BELOVED OF THE ALMIGHTY TERRORIST
FROM THESE TERRIBLE TIMES
BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
‘The great curse of the house, the spirit, dead weight wrath – and you can praise it! Praise the insatiate doom that feeds relentlessly on our future and our sons. Oh all through the will of Zeus, the cause of all, the one who works it all. What comes to birth that is not Zeus? Our lives are pain, what part not come from god?’ Aeschylus
“And it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Palestinians, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and musical instruments. And the women sang as they played, and said, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’ Then Saul became very angry, for this greatly displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David tens of thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’”
The reign of King David is fondly remembered by his nation as its Golden Age. David united the so-called hibirus or outlaw tribes into a nation and located its capital, which he named Jerusalem, midway between what would be called Israel and Judah; he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, hence the capital served as the national religious center. Furthermore, he expanded the nation’s borders in all directions.
David had many qualities that endeared him to his people, not the least of which was his military prowess. Every boy familiar with the story of David and Goliath would fain take on a giant if need be, at least in his imagination. To be virtuous in days where might made right was to be the most powerful (vir or man): to overpower and intimidate other men and establish a monopoly on violence was the highest virtue. David’s popularity to that end gave Saul due cause for jealousy, and that motivated him seek David’s destruction.
Now women are more inclined to peace and disposed to cooperate than are men, and for good reason, for they are the more easily overpowered. But their nature does not prevent them from inciting men to violence and cheering them on to victory, particularly when their brood is at risk. A mere glance from a woman can invigorate men and inspire them to rise to the occasion. Women singing and dancing to the clapping of hands and cymbals and the jangling of tambourines and blowing of trumpets have set armies of men into motion.
And so it was Miriam the high prophetess who composed the original chant that parted the elemental water of the Red Sea for Moses. And tt was she, with Moses in tow waving his magic wand to conduct the crowd, who led her people to safety, although scripture was revised to reverse the order: Exodus 15:20 still casts the high priestess in a leading role, putting her at the head of the fair sex only:
“Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed, dancing and clapping their tambourines. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and the rider he hurled into the sea.”
We do not hear words of praise or a joyful exclamation from the Hebrew men in this case, nor does the holy record have them banging on tambourines and dancing.
Male praise normally abounds in god-fearing quarters; those who do not fear the fearsome Lord are undoubtedly doomed. After all, the Terrorist Almighty displays the characteristics of the abusive father that many fatherless homes lack: Abusive fathers tend to beat up their children on a whim. They require constant praise. They seldom take responsibility for problems, blaming others instead. They are impatient and incompetent, and cannot take the slightest criticism without angering. They are abusive even when a child acts like a child, and especially so if the child acts independently. They claim their violence is “because I love you,” and can be kind when in the mood. They are bad examples of what they say they want their children to be. They are bullies who mistreat their children in order to prop up their own weak ego. They are hypocrites who demand self-blame from their children while modeling angry, self-righteous, false pride.
Like father like son. The Terrorist Almighty, in marked contrast to his other half, the Loving Lord, is a Severely Emotionally Disturbed brat writ large. The SED progeny of such an abusive father might cower when the Terrorist Almighty is around but otherwise strike back and be a bully, antisocial, unruly and defiant, especially in those permissive precincts where intelligent liberals urge leaders to rule with the milk and honey of loving kindness instead of the resounding whacks of awful ruler. Yet when liberals have a chance to obtain the power to bully others with impunity, doves turn into hawks, wolves throw off sheep’s clothing, and crazy foxes appear in the chicken coop: they get even, purportedly in the interest of equal justice under arbitrary power for all. Mountains are brought low and valleys are raised to that justificatory end. Misunderstanding their share of nature, men attribute the cause of natural disasters to supernatural beings, and believe that social upheavals and storms are caused by the same gods, who are irrational and disorderly for a reason, that the proud should be brought low, that the exalted should be crushed that they might know the power of the Terrorist Almighty and set right by righteousness per se.
Everyone is equal under the Lord’s law: Life is greeted with death; justice is retributive: an eye for an eye; if the victim had only one eye, then whosoever takes it lose both eyes, reads the talion tale of just accounting. An allowance is made for preventative justice: crushing blows may render a man contrite and set him on the path of righteousness, in which case he shall be blessed with surfeit in the next life if not presently. And, whereas the Lord is often hypocritical; whereas his Word is ambiguous in accordance with his Mysteries; discretionary justice provides merciful relief to both guilty and innocent in the form of pardons people are wont to clamor for.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; those crushed in spirit he delivers,” declares David’s Thirty Fourth Psalm.
But when deliverance is not in sight, a depressed spirit might feign madness before the crime is committed, and then mercy might be obtained at public expense by virtue of the insanity plea. We have empathy for the man who says, “God made me do it,” for both are mad. Nothing is perfect: man and the god he created in his image are fatally flawed; therefore we should not be too surprised when Hell breaks loose at any moment. We excuse our imperfections with a claim to normality, and define deviance as abnormal, unwholesome, sinful, crazy, sick, or mentally ill. That is, unless the deviant succeeds and becomes a great hero, in which case his atrocities are overlooked, for the goods obtained by any means far outweigh the evil deeds to so obtain. Man is normally incomplete and fatally flawed to boot. To understand ourselves, and to fathom why someone might suddenly run on a murderous rampage in the footsteps of the Almighty Terrorist who is fundamentally adored in houses of God, we had better proceed from the study of pathology to the norm once in awhile, rather than the reverse, for the normal person is more or less insane and is best understood as a variant of some pathological type.
Doubly mad are those who feign the madness that strikes home and becomes the norm. The Thirty Fourth Psalm bears the caption, “Of David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech (Achish), who drove him away, and he left.” The moral of the psalm is that the righteous who are crushed and brokenhearted and who are therefore nearest the Lord will be saved by the Lord and only the Lord; therefore, fear only the Lord, do good, avoid evil, and seek peace. Apparently the psalm was written long after David’s death: neither the level of morality nor the sophisticated style of the poetry coincides with David’s deeds and literature of his time.
We recall that Saul wanted David killed, and that David was apprised of Saul’s intentions. We do not find David cowering or groveling before Saul, but we do observe him fleeing, hiding, and escaping from Saul’s murderous designs. No doubt David fled at the Lord’s bidding, for we are duly informed that David often consulted the Lord. And we note well that he had two occasions to kill Saul, but he refrained from doing so, not because he abhorred murder per se but because Saul had been reputedly anointed by the Lord, hence killing him would provoke the Lord’s wrath, in which case he would be duly crushed.
So David fled to the Philistine city of Gath, ruled by Achish. But the servants spotted him:
“…the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land. Isn’t this the one they sing about in their dances: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?’ David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in his presence: and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate, and letting saliva run down his beard. And Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”
Therefore David obviously feared someone besides the Lord; to wit, a Palestinian king. So much so that he employed a deceitful strategy: feigning madness. We recall other notable instances of the trick: Lucius Junus Brutus (“brute” or “dullard”) the founder of the Roman Republic, acted crazily with good effect; and so did Hamlet and his brutal prototype, the Icelandic hero Amleth (“stupid”); in fact, the stories about Brutus and David may have influenced the legends of Amleth.
However that might be, David’s apparent madness afforded him the opportunity to escape to a cave. But he eventually returns to Gath, where he and his hibiru (‘outlaw’) band of six-hundred men managed to gain the trust and protection of Achish. Although David and his troop were actually raiding Palestinian settlements, David convinced Achish that they were conducting raids on Israel and Judah.
“Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes… He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, ‘They might inform on us and say, “This is what David did.”’ And such was his practice as long as he lived in Palestinian territory. Achish trusted David and said to himself, ‘He has become so odious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant forever.’”
Quite to the contrary.