Posted: Jun 04, 2015 11:31 am
by iskander
monkeyboy wrote:
iskander wrote:
monkeyboy wrote:You fail to explain why upon hearing the news from the Amalekite, David and his men tear their clothes and grieve. If they knew about Sauls death, why do that? Why are they not recorded as denouncing the Amalekite as a liar if indeed the silly story is to discredit the Amalekites? Why would they need to do that anyway since Saul has already,prior to his demise, slain all the Amalekites anyway?


I am not explaining anything, I am only offering one interpretation.
There was the threat of civil war if his right to the throne was contested .The Amelekite was hoping to please David and that was a danger to peace .

David there and then decided to show his pain and to honour the king that had fallen in battle. Until then he may have been calmly reflecting on the next move.
.


Do you really find that remotely plausible? In the narrative, the Amalekite is the news bearer to David of Saul's death. There is no prior mention of David learning of it. Any assumption that he would already know the news is just that, and at odds with the narrative which is consistent with him finding out confirmation of Saul's death from the Amalekite. David's recorded response, the tearing of clothes an grieving is in keeping with Jewish mourning practised by some to this day. That all reads like regular narrative. It also returns Saul's crown to David conveniently since the Philistines stripping the battlefield definitely wouldn't have handed them over.

In ye olde world, way before the internet, phones, telegraphs etc, news travelled by messenger and the recipient had also to be found. It isn't uncommon to read of the news of battles around Europe being relayed back home taking days, even weeks to be delivered. 3 days isn't the gulf in time it might appear to be now.

The Amalekite account reads as narrative quite easily, until that is, later when the other possibility comes in to play, that David, realising there is an opportunity to benefit from the events and clean up Saul's death a bit and remove the possibility of a dirty Amalekite behaving nobly and honourably and being murdered for doing so, actually lies himself, discredits the Amalekite as a liar and seeks to come out of things a little more cleanly.....oh and more righteously than appearing to be the sort of petty minded cunt that would shoot the messenger so to speak.

This all, interesting as it is, satisfies the challenge set in the OP of demonstrating contradictory accounts of events in the bible. We can go round and around as to why they are there and speculate but the fact is, they are there in the first place.


Contradictions in a religious text are an opportunity for the religious to develop alternative interpretations. The ambiguity , even the contradictions, in any religious text allows ' one hundred flowers to bloom' as Mao Tse Tung apparently said about Marxism in China.

There are many contradictory items to be found in the Tanakh and in the Greek Testament. Some are very simple differences in names, geography, numbers, and so on, but some differences could point to evidence of a new understanding of the same subject.

How important are those contradictions in religious texts? Some are important only for those who like to argue, but other contradictions offer the religious an alternative path to a different world. A good example of the use of the religious ambiguities (contradictions) found in a religious text, is the Luther- Erasmus debate, but there are others .


I prefer to see David as a prince of the Renaissance schooled in the thinking of a Machiavelli.