King David, The Criminal
The Dubious Character From Whom Jesus Allegedly Descended
The Old Testament states that the Messiah of the Jews would be a descendant of King David. The writers of the New Testament were therefore obliged to go to great lengths to connect Jesus to King David. They provide Jesus' genealogy through his father Joseph back to King David; but the writers of Matthew and Luke contradict themselves on the lists of Jesus' ancestors, both in the names and the number of generations. The explanation offered by theologians is that one of the lists traces Jesus ancestry through his mother Mary, but no evidence is offered in support of this; in fact there is no way to prove the truth of it. On the contrary, the bible rarely treats women with any kind of respect, and it is disingenuous to insist that the lineage of a woman suddenly becomes important. But none of this matters, since Mary was a virgin when she gave birth and therefore Joseph was not Jesus' biological father in any case. Defenders of Jesus will claim that as an adopted son he was just as good as a biological one, but the fact of the matter is that according to the bible, not a drop of David's royal blood flowed in Jesus' veins.
The many statements connecting Jesus with David create the impression that King David was a man of high quality. Was David worthy of such praise? Let's take a look at his history, as described in the bible.
The father of David wad Jesse, an Ephrathite of Bethlehem-Judah. Jesse had either eight sons (1 Samuel 16:10-11, and 17:12) or only seven (1 Chronicles 2:13-15), and David was either the eighth son or the seventh-- we're not sure. While you might think that this is a bad way to start off, that's only because you are relying on your own limited mortal intellect, or you have been misled by fallible, human arithmetic. If you are in any doubt, consult a qualified theologian, and he will explain to you that there is really no difference between seven and eight when rightly understood within the proper context of the bible. David’s great grandmother was the holy whore Rahab, and his grandmother was a lady who, while she was unmarried, went in the night and lay with Boaz, and left in the morning before it was light enough for anyone to recognize her. Like her grandson she was "prudent in matters." This is what the bible says of David's "royal lineage".
David obtained his reputation as a soldier early, for he was “but a youth,” when he went to fight with Goliath. Shortly before this, Samuel anointed David, and the spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward. Saul, King of Israel, was troubled by an "evil spirit from the Lord" (like in The Exorcist, with head-spinning and projectile vomit?). Saul was recommended to have David to play on a harp in order that harmony might drive this evil spirit back to the Lord who sent it. The harp was played successfully, and Saul was often relieved from the evil spirit by the aid of David. And so David became armor-bearer to the king.
The most famous exploit of David was his killing of the giant Goliath. This story is a famous bit of western mythology. Goliath's challenge had great weight. None dared accept it among the soldiers of Saul, until the arrival of David with some food for his fellows. David volunteered to fight the giant, and his offer was accepted.
In one verse David slew the Philistine with a stone, in another verse he slew him with the giant's own sword, but in 2 Samuel 21:19, we are told that Goliath the Gittite was not killed by David, but by someone named Elhanan son of Ja-are-oregim. Our translators, who have great regard for our faiths and even more for their pulpits, have kindly inserted the words "the brother of" before Goliath. These words, "the brother of", do not appear in the original Hebrew text, nor do they appear in some of the more accurate English translations. This inserted words save the true believer from the difficulty of understanding how Goliath of Gath could have been killed by two different men at two different times-- but requires that now there were two giants of Gath, and it also requires that we believe this second story of Elhanan killing Goliath's giant brother is worth mentioning.
David was previously well-known to Saul, and was much loved and favored by him. David was also seen by the king before he went forth to do battle with the gigantic Philistine. And yet Saul had apparently forgotten his own armor-bearer and much-loved harpist, because he had to ask Abner who David was. Abner, captain of the king's host, familiar with the armor-bearer to the king, of course knew David well; he therefore answered, “As thy soul liveth, O king, I can not tell.”
One day the "evil spirit" from the Lord came upon Saul and he prophesied. Men often talk great nonsense under the influence of spirits, which they sometimes regret when sober. It is, however, an interesting fact to know that Saul prophesied with a devil in him. Under the joint influence of the devil and prophecy, he tried to kill David, and this was repeated, even after David had married the king's daughter (for whose wedding he had procured an interesting and delicate offering by the slaughter of two hundred men-- their foreskins). Did I just say FORESKINS?
To save his own life David fled to Naioth, and Saul sent messengers there to arrest him; but the king’s messengers all became prophets, so in the end Saul went himself. This time the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and Saul stripped off his clothes and prophesied as hard as the rest. What he prophesied about was not recorded. David lived in exile for some time, and gathered around him everyone that was worthless, in debt, and lawless. Saul made several unsuccessful attempts to capture him, but all he did was to twice put himself in David's power, and David twice showed mercy to a cruel king which he never granted to innocent people.
David then imposed himself upon Achish, King of Gath -- the same place from which the giant Goliath came. Being in doubt of his safety, David pretended to be insane to cover his retreat. Then he lived a precarious life, sometimes blackmailing defenseless farmers. Having unsuccessfully threatened a farmer to give him compensation for not destroying a farm, David (who is a man after the heart of the God of mercy) decided to murder the farmer and all his household for their wicked refusal to submit to his blackmail. The wife of farmer Nabal was given to appease David, who "accepted her person" (read raped her), but ten days after Nabal was found dead in his bed.
After that, David went with 600 of his best warriors and lived under the protection of Achish, king of Gath. While living there (being the anointed one of the God who says "Thou shalt not steal"), he robbed the inhabitants of the surrounding areas. Being obedient to the statute "Thou shalt not murder," he slaughtered many defenseless people, and left neither man, woman or child alive to report his robberies to King Achish. And as he "always walked in the ways" of a God, to whom "lying lips are an abomination," he made false reports to Achish in regards to his actions. Of course this was all for the glory of God (whose ways are not as our ways), and according to Paul in the third chapter of Romans, such lies don't count as sins. Just how many people did David murder during his thieving raids? We do not know. But just how many civilians do you think a well-trained militia of six hundred battle-hardened warriors can kill? As many as they want to. What was the reason for the murdering? So that those whom David robbed could not go back to King Achish and inform on him. This means that David killed any person capable of telling the King about his criminal actions. Which means any male or female above the age of about five years old. What happened to any child younger than that? We do not know. Looking at David's behavior, and wishing to remain consistent, we can concluded that he probably left them there to starve to death.
Soon the Philistines were engaged in another of the constantly recurring conflicts with the Israelites. Who offered them the help of himself and warriors? Who offered to make war on his own countrymen? David, the man after God’s own heart! David, who obeyed God's statutes, and who walked in His ways to do only that which was right in the sight of God. The Philistines rejected the traitor's aid, and saved David from revealing to his fellows what an utter lowlife he really was. While David was making this unpatriotic offer of his services to the Philistines, his own city of Ziglag was captured by the Amalekites, who were doubtless attempting to avenge some of the most unjustifiable robberies and murders perpetrated by David in their country. The Amalekites had captured and carried off everything from Ziglag, but they do not seem to have mistreated or killed any of their enemies. David was less merciful. He pursued them, recaptured the spoil, and spared not a one of them, save the 400 who escaped on camels. In consequence of the death of Saul, David soon after was elevated to the throne of Judah, while Ishbosheth, son of Saul, was made King of Israel. But Ishbosheth was assassinated; when the assassins brought David the news, hoping for a reward, he slew them and he reigned ultimately over Israel also.
As my religious readers are doubtless aware, the Lord God of Israel, after the time of Moses, usually dwelt on the top of an ark or box, between two figures of gold, and on one occasion David made a journey to Baal, and brought the ark of God. They placed it on a cart drawn by oxen. On their journey the oxen stumbled and shook the cart, and one of the drivers, whose name was Uzzah, fearing that God might be tumbled to the ground, reached out his hand in order to steady the ark and prevent it from falling into the mud. God, who is a God of love, was much displeased that any one should presume to do any such act of kindness, and killed Uzzah on the spot as a punishment for his error. This shows the value God places on human life in relation to religion.
David was much displeased that the Lord had killed Uzzah; David seems to have wanted a monopoly on slaughter. Being displeased, David would not take the ark to Jerusalem; he left it in the house of Obed Edom, but as the Lord proved more kind to Obed Edom than he had been to Uzzah, David determined to bring it away, and he did so, and David danced before the ark in a state of semi-nudity, for which he was reproached by Michal. The God of Israel, who had been leading a wandering life for many years, and who had "walked in a tent and in a tabernacle," and "from tent to tent" and "from one tabernacle to another," and who "had not dwelt in any house since the time that he brought the Israelites out of Egypt", was offered "an house for him to dwell in," but he declined to accept it during the lifetime of David, although he promised to permit the son of David to erect him such an abode.
One day David, who was now a powerful king and had many wives and concubines, saw the beautiful wife of one of his soldiers. The husband, Uriah, was fighting for the king, yet David was sleazy enough to have sex with Uriah's wife during his absence in the field of battle. "Thou shalt not commit adultery," was one of the commandments, yet we are told by God that this David "kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart to do only that which was right in mine eyes." (1 Kings, 14:8) God seems a god of double standards.
David, having seduced the wife Bathsheba, sent for her husband, wishing to make him condone his wife's dishonor, as many kings have done when they have been the seducers. Uriah would not be thus tricked, and the pious David coldly planned, and without mercy caused the treacherous murder of Uriah. God is all just; and David having committed adultery and murder, God punished and killed an innocent child, which had no part or share in David's crime, and chose that it should never be born from the womb of Bathsheba. After this king David was even more cruel and merciless than before. Previously he had systematically slaughtered the inhabitants of Moab; now he sawed people with saws, cut them with axes, and burned them in brick-kilns. Yet of this man God said he "did that which was right in mine eyes."
So bad a king, so treacherous a man, a lover so inconstant, a husband so adulterous, of course was a bad father, and had bad children. We are not surprised, therefore, to read that his son Ammon took away his own sister's virginity, David's daughter Tamar; and then Ammon was afterward slain by his own brother, David's son Absalom. We are scarcely astonished that Absalom himself, on the housetop, in the sight of all Israel, should complete his father's shame by an act worthy a child of God's selected people. Yet this is God's chosen race, and this is the family of the man "who walked in God’s ways all the days of his life."
God, who is all-wise and all-just, and who is "not a man that he should repent", had repented that he had made Saul the king because Saul spared one man. In the reign of David, the same good God sent a famine for three years on the descendants of Abraham, his Chosen People, and when asked his reason for thus starving his chosen ones, His reply was that He sent the famine on the subjects of David because Saul slew the Gibeonites. Satisfactory reason! Because Oliver Cromwell slew the Royalists, God will punish the subjects of Charles the Second. To the infidel's eyes the first case is equivalent to the other, but a bishop or even a rural preacher would show how fairly God's justice was manifested in the punishment of the Israelites.
David certainly understood God's sense of justice far better than I. David had sworn to Saul that he would not "cut off his seed"-- i.e. that he would not destroy Saul's family. David therefore took two of Saul's sons, and five of Saul’s grandsons, and gave them up to the Gibeonites, who hanged them. Strangely wonderful are the ways of the Lord! Saul slew the Gibeonites, therefore years afterward God starves Judah. The Gibeonites hang men who had nothing to do with the crime of Saul, except that they are his descendants. These men were given over by David, and then we are told the Lord was entreated for the land. What we have been told by the bible is that God just accepted a human sacrifice! It is also clear that David wanted to get rid of the royal family of Saul.
For some reason, after this the Lord is still angry with Israel, and He, wanting some excuse for punishing the descendants of Jacob, moved David to number his people. In the twenty-first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, it is written by "inspiration" that "God moved David to number Israel." In the twenty-fourth chapter however, the first verse of the second book of Samuel, we read that it was Satan who moved David to take a census of the nation. The Chronicles say that it was both God and Satan, and people of faith may thus learn that there is little difference between God and the Devil when rightly understood within the context of the message of the bible. Both are personifications, founded in the ignorance of the masses, and their continuance will cease with the people's gullibility. So David caused a census to be taken of the tribes of Israel and Judah.
There is a trivial disagreement of about 270,000 soldiers between Samuel and Chronicles, but the readers must not allow so slight an inaccuracy as this to stand between them and heaven. What are 270,000 men when looked at in the context of the larger biblical message? The idea that any doubt should arise is, to a devout mind, at once both profane and preposterous. Infidels suggest that 1,570,000 soldiers form a larger army than the Jews are likely to have possessed at the time.
David, we are told, did wrong in numbering his people, although it was never said that he did wrong when he robbed and murdered his peaceful neighbor farmers. David said, “I have sinned.” God allowed him to choose his own punishment. He could have chosen 3 months of flight from pursing enemies. Yet this brave man who slew Goliath now shows himself to be an utter coward. He chooses one of the other choices: a three days of pestilence. The king having done wrong, an all-merciful God brought disease on the people, and killed 70,000 Israelites for an offense which their ruler had committed.
The angel who was engaged in this terrible slaughter stood somewhere between heaven and earth, and stretched forth his hand with a drawn sword in it to destroy Jerusalem itself, but even the bloodthirsty Deity of the bible “repented him of the evil,” and said to the angel, "It is enough." Many volumes might be written to answer the inquiries regarding this account-- Where did the angel stand, and on what? Of what metal was the sword, and where was it made? As it was a drawn one, where was the scabbard? And did the angel wear a sword belt? How does God, who knows the future, change his mind? How does God, who does not repent, repent? Examined in a sober frame of mind, much insight may be derived from the attempt at solution of these problems.
David grew old and weak, and at last his death hour came. What wouldn't we give for the dying words of the poet who wrote the Psalms! What pious teachings shall we recieve from the deathbed of the man after God's own heart! Listen to the last words of Judah's dying monarch. Bathsheba’s child stands by his side. Does any thought of the murdered Uriah rack old David’s brain? What does the dying David say? Does he make a confession of his crime-stained life, and beg his son to be a better king, a truer man, a more honest citizen, a wiser father? Nay, not so-- no word or sigh of regret, no expression of remorse or repentance escapes his lips. What does the dying David say? This foul adulterer, whom God has made king; this murdering robber, whose life has been guarded by "our Father which art in Heaven", this perjured king, whose lying lips have found favor in the sight of God, and who when he dies is safe for Heaven. Does David repent? No-- like the ravenous tiger, which once tasting blood is made more eager for the prey, he yearns for yet more blood! He dies, and with his dying breath begs his son to bring the gray heads of two old men down to the grave with blood. At least he is consistent.
This is the life of God's anointed king, the chief one of God's chosen people. David is alleged to have written several Psalms. To understand his malevolent nature, we can do no better than to quote his prayer to God against an enemy (Psalm 109, 6-14): “Set thou a wicked man over him, and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned, and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few, and let another take his place. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow, Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath, and let the strangers spoil his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him; neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off, and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.”
Meditating on the life of David must give great help to each Christian reader in sustaining the faith. While David is spoken of by God as obeying all the statutes and keeping all the commandments, we are astonished to find that murder, theft, lying, adultery, rape, treason, and treachery are among the crimes which he can be charged with.
David was a liar. David was merciless. David was a thief. David was a murderer of hundreds of people including women and children. David was a traitor. David was a polygamist. David was an adulterer with the wife of Uriah. David raped the wife of Nabal. David was a coward. David was wicked. Yet, notwithstanding all these things, David was a man after God’s own heart.
Did this he have anything other than character flaws? Was he a good man? If so, the bible has carefully concealed every action which would lead us to believe so, and instead has given us the record of his crimes and faults. Was he a kind and constant husband? Was he grateful to those who aided him in his hour of need? No. Like the wounded serpent which, half frozen by the wayside, is warmed into new life in the traveler’s breast, and then treacherously stabs him with his poisoned fangs, so David robbed and murdered the friends and allies of the King of Gath, who had afforded him refuge against the pursuit of Saul.
Does his patriotism outshine his many vices? Does his love of country erase his many misdeeds? Not even this. David was a heartless traitor who volunteered to fight against his own countrymen, and would have done so had not the Philistines rejected his treacherous help. Was he a good king? So say the priesthood. But where is the evidence of his virtue? His crimes brought a plague and pestilence on his subjects, and his reign was a continued succession of wars, revolts, and assassinations, plottings and counterplots. The life of David is a dark blot on the page of human history, and our best hope is that if a spirit from God inspired the writer of the bible, then that it was a lying spirit, and that he has given us fiction instead of truth.
This is the ancestor of the Messiah, the man whom the writers of the New Testament go to great lengths to attach Jesus to. But it seems that the reverse should be true... that they should go to great lengths to distance Jesus from the likes of King David. Jesus should have felt slandered to have been connected to such a vile criminal.