Being Compliant of an unjust law could be a necessity at times and a good strategy sometimes, but rarely both. But in the case of Gideon the Valorous, it was both a Necessity and a Strategy.The Midianites, who were the Overlords to the Israelites, extracted tribute in the form of agricultural produce, which probably kept the Israelites poor, with no reserves or leisure – the twin benefits of prosperous activity. Each day’s labour was expended on earning their bare livelihood.In these hard times for the Israelites, the Overlords kept an eye on the Compliance of the rules the Midianites had made to keep the Israelites in that state of want and lack of leisure.Seeming to be compliant yet threshing wheat near the wine press keeping his activity out of the view of the Midianites was the valorous man Gideon.The Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the East came in multitudes like grasshoppers and entered into the labour of the Israelites and destroyed the very source of their sustenance. This impoverished the Israelites.I can imagine what a plight it would have been when mere numbers are used to subjugate a people in their own land; depriving them of the very source of their sustenance and making them labour without pride & having to conceal their labour and the meagre rewards which accrue out of such clandestine labour, in their own lands. Can one forgive the perpetrators of such cruelty? I guess not.I can imagine a Gideon, a valorous man, slinking and threshing his homegrown wheat in his own land, gathering the same and saving the wheat for his near and dear ones- all because he was ranged against a multitude of men who outnumbered his clan. Yet that spirit in Gideon sustained him to not give up, but toil in silence and in the dark and gather as much as possible.When that ass seeking King Saul spared the Amalekite King Agag, much later despite Prophet Samuel’s instructions, did he recall the plight his ancestor Gideon suffered at the hands of the Amalekites? I guess not. Saul was protecting Agag the king of the Amalekites. Samuel definitely had a longer memory of how that Amalekites had attacked the Israelites from the rear, harming the women. children and the enfeebled lot on their journey to Canaan.Even if Saul hadn’t read that history, he should have had some idea of how a valorous man like Gideon had to cower under the Overlordship of the Amalekites and should have diligently carried out the instructions of Samuel. Alas, Saul didn’t! Saul became a big man in his own eyes – rightly spotted by Samuel and questioned.Gideon, a valorous man threshing in the dark and away from the sight of the Amalekites had a reason. The Amalekites attacked the enfeebled and the impoverished, having no MANLINESS in them nor the courage to risk and make a frontal attack on their enemies.An Amalekite doesn’t need your land, he needs your wheat and corn- the finished products. An Amalekite doesn’t want to administer, he just needs all the resources from others.Moses was able to identify this trait in the Amalekites very early. The Amalekites stole or used violent means to obtain the resources of others without expending any labour on it. At Rephedim, Moses anoints them as enemies of God.If I have not yet convinced the reader about the ways of an Amalekite, look at that Amalekite who found the same Saul – who wanted to save the life of Agag the Amalekite – in a moribund state leaning on a sword in the mount of Gilboa begging the Amalekite to deliver the coup de grace on Saul. That wretched Amalekite dares to kill a King, though ostensibly at the king’s request. Who knows? There were three, one was the dying Saul, the other was that wretched Amalekite and finally, as always, the Almighty. Out of this one killed the other and very rarely God stands as a witness in such sordid human affairs – except in the case of Abel. Now that Amalekite narrates a story to David, the ultimate story teller. David, the Shrewdest King of Israel, knows better‼️ The Amalekite steals the crown and the bracelet from the dead Saul and takes it to David for a reward.David was DAVID. Uses the opportunity to redeem his own image in front of the Israelites – especially the Benjamites but also kills the Amalekite for having dared to have been responsible for the final blow to the dying King of Israel. David remembers how to handle an Amalekite – spare them not!So Gideon was dealing with these type of Amalekites and that needed outward compliance for SURVIVAL – that compliance was strategy.There is another kind of compliance – Compliant so that one doesn’t take up an issue which carries no purpose.Jesus, while in the flesh, asks Peter whether the Kings collect customs and tribute from their own children? Peter promptly answers in the negative and Jesus says something absolutely BRILLIANT and becomes Compliant of those unfair Laws, without any Conviction in what he recommended to Peter to do. Read the following:Matt 17: 24 & 25Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.Jesus tells Peter to pay not out of the offerings given by people or any other laboured money, but tells Peter to cast a hook and pay the money found in the mouth of the fish as tribute/ custom for Him and Peter. He demeans their greed by getting the money from a fish.I sense the contempt Jesus had for such unfair taxation; and the method He used to defray the tax liability was amazing.I see this episode as a clear proof of Compliance without Conviction.In keeping with His saying : Render unto God that which is God’s, and unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, that piece of money that came out of a fish’s belly, is paid out to the Caesar.Don’t rebel when your rebellion is to no avail. Just comply WITH CONTEMPT!
Posts tagged ‘saul’
My dad asked me, ” Why did David try to get Michal, daughter of Saul, after he was accepted by the tribe of Judah as their king, considering the fact that she was cohabiting with another person by name Phlatiel?”
With his vast sense of righteousness and the commandment : THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, to back him, he thought he had stumped me.
I had thought it all out!
I said, IT IS NOT WHY, BUT WHEN, that we should occupy our consideration. David knew he was gypped in the case of Mehrab, when he defeated Goliath. Through his second attempt to get to be the son-in-law he gets the foreskins of the uncircumcised, and gets Michal. The RIGHT to have Michal had been sealed through performance of the bride price, and he had CONSUMMATED his relationship as his wife, yet Saul to spite him uses the old old civil death concept and gets her married to Phlatiel!
David did not go after her like Samson before him, just because his wife has been wrongly given to someone else. HIS PATIENCE COUPLED WITH HOPE made him wait till he was crowned the king at Hebron.
The TIDE TURNED.
Ishboseth asks a foolish question regarding another woman called Rizpah to his commander Abner and Abner, who was sensing the dwindling fortunes of Ishboseth, quickly abandons Ishboseth, citing the Rizpah episode as the reason.
It is at this juncture that David the shrewdest king CLAIMS HIS RIGHT TO MICHAL.
David was no fool, there is no point in being a wise one like Solomon and own an array of foreign princesses and spending his TIME on aesthetic pursuits without consolidating the foundation laid by his father David, ASSIDUOUSLY.
Nor was David a victim of the woman’s VANITY. David cared a fig for what Michal thought of David’s naked performance before his God! In fact he says that it was the same God who made him the King of Israel instead on being merely the son in law of the king! Therefore HE DIDN’T MIND LOOKING VILER IN THE EYES OF THE PRINCESS’ HANDMAIDENS!
Whereas, the biggest fool Solomon, who was running on the steam of his father David, expends the steam in the service of all those alien princesses who adorned his outward magnificence as accessories to his Kingship!
David tells Abner, get the woman Michal, for whom David had made a tally of 100 foreskins as the bride price! Abner, who was the Commander to the Army of Saul and for Abner and his brothers David had carried parched gram, figs etc. when the Giant Goliath was challenging the Israelites to send a challenger to fight him. Further, Abner was the one who once took him to Saul and recommended David as the challenger to Goliath. Abner now returns meekly and yanks the woman from the bosom of Phlatiel and “restores” Michal to David !
That’s MANLINESS OF DAVID coupled with COURAGE to withstand the guile of the woman worshiping men, and advantage seeking tantrum-ing princesses!
David KNEW WHEN TO CLAIM EVEN HIS RIGHTS! That made him the man he was, not succumbing to the sinuous, sensuous and emotional appeals of the feminine LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI!
David was the Man, maybe Jehu comes close, but without the poetic skills or the pioneering spirit of David, though!
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. – Schopenhauer
Article 161 of the Constitution of India
161. Power of Governor to grant pardons, etc, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases:
The Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.
It is no news that the conviction and the sentence were pronounced by the Sessions Judge in Bangalore on a sitting Chief Minister of one of the major states of the country. The sentence was to have been pronounced by the court earlier on a day which was not followed by a public holiday, however for reasons best known to the Honourable judge the verdict was postponed to a day which was to be followed by a court holiday! This may not have been the intention of the Sessions Judge to pronounce the judgment on a day prior to a court’s CLOSED HOLIDAY , but it has so happened – the effect of which was that an appeal could not be filed before the higher court competent to grant relief to the convict.
My question is very ELEMENTARY – if the offence was committed in the state of Tamil Nadu and the prosecution of the offence was followed by the Tamil Nadu police and their prosecutors, does the GOVERNOR OF KARNATAKA have the right to exercise the powers vested in him in terms of Article 161 of the Constitution of India?
Assuming that the Governor of Karnataka were to be vested with the powers of Art.161, does the Governor of Karnataka have the power to say that the conviction and sentence on the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu relates to “any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State (Karnataka) extends”? I think not. It would be the power of the Governor of Tamil Nadu who would have the power – simply because, if the Governor of Tamil Nadu did not have the power to pardon/commute the sentence of the convicts in the RAJIV GANDHI MURDER CASE, which was prosecuted by the CBI, merely because the TRIAL PROCEEDINGS were ordered to be conducted in a neighbouring state, the Karnataka state’s Governor would not be able to assume such powers which do not belong to his executive jurisdiction.
The reason for vesting with such powers was to grant the higher power of MERCY to the government over JUSTICE, as MERCY is a higher jurisdiction, as there is every possibility of miscarriage of justice, “reasons of state”, and also as a a protection against laws which are strictly imposed for legal reasons which may not be very reasonable, and may affect the very fabric of the state (cf. Nanavati’s case)! It is time we defined “reasons of state”!
I do not for a moment say that there has been a miscarriage of justice, neither am I authorized to say so, but when a person under oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the head of the Government were to be pushed to the predicament of having to face the verdict of her past action, the verdict could put THE COLLECTIVE WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF TAMIL NADU at loggerheads with THE SENTENCE of the VERDICT! Indeed in this case, the CM of Tamil Nadu has been sentenced to imprisonment for 4 years.
In the instant case, the WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF TAMIL NADU has been downgraded unceremoniously without an opportunity of exercising respite from /suspension of the sentence, by the Governor of the state, where the offences were committed. She was straight taken to the gaol! When a constitutional provision is available for such rare occurrences, is it a must that the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code should be followed so meticulously? I think not.
The head of the Government of the state of Tamil Nadu was unfortunately tried in a state, which had some serious outstanding issues like the Cauvery Water dispute, in which the then CM of TN (OPS being the present incumbent) had taken a very strident position against the state of Karnataka. That takes one to the next question – If the trial couldn’t have been fair in TN, would the trial in KA been IMPARTIAL, especially in the light of the fact that KA is ruled by a political party which has celebrated the conviction and sentence of the CM of TN?
After all, we should all remember that a Sessions Judge is under the control of the state government in which he is employed and does not have the IMMUNITIES which are enshrined & reserved in the Constitution for the High Court and Supreme Court Justices only! If the Hon’ble Supreme Court was convinced that a FAIR TRIAL was not possible in the state of TN, based on a partisan petition filed by a rival politician, was the point as to whether the trial in KA would be IMPARTIAL, also considered? I wonder if the SC considered the point!
A democratically elected CM of a state needn’t have to be cornered on a Saturday with no option for approaching a higher judicial forum where the Justices are vested with immunities against the government of the day! Even Henry VIII, whose major profession was to accuse his queens of treachery, treason and infidelity and have them executed, sent for the Hangman from Calais, who was known to MERCIFULLY use a fine sword instead of an axe, when Anne Boleyn’s time came for her neck to be laid on the block!
I would like to narrate an episode from the Bible to illustrate my point: the first king of Israel, SAUL was defeated by the Philistines and to circumvent the ignominy of being dragged in the mud and then being killed painfully and ignominiously, Saul planted a spear and leaned on it and he is supposed to have died (I Samuel Ch. 31) but from the account narrated by an Amalekite to David (who became the Second king of Israel), Saul was still alive and that the Amalekite was requested by the moribund Saul, to kill him and the Amalekite claimed to David that he indeed killed Saul and had brought Saul’s Crown and Saul’s bracelet for David. David asks him one withering question at 2 Samuel Ch.1 v. 14 : HOW WAST THOU NOT AFRAID TO STRETCH FORTH THINE HAND TO DESTROY THE LORD’S ANOINTED?
I don’t for a minute say that a Chief Minister of a State is an “anointed” person, much less when NO POLITICAL CHIEF, (which means the prime minister or any of the Chief Ministers) has been included in Article 361 of the Constitution of India, which expressly provides immunity to the President of India and all Governors of the states against institution or continuation of criminal proceedings during the term of their office! Yet the Chief Minister who had won an election in her own name and might and had very recently mopped up 37 Members of Parliament seat out of the total 39 of the state of Tamil Nadu deserved at least a bleak chance at the judicial and executive remedies available in the Constitution of India!
Therefore, our judicial system should not be following AMBUSH JUSTICE of first instance, where all options for judicial remedy and executive remedy are foreclosed and the convicted CHIEF MINISTER is forced to languish and labour under the verdict of a court of first instance, located in a HOSTILE CONTIGUOUS state.
MERCY is above JUSTICE and let us make NO mistake of it.
There have been a lot of discussion and opinions strewn about Leaders and Leadership with reference to the recently concluded LIST II elections in the various states of India, especially with reference to UTTAR PRADESH.
LEADER is a post- facto determination OF A PERSON’S LEADERSHIP. Anointment as a leader may legitimize his decisions and also empower him, but to exhibit LEADERSHIP, he should PERFORM & DELIVER. Otherwise, like Humayun in the string of the Great Mughals, would be treated as a mere HYPHEN which connected the other two Great Mughals, Babur and Akbar!
Let me expatiate on this point through the story of DAVID & GOLIATH.
Goliath was a Philistine champion. A person who prided on his skills in a one-to-one battle. He had a spear and sword to offend, a buckler, greaves and a helmet to defend and heckled at the Jewish forces to engage him in a duel. On the other side was the King Saul and his chief of his army Abner. So both Saul and Abner were LEADERS! But they did not want to engage, as they were too big to get into duels with single individuals and expose themselves to the vagaries of a battle. They, though were LEADERS were relying on their POSITIONAL ADVANTAGE to find a person who could win the combat, yet were not willing to engage themselves in the combat.
So SAUL & ABNER went around scouting for a suitably skilled person to defeat GOLIATH. This was extent of the leadership by Saul. He used his KINGLY position to side-step facing a combat. He was also a trained warrior- at least after he became a King, he was trained. But ABNER was in that position as a WARRIOR only, so he should have stepped in and taken GOLIATH head on. Yet he skirted the combat and wanted somebody else to fight GOLIATH and get the Jews the victory. Their LEADERSHIP WAS CONFINED TO STRATEGY NOT ACTION!
Eventually DAVID was chosen to combat GOLIATH, I am sure DAVID must have demonstrated his skills as a slinger and Saul and Abner would have seen the advantage in sending DAVID, as – if David’s skill worked- he would be able to finish off GOLIATH before DAVID came into the range of the spear or sword of Goliath. A good ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION. Saul and Abner were great ADMINISTRATORS, but exhibited poor LEADERSHIP qualities.
DAVID grabs the opportunity. DAVID slings GOLIATH to his death and cuts off the head of GOLIATH with Goliath’s own sword!
DAVID DID NOT RETIRE LEAVING THE VICTORY IN THE HANDS OF THE ADMINISTRATORS! He exhibited LEADERSHIP.The women, show to Saul who the REAL LEADER was: they sang, “Saul got his thousands and David his ten thousands!”
He had earlier refused to wear the coat-mail of Saul . David relied on his own USP – SLING AND SWING THE VERDICT. He did it. That was LEADERSHIP. But still Saul and Abner were the leaders of the Jewish group. They reduced themselves to figure heads!
SIMPLE, TO BE A LEADER YOU NEED A CROWD WHICH RECOGNIZES YOU AS THE LEADER. BUT TO EXHIBIT LEADERSHIP YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO DIE FOR THE CAUSE.
DAVID WAS WILLING TO DIE, BUT WON THE BATTLE WITH HIS SKILLS. That makes for LEADERSHIP.
Like what Benjamin Netanyahu said, “IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK, LOOKS LIKE A DUCK AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK, WHAT DO YOU CALL IT? A DUCK. IF IT IS FITTED WITH A NUCLEAR HEAD THEN IT IS A NUCLEAR DUCK!”
So PERFORMANCE (which means FUNCTIONS) matter. Merely calling someone a LEADER is nothing but a feudal technique of management. One should exhibit LEADERSHIP TRAITS to be called a LEADER in a DEMOCRACY.
Let us get our fundamentals right!!
Consolidating one’s REIGN and passing on the KINGDOM to one’s own children has been one of the greatest pre-occupations of the Emperors, Kings and Satraps.
Anyone who reads THE PRINCE by Niccolo Machiavelli, would be persuaded that the RULERS down the ages have been the most ruthless in pursuing the abovementioned objective. The title of the blog HEROD & DAVID might be, at the first look, seem as if i am likely to contrast their styles in the pursuance of the said objectives, but on the contrary this blog is aimed at comparing the deeds of the the most loved king and one of the most despised rulers of Israel.
Herod was merely a tetrarch of a part of the dominion of Israel (which was under the Roman rule), but David was a king for the whole of Israel for at least 33 years leaving out the 7 odd years he ruled from Hebron. Further, if Herod had not been the Tetrarch coinciding with the birth of Jesus, he would have merely been a footnote to history.
Herod, as per suspicions available in history, got his brother murdered and married his brother’s wife- as was the custom, to raise the seed of the dead bro! Her name was Herodias and she had a daughter Salome (the subject matter of the play by name SALOME, by Oscar Wilde). One day Salome performs a dance before Herod and naturally, Herod is very impressed with his niece’/step-daughter’s performing art,that he promises to give her anything that she desires. Salome, true to her filial duties, asks her mom Herodias to name the prize. In the meanwhile, there is a Prophet by name John the Baptist, who had been condemning Herod & Herodias’ relationship, therefore Herod had put him in jail.
Salome. as advised by her mom Herodias, asks for the head of John the Baptist. As usual, the ruler cannot go back on his word, so promptly gets John the Baptist executed and serves his head on a platter to Salome.
STRATEGY:Every incident has to be construed as a strategy, especially when the thing sought has no apparent benefit. Herodias must have known how Herod got rid of his brother and was probably afraid that upon the daily insistence of John the Baptist, Herod might repent some day and get rid of Herodias along with his sense of guilt. She did not want the conscience of Herod awakened. Therefore getting John the Baptist killed would, besides stifling the VOICE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, secure her position in the hierarchy, even after she loses her feminine charms.
The whole Christendom despises Herod and Jesus calls him a FOX.
Let us cut back and see what David did, to secure the kingdom for his off-springs . It was no less lethal.
Saul, the first King of Israel, dies in the battle and his son Ishbosheth ascends the throne, but not for the whole of Israel, as David rules a part of Israel, from Hebron for 7 years. There was a tribe(?)/people from Gibeon who were not a part of Israel but were in the midst of Israel. These Gibeonites were slain by Saul (II Samuel chap.21 ), and in any case were waiting for settling scores with the house f Saul. There was a famine in Israel for 3 years, and David asks God the reason for the famine. Thankfully for David, God says that it is because of what Saul did to the Gibeonites that the famine was upon Israel. Now the time came for the Fox to give judgement on the chicken. The Gibeonites were asked what David shud do, so that they bless Israel and the famine depart. Predictably, the Gibeonites ask of 7 sons of Saul to be handed over to them for them to kill those sons.
David is the sole authority to decide as to which 7 children of Saul to be handed over. David leaves out Mephiboseth s/o Jonathan (s/o Saul) on the grounds that David had sworn to geal mercifully with Jonathan’s house. In any case Mephiboseth was not a threat to David as he was lame in foot and was kept in David’s palace, so that none could rally around him and stake kingship!
David in a masterstroke hands over the two sons of Rizpah and 5 sons of Michal. Rizpah was the concubine of Saul and was a spunky woman. But Michal was spunkier. Michal had been betrothed to David for 100 foreskins ( that means this item could be had only from an uncircumcised non-abrahamite) but later married off to another man. Like a lion that kills the cubs of the lioness that had littered thru another lion, before fathering its own cubs, David eliminates all the children of Michal. Whether they were her children or not, is not clear from the Bible, as it also says that Michal did not conceive- whether after she was brought to David or before is a conundrum!
STRATEGY: Michal was King’s daughter and David was the king, therefore there was every reason for the Israelites to rally around the doubly ROYAL SEED, if any!!! So eliminate them and pave way for his children thru other women only.
Even today justice is given in the name of God. Aurangzeb eliminated his opponent brothers thru the due process of Justice. Dara Sikoh was executed by Aurangzeb, on legal principles.
Susima, the elder brother of Ashoka the Great, also did to Ashoka, what Dara did to Aurangzeb (instigating the father against the son). In due course both Aurangzeb and Ashoka got their brothers executed. But history highlights the fratricide of Aurangzeb and glosses over the fratricide of Asoka.
Likewise, David’s acts of killing the children/grand-children of the previous king Saul is glossed over, but the act of Herod of killing John the Baptist is highlighted in history.
The reason is simple David and Ashoka repented and showed their contrition towards the latter part of their lives. But Herod was arrogant till the end, and Aurangzeb was glorifying his self-righteousness, instead of showing CONTRITION.
“JUDGE NOT A MAN, TILL HE IS DEAD” , says the Wise One.
ACCORDINGLY, WE JUDGE THE REPENTANT ONES FAVOURABLY, BUT THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED WE DESPISE , AND ALSO GIVE NEGATIVE PUBLICITY.