Monday, February 21, 2011

Blood on his hands

This morning I read the following account in 1 Chronicles 22:
7David said to Solomon, "My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. 8But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. 9Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.'
The image is of David's charge to Solomon, a woodcut from a book by Martin Luther.

I have often found this somewhat puzzling. What should we make of this? Perhaps the key is not to focus on the negative of David's reign (warfare, bloodshed, and judgement) but rather on the positive of Solomon's (rest and peace). YHWH, the God of Israel, is ultimately to be worshiped as a God of peace, rest, and redemption.

Also, it is one rare case where "peace and quiet" characterises the children rather than the parents!

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