It’s a throwback. David wrote a song a long time ago after God delivered him from Saul. To summarize:
God’s great. God’s awesome.
Things really sucked and I thought I was going to die,
So I cried out to God and God came down in power and glory
and delivered me and crushed my enemies and saved my life
and put everyone under my feet.
My summary doesn’t really do it justice though. This is one time you should probably go read the chapter in full.
Of course, not everyone’s story ends like that. People have been praying and crying out to God in the midst of pain and anguish and God remains silent. Seemingly indifferent. I wonder what David’s song would have sounded like if things hadn’t worked out so well for him, if God did not answer. If David had ended up in a dungeon in Saul’s palace waiting for the executioner to come and take his head knowing that no deliverance was coming.
What would that song look like?
I mean, I can’t help but think of the new mom with cancer or the little girl being trafficked into a life of rape or the guy holding the remains of his house and what used to be his family as various groups of assholes are shelling his city who cry out to God and meet nothing but silence.
What would their songs sound like?
Does anyone hear them?
David’s last song. To summarize:
“God spoke through me, saying ‘Isn’t the man who rules righteously like a bright morning?’ I’m totally like that. Because God made a covenant with me. Everyone who opposes me will be burned with fire.”
Also, “we’re gonna build a wall, and make the Philistines pay for it…”
It, uh… probably sounded better in the original Hebrew.
Next, a few short stories about David’s mighty manly men in tights. They did stuff. Lots of stuff like killing Philistines… okay, mostly killing Philistines. Oh, and some of them snuck into a garrison to get David a drink from his hometown well… that he poured out on the ground.
Oh, and Uriah the Hittite is listed, so you know that David betrayed and murdered one of his most loyal followers and friends. Yeah…
Here’s a lovely story.
Once upon a time, God gets really, really… REALLY… angry with Israel. We’re not told why, and maybe He doesn’t even know why, because He realizes He can’t punish them if they don’t do something first, so He incites David to take a census of the troops. Not sure why this is sinful when God told Moses to do it, but for some reason, everyone, including Joab, whose moral compass thinks murdering your incompetent replacement is good, tells David not to do it. But David is the king and he tells them to do it anyway.
Now, taking a census back then didn’t involve using the mail or the telephone, so it takes Joab almost ten months to finish counting up all of the potential soldiers for David, and he delivers the results to the king. There were 500,000 Judeans ready to fight and 800,000 men ready to fight from the other tribes.
For some reason, now it dawns on David that he really screwed the pooch on this one, so David asks God to pretty please forgive him with sugar on top. But remember, God really wanted to lash out at Israel for some reason. Maybe that old Jew-killing itch was coming back. So God tells his prophet Gad to go tell David that He’ll forgive David, but He wants his pound of flesh. To add a little bit of fun, God asks David to choose between three months of exile being hounded by his enemies, seven years of God slowly starving people to death, or three days of God killing a bunch of people who hadn’t sinned by a plague.
So David tells the prophet to tell God that He can decide and God unleashes an angel to go around killing Jews.
Seventy thousand Jews to be precise. And once the angel has killed 70,000 Jews, that angel looked over at Jerusalem just sitting there full of more Jews and he started heading that way before God told him that maybe that was enough Jew-killing for today. So the angel stops and is just hanging out on a dude’s farm, and David sees the angel and even he realizes how screwed up this is by pointing out that David’s the one who sinned, so why is God punishing everyone else who didn’t sin and is innocent?
So Gad comes back to David and says, “Hey, King, God really seems to like it when we kill animals. Why don’t you build an altar on that guy’s field?”
So David buys the field from that guy, along with a pair of animals and kills them. That seems to make God happy and the plague stopped. And no one ever killed the Jews again for stupid contrived pointless bullshit that they didn’t actually do ever again…