a rape, and, despite what some anti-choice radicals believe, Bathsheba conceived a son from that rape.  David calls Uriah the Hittite back from battle and directs him to go home and either sleep with his wife or wash his feet.

The Chronicler seems entirely uninterested in the Real Housewives of Jerusalem and does not even mention Bathsheba.  1 Chronicles 20:1 is identical to 2 Samuel 11:1, but then it immediately jumps to David meeting up with Joab's forces and taking Ammonite King's crown.


This is where I take a break to talk translation.  In NVI, from David to Uriah, «Vete a tu casa y acu├ęstate con tu mujer».  NVI drops a footnote that the command is literally to wash your feet.  The same quote from NIV is, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.”  No footnote.  Recognize that Bathsheba had informed David she was pregnant, so clearly David was trying to cover it up.  Why is the NIV providing us such an opaque translation?

Who knows?  It reminded me of Ruth 3, where she goes to lie at the feet of Boaz.  And remains at his feet all night.  Weird.  It also reminded my of the sinful woman washing Jesus feet in Luke 7 or Mary the sister of Martha anointing his feet and hair in John 12.  The cases with Jesus would have been pretty crazy if they meant sex, though, since the incidents happened with a bunch of people around.  Sort of The Passion meets Caligula.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Psalms 65-67, 69-70

Psalm 65 talks about "our sins."  It really feels to my like individual transgression, but I think it probably isn't.  Also, the translations for psalms are tricky.  In one place the Spanish says, "los que viven en remotos lugares se asombran ante tus prodigios."  That says that those in remote places are in awe of your wonders, while the English translates those who live in remote places as "The whole earth is filled."  No footnote from either.

Psalm 66 is basically ours is an awesome god.  While Psalms 67, 69 & 70 are asking God for help.  The poetry is substantial and beautiful.  The extent to which the psalmist pleads for help is interesting.

Psalm 68 is forbidden.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; Psalm 20

This is a pretty typical selection.  Psalm 20 is a prayer for victory in battle.  As odd as such prayers are when referring to sporting events--for instance, we attended a Newman Center where the priest always offered prayers for the Cubs--it is actually kind of gruesome when referring to battle.  But, also more important.  When we falsely claim that there are no atheists in foxholes, I believe the fantasy is that the soldiers is praying for his life, not the death of her opponent.

I did not catch any difference from 2 Sam 10 and 1 Chron 19.  The Ammonites still (again? I lost track) hold the city of Jericho.  David sends some folks to give his condolences to the new king for the death of the old king.  There is a misunderstanding and pretty soon armies are advancing, including mercenaries from the homeland of Abraham.

I noticed that the Spanish translation uses "sirios," or Syrians, while the English translation uses "Arameans," or arameos.  Because we live in the computer age, I searched the frequency of each term and it breaks down like this.  NIV uses Arameans (plural) 48 times and never uses Syrians, although "Syrian" is used twice in the Gospels.  NVI uses sirios (plural) 55 times and arameos only twice, both Old Testament.  It also uses "arameo" (singular) 17 times.  And, most interestingly, Laban & Abraham are both referred as arameo.

Clearly justifications for using either.  I have a friend who is Persian.  He said his folks were Iranian until around, oh, 1980.  Then they became Persian again.  I wonder if any Syrians have strarted identifying as Aramean?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2 Samuel 8-9; 1 Chronicles 18; Psalms 50, 53, 60, 75

Hopefully, last day of "catch up."

Chronicles seems to just hit the highlights of 2 Sam 8-9.  It leaves off the charming story of how David lined up the Moabites.  Then, using a cord, he measure off thirds.  Killing 2/3 and letting 1/3 live.  Sort of an amped up decimation. 

Again, there is a story of Israel reaching the Euphrates. This time making the people their vassals, rather than just raiding parties sort of dominating the area as in earlier version. 

It is very noteworthy to me that David--who we think has a historical basis--is not killing everyone like Joshua--who we think is not historical--did.

Final story is David reaching out to Saul's family.  He finds Mephibosheth and gives him Saul's land.  Mephibosheth is disabled, not having the use of his feet.  It is a detail that is mentioned, but plays no part in driving the action.

Psalms 50, 53, 60, 75--I read them.  You'll have to believe me.  Psalm 50 is interesting because it starts out saying how God doesn't exactly need sacrifices, but then instead of taking the typical turn to commanding Israel to care for the poor and the widow it says that good people do sacrifices anyway.  The others were unremarkable, IMHO.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

I've Been Reading

So, I have been keeping up with my reading, but not my blogging.

Psalms 89, 96, 100-101, 105, 132

The psalms are not grouped particularly.  Ps. 89, 132 refers to God's pledge to David.  Ps. 96 includes "Sing to the Lord a new Song," which goes well with returning the Arc to the center of Israelite life. Ps. 100 has "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth."  Also noteworthy for surviving into hymns today.  And, noteworthy for including all of the earth, not just the children of Zion.  Ps. 105 is a lengthy account of the exodus, which is interesting.  (I wonder why we didn't read it earlier, like during the exodus.)  Ps. 101 is a generic hymn of praise.

2 Samuel 6-7; 1 Chronicles 17

Here 2 Samuel gets the arc to Jerusalem.  Saul's daughter throws shade toward David for not acting dignified.  Then David take a pro-populist stance justifying his dancing that would later be imitated by Gospel writers describing Jesus eating with the commoners. 

Curiously 2 Sam 7 & 1 Chron 17 include God saying that David's offspring will build the temple.  1 Chron 17:11: "When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever."

I thought David didn't get to build the temple as punishment.  I guess God knew he would hook up with that dude's wife already?

Psalms 25, 29, 33, 36, 39

Ps. 33 continues the later evolution of God.  Both as God of any and all nations, and as omnipotent creator.  "For he spoke, and it came to be; he command, and it stood firm."  This is the God of the Priestly creation story found in Gen. 1, not the Yahwehist  story found in Gen. 2.  Ps. 36 provides an alternative to Israelite/non-Israelite divide.  Instead, it is the upright/evildoers divide. 

Then we get this sweet little emo gem from Psalm 39.  Here's the last stanza:
“Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
The Smiths would be proud.