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A paradox of law...

A Paradox of Law

Terry Dashner…….Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013

There is an interesting paradox in II Samuel 3:13-16. May I tell you the story?

“’Good,’ said David. ‘I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.’ Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, ‘Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.’

“So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, ‘Go back home!’ So he went back.” (NIV)

Here’s the gig. King Saul, when he was alive, had promised his daughter Michal to David for a bounty of blood. When David followed through with his end of the deal, Saul reneged, out of contempt for David, and gave her to Paltiel instead. This broke David’s heart, but he got on with his life. When Saul died and Abner wanted to consolidate the tribes of Israel as one nation, he made a deal with David. David agreed to the terms on one condition. He wanted Michal who was his wife legally. And he got her. It seems that God was okay with that.

This, nevertheless, puzzles me. Did David have the right to ask for Michal? Legally, yes. Did Abner have the right to deliver her to David? Probably. Or so it could be argued. Now here’s where the story moves from black-and-white to gray. What about Michal and her husband, Paltiel? Did they have any say in the matter? It appears that Paltiel was grief stricken and deeply hurt. Did he have the right to protest? Did he have any legal recourse?

Let me advance the clock to modern day Israel. God gave Israel the land of modern Palestine by covenant, during the life of Abraham. The Jews lived and held the land for many centuries, until they were finally dispersed in 70 AD. It wasn’t until 1948 that Israel occupied her home, once again, as a legal nation. And now she is asked to give back the Gaza which she has claimed since the six-day war of 1967. She is doing it as I write, but she’s not doing it

without major protests.

May I ask you to solve this paradox for me, please? If Israel owns the land by divine right and by tradition, isn’t it her land forever? If not, then whose national law is superior to Israel’s and has the right to condemn her? Outside Divine Law and Israel’s sovereign law, whose law can force her to comply? And consider this: if her land was given to her by divine right, then logic says that only the Divine can serve her with the eviction notice, right?

Okay, I know Paltiel got his feelings hurt, but his marriage to Michal was “fruit” from a poison vine (no pun intended) to begin with and was, therefore, null-and-void, right? David had every legal right to claim and demand what was legally his. The only questionable action is this: should Paltiel be compensated for the loss of something that didn’t belong to him in the first place? You decide and let me know.

Apart from civil damages, material compensations, and the concern regarding human feelings, I think, if anything, this story in II Samuel reminds us just how complicated life can become when unscrupulous men become a law unto themselves. King Saul reneged on his contract simply because he despised David. And because he was king, he took matters into his own hands.

I still believe that God’s Law should always by honored as the highest law in the land. I believe that all laws should reflect God’s law—criminally and civilly. Life functions in the black-and-white when men honor God’s Law from the “git-go.” Nations thrive when they honor God by heritage. It’s only when nations hold God’s Law in contempt and establish their own standards that the black-and-white turns pallid gray. I believe law is important to a civilized country. But, do away with God’s Law and every man becomes a law unto himself. And touchy-feely-sentiment will become the prevailing order of the day.

Keep the faith. Stay the course. Justice will prevail if not in this life, in the life to come.

Pastor T

About the Author

Pastors a small church. U.S. Navy veteran of the Viet Nam era. Retired police officer for the city of Tulsa. Father of three grown children and grandfather of two--one rests in the arms of Jesus in heaven above.

Written by: Terry Dashner

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