August 5, 2012
Second Samuel 11:26-12:13a
Today we have the conclusion to the dreadful story of David’s sinful pursuit of Uriah’s wife, even to having Uriah killed on the battlefield. We hear a parable being told by the prophet Nathan and his stunning words of accusation. They need no explanation.
The punishments from God that Nathan pronounces upon David are never carried out. In the verses following our reading, David simply admits that he has sinned, and God says OK, but you cannot have the child. Bathsheba gives birth to a son, and God takes him away. She then bears Solomon. David has several sons by several wives. Solomon is the youngest, but the one who will inherit the throne.
In this exortation to his converts to lead a moral life, Paul makes a commentary upon Psalm 68, “he made captivity itself a captive.” He then becomes poetic himself talking about the limitlessness of divinity. As we saw last month, Paul conceived of several heavens laid in layers. So also there were two layers of earth, that upon which we live, and that below, the abode of the dead called Sheol. I told you about Sheol some time ago, on the first Sunday of Lent. The souls of the dead live on in Sheol, but completely powerless and cut off from God. Jesus at his death went down there to bring the Word to the masses of dead who had never had a chance to hear it. After that, says Paul, he who had never had a chance to hear it After that, says Paul, he ascended “far above all heavens.” He did so “that he might fill all things.” This is Paul the poet who says beautifully what the church turned into the colorless doctrine of ubiquity: god is everywhere.