On Monday, I went to a lecture titled, "The Dirty Politics of Ancient Israel." The lecturer made various points, not least of which is that modern politics have nothing on the ancients. The key example: The greatest king of them all, King David. David rose to power by ruthlessly having all his political opponents -- real and imagined -- killed. At least, that was the thesis.
There is a story in 2 Samuel 21: "Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." Never mind who the Gibeonites might have been, or whether David was actually talking to God. But... There was a crisis!!! Do something!!
The story continues: "and David said unto the Gibeonites: 'What shall I do for you? and how shall I make atonement?"
The answer? "Let seven men of [Saul's] sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord."
And with that, David gathered up seven sons and grandsons of Saul, all the ones who could potentially be threats to him as king, and turned them over to the Gibeonites. Now, maybe Saul killed Gibeonites. Perhaps, even, the seven sons and grandsons of Saul participated in, or at least, enabled such killings. The Bible doesn't say.
In any case, the Gibeonites promptly killed the seven sons and grandsons of Saul, thus ending the crisis (!!!) and, oh-by-the-way, consolidating David's power.
There is no mention as to when the famine ended. David probably credited the killings for the rain, when it finally happened.
It's just an observation. But I notice, sometimes, that some things don't really change all that much. Details change. But the themes come back in various forms, over and over again.
So tonight, in a very minor version of the story, Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier played leading roles in the latest edition of "The Sons of Saul." Yes, there is a very real crime involved, and somewhere there are real stories about those real crimes. But the sons of Saul are deposed, and the people are happy.
Eventually, the crisis at Penn State will subside. After all, they did something.
The Other Akin Comment
4 years ago