But all wasn’t uniformly peaceful during Solomon’s forty year reign.
For instance, back in David’s day, Joab had permitted a royal of prince from Edom, Hadad, escape to Egypt, and the Pharaoh had given him asylum. When Hadad heard that David was dead, he gathered a band and skirmished with the Hebrews settled in Edom.
Rezon of Zobah had also escaped David, and he and a band took over Damascus and made frequent raids upon Israel.
But for the most part, Solomon’s kingdom was prosperous. He not only collected gold and goods, but women. He had 700 princesses for wives and another 300 concubines, and since Solomon liked variety, these women came from every people the Hebrews had any sort of contact with–trade or subjugation–including all the forbidden groups from Leviticus, because suddenly God’s upset about that again, even though it had been going on for forever and Solomon himself had a Moabite ancestor. Continue reading “I Kings 11: Solomon Angers God”
Before David died, he told Solomon to remember God and to follow Its ways, yada yada yada–But more importantly, son, I need you to take the revenge I was not permitted to during life. First there’s Joab, that bloodthirsty bastard. Many’s the time I wanted to slice the smirk from his face, but he was one of the mighty men and I needed his support. But you my boy, you will make sure that his grey head finds an early and painful trip to Sheol, right? And then there’s Shimei, the choad who cursed me on my exile from Jerusalem when my poor boy Absalom chose his fate. For political reasons I had to spare him, but now, my son, you can wreak my revenge and send that grey head down to Sheol to accompany Joab. But always honor the sons of Barzillai–he was good to me, even after I let his grandsons be executed.
Then David died and Solomon became king. Continue reading “I Kings 2: Solomon Rising”
David’s last words was another song about how awesome God was.
David had a special elite force of thirty warriors. The three best were Josheb-basshebeth, Eleazar son of Dodo, and Shammah son of Agee.
Of course Abishai and Joab were among the thirty, as was Uriah the Hittite. There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiadai. He once fell in a pit on a snowy day, in which he killed a lion. Another time he killed this Egyptian dude because the dude was really vain about how hot he was. Then there was, well, twenty-two others.
The infighting got so bad that a dude named Sheba was all, Fuck David. Let’s go set up our own kingdom. So a bunch of the Hebrews left with him.
David was all, Jesus. If we let him get away, it’ll make the rebellion worse. Amasa, I said you’d be my new commander, so go gather a force and head after Sheba and take care of this.
But three days later, Amasa still hadn’t left yet, so David was all. Fuck. Fine. Abishai, you and your loathsome brother take care of this rebellion before it gets out of hand!
The brothers headed out on Sheba’s trail, where Amasa caught up with them with his troops. When Amasa saw Joab, he was all, Hey, cuz! And Joab leaned in as if to hug him…but stabbed him in the gut instead. Joab left the eviscerated body wallowing in its blood on the side of the road and went to rejoin his brother. As the troops came marching by, they kept stopping to gape at Amasa, so one of Joab’s men dragged him into a field and threw a cloak over the body.
Joab and his troops pinned Sheba in Abel Beth Maakah. As they prepared for a siege, an old woman hollered over the wall of the city to ask what such a mighty force wanted with their humble town? And Joab was, All we seek is that traitor Sheba. Give him to us and we’ll depart in peace.
Bright and early next morning, Sheba’s head came flying over the city walls, and rolled into Joab’s camp.
Back in Jerusalem, David quickly reestablished his bureaucracy. As for the ten concubines raped by Absalom, he shut them up in a house where they lived all alone for the rest of their days, forever deprived of David’s kingly embraces.
David was inconsolable, and this made things really awkward for his followers, who were made to feel embarrassed and humiliated–like they had lost the whole thing rather than defeating the enemy.
Eventually Joab had enough. He went to David and was all, You are a disgrace. You have humiliated and insulted the men who have given up all for you, who have fought for you. Who have saved your life, and the lives of you children–y0ur women. Enough of this shit! If you don’t stop crying for that piece of shit son of your who caused you so much goddamned trouble, I swear to God. I swear to almighty God that I will desert you. And I will take all of these people–all these people who I led, who’ve I’ve lead innumerable times, to victory–I swear I will take them all with me when I go. You will be deserted and alone with your stupid tears. Continue reading “II Samuel 19”
When word came that Absalom’s forces were crossing the Jordan, David readied his men to fight, begging his three commanders, Joab, Abishai, and Ittai the Gittite to spare Absalom’s life for his sake.
The battle was fierce, with fighting all around Mahanain.
But it so happened that as Absalom was riding through some trees, his magnificent hair got so tangled up in some low-hanging branches that he was caught fast–and left hanging there as his mule rode off. It also so happened that one of David’s foot soldiers saw the whole thing. He ran and told Joab that Absalom was stuck in a tree. Joab was all, Why the fuck didn’t you kill him then? Continue reading “II Samuel 18: Absalom’s End”
Absalom, by the way, was quite the hottie. He inherited all his father’s looks, plus a bag of chips. But his crowning glory was his hair, which he allowed to grow to his waist every year, and when he cut it, it weighed like five pounds. His mane was dark and luscious, wavy and flowing. I mean, his hair would have made Fabio ripple in envy.
Absalom also managed to sire four children before he died, young and bloody–three boys and one girl, whom he named Tamar after his beloved sister. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Currently in our tale, Absalom is still exiled in Geshur and David is pining away for his son back in Jerusalem.
Joab got sick of hearing David’s moaning, so he made a plan to get David to recall Absalom. He found a wise old woman and told her to pretend to be in mourning and go to David to ask his advice. So the wise old woman went to David and said, Oh king, please help your servant. I am a widow and my only two sons quarreled, and one became enraged and killed his brother. Now my clan wants to stone my only remaining son to death as a murderer, but if they do, then my husband’s name will be without an heir. What shall I do? Continue reading “II Samuel 14: The Family Reunites”
So God sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan was all, Oh King, judge this case. There were two men, one rich in herds of sheep and goats and one poor man with only one little ewe to his name. Now the poor man loved his ewe and fed it with his own hand. But one day the rich man needed a sheep for a feast, so he took the poor man’s one little ewe.
David was all, What! Where’s this greedy asshole? I’ll punish him! And Nathan was all, The greedy asshole is you, sire. For didn’t you take Urich’s only ewe lamb, though rich in wives and concubines? Because you have done this, and angered God, It sends this message–Never will you land have peace or surcease from strife. God will take your wives and let your neighbors rape them. Continue reading “II Samuel 12: Nathan Chides David”
While Joab was out fighting the Ammonites, David was dawdling around back in Jerusalem. One day he looked out his window and, on the roof next door, he saw a beautiful naked woman who happened to be bathing to clean herself after her period. David watched her bathe with lust in his heart.
Later, he made some inquiries and learned she must have been Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his loyal soldiers. But David was not used to having his desires unfulfilled, so he ordered Bathsheba brought to him and raped her (as she had no ability to consent) then sent her back home.
A few weeks later, Bathsheba sent word to David that she was pregnant. David did not survive survive all those years as an outlaw for nothing–he immediately sent to the front to have Uriah sent back to Jerusalem to report on the state of the war. Continue reading “II Samuel 11: David and Bathsheba”
David had made a treaty with the Ammonites, so when the king died, he sent messages of condolence to the son, now King Hanun. But under counsel from his advisers, Hanun treated the messengers badly, shaving off half their beards and depantsing them.
The Ammonites realized that war was inevitable, so they hired some Syrian mercenaries. And even though their armies outnumbered the Hebrews, under the leadership of Joab and his brother, they were handily defeated, as will be recounted in the following chapters.