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Monday, June 11 2012

David's Altar

King David was a fiercely lethal fighter, while very well understanding that The Sixth Commandment (as it was actually written in the original Hebrew) isn't "thou shalt not kill," but rather "thou shalt not commit murder." If lawful killing were wrong (which would be a contradiction in itself), the LORD would not have commanded the death penalty for those who commit murder i.e. "he shall be surely put to death."

"35:31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death." (Numbers 35:31 KJV)

David learned the principle of lawful self defense, whether of the person, of others, or of the nation, while tending his father's sheep. Those lessons of righteousness accompanied David to battle. David didn't kill for "glory" - he did so only if and when it was lawful and righteous to do so.

Bethlehem Shepherds

"17:34 And David said unto Saul [see also The Civil War Kings], Thy servant kept his father's sheep [see Jesse The Bethlehemite], and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 17:35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 17:36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." (1 Samuel 17:34-37 KJV)

David knew that he was answerable to the LORD in all things, including what he had to do on the battlefield. David wasn't fighting for himself, or his own ego. Like Joshua before him, David was given the responsibility of serving the LORD in battle i.e. "Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah."

"23:1 Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors. 23:2 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines?

And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

23:3 And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

23:4 Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD [i.e. Jesus Christ; see Appearances Of The LORD God] answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah: for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand. 23:5 So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah." (1 Samuel 23:1-5 KJV)

"He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen ... to make his instruments of war"

When the people of Israel demanded a king for themselves, the LORD warned them that a human king, a man who comes to regard himself as the leader of the nation, will eventually begin to use the resources of the nation, including and most especially the military assets of a nation, as his own i.e. to "appoint them for himself." There have been many examples of it by swollen-headed politicians and would-be emperors. One of the most morbid paradigms of it was that of Adolf Hitler who eventually required the members of the German military to pledge allegiance specifically to him personally, rather than to the nation or its constitution (apart from Hitler's Satanic narcissism, there may have been another reason also: technically, Hitler was not German or German born; Hitler was Austrian, born in Austria). It's what men do when they lose sight of God.

The Visit Of The Queen Of Sheba

"8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel [see The Leaders Of Israel] was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 8:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 8:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8:8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 8:9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

8:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 8:12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 8:13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 8:16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

8:19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 8:20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles." (1 Samuel 8:1-20 KJV)

As we've read, David knew better, even as a young shepherd. But after his many victories that the LORD delivered to him, David briefly fell into Satan's ego trap - he ordered a census of "his" army i.e. "bring the number of them to me, that I may know it."

King David

"21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 21:2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it." (1 Chronicles 21:1-2 KJV)

At least some of the military commanders immediately sensed the wrong that David was doing. Joab tried to dissuade the king with a stark statement of reality about whose military forces that David was lustfully coveting: "The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be," and that counting the army for David himself would "be a cause of trespass to Israel."

"21:3 And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my LORD servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?" (1 Chronicles 21:3 KJV)

David refused to stop his egotistical counting of the army. Joab did what he was ordered, but "Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king's word was abominable to Joab." It was abominable to the LORD also: "God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel."

"21:4 Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. 21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.

21:6 But Levi [see Are Levites 'Jews'?] and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king's word was abominable to Joab. 21:7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel." (1 Chronicles 21:4-7 KJV)

David then woke up to what he was doing. He immediately repented, and prayed for mercy from the wrath that he knew was surely coming from his Commander.

"21:8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

21:9 And the LORD spake unto Gad, David's seer, saying, 21:10 Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

21:11 So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee 21:12 Either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me.

21:13 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man." (1 Chronicles 21:8-13 KJV)

David's ego had caused him to count the army of the LORD as though it were his own. The response of the LORD was to reduce that army by 70,000 troops. The LORD then turned His wrath upon "the city of David."

The Foundation Stone / Rock Moriah

"21:14 So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. 21:15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

21:16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces [see also What Did The Elders Of Israel Do?].

21:17 And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued." (1 Chronicles 21:14-17 KJV)

David's effort to stop the wrath produced one of the most famous, and in the eyes of some, most holy, places in the world. David quickly purchased an open-area plot of high ground, in the city of Jerusalem, that had been used as a threshing floor - its elevation provided the wind that was used to separate wheat from its chaff (see the Fact Finder question below). "David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering."

"21:18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite [see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan]. 21:19 And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD.

21:20 And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. 21:21 And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground.

21:22 Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.

21:23 And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all.

21:24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.

21:25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. 21:26 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering." (1 Chronicles 21:18-26 KJV)

There was nothing "holy" about the threshing floor that David purchased (as stated below, the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant weren't even in Jerusalem; see The Holy Place In History And Prophecy) that would later become the Temple Mount. But it was the place where the wrath upon David ended, after David built an altar there.

The Temple

"21:27 And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. 21:28 At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 21:29 For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness [see The Church In The Wilderness], and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. 21:30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD." (1 Chronicles 21:27-30 KJV)

It was from that point that David sought permission from the LORD to build the Temple that would replace the Tabernacle (see God's Tent). The LORD granted the request, but with the condition that it would be completed by David's son.

"22:1 Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.

22:2 And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. 22:3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; 22:4 Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David [see The Temple Cedar].

22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death." (1 Chronicles 22:1-5 KJV)

David understood that there was "a time for war, and a time for peace" (as Solomon was later to write i.e. "3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace" Ecclesiastes 3:8 KJV) and that war is the means by which a Kingdom is established (see The Coming World Dictator), not by which it exists (see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God).

"22:6 Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel. 22:7 And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: 22:8 But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 22:10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

22:11 Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. 22:12 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. 22:13 Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed." (1 Chronicles 22:6-13 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) When and where will everlasting peace come to all of the Earth? (b) Will Jesus Christ "separate the wheat from the chaff" from the very site of the threshing floor that David purchased?
(a) See A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace
(b) See Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

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This Day In History, June 11

1184 BC: According to calculations by Eratosthenes, Troy was sacked and burned on this date during the Trojan War.

1346: Charles IV of Luxembourg was elected Holy Roman Emperor in Germany.

1488: King James III of Scotland was murdered after his defeat at the Battle of Sauchieburn. He was succeeded by his son, James IV.

1509: King Henry VIII of England married the first of his six wives, Catherine of Aragon (the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, the employers of Christopher Columbus). It was Henry's later divorce of Catherine that triggered the break from the Church of Rome and the creation of the Church of England.

1727: King George I, the first Hanoverian king of Britain, died and was succeeded by his son George II.

1770: English explorer Captain James Cook ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

1847: John Franklin, British explorer, died in the Arctic after his ships became frozen in the ice. The details of his death were in a note found by a search party in 1859.

1903: King Alexander and Queen Draga of Belgrade were assassinated by members of the Serbian army.

1920: During the Republican National Convention in Chicago, party leaders gathered in a hotel to decide on their candidate for the presidential election. As first written by the Associated Press, it produced the political term "smoke-filled room."

1963: Quang Duc, 66, a Buddhist monk, committed suicide by burning himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest treatment of Buddhists by the U.S.-backed Diem regime. The picture was front-page news around the world the next day, and was followed by other monks in the weeks afterward.

1967: Israel and Syria accepted the terms of a U.N. ceasefire.

1987: Margaret Thatcher won her third consecutive term as British Prime Minister.

1997: An official Italian commission approved a move to allow Vittorio Emanuele, son of Italy's last king, to return home after 50 years of exile.

2001: Timothy McVeigh, 32, was executed at a U.S. Federal prison at Terre Haute, Indiana. The U.S.-born terrorist confessed to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19 1995 that killed 168 men, women and children. It was the most deadly act of terrorism in the U.S. prior to the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington.


Copyright © Wayne Blank