Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Old Testament Story of ACTION

Some of the greatest stories one can ever find are in the pages of the Old Testament and sadly, many of them have never been read by Christians today. Take the story of the woman of Abel as described in 2 Samuel 20. As the chapter opens, the rebellion of Absalom, King David’s son, against his own father has been thwarted and Absalom has been killed by Joab, the commander of the army. As a result, David has removed Joab from his position and he is now re-establishing his reign from his throne in Jerusalem. However, there is much tension between Judah and the northern tribes of Israel.

A man called Sheba, who was a Benjamite (the tribe of King Saul) takes advantage of the tension and leads a revolt against David announcing that the ten tribes have no part in David. As a result, David orders his new military commander, a man named Amasa, to assemble soldiers of Judah and to pursue and capture the rebel, Sheba, within 3 days. Amasa fails to complete the task in that timeframe so David orders Abishai to take command of Amasa and to prevent Sheba from getting established in a fortified city.

Joab, who remains loyal to David, sees this as an opportunity to win back the King’s trust and regain his lost position. Joab goes out to meet Amasa and grabs him by the beard to kiss him (which was a customary sign of friendship). While doing so he uses his sword to kill the unsuspecting Amasa (who by the way was his cousin).

As a result, command is again transferred to Joab and he and Abishai take their men to pursue Sheba which leads them to the northern city of Abel-Bethmaachah located 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, a city which had been famous for its people’s wisdom.

Joab’s men besiege the city and began to batter the wall to break it down. As they proceed with their attack, a wise yet unnamed woman from within the city cries out to Joab asking to speak with him. She describes how the city was famous for its wisdom and she appeals to the Mosaic law which said that before besieging a city you had to offer its inhabitants a deal for peace and if an agreement was made, you had to abide by it

She asks Joab why he is seeking to destroy what she calls ‘the mother city in Israel’ (a metaphor for a very important city). Joab explains that he is simply after Sheba who was hiding inside the city and offers that if they hand over Sheba, his men will leave in peace.

This woman agrees to have Sheba killed and to throw his head over the wall as proof of his execution. Within minutes, the woman convinces the people to find Sheba, execute him, and she throws his head over the wall. Joab blows the trumpet and his army retreats. Joab has completed his mission and this unnamed woman of Abel has saved her city.

Is that not a great story? And it’s only one of hundreds in the Old Testament that you most likely have never read. So whether you like stories of espionage, action, romance or tragedy, you can find volumes of short stories in the Bible, God’s door to adventure.

1 comment:

JW said...

That is a great story.
Thank you for showing it to us. Another great testament that if we turn away/remove what separates from God, His love and grace will abound. Forgiveness!

OK, I cannot resist.....Is this how Abel got ahead in life????

Sorry and thank you again