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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

polygamy and dumb and dumber

Reading 2nd Samuel is enlightening about David and his lifestyle. In 2nd Samuel 1, David has two wives. By chapter 3, he has at least five wives. Then he sends for his first wife, Michal, who had been given away to another man when David fell out of favor with Saul. This is a pathetic story. Michal obeys the command to return to David. All the while her husband follows along behind the guard escorting her, crying and begging for her to be returned.

I had not thought this through before until Shawn said, "I bet David wanted to make sure Michal did not produce an heir to the throne, and so he commanded her return." Later on in life, Michal treats David with disdain and disrespect. This story gave me a whole new insight into why she might not like him so much. She had apparently found happiness in her second marriage and was ordered to go back to David, the most powerful man in the land. As a woman, she was without options. She had to turn her back on a man that appeared to love her deeply. No wonder she was hateful to David. Hello! I don't think Shawn would have followed me crying.... I think he would have mounted a coup and made an assasination attempt.

To go from being the favored, possibly only wife of a man that loved her deeply into a member of a harem. That had to suck. Let's talk about the harem thing. I can see some advantages to this. Running a king's household had to be tough. This way, there were several women to split up the chores and help out. But how does this work exactly? Do you all get equal turns with the king at night? Does he call only for his favorites? What if you're not the favorite? Do you get to take an additional discreet lover as well or do you just have to do without? I don't think I would fare well. I would be greatly tempted to poison the other wives. I don't like competition. I like to be the one and only star in my husband's life.

Then today I read a story in 2 Samuel 4 about Dumb and Dumber. They had real names, but let's just call them Dumb and Dumber. Let's review history for just a minute: The guy that brought David the news that he had offed Saul when his suicide attempt didn't work fast enough? Beheaded! The guy that told David he killed the man trying to keep David from assuming total control of all Israel? Angrily Cursed!

But Dumb and Dumber hatch a brilliant plot to kill the last of Saul's sons. They sneak past the sleeping maid guarding his bedchamber (? why no armed guard?) and kill the guy. They then take his head to David. They are expecting great rewards. Oh, they got rewarded alright. David had them both executed on the spot.

I don't really have a point in sharing either of these stories other than I found them both intriguing. You can see David's political cunning in reacquiring Michal, his struggle with sexual sin in his addition of many wives to his harem after God had forbidden it, and yet his repeated exhibition of love to his enemies as he is angry with people that kill them off. There is so much more to this man than what I learned in Sunday School.

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