Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘King David’

I’ve said it for other serial posts, and I’ll say it here as well: Please read part one if you have not done so already; you may find that this post doesn’t make much sense otherwise.

But if you are determined not to do so, know that in order to encourage a better appreciation of the Advent season, we are looking at the ways in which God prepared the world for the coming of Christ.  We have looked at two already.

3. The Covenant With Noah

Noah

The results of the Fall run deep, and the evil of humankind goes from bad to worse, ultimately bringing about cataclysmic destruction.  But out of this God brings new life.  He makes a covenant with all of creation and all humankind, providing assurance of His mercy and His power to bring life out of death itself.  We can see this promise in the cycles of nature, among other things.

4. The Call of Abraham

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 035.jpgGod personally enters history by calling Abram (whom He will rename Abraham) out of the land of his fathers to become the forbear of the Chosen People.  The sign of this new covenant God makes is circumcision, which He asks of Abraham and all of his male progeny.

Remember the proto-evangelion?  This is a sign that its fulfillment is getting close.  With Abraham, we have the birth of a people distinguished by a mark or wound in their flesh.  From this people will come the wounded one who will “strike at the head of the serpent.”

5. The Exodus of Israel

Exodus2Several centuries later, God intervenes with signs and miracles in the sight of the nations in order to form His people, Abraham’s progeny…Israel.  He delivers them from Egypt by making a way through the Red Sea, leads them out into the dessert, and makes them into a nation of people whose lives will be shaped and guided by His Law.  In this way, they are to become a magnet for the nations.

6. The Davidic Dynasty

King DavidTime passes, and then God takes it up a notch.  He gives Israel a king in the person of David, a former shepherd boy.  He makes a covenant with David, promising that his kingdom will last forever.  As long as the Davidic dynasty endures, God will relate to the king as a son, and the king will shepherd the people in His name.

I mentioned that Israel was meant to become a magnet for the nations.  This becomes even clearer with the institution of David’s line; we can see this, for example, when the Queen of Sheba travels to Jerusalem from a great distance to the south in order to hear the wisdom of King Solomon (David’s son).

And we’ll leave it at that for now.

Images from Wikipedia

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Game-of-Thrones

For those who have not seen this series or read the books, please be aware that there are some spoilers in this post.

Before I begin, the first thing I want to comment on with regard to royalty and its attendant power in “Game of Thrones” is the Iron Throne itself, the seat of the High King, for which the great houses of the Seven Kingdoms vie passionately and furiously.

The Iron Throne, as “Ice and Fire” aficionados well know, is made from the weapons of vanquished enemies.  This, of course, brings to mind the throne from which Jesus Christ reigns: the Cross.  The Cross was the weapon of the worldly powers that put Him to death and, moreover, is permanently symbolic of the weapon wielded by the ultimate enemy (Satan) — namely, death itself.

As King of the New Creation, Christ has transformed the cross from a symbol of fear and death into a symbol of hope, and death itself from the end of life into the beginning of new and eternal life.  How’s that for taking the weapon of a vanquished enemy and making a throne out of it?

Now that I’ve given my $0.02 on that, let’s take a look at how different individuals take on the role of kingly leadership in “Game of Thrones.”

Robert-Baratheon-house-baratheon-29677198-1066-719

First, we have Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), who we meet at the beginning of the series.  Robert has reigned as High King over the Seven Kingdoms for fifteen years.  We get the impression that he was once a great and noble warrior, but has since grown fat, lazy, and lecherous.  We might say that he has become far too comfortable with the privileges and luxuries of kingship.

David_Bathsheba

It may surprise many people, but a Biblical parallel to Robert Baratheon is King David, the prototype of Israelite monarchs himself.  The Second Book of Samuel portrays David as growing lax amid the comfort and security of his kingship, having been granted the throne of Israel and protection from his enemies by God:

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David sent out Joab along with his officers and the army of Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. David, however, remained in JerusalemOne evening David rose from his siesta and strolled about on the roof of the palace.

-2 Samuel 11:1-2 (italics mine)

David’s “stroll” is immediately followed by the beginning of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, which in turn leads to the murder of her husband, Uriah.  David let his guard down against sin, and he is chastised for his resultant actions almost immediately:

Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house…

-2 Samuel 12:10

The situation in which Robert Baratheon finds himself has some similarities to the consequences that follow David’s sin.

Joffrey

In his son, Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), we have a sort of Absalom-like figure whose spirit of treason and rebellion threatens to undermine his father’s authority.

Jaime-Cersei-jaime-lannister-23339624-1226-816Also, Robert misses an incestuous relationship going on more or less right under his nose.  His Queen, Cersei (Lena Headey) — formerly of House Lannister — is having an affair with her twin brother, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).  Broadly speaking, this bears some similarity to an incident that occurs between two of King David’s children (David’s son, Amnon, rapes his daughter, Tamar).

Whatever similarities and differences there are, I think we can say this: The smugness and laxity that characterize the reigns of both King Robert and King David lead to and reinforce a sort of powerlessness on their parts.  Ultimately, this powerlessness leads to ruin (although there is redemption in David’s case).

Though this particular “flavor” of bad leadership differs from the raw and driven lust for power and domination that one sees in a Hitler or a Stalin, both derive from the same thing: The ego.

Robert Baratheon 2

A sad and telling aspect of King Robert’s brand of egotism is his paranoia with regard to any perceived threat to the security of his throne, which comes across most clearly in his fanatical obsession with finding and killing Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).  Daenerys, by the way, is the exiled daughter of the former High King, from whom Robert won the crown by conquest.  When his loyal friend, Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), tries to talk sense to him, he writes him off as a traitor.

That’s the ego for you.  The ego would prefer to remain comfortably ensconced in its position of security, comfort, and/or power.  As such, it is hostile to any “outsiders” who might reach out to it, anyone or anything it perceives as a threat to its insulated existence.

For Robert, I think we can say that this insulated existence comes in the form of kingship.  And when this self-obsessed form of egotism is elevated to a high level of authority…well, let’s just say that in Robert’s case it is arguable that this becomes the catalyst for the upheaval that will soon overtake the Seven Kingdoms.

Stay tuned for reflections on more kingly figures from the world of Westeros.

Image of Paolo Veronese’s “Bathsheba at her Bath” from http://www.wikipedia.org.  Remaining images obtained through a Google image search.

Read Full Post »