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Avoiding the Truth: Reflections on 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14

After three long years, two of Shemei's slaves escape from the house, and Shemei himself rushes after them to bring them back. When Solomon hears that the old man has broken the stiff rule of house arrest, he offers him no mercy as once again Benaiah's sword does its bloody work. Thus are David's demands met; both Joab's and Shemei's heads find their bloody ways to Sheol.

Are not these terrible stories warnings to us all? When we attempt to cover over our actions and words with pious and fawning claptrap, we imagine that no one will see us completely for what we sometimes are. And the lectionary collectors this week have done precisely that. They want us to proclaim to our people that David and Solomon were paragons of piety and love for YHWH. They were not! They were all too human, filled with bloody ambition for power, lust for fame and fortune, reeking with the desire for revenge on enemies, real or perceived. These Bible tales will not let us avert our eyes from the realities of who we sometimes are. The Bible rarely if ever says, "Be like this or that character." It rather says, "You are like this or that character; now what do you propose to do about it?"

8/10/2015 4:00:00 AM
John Holbert
About John Holbert
John C. Holbert is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX.