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Posts tagged ‘joab’

Solomon’s anxieties.


Absalom had been killed a few years back, who was, like Solomon, a son of David. Absalom was handsome, son of a princess Maacah, who was one of the wives of David. Yet with all those desirable background and personal capabilities, and with most of the people on his side, in an internal fight with his father, he did not succeed. He did not have an army, he had a band of followers – who gave Absalom numbers but not the strength and fire power.

Absalom was Solomon’s Elder Brother and had failed to wrest the kingdom out of the hands of his father David. Now that David was in a moribund stage, Solomon had anxieties.

The prime example before Solomon, exemplifying failure, was Absalom – a man with better pedigree and capability than Solomon Himself. Solomon had to exceed at least in some of the areas where Absalom had shown inadequacy. Primarily that must have been towards the undying loyalty of the army and its commanders. Capturing power was precursor to all sanctification of that power!

Unfortunately for Solomon, Joab the Chief Commander of David’s army was with Adonijah. The second most important person was the Priest, The then Priest Abiathar had also thrown his lot with Adonijah. So two of the most powerful institutions of the kingdom were with Adonijah.

It is at this point that Adonijah committed the cardinal error of NOT including the services of his mother Haggith, one of the wives of David, to gain access to the moribund King David. Adonijah probably assumed that the institutional heads of the army and the clergy were with him and therefore could afford to declare himself the King – though the King was still alive. Adonijah, had a sense of entitlement, he thought he was the eldest surviving son of David and naturally had a right to become the next King.

But the vacancy had not arisen, and any proclamation by even these institutional heads could be construed as usurpation.

This is where Bathsheba and Solomon move in.

Bathsheba must have had a deep fear, about her future in the absence of David, of being stamped as an adulteress and with the kingship in the hands of Adonijah that power could be quickly used for that purpose.

Joab was the commander to whom David had written the letter to set up Uriah, the Hittite, as if to appear as a victim in the battle. Nobody could have known about the whereabouts of that letter written by David now. If Joab were to produce any proof of that letter, even a forged one, the authority would be with Adonijah to decide the veracity and to sanctify the writer’s identity and the content.

Nathan, The Prophet who brought the linkage of the death of Uriah with the intent of murder by David, and published it to David was now in the camp of Solomon. If Adonijah would become the King, then to direct the Priest Abiathar to declare the sentence of death on an adulteress would have definitely been within the realm of a certainty.

Bathsheba had every reason to be afraid and anxious. It was a question of survival. Either make Solomon the King and ensure that Joab is killed or she and her son Solomon would be.

A predicament, which how a mother could have shared with her son – to think, sets my teeth on edge.

But Bathsheba, to my understanding was a consummate crook. Look at it this way – Uriah refused to go to his house when his commander was toiling in the battlefront, but what prevented Bathsheba, who had earlier been emboldened to go to the palace of King David, to make a visit to the same courtyard to see her husband? Was it the guilt of Adultery – which was forced by David? Or was it a pre existing conspiracy with King David, which prevented her from at least visiting her husband Uriah for enquiring his well being, during his refusal to go to his own home for noble reasons?

David, instead of coaxing Uriah to go to his house to legitimise the pregnancy of Bathsheba could have easily planned to coax Bathsheba into seducing her husband, during his short visit, and legitimise the unwanted pregnancy of Bathsheba! But David was not inclined to encourage any more of the conjugal rights of Uriah over Bathsheba.

Power teaches a man the art of obtaining his objectives without asking. The adulteress Bathsheba did not want to antagonise – rather wanted to be more loyal to the adulterer than her husband. With all this in the back drop, it would be my inescapable conclusion that she was a woman who would do what has to be done, and not indulging in vain time consuming moral assessments.

So in this scenario, when Adonijah jumped the gun thoughtlessly, Bathsheba entered the chamber of the dying King David and claimed that she had gotten a promise from David. Bathsheba, backed by the army commander Benaiah and the prophet Nathan made a declaration from the palace. The palace is the place for such announcements and not the market place.

The people Trust proclamations and not mere announcements. The proclamation that Solomon was appointed with the approval of King David would definitely please the people, the sepoys and the army and the prayerful novices of the seminary make up the backbone of the commanders and priests. They form the mass – that’s how, my friend Solomon got rid of his anxieties and with the help of his shrewd mother became the King of Israel.

That Wisdom was granted to him was a later feature, that should not be linked to Solomon, the son of Bathsheba!

Not for nothing is it mentioned in Proverbs 24 thus:

3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:

4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

But fortunately, there is no mention of what is required for ACQUISITION.

Solomon acquired the Kingdom through the guile and chicanery of Bathsheba.

Joab – NEVERMORE! 


As David was ageing, Joab told David: My lord, I am your cousin and I take the liberty of this relationship to tell you that Kingdom is not easy to divide like other property. My Lord should decide who is going to rule in your stead. Again taking advantage of my relationship of an uncle to all My Lord’s sons, I should say that Adonijah would fit well. David shot back: Where does that leave Solomon? Is he not superior in all imperial skills to Adonijah?
I agree! Yes I agree, but we should consider pedigree.

Bathsheba was an adulteress once. That My Lord regularised it through breach of at least four commandments of Moses, notwithstanding.
But that is known to only three of us and only you are not the interested party, and that’s why your thoughts stray thus, said an angry David.

Abhishaag had been reporting all these conversations to Solomon, when ever he came to see his father alone.
For Solomon, that was a shock, that his mother was an adulteress. Now his fertile imagination wanted a proof as to whether Bathsheba had become a fallen woman before her marriage or after her marriage to David.

In the former case, he deduced that she ought to have been married to someone else than David his father. Adultery had not had such a low threshold then, it had to be physical. Solomon couldn’t handle that his mother had lied to him. But when no occasion arose, how could I hold it against her? , thought Solomon.
But given to nuanced thinking he thought: yeah, it was for my father David’s sake Bathsheba had committed adultery. After all who could have resisted him except Mehrab, with her princessly arrogance at a skillful upstart!

There was a pristine side to the man who gave mankind the fifty first Psalm – How to handle adultery, post-facto, with abject surrender before God. Uriah wasn’t alive for David to fall at his feet. There he surrenders to God unconditionally.

So Solomon thought: But she was an adulterer, for whose sake, didn’t matter.

There Solomon felt a certain sense of uncurious forgiveness for Bathsheba. A bonding, shiningly built on decency of a mom-son relationship.
Solomon wanted the kingdom now, not to hold power but to keep that secret between just his father David and his mother Bathsheba.
Joab has to go! Joab HAS TO GO! No IAM GOING TO SEND HIM FROM WHERE THERE IS NO RETURN!
Joab never ever returned to haunt his mother or his mind!!!!!!

FGAG – Paul Thangaiah!


In INDRA NAGAR, Bangalore there is a very popular church among Christians by name Full Gospel Assemblies of God, the chief pastor being one Paul Thangiah. He speaks forcefully and i like listening to him! I do not go to his church as fundamentally the beliefs subscribed to by FGAG is contrary to my belief system. However, as a Christian who is open minded and listen to the various interpretations of the Bible, i am not averse to listening to his sermons. Pastor Paul Thangiah is a forceful speaker and appears to believe in the brand of Christianity which places a lot of emphasis on personal  epiphany of Christianity.

What is PERSONAL EPIPHANY OF CHRISTIANITY?

Well when Paul of Tarsus, was on his way to Damascus armed with letters for persecution from the Synagogue of Jerusalem, he was struck with blindness and subsequently converted to Christianity and also cured of his blindness through the prayers of one Annanias of Damascus. This personal intervention of Jesus was cited by Paul to be the reason for his choice by Christ himself, for him to become the Apostle of the Gentiles. Good luck to his beliefs! The brand of Christianity which Paul spread through his ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES is still seen as the model to be emulated by some Christians. Paul Thangiah belongs to that class of Christians who believe in the CHURCH ORGANIZATION more than eternal personal vigilance to be a Christian of DEEDS. This i believe, should also exist, as without an ORGANIZATION there is no way Christianity would be ably represented in POLITICAL FORA. But  this Sunday, i heard Pastor Paul Thangiah speak of some junior pastors who are supposed to be working against the Church leadership of his FGAG. Those are internal issues a i have nothing against it, nor should i have and therefore i have no issues against it.

However, he compared those rebellious minded pastors to that of Joab , the Commander-in-Chief of the army of David, the king of Israel. Joab killed Abner, the Commander-in-Chief of Saul. Abner had met David privately, and had assured David of bringing the tribes of Benjamin and others under the authority of David. It is not clear from the Bible, if that was to be brought about through a rapprochement between Ishbosheth and David, or through betrayal of Ishbosheth by Abner. In any case, before such an arrangement could take effect, Joab kills Abner citing avenging the earlier killing of Joab’s brother by Abner. Later, Joab supports Adonijah in his succession efforts, but gets upstaged by the cleverness of Bathsheba and Solomon, is made King of Israel. As per Solomon, his father David at the time of his death had told Solomon that Shimei and Joab should not be allowed to have a natural death, as the former had insulted David while David was fleeing the takeover bid of Absalom and the latter, as Joab had shed blood during peace time by killing Abner.

If there was one person who was loyal to David, it was Joab, as he was firstly a blood relative to David, their mothers were sisters! In Bathsheba’s matter, it was he who carried out the orders of  David in executing Uriah, so that David could legitimize his relationship with Bathsheba. Moreover, there is at least one instance wherein Joab sent for David just before taking over a city in a battle, so that David could have the GLORY and not him (Joab). Joab’s advice to David after the death of Absalom is laudable. So to malign Joab is merely falling into the HISTORY WRITTEN BY THE VICTOR. Since Solomon’s elder brother was supported by Joab and as Joab probably had the letter of David sent for setting up Uriah, Solomon’s mother’s first husband, Solomon MUST HAVE BEEN KEEN on eliminating Joab and therefore USED DAVID’S NAME TO JUSTIFY SOLOMON’S ACTS!

Pastor Paul Thangiah uses the symbol of Joab, to describe the pastors who had probably undermined his authority in FGAG. This seems to be without a proper parallel. Pastor Paul Thangiah’s outburst was interesting- at least it showed how offended he was by others’ deeds.

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