Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, July 18, 2005

Fatal Decision

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 3 + I Samuel 22 + Daniel 2 + John 2

Quote of the Day
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone. John 2:23-25

Daily Text: I Samuel 22:1-5, 14-17, 20-23
David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; when his brothers and all his father's house heard of it, they went down there to him. 2Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred. 3David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. He said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and mother come to you, until I know what God will do for me." 4He left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5Then the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not remain in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah." So David left, and went into the forest of Hereth. 14Then Ahimelech answered the king, "Who among all your servants is so faithful as David? He is the king's son-in-law, and is quick to do your bidding, and is honored in your house. 15Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? By no means! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any member of my father's house; for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little." 16The king said, "You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house." 17The king said to the guard who stood around him, "Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David; they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me." But the servants of the king would not raise their hand to attack the priests of the LORD.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 22David said to Abiathar, "I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I am responsible for the lives of all your father's house. 23Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me."

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Fatal Decision
In spite of the fact that David deceived Ahimelech to allow him his innocence, when Doeg the Edomite betrayed him, his innocence, convincing as it was, did him no good. Saul needed a scapegoat. Jonathan was out, so were those who were around him and continued to serve him. It is as if Saul was using this way to get back at God for deserting him. Whatever the motivation, he orders Ahimelech, 84 other priests and their entire city destroyed. Only Abiathar, of the priests of the LORD, escapes. Following Hertzberg [433:188] this is the focal point of the series of dramatic instances including the visit to Ahimelech, David’s becoming a fugitive, the betrayal and ‘trial of Ahimelech with Saul turning on YHWH and attacking his priests only to have one of them escape to David. Now David has the only priest of the LORD in Israel and Saul has not one. The die is cast. Saul has made another of his fatally flawed, spur of the moment decisions, and left himself without God.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Filial Piety of DavidLydia Huntley Sigourney
1791-1865

Adullam’s sheltering cavern bent
O’er many an exile’s head,
Who from the tyrant sway of Saul
In discontent had fled;
And he, the leader of that band,
Came forth in sadden’d thought,
And to a foreign monarch’s court
His suit a suppliant brought:

“Oh, King of Moab!” bowing down
With trembling lip he said
Who oft to victory’s crimson field
Had Israel’s thousands led,
“I pray thee, let mine aged sire,
And she beside whose knee
My earliest, lisping prayer was learn’d,
In safety dwell with thee.

“Lest, while the adverse torrent’s force
With struggling breast I stem,
My hands grow weak, my spirits faint,
In anxious care for them;
For with an outlaw’s ceaseless pain,
I wander to and from,
And wait Jehovah’s righteous will
More perfectly to know.”

Then forth to Moab’s pitying prince
His aged sire he led,
The cavern dampness on the locks
That silver’d o’er his head;
And, leaning on his vigorous arm,
A wrinkled woman came,
The mother of the many sons
Who honour’d Jesse’s name.

The youngest and the dearest one
Now woke her parting tear,
And sorrow shook his manly breast
That ne’er had quail’d with fear;
While drawing near the monarch’s side,
In low and earnest tone
He press’d upon his soften’d heart
The treasures of his own.

Low kneeling at his parents’ side,
That blessing he besought,
Which ever in his childish years
Had calm’d each troubled thought;
While they with fond and feeble hand
His clustering curls among,
Jehovah’s majesty and might
Invoked with faltering tongue.

With tearful thanks to Moab’s king,
The exile left the place,
For filial duty well discharged
Shed sunshine o’er his face;
And sweet as when on Bethlehem’s vales
He fed his fleecy flock,
The dew of holy song distill’d
Like honey from the rock.

“God is my light! Why should I fear,
Though earth be dark with shade?
God is the portion of my soul,
Why should I be afraid?
Unless his arm had been my stay
When snares were round me spread,
My strength had fainted and gone down
To silence and the dead.

“Father and mother, dear and true,
The homeless one forsake,
While like the hunted deer, my course
From cliff to cliff I take.
Though kings against my life conspire,
And hosts in hate array’d,
God is the portion of my soul’
Why should I be afraid?”
411:166

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

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