David Hates the Blind and the Lame? Reflections on 2 Samuel 5:1-10

Now what? The preacher is called to preach, and what is she to preach from this odd tale? David's theft of the city of a foreign people is hardly laudatory, and of course all war that would steal what belongs to others is finally to be rejected. Then too the most vulnerable in our societies, our handicapped citizens, our minority members, are far too often helpless victims of our wars of aggression. We Americans regularly celebrate and laud the sacrifice of our warriors, and offer specific counts of those who die in our conflicts with foreign nations. Rarely do we hear of those citizens of that country, crassly called "collateral damage," who are killed as a direct result of the battles. For example, in our foray into Iraq, some few thousand of American troops lost their lives, while at least one hundred thousand, and probably many more, Iraqi citizens were killed, most of them nameless and numberless to us.

Yes, David captures the city of Jerusalem and renames the place with singular arrogance "the city of David." In the process of the attack many who are blind and lame die. Rather than hate those, as David is said to do, we ought hate the war that killed them and vow to work for peace and justice for all the people of God.

This Sunday follows by one day the loud celebrations of July 4, where flags fly, fireworks are shot off, and picnics dot the landscape of our land. It could be that this peculiar little text is just the one we need to hear in the midst of our chaotic and patriotic events. War is a killer, and most often it kills the most vulnerable among us. Let us again hear those grand words from Isaiah, grand enough to be repeated in Micah: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Is. 2:4).

12/2/2022 9:10:31 PM
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  • 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.