Lectionary Year B
August 3, 2003
II Samuel 11:26-12:13a
Step IV: Cross-Section
A. Primitive Christianity
(JFC) Nestle-Aland's NTG cites Matthew 23:34 as referring to II Samuel 12:1,
though that might well be a stretch. Otherwise, David's adultery and crafting a murder are never mentioned in the New Testament, per se. Nevertheless, such human sinfulness is addressed and warned against. For example, Mark 9:43ff and Matthew 5:27f and 19:9 as well as Luke 16:18 where Jesus speaks of lust, divorce and undisciplined marriage in those days. Paul approaches the subject in Romans 13:9 and so does II Peter 2:14 and Revelation 2:22. Murder is forbidden in Mark 7:21, where Jesus tells the disciples of what He calls, "evil intensions: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly." Acts 9:1 accuses Paul of once "still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, . ." Murderers suffer in the New Testament world; see I Peter 4:15, I John 3:15 and Revelation 22:5 where murderers are listed with fornicators and idolaters. James 5:16 calls for confessing sinfulness to one another and I John 1:9 assures us if we confess our sinfulness God is faithful to forgive us.
B. Old Testament and Judaism
(JFC) Exodus 22:1 declares that a sheep thief is obligated to replace it fourfold. The
Old Testament forbids adultery in Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18 and murder in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17, the Ten Commandments. Numbers 35:18 sets the death penalty for a murderer. Deuteronomy 22:22-24 explains BCE Law, re: adultery and its consequences, death. Job describes adultery in 31:9f and names it "a heinous crime" in the NRSV, a "horrible crime" in the CEV. Evil is recognized as an original part of creation, Genesis 2:9. It is with the Old Testament throughout; see Genesis 6:5 and 44:4 as well as Job 1:1 where it is to be relinquished. Psalm 34:13f recommend avoiding evil speech and prescribes doing good and seeking and pursuing peace instead. Psalm 121:7 prophesies that God keeps believers from evil among other blessings from on high. Leviticus 5:5 speaks of confession of sin and Psalms 32:5 and 38:18-22 propose confessing sinfulness moving on through repentance toward forgiveness. See also Psalms 32, 51 and 103.
C. Hellenistic World
(JFC) These thinkers would probably appreciate Bathsheba's mourning her husband's
death even if they had to wonder about the feelings commensurate with grieving. They could have shared God's displeasure, surely, with David's sinfulness of adultery and murder. The parable Nathan tells must have enthralled the Hellenists in their thought-filled world. David's anger at the rich man in Nathan's story might have gotten their attention, at least momentarily, like until the point of the story gets revealed. Doing evil in God's eyes might well have moved them to wonder what of their doing and/or not doing pleased and/or displeased God. Would the punishments fitting David's crimes appeal to their senses of justice, logically contemplated and discussed at least?
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