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, July 28, 2006

Tribal Integrity: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 5 with poem by Richard Lee Gallienne, War

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 14, I Samuel 27, I Chronicles 5, Romans15

Daily Text: I Chronicles 5

Tribal Integrity
The Transjordan tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh have their genealogies recorded in I Chronicles 5. Amazing really, for Reuben was supposed to have been dropped from the genealogy for his sin of defiling his father’s bed. But here is a record of his tribe’s people and activities down to the exile. This is a very different point of view than the one given by the Deuteronomist. Going beyond Reuben we find that Gad and Manasseh join with Reuben, evidently periodically to fight common enemies. Verses 18-22 recall a battle against the Hagrites, ‘an Arab tribe, descendants of Hagar’ [520:27]. These tribes of Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh are treated by the Chronicler as Israelite tribes still expected to serve YHWH, for when they do not he disciplines them and they are finally subdued by Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and removed into captivity.

The unexpected matter reported in this genealogical record is that these tribes continue to have tribal integrity and function with each other for defense even within the structure of the Davidic monarchy. It is not so strange that what is recorded in some detail is that old human preoccupation—war.

War
Richard Lee Gallienne
1866-1947

War
I abhor,
And yet how sweet
The sound along the marching street
Of drum and fife; and I forget
Wet eyes of widows, and forget
Broken old mothers, and the whole
Dark butchery without a soul.

Without a soul—save this bright drink
Of heady music, sweet as hell;
And even my peace-abiding feet
Go marching with the marching street
For yonder goes the fife,
And what care I for human life!

The tears fill my astonished eyes
And my full heart is like to break,
And yet ‘tis all embannered lies,
A dream those little drummers make.

Oh, it is wickedness to clothe
Yon hideous, grinning thing that stalks
Hidden in music, like a queen
That in a garden of glory walks,
Till good men love the thing they loathe.

Art, thou hast many infamies,
But not an infamy like this—
Oh, snap the fife and still the drum,
And show the monster as she is.

[407:1763]

Collect for the Day
O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your Church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

[476:677:For Peace]

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