Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Colorful Language and Handling Anger in I Samuel.

I am having a good time at the Tuesday morning Bible Study, led by Worth Carson at Granada PC[A]. Today we covered I Samuel 25, where the major characters are David, Abigail and a dunce named Nabal.

This passage relates that David and his men (who are out in the wilderness avoiding Saul) had been providing protection from the Philistines to Nabal, a rich sheep and goat herder. Shearing time has arrived, which is a festive occasion. David sends word to Nabal and asks most respectfully whether he and his men may come and party with Nabal and his clan. Nabal sends word to David that David may go fly a kite. This really angers David. Really.

Worth is a Hebrew scholar, and he related the literal translation of some of the passages. In my NIV, verse 13 reads "David said to his men, 'Put on your swords!'" Worth said that the literal translation is simply "Swords!!" I think the Hebrew communicates something here that the NIV does not.

But what is more interesting is the literal translation of the oath that David makes in verse 22, so angry is he. The NIV reads, "May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him [Nabal]."

The Hebrew translation is " . . . if by morning I leave alive any among them who pisses against a wall."

Colorful. What else are we missing not knowing Hebrew?

The main point of the story is how Abigail staunches David's anger. What a wise and beautiful woman. I want to read more about her.

We discussed the matter of dealing with anger, of how men deal with it (often poorly, when they are left to themselves), and how an intelligent, beautiful, God-fearing woman can transform a very dangerous situation. What a blessing for any man to have an Abigail nearby at a time of crisis.

(Or any other time, for that matter.)

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