Lesson 24- 2 Samuel 11-12, Psalm 51
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(Opening clip- Allegri, Miserere Mei, King’s College Choir.)
Transcript (trying something new with the transcript. Let me know what you think.)
Notes and references
Israelite roofs and parapets- “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have bloodguilt on your house, if anyone should fall from it. (Deu 22:8 NRSV)
“What we do know is that there is a serious disparity here. This is about a woman and a king and that means a… disparity of power, not only that existing between a woman and a man in Israelite culture, but between a woman and the most powerful man in the land.” -Harper’s Bible Commentary
“The text focuses on David and his blameworthy behavior… David saw, wanted, and took. Bathsheba’s desires seem to have been irrelevant and perhaps for that reason are not recorded.” -Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, ed. Bill T. Arnold.
Uriah = “Light of LORD/Yahweh/Jehovah” or perhaps “The LORD/Yahweh/ Jehovah is my light.” Probably a 2nd or 3rd generation Israelite of Hittite ancestry.
Uriah (husband) and Eliam (father) are among David’s elite squad called The Thirty.
“Among the Thirty were …Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite…. [and] Uriah the Hittite.”- (2Sa 23:24, 34, 39 NRS)
“Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam” is a patronymic, some kind of indication of paternal genealogy, very common in names just about everywhere, such as the -son suffix in names like Anderson, or the O’ prefix in names like O’Connor, or the -ovich suffix in russian, or Mac/Mc in Scotland and Ireland, like McGregor.
Ahithophel (uh-CHEE-toaf-ell) is Bathsheba’s grandfather, and one of David’s advisors, who later advises Absalom. (2Sa 15:12, 2Sa 16:23)
Ritual purity and soldiers
“When you go out as a troop against your enemies, be on your guard against anything untoward…. Since the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you, let your camp be holy; let Him not find anything unseemly among you and turn away from you.” (Deu 23:10-15 JPS translation)
David vs Uriah
Even drunk, Uriah the Hittite is more faithful and loyal than sober Israelite King David. The Jewish Study Bible says, “The outstanding loyalty of the non-Israelite soldier underscores the perfidy of the Israelite king.”
“[T]here is obvious irony in the fact that the man of foreign origins is the perfect Good Soldier of Israel, whereas the Israelite king betrays and murders him.” Robert Alter, The David Story- A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel
Historiography, and Chronicles vs. Samuel/Kings
Peter Enns, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament-
“Historiography is not the mere statement of facts, but the shaping of those facts for a particular purpose. To put it another way, historiography is an attempt to relay to someone the significance of history…. That Gandhi lived and fought for the independence of India from England is true, factual, free from error, historical, but that does not make it historiography. The 1982 movie about Gandhi starring Ben Kingsley, however, is most certainly historiography. What makes it so? It is a sustained attempt to capture the life of Gandhi in a particular way to persuade us of the importance and significance of Gandhi’s life.” “Historiography [or writing history] is by definition an interpretive exercise.” “All written accounts of history are literary products that are based on historical events that are shaped to conform to the purpose the historian wants to get across.”
To restate this, the genre of “History is far more intimately related to fiction than we have been accustomed to assume.”- Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative
How does Chronicles treat David, Bathsheba and Uriah? It leaves it out completely, and changes Bathsheba’s name to Bathshua (1 Chronicles 3:5)
“Any fault or transgression which might tarnish the image of David and Solomon has been removed [with 2 small exceptions]. Instead the Chronicler portrays glorious, obedient, all-conquering figures who enjoy not only divine blessing but the total support of the people as well; he presents us not only the David and Solomon of history, but also the David and Solomon of his messianic expectation.” [Raymond Dillard, 2 Chronicles, in the Word Biblical Commentary series, vol. 15]
Helaman 7:7-8, where Nephi son of Helaman says
“Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord- Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.”
verse 12 hashivah li sesson yisheychah “return to me the joy of your salvation.”
Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” NRSV
As Alma tells Corianton, “only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.” (Alma 42:29)
Psalm 51:18-19 is similar to Micah 6:6-8
“With what shall I approach the LORD, Do homage to God on high? Shall I approach Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old?
7 Would the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, With myriads of streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, The fruit of my body for my sins?
8 “He has told you, O man, what is good, And what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice And to love goodness, And to walk modestly with your God;” (JPS translation)
Psa 51:18-19 “you have no delight in sacrifice. If I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken heart, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
“Sacrifice”=zevach, “(animal) slaughter”
3 Nephi 9:19-20 And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit
2 Nephi 2:7 “Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit;” Ritual action (sacrifice) was associated with and designed to teach moral action (obediance to covenants).
Next week, Psalms!