Saturday, September 7, 2013

2 Samuel 9 - 15

David Bathsheba and Solomon

Today we look at 2 Samuel chapters 9 thru 11

2 Samuel Chapter 9
After ascending the throne, King David wished to honor one of Saul's descendants. He learned about Jonathan's son Mephibosheth and gave him land. He also granted him servants to look after the land. Finally, Mephibosheth was honored to permanent seat at the King's table.

2 Samuel Chapter 10
When the Ammonite king died, King David sent courtiers to the king of Ammon to express his condolence. They were mistaken for spies and publicly humiliated. King David assembled his army and routed the combined Ammonite and Aramean army.

2 Samuel Chapter 11
King David was filled with lust, when he noticed a sexy woman bathing. He later impregnated this married woman named Bathsheba. He attempted to cover-up her pregnancy by having Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah sleep with her. Being a patriotic soldier, he refused to go home. King David had him killed in the war and later took Bathsheba as his own wife.

2 Samuel Chapter 12
Prophet Nathan condemned King David by narrating a parable. King David and Bathsheba’s first son died. They then had a second son and named him Solomon. King David’s generals conquered the Ammonite capital.

2 Samuel Chapter 13
Amnon was filled with lust towards his sister Tamar. He then devised a scheme to get her near him, which led to her rape. As a revenge, Absalom killed Amnon and fled Jerusalem.

2 Samuel Chapter 14
King David pardoned a man for killing his brother. He then decided to forgive his son, Absolom, for Amnon's murder. Absalom was brought back to Jerusalem to meet up with King David.

2 Samuel Chapter 15
Absalom along with few of King David's associates lead a revolt and forced David to flee Jerusalem. David send spies to Jerusalem to learn about the situation.

---

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.
:-)

:-)

:-)
-----------------------INSPIRATIONAL------------------



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------


----------------------------HUMOR--------------------

A couple were in the fast food drive-thru. The wife ordered a milkshake with her burger. The husband pointed out that she had a lot of weight to lose, and this was not the idea food while she was on a diet.

The wife did not speak a word, but was chewing on those words that he spoke. There were few cars in front of them and it took few extra minutes to reach the counter.

Handing over the burger and milkshake, the teenager said,

“Sorry about the wait, ma'am.”

“That’s okay,” the wife replied. “I’m going to lose it.”

--------------------Related Paintings----------------



www.flickr.com
sapjacob's 1 Samuel photoset sapjacob's 1 Samuel photoset




2 Samuel 15

Absalom on chariot

Absalom’s Conspiracy
Wherever Absalom went, chariots, horses and fifty men would run ahead of him. Absalom stood at the city gates early morning and met those who came to the court for judgement. He won the hearts of the people through his actions.
2 Samuel 15:5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
After four years, he met king David and told him he was heading to Hebron to make some vow. the king agreed to his desire. In the meantime, he was conspiring with other officials in the kings' court, without the king's knowledge. Once in Hebron, he gathered men to shout, "Absalom is king in Hebron." This slogan gained momentum and news reached king David.

David Flees
When king David was told that the hearts of the people were with Absalom, his advisers recommended him to flee the land. The king took his entire family and fled; only ten of his concubines stayed back. The Ark of the Covenant and the Levite priest Zadok was with king David. Then the king asked the Levite, Zadok to return the Ark to Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 15:25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD'S eyes, He will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. 26 But if He says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to Him.”
King David climbed Mount Olive and wept. Hushai, king David's confident was asked to spy on Absalom's movements in Jerusalem.









My Thoughts (notes for myself)
Am wondering why king David did not know of Absalom's movements earlier. Why did he not make Absalom as one of the judges, if people favored him.

Conspiracy and bloodless coup goes hand in hand with monarchy. The leaders need to understand that their reign will not last forever and should find a follower soon. In this case, I guess king David probably did not make Absalom a judge because he knew about his persona. There is no mention about how God-fearing was Absalom.













Credits: http://www.fuyinchina.com/

2 Samuel 14

King David pardons Absalom as Joab looks on

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
King David missed his son Absalom and his absence worried him. Joab knew about this and one day he sent a woman to King David with a fabricated story. In that story, she was a widow, and had two sons. One of the sons struck the other and killed him. Now the entire clan was after avenging his death. If they would put her living son to death, she would not have any further descendants. She therefore sought mercy from the King.

King David granted her wish, and forgave her son. She then prolonged the conversation and asked him why he would not forgive Absalom who killed Amnon. King David knew she was beating around the bush.
19 The king asked, “Isn’t the hand of Joab with you in all this?”
The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything my lord the king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who instructed me to do this and who put all these words into the mouth of your servant.
The king pardoned Absalom and asked Joab to go to Gesher and bring back Absalom. He stayed in Jerusalem without seeing the king's face for two years. Later, he went to king David and met him.







My Thoughts (notes for myself)
Sometimes it is necessary to field a story in another way to get the person's attention. We hear similar stories of the wise in Akbar and Birbal.

Whatever Joab did is commendable, for he knew the king's heart and wanted to put him at peace. A cheerful and peaceful ruler will make sound decisions - good for the family and everyone.

2 Samuel 13

Amnon and Tamar

Amnon and Tamar
Here are the characters who appear in this story:
Amnon - firstborn son of King David & Ahinoam
Absalom - son of King David  & Princess Maakah, of Geshur
Tamar - daughter of King David & Princess Maakah, of Geshur
Jonadab - son of King David's brother, Shimeah
Both Absalom and Tamar were very attractive and had luxuriant hair. Absalom was the most handsome man in the entire Israel. Tamar was very beautiful girl who remained a virgin. Amnon was in love with his half-sister, Tamar. An unruly and unbridled lusts raged in him. However, he could not get near her. Jonadab, son of King David's brother devised a scheme and asked Amnon to lie down in his bed, pretending to be sick. When king David visited him, he was to request the king to send Tamar to cook food for him. The plan worked and the king did so.

When Tamar gave him the cooked food, he caught hold of her. Tamar pleaded with him, saying
12 “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing.
Amnon gave no attention to her words. Using his physical strength, he subdued her and raped her, against her wish. After his lust was gratified, he hated her more than he loved her earlier. He then insisted her to get of his sight with immediate departure. Tamar begged again not to do this to her, but Amnon would give no heed to her words. She was dragged out of his chamber by means of force and the door was shut.

When Tamar's brother Absalom learned about the disgrace that was brought upon his sister, he waited for a right opportunity to take revenge. He pacified Tamar and asked her to stay calm. King David learned about this incident and did not take any action or issue any punishment.

After two years, when Ammon was drunk, Absalom killed him. He then fled to Geshur, his mother's place and stayed there for three years.

King David mourned due to this sad incident, death of Amnon and now, because of the absence of Absalom.












My Thoughts (Notes for myself)
Advisers like Jonadab can lead many of us into trouble. Before taking the advice from a person, I should watch the personality and character of the person am I seeking advice from. Any day, I can blindly reach out to my parents to seek their advice - their advice will never lead my astray.

The same is true when it comes to spiritual advice as well. I ought to be examine whether the advice I am receiving is from a Godly person who has no hidden agenda, whatsoever. I am still searching for such a spiritual guide. For now, I am looking heavenward to get those.

While children are growing up and once they reach the age of puberty, they start exploring their own bodies and naturally they get attracted to the opposite sex. They try hard to keep the urge of having sex under control. Based on the surroundings in which one is growing up, one could develop a passion towards someone sassy. Most often it one's cousins or close relatives. Given an opportunity, this could lead to a beginner's experimentation of sexual pleasures. When shared these adventures with a close friend, or people like Jonadab, they may very well add fuel to the passion by suggesting schemes, which will not put them in jeopardy.

Absalom waited for two years to take his revenge and the occasion he chose was when Amnon was drunk. When one is drunk, he/she is in a blissful world, forgetting the reality. It turns out to be the perfect occasion to extract one's mind, as alcohol let's one's guard down. Only those who are sober will stay alert at all times.

As parents, it is one's duty to shield children being pushed into 'questionable environments' during family gatherings, festivals and weddings. If I had a son or a daughter, I should consider them as the biggest gift from the LORD and it's my sole responsibility to protect them; not to expose them to an environment which could eventually lead them to develop a lustful mind. In this country, I should by all means, protect my sons and daughters from environments wherein alcohol is being served, especially after sunset. Children may "take off" to a dark location to begin their sexual experimentation. Further, at such liquor centered gathering, it is almost impossible to say who is drunk to a point where one is eyeing another's spouse with lustful eyes. One should only blame the self if one's spouse is "gone missing" for a brief period just like those children.

It is so easy for me to get carried away while I am with my friends and seldom pay attention to what my children are engaged in. Having one's grandparents at such occasion is an added relief as they would keep an eye over the children.  In the end, I am responsible for the welfare of my entire family, and LORD would question me first. I think King David should have been wise enough to know that sending Tamar alone near Amnon was a good move.

If Tamar was a wise girl, she should have known from Amnon's vibes and safeguarded herself by taking an accomplice while cooking for him. LORD has given girls this instinct which tells them if a particular environment is safe or not - which works most of the time.

Once Amnon's lust was gratified, he was 'done' with Tamar and treated her with utter disrespect by dragging her out of his chamber. To a woman, this is equivalent to using her. The shock of such incidents will always haunt her. Most women will not share the fact that they were raped, for the fear of shame and subsequent events.

Another sad chapter where evil intentions triumphing over good and innocent people.





Credits: http://arts.mythologica.fr/artist-t/tiarini.htm

2 Samuel 12

Nathan rebukes David

Nathan Rebukes David
Prophet Nathan came to meet King David and told him a parable. He started by saying, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor." He caught King David's attention and continued, 
2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
Nathan in a calm voice, said, "You are the man." It was severe blow thrust upon King David's face, and he felt slapped. Nathan then explained the punishment which LORD was about to inflict upon Him - his life would be spared, but not the child's. There was more to follow: 
11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
King David repented for his deeds. When Bathseba became ill, King David prayed earnestly and began fasting. Soon, news arrived that the newborn baby was dead.

The Birth of Solomon
King David comforted Bathsheba. They then had another child, and named him Solomon :-) Happy Birthday Solomon! The LORD loved him and he was also known as Jedidah - meaning, loved by the LORD.

In the meantime, the Israelites mustered courage and captured the Ammonite citadel, and captured great plunder, which they brought to Jerusalem.







My Thoughts (notes for myself)
I am looking at the painting above, to grasp the message which the artist is trying to convey. Notice how Prophet Nathan rebukes king David for wrongdoing. Again, this is the king of Israel whom he is rebuking. What authority does he have, over the king to reproach, chastise and to scold him? The simple answer is - the power of truth. When one is truthful and stands with it, without swaying to the left or right, he/she gets that colossal audacity to stand firm without fearing anyone. Those who experience how it feels to stick around with truth, will never experience fear, and can thus walk with his/her head high anywhere. I should attain that level of boldness and fear none other than the LORD.

On the positive side, king David seems to have some righteousness in his thoughts, when Prophet Nathan narrated a parable. King David admitted his wrongdoing and repented. The first instinct of many such situation is to plead "not guilty" and instead provide excuses. It takes a lot of courage to admit wrongdoing.

The punishment LORD giving king David seems to be quite harsh. The Bible mentions it in detail. However, king David cannot flee the wrath of the LORD. I am guessing here that his love for Bathsheba was so much that he was willing to endure any punishment for the sake of her love.

The birth of Solomon is exciting. He remains as my hero in the field of wisdom. The more I read about his wisdom, more I wonder how a human being can amass such level of wisdom.



2 Samuel 11


David and Bathsheba
King David was a prophet, who was told by the LORD that one of his descendants will take up his throne. When he saw Bathsheba taking a bath from his palace window, he knew this was the beautiful woman he was waiting for. He then inquired about her and found out that her husband Uriah was engaged in the war.

In those days, when men proceeded for war, they took a formal divorce from their wives as a precaution. In the event a man was killed in the battle, this divorce helped the wife to remarry and continue their life. Uriah had taken such a divorce from Bathsheba.

King David invited Bathsheba to his palace to learn more about her. Once he got to know her better, he was then interested in marrying her. For this, he summoned Uriah, who was at the battlefield. When king David expressed his desire to Uriah, he insulted king David. Insulting a king was considered high treason. King David thought about issuing capital punishment to Uriah, but withheld it thinking it may create 'lot of noise' in his kingdom, as it was a sensitive topic which could lead to a trial. Further, the country was in a state of high alert due to war with Ammonites.

Uriah was sent back to the battlefield. King David issued an order to Joab saying that the lives of other soldiers should not be endangered for the sake of Uriah, as he already deserved death penalty. Uriah was killed in the battle, at the hands of Ammonites archers. Bathsheba mourned the death of Uriah. Later, king David married Bathsheba.

King David soon learned that his actions had angered the LORD, and he repented.

-----------------------------

Puzzled?

Were you expecting to hear a different story?

This is how certain people narrate the story of king David and Bathsheba.
I really encourage everyone to read the word of God from the Holy Bible, so that we cannot be manipulated.

Now, read this story below:

-------------------------------


David and Bathsheba
We are now in Jerusalem, and here is one of the most sought-after stories in the entire bible. It contains all those sordid elements of 'masala' such as lies, deception, adultery, scandal, murder, cover-up, heartache, pain, and loss. This story also serves as a chronicle that narrates the epitome of female empowerment which ultimately led to the downfall of King David.

King David’s army had gone out to war, and he stayed back in Jerusalem. This was the season when the heat of the year had declined as the rains were over, the fields were filled with grass, corn fields were ripe and fruits were plentiful on the trees.

From the balcony of his place, King David saw a beautiful woman who appeared to be overly sexy bathing on her rooftop. She caught King David's attention and he lusted for her. He then sent out men to inquire about her, they told him it was Batsheba, the wife of Uriah.

King David invited her over to his palace, so that he could get to know her better. They then spent the night together passionately. In this act, King David impregnated Batsheba.

In an effort to cover up his deeds, King David sent note to Joab to sent Uriah home from the battlefield. His calculations were such that during his furlough, Uriah would go home and spend time with his wife. Bathsheba's offspring would then appear to be Uriah's.
8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
Against King David's calculations, Uriah's patriotism refused to indulge in matrimonial pleasures during a time of war. King David learned that Uriah had encamped at the palace itself, even though his house was a stone's throw away. He then chalked out another scheme - 'plan B' to let Uriah's guard down by getting him drunk.
12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
As two earlier schemes did not work out, King David soon moved to 'plan C' - to first push the patriotic Uriah to the front-lines of the battle and then to withdraw troops so that Uriah would would get killed, without learning his wife's infidelity. King David could then marry Bathsheba.

In a desperate measure, King David drafted a message to Joab. Uriah promptly handed over the message to Joab, which contained his own death warrant. Joab put King David's plan in to action and got Uriah killed.

King David was then told about Uriah's death, in a follow up communication. Upon hearing the death of her husband, Batsheba lamented. Once the lamentation period was over, King David took her as his next wife.













My Thoughts (notes for myself)
Earlier I thought her name to be Bethsheba. Only when I paid close attention, did I realize that it was spelled with an 'a' - Bath-sheba. The name has no connotation of she taking a 'bath' in King David's full view.

According to Uraih's thoughts, his comrades and bosses were waging war and he deprived domestic enjoyment. I wonder how many individuals around me are as patriotic and dedicated as him.

Bathsheba tried to seduce king David. Women know that about 97% of guys will enjoy and cannot take their eyes off of a nude woman right in front of them. While on beaches, it takes extreme discipline of mind to avoid looking at those women clad in thongs and G-strings, exposing their skin. It goes like this - if a guy attempts to train his mind not to look at women's nudity, it is fairly easy not to stare at nude women; look at a semi-nude woman for about a minute, and they want to see more!

Any scathing critique of king David would say that it was his job to protect and take care of his own people - men and women. King David made another cynical comment that death of men are inevitable in any war. King David was not afraid to commit a murder by proxy to cover up his adultery.

The case of king David and Bathsheba can take place in today's world as well. Such temptations prevail throughout history in every culture. It's only through LORD'S blessings that one can escape such situations and temptations. I should do my best never to allow emotionally wrought situations to sway me from the truth and teachings of the LORD. In every walk of life, I should expect to be tempted and be prepared to face it. James 1:14 teaches: But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

Church Sanctified Adultery is a concept in which one can engage in sexual relations with another’s companion. They can then “repent” and later resume the identical acts in which they were formerly engaged. Many individuals welcome this idea and adhere to this concept.

Several spiritual leaders have this diabolic skill of twisting the scripture to favor their followers. They teach that adultery, followed by a repentance is acceptable by the LORD, such as the case of king David, and the birth of Solomon. They conclude that we can enter into an adulterous relationship, repent and then continue on with that relationship. I should not blindly believe any spiritual leader, as only LORD knows their true intentions.

For anyone fighting temptation, the best biblical verse I can think of is, 1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.









2 Samuel 10


David's men humiliated

David Defeats the Ammonites

King David heard the death of Ammonite king and sent courtiers to express his sympathy as the Ammonite king had helped David while he was in exile. The new king, Hanun's commander suggested that King David had sent spies under the pretext of condolences. Listening to this advice, Hanun humiliated the courtiers.
2 Samuel 10:4 So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.
 King David upon hearing this news, dealt with his courtiers.
2 Samuel 10:5 When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.”
The Ammonites realized they had become obnoxious to King David and prepared their army for war, by hiring men from neighboring countries of Beth Rehob, Zobah, Maakah and Tob.

King David's commanders, Joab and Abishai lead the Israelite army to victory by chasing them away. The enemy soldiers regrouped and decided to retaliate. King David heard about this and gathered the soldiers in Israel to go fight them.
2 Samuel 10:18 But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobak the commander of their army, and he died there.
King David emerged victorious.







My Thoughts (notes for myself)
Humiliating others is a enjoyable pastime to many. Those who humiliate others are using some sort of power or position vested within them.

Being humiliated in front of others is a disgrace, and is not easy to bear it. I wish nobody endures humiliation at the hands of others. At times of humiliation, all one can do is look heavenwards and pray for strength. When in such situations, I take a moment and think about Jesus, who was humiliated the most, for doing the right thing.

King David's anger here can be considered as 'righteous anger.'


.





2 Samuel 9

Mephibosheth Pleads with David

David and Mephibosheth
This is a beautiful chapter that brought out the best in King David. Any king will naturally eliminate all his enemies after taking up the throne. King David, on the other hand, took special care to ensure everyone in Saul's family was cared for.
2 Samuel 9:1 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
One of Saul's servant, Ziba, mentioned about Jonathan's cripped son, Mephibosheth. King David showed special kindness towards him due his physical condition and above all, the place Jonathan had in his mind. He summoned Mephibosheth and said,
2 Samuel 9:7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
Ziba was asked to become steward of these lands and provide them to Mephibosheth. Further, he honored Mephibosheth by always being able to eat at the King's table.








My Thoughts (notes for myself)
In light of this chapter, I am wondering if the real reason of King David bringing his first wife Michal to his home was to provide the best possible care - she was Saul's younger daughter, and Jonathan's sister. Michal, when she was young, loved King David and longed to marry him when he was an ordinary 'David.' I bet the love she had in her heart meant only good for him. Michal must have rebuked King David in the earlier chapter, due to her immense love towards him, when he was dancing 'semi-nude' in front of those slave girls. I believe she must have done so, to to correct him. Women, when they have excellent intentions, sometimes use harsh words and language to rebuke a loved one, which often sends a wrong message to those men receiving it. I ought to choose my words carefully while conveying a message - rethink and rephrase what I am about to convey; for it is said, 'thoughtless words can inflict cureless wounds.'

How nice of King David to provide support to Mephibosheth by honoring him by providing a permanent place at the King's table. Those with disabilities fill a unique position in LORD'S plan and it's my moral duty and obligation to bestow love, honor, respect and care for such individuals.




St. Mary's Birthday: Lent - Day 7


My Dear Virgin Mary,
Hope you are doing well. Tomorrow is your birthday, and am thinking about getting you a birthday present. As I go through a list of things, I have no clue what you need - as you already have everything at your fingertips. You know how difficult it is, to get something for someone who has everything. Still, that does not prevent me from giving you something.

Aaaha - I know what you like; you like prayers :-) Let me pray to our LORD on your behalf. May I please hold your hands.

Father in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.

We ask this through Christ our LORD.

Amen
:-)

One place you love visiting


Friday, September 6, 2013

2 Samuel 1 - 8

King David playing Harp

(Note: Am running late and could not post any new pictures/paintings for other chapters. Shall update later)

2 Samuel Chapter 1 
The story begins with David’s grief over Saul’s and Jonathan's death and he sings for them.

2 Samuel Chapter 2 
David is being formally installed as king of Judah.

2 Samuel Chapter 3
There was a challenge to David’s rule by Saul’s house. Civil war erupted between Judah and Israel, and King David is dealing with it.

2 Samuel Chapter 4 
Saul's son Ish-Bosheth is murdered and King David punished his killers.

2 Samuel Chapter 5 
King David consolidated his rule by friendship and alliances with neighboring powers. Jerusalem was captured and King David moved in.

2 Samuel Chapter 6 
Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem.

2 Samuel Chapter 7
LORD made a promise to King David and spoke through prophet Nathan.

2 Samuel Chapter 8 
King David had numerous victories and the LORD was with him.



--
-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.

:-)

:-)

:-)
-----------------------INSPIRATIONAL------------------



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------


----------------------------HUMOR--------------------

A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, "Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"
A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the first grade boy.
"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.
"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven... "

--------------------Related Paintings----------------



www.flickr.com
sapjacob's 1 Samuel photoset sapjacob's 1 Samuel photoset

2 Samuel 8

David’s Victories
Numerous victories are mentioned in this chapter, including:
- subdued Philistines
- defeated Moabites
- stuck down Arameans
- defeated Edomites
- and few others.

The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.

David’s Officials
Joab - Army Chief
Jehoshaphat - Recorder;
Zadok and Ahimelek - Priests;
Seraiah - Secretary;
Benaiah - over the Kerethites and Pelethites;

King David’s sons - Chief officials





My Thoughts
No particular thoughts on this chapter. Noticed that LORD gave King David victory everywhere.
Only other thought is whether I will be able to complete posting by 6:00 AM.

2 Samuel 7

God’s Promise to David
Prophet Nathan enters the story here. LORD spoke to Nathan. LORD told Nathan that King David was not to build the LORD a house (temple); rather, the Lord would build David a house (dynasty). LORD promised to grant Israel rest from foreign opposition and that the kingdom of King David will last forever. His offspring will continue his dynasty as well.

David’s Prayer
King David humbled himself and thanked the LORD for all those revelation. In his prayer, he spoke highly and honorably of the LORD, ascribing all of it as gifts from Him. A short snippet:
2 Samuel 7:25 “And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.
The remainder of the prayer can be read from the Bible - verses 2 Samuel 7:18 - 29






My Thoughts
Prophet Nathan is a key person in this book.

King David's prayer is a good read.

My other thought is that I am running out of time, and therefore cannot spend too much time thinking about these passages. 

2 Samuel 6

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
Once on the throne, King David's foremost goal was to revive LORD'S Ark of the Covenant to be brought to Jerusalem in order to make it a Holy city. He marched out with thirty thousand (30,000) men and loaded the Ark on a cart. The Ark was meant to be carried upon the shoulders of Levite priests. The sacred occasion was marred by a sad incident when the oxen broke away from the cart and Uzzah, who was manning it, touched it with his hands fell down and died.

King David sensed LORD'S resentment and temporarily halted the journey. For three months it was placed at Oben-Edom's house, which was nearby, and LORD blessed that household.

After careful consideration and preparation, the Ark was moved upon the shoulders of Levite priests and by offering sacrifices. King David himself was wearing a linen ephod and dancing in front of the Ark along with people shouting with joy and playing music. The Ark was placed inside a tent followed by burnt and fellowship offerings.

It seems there is some tension prevailing between King David and Michal. She noticed King David dancing in front of the Ark and despised him. She had a conversation with him regarding this, asking how could the king of Israel move around half naked in the full view of slave girls, acting like a vulgar person. King David said
2 Samuel 6:22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
Michal did not have any children with King David.






My Thoughts
The Ark of the Covenant is to be dealt with very seriously. King David learned it the hard way, at the price of one of his men. That incident led him to plan and prepare well. Am sure he held numerous discussions with his priests the second time around. He himself was wearing the ephod, which means to me that he too must have been consecrated.

Conversation with Michal point towards an unhealthy relationship with King David. She was a princess, and his first wife, who helped him escape from Saul's house, through the window. To me, she appears to be a nice woman, whose life has been tossed around and caught between power-struggle. Something has turned sour, for sure. Her prickly behavior could be attributed to the fact that, she was brought in using force by Abner. She must have noticed Abner chasing her husband away, who followed her all the way. Any children in her earlier relationship could be a factor too. Michal mentioned the word "slave girls." An integral part of this puzzle could be that King David has been taking in several wives and concubines - a sensitive topic which could easily ruffle the feathers of women folks. Anyhow, she did not conceive from King David and remained that way till the end of her life.













2 Samuel 5

David Becomes King Over Israel
The elders of Israel made a covenant, and came together. They now realized that they were indeed of same blood and flesh. After being the king of Judah for seven years and six months, David was anointed David king over Israel and Judah.

David Conquers Jerusalem
Jerusalem was under the Jesubite control and David took control of it. It was later called, 'the city of David'. He further took residence inside a fortress.

In this section, there is a reference to 'lame and blind' which refers to the Jesubite idols - who have eyes but do not see; have legs but do not walk. Jesubites believed that their idols were capable of keeping David away from their citadel.

Once in Jerusalem, David took several wives and concubines and had many children - Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.

David Defeats the Philistines
When Philistines heard that David became king of Israel, they came challenging him.
2 Samuel 5:19 so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”
The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”
The philistines abandoned their idols and fled, but returned a second time. This time LORD instructed the Israelites not to pursue the battle from the front, but in front of Poplar trees. They followed LORD'S instruction and chased the Philistines northward.







My Thoughts
David was destined to become the king of Israel, but had a long wait. Nevertheless, the wait pays off big time. Of all those Israel monarchs, the one name on everyone's tongue is king David. Speaking of which, I think we should start addressing him as king David from now on. I should have done so, when he became the king of Judah. Going forward, let's address him with his title - King David. He deserves to be called "King David," as he has earned that title, the hard way.

His family is growing. I have lost count of his children. Sounds like a large family, living on a fertile land!

Philistines seem to be a continuous snare in the eyes of Israelites. They are unable to defeat them completely. Being able to just chase them away is considered 'victorious.' Let's see where LORD is leading them.






2 Samuel 4


Jonathan's Son
Jonathan had died when his son Mephibosheth was five years old. When news about Saul's and Jonathan's death arrived home, a nurse panicked and picked up Mephibosheth and fled. While she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled, and ultimately became crippled in both legs.

Ish-Bosheth Murdered
One day when Ish-Bosheth was taking an afternoon nap, two treacherous Benjaminites went into his bedroom, and stabbed him to death. They then cut off his head and carried it to David as a trophy. He said to them,
2 Samuel 4:10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”
The men were put to death and Ish-Bosheth's head was sent back for proper burial. He ruled for two years.






My Thoughts
Feel bad for Jonathan's son, who not only lost his dad, but also became crippled. Poor boy - how much love would have Jonathan poured onto him, during those first five years? The lasting memories of his father's love will remain forever with Mephibosheth. What about his mother - where is she?

David is impartial when it comes to putting those Benjminite ruffians to death. Always there are men who play some nasty dirty tricks in order to please those in power. Many rulers feel impressed by them, and only the just will punish them accordingly. Little do they know by encouraging these actions, they are tightening the noose around their own neck.





2 Samuel 3

The civil war between Judah and Israel prolonged for quite some time. In the mean while, David took several wives and by now had six sons:
Eldest: Amnon; wife - Ahinoam;
Second: Kileab; wife - Abigail;
Third: Absalom; wife - Princess Maakah;
Fourth: Adonijah; wife - Haggith;
Fifth: Shephatiah; wife - Abital;
Sixth: Ithream; wife - Eglah.
Abner Goes Over to David
Abner was strengthening his grip in Israel and not even the king, Ish-Bosheth, could question his actions or deeds. When Abner became tired of the war, he thought of forging an alliance with David. When David heard about this, he asked Abner to bring his first wife, Michal, who was now married to another man. Ish-Bosheth did so, and Abner was well received by David. Abner also consulted with elders of Israel and obtained their acceptance.

Joab Murders Abner
At this time, Joab was on a military expedition and did not like the idea of Abner visiting David and being well received by David. Without David's knowledge, Joab sent messengers and enticed back into the town. There, he led Abner into an inner chamber and stabbed him to death as a revenge against his brother's life.

When David heard about this, he took this seriously and asked everyone to tear their clothes and mourn. He made Joab walk in front of Abner's bier wearing torn clothes, and David walked behind it. David further lamented his death and did not eat food.
2 Samuel 3:38 Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day?
People were relieved to learn that David did not have a hand in Abner's death and his actions pleased them.







My Thoughts
First thought is about David's family. He seems to be expanding his kingdom and family at a constant pace. When Abner was about to arrive for alliance talks, his first request was to bring Michal, who was someone else's wife. 2 Samuel 3:16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back. Poor guy lost his wife, and when Abner, commander of the army scared him, he did not have a choice but to return home. There is no mention of whether he had any children with Michal. I do not think David's action is justifiable.

Abner seems to be tired of war and is working towards a unified Israel. Is it true that any leader who works towards uniting separated groups or factions almost always meets with such end?

David is doing his best to show the people that his hands are clean, and he succeeds as well. To his disadvantage, Abner was murdered in his town, and of course, he is answerable for his death; especially when someone came for an alliance talk.




2 Samuel 2

David emerged from exile after the death of Saul and became the king of Judah at the age of thirty. A band of valiant men surrounded him. Joab was his bravest commander. His brothers Abishai and Asahel were part of the leadership team as well. Abishai was the one who went with David into Saul's tent in the night (1 Samuel 26). David praised and thanked those who buried the bodies of Saul and Jonathan.

Abner, Saul's commander, proclaimed Ish-Bosheth as the king of Israel. Israel and Judah were two kingdoms at that time. A competition between Joab and Abner led to a civil war and Asahel, Joab's brother was killed at the hands of Abner. Over three hundred men were put to death, with major loss on the Israel side. The bloodshed was halted by a personal plea by Abner.









My Thoughts
David endured so much sufferings by the age of thirty and is quite energetic. He has earned the respect of people around him, and is fit to sit on the throne.

Abner is loyal to Saul as he immediately made Ish-Bosheth as his king. Abner with his military might and experience may now be ruling Israel, with Ish-Bosheth as a puppet on the throne. Some tension seems to prevail between Abner and David's men which led to the civil war.




2 Samuel 1


David hears of Saul's Death
David was back in Ziklag after the raid. One day an Amalekite arrived with torn clothes and dust on his head. He shared with David that Saul and all his sons, including Jonathan were killed in a battle.

When asked for confirmation, the man admitted that he was the one who 'helped' Saul die. He even had Saul's crown and hand band which he submitted to David. David and his men tore their clothes and mourned. 
2 Samuel 1:14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?” 15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the LORD'S anointed.’”
David's Lament for Saul and Jonathan
David composed a lament for Saul and Jonathan as it was common during those days to compose laments for fallen leaders and heros. It is listed in verses 19 thru 27. 

The highlights of the lament:
- David acknowledges the divine leadership 
- recalls good qualities of Saul and Jonathan
- David objects to those Israel's enemies rejoicing, as it would mean reproach to the name of LORD 
- curses the mount where Israel was defeated
- Saul and Jonathan stayed together even in death
- calls out to Israel to mourn their death

The verse from 2 Samuel 1:26 stands out as David mourns the death of his dearest friend: 

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.








My Thoughts
David attached deep significance to the sanctity of the royal office and viewed it as an offence to kill the LORD'S anointed. He did not view the Amalakite as innocent as he appeared. David viewed him as a scavenger of war, and an Amalakite could not be present accidentally at a war between Israel and Philistine. The Amalakite probably learned about David's recent raid on his people and tried to impress David by delivering this news along with Saul's crown and writ band, which cost him his life. What would I do in such a situation? 

Two thought here. First, if Saul had pleaded me to kill him, would I lift my finger in an effort to help him? Second, say, if I did what Saul pleaded, should I run towards David in an effort to be the messenger, expecting a reward at his hands, or be wise to stay back and expect my reward from the LORD? 

After reading the story of David and Jonathan, have started to get clarity about Jonathan and would have liked to meet him if were a possibility. Jonathan seemed to have such a wonderfully large heart bursting with love and bubbling with affection. Am not entertaining any thoughts that their love had any sexual connotation, whatsoever. David knew that Jonathan loved him as his own self. In such a relationship, losing the other is equivalent to the pain of amputating one's own limbs. The strongest and most affectionate love a man can ever experience in this world is the true love of a woman. For this reason, a man will do almost anything to capture her heart. Here, David being the recipient of Jonathan's love is saying that that taste of Jonathan's love was even wonderful than the love women would furnish - wow! How can I learn to share my love for others like Jonathan? 


2 Samuel - An Executive Briefing



The Book of 2 Samuel
This post provides a summary of the 2 book of Samuel.

Organization
This book contains 25 chapters and three major divisions:
Chapters 1 - 10 narrates David’s triumphs,
Chapter 11 - 20 explain his troubles and
Chapters 21 - 24 contains further details of David’s reign.

Author and Timeline
This book is to be authored by prophet Nathan and Gad according to 1 Chronicles 29:29. The events in this book take place somewhere between 1000 to 960 BC.

Summary
The story starts off with David receiving the bad news about the death of Saul and his sons, and a time of mourning was proclaimed. Soon, David was crowned king over Judah, while one of Saul's son Ish-bosheth, was crowned king over Israel. When a civil war broke out, Ish-bosheth was murdered, and David was asked to reign over them as well.

After taking up the new role, David moved the country’s capital from Hebron to Jerusalem. Soon, he moved the Ark of the Covenant. David planned on building a permanent temple in Jerusalem to house the Ark. LORD made the following promises to David:
1) David's son will rule after him,
2) David’s son will build a temple,
3) David's throne and lineage will be established forever,
4) LORD'S Mercy will exist in David’s house.
Under David's leadership, many of Israel's enemies were fought in battles and destroyed. David adopted Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son and showed kindness to the family of his best friend - Jonathan.

David's fall was marked by his lust towards a very beautiful woman named Bathsheba. He not only committed adultery with her, but also had her husband Uriah murdered. Prophet Nathan confronted David with this sin and David confessed his wrongdoing. LORD listened to his repentance and he was graciously forgiven . However as a punishment, David would have to deal with those troubles arising within his own household.

David's firstborn son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Absalom, Tamar’s brother killed Amnon in retaliation and then fled Jerusalem to escape David's wrath. Few of David's associates joined Absalom in a revolt against David, and were successful in overthrowing David out of Jerusalem. Absalom then proclaimed himself as the king for a brief period. Later followers of David against David's wish, overthrew Absalom and killed him. David mourned the death of his son Absalom.

A period of uncertainty prevailed in the kingdom and threat of Israel splitting from Judah was prevalent. David worked towards suppressing this threat.

The final chapters of this book document a three year famine, a song of David, David’s military hall of fame, how he sinned by taking a census of his military and attempts to stop the ensuing plague.


St. Mary's Birthday: Lent - Day 6

Mary with parents 

We are day 6 into our 8 day lent. Two more days to go. 

Below are few facts about Mary

1. Apparitions (supernatural appearances) of Mary have been reported in every era in history and every country in the world.

2. Dante* said that Mary's face is the one that most closely resembles the face of Christ.

3. The early church fathers compared Eve to Mary. As Eve was the mother of humanity who fell into sin, Mary was the mother of a new humanity.

4. The Christian representation of Mary helped early converts from paganism connect with the Church.

5. Mary is regarded as a helper for those who grieve and to those who are in need of comfort. Grieving parents have taken comfort in her because she lost her own child in a tragic way.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pseudo-code



My son, Chris, is taking a lesson in programming this year. Here is an example I shared with him on how to write a pesudo-code, before starting to write the actual program. This example also contained the usage of using conditional logic with 'case statements'.

Task: Withdraw cash from an ATM

CASE 1:
1. Pull up to ATM
2. Insert card
3. Enter PIN number and account
4. Take cash, card and receipt
5. Drive away

CASE 2:
1. Pull up to ATM
2. Check makeup in rearview mirror
3. Shut off engine
4. Put keys in purse
5. Get out of car because you’re too far from machine
6. Hunt for card in purse
7. Insert card
8. Hunt in purse for wrapper with PIN number written on it
9. Enter PIN number
10. Study instructions for at least 2 minutes.
11. Hit “cancel”
12. Re-enter correct PIN number
13. Check balance
14. Look for envelope
15. Look in purse for pen
16. Make out deposit slip
17. Endorse checks
18. Make deposit
19. Study instructions
20. Make cash withdrawal
21. Get in car
22. Check makeup
23. Look for keys
24. Start car
25. Check makeup
26. Start pulling away
27. STOP
28. Back up to machine
29. Get out of car
30. Take card and receipt
31. Get back in car
32. Put card in wallet
33. Put receipt in checkbook
34. Enter deposits and withdrawals in checkbook
35. Clear area in purse for wallet and checkbook
36. Check makeup
37. Put car in gear, reverse
38. Put car in drive
39. Drive away from machine
40. Travel 3 miles
41. Release parking brake

.

1 Samuel 27 - 31

Saul and the witch of Endor - William Sidney

Another Book Completed!
Good Morning,

We just completed the Book of I Samuel. So far, we completed 28.74% of chapters and 34.67% of verses in the Old Testament. I would lean towards saying, we are on track!

Added couple of sections - inspirational and a humor section (scroll down). Let's see if it helps anyone.

Thank you for making it a possibility!

Introduction
David is being pushed to the extreme, and is tested for his patience.

Executive Summary
Below is a chapter-by-chapter executive summary for those super busy individuals. To arrive at those individual chapters, you may either click on individual chapter headings or navigate via Archives located to the right.

1 Samuel Chapter 27
David went to the Philistine country and stays there as a refugee. The king of Gath, Achish, honored him and gave him an entire town of Ziklag as possession.

1 Samuel Chapter 28
Saul approached a witch to find out the future of his kingdom. He reached out to Samuel's spirit. Samuel told him that Saul and his children will die the following day and Israel will fall into the hands of Philistines.

1 Samuel Chapter 29
Philistines rallied their army to attack Israel. David was with Achish. The chiefs among Philistines sent David away.

1 Samuel Chapter 30
When David and his men arrive at Ziklag, the Amalekites have burned down the city and taken everyone prisoner. David fought Amalekites and took back the plunder

1 Samuel Chapter 31
Saul and his sons including Jonathan are killed in the battle against Philistines. Israel fell into the hands of Philistines.

The section 'My Thoughts' are notes for myself, related to that particular chapter, and you may ignore them completely to save time.

--

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.

:-)

:-)

:-)

-----------------------INSPIRATIONAL------------------


-------------------Food for Thought----------------

We don't change the message, the message changes us.

----------------------------Humor--------------------

Minister: Do you know what's in the Bible?
Little Girl: Yes. I think I know everything that's in it.
Minister: You do? Tell me.
Little Girl: OK. There's a picture of my brother's girlfriend, a ticket from the dry cleaners, one of my curls, and a Pizza Hut coupon.

--------------------Related Paintings----------------



www.flickr.com
sapjacob's 1 Samuel photoset sapjacob's 1 Samuel photoset

The Art of Witchcraft


Here is a short description on the art of witchcraft.

Many texts describe witchcraft as pacts with the Devil in exchange for powers to do evil and harm others. Traditionally, the art of sorcery, considered 'wicked' was most commonly practiced by women. With the aid of python or divination conversed with the devil, women were able to bring up dead men and also foretell the future.

In 1 Samuel Chapter 28, When Saul met the witch of Endor, she was using Necromancy. What is it - you may wonder.

Necromancy is a form of magic involving communication with the deceased – either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or raising them bodily – for the purpose of divination, imparting the means to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge. The term may sometimes be used in a more general sense to refer to black magic or witchcraft. It had to be however performed within 12 months of the person being deceased.

The necromancers surround themselves with morbid aspects of death, which often included wearing the deceased's clothing and consuming foods that symbolized lifelessness and decay such as unleavened black bread and unfermented grape juice. Some necromancers even went so far as consumption of corpses - yuck!

They then hold certain ceremonies. These ceremonies could carry on for hours, days, or even weeks, leading up the eventual summoning of spirits toward the goal they set out to accomplish.

Three things a necromancer could accomplish are: Will manipulation, Illusions, and Knowledge.
(1) Will manipulation - affects the mind and will of another person, animal, or spirit. Demons are summoned to cause various afflictions on others, either to drive them mad, to inflame them to love or hatred, to gain their favor, or to constrain them to do or not do some deed.

(2) Illusions involve reanimation of the dead or conjuring food, entertainment, or a mode of transportation.

(3) Knowledge - discovered or learning through demons, who provide information about various things which include identifying criminals, finding items, or revealing future events.

The oldest literary account of necromancy is found in Homer’s Odyssey

One of the most popular modern day necromancer performs shows at the nightclub, Excalibur in Chicago. I just realized that the hotel I used to stay while I was in Chicago, was extremely close to this nighclub, Excalibur!

1 Samuel 31


Saul Takes His Life
This chapter reaches a climax when we arrive at Saul, who left the witch at Endor, and was raging another battle against the Philistines. This was the battle in which David was supposed to partake, on the Philistine side.

The Philistines killed all three sons of Saul - Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua and left Saul critically wounded. Meanwhile, the Israeli army had fled the battlefield. Saul requested his armor-bearer to do him a favor by killing him.
4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
The armor-bearer was terrified and did not obey his orders. Hence, Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. The wound was insufficient to kill him instantly. Saul then asked an Amalekite who happened to be near to kill him, and he did so. Seeing this, his armor-bearer killed himself as well.

The Philistines occupied the Israeli territory and cut off his head and placed it in their Asharath temple along with their idols, and praised their idols for victory. The bodies of Saul and his sons were hung on a wall at Beth Shan. Few brave and courageous men took down those bodies and buried them.

The people fasted and mourned for seven days.





My Thoughts
This is one of those chapters where I and puzzled whether to be happy or sad. On one side, I am happy for David that he no longer has Saul's threat. On the other side, I feel sad for David because he must be feeling miserable due to all those loses.

Whenever we start hearing bad news, it actually starts pouring one after the other and culminates to a point we cannot handle it anymore. Here, we see David facing a string of issues one after the other. Who can comfort David?

Question to myself - Have I ever lost someone that I loved?






1 Samuel 30

War with Amalekites - Poussin

David Destroys the Amalekites
David and his men return to Ziklag, only to find that the town has razed to ground by the Amalekites. They took advantage of a defenseless situation. They have burnt the city and taken captive of women children and cattle, including two of David's wives. Only relief is that they have not killed anyone. David's strong men, who went along with him to wage war weep so badly that they had no more energy to weep. Moreover, the men had no proper meal for the past three days. Their sadness turned into anger and they even considered stoning David to death.

David found strength in the LORD. He consulted with the LORD whether he will be able to pursue the Amalekites. The answer was "YES".

David and his six hundred (600) men headed towards the Amalekites. Two hundred of them were exhausted and did not have any energy to cross the valley, and stayed back. With the aid of an Egyptian slave whom they found on the way, David's men were led towards the reveling crowd of Amaelekites, where they fought from dusk till dawn and recovered all their plunder including women and children without a single person missing.
1 Samuel 30:20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”
On their way back, the two hundred men resting in the valley were fed and given their share of the plunder. There was sufficient plunder to share with everyone and even more. David sent the excess plunder as gifts to all those who helped him while he was in exile.

1 Samuel 30:27 David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir; 28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29 and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak 31 and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.





My Thoughts
What a nervous breakdown it would have been, to find the entire town burned down with everone taken as prisoners. What thoughts would be crossing through the minds of those hungry men. They were coming home to eat some food and take some rest. Instead, they find everything burned down. Whom can we turn to, other than the LORD, in such circumstances? Who on earth can understand our despair?

Notice the LORD'S hand behind nobody being killed. Typically, when such battles erupt in the absence of the males around, the fighting army has a heyday, looting everything, burning everything and even raping women. Those who object are usually put to death. Here, everyone is unharmed - which in itself is a blessing.

There comes a time when one's own people turn against them. This is the hardest part in any person's life. David had to endure the criticism of his own men. Notice there are evil minded men even within his own camp, who turn against him. Dealing with such personalities tactically requires a special skillset.

Sending gifts to those who helped David in the past speaks about his personality. David has a kind heart and does not forget them. It's not the value of a gift that matters; rather the thought. Proverbs 18:16 - A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.




1 Samuel 29

David' Army at Aphek

Achish Sends David Back to Ziklag
Philistine kings united in an effort to combat Israel at Aphek. David's men traveled with Achish and they lined up together with Achish. The Philistine chiefs, when they saw David's men, they became angry at Achish. Now Achish tried to convince the chiefs about David's loyalty. However, the chiefs did not want David in their army; they wanted to avoid any attempt of David turning towards their men on the battlefield.

That evening, Achish met with David and said,
1 Samuel 29:7 Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.” 
David returned to Ziklag with his men.





My Thoughts
To me, Achish seems to be a good man, even though he is a Philistine. Not only did he provide shelter to a refugee, but also in trusting David to be with him. Battlefield is a playground where dirty games are played, as they are playing with human lives. Apparently, Achish has no fear that David would turn against his men. This maybe because he had personally dealt with David. When we deal with someone in person, we can learn much more about that person than hearsay.

A certain man may be 'bad' or 'unjust' in the eyes of others and it maybe true to a certain crowd. Not necessarily that person behaves so with everyone.

One thing I can learn from Achish is to treat others as nicely as possible. I see LORD'S hands working in the background in leading David towards nice people like Achish.

I think if David had gone that far (to Aphek) to fight Israelites, he would have fought on the side of Philistines. I cannot think of David betraying Achish in the battlefield. After all, in 1 Samuel 13:14, Samuel says about David as 'a man after his own heart' which means 'a man every way agreeable to the will of God.'

Finally, one question to myself - "Am I being too naive here?"







1 Samuel 28

Saul and the witch of Endor - Benjamin West

Saul and the Witch of Endor
Earlier, Saul had expelled all those spiritists/witches who practiced sorcery in Israel. When Philistines came to wage war with Israel, he was afraid. He tried to inquire with LORD and did not get an answer. He then turned towards witchcraft and inquired if anyone practiced witchcraft. His men told him about a woman in Endor.

Saul went disguised to her, after sundown. The witch complaints about Saul to 'Saul' and expressed her fear. When she learns that it is Samul's spirit that needs to be 'brought up,' she realized this was Saul indeed. She proceeded to perform her 'art.'

Boooooooooo!!!!

To make a long story short, Samuel appears wearing a robe.
1 Samuel 28:16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the LORDor carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. 19 The LORD will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”
'tomorrow you and your sons will be with me' = means tomorrow Saul and his sons will join Samuel in the realm of death.

Samuel trembled with fear and fell down on the ground after hearing two things - his army will be delivered into the Philistines and the following day he and his sons will die. He had not eaten the past day and night.

The woman offered food which Saul first objected, but later accepted.




----------------------------------Additional Info
Witchcraft
I have posted a mini article on witchcraft as it relates to this chapter. Here is that link.






My Thoughts
If anyone asked me about black magic, I would say that it exists as it is in the realm of the devil. The way I believe is that there are numerous things in the universe that are invisible to the human eyes; yet they exist. Our visions fall within a narrow range of spectrum and all we 'see' are other human beings. Why - there are human beings who do not see or acknowledge the presence of the LORD. Do I have to be afraid of it, and can anyone cause harm to me? It is quite possible that I can be hurt by it; the way out would be to walk in the ways of LORD.

Interestingly, all such 'art' take shape under the veil of darkness. I spent did spend quite some time reading up more about this particular form of 'art'. It sure is scary - and opened up a whole another world of devil and his demons, which I do not want to be part of.

Earlier Saul put and end to all those practicing black magic maybe at the advice of Samuel as it was the law of Moses. When he received no answers from the LORD, he is desperate for some means of revelation and turned black magic - a practice which Saul himself had outlawed earlier.

Apparently, Samuel asked why he was 'disturbed,' and then gave out those answers.

The news about one's death will send cold chills through anyone. Saul is told that the following day he and his sons will die.

I feel bad for Jonathan, as he is going to be killed the next day as well. Poor David!