2016 · Research · Scripture · Study Resources

The Best Online #Bible #Study Resources, 2016 Round Up

For more book and article resources, see the Project Bibliography.

silverheart

Women in the Bible: http://www.womeninthebible.net/

Free Online Library at BiblicalTraining.org (multiple articles)

Charles Spurgeon’s Sermons Delivered at At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington http://www.spurgeon.org/

Bible Hub: http://biblehub.com

Blue Letter Bible: https://www.blueletterbible.org

Bible.org: https://Bible.org

eBible.org,: https://ebible.org

Study Light.org: https://www.studylight.org

Christianity.com: http://www.christianity.com

Free Courses at Biblical Training.org: https://www.biblicaltraining.org

IMG_1719Bible History Online: http://www.bible-history.com

Rediscovering the Old Testament: Torah Class – http://torahclass.com/index.php

Ancient History Encyclopaedia: http://www.ancient.eu

On-Line Primary Literature: Related to ancient Near Eastern religions, Hellenistic Mediterranean religions and Biblical Study: http://jewishchristianlit.com/Texts/

Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org

The Christian Researcher: http://www.christianresearcher.com/free-downloads.html

Open Library: https://openlibrary.org   (Downloadable public domain resources, including many old but still awesome commentaries.)

The Ancient Near East.com: http://theancientneareast.com

World Cultures: http://www.wsu.edu:8000/%7Edee/WORLD.HTM

Online Christian Library: http://www.ntslibrary.com

Internet Sacred Texts Archive: http://www.sacred-texts.com

Bible Charts, copyright free: http://www.biblecharts.org/index.html

REBLOGS WELCOMED

2015 · 2016 · 2017 · What's Happening

FYI: The King David Project Values and Statement of Faith

canstockphoto21268515Many books, Bible Studies and devotions have been written about King David. Some focus on the negative side of his life and some like myself, choose to primarily focus on the positive whilst dealing with sin in a balanced manner.

The dominant values of this project are below, as the Project’s statement of beliefs. This project will not work with anyone not sharing the same convictions, especially in regards to judgement and obedience to the Holy Spirit.
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1. Compassion and No Judgement: Sin can be discussed without bashing.
~ Luke 6:37: “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”
~ Matthew 7:2: “For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.”
~ Hebrews 10:30: “For we know him who said, “Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord, “I will repay.” Again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
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2. Respect for all, dead or alive.
~ 1 Timothy 5:17: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” David’s spiritual role over Israel does qualify him as an elder and he was also a prophet.
~ 1 Chronicles 16:17: “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”
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3. Biblical Accuracy
~ 2 Timothy 2:15: “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”
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4. A Messianic-Jewish friendly environment and a respectful approach to Judaism.I am aware of the translated parts of the Bible which can be seen as anti-Semitic and recognise the Jewishness of the Bible and especially, David’s life.
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5. A pro-Israel focus with zero tolerance of haters which is in line with the Scriptures and is what King David asks us to be. (Psalm 122) Anti-semitic viewpoints and arguers will be instantly ignored and/or blocked without response on linked social media etc.
~ Titus 3:9: “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”

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~~~ Statement of Faith ~~~

IMG_1775I believe that the Bible, consisting of the Old Covenant/Testament (Tenach) and the later writings commonly known as the New Testament/Covenant (B’rit Hadasha), is the only infallible and authoritative word of God. I recognize its divine inspiration, and accept its teachings as our final authority in all matters of faith and practice (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 3:1-6; Psalm 119:89, 105; Isaiah 48:12-16; Romans 8:14-17; II Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17). I do not recognise the Apocryphal books in the Septugaint as the authoratative Word of God, neither do I recognised or use the teachings of the Talmud in any form.
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~ I believe that the prayer (Shema), “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4 Shema Yisroel Adonoi Eloheinu Adonoi Echa.), teaches that God is one (Echad), as so declared: a united one, a composite unity, eternally existent in plural oneness [Genesis 1:1 (Elohim: God); Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image”;
Genesis 2:24 Adam & Eve were created to be as one flesh (basar echad)], that He is a personal God who created us (Genesis 1 & 2), and that He exists forever in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as mentioned in Romans 8:14-17 (Father, Spirit, and Messiah – Son) and Matthew 28:18-20 (immersing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
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~ I believe that God the Father (Abba) is Our Heavenly Father as shown in: John 6:27b; I Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:1; Revelation 3:5, 21; Jeremiah 3:4, 19; 31:9; Malachi 1:6; Matthew 6:9, 32; Luke 10:21-22; John 1:14; 4:23; 5:17-26; 6:28-46; Romans 8:14-15. Baruch Adonai.
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~ I believe that God does have a Son who was and is and will return (Psalm 2; Proverbs 30:4-6 (cf. Hebrews 1); Luke 12:35-37; John 1:29-34, 49; 3:14-18). The Son, called Jesus (Yeshua), meaning salvation, came to this world born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 (cf. Luke 1:30-35)). The Son is God (Deity), and is worshiped as God, having existed eternally (Psalm 110:1 (cf. Hebrews 1:13); Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 28:18-20; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-19; Revelation 3:21 (Hebrews 1 – worshiped by angels); Revelations 4:8, 5:5-14). This One is the promised Messiah (Mashiach) of Israel (Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1; Daniel 9 (especially verses 20-26); Isaiah 53; John 1:17, 40-41, 45, 49; Mark 8:29). He is the root and offspring of David, son of Jesse (Daviyd ben Yishai), the bright and morning star (Numbers 24:17; Revelation 22:16). He is our Passover, the Lamb of God (I Corinthians 5:7; Revelation 5; John 1:29). JESUS IS LORD.
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~ I believe in God, the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) as introduced in Genesis 1:2b: “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” In the Tenach, the Spirit of God came upon individuals during the times of our forefathers, like Moses, David (see II Samuel 23:1-3), and the Prophets, for the specific purposes. In the New Covenant, the Messiah Yeshua, promised His disciples that “the Comforter” would come to them after He was gone, described as the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 26), who was with them and would be in them. Yeshua further declared that the Spirit of Truth, would guide us into all truth and would glorify Him – the Messiah – not Himself (John 16:13-15). He empowers us (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God seals us (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30 (see NIV and Jewish New Testament versions)). If we have not the Spirit, we are not His (Romans 8:9). He leads us and teaches us (Romans 8:14-17). His indwelling enables us to live a godly life. Acts 2:38 says, “Repent, be immersed, and receive the Holy Spirit.”
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~ I believe that men and women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), however because of disobedience, mankind fell from the first state and became separated from God (Genesis 2:17; 3:22-24). Therefore, according to the Scriptures, all humans are born with a sinful nature (Psalm 14:1-3; 49:7; 53:13; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:9-12, 23; 5:12). Our only hope for redemption (salvation) is through the atonement made by the Messiah (Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:24-26; I Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 9:11-14, 28; John 1:12, 3:36), resulting in regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), which is the new birth (John 3:3-8). For by grace we are saved through faith, it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
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~ I believe in the resurrection of both the redeemed and the lost: the former to everlasting life and the latter to eternal separation from God, a state of everlasting punishment (Job 14:14; 19:25-27; Daniel 12:2-3; John 3:36; 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 10-15; 21:7-8).
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messianic~ I believe in the Messiah (Mashiach), the Anointed One and Redeemer. The Scriptures promised two “comings” of the Messiah. The first coming as promised in Daniel 9:24-26. The initial coming’s purpose was to make atonement (covering) for sin (Daniel 9:24-26; Isaiah 53; Romans 3:21-31; Hebrews 9-10; John 3:16-17)—as the Suffering Messiah. The Redeemer shall come to Zion (Tziyon) (Isaiah 59:20-21; Zechariah 14:4). The second coming: The Messiah Yeshua will return to the earth as King (Revelation 19:11-16). Upon His return, a many wonderful thing will happen: He will bring with Him an army of the Heavenly hosts, and those who went on before us (Revelation 19:14) and those who are still on earth will meet in the air to receive the believers to Himself (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-6; I Corinthians 15:51-57).
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~ I support Isra’el and Jerusalem, in accordance with the Psalm 122:3-9 as written by King David (Daviyd Melek / Dovid Melek):
Jerusalem, that is built “As a city that is compact together; To which the tribes (Shevatim) go up, even the tribes of the LORD -An ordinance for Israel – (edut l’Yisroel)To give thanks to the name of the LORD. For there thrones were set for judgment (kise’ot l’mishpat), the thrones of the house of David. (kise’ot of the Bais Daviyd or in Yiddish, Dovid).

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Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: (Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim)
“May they prosper who love you.
“May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces.
”For the sake of my brothers (achim) and my friends,I will now say, “May peace be within you.”
For the sake of (L’ma’an) the house of the LORD our God, (Bais Hashem Eloheinu)
I will seek your good.”


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

2016 · Research · Scripture · Study Resources

#Review: E-Sword #Bible Study Tools for Mac, PC, iPad and iPhone

eswordWeb site: http://www.e-sword.net
This review has not been requested, or sponsored in any way. The company has no idea I am writing this.

From the web site: “e-Sword is a fast and effective way to study the Bible. e-Sword is feature rich and user friendly with more capabilities than you would expect in a free Bible study app. The fact that e-Sword is free is just one of the blessings and does not speak of the quality of the app. Below you’ll find a list of features that you will discover helps make Bible study both enjoyable and enriching.”

Features Include:
Many Bible versions
Parallel Bible study
Strongs numbers
Hebrew and Greek versions which link straight to Strongs numbers
Bibles in many languages
Maps
Commentaries
Devotionals
Easy Search Facility
Keeps your search history
A number of layouts so you can focus on what you want
Reference library
Dictionaries, including topical
Audio sermons
Word macros http://www.e-sword.net/extras.html
Sermon Illustrations
and more…

I downloaded this awesome tool for my iMac as I am planning to start theological college in 2017 and I don’t want to buy and store masses of heavy textbooks, I need to take want I want with me to the library…plus our internet connection keeps dropping out, so constantly using biblehub.com is no longer a practical option. I am now debating whether or not to get e-Sword for my iPad, which will cost me around $7 AU.

Firstly, I love it. My favourite feature is the search history, which makes my life so much easier when I am alternating between the books of Samuel and the Psalms. I also really like the journal tool, where I can copy and paste in parts of commentaries, or add my own thoughts. It keeps those notes by date and they are easy to get to from the toolbar. All the text in the app will paste into a word processor etc. That is not a locked function. The right click menu gives you access to a lot of features and when you have multiple windows open on the computer, the app doesn’t get in the way.

tips

It did cost me $14 AU to buy from the Apple App store, but for that, I have free access to a lot of content which I downloaded. Sadly, quite a few of the books I tried to download didn’t download, but I am not sure if that is because I am having Internet issues, or what the situation is. I need to contact the company and ask.

The only other negative is the most popular Bibles and study resources have to be bought. They come from e-Sword’s sister site: eStudy Source http://estudysource.com/platform/site/homepage/index.aspx Considering those works are commercial and within their copyright time frame, I think that is only fair. They do have sales and bundles which range in price from $6 to around $30, so it doesn’t bother me and I may invest later.

I have used the app extensively since I bought it and it’s never crashed or given me grief. It is nearly always open in the background. I do recommend that you try it. I have used several Bible study apps before, but this one is the most useful and comprehensive.


kdpcpyrght

Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

2016 · David's Life · Encouragement · Food for Thought · Research

“But I Will Trust in You…” King David and the Art of Bouncing Back

Bestofblog“…I praise the LORD for what He has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?
I will fulfil my vows to You, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for Your help.
For You have rescued me from death;
You have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in Your presence, O God,
in Your life-giving light.” Psalm 56:10-13

When I was first getting to know David’s full life story, I heard a Rabbi say that David had endured a very hard life. I have to agree. He left a life of obscurity to follow a promise from the Lord, but along the way suffered demotions, multiple assassination attempts, long-term separation from his first wife, many years in hiding fearing for his life, wars, the death of at least four of his sons, long-term serious health problems, three uprisings against his kingship, multiple persecutions because of his faith… plus all the usual popularity and approval issues, which go with being the leader of a nation.

Aside from those problems, he dealt with some of the most toxic forms of stress which are commonly considered to be killers. His sources of stress were: constant, unpredictable and uncontrollable. That he died in old age, having cleared the nation of it’s enemies and having achieved so much for the Lord, is nothing short of a providential miracle.

Or could there be more to it than that?

When the Psalms are being dissected and preached about, there is nearly always an admiring acknowledgement of David’s ability to bounce back up while appearing to be sinking. Here is another example.

Psalm 13
“For the choir director: A psalm of David.
O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me.”

David often pushes himself from despair to hope, in a manner which has been said to appear bipolar. He isn’t bipolar in any respect. David knew how to pump up his morale and change a negative picture to a potentially positive one, by seeing the potential for the Lord to work for his good and by consciously determining to aim for a positive outcome. In some Psalms this took some time. For example, in Psalms 38 and 39 he appears disconsolate, however, in Psalm 40 that bounce appears. It’s a human, not an automatic, process.

David did this by reflecting on his past victories and by trusting the Lord, through prayer and praise. This determined action gave his circumstances new meaning. David also constantly turned to the Lord for direction, comfort and grounding and despite persecution from his own people over his unrelenting faith in God, he publicly praised the Lord and pointed the hearts of the people towards Him. David is inspirational.

As psychology has grown, researchers have spent more and more time looking at the positive aspects of human behaviour, rather than staying focussed on what can go wrong. Their findings help explain why David was able to keep his head above water, despite the forces that worked against him. In 2006 Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun studied post traumatic growth, which is exactly what David experienced many times. This growth results in a positive attribute termed resilience.

This is a Creative Commons image. pikiwiki_israel_17643
This is a Creative Commons image. pikiwiki_israel_17643

Resilience is is when you fall down, but get up, and are able to do that repeatedly, becoming stronger each time you arise. It means expecting positive outcomes, despite the risks and stresses that come your way. It involves an ability to adapt when you just have to make the best of a tough situation and clinging onto your purpose in life.

Tedeschi and Calhoun’s work beautifully describes how resilience is enabled. While at first people may show high stress signs and be depressed or overwhelmed by what they have been through, in time they can grow to come through with:

– “Increased perception of competence and self-reliance.
– Enhanced acceptance of one’s vulnerability and negative emotional experiences.
– Improved relationships with significant others.
– Increased compassion and empathy for others.
– Greater efforts directed at improving relationships.
– Increased appreciation of own existence.
– Greater appreciation for life.
– Positive changes in one’s priorities.
– Stronger religious/spiritual beliefs.
– Greater personal intimacy with God.
– Greater sense of control and security through belief in God.
– Greater meaning about life and suffering through religion.”

If David was writing this, I am sure that he would emphasise the last four points, as he repeatedly did in the Psalms. It was faith that gave him the greatest lift; however, his own personality traits of perseverance, willingness to take action, empathy, teachability and bravery, also had an important impact on his resilience. The Lord moulds us like a potter moulds clay, but the process works better if the quality of the clay is good.

To be resilient, David also needed supportive people around him such as Samuel, Nathan, Hushai the Archite and Jonathan; and resilient role models. His mother is mentioned as a role model in Psalms 116:16: “Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains;” and 86:16.

How David dealt with his mistakes was also a major factor in determining his success. A positive attitude to mistakes has been found to enable people to make better choices in the future, which in turn increases their overall happiness and ability to function in life. Belting yourself up with guilt only sends you backwards. David responded to corrections by Abigail and Nathan and was always able to get back up on his feet, no matter what hardship or grief hit him. [Refs. 1 Samuel 25 and 2 Samuel 12]

If you feel you are low on resilience, take heart. According to the research, resilience can be taught and role modelled. Studying David’s life has certainly helped boost my resilience. I am inspired by his courage, gently rebuked by his righteous responses to stressful situations and comforted by his trust in the Lord. He is a blessing that has never stopped giving.

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Helpful References:

– Post Traumatic Growth: http://www.posttraumaticgrowth.com
– Post Traumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence: Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun http://data.psych.udel.edu/abelcher/Shared%20Documents/3%20Psychopathology%20(27)/Tedeschi,%20Calhoun,%202004.pdf
– Resilience Videos on TED Talks: Search via https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=resilience+ted or enter “resilience TED” into search box.
– Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU
– Firdaus Dhabhar: The positive effects of stress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsc83N-Q1q4
– Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007.


kdpcpyrght

Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

2016 · What's Happening

Celebrating Chanukah 2016

chanukah-2016

About Chanukah

More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G-d.

When they sought to light the Temple‘s menorah (the seven branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah (candelabrum) lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.

Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil — latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nungimmelhei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle happened there”); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children.

IHLDY032

The text content in this page is produced by Chabad.org, and is copyrighted by Chabad.org.  www.chabad.org.

2016 · Encouragement · Psalms · Video Resources

How We React to God in the Hard Times

college-logo

Matt Jacoby, from the group the Sons of Korah, has recorded this great sermon on Lament in Psalms. It challenges how we react to the Lord when life becomes rugged. Do we lower our expectations of what God can do for us so we don’t become disappointed? Or do we turn up the heat, as David did; knowing God can fix any problem and not backing down until He does.

I loved the message of this video and hope you do too.

2016 · David's Life · Research · Scripture

How Gentle Kings Become Killers

gentle-kings-become-killersIt can be very hard to comprehend how gentle, kind people who love God, can pick up a sword and wipe out opposing nations. This is one of the issues I see people battle with in studying the life of King David. While we are introduced to him in 1 Samuel as a brave young warrior, a mighty man of valour, this image seems to harshly contradict the Psalms and our understanding of him as a God-fearing, righteous ruler. This article will look at why and how David had to act as he did.

As I write this, we live in an age of religious and ethnic tolerance and those values have been perpetuated with the spread of Christianity throughout the world. It is morally imperative that we don’t put people to the sword just because we don’t believe in the same god. So why did David do it and how should we interpret his behaviour?

In David’s time, God’s kingdom of Isra’el did not live in safety. There were constant threats of invasion, being taken as slaves, robbery, rape and murder. God raised up a man after His own heart, David, to lead the people to safety and ensure that they followed Him, the one true God. [Ref. 1 Kings 11:34, 2 Samuel 5:12 and Judges 2:2-3]

For Isra’el to be safe, the surrounding nations had to be bought under control. This was predominantly due to their polytheistic lifestyles, which continually poisoned the spiritual lives of the people of Isra’el. The references which repeatedly advise, implore and demand that the Israelites resist and get rid of these gods are many and include, from Deuteronomy alone: 7:16 and 25-26; 12:2-7 and 29-32; 20:17-18; 28:13-14; 29:16-21. This is not an exhaustive list. Following other gods would lead the people to destruction and the Lord did not want that to happen. Why?

Yahweh is known as a jealous God, but He is so for protective reasons. This is a point in history where religious tolerance just doesn’t apply and if there were religions carrying out these practices today, tolerance would not apply now either. Throughout every culture, if you study standards of morality, there are some practices which are intolerable, regardless of nation, year, race or religious creed. These include murder, prostitution and harming others. Sadly, these neighbouring religions demanded obedience to rituals which involved all those elements.

Warrior god from Moab. Stone stele, Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BC) or Iron Age (ca. 800 BC), found in Redjōm el-A'abed in 1851 by Félix de Saulcy and brought back to France in 1865 by the duke of Luynes.
Warrior god from Moab. Stone stele, Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BC) or Iron Age (ca. 800 BC), found in Redjōm el-A’abed in 1851 by Félix de Saulcy and brought back to France in 1865 by the duke of Luynes.

Here are the worst offenders:
– Ba’al: a fertility and war god, who demanded self-mutilation, ecstatic shamanistic like dances, ritual sex (which in cults that exist now, is often abusive and non-consentual, which may have been the case then also,) and child sacrifice.
– Asherah: the poles for this goddess are frequently mentioned in the books of Kings. She was considered the consort to Yahweh as Isra’el later dived into a spiritual abyss. Prostitution was a part of her worship.
– Ashtoreth or Astarte: she was an agricultural and fertility goddess who had a close association with Ba’el and again, ritual prostitution was involved in obeying and appeasing her.
– Molech: he was represented as an ox or calf, and he required the sacrifice of live, young children by burning and ritual sex practices.
– Chemosh: he was a war god who delighted in human sacrifice.

Realise that the people conceded to these demands, as they were terrified of the consequences of disobeying their god/goddess.
Would you like people who followed these practices living next to you and having any influence on your children? My guess is that you said no.

In Deuteronomy 31, God told Moses before he died, that Isra’el would eventually break the covenant they had made to obey God and worship Him alone. Moses was given warnings and a song to teach the people, in order to make them realise that God knew what was about to happen: but God wasn’t going to see it happen without a fight.

The warnings are dire and repeated and they needed to be. Psychologists have carried out studies to find out why people don’t meet their goals, and what they need to accomplish tasks to improve their quality of life. The research has found that if you show people the probable pitfalls and their chance of failure, rather than simply pumping them up with “you can do it, you will win” messages, people are more likely to achieve what they want as their outlook is more realistic. If you know you can fail, you don’t slacken off.

Thus the Lord told and told and told Isra’el, and David went to great lengths to ensure the physical and spiritual safety of the nature. After David died, his son Solomon began the path to total spiritual destruction and the exile of Isra’el, by marrying women from these dangerous nations, who worshipped these forbidden gods. In succeeding generations, first born children were sacrificed, the sexual immorality in Isra’el was overwhelming and the city of Jerusalem was so corrupt, the Spirit of God left the temple. [Ref. Ezekiel 10]

But still, even knowing this would happen, the Lord tried repeatedly to save His people. It is an act of a loving God which is incredibly precious and beyond price.

So now that you know why it happened, how can a good man kill to get a job like that done? This applies not only to David, but all the entire army of Isra’el.

When people are seen as a threat, fear kicks in and this motivation will enable people to do what they would otherwise consider unthinkable. When a threat is that close, people kill to survive. Consider Leviticus 6, where the Lord points out the punishment for disobedience. The people knew that they could lose everything. (Please see the footnote below.)

Zeus Yahweh, Wikimedia Commons
Zeus Yahweh, Wikimedia Commons

There are two other dynamics which will turn a sweet guy into a killer. As a crowd loses it’s individuality in a mass of faces, it becomes easy to dispatch or enslave them. They are not known by name, fame, or family ties and therefore, the guilt that murder and violence causes is significantly reduced for each soldier. It would be diminished even further, as the army acted under the orders of King David and General Joab, son of Zeruiah, David’s sister. If a figure of authority orders an act of violence or immorality, then research has found that people are far more likely to carry it out and they don’t fret about repercussions as much. It is the commander who will get the moral blame, not them. This is termed moral disengagement.

The last point which would affected the behaviour of David and his army is the old rule of ‘an eye for an eye.’ [Ref. Deuteronomy 19:21] In the Old Testament there was no known final judgement of the sinner and the saint. It was believed that for whatever you did wrong, you had to be punished for in life, not the afterlife; therefore rough vengeance was enacted through acts of war like this. It was the standard for the people at that point in history, and this law was common throughout all the ancient world, even up until the successful dominion of Babylon. Through the laws that God handed down through Moses, this was ratified as legally correct behaviour. God had said in Deuteronomy 9:4 “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you.” This verse implies that if David was successful in defeating those nations, it was because God had judged them as wicked and He enabled their defeat. God was acting on His own laws.
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If you would like to read more to further understand David’s actions as a ruler and the intricacies of power in the ancient world, you are welcome to read these articles.

– Was King David a Megalomaniac?
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32067
– Does Absolute Power Absolutely Corrupt?
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32731
– Law and Disorder in the Life of King David
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32070


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