33 Comments
Jan 16Liked by Aimee Byrd

I’m amazed at how some people revere David. He was an extremely talented warlord, first under Saul and then for the Philistines. He was a horrible father and husband. Then again, a man being great at his job is still taken as an excuse for not being so great with his family. If it were a woman, though, even today those same people revering David would call for her head for neglecting her so-called proper role in the home.

Women had no agency in David’s day. Same problems continue today.

And then there are those who excuse David’s raping Bathsheba and murdering Uriah (and who don’t bother questioning his arguably disingenuous repentance for raping Bathsheba and murdering Uriah in Psalm 51); repeated exploitation of power; failure to enforce the law when it came to his family; and the abandonment of women to rape in the passage you cite. This is not an exhaustive list.

How can anyone look past this? I’ve seen it glossed over by people reminding us that David was a man after God’s own heart, as if that makes him respectable. It doesn’t. It makes him a person of faith, and there haven been people who exercised their faith better than David (Stephen comes to mind). David’s part of the biblical narrative, but I’m not enamored with him.

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There's so much complexity. What I do appreciate is that the Holy Spirit doesn't inspire the writers of Scripture to tell a narrative with a curated people of God. And that gives us hope.

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“I’ve seen it glossed over by people reminding us that David was a man after God’s own heart, as if that makes him respectable. It doesn’t.”

Yes! People don’t want to think about it so they resort to the glossing-over thought stopper.

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"They are Holy Saturday." Wow. You have put words to things that have been deeply hard for me, concerns I have kept buried in Bible study discussion but that have chafed and chafed. Thank you.

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Jan 20Liked by Aimee Byrd

This is by no means a complete consolation. Like Hagar, this is a story in scripture that calls for lament.

But I do believe that when God tells David what will happen, it is a description of the consequences, not a decree. He is not saying "I will cause your son to take your concubines." Rather, it's "your sin is contagious, and it will spread to your whole family, both in commission and victimization." At the same time, David's life is spared, but he never again approaches the level of power and glory that he had before his sin, and if anything, he proves over and over again that his sin has weakened him, like Samson losing his hair.

I also think narratively, the ten concubines represent the ten tribes of Israel that go their own way during the rule of Rehoboam. Like his family is torn from him and defiled, so too will the nation be. And if we are familiar with that history, the sin and injustice that follows is the same kind of tragedy, repeated over and over again until exile.

God says over and over again to later kings of Judah that the only reason he preserves their line is because of his promise to David. Not because of David, but God's own promise, his own character, his own purpose. And we know what the promise is really about - the salvation of all mankind.

Like Abraham, David's sexual sin had bitter consequences for his family and the nation, like Abraham, he was never worthy of the favor and call on his life. Yet through both, God prepared the way for Christ to come.

All creation groans, as in the pain of childbirth, waiting for the sons of God, for us to be revealed in glory. It has been a long labor, and it continues still.

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Amen, thanks Bethany. There is so much symbolism in that narrative, I agree.

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Jan 16Liked by Aimee Byrd

Thanks for this, Aimee. I wonder if, like you said, David left them there because, in his mind, they weren’t his legitimate wives. He was going to leave his concubines instead. But God saw them as his wives. They weren’t illegitimate. And they truly lived as widows because they were true wives. Wives that were abused, let down, and left. I wonder if David ever realized what actually happened and how the prophecy was actually fulfilled.

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Jan 16Liked by Aimee Byrd

Wow thank you for your comment, this is so well said.

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Oh my. Your words. Their story.

God have mercy.

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Wow. I have no words.

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Jan 17Liked by Aimee Byrd

🥀😫🥀😱🥀 😩🥀

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Every time I read this story, I'm dumbfounded that David is entirely passive with regard to his children, men and women. Why didn't he confront Amnon? Why did he ignore Absalom for 5 years? There is no record of a conversation with Tamar. Absalom, apparently learning from his father, "comforted" Tamar by telling her to keep it all to herself. David had great faith, and we can and should admire that, but he also had tremendous flaws. Thankfully, Scripture tells us the results of both, and we can grieve over his treatment of his children, concubines, and wives.

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Jan 16Liked by Aimee Byrd

Aimee, I feel your grief and empathize with it. I wrestle with these same kinds of things—“Why, Lord?? How??” Why do people seemingly get away with horrible, hateful evil in this life? Don’t the people they damage matter?

The thing is, here on earth, God doesn’t remove the painful consequences of the evil that people do. But He does give us HOPE—hope that, after the devastation, betrayal, abandonment, and desolation, there IS Sunday! The day will turn and Holy Saturday will become Sunday! I don’t think this trivializes bereavement or slaps the gospel on a horrible situation, but proves that evil will NOT win in the end, and our tears will be turned to joy. That is the good news!

Even the true and horrific guilt that evildoers bear from their wrongdoing, and the terrible damage that it causes, can be forgiven them if they repent; that is the good news too.

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“They are Holy Saturday” 🥺

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Jan 16Liked by Aimee Byrd

Beautiful. Grace and Peace!

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Whew. Yes and Amen!

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2 Samuel 5:13 says that David took more concubines from Jerusalem which was a Jebusite stronghold that opposed David's rise to power. The ten concubines were probably from leading Jebusite families that David formed political alliances. He might not have been able to take them with him because of those political alliances. He mistakenly might have believed they would not have been harmed. Not trying to make excuses for David, but the mid east background of political alliances and using women as pawns in those alliances was the reality. And a new King had the right to sexual relationships with the women in the prior king's harem as the jebusites would have seen Absalom especially if they wanted to get rid of David. The concubines themselves would not have any say in this, but their families may have been all right with aligning with the new King as they saw it.

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Hi, Aimee, I've only fairly recently run into your blog. And this is extremely non sequitur because I'm not sure where to share it. As you search - and I hope you find a loving and respectful church home - I thought you might appreciate a couple perspectives here:

https://www.hannahmillerking.com/blog/im-a-female-priest-and-i-support-my-opponents-in-the-womens-ordination-debate

https://anglicancompass.com/learning-to-love-the-whole-church-why-i-decided-to-join-the-anglican-church-in-north-america/

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Aimee, I will soon be publishing a blog post that discusses the Old Testament narratives about sexual abuse. My post will include discussion on how David, Amnon and Absolom treated the women you mentioned in your article.

I don’t know whether you subscribe to my blog. Would you like to be notified when I publish my post?

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I am not going to reply to this or other comments as the point is being miss. That is due in large part because I have not communicated it well. I think maybe to ask a question to clarify what I mean or to try to understand what I'm saying would be nice. Because this doesn't happen and I'm being accused of being an unsensitve cad real conversation ceases. I have followed Amiee for sometime and she knows I am very supportive of her. As a victim of sexual abuse I get what those who are commenting might be too. But I'm simply saying to simplifying things to fit our experiences at times clouds and hinders understand a more inclusive explanations. I think I've misunderstood some things Aimee has said but I will not do so here because it doesn't seem to be a forum of exchange of ideas. That is not Aimee's fault. I'm sure can speak for herself which has in her reply to me which certainly not filled with presuppositions that have been given to me here.

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