The Poet He Trained For War
The Poet that He Trained for War-The Great Conundrum of David
“Blessed be YHVH, my Rock, who trains my hands for War, and my fingers for Battle;” Psalm 144:1
Reading the Psalms we find a very interesting phrase that would surprise, or even shock, many in our Modern Church. David Son of Jesse; the Poet, the Musician, the Lover, the Worship Leader, the Ultimate Shepherd, has written a Praise Song that speaks of His Creator, His Father, training his hands for WAR and his fingers for BATTLE.
We also find a David who was a Warrior, not just a Poet, and a Fighter who understood that a Warrior who for fights only for himself and not a King is just a Mercenary, a Warrior who fights only for a Nation is just a Soldier, and a Warrior who fights only against the Voiceless, the Needy, and Fatherless, and the Poor is just a Thug.
“And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 1 Samuel 18:7
Before we jump to any grandma’s Sunday School or Pastor with Highlighted Hair Conclusions, David wasn’t just slaying Demons and Principalities, and this wasn’t fighting a Spiritual Battle, this wasn’t a Prayer Meeting, or writing a Book on The Battlefield of the Mind, or Preaching. The Scripture is undeniably clear, King David took many lives on the Battle Field in close quarter, hand-to-hand, Marine Corps in Iwo Jima, Trenches of World War II, Civil War bayonets, Braveheart with long swords and hatchets style Combat. The Church of his day sang of his victories, even the Women, even the Youth Group, even the Worship Leaders. Men wanted to be David, and women wanted their Husbands to be like David, and their Sons to grow to be like David and their daughter’s to marry a David. And the YHVH, that men with guitars and skinny jeans and gray haired old ladies in Choir Robes sing about in Churches, about whom we sang “He has the whole world in His hands” as children, that we quote on cute little bookmarks from LifeWay with pictures of sheep and deer and other petting zoo animals, and whose name we use to oppose the Death Penalty and going to War on many occasions, trained King David’s Hands for War. YHVH, Our Heavenly Father, trained his hands for Bloody, Gruesome, Hand to Hand Combat, War and His Fingers for Battle and things that happen in movies like Braveheart, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan and other films Churches won’t let their members attend because the violence is “unchristian” and something young men should NEVER be exposed to. But it IS a House of YHVH, and this is what He trained King David for, Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Judo, Firearms, Knife Fighting, Combat. What if the modern Houses of YHVH was used just as much a Dojo or Firing Range as it was a Civitan, a Daycare, a Concert Venue, a Comedy Club and a Country or Book Club??? What if we allowed King David to be more than a Shepherd and Poet, what is he could be a Warrior?
“My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.” Isaiah 3:12
In our Feminized Culture in which most men have been raised strictly by women (and therefore made more Feminine) because the men ran away and refused to raise their sons, and a Feminized Culture will be long on Mercy and short on Justice, this is a kind of reality that most of us have been sheltered from here in the United States. Most have never known someone who had to take a life, and if we did, then it was over-seas in some far off Country and we didn’t see our family member or friend until months afterwards and then there was certainly no lengthy conversation about it, if we ever heard about it at all. In a way, we have only known one side of that person. Our grandfathers, our uncles and fathers and brothers and friends and even the husbands of many of you ladies. We have never seen a man engage in Combat, not a street fight when someone insulted his mother, not a punk at the mall getting too fresh with his daughter, not even when a mugger steals his grandmother’s purse, because all of this would simply be “Un-Christian”. If someone did, for any reason, ever, defend the defenseless using force, it would probably cost them their standing at their Church, their Job, in the Community, or with their Wife/Girlfriend, well, in most places except for Texas and some of the Southern States. Our Culture is ruled by a Youth Mentality, a mentality of whatever is pleasant and Feels Good IS Good, and whatever is unpleasant and makes us Feel Bad IS Bad. Since Duty is often unpleasant, and no Fathers have been around to show us our duties and hold us up to the unpleasant ones we are a Generation that has never fully grown up. We are a culture ruled by Youth (Infants) and the buying power of Youth (which controls advertising which controls culture), oppresses anyone who would act with Righteousness or Justice (usually by Organized Protests or Silent Oppression in the Corporate and Academic Centers).
“And when He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’ Acts 13:22
How do we reconcile this David, this Navy Seal, Cage Fighting, Action Movie Hero, Martial Arts Instructor, David, with the David who wrote the most studied, celebrated, sung, rewritten, and honestly most touching, Songs ever written? How did he set down the Sword after slaying hundreds of armored, armed and well-trained evil and barbaric men in an open field in the desert, bury the bodies of his best friends, then wash the blood and guts and dirt off his face and hands to sit down to pick up the pen and write the words that would comfort millions of people throughout the centuries, inspire the worship services of Churches throughout every Nation on Earth where there is Worship of YHVH, in addition to Prophesying in exact and clear detail the Death, Burial and Resurrection of His King to arrive over a thousand years later? How did David then go back home to make love to his wife Abigail, or to teach His Son Solomon how to read Hebrew, or to hear the case of a Widow whose land was stolen, or to sit in the Tabernacle or Dance before YHVH?
“Blessed be YHVH your Elohim, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because YHVH loved Israel forever, He has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:9
In the original design for a Man, every man was intended to be a King, a Priest, and a Lover. Adam was a King in that he administrated the Garden, he named the animals, he kept the Peace and brought Order (which allows life to grow) out of Chaos (as Chaos slowly and invisibly destroys life), and Kings after Adam, who would have responsibility for limiting the Evil in the actions of men both inside and outside of their Kingdom (otherwise nothing living or innocence would remain, but only Evil). Kings would ensure that those who took life without just cause were not allowed to live longer themselves (the life of the murderer who ends the life of an innocent person is ended shortly after the life they took), they ensured that what was stolen was returned, and those who had little regard for the life and innocence of the Fatherless, the Widow and Vulnerable learned it quickly. Adam’s fall however, and the Fall of the Church as well, as that Adam knowling allowed the Law of the Creator to be set aside in favor of what His Bride (the Church in a sense) desired to do, but while the Bride (Congregation) acted in Ignorance, Adam the Priest, did so willingly, and the Earth (Adam’s Domain) has been in a Lawless Chaos ever since then.
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a Book a copy of this Law, approved by the Levitical priests.” Deuteronomy 17:18
Kings like David were limited though, by Law and by Honor. A King could not force anyone to go war (as drafts were forbidden in Torah but not recruitment), a King was expected to be at the front lines as his troops went to battle (so to risk the lives of his men was to risk his own), and a King was not allowed to embark in wars of aggression to expand their territory or to multiply wives for himself (robbing them from other men). Kings were also not above the Torah (The Creator’s Constitution to protect His People and His Instructions for how they are to live and hold Government). Kings could not execute anyone without two or three eyewitnesses (who would receive the punishment they were trying to impose on someone else) and Kings were compelled to write an entire copy of the Book of the Law when they took office so they could not claim ignorance of Righteousness.
“Her priests have done violence to My Law (Instructions) and have profaned My Holy things. They have made no distinction between the Holy and the Common, neither have they taught the difference between the Unclean and the Clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”
Adam, and all men after him, and the Nation of Israel, was also expected to lead the world in the duties of a Priest (separating the Clean from the Unclean, ensuring the Presence of The Creator is Welcomed with Worship, and ensuring Fellowship with the Creator took place and nothing that would disrupt that Fellowship was allowed). Adam failed in His Priestly duties because he allowed the Serpent/Dragon into his domain, over which he was responsible for ensuring that nothing Unclean entered, and this Unclean thing hindered Fellowship with His Creator. Because someone in his home was taken with it, it charmed her, entertained her, made her feel good about herself, he let it stay and it ruined Eden.
“And you shall be to me a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19:6
In his role as a Priest, we find a David that we are more comfortable with, though any Pastor who took seriously his role as one who separates the Clean from the Unclean would have terrible trouble seeking employment. And unlike being a “King of the Home” (who ensures that the Law of YHVH is abided by and Justice is administered), a man being the “Priest of the Home” can still be heard in some Church Circles. As the example of the Kingly Priest, David led worship for the Nation of Israel (all those in Covenant with YHVH), not in an official capacity as David was not a Levite, but in the capacity of personal example as we see by his dancing before YHVH in the Ephod (and catching hell from his Bride who only allowed the Priest of the home to worship on her terms). David was a Priest in that he sought the direction of YHVH (not the People as in a Democracy) and not the dictates of his Bride (as in the Churches where the Spiritual Bride sets the Standards instead of the Spiritual Husband, a Spiritual Feminism), and his relationship and communication with YHVH was used to serve the people as a leader in both times of Peace (Blessing) and War (Crisis). Part of David’s worship was Music (singing, playing, writing, composing Music) but in the Scriptures, Obedience was the ultimate Worship, and Worship was measured by what you surrendered and not by how quickly you clapped, how loudly you sang, how many tears you shed, or how many times you laid out on the floor or passed out and fell backwards. Worship was an attitude for David, not a performance.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to Me. And since you have forgotten the Law (Instructions) of your Elohim, I also will forget your children. Hosea 4:6
In the Jewish Tradition, Study is actually the ultimate Worship. As Study takes more Sacrifice and is less pleasant that Singing and Dancing, as Study ensures that Worship is done in alignment with Truth and should crush any Golden Calves before they arrive. In opposition to 1950’s American Culture, Jewish Women often run the family business so their husbands can have time to study Torah (the Creator’s Instructions) maybe this is based on Proverbs 31? Or just an understanding of Priesthood?
“As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of YHVH’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of YHVH your Elohim, with which He commanded you. For then YHVH would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. YHVH has sought out a man after his own heart, and YHVH has commanded him to be prince[b] over his people, because you have not kept what YHVH commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:10
David was a true Worshipper. He worshipped/Lived His Life in Spirit (Being led by that which is Right) and Truth (believing that which is Right). The difference between Saul and David in fact, was that David was a true YHVH Worshipper (a Priest), and Saul was a People Worshipper (a Politician). David went into battle and asked YHVH about WHAT to do, and HOW to do it, and WHEN to do it, and with WHOM to do it with, while Saul asked YHVH what to do then made the rest of the decisions on his own. David feared YHVH, while Saul feared the People. Perhaps this is a good time to ask if there is a Saul or a David behind the Pulpit at your Congregation, and why you and the rest of your Congregation voted him there? And also points out problems with Spiritual Democracy.
“Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And YHVH loved him” 2 Samuel 12:24
Adam, like all the other men after him, was also called to be a Lover. Lovers not simply in the Romantic Sense, but to Love their Creator, Love their Children, Love their Neighbor, and yes, to Love their Wives. The Love of a man can always be seen in both how tender he is with his children, and how fierce he is with those who would do them harm, and the same goes for all others in his life. A lack of fierceness or a lack of tenderness, both indicate either a lack of Love or a lack Strength, as it takes Strength to both Tender and Fierce. Adam was called to not only be the King-Judge of Eden, with his wife Eve beside him, and a Priest of YHVH separating the Clean and Unclean (removing Serpents-Dragons from the Garden), but also to be a Lover to Eve and to tenderly show his children The Way to the Tree of Life. Adam was called to be Fierce against the Serpent, and Tender towards Eve. But Adam was tender with the Serpent and turned against Eve when YHVH came ask Adam why he was derelict in his duties as King and Priest. When Adam did this, he attempted to relegate these duties to Eve, as he was enjoying the privileges but didn’t want the responsibilities (like enjoying making a baby but refusing raise a child), so the authority and therefore responsibility of the home, is then delegated to the mother.
“And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the King, because they perceived that the wisdom of Elohim was in him to do Justice.”
1 Kings 3:28
But back to Tenderness. The Strength of a Warrior, like David, is shown in that he sees the difference between himself and others, and respects that difference. He realizes two things, that his Strength sets him apart, and that his Strength is a tool with which he was given to serve those he loves (perhaps why Samurai means “one who serves). When a Warrior realizes that his Strength is Real, then he is not threatened by others who do not have it, and therefore does not have to constantly prove his Strength TO THEM or OVER THEM. He can afford to be tender, he can afford to be seen as “Weak” by those who have never seen the Warrior arise, and he can prove them wrong whenever the need arises, but he never proves it unless there is a true need. Captain Jack Hoban, a Marine Corps Captain and 5th Dan (5th Degree Black Belt) in the Togakure Ninja Clan had this to say on being a Warrior “I am a Warrior, Everyone in the Room is a little Safer because I am there”.
“16 As the Ark of YHVH came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before YHVH, and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the Ark of YHVH and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before YHVH. 18 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of YHVH of hosts 19 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat,[e] and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 And David said to Michal, “It was before YHVH, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince[f] over Israel, the people of YHVH—and I will celebrate before YHVH. 22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your[g] eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6:18
A True and Genuine Strength, is shown in dancing with your daughter, carrying your grandmother’s groceries in for her, giving the homeless man a bottle of water, crying at a funeral, making a fool of yourself to share your heart with your wife, and in worshipping with wild abandon (which some of us struggle with). Weakness needs to be respected just as much as Strength in order to have a functional Society and a Healthy Community. The weak deserve Protection just as much as the strong deserve Respect. Almost all children, handicapped, the elderly, and the majority of women deserve the protection of the Strong. The tenderness of David was made possible by his Strength and not in spite of it. Any Warrior who did not know he was a Warrior could not play the Lyre, write Poetry, or many of the other feats of Tenderness that David was known for. Strength with Love produces Tenderness, Strength without Love produces Brutality. The Samurai understood the need for Tenderness in a Warrior, perhaps why the Samurai learned just as much about pens (Poetry, Calligraphy, Drawing) as they did about Swords, and spent just as much time in their Gardens as they did in their Dojos. Those who have learned to nurture life have also learned to protect it fiercely, as David learned with his sheep. There are those who will mock or not understand your tenderness, but these people often spend much of their lives denying their own Blessings and lack Wisdom. Perhaps this is why the Celts had a saying “Never give a Sword to a man who can’t Dance”, the bitterness rusts their Sword.
“And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” Judges 16:5
Strength comes in many forms, Physical Muscle Power like the ability to lift rocks or run marathons, Mental Analytical Power like the ability to plan or strategize, Emotional Staying Power like the ability to keep pouring yourself into a Dream or a Relationship or an Idea long after most would have quit, or the Power of Discipline to say “no” in an area in which your Body, your Mind, or your Emotions want to say “yes”. Everyone is Strong in one area or the other, and Weak in one area or the other. Not everyone can be Strong in one of these areas, and few in any people can be strong in all of them. Everyone has a weak area, and in these weak areas we are often the most afraid to show tenderness in that our weakness may be revealed. Those who are most likely to fall prey to a bad relationship don’t let anyone in, those with an unknown physical injury may refuse to participate in sports, and those who are don’t feel like they have efficient intellectual ability may play the class clown in order to justify low grades. Denying Weaknesses however does not make a Warrior, it makes a cold Robot or a lonely Fool. Trusting it with anyone makes a Fool too.
“Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there.” Genesis 43:30
Learning who we can trust with our Tenderness and cry with us in defeat is the greater part of Wisdom, just as much as knowing who can respect our Strength or stand with us in Battle and celebrate in our victories. Pretending we don’t have any vulnerabilities is like trying to keep watch on a caged animal so nobody knows that there is a tiger in the basement, we have to sleep one day, and until then we will spend every waking moment making noise (making money, winning trophies, earning grades, getting promotions) to cover over the growls and taking nourishment (our Love) away from those we love in order to feed it (our Fear). Vulnerability cannot be killed, but it must be trained before let loose.
“Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.” Genesis 24:67
In the Japanese Culture, Samurai called their wives “Oku-San” which means “Ms. Inside”. This may sound as if they never left the house, but the wives of Samurai managed the family farm, the money, the business, so their husbands could have time to train for the Battlefield (be their Protector) in the same way that Jewish Women would manage the business so their husband could have time to study the Torah (train to be their Priest). She was called “Ms. Inside” because she was the only person with access to her husband’s weaknesses. She would be the only one to ever see him naked (and see his scars), to observe him slow down as he ages, to see him cry. The Kanji (Word Pictures) for “Wife” or “Oku-San” is a Picture of a Treasure inside of Vault, it’s his Tenderness.
“I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field.” Nehemiah 13:10
But what happens when the Protectors are stripped of their Swords, and the Priests are taken from their Scrolls, and told there services are no longer needed because now we have 911 and TBN. Or when Kings are stripped of their Scepters after being told that Justice is not in agreement with Love, and Levites are told to go back to working the Fields unless they will serve the as Politicians instead of Priests. Then the Bitterness sets in, and the Strength remains locked away and unable to get out, like a caged Lion until it is released one day Hungry and Angry, or it becomes Weak from Atrophy and the day you need a Lion to chase away the Wolves all you’ve got is a toothless Housecat that purrs not roars.
“8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince[b] over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.[c] Your throne shall be established forever.’” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.” 2 Samuel 7:8 (David was unable to build it because he had shed blood)
There is a price to be paid for being a Warrior. Time away from Family, not being understood, the great personal risk to self that comes from facing danger on behalf of others, and there is the Emotional and Psychological Cost that is paid from seeing and doing things that were never intended in the beginning, but are one of the many unfortunate necessities of life after the Fall. There is a certain unspoken distance between the Warrior and the Civilian, those who would give their Life for a Cause or a Person or People, and those who believe in nothing, and those who are busy standing watch over others who are busy playing games (appropriate for children but not adults). The more untested, unchallenged, and under matured a Generation becomes the higher cost its warriors pay, as they become more and more alone, facing more duties themselves as there are fewer and fewer Warriors left to share the burden, and being more and more misunderstood or even punished (as seen in the ridiculous self-defense laws in this Country which criminalize defending one’s family), with less rewards and definitely less Respect. We see directly in the dismal State of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and treatment of the Vietnam Veterans received by their brothers, sisters, and former friends upon returning home from War. The bitterness shared by men all across the Nation can attest to this, as like Prophets, Warriors are often least respected in their own homes, by a Generation that was not worthy of them. Respect builds Strength, Disrespect erodes It.
“Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy.” 1 Kings 4:20
The Sacrifice of one Generation of Warriors, the Sacrifice of War, can make Peace for the next Generation, and give the children of those Warriors the Blessing of Peace. After World War II, and its sacrifices for soldiers on the battlefield in terms of blood, and families at home in terms of rations and finances and the high cost of fatherlessness, America became the wealthiest and most technologically advanced Nation in the world after the ensuing Peace. This was the very thing that Teddy Roosevelt feared, not a Generation that faced War and became hardened men, but a Generation that faced Peace and never grew the fortitude it needed to guard its prosperity or to appreciate its Blessings.
After David the descendent of Shem faced many battles against the Philistines descended from Ham (called Palestinians by the Romans), to restore lands stolen during the 400 years in Egypt (reference the Book of Jasher), Israel became the wealthiest Nation in the world in the ensuing Peace, which allowed Solomon, David’s Son, to invest in the development of Technology and Agricultural Principles from around the world that blessed Ancient Israel, even colonize some of it, why we find Hebrew inscriptions in New Mexico and Tennessee.
“When Pharaoh let the people go, YHVH did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For YHVH said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see War and Return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17
This financial prosperity made available from the end of War allowed Solomon to build the Temple as he was not busy defending the land that it would be built upon. The blood shed by David cost him the privilege of building the Temple as his heart had burned to do, but it did allow the Peace that Solomon needed in order to so, which would not have been possible without his father’s Sacrifice, and Sacrifice that perhaps Solomon never understood as he took the wealthiest Nation in the world to near destruction in one Generation. Many Generations that have seen War come to disdain it so much that they forget to teach their sons how to be Warriors, how to have Tenderness but not have Strength (the Generation we have today), while some Generations know only hardship so they teach their sons to have Strength but not Tenderness, such as the 1950’s Generation, which led to the “Free Love” 1960’s Generation of Lawlessness as a reaction to Law without Love is usually Love without Law. But these Poets hands can still be trained for War, and their Fingers for Battle, if only the Warriors are also taught to be both Tender and Strong by their Parents, their Wives, and especially their Congregation Leaders.
“Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the Priests and Levites, each in his work;” Nehemiah 13:30