Wednesday, May 8, 2013

King David's Royal Family: A Game of Thrones

Most people skip over the genealogies of the Bible. Up until I started following a Bible reading plan, I skipped them too. But with a Bible reading plan, I had a systematic pathway through every chapter of the Bible, and with daily readings from both Testaments, I could quickly read through the genealogies and then follow it up with something from the Gospels or epistles.

Over time I've been getting better at paying attention to the names in the genealogies, but I'll admit it's still tough. Recently though, I came across something interesting: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel, key military leaders during King David's reign, were the sons of Zeruiah, David's sister, which meant that they were David's nephews. I started wondering if the family relation was the reason why David refused to do anything after Joab murdered Abner, or after he murdered Absalom, or after he murdered Amasa. It wasn't until David was on his deathbed that he finally told his son Solomon to have the scoundrel killed.

Thinking through all this I began to realize that there were quite a few instances of intrigue and foul play within the royal family. David was part of King Saul's family by marriage, and there was a lot of plotting and conspiracies abounded during Saul's reign and beyond. Within David's own family, his son Amnon turned to Amasa (the same guy that Joab later killed) who was another one of David's nephews, in order to plot the rape of Amnon's half-sister, Tamar. After this occurred, Absalom, Tamar's brother, waited and planned for two years until he could murder Amnon and then escape to the Geshur, where his maternal grandfather reigned. He later lead rebellion against David and was undone because he didn't take Ahithophel's advice--and Ahithophel was quite po
ssibly Bathsheba's paternal grandfather!

Intrigue. Conspiracy. All within the royal family. Reading the accounts of David's reign sounds more like Game of Thrones or The Tudors than the sunny Sunday School stories I remember growing up.

As I worked through the genealogies all these stories started coming together, but I was still having difficulty visualizing all the interconnected relationships. I decided that I needed a family tree of sorts in order to see all the relationships. The image in this post (click to enlarge) is my first presentation of David's immediate family. I'm also planning on creating one of Saul's line and doing some write-ups of the various conspiracies and happenings within the royal family. It's a complicated mess. And yet God used it all to bring the Messiah into the world. And I would have missed it if I had just skimmed over the genealogies.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable..."

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