The Sophie’s Choice Awards (Chronicles 21)

I’m almost 100% certain that there’s been no mention whatsoever of Satan up to this point. Seemingly out of nowhere, Chronicles 21 announces, “Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to number Israel” (Chr 21:1). What? Of all the things that Satan could do to show himself as a bad-ass, he nags David to take another census. That’s not evil; that’s helpful. Besides, this rag-tag crew of Jews probably needs organizing.

As it turns out, there are 1, 100, 000 men in Israel who “drew the sword” (Chr 21:5) because apparently, no one else counts. Expect for the 470, 000 men in Judah who also drew the sword. These make for pretty shitty records.

For some reason, God is displeased with all this cleaning house and presents David with a choiceless choice aka a “Sophie’s Choice”. If you remember that movie, it all boils down to Meryl Streep’s character choosing between which of her two children will die in a concentration camp (I guess there can never be a camp devoted to intense mental focus by the same name – too bad). She chooses her daughter to line up for the gas chamber over her son because deep down she’s a misogynist. At least that’s how I interpreted it. Anyway, David has this choice to make: “Take which you will: either three years famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence upon the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel” (Chr 21:11-12). Well, that’s a pickle.

David chooses the last in this list of choices and a pestilence (of some unspecified kind) descends, killing 70,000 men. This makes Meryl Streep’s choice look fairly innocuous – n’est pas?

This is helpful if you’re trying to learn Spanish and get depressed at the same time:

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Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 2:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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