Daily Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 21 and Mark 15

2 Samuel 21 – A drought-induced famine hits for three years.  David learns from the Lord that it is because of the sin Saul incurred when he put the Gibeonites to death.


David goes to the Gibeonites to ask what he can do to expiate Saul’s guilt.  They ask that seven of Saul’s sons be handed over to them to be “impale[d] before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord” (21:6). The king cannot give them Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, so he turns over two of the sons of Rizpah (daughter of Saul’s concubine Aiah) and five of the sons of Merab (Saul’s oldest daughter) and her husband Adriel. Rizpah keeps watch over the impaled bodies of her sons day and night, so they would not be carried off.  In response, David gathers the bones of Saul, Jonathan and all the seven sons and grandsons of Saul and buries them in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father.  After that, it rained.


Again war breaks out with the Philistines, “and David grew weary” (21:15). His men finally convince him to stay away.  He attracts gallant attempts of the enemy to kill him.  Men of great size, descendants of a race of giants (such as Goliath) are mentioned.

Mark 15 – In the morning, the chief priests and others consult and decide to turn Jesus over to Pilate.  He asks if Jesus is “King of the Jews,” and Jesus says, “You say so” -- an ambiguous response to say the least.  He does not talk further to Pilate. Then the crowd refuses Pilate’s offer to let him go.  The writer makes it clear that it is the chief priests who are behind the crowd’s refusal (15:11). 


Jesus is flogged and handed over for crucifixion.  The soldiers cloth him in purple, give him a crown of thorns and a reed, mocking him.  On the way to his death, the soldiers compel a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene (father of Alexander and Rufus) to carry the cross.  They come to Golgotha, offer him wine and myrrh but he refuses it.  They crucify him and cast lots for his clothes.  Above him is a sign that reads “king of the Jews.” Beside him are two bandits.  He is mocked and taunted even by the men crucified with him. There is no story of a good thief here.


From nine to noon, he languishes.  At noon darkness covers the land and lasts until three.  Then he cries out in a loud voice “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” in Aramaic.  The women looking on “from a distance” (15:40) were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses, and Salome—other women are there as will.  Joseph of Arimathea comes at dusk and body asks Pilate for Jesus’ body. He receives it and lays the body in a tomb hewn out of rock.  A stone is rolled against the door.

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Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 30, 2012 at 10:31am


This all seems, from the very beginning (ie, when the Israelites decided that God wanted them to kill off everyone in Caanan, without bothering to talk first...) like a series of highly morally-suspect transactions, yes?

Maybe God "wants" different things from people as they get less inclined to want to do bad stuff on their own?

Comment by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 30, 2012 at 4:53pm

Yes, the story of the Gibeonites is troubling and complicated - rooted in a mindset (a religious mindset) I have a lot of difficulty understanding. The Gibeonites are cast in a shadow because they trick the in-coming Hebrews into creating an alliance that violates God's intention of permitting the  people to wipe out all the tribes on the lands God has promised to them. Then, Saul's killing of Gibeonites is condemned but there is no description of that deed as far as I've been able to find. But God condemns it, for here he lets David use Saul's "sin" - his violation of the alliance? - as an excuse to permit the Gibeonites to slaughter seven of Saul's sons. David refuses to permit them to slaughter his favorites, of course - Jonathan's son - even though he's violated David's trust. AGH!! it is such a difficult story to blend into the "salvation narrative." All I can think of is that God's people and their understanding of "Him" was slowly - ever so slowly evolving. Evolution, which was once seen as a dire threat to "religion" seems to me more of a help.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 30, 2012 at 9:38pm

It has been suggested that David was not entirely reluctant to have this rival dynasty eliminated, if it could happen without embarrassing involvements on his part...


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