The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me;
            his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
            the Rock of Israel. – 2 Samuel 23:2-3 (NIV)

*   *   *

Perhaps no other Biblical character is as fully drawn as a human as is David, although children often see little more than the runt of the litter who somehow goes on to slay the giant Goliath.

What is missing, of course, is the intensely passionate man – a lover of women, music, and poetry, as well as a successful warrior and ruler – someone we would see as a charismatic leader. Yes, David had his struggles and failings, as well.

But to the end, he also hewed close to a personal faith, returning to it repeatedly each time he strayed. This passage, from the last words of David, reveals a much different facet of this complex person – an element of the prophet who was nonetheless eldered by more faithful prophets like Samuel and Nathan.

*   *   *

Though I have heard it said, The Quakers hold themselves infallible; I see now it is not so: They hold not themselves infallible as they are Men, but only as they are guided by the infallible Spirit, namely, the Spirit of the Lord; a Measure of which he hath placed in all Men: And this never failed any, who were led by the same. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)


2 thoughts on “Second Month 21

  1. I too am reading the first and second books of Samuel. I resent David. I cringe as I write that because of course he was loved by God – and David had serious circumstance stacked against him. But I feel anymore my resentment is something of a reminder for me – do not judge, God’s love is fathomless. This resentment I feel causes me to dig dipper as to why he was so loved and blessed of God – and so far I feel it was because of his undeniable ability to be loyal. Loyal to Saul who tried to kill and confessed twice that he was in the wrong to do so. Loyal to men who quit the chase to do battle to regain their wives and families – when he came back victorious everyone shared in the victory, even those who gave up. That’s incredible. He is also a forerunner of Christ in his loyalty – he reminds me of the parable that Christ told of the wages the land owner paid for those working all day and for those working only for an hour, being the same. The land owner owns the land, has the money and it is up to him to be generous – that’s God and though I struggle with other aspects of David, he did emulate God in loyalty and generosity.

    1. Your willingness to admit your resentment really opens the story in fresh ways. We like for these texts to be neat and clean, but real life is often messy and, if we’re being faithful, often unconventional.
      As we read Biblical passages, I think it’s very important that we stop and ask just where we are in the unfolding scene. You’ve just done a fine job of describing what happens when we do so.
      Please share more whenever you feel to do so.

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