This Sunday, I’m going to respond to two different parts of the lectionary:
I [God] gave you [King David] your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more.
There are a lot of people who are willing to argue on Biblical grounds that marriage is the union of one man and one woman:
But according to the Bible, King David had six wives. And, again according to the Bible, it was God who gave him six wives, and would have given him more. This makes sense to me, since I’m not the type to equate jealousy with love, or equate one loving relationship with the disavowal of another. What God was pissed off about, as far as I can tell, was King David abusing his power to get a hottie’s hubby killed so David could get with her, rather than being honest about it. If you’re all honest with each other, two isn’t the only right number. And I’m proud to wear this bumper sticker by Franklin Veaux on my car:
Kelo v. City of New London
“Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!”
In 1 Kings 21, we see Elijah the prophet at his best. He’s speaking truth to power: after King Ahab had Naboth killed so he could steal Naboth’s fertile assets (are we seeing a parallel here?), Elijah comes in like a GPS-equipped tornado to condemn the king on the very farm he was stealing. He doesn’t worry that the king will have him executed; he just speaks what’s on his mind.
The story of Elijah vs. Ahab reminds me of Kelo v. City of New London, a Supreme Court case in which the majority agreed that a city was allowed to seize private property for economic reasons. And I wonder: where is Elijah now? At every Passover seder, there’s a place set for the Prophet Elijah because the hosts and guests at the dinner fully expect him to show up. I’d love to see him return and tell the justices they’re wrong. But I doubt he’d make it past security.