Monday, August 14, 2023

Abiathar the son of Ahimelech (2Samuel 8)

So, back to 2Samuel chapter eight, which was clearly a trap because the SAB sees a lot of violence and injustice, which is hard to deny here. You do have to realize that Israel is at war with all these nations, and nobody has invented the Geneva Convention yet. It's ugly. David is killing two-thirds of the Moabites (it seems reasonable to assume these are POWs) and enslaving the other third; which is a better fate? Hopefully the slaves were treated well, but we can only guess. Why does David hough the chariot horses? I don't know, as it seems pointless and cruel, although a bit of research suggests this doesn't kill the horse, but makes it unsuitable for war use. How many horsemen did David take? This may be a scribal error, or perhaps the writer of Chronicles felt that since there were thousands of footmen, there ought more likely have been thousands of horsemen; who knows?

Yes, God is giving David all of these violent victories, but in the end, it's about preserving Israel against violent enemies who probably would have done the same or worse to them. I don't know that there is anything else I can say about it.

Was Abiathar the father or the son of Ahimelech? I did some research, and there are actually two different Ahimelechs in the Bible, but this doesn't clear up the problem as Ahimelech the Hittite doesn't have a genealogy given, and is clearly nothing to do with this. It seems pretty evident that Ahimelech is the father of Abiathar, and this verse is in error; perhaps the verse in 1Chronicles 24 copied the error, as it was written later. However, the verse 1Chronicles 18:16 says, "Abimelech the son of Abiathar" which may not be a scribal error; Ahimelech may have had a grandson named Abimelech. In the Hebrew alphabet h and b don't look as much like each other as they do in the Latin alphabet.

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