People Not Getting It
The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself.” – 2 Samuel 14:13 (NRSV)
If I were King David, I would never answer anybody’s ethical questions. Like, ever. Whenever somebody comes to him with a story and a request for judgement, they end up tricking him into convicting himself. I’d be too smart to fall for it.
The prophet Nathan has *just* done him this way concerning Bathsheba. Now here comes this old woman with a story about how one of her sons killed the other. Everybody wants the murderous son killed in revenge, but that would leave her without sons. And David, who never will learn to keep his trap shut, gives a decree that everybody has to leave the son alone.
Of course, what the reader knows, and what David really should be able to see, is that he himself is in the same situation with his own son. Which of course the old woman does not refrain from pointing out to him, just as Nathan did a minute ago.
Like, how dense can you be, David? Over and over, you hear these stories and pass judgment on their characters, never managing to apply that same wisdom to your own life. Somebody could probably write all these stories down in a book, hand it to you with admonitions to study them for your own good, you could hear the stories read to you every single week, and you still would find a way to judge the people in them without managing to apply the lessons to your own life.
When will you ever get it?
This would be easier to type if it weren’t for this log in my eye. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.