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

Friday, August 12, 2005

Winning Friends and Challenging Treachery

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 19 + II Samuel 15 + I Chronicles 5 + John 21

Quote of the Day
For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people, and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places. The Wisdom of Solomon 19:22

Daily Text: II Samuel 15

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

Winning Friends and Challenging Treachery
Absalom is a cunning and thoughtful man. Somehow he knows what he needs to do to win the hearts of the people away from David the king. That may not be difficult. It is altogether human to hate the ruler you know and look hopefully on the one you do not. But in addition, to understand the psychology of politics is not enough. One must be willing to make the all out move to rule. In Absalom’s case that involved betraying his own father, and when he is ready he does not hesitate to do so. Treachery is second nature to this man, as we have seen in relationship to his brother Amnon.

Fortunately, David also is cunning and thoughtful and not unwilling to fight his son for the throne. Beyond that he can still turn readily to rely on the LORD God. As he is leaving the city he sets up a network for intelligence gathering by priests and counselors, men who could not have helped militarily in the field. And yet, through it all, he must have wondered ‘why?’ Why had it come to this with his own loved son?

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

from Address to the Unco Guid
or The Rigidly Righteous
Robert Burns
1759-1796

Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;

Tho’ they may gang a kennin wrang
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark
How far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the heart, ‘tis He alone
Decidedly can try us:
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias:
Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.
407:1416

(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.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The King Apparent

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 18 + II Samuel 13:38-14:33 + I Chronicles 4 + John 20

Quote of the Day
Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!” And God granted what he asked. I Chronicles 4:10

Daily Text: II Samuel 13:38-14:33

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

The King Apparent
Did Joab know David and his experience well enough to re-create a Nathan? It would seem so. For love of David, Joab wanted Absalom at home. Under some circumstances it might be thought that he was warming up to a possible king apparent, but that must be a theory discarded by virtue of the fact that he ignored him, and had nothing to do with him once he brought him back to Jerusalem.

But king apparent Absalom was, not least in his own mind. The description of his beauty and his directness set us up for that eventuality. Only the fact that God, no matter how hidden, continues to direct Israel will prevent this from happening. Again, David, has failed to bring to justice a son who commits a heinous act. Besides, the uncorrected fault will show itself again. Yes, it is his son, but no one is to walk free of justice. The welfare of the people of Israel demands that regardless of the father’s sentiment. YHWH is committed to David and in spite of David’s faults he will bring to the throne the one best prepared to carry on David’s work—nee, God’s work. It is only in the work of Jesus the Christ that forgiveness can come seemingly in mercy without justice. Ah, but the justice was suffered by Jesus! That we must not forget. Therein lies the mystery.

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

The Rabbi’s Song
Rudyard Kipling
II Samuel 14: 14

If thought can reach to Heaven,
On Heaven let it dwell,
For fear thy Thought be given
Like power to reach Hell.
For fear the desolation
And darkness of thy mind
Perplex an habitation
Which thou hast left behind.

Let nothing linger after—
No whimpering ghost remain,
In wall, or beam, or rafter,
Of any hate or pain.
Cleanse and call home thy spirit,
Deny her leave to cast,
On aught thy heirs inherit,
The shadow of her past.

For think, in all thy sadness,
What road our griefs may take;
Whose brain reflect our madness,
Or whom our terrors shake:
For think, lest any languish
By cause of thy distress—
The arrows of our anguish
Fly farther than we guess.

Our lives, our tears, as water,
Are spilled upon the ground;
God giveth no man quarter,
Yet God a means hath found,
Though Faith and Hope have vanished,
And even Love grows dim—
A means whereby His banished
Be not expelled from Him!
395:220

(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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lovesickness

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 17 + II Samuel 13:1-37 + I Chronicles 3 + John 19

Quote of the Day
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. John 19:17, 18

Daily Text: II Samuel 13:1-37

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

Lovesickness
How often this malaise creates a scene for disaster. Amnon, the Prince Consort, has such a sickness for his half-sister Tamar, before it was illegal in Israel for a man to marry his sister. His passionate derangement works itself out in deception, trickery, rape, abandonment, and ultimately his own death. Passion for a woman, regardless of consequences, was modelled by Amnon’s father, however there was a difference. His father’s lust moved to love, and though he killed for her, he did not abandon Bathsheba to her own fate. Not so with Amnon. Once he fulfilled his desires, he immediately loathed Tamar.

This gives us an insight into the royal family that is not a pretty one. Amnon and Absalom were sons who were so privileged, so spoiled that no deed was beneath them if it moved them in the direction of their desires. Consequences were not a consideration. This loathing for sister and brother reflects a family that knew no guiding hand, a family that was raised in a spirit of ambitious and callous expectation with jealousies that knew no bounds. Oh, they were loved well enough, but they knew no discipline, correction or guidance, at least that seems to be the case for the boys. Tamar was not so free, but then she did not have a careless attitude. She recognized consequences both for herself and her elder brother. “When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn” [II Samuel 13:21]. Undirected love on the part of a parent is perhaps as destructive as is undirected lovesickness.

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

Lovesickness
A stanza of Egyptian love poetry*

Seven (days) to yesterday I have not seen the sister,
And a sickness has invaded me.
My body has become heavy,
Forgetful of my own self.
If the chief of physicians come to me,
My heart is not content (with) their remedies;
The lector priests, no way (out) is in them:--
My sickness will not be probed.
To say to me: “Here she is!” is what will revive me;
Her name is what will lift me up;
The going in and out of her messengers
Is what will revive my heart.
More beneficial to me is the sister than any remedies;
She is more to me than the collected writings.
My health is in her coming in from outside:
When (I) see her, then (I) am well.
If she opens her eye, my body is young (again);
If she speaks, then I am strong (again);
When I embrace her, she drives evil away from me—
But she has gone forth from me for seven days!
435:320
* Cf. Song of Songs 5:8

(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.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

You AreThe Man

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 16 + I Samuel 11:27b-12:31 + I Chronicles 2 + John 18

Quote of the Day
So that your children, whom you loved, O LORD, might learn that it is not the production of crops that feeds humankind but that your word sustains those who trust in you. The Wisdom of Solomon 16:26

Daily Text: II Samuel 11:27b-12:31

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

You are the Man
Sandwiched into the continuing war against the Ammonites, the story of David’s adultery, murder and confession continues. Nathan’s little parable of ‘rich man poor man’ sums up David’s sin quite well. So well, in fact, that David exposes his own sin by his passionate response to it. Nathan responds simply by saying ‘You are the man.’ Those simple words, two words in Hebrew, must have come like a hammer blow. In fact, there are three examples of these radical two word statements in this passage about David’s perfidy [cf. Brueggemann 430:282]. The first is Bathsheba’s announcement, ‘I’m pregnant.’ The second is the one noted above and the third is David’s unvarnished admission ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Each of these statements set in train sets of consequences that changed lives irrevocably. The first resulted in Uriah’s murder. The second in David’s confession. The third in forgiveness, but also the death of the child.

‘You are the man.’ The unvarnished truth is so often difficult to hear. In David we have a man who, though he has ‘utterly scorned the LORD, has the sensitivity and grace to admit without further attempt to hide his acts. Such a man is rare. Men of passion are a dime a dozen. Men who can confess are as rare as hen’s teeth. Not only that, when the child is born and is ill, even though Nathan has told him the child will die, he abases himself in sackcloth, prayer and fasting for the life of the child until the child is dead. So overwrought is he that his retainers fear to tell him when the child dies. But David has a rare quality. That quality is the humility to confess, the boldness to petition God to change God’s mind and the facility to accept forgiveness completely without further remonstration. When he heard the child was dead, he cleaned himself up, went to make an offering before God and came back to Bathsheba to make another baby. It was over. He had done what he could do, and he accepted that. If God had forgiven him, then he was fully forgiven. The acceptance of that is remarkable.

‘You are the man!‘ was also what Joab was saying to him, when he summoned him to the battlefield to take credit for the victory over the Ammonites. Again, David didn’t question. He simply gathered troops and went. He was a kingly man as well as king. Perhaps God never prepared one who fits that image better than David, with the notable exception of his own coming in human form in the person of Jesus.

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

King David
Stephen Vincent Benet

David sang to his hook-nosed harp:
“The Lord God is a jealous God!
His violent vengeance is swift and sharp!
And the Lord is King above all gods!

“Blest be the Lord, through years untold,
The Lord Who has blessed me a thousand fold!

“Cattle and concubines, corn and hives
Enough to last me a dozen lives.

Plump, good women with noses flat,
Marrowful blessings, weighty and fat.

“I wax in His peace like a pious gourd,
The Lord God is a pleasant God,
Break mine enemy’s jaw, O Lord!
For the Lord is King above all gods!”

His hand dropped slack from the tunable strings,
A sorrow came on him—a sorrow of kings.

A sorrow sat on the arm of his throne,
An eagle sorrow with claws of stone.

“I am merry, yes, when I am not thinking,
But life is nothing but eating and drinking.

“I can shape my psalms like daggers of jade,
But they do not shine like the first I made.

“I can harry the heathen from North to South,
But no hot taste comes into my mouth.

“My wives are comely as long-haired goats,
But I would not care if they cut their throats!

“Where are the maids of the desert tents
With lips like flagons of frankincense?

“Where is Jonathan? Where is Saul?
The captain-towers of Zion wall?

“The trees of cedar, the hills of Nod,
The kings, the running lions of God?

“Their words were a writing in golden dust,
Their names are myrrh in the mouths of the just.

“The sword of the slayer could never divide them—
Would God I had died in battle beside them!”

The Lord looked down from a thunder-clap.
(The Lord God is a crafty God.)
He heard the strings of the shrewd harp snap.
(The Lord Who is King above all gods.)

He pricked the king with an airy thorn,
It burnt in his body like grapes of scorn.

The eyelids roused that had drooped like lead.
David lifted his heavy head.

The thorn stung at him, a fiery bee,
“The world is wide. I will go and see
From the roof of my haughty palace,” said he.

2
Bathsheba bathed on her vine-decked roof.
(The Lord God is a mighty God.)
Her body glittered like mail of proof.
(And the Lord is King above all gods.)

Her body shimmered, tender and white
As the flesh of aloes in candlelight.

King David forgot to be old or wise.
He spied on her bathing with sultry eyes.

A breath of spice came into his nose.
He said, “Her breasts are like two young roes.”

His eyes were bright with a crafty gleam.
He thought, “Her body is soft as cream.”

He straightened himself like an unbent bow
And called a servant and bade him go.

3
Uriah the Hittite came to his lord,
Dusty with war as a well-used sword.

A close, trim man like a belt, well-buckled;
A jealous gentleman, hard to cuckold.

David entreated him, soft and bland,
Offered him comfits from his own hand.

Drank with him deep till his eyes grew red,
And laughed in his beard as he went to bed.

The days slipped by without hurry or strife,
Like apple-parings under a knife,
And still Uriah kept from his wife.

Lean fear tittered through David’s psalm,
“This merry husband is far too calm.”

David sent for Uriah then,
They greeted each other like pious men.

“Thou hast borne the battle, the dust and the heat.
Go down to thy house and wash thy feet!”

Uriah frowned at the words of the king.
His brisk, hard voice had a leaden ring.

“While the hosts of God still camp in the field
My house to me is a garden sealed.

“How shall I rest while the arrow yet flies?
The dust of the war is still in my eyes.”

David spoke with his lion’s roar:
“If Peace be a bridle that rubs you sore
You shall fill your belly with blood and war!”

Uriah departed, calling him kind.
His eyes were serpents in David’s mind.

He summoned a captain, a pliable man,
“Uriah the Hittite shall lead the van.

“In the next assault, when the fight roars high,
And the Lord God is a hostile God,
Retire from Uriah that he may die.
For the Lord is King above all gods.”

4
The messenger came while King David played
The friskiest ditty ever made.

“News, O King, from our dubious war!
The Lord of Hosts hath prevailed once more!

“His foes are scattered like chirping sparrows,
Their kings lie breathless, feathered with arrows,

“Many are dead of your captains tall.
Uriah the Hittite was first to fall.”

David turned from the frolicsome strings
And rent his clothes for the death of kings.

Yet, as he rent them, he smiled for joy.
The sly, wide smile of a wicked boy.

“The powerful grace of the Lord prevails!
He has cracked Uriah between His nails!

“His blessings are mighty, they shall not cease.
And my days henceforth shall be days of peace!”

His mind grew tranquil, smoother than fleece.
He rubbed his body with scented grease.
And his days thenceforward were days of peace.

His days were fair as the flowering lime
--For a little time, for a little time.

And Bathsheba lay in his breast like a dove,
A vessel of amber, made for love.

5
When Bathsheba was great with child,
(The Lord God is a jealous God!)
Portly and meek as a moon grown mild,
(The Lord is King above all gods!)

Nathan, the prophet, wry and dying,
Preached to the king like a locust crying:

“Hearken awhile to a doleful thing!
There were two men in thy land, O King!

“One was rich as a gilded ram.
One had one treasure, a poor ewe-lamb.

“Rich man wasted his wealth like spittle.
Poor man shared with his lamb spare victual.

“A traveler came to the rich man’s door.
‘Give me to eat, for I hunger sore!’

“Rich man feasted him fatly, true,
But the meat that he gave him was fiend’s meat, too,
Stolen and roasted, the poor man’s ewe!

“Hearken, my lord, to a deadly thing!
What shall be done with these men, O King?”

David hearkened, seeing it plain,
His heart grew heavy with angry pain:
“Show me the rich man that he be slain!”

Nathan barked as a jackal can.
“Just, O King! And thou art the man!”

David rose as the thunders rise
When someone in Heaven is telling lies.
But his eyes were weaker than Nathan’s eyes.

His huge bulk shivered like quaking sod,
Shoulders bowing to Nathan’s rod,
Nathan, the bitter apple of God.

His great voice shook like a runner’s, spent,
“My sin has found me! Oh, I repent!”

Answered Nathan, that talkative Jew:
“For many great services, comely and true,
The Lord of Mercy will pardon you.

“But the child in Bathsheba, come of your seed,
Shall sicken and die like a blasted weed.”

David groaned when he heard him speak.
The painful tears ran hot on his cheek.

Ashes he cast on his kingly locks.
All night long he lay on the rocks.

Beseeching his Lord with a howling cry:
“O lord God, O my jealous God,
Be kind to the child that it may not die,
For Thou art King above all gods!”

Seven long nights he lay there, howling,
A lion wounded, moaning and growling.

7
Seven long midnights, sorrowing greatly,
While Sin, like a dead man, embraced him straitly.

Till he was abased from his lust and pride
And the child was born and sickened and died.

He arose at last. It was ruddy Day.
And his sin like water had washed away.

He cleansed and anointed, took fresh apparel,
And worshiped the Lord in a tuneful carol.

His servants, bearing the child to bury,
Marveled greatly to see him so merry.

He spoke to them mildly as mid-May weather:
“The child and my sin are perished together.

“He is dead, my son. Though his whole soul yearn to me,
I must go to him, he may not return to me.

“Why should I sorrow for what was pain?
A cherished grief is an iron chain.”

He took up his harp, the sage old chief.
His heart felt clean as a new green leaf.

His soul smelt pleasant as rain-wet clover.
“I have sinned and repented and that’s all over.

“In his dealings with heathen, the Lord is hard.
But the humble soul is his spikenard.”

His wise thoughts fluttered like doves in the air.
“I wonder is Bathsheba still so fair?

“Does she weep for the child that our sin made perish?
I must comfort my ewe-lamb, comfort and cherish.

“The justice of God is honey and balm.
I will soothe her heart with a little psalm.”

He went to her chamber, no longer sad,
Walking as light as a shepherd lad.

He found her weeping, her garments rent,
Trodden like straw by God’s punishment.
He solaced her out of his great content.

Being but woman, a while she grieved,
But at last she was comforted, and conceived.

Nine months later she bore him a son.
(The Lord God is a mighty God!)
The name of that child was Solomon.
He was God’s tough staff till his days were run!
(And the Lord is King above all gods!)
395:213


(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.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Adultery and Murder

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 15 + II Samuel 11:2-27a + I Chronicles 1 + John 17

Quote of the Day
But you, our God, are kind and true,
Patient, and ruling all things in mercy. For even if we sin we are yours, knowing your power; but we will not sin, because we know that you acknowledge us as yours. For to know you is complete righteousness, and to know your power is the root of immortality.
The Wisdom of Solomon 15:1-3

Daily Text: II Samuel 11:2-27a

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

Adultery and Murder
This is not simply about a private sin, as it almost never is. More than one family is pulled in, and since David is a public figure, public morality is also at issue. Two matters here are significant: there is no protecting of David here, and his loss of ‘innocence’ marks a turning point in his own life and in the history of Israel. God forgives him adultery and murder, yes, but both David and Israel live out the consequences through all their history. Nothing is ever the same. Joab is cockier, David’s sons are all threatened in the succession struggle, God holds Israel more to account for national sins, and the lies take over. To hide his sin David lies, as do all who sin. Lies are at heart the spawn of the evil one. To lie is to embrace the evil one and to explicitly reject the God of truth. One cannot embrace both, although in the attempt one might save himself for confession and forgiveness. This, I believe, David did, but the consequences are inevitable. Forgiveness is mercy personified, but justice exacts its due, regardless.

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

from Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe
George Peele

Hot sun, cool fire, tempered with sweet air,
Black shade, fair nurse, shadow my white hair.
Shine, sun; burn, fire; breathe, air, and ease me;
Shadow, my sweet nurse, keep me from burning,
Make not my glad cause cause of mourning.
Let not my beauty’s fire
Inflame unstaid desire,
Nor pierce any bright eye
That wandereth lightly.
395:208

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

David Enamoured of Bethsabe
George Peele

What tunes, what words, what looks,
what wonders pierce
My soul, incensed with a sudden fire!
What tree, what shade, what spring,
what paradise,
Enjoys the beauty of so fair a dame!
Fair Eva, placed in perfect happiness,
Lending her praise-notes to the liberal heavens,
Struck with the accents of archangels’ tunes,
Wrought not more pleasure to her husband’s thoughts
Than this fair woman’s words and notes to mine.
May that sweet plain that bears her peasant weight,
Be still enamell’d with discolour’d flowers;
That precious fount bear sand of purest gold;
And for the pebble, let the silver streams
That pierce earth’s bowels to maintain the source,
Play upon rubies, sapphires, chrysolites;
The brim let be embraced with golden curls
Of moss that sleeps with sound the waters make
For joy to feed the fount with their recourse;
Let all the grass that beautifies her bower
Bear manna every morn, instead of dew
Or let the dew be sweeter far than that
That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,
Or balm which trickled from old Aaron’s beard.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
See, Cusay, see the flower of Israel,
The fairest daughter that obeys the king,
In all the land the Lord subdued to me,
Farier than Isaac’s lover at the well,
Brighter than inside bark of new-hewn cedar,
Sweeter than flames of fine perfumèd myrrh;
And comelier than the silver clouds that dance
On zephyr’s wings before the King of Heaven
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bright Bethsabe shall wash in David’s bower
In water mix’d with purest almond flower,
And bathe her beauty in the milk of kids;
Bright Bethsabe gives earth to my desires,
Verdure to earth, and to that verdure flowers,
To flowers sweet odours, and to odours wings,
That carry pleasures to the hearts of kings.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Now comes my lover tripping like the roe,
And brings my longings tangled in her hair;
To joy her love I’ll build a kingly bower,
Seated in hearing of a hundred streams,
That, for their homage to her sovereign joys,
Shall, as the serpents fold into their nests,
In oblique turnings wind the nimble waves
About the circles of her curious walks,
And with their murmur summon easeful sleep,
To lay his golden sceptre on her brows.
411:183

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.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

War With the Ammonites

Daily Readings
The Wisdom of Solomon 14 + II Samuel 10:1-11:1 + Zechariah 14 + John 16

Quote of the Day
On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:26, 27

Daily Text: II Samuel 10:1-11:1

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

War with the Ammonites
David held hesed for Nahash as he did for Jonathan. And so when Nahash died he extended his goodwill toward the son of Nahash, Hanun, as he had done to the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth. This time treachery meets his extended tribute. His emissaries are treated as spies and symbolically emasculated, having half their beards cut off and half their clothes cut off exposing their genitals. Then they are sent back to David as laughing stocks with the implicit message to David that he was considered of little account. When David took umbrage the laughing stopped and panic ensued to such an extent that Hunan was forced to employ mercenaries with forces larger than his own. Joab was surrounded when he mounted an attack and so he divided his forces and he himself led the attack against the Arameans who were the mercenaries. They refused to stand against his picked and very experienced forces. Fleeing with significant losses, the only thing left to the Ammonites was to flee also. This they did, right back into their fortified city thus escaping certain defeat for the moment. In the meantime the Arameans and all of their allies made peace with Israel, not a good sign for the Ammonites.

But for once the battle is not the issue. This war, this battle is told to set the stage for the most famous of all moral failures in Holy Scripture.

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

Weapons of Evil
From “The Tao The King”

Soldiers are weapons of evil.
They are not the weapons of the gentleman.
When the use of soldiers cannot be helped,
The best policy is calm restraint.

Even in victory, there is no beauty,
And who calls it beautiful
Is one who delights in slaughter.
He who delights in slaughter
Will not succeed in his ambition to rule the world….

The slaying of multitudes should be mourned
With sorrow.
A victory should be celebrated with the
Funeral Rite.
From the Chinese; tr. By Lin Yutang
407:1755

(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.