May 23 – Ethics & War

May 23
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
John 13:1-30
Psalm 119:1-16
Proverbs 15:29-30

2 Samuel 2:22 – Reading about the drama within the battle may sound a bit absurd. But an understanding of ethics comes into play. At first one may think that it’s just a matter of “doing the right thing,” but “doing the right thing” depends on one’s responsibilities. A lawyer’s job is not to determine legal guilt and punishment, his job is to represent the interest of his client, and ensure that the justice system does not become biased against the presumed guilty, and that even if his client is guilty, that the prosecution has adequately proved its case. Similarly, a soldier’s job is not to decide the relative merits of the parties in the battle, but to obey them that have the rule over him (Romans 13). Abner warned Asahel twice because while Asahel was fast, Abner was better in hand-to-hand combat. And Abner likely knew Joab was vengeful and unethical as a military commander (1 Kings 2:5).

2 Samuel 3:13 –  Is this a violation of Deuteronomy 24:4? Coffman thinks so:

Young pointed out that what David did (by taking Michal back as his wife) was against God’s law. “According to the law of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, David could not legitimately receive his wife back after her marriage to Paltiel.”[17] This action must therefore be reckoned among the shameful sins of this “man after God’s own heart.” There was only one way in which David was entitled to be so-called, and that lay in his absolute refusal to love and trust any other god except the Lord God. Even when condemned for his gross and lustful sins, David continued to confess his unworthiness, seek God’s forgiveness, and pledge again to walk in the paths of righteousness.

2 Samuel 3:28 – While some think of war as “entirely unethical” – it is clearer to say that there are ethics of war, and as feared, Abner was murdered by Joab for effectively self-defense. Even in war, honor is the code.

John 13:1 – How touching is it that even when Jesus knew He would die – He still loved His disciples unto the end.

John 13:14 – Are we supposed to be engaged in footwashing today? From A Manual of Church History:

There is no indication in the New Testament, or in the Christian literature of the first three centuries, that our Lord was understood to have instituted an ordinance [feet-washing] by the acts and words under consideration [in John 13].Feet-washing was a common and needed act of hospitality in Palestine at the time, and the teaching that Christ intended to convey was the manifestation of the spirit of brotherly love in acts of humble service. . . The earliest reference to the ceremonial use of feet-washing is in the canon of the synod of Elvira (A.D. 306) where it is condemned

Psalm 119:1 – Welcome to the longest Psalm in the Bible. Organized into 8 verse stanzas in an alphabetical (Hebrew) array, this passage is home to the richest descriptions of the Word of God in the Bible. Verses talk about the law (v.1), testimonies (v.2) ways (v.3) precepts (v.4, 5), commandments (v.6), judgments (v.7), and statutes (v.8).

Psalm 119:9 – How can we change? Heeding God’s Word, and hiding God’s Word (Psalm 119:11).

Proverbs 15:29 – A great way to make sure your prayer is heard by God is to repent.

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