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David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

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David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:04 pm

I was just reading 1 Samuel 21 and 22 where it talks about David going to Ahimilech the priest and getting the consecrated bread and Goliath's sword. David notices Doeg the Edomite watching him we learn later, but does nothing. Doeg then goes and tells Saul what he saw who then orders Doeg to kill all the priests and even the whole city of Nob. One of Ahimelech's sons, Abiathar escapes and tells David what happened. David blames himself for the death of Abiathar's family because he saw Doeg and did nothing.
My question is this: Should David have killed Doeg when he saw him because of his suspicions?
Would it be right for David to murder Doeg to save the priests of Nob? It would be murder but look at all the death that came from it. David didn't know exactly what would happen though he apparently suspected something bad. Would the answer to the question change if David knew for certain that a whole city's men, women, children, and animals would be put to death? I suggest you read 1 Samuel 21 and 22 before you respond. I look forward to some good discussion! bounce
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by CheeseKing on Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:25 am

This reminds me of a question I asked pastor Weaver at WCWC four years ago. Is it right for me to kill an abortion doctor if I know he's about to murder a child. He argued no. He spoke that week on God's law. His points were that a man has no authority to sentence anyone to death. God gave the sword to the state. A man can guiltlessly kill another in a just war, one can kill an invader that threatens your family, and anything in self defense. Pastor Weaver also pointed out that if you walk down the street and witness a man beating his wife to death and do nothing to stop the atrocity, you are equally guilty of murder. I felt sure from that point that it was perfectly lawful to kill an abortion clinic doctor. I will tell you. If I one day marry and my wife suffers some disorder that turns her cynical and she decides to fall away from my authority and have an abortion, disobeying God and the Church Authority, I will by no means let any man kill my baby. I don't trust our government with upholding the true law and will be forced to kill a doctor in self defense and I am almost certain I will be guiltless.

Putting that aside, if anyone can argue that it is unlawful to kill an abortion doctor, they must also argue that it's unlawful to kill Doeg. Kill him on the basis of suspicions? Because he gave you a sinister look? If David had any internal struggles at this time, he should have called upon God to give him clarity. Listen. David would one day be king, but he wasn't then. A good citizen has no right to kill a man on the basis of suspicions. It was God's will for those priests to die. Doeg himself was merely a messenger who had no charge or will to kill those priests and had no idea Saul would be so wicked in that regard. God allowed this either to paint the picture of Saul's great wickedness and to show his true depravity and/or other reasons. I will argue that David would have been justified in killing Saul who sought his life in a self defense situation, but I don't see this as anything of the same.

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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by CheeseKing on Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:30 pm

Furthermore, that's to assume that the ends justify the means, which is a false humanistic assumption that justified stealing to help the poor in such cases as Welfare. (redistribution of wealth). We are to carry out the right means in every situation, even if a set of bad means look like a better option, weighing each mode of action with scripture. To justify murder in this case is to say that its ok to disobey God's commandments in some situations, which opens the door for hundreds of similar cases of supposed justified disobedience to God, which makes man's reasoning higher than God's. This is a big reason why our Judicial branch is out of control today.

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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:27 pm

CheeseKing wrote:Doeg himself was merely a messenger who had no charge or will to kill those priests and had no idea Saul would be so wicked in that regard. God allowed this either to paint the picture of Saul's great wickedness and to show his true depravity and/or other reasons. I will argue that David would have been justified in killing Saul who sought his life in a self defense situation, but I don't see this as anything of the same.
Here I strongly disagree with you CheeseKing. If Doeg had no will to kill the priests than why did he do it? Was he some sort of Zombie? He was glad to do what Saul asked of him. None of the Israelites had the "courage" to kill the priests of God. They clearly had no will to kill the priests. Doeg killed them when instructed by Saul. I believe you can conclude that by the way Doeg comes to Saul and tells him about what the priests did he was hoping he or someone else would put them to death. I really don't think that Doeg's conscience would have bothered him had he not told Saul what he saw the priests do. I'm glad to see we've got some discussion going here rather than us all agreeing. Wink

Another thing to consider is, if it would have been wrong for David to kill Doeg then was David right to blame himself for the death of the people of Nob? I admit that in one sense we can say that it all happened the way God ordained and planned. And while sometimes it can lead to useless speculations ("Where would we be now if Adam never fell?" Is one example) I think this story can be profitable to wrestle with.
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by CheeseKing on Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:01 am

Doeg was man of duty. You may be right or I might be right in our beliefs about him. For sake of argument, let's just say he's Hitler and hates all the faithful Jews. It doesn't change the situation or the principles. Well, if David hadn't taken his men to the people of Nob, they might have lived. Surely David feels guilt for that and whether rightly or wrongly felt the pain. My conclusion stands that if God forbids us to murder, how can one be justified in murdering another, regardless of the situation?

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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:10 am

CheeseKing wrote:My conclusion stands that if God forbids us to murder, how can one be justified in murdering another, regardless of the situation?

The question is not whether it's right to murder—that's always wrong. Instead the question is whether or not it would be murder to kill Doeg. God forbids murder but He does not forbid all killing. As I think we agree there such a thing as warfare in which killing is allowed.
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by BrianEschen on Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:26 pm

Legolas Greenleaf wrote:Doeg killed them when instructed by Saul. I believe you can conclude that by the way Doeg comes to Saul and tells him about what the priests did he was hoping he or someone else would put them to death. I really don't think that Doeg's conscience would have bothered him had he not told Saul what he saw the priests do.
You can't necessarily conclude that Doeg was hoping the priests would be put to death. Perhaps he too heard Saul's promise in 1 Samuel 22:7 . . . " And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, "Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds . . . ?" It could be that Doeg wanted some favors from Saul and was just doing what he could to secure those favors.

Legolas Greenleaf wrote:Another thing to consider is, if it would have been wrong for David to kill Doeg then was David right to blame himself for the death of the people of Nob? I admit that in one sense we can say that it all happened the way God ordained and planned. And while sometimes it can lead to useless speculations ("Where would we be now if Adam never fell?" Is one example) I think this story can be profitable to wrestle with.
It may be that he was not impugning moral culpability but lamenting the fact that he was the reason Saul did this wicked thing . . . meaning if he hadn't have gone to the priests in the first place there would have been no occasion for this atrocity. See Gill's notes on this passage . . . "I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house: or have been the cause of all the evils that befell them, and the death they were put unto, not with design, but by accident; and it grieved him that he should be any ways an accessory thereunto, though without intention." It seems like this would be a more natural reading of the passage given that he in no way could have foresaw what Saul would do. Certainly he knew that Doeg would be a tattle tale (v. 22), however it does not follow that he knew what Saul would do.

Can you imagine that defense in court? "Your honor, I knew that he would someday kill someone, so I beat him to it." How would the judge respond? scratch

It seems to be a safer course to take the king of cheese's position. Don't presume you know the future. Kill only in a just cause . . . self defense, just war, or in the lawful administration of the sword for the death penalty.
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:50 pm

BrianEschen wrote:It seems to be a safer course to take the king of cheese's position. Don't presume you know the future. Kill only in a just cause . . . self defense, just war, or in the lawful administration of the sword for the death penalty.

I wasn't speaking of getting a principle from this passage. I simply exploring what David could or should have done in this situation. I also asked a hypothetical question as to whether if David was given knowledge of the future it would be right for him to kill. I mean if someone breaks into my home I don't know if they are going to hurt my family or not but I would be allowed to shot them because I suspected them of purposing to cause harm to others.
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by BrianEschen on Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:47 pm

Legolas Greenleaf wrote:I wasn't speaking of getting a principle from this passage. I simply exploring what David could or should have done in this situation. I also asked a hypothetical question as to whether if David was given knowledge of the future it would be right for him to kill. I mean if someone breaks into my home I don't know if they are going to hurt my family or not but I would be allowed to shot them because I suspected them of purposing to cause harm to others.
There is actually a case law regarding the breaking in to your house instance (see Exodus 22:2-3). In regards to your question about what David should have done, it seems to me that he did what he should have.
The hypothetical question seems irrelevant because no one is given knowledge into the future, except what God has already revealed. We do know that Christ will return when He has put an end to all rule and authority and the kingdoms of this earth have become the kingdom of our Lord. Other than God's revelation, we will never know the future . . . until it is past that is.
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:06 am

Ah well, I couldn't find anyone who disagreed with me. Well done Brian and Mitchell!
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Re: David, Ahimelech, and Doeg

Post by BrianEschen on Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:51 pm

Legolas Greenleaf wrote:Ah well, I couldn't find anyone who disagreed with me. Well done Brian and Mitchell!
Thanks to you too . . . it was fun to think about that one! Honestly it did not sound like an argument you would make. I chalked it up to the flu. Embarassed
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