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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Building Up Or Tearing Down?

            King Saul’s paranoia was quite evident as he sat under the tamarisk tree, spear in hand, ranting about David, as he rallied his men.  King Saul’s tirade is recorded in I Samuel 22:7, “Hear now, you Bejamites!  Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds?”  To a leader who idolizes the public’s opinion, coercive tactics seem natural in order to reach their desired goal.  Matthew Henry expresses a cure for this, “Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady. . .” (Henry, CCOTWB, 1131).  Subsequently. King Saul orders his guards to slay the priests because they harbored David and his men.  These guards wisely would not carry out this evil order.  King Saul then orders Doeg, the Edomite to carry out the order and Doeg acquiesces.  The scripture records the carnage, “. . . So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod” (I Sam. 22:18).  Doeg also struck Nob, the city of the priests and lay waste every living thing therein.  How ironic it is that when God ordered King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites he would not; although, he has no problem ordering Doeg to destroy the priests and their city.  One may see Doeg as a particularly evil individual, and rightly so; but, the truth is that King Saul is liable for the slayings, as he commands them and stands by as Doeg destroys Nob.  Leaders are responsible for what they request and allow to transpire within their circle of authority.
            Paul addresses the Corinthian Church due to immorality in its confines.  Corinth is, “located one mile south of the narrow isthmus connecting mainland Greece with the Peloponnesian peninsula” (Myers, TEBD, 235).  With this location, Corinth was well situated for trade; and consequently. many diverse people passed through the city making it a breeding ground for hedonism.  Corinth contained the temple of Aphrodite which housed the shorn temple priestesses who would roam the streets of Corinth at night to solicit prostitution from any willing party.  It is believed that Paul wrote the Corinthian correspondence from Ephesus during his third missionary journey (Myers, TEBD, 236).  Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:1, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!”  Paul goes on to say that a believer should not fellowship with a brother who relentlessly continues in unrepented sin (I Cor.5:11).  Paul's intent is to build the church by scriptural instruction and modeling of righteous behavior.  King Saul had the priesthood murdered for his own egotistical reasons.  What a contrast between these two leaders!


  

Henry, Matthew. Concise Commentary On The Whole Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson       
 Publishers, 1997.

Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans
             Publishing Company, 1987.

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