13 January 2010

David buys a wife with 200 Philistine foreskins

After David killed Goliath, Saul's son, Jonathan, fell in love with him.
The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18.1
He loved him so much, in fact, that he stripped off all his clothes and gave them, along with his bow and sword, to David.
Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. 18.4
Of course, Jonathan wasn't alone in this. Everyone loved David because he behaved so wisely.
David ... behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. 18.5
One day when David was returning from slaughtering Philistines, the young women from all the cities of Israel came to greet him. They danced and sang a song that went like this:
Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 18.7
Saul didn't like the song, though, because he, like God, was proud of his killings. So it pissed him off when the dancing girls praised David for killing ten times more than him.
Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousand. 18.8
So Saul was after David from that day forward.
Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 18.9
Anyway, the next thing you know God's evil spirit is back and is all over Saul again. And guess what he did this time: he prophesied. (That's what happens when an evil spirit from God comes upon you.)
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied ... and David played with his hand. 18.10
While Saul prophesied under the influence of God's evil spirit, "David played with his hand" and Saul tried to kill him by throwing a spear at him. Twice. But he got away.
Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 18.11
Since Saul couldn't kill David with his spear, he figured the next best thing would be to give David his oldest daughter as a wife.
Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife. 18.17
But David refused to take her.
David said unto Saul, Who am I … that I should be son in law to the king? 18.18
So he tried another daughter, Michal, who like everyone else "loved David." But David refused her, too.
Michal Saul's daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. And Saul said, I will give him her … And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say … be the king's son in law … And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king's son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed? 18.20-23
Finally Saul came up with a deal that David just couldn't refuse. He offered to sell Michal for 100 Philistine foreskins.
Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 18.25
And this "pleased David well."
And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well. 18.26
He was so pleased, in fact, that he got a bit carried away and paid twice the asking price.
Wherefore David arose and went … and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. 18.27
After David paid Saul the 200 foreskins, Saul knew for sure that "the Lord was with David." (How else could David get so many foreskins?)
And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David. 18.28
God's next killing: The LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines


Clint Burky said...

haha, doing my daily read of my subscriptions through google reader, and as I cam to your post I had to just start laughing.

I think we need a foreskin to currency converter, we could be on an untapped gold mine here :-P

busterggi said...

So what did Saul want those foreskins for? A bathing cap?

Matthew Blanchette said...

Maybe they were a delicacy in Biblical times...

...either that, or the writers were just high on horseshit; both are equally viable explanations for this craziness.

R. said...

One of my favorite Bible stories from Sunday School...

Unknown said...

"Now that's a cute song, isn't it? ... Maybe Tim Minchin could sing it for us. "

Handel beat him to it by about 270 years - here's a chorus from his oratorio "Saul":

Welcome, welcome, mighty king!
Welcome all who conquest bring!
Welcome David, warlike boy,
Author of our present joy!
Saul, who hast thy thousands slain,
Welcome to thy friends again!
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

Steve Wells said...

Thanks, Andrew. I didn't know that Handel wrote a an oratorio named Saul based on 1 Samuel. I'm going to have to read that!

twillight said...

Now this really got absurd.

"Since Saul couldn't kill David with his spear, he figured the next best thing would be to give David his oldest daughter as a wife."
"Finally Saul came up with a deal that David just couldn't refuse. He offered to sell Michal for 100 Philistine foreskins."

This is just ridiculous.

Unknown said...

"And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David."
That probably means that god helped David both circumcise AND kill the philistines.
If I'm right, it ads 200 to Jehova's total.
Talk about a cruel god.

busterggi said...

By the way Steve, is selling one's daughter for a bag of foreskins one of those family values that the bible is supposed to teach us?

Cuz if it is i don't get it.

Steve Wells said...

Yeah, you're probably right, Leor. The Bible says that the Lord was with David when he killed the 200 Philistines (to get their foreskins to pay for Saul's daughter). But since it isn't explicit, I'll just call it a God-approved killing.

Antoine said...

Maybe Saul just wanted David to convert 100 people, and get their foreskin as proof, but David cheated and took the easy way.

Unknown said...

Me likey. God in foreskin business. This god so smart he deals with genital parts, There is no business like religion. Women has no say so in matter and god was very kind god nice. I am male, but I have wife, mother and sister and female friend. Disrespect that religion gives to women alone tell me a lot about this hard headed god, because of his ( male god) women have been kept in darkness. Still in come countries women can't vote or drive, Thank you god for all the hurt,pain and abues you have approved in you book toward women, thank you nothing .really

athrillofhope said...

Nothing like twisting Scripture out of context and jamming (no pun intended) homoseuxality into it where it does not exist.

Two men loving each other is not sexual.

Only perverted minds are unable or unwilling to separate "love" from orgasm and sexual attraction.

People love their dogs and cry over them and pamper them with their own beds and clothing and other accessories. This does not denote bestial sex.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in this post is homosexuality mentioned. Thou doth protest too much, I think.

JimmyJams said...

to athrillofhope:

1 Samuel 20:30

... do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?

This is referring to Jonathan's physical (sexual) attraction to David.

AuralArch said...

Thank you JimmyJams! It's just about impossible (in any culture or time period) to present an intelligent, realistic and viable explanation for that text which definitively excludes any & all "homosexual" elements/aspects of the David & Jonathan affair!

to athrillofhope: Good luck explaining that one!

There are actually a number of other clues and bits of evidence that the relationship of David & Jonathan exceeded what we would call a strong, platonic friendship.
In their first meeting Jonathan strips naked and gives everything he is wearing to David and this experience knits their souls together as one.
Another instance describes them meeting in a secret place where they kiss, embrace and cry for their separation.
David proclaims that the love of Jonathan was sweeter/better & more precious than the love of any women. Well, that's certainly not nothing!

Clearly neither of them was exclusively homosexual—such a concept or practice didn't even exist at the time—but it is also fairly untenable to maintain that they did not engage in a love affair with overtly sexual aspects (the explicit version with the actual sexual acts is obviously not included, but certainly strongly implied).

And God refers to David as a man after his own heart—not to say that is BECAUSE of his involvement with Jonathan, but DESPITE it; which seems to indicate that consensual same-sex love is not a big deal for God.
That isn't definitive, but it is certainly interesting and unexpected in the current climate of Christianity.

The Danish Dynamo said...

Lots of crazy things before the savior arrive and clean it up. The whole old testament is full of this, and we inherited this bad stuff, you are probably related ...