28 April 2010

The Lord gave David victory wherever he went

As I mentioned in the last killing, God approved all of David’s killings (except for the matter of Uriah).
David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 1 Kings 15:5
He even helped out with most of them. Still, some of the ones from 2 Samuel 8-10 are just too damned boring to deal with separately, so I’m going to lump them together here.

2 Samuel 8 begins by telling us that David somehow found some more Philistines to smite.
It came to pass that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them. 2 Samuel 8:1
Then David smote Hadadezer, the king of Zobah, "taking" 1000 chariots, 700 (or 7000, if you believe the story told in 1 Chronicles 18:3-4) horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. [Since text doesn't say that David killed the 20,700 (or 27,000) soldiers, I’n not counting them in God's killings.]
David smote also Hadadezer ... king of Zobah ... And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen. 2 Samuel 8:3-4a
David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah ... And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen. 1 Chronicles 18:3-4
David hamstrung ("houghed" in the KJV) all but 100 of the 1000 horses.
David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots. 2 Samuel 8:4b
Then he killed 22,000 Syrians. “And the Lord gave David victory wherever he went.” (NIV)
When the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men … and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. … And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. 2 Samuel 8.5-6
And another 47,000 Syrians (or was it 40,700?).
The Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen. 2 Samuel 10.18
But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen. 1 Chronicles 19.8
So I'll give David (and God) credit for 66,850: 1000 Philistines and 65,850 Syrians. (22,000 in the first killing and 43,850 in the second, taking the average of 47,000 and 40,070 from the stories in 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19.

God's next killing: David killed every male in Edom


busterggi said...

What was the purpose of that commandment - "Thou shalt not kill" ?

Should it have been - "Thou shalt not kill, just kidding, go ahead & commit genocide"?

Matthew Blanchette said...

Good ol' God probably meant, "Thou shalt not kill... except to honour ME!!! Hee-hee-hee!"

As an aside, what is it with the crappy computations in the Bible? A child could understand the difference between seven hundred and seven thousand!

Brucker said...

Actually, there is of course a lot of debate over what exactly the term "kill" means in that commandment. For instance, it clearly does not apply to animals. Generally, the way I've heard it often explained is that it would best be interpreted as "murder", which means the killing of persons for personal reasons. Under this definition, killing during wartime doesn't count.

Now the really interesting thing that I came here to share, albeit a bit belatedly, is that particualrly among Jews, there is a lot of debate as to what it was exactly that was bad about David's actions towards Uriah. Some actually believe that David was guilty of neither murder nor adultery, but only of handling the matter in a manner that made it look morally questionable, believe it or not.

Here's the argument, some of which actually holds some water, believe it or not: It is common for Jews to get divorces before going off to war, just in case their bodies cannot be brought back from the battlefield. If there is no body to prove the husband is dead, the wife is still considered married. Therefore, Bathsheba was not likely to be legally married when she slept with David, and therefore, it was not *technically* adultery. As for Uriah, In 2Sam11:11, he refers to Joab as "My Lord", therefore hinting that there was an insurrection of some sort. Uriah was killed for treason as a warning to Joab.

I'm not saying I believe this, I just find it an interesting theory.