Introduction to 2 Samuel
Many moons ago, in a time of great darkness, Madonna said that she was "a material girl in a material world"… And, many moons before that, King David was a Deuteronomistic guy in a Deutoronomistic world. That might sound kind of complicated—but it just means that the same editors involved in putting together the Book of Deuteronomy also put together the group of books that includes 2 Samuel, running from the book of Judges to 2 Kings. For the story of 2 Samuel is part of what we commonly call the "Deuteronomistic History" and David is just one teeny part of it. But here's the thing. When we say "history," we're using that term pretty loosely. It's hard to tell what extent 2 Samuel (and 1 Samuel, since they were originally one work) is hard history or legend or the exaggeration of real events or a crazy mixture of all these. For many true believers, naturally, it's going to be history all the way. Yet it's easy to interpret the Biblical writers' account of David's life as being perhaps a bit whitewashed. See, for the most part, in their eyes, David can do no wrong. But yet certain unsavory facts about his life are too big for the authors to omit: particularly David seducing the wife (Bathsheba) of one of his generals, and then having that general murdered.
The authors don't attempt to justify this at all—it's way bad—and it might make the reader see a more complicated picture of David in other situations, like when the writers keep insisting he had nothing to do with the death of another general, Abner. So, if you wanted to, you could easily see the whole book as an example of pro-David propaganda, trying to justify his legacy as God's one beloved king. But that wouldn't really do justice to the book as a whole. It gives a pretty thorough picture of Israelite kingship as an institution—how it works, how kings maintain power. It's a fascinating glimpse into the way people in the ancient Near East viewed at least some of their kings: as people both divinely guided and humanly flawed.
In the period of time depicted in the book, the Israelites were wrestling with the transition from being ruled by Judges like Samuel—with God as the only true king and creator of laws—to being ruled by a human king (who was still considered to be divinely guided).
This was sort of like having a Supreme Court but no President (except for God). And yeah, this could get kind of confusing and messy… But to be fair, so could being ruled by a king, as evidenced by the reign of Saul in 1 Samuel. What 2 Samuel does, then, is to tell the story of a king who managed to pull himself together and rule in the right way.
Why Should I Care?
How do you manage to seduce one of your general's wives, orchestrate that same general's death in battle, refuse to punish your first-born son for committing a heinous crime against his own sister—and still wind up with a reputation for being the greatest of all Israelite kings, and God's prize favorite?
The book of 2 Samuel may or may not answer that question for you—but it'll help you take a good, hard look at the life of the character who did all of the above: King David. Of course, David did a lot besides those rather dubious and devious actions. There's heroism, tragedy, plain bad luck, and moments of sublime goodness in his story, as well. Also, he's a smooth operator. Even when he's doing something wrong or questionable, David remains totally human—flawed, but recognizably one of us. In a way, the dark patches in David's life are what help make him one of the very most intriguing and compelling people in the Bible as a whole. After God and Moses, David is arguably the most important character in the Hebrew Bible (most people would probably agree that he's the third-most-central figure.) Even though the book has a huge and interesting supporting cast, the Second Book of Samuel really is all about David, the heart of the story. What King Arthur is to Great Britain, and Caesar Augustus is to Ancient Rome, and Luke Skywalker is to Tatooine, King David is to Israel. He's the model hero, the best example of how to do it right (despite the serious things he does wrong).
"We Can Be Heroes" (to Quote David Bowie)
That's fine, and David might be an interesting guy—but what does the book have to do with life today? Well, since people throughout the world have been reading the Bible for a while, it's shaped the kind of hero’s people look for and write about. Heroes from other books and other cultures demonstrate heroism in different ways—like Odysseus in the Odyssey, they might be crafty warriors trying to outwit the gods and make it home. Or, like King Rama from Hindu myth, they might be gods themselves, fighting for truth and righteousness against demonic powers. But the important thing to remember is that David is a human—a human who is trying to live according to a higher law, and serve his God's purposes, sure—but a human, nonetheless. True, Odysseus is a human, too, but his goals are also all typically human, related to getting back to his kingdom, seeing his wife and son, and regaining power. David's concerned with his personal power, too, but he has to balance that with what he believes God wants. His goals are both human and divine.
This ends up being a pretty tricky tight rope to walk, and watching David walk it, wavering between his own selfish ambitions and this higher cause, is part of the value and fun of 2 Samuel. Life actually imitates art pretty often. People mimic the heroes they see on TV or in the movies or read about in Newsweek or wherever (there's recently been an increase in people who are imitating superheroes by wearing underwear over leotards and trying to hit criminals with nun-chucks). Since David is one of the most widely read characters in the history of the world, the story of his reign (which begins when 2 Samuel starts) can help give us a better idea of what we actually think about heroes and leaders—what we expect from them, what qualities they have.
That's not just important for understanding the heroes we see depicted around us everyday—it's also a useful way to understand ourselves, to see how we measure up, and to define our own ideas of true heroism.
JULY 28 Friday
2 Samuel, Chapter 1, Verse 14
The lesson here is, do not be a person who seeks to gain from another’s misfortune.
Cue up the Sad Violins
· As 2 Samuel begins, Saul and Jonathan have just died fighting the Philistines—David almost fought for the Philistines, but ended up getting excused at the last second, and headed off to fight the Amalekites.
· Saul had committed suicide after seeing his defeat was inevitable (with, as it turns out, a little help), and Jonathan was killed in the battle.
· A survivor from Saul's army finds David and tells him the news. It turns out the survivor was an Amalekite who (at Saul's request) helped Saul finish dying, giving him a fatal sword thrust, before bringing Saul's crown and armlet to David.
· However, David is offended that this guy had the guts to help kill the Lord's anointed, so he has one of his own men kill the Amalekite.
Singing the Blues
· Then, David sings the blues. In a song, he laments the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, singing, "How the mighty have fallen!"
· He hails them both, paying tribute to their strength and good qualities, and telling the rest of Israel to weep for them in mourning.
· He also says that Jonathan's love for him was "wonderful, passing the love of a woman," before repeating again, "How the mighty have fallen."
Honor God’s Anointed
It appears that the Amalekite was trying to get a reward for killing the enemy of David (Saul). Everyone in the nation knew that Saul and David were at odds and that Saul was trying to kill David. When he stumbled onto the body of Saul, he thought that he had hit the jackpot. Instead of telling the truth about what he found he lied to David with the hope of getting gain. David was faultless in killing him because the man told David that he had killed the Lords anointed. In David’s eye that was a serious crime and the man brought it on himself. Notice and verse 14 of second Samuel he says "How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lords anointed?" and in verse 16, "And David said unto him, thy blood be on thy upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying I have slain the Lords anointed." Even though he did not kill Saul he lied in hopes of being rewarded and he was, just not in the way he thought though. The wages of sin is death.
World Hepatitis Day
Hepatitis Day seeks to raise awareness for the spectrum of Hepatitis diseases.
Hepatitis diseases cause inflammation of the liver cells. There are five main
types of hepatitis, A, B, C, D and E. It is estimated that around 250 million
people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis C and 300 million people are
Hepatitis B carriers.
World Hepatitis Day was proclaimed by the World Health Organization. It is celebrated annually on July 28th.
Hepatitis Day Facts
Hepatitis A is usually transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water or coming into contact with an infected person's feces.
Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease. It is transmitted through exposure to infected blood or body fluids.
Hepatitis B is spread via blood of an infected person.
can also be caused by alcohol and other toxins and infections.
Life Matters: Embryo
The Nuremberg Code (1947) was prompted by the horrific and often deadly experimentation on human beings in Nazi concentration camps that came to light during the “Doctors’ Trials” before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. The main principles of the Nuremberg Code require that experiments involving human subjects cause no unnecessary risk, be undertaken with the full and informed consent of the subjects and must never knowingly cause serious injury or death. Nazi doctors were not the first, nor the last, to perform inhumane and sometimes disabling research on unsuspecting human subjects living in poverty, in prisons, mental health institutions, and orphanages. The Tuskegee syphilis experiments, the Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study, and the Willowbrook (Long Island) State School experiments—in which children with mental disabilities were intentionally infected with viral hepatitis—are just a few examples of cases in which doctors put the pursuit of knowledge and “cures” ahead of the lives and well-being of individual human beings. The Nuremberg Code inspired other declarations of medical and research ethics. In 1948, the World Medical Association approved a statement addressing the ethics of physicians, the Declaration of Geneva. As originally adopted, it read in part:
“I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”
Novena in Honor of Saint John Marie Vianney
Complete Trust in God
Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney, what confidence the people had in your prayers! You could not leave your old rectory or your humble church without being surrounded by imploring souls, who appealed to you as they would have appealed to Jesus Himself during His earthly life. And you, O good Saint, gave them hope by your words, which were full of love for God. You, who had always counted entirely on the heart of God, obtain for me a deep filial trust in His Providence. As the hope of divine goods fills my heart, give me courage and help me to always obey the Commandments of God. Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO-I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
ARTICLE 8-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' (Gal 4:6).
743 From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable.
744 In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" (Mt 1:23).
745 The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf Ps 2:6-7).
746 By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.
747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.
12 Best Types of Fish to Eat
Fish is a healthy, high-protein food, especially important for its omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that our bodies don’t produce on their own. Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in brain and heart health. Omega-3s have been shown to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re important for prenatal development in babies, too. The American Heart Association (AHA)Trusted Source recommends eating fish at least 2 times a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna, which are high in omega-3s. Yet, there are some risks associated with eating fish on a regular basis. Contaminants such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) find their way into ground, lake, and ocean water from our household and industrial waste, and then into the fish who live there.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and FDA have issued combined guidelines for women of childbearing age, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children. They advise these groups avoid fish with higher levels of mercury contamination, which usually include:
· king mackerel
The following 12 superstar fish have made it onto our “best fish” list not only for having great nutrition and safety profiles but because they’re eco-friendly — being responsibly caught or farmed, and not overfished.
9. Striped bass
11. Alaskan pollock
· Let Freedom Ring Day 22 Freedom from Narcissism
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus