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Nothing New Under the Sun

12/19/2019 11:45:22 AM

Dec19

Although Moses’ cousin, Korah, did attempt a coup d’état, it is King Saul who has the distinction of being the first deposed leader of the Israelites. His crime? Abuse of power. When waging war against the nasty Amalekites, rather than following divine orders and putting to the sword all the enemies’ livestock, King Saul spared the sheep and oxen for his own personal interest. He spared the King, too. (Apparently, he liked other monarchs.) When confronted by the prophet, rather than immediately admit his transgression (as King David was later to do), King Saul lied. One of my teachers, Reuven Kimelman, said that the role of the prophets has now been assumed by the fourth estate, the free press.

Can the prophet/press sometimes become overzealous? Absolutely! The prophet whom we anticipate welcoming in the messianic days is Elijah. He was discharged from his duties because of his intolerance for the necessary compromises of our messy world. Only in the coming world, when our messiness will have been mitigated, will Elijah be comfortable enough to return.

Democrats charge Trump with abuse of power; most Republicans argue that his crimes don’t rise to the level necessary for impeachment. God regretted that He had made Saul king, but God also fired Elijah for being zealous for the Lord. As the winter solstice approaches, we search in vain for something new under the sun.

Wed, April 8 2020 14 Nisan 5780