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.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Invidious Jealousy

Daily Readings
Psalm 106:1-18 + I Samuel 17:55-18:27 + Judith 14 + Hebrews 11

Quote of the Day
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Daily Text: I Samuel 18:1-4, 20-27
When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 20Now Saul's daughter Michal loved David. Saul was told, and the thing pleased him. 21Saul thought, "Let me give her to him that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." Therefore Saul said to David a second time, "You shall now be my son-in-law." 22Saul commanded his servants, "Speak to David in private and say, 'See, the king is delighted with you, and all his servants love you; now then, become the king's son-in-law.'" 23So Saul's servants reported these words to David in private. And David said, "Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and of no repute?" 24The servants of Saul told him, "This is what David said." 25Then Saul said, "Thus shall you say to David, 'The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged on the king's enemies.'" Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26When his servants told David these words, David was well pleased to be the king's son-in-law. Before the time had expired, 27David rose and went, along with his men, and killed one hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king's son-in-law. Saul gave him his daughter Michal as a wife.

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

Invidious Jealousy
David takes the court and the country by storm. He is loved by Saul’s son and daughter Jonathan and Michal, by the court servants, the army and the people. He has captured their admiration and Saul is jealous. When he discovers Michal’s love for David he is pleased. Saul reasons that he should not take the life of such a popular leader, but if he can send him often enough to battle the Philistines, they should take care of ending his ever more prominent career. Shades of Uriah the Hittite [II Samuel 11;14]! So from leading a small band of soldiers, Saul promotes him to a leader of a thousand, and promises him his daughter if he can pay a bride price of 100 Philistine foreskins! That should prove dangerous enough to stop him for the risk was great! David, unaware of Saul’s jealousy responds to the challenge and brings the evidence of 100 Philistines killed and becomes son-in-law to the king. From shepherd boy to a royal marriage in a matter of months, David became the golden boy, but without realizing it he had made a most dangerous enemy, far more dangerous than the Philistines—the king himself.

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

From Davideis, Book III
Abraham Cowley
Michal her modest flames sought to conceal,
But love even th’art to hide it does reveal.
Her soft unpracticed eyes betrayed the theft,
Love passed through them, and there such footsteps left.
She blushed when he approached, and when he spoke,
And suddenly her wandering answers broke,
At his names sound, and when she heard him praised,
With concerned haste her thoughtful looks she raised.
Uncalled-for sighs oft from her bosom flew,
And Adriel’s active friend she abruptly grew.
Oft when the court’s gay youth stood waiting by,
She strove to act a cold indifferency;
In vain she acted so constrained a part,
For thousand nameless things disclosed her heart.
On th’other side David with silent pain
Did in respectful bounds his fires contain.
His humble fear t’offend, and trembling awe,
Imposed on him a no less rigorous law
Than modesty on her, and though he strove
To make her see’t, he durst not tell his love.
To tell it first the timorous youth made choice
Of music’s bolder and more active voice
And thus beneath her window, did he touch
His faithful lyre; the words and numbers such,
As did well worth my memory appear,
And may perhaps deserve your princely ear.

Awake, awake my Lyre,
And tell thy silent master’s humble tale,
In sounds that may prevail;
Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire,
Though so exalted she
And I so lowly be,
Tell her such different notes make all thy harmony.

Hark, how the strings awake,
And though the moving hand approach not near,
Themselves with awful fear,
A kind of numerous trembling make.
Now all thy forces try,
Now all thy charms apply,
Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye.

Weak Lyre! thy virtue sure
Is useless here, since thou art only found
To cure, but not to wound,
And she to wound, but not to cure.
Too weak, too, wilt thou prove
My passion to remove,
Physic to other ills, thou’rt nourishment to Love.

Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre;
For thou canst never tell my humble tale,
In sounds that will prevail,
Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire;
All thy vain mirth lay by,
Bid thy strings silent lie,
Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre, and let thy master die.

She heard all this, and the prevailing sound
Touched with delightful pain her tender wound.

(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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