Archive for David and Goliath

Covenants of Special Favor

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, history, random, religion with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by chouck017894

…or Promises Not Kept.

At Mount Sinai, Moses allegedly received directly from God a list of Laws under which the Israelites were to forever abide.  But when Moses trudged down the mountain to the Israelite camp with the stone tablets of Law, he found the Israelites had fashioned a golden calf to lavish their attention upon.  In anger Moses hurled the tablets of Law at the dejected Israelites and the Laws became rubble.  There was no backup technology in those days, so Moses had to camber back up the mountain again to get a second batch of commandments that spelled out the rules by which the Israelites could make themselves worthy of God’s conditional love.  This set of stone tablets survived and were then lugged around in an ark for years and served as their battle standard during their weary wanderings, for there had been no map included with the commandments.

The rest of the Old Testament pivots upon the alleged covenants that Yahweh is said to have established with the Israelites at Sinai.  For some never adequately explained reason, Yahweh pledged to make the Israelites—out of all the peoples on the planet—his chosen ones and bestow special favors upon them.  Yahweh’s promises included a peaceful and affluent homeland.  Oddly, that land was already occupied!  But all they had to do to receive the “Promised Land” was to indulge in a bit of genocide to show their worthiness of the gift.  According to the priest written “history,” the Israelites thus received their “inheritance” by cleansing the land with Canaanite blood as Yahweh cheered them on. 

Once the Israelites were in possession of the coveted land, the Israelites had every expectation, according to their understanding of the Sinai contract, to live peacefully in their enclosed, uncontaminated region.  But even Moses apparently had neglected to note the fine-print clauses that were attached to the Sinai covenant.  The inherited land was not as peaceful as anticipated.  After years of guidance under assorted Judges, the Philistine armies routed the Israelite tribal levies in battle and took the Ark of the Covenant as booty.  The priests and “prophets” came to the conclusion that the reason for their problem was because Yahweh had expected them to set up their inherited land as a kingdom.  Sure enough, the “prophet” named Samuel avowed that indeed such was the wish of Yahweh, and the Lord’s selection was Saul to be first king of Israel.  Saul proved to have been something of a spur of the moment decision for the Lord, and it proved to be a not so omniscient choice; and even as Saul continued to reign, God was directing the “prophet” Samuel to select the youngest son of Jesse (of the Benjamin tribe), David, to be groomed for king.  The timeframe for David is traditionally placed as 1040?-973 BCE.

So how did the Lord show his favor for David?  In a combat to the death situation with a Philistine giant named Goliath.  Priest style “history” asserts that the youth David, too young to serve in the military, was the only one connected to Saul’s defense forces who was brave enough to meet Goliath in one-on-one combat.  David brought supplies to Saul’s military.  Anyway, the priest-authors of this tale noted that David shouted to Goliath saying, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with javelins; but I come to you in the name of the Lord.”  And the Lord made certain that the single small stone hurled from David’s slingshot struck the most vulnerable spot on Goliath’s helmeted skull.  Why, then, was the combat necessary?  And strangely the Lord did nothing later to assist all those in dire need who had joined up with David when he became the renegade leader of fugitives and soldiers.  After King Saul’s death, a mere 23 years later, traditionally placed about 1013 BCE, David was allegedly anointed king of Israel. 

The “word of the Lord,” according to the minor “prophet” Nathan, was relayed to David with another glorious covenant promise (1 Kings 7:12-16); it was that the house, the kingdom and the throne of David “…shall be established forever.”  The only restrictive clause in this covenant was that if the king did wrong in the Lord’s sight, the king, not the people, would be punished; even so God would not take the kingdom away from David as he had done with Saul.  This sound like an unconditional promise—the house, the kingdom and the throne of David was to continue for ever

Genuine history seems not to have followed the Lord’s plan: the kingdom allegedly glorified by David and Solomon was conquered and completely destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, never to be resurrected as a monarchy ruled over by some descendant of David.  (By the way, something time-altering did actually occur in the general 587 BCE timeframe which forced every nation on Earth to begin recalculating its chronology.  It was not because David’s kingdom fell.)  Today, of course, there is the nation of Israel, but it is not under the rule of a descendant of David; it functions loosely as a democracy.  This means that the greatest covenant that God is said to have extended to the Israelites was another sacred promise not kept. 

That fact does not seem to register with today’s army of Christian Bible thumpers who choose to cherry pick verses of scriptures that inflate their egos.  Ignoring the unfulfilled promises in the covenants that God had allegedly extended to the Israelites (not to the Jews or to gentiles) allows them the privilege of accepting the present day democratic nation of Israel as a fulfillment of God’s promises.  This view of things allows them to indulge in spiritual lust over the New Testament book of Revelation in which Christ takes total control over worldly affairs.  Considering that the book of Revelation was composed c.135-138 CE, right after Rome defeated the Jewish rebellion in Palestine, the imagined achievement of Christ’s  unchallenged world domination strangely mirrored the empirical aspirations of Rome in that timeframe.