The remarkable thing about the Bible is that it is a book of wisdom and not necessarily an instruction manual. Those of the faith have understood this, and they have understood that wisdom is something that you mine, not something that you are given. Unless you are willing to dig in the dirt, you will not find the gems. This rather harsh picture above (yes that is a head on the ground) is a story that we can all learn from in our modern age.
The two men standing beside a head are Baanah and Rekab, who were the Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin. While this picture is found on several websites (and I cannot find the artist), there is a ring of truth about it. You can see two men who are proudly standing by a severed head. Although they believe they understand how the story will unfold, they are sadly mistaken in it's outcome.
The story is told in 2 Samuel 4, and because it is very short, we will paste it all here from the NIV:
5 Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. 6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away.
7 They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah. 8 They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the LORD has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.”
9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”
12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron.
David was called a man after God’s own heart. Now, David did some horrible things, but the general reading of the scripture is that David generally would react to situations as God would have him react. This story is clear. David was not the type of person that was about intrigue or plotting. He had enemies and people that strongly disliked him. I know in my own life, I also have people that dislike me in my work, although I would say that anything I face is much, much more mild than anything that David ever faced. I have found that much of this type of strife in the work place is due to jealousy. While we all have competition in the marketplace, it is easy for people in any job to forget this. They are concerned about how they are perceived or if they are valued. Therefore, if somebody else seems to shine more, then they are resentful and try to figure out how to make the other person look worse.
This was the situation in Israel. David was obviously the right choice to rule the nation. He had wisdom and courage, and he could lead the people in a great fashion. Those who came to him, followed him, and they succeed in their nation because of this. However, David had a rival. This rival Ish-Bosheth, who was the son of the previous King of Israel, Saul. In this situation, there were two guys who thought, “Well I’ll do something under the table to wipe out David’s rival, and thus David will be happy with us.” So they put together the assassination team, and they wiped this guy out.
The problem is that they didn’t understand that David simply did not like dirty tricks. Now mind you, David was a horrible violent man. He wipe out towns and people. He killed with impunity. He was so violent, God said “you’re too much of a man of blood, I will not allow you to build a temple (or church) for me.” David was a very hard man.
However, David had a code of ethics. He did not participate in under the table dealings. He was tough, but always tough with rules.
The morals from this can be applied to our country. Some say that under cover actions are reasonable and necessary in this day and age. They think that torture and dirty tricks are okay. To them, we can point to this story and say that being strong does not mean being dirty. Dirty tricks are really a symptom of a nation that is unwilling to think God can protect. Therefore, we depend on our own bag of foul items. However, this is not the message of the Bible. The message of the Bible is one of consistency of purpose. We cannot play dirty in one part of our nation, then expect it won't have problems in another part of our nation. We need to be consistent. This means that we are not the nation of dirty tricks.
However, it can even be applied to our own life? The answer is yes. Is there a rival that you have? Are there others that are willing to play against this rival with a bag of dirty tricks? Then the Bible is clear. You are not to deal with these people. This is so hard, and yet so right. We are supposed to have a secret clubs, one against another. All social beings try and do this. Yet, when we look at the biblical model, it is one of being transparent.
It is simply the right thing to do.