An eye for an eye … a tooth for a tooth, being tricked and making promises. Geesh…

An eye for an eye

Don't make promises you don't intend to keep.  It is unfair, confusing and it will always get you in trouble.  And don't believe everything people tell you.   It really does take time to trust people.

Read II Samuel 21.  You'll see what I mean.

At one point, there was a famine during David's reign that lasted 3 years.  David finally figures out it's because of David's predecessor and his family … King Saul.  King Saul's actions, long before David was on the throne, caused the famine that David was having to deal with.

During Saul's reign the Israelites had sworn they would not kill the Gibeonites, but Saul tried to wipe them out anyway.  That was a bad deal.

Now it had become clear to King David that this famine was somehow tied to Saul's guilt.

We learn from II Samuel 21 that no amount of money would satisfy the Gibeonites.  Neither would the Gibeonites demand the life of anyone in Israel.

What did they demand?  "So let seven of Saul's sons be handed over to us, and we will execute them before the Lord at Gibeon, on the mountain of the Lord."

Holy cow!  These men would have been 50 or 60 years old by now. 

"All right," King David said, "I will do it." 

Had David really heard from the Lord on this?  I really wonder about it.  Read II Samuel 11-20.  David's decision-making ability and use of authority are far from stellar. 

II Samuel 21:9 says:  "The men of Gibeon executed them on the mountain before the Lord.  So all seven of them died together at the beginning of the barley harvest."

The crazy thing is that in Joshua 9 we read about how the Gibeonites tricked, yes tricked, the Israelites into guaranteeing their safety with an oath (v. 15).  The Psalms are right.  There is no one good.  Not one.  Certainly not the Gibeonites, who no doubt feared for their lives. 

Saul, who started out fairly straight but then struggled with mental illness and who knows what else,  broke the oath made by the Israelites that said the Gibeonites would be protected at all costs.  He threw that out the window and killed some Gibeonites.  Saul feared for his life, too.  Maybe he never believed the Gibeonites.  Who knows?

Would he have broken the oath made to the Gibeonites had he known at the time the price his own sons would have paid?  Seven of them summarily executed. 

There are so many things you just can't know in advance.

But, wait you say, the Gibeonites tricked the Israelites.  Yes, I know.  It's complicated.  Very complicated.  Very, very complicated.

Conclusion:  Deep breaths…first of all.

Second, we must be wise as serpents, innocent as doves, willing to be wronged (one of the hardest things in the world) and, again, to be willing to not make promises we cannot keep.  Whew…help Lord!  Not easy stuff…

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