1 Chronicles 19:1-9 Shameful Acts
David has had good relations with Ammon for some time. When the leadership changes, Ammon commits shameful acts against Israel.
Israel and Ammon have become friends. When David defeated the enemies common to Ammon, their king Nahash came with an offer of friendship. David accepted that offer and relations continued on a friendly basis. But nothing lasts forever, or almost nothing.
We encountered this story already when we were going through the book of 2 Samuel. The story is in 2 Samuel 10 and it combines today’s reading with tomorrow’s. When we visited the story the first time I didn’t take us the ‘boots on the ground’ route. I want to go there today. So let’s walk in the shoes of the men David sent to pay his respects.
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News has reached Israel that Nahash, king of Ammon, had dies and that his son, Hanun, has taken the throne. There are no threatening sounds of war coming from Ammon with this new leadership and David wants to keep it that way. David is not afraid of Ammon but why start a war without cause.
David wants to pay his respects to Hanun concerning his father’s death. The two men had enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship. David ponders how to show Hanun his support. He finally decides on sending a delegation to deliver gifts and a promise of continued friendship.
David chooses carefully the men who will present his gifts to Hanun. He cannot send his highest military leaders for it might appear as if he was ‘sizing them up’ for conquest. He will not send a common man or he would look as if he was disrespecting them. Half way between the two polar opposites. David decided to send seven of his best advisors. Who knows, they may even be able to help Hanun during this difficult time.
Morning arrives and David summons seven of his best negotiators. These men have proven themselves in David’s service. Their advice is always sound and they remain cool in a crisis. They stand before David to receive their orders.
“Bring my condolences to Hanun on the passing of his father. Nahash was a wise king and a good friend. I would like to extend this same friendship to his son Hanan. You will be my ambassadors.”
Nathaniel, the leader of the group, spoke for them all. “We would be honored my king.”
“Be ready to leave at first light. The gifts that you will deliver in my name will be waiting by the gate at your departure.”
Nathaniel was pleased to be leading this goodwill mission. He had traveled several times on his king’s errands but never quite so far. He was also glad that David had selected three of his brothers to accompany him on this journey. The other three ambassadors were well known to the brothers and well liked. They were all from the tribe of Issachar and were well versed in understanding the times. There should be no conflict Ammong the group. That was not always the case when traveling on such a mission. Nathaniel breathed a bit easier with one less task to manage.
As the men left David’s presence they began planning for their journey. It was agreed that all would lodge together for the night so they could rise and leave without the need to summon one another. Nathaniel offered his home for the group. As Joel and Agur, Nathaniel’s youngest brothers, lived with him he would only need to make accommodations for his brother Bigvai, and for Elihoreph and his brothers Ahijah, and Hammeul.
At table that evening Nathaniel banned all talk of the impending journey. This night was a night to celebrate renewed friendships and family. Besides, there was only so much planning one could do. At some point you either trusted the Lord with the outcome or you refused to go out at all.
The night was festive as good food and drink abounded. Stories of past journeys, both good and bad, filled the night. The high note of the evening was when Nathaniel’s wife brought out her specially prepared date cake. All conversation ceased as this delicacy was consumed.
Finally it was time to retire for the night. They needed to be fresh for their journey. Nathaniel settled his guests and retired to the room he shared with his wife.
“I have a funny feeling about this mission my husband.”
“You worry too much my love. It is a simple mission of extending condolences for the passing of a king” Nathaniel says while stroking his wife’s cheek.
“Please be on guard, for my sake. I could not bear to lose you.”
“I always am my love.”
With that settled the two snuggle under the blankets for the night.
Long before first light Nathaniel’s wife, Noni, rises to prepare food for the journey. She slips a few slices of her date cake from the night before deep into the provisions. By the time the men rise and wash their morning meal awaits them on the table and their pack is ready to be loaded on the donkey.
“Good morning all. I trust you slept well.”
“Your hospitality is impeccable! My complements to your wife for such good food and to your goats for the soft mattress” Hammeul said with a smile.
Noni blushed at the complement as she served her guests. She smiled to herself knowing that her guests would enjoy their provisions as well.
The first meal of the day was consumed in short order and the men set off for the gate well before time to meet with the king’s gift. Talk was light and of no real consequence as they made their way through the city. All were expecting an easy mission. Israel and Ammon had a history of good relations for the past several years.
The donkey was waiting as promised under the watchful eye of the gatekeeper.
“Nathaniel. It’s good to see you are ready on time. I would hate to have to report you as malingering to the king” the gatekeeper chided.
“No, that wouldn’t do on such an important mission would it my friend.”
“Are there no guards accompanying you, or are they just being their tardy selves this morning?”
Nathaniel laughed. Soldiers were not known for their tardiness. They would have posted hours ago if they were to have an escort.
“I suppose the king expects no trouble either. This should be an easy assignment.”
“Then why so many of you?”
“I have a feeling the king wants Hanun to see how much he genuinely values Ammon’s friendship. We may be tickling his ears with stories for days!”
“Hopefully not since that young on of yours is scheduled to arrive any day, or so my wife keeps telling me.”
“Your wife and mine! Noni has everything ready and waiting. She is very ready for this season to end. But we should have plenty of time to complete our journey before her time comes. The midwife told her it could be a few more weeks. You should have seen the tears that news brought!”
Hammeul finally spoke up when it appeared the two friends might never find a suitable place to end their visit. “If we don’t start soon we will miss the king’s commanded time for our journey to begin.”
“Forgive me my brothers” offered Nathaniel with a quick glance at the sky. “Another time my friend. We must be going.”
“I’ll keep watch for your return. May the Lord go with you and bless your journey.”
The seven men set off just as the first rays of light were pushing back the darkness of night. Now that they were officially on their way, conversation turned to what they might expect once they arrived.
“Do you think there will be a banquet to attend?”
“As the king of Israel’s envoys, I wouldn’t be surprised to be greeted by one. I’m wondering if there will be any formal mourning rituals we need to participate in.”
“I’ll do whatever is asked of us, so long as it doesn’t involve bowing down to their gods.”
“Agreed! We bow to NO foreign gods. And we eat nothing sacrificed to their idols.”
The men all agreed to these restrictions. They would be polite if refusal was necessary but they would be firm in their stand.
Talk continued about what to expect and the things they would like to see as they made their way to Ammon. All were pleased when they stopped for a mid-day meal and found the fig cake Ammong their provisions.
“You have an amazing wife Nathaniel” praised Ahijah. “She is a wonderful cook AND has born you many sons. My wife’s pastry baking ended with our fourth child. She says she has no time for the “extra work” needed for baking.”
“I think Noni’s secret is her love of baking. She says that involving the children in the task also gives her great pleasure. My sons are learning skills they may use one day as merchants too. I can’t argue with that!”
After concluding their meal the men continued on their journey. They should arrive in Ammon by mid-day the following day. They would seek lodging for the night in Mafaat, in the territory of Gad. This way they could be fresh for the day and whatever its demands may be.
The group made Mafaat just as the gates were closing for the night. Finding suitable lodging proved no problem and before long all seven men were fast asleep. The day had been long and enjoyable between the friends and brothers. They were also quite thankful that the day had also been uneventful.
Early the next morning, before the sun had broken the horizon, the group was once again making their way towards Ammon. All were well rested and their stomachs full from their morning repast. The food was not as good as Noni’s but it was nourishing to their bodies. And they were looking forward to reaching their destination.
The group of emissaries reached Rabbath ahead of schedule. It was mid-morning as they entered the gates. Nathaniel announced their intentions upon arrival and a guard was prepared to lead them to the palace.
“May we find a place to freshen our clothes before presenting ourselves to the king” requested Nathaniel.
“Of course. If you will follow me please” replied the guard.
He led them through the city to an inn. There they washed their faces, combed their beards and changed into their best robes. They wanted to present a fine picture of Israel when they met the king. When they were finally ready the guard led them to the palace. Before following the guard into the reception hall they unloaded the gifts for Hanun from the donkey and left the donkey in the care of a youth who had accompanied them from the inn for this purpose.
Hanun, king of Ammon had been informed by the watchman of the approaching group long before they presented themselves at his gate. It was determined that they were from Israel by their dress but no explanation was forthcoming as to their reason for crossing into Ammon. Hanun was suspicious of everyone.
As the emissaries from Israel were making their way through the city, Hanun’s advisors were entering the palace. Word had been passed from the gate to the king regarding the emissaries stated mission.
“Why are they not here yet” demanded Hanun of his advisors.
“I saw them being led through the streets of town my king. Perhaps they are in need of refreshing first.”
“Nonsense” replied another. “They are doubtless spying out the city.”
“They had better arrive soon or I will have them brought here by force!”
It was not long after Hanun’s comment that a guard brought word that the envoy from Israel was in the entry way.
“Bring them in at once” demanded Hanun.
Nathaniel and his companions soon appeared before the king.
“We bring word from King David of Israel. He asked us to present you with these gifts and offer his condolence on the death of your father. He said, ‘I will deal kindly with Hanun the son of Nahash, for his father dealt kindly with me’ (verse 2).”
Hanun received the gifts from the hands of Ahijah but did not utter a word. His scowl said it all. Nathaniel had not satisfied his suspicions. Hanun’s advisors didn’t help the situation either. His closest advisor, who had already questioned the envoy’s intentions, spoke into his ear.
“Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his servants come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land?” (verse 3).
Hanun’s eyes grew hard at the words and he took them as truth. But he could not act immediately on his suspicions. He needed greater numbers, in the form of guards, first. He meant to send David a message and he would use his own ‘spies’ to deliver it.
“David sends me condolences does he. How kind of him. I have something I wish to send him in return” said Hanun.
Hanun motioned for his guard to approach him. Once the guard was close enough he quietly gave him instructions.
“Bring a squadron of men and surround our ‘guests’. Do not let them see you doing this or escape. If either happen it will be your head on the block this night.”
The guard stepped away and carefully made his way out of the throne room. He was back almost immediately with the guards Hanun had ordered. They quietly filed into the throne room behind Nathaniel and the rest of the envoys. Hanun kept his eyes from alerting David’s envoy until it was too late.
“Seize them” ordered Hanun.
Nathaniel and his fellow emissaries were surprised to find their arms restrained by the hands of Hanun’s guards.
“What is the meaning of this” demanded Nathaniel.
“Oh, it is just a little gift I have in store for your king. To show him that he isn’t fooling anyone. There will be nowhere that you can hide and spy out our land once we have finished preparing his ‘gifts’. Call for the royal barber. Oh and the tailor too.”
Hanun laughed wickedly as he waited for the two men to appear. David’s men stood stoic, waiting to see what Hanun had in store. His last orders were quite confusing and left them wondering what he may have in mind. They would NOT plead for their lives or grovel before this king!
The barber was the first to answer Hanun’s summons.
“You have need of me my king?”
“I do. These seven ‘men’ before you” he spat, “are in need of a close shave. But only HALF the job! We want to be certain they don’t blend in with our fair citizens when you are through with them.”
The barber nodded his understanding. He went to a table along the wall and began unpacking his tools. Hanun pointed to Ahijah.
“Start with that one!”
Guards began to propel Ahijah towards the barber but he resisted. As they picked him up bodily Nathaniel called out to the king.
“Take me. I am their leader. I will take their punishment without resistance.”
“You will take their punishment but your punishment will be watching them first and knowing you can do nothing about it.”
David’s envoys tried to struggle out of their captor’s hands but there was no escape. One by one they were carried bodily to the table where the barber waited, their heads restrained to prevent movement, and stripped clean of half of their beards. The fire in their eyes the only resistance they could offer.
Once all of them were shorn Hanun had one more ‘gift’ to bestow on them. During the time of shaving the seven, the royal tailor had arrived. Hanun had him waiting off to the side until Nathaniel was finished. Once Nathaniel had been returned to the group Hanun motioned the tailor forward.
“Now that you are half shaved you should also be half dressed. Cut their garments, all the way to the skin, in half.”
The tailor looked to his king in confusion.
“At the hips you fool! Cut the garments at their hips and leave them exposed” he demanded.
The tailor went to work on the men as the king had commanded. His face registered the shame he felt for these men.
The guards, on the other hand, showed no compassion for the men of Israel. They laughed while they were shaved, even reaching out to rub the once covered skin to feel its smoothness. Once the garments began to fall they roared with laughter.
“Careful you don’t move. He might cut more than just your clothes. It wouldn’t matter much because it looks like your manhood is already fallen victim to the sheers!”
Nathan and his companions could do nothing to stop the humiliating treatment or torment from their captors. They quietly endured what was being done to them, knowing that their God was known for His vengeance on those who mistreated His children.
Once the tailor finished removing the last of Nathaniel’s clothing, from the hips down, he stood and faced his king. Hanun didn’t even notice the anger in his tailor’s eyes. He was too focused on his last order of the day.
“March them through town and throw them outside the gates. Allow them to retrieve nothing and make sure the whole of the city can see what happens when you try to play Hanun for a fool!”
The guards grabbed Nathaniel and his fellows and bodily carried them through the square. They called out for people to look as they passed. Many did look but many more turned their heads in shame. This was their king’s work and they knew it.
Once outside the gates the guards threw Nathaniel and company to the ground, turned around and barred the gates behind them. Nathaniel was surprised that they made it out alive. The humiliation of what had been done to them cut deeper than any sword but it would not cost them their lives. There was nothing left to do but return home in shame.
Nothing could be done about the state of the men’s beards and hair but they could at least work on covering their nakedness. Nathaniel tore his outer robe at the shoulders and let it hang from his belt, forming a covering for his exposed manhood. His ephod was sufficient covering for his torso. His companions all did the same. Thus arrayed they began their journey home.
Without the protective covering of their robes for their arms, the sun and wind burned their skin. Yet they marched on. The absent hair also exposed new skin to the elements and their face and head suffered even more. It was less than a half-day’s walk back to Mefaat. Nathaniel and his party should have been safely encamped within its walls by nightfall. But the weight of defeat and humiliation added what felt like days to their journey. They arrived well after the gates were shut.
“I should sleep by the wall where there is some protection from the elements and bandits” said Elihoreph.
The group quickly agreed. They would stay together to provide warmth, when their sun burned bodies cooled enough to need it.
Their conversation was overheard by the guard at the gate. He recognized Ahijid’s voice from the night before. They had talked for some time before retiring for the night. He opened the small door to look for his new friend. What he saw shocked him to his very core. The seven men were resting near the wall. Their heads were half shore, their clothes in tatters and their skin blistered. He quickly hurried to them.
“What happened? Who did this to you?!” Indignity clearly rang in his voice.
“Hanun, king of Ammon” replied Joel.
“Why?” growled the guard.
“He said he wanted to send a message to our king. ‘This is what happens when someone tries to make a fool of Hanun.’”
The guard jumped up, turned to face the direction of Ammon, spit towards Ammon and shook his fists in defiance. His show of anger was almost comical to Nathaniel as it was about as useful as their resistance had been.
The guard turned back to address the group. “Come inside. It’s not safe for you out here.”
“We have no money left to pay for lodging. We have nothing more than the clothes on our backs, such as they are.”
“Don’t worry. You will stay at my home. My wife can tend to your burns. She is experienced with poultices. I regret that I do not have extra clothing to offer you but you can at least wash your feet and sleep in safety.
“We would not want to be seen. Maybe it is best we remain here.”
“Never my brothers! The Lord would rain fire down upon my home were I to abandon you in such a state.”
“You are very kind. Lead and we will follow” said Nathaniel.
The guard led the group to the gate and stationed his partner on duty while he took the group to his home.
“Let me tell my wife we have company first. Wait here for me to return.”
Within minutes he had returned and was ushering the men into his humble home. His wife had begun gathering her supplies to make a salve for the men’s burns. His eldest daughter was setting bread and figs on the table.
“Please sit” offered the guard while gesturing towards the table. “Eat. All will be well.”
After the men had finished eating the guard’s wife brought a bowl of salve to them.
“Put it on gently. Don’t rub it into the skin, just coat it. It will take the heat out of your burns. Be careful not to burst the blisters. This will help them heal as well.”
“Thank you for your kindness” said Nathaniel. “I’m sorry we have had to trouble you.”
“It is no trouble at all. I am glad we could be of service to you.”
There was barely enough room in the guard’s home for his family so he showed the group to a stable area where they could sleep.
“You will be safe here. You may stay as long as you wish.”
“I wish I could hide forever” moaned Joel under his breath.
“This pain will pass in time young one. And the Lord will repay Hanun for his acts. Leave it in His hands.”
“My thoughts exactly” offered Nathaniel.
As the leader of the party, Nathaniel felt the shame of failing to protect his men. He felt this shame double when it came to protecting his younger brothers. He had much to bring to the Lord the next time he went to offer a sacrifice.
The night was long as the men’s burns kept them from sleeping soundly. The guard had returned to his post after getting Nathaniel and is group settled for the night. As soon as he arrived back at his post though, he dispatched his replacement. He sent him to the garrison to inform the captain of the guards about what had happened. Word needed to get back to the king right away and these men were in no state to rush their travels.
Morning came and brought with it the promise of a new day to most. To Nathaniel and his companions it brought the thought of facing another day’s travel under the blistering sun as well as the prospect of facing other travelers while wearing their shame so openly.
“I wish we could stay in this stable until our hair grew back” bemoaned Bigvai.
“I would like that except for the wife awaiting my return and the arrival of our child” answered Nathaneil.
“What will Noni say when she sees you” asked Agur. “She already tells you that you are ugly as sin, but a sin she has learned to love.”
Nathaniel laughed at the mention of Noni’s favorite words for teasing him. It surprised him that he could still laugh. Maybe there was hope for him yet.
“I suppose she will have to figure out how to love me even more because I’m even uglier” laughed Nathaniel.
The men applied what remained of the salve, straightened their clothes as best as they could and went to the house. The guard was there to meet them.
“I took the liberty of calling on the soldiers in the garrison for extra clothing and head coverings for you. They are not much but they are better than what you have now.”
With that the guard pointed the men to a stack of clothing just inside the door.
“There are not words enough to express our gratitude” effused Hanneul.
“There is food on the table and my wife has made another recipe of salve for your travels.” The guard paused for a moment, not knowing if his visitors would approve of his other actions during the night. “I also sent a dispatch to the king outlining your trouble. I didn’t go into great detail but I did share with him the indignities heaped upon you.”
“That was most kind of you. I did not look forward to appearing before the king in our current condition.”
Nathaniel and his men ate the meal provided for them, changed their clothing, and thanked their gracious hosts. Before they set out for home though the guard had one last offer of help he wanted to extend to them.
“Would you like the use of a razor to even out the job the king’s barber did?”
“I don’t know if the Lord would look favorably on that” said Nathaniel.
“The Lord is merciful to His children. Certainly there is mercy in removing this stigma from you and causing you to stand out” offered the guard. “Besides that, the head coverings would fit better that way.”
“There is wisdom in what you say. Yes, please. I would like to take your offer of a razor” said Nathaniel. He turned to the rest of his company. “None of you need avail yourselves of this offer if you feel it would put you at odds with the Lord.”
“I for one am happy to follow your example brother” answered Bagvai.
The others echoed his sentiment. They spent the better part of the morning cleaning the remaining hair from their faces and heads.
“This is the first time I have had a clean face and head since the day I was born” joked Joel.
“Maybe your head but your face was clean for MUCH longer than I thought any man’s could be” teased Agur.
“You’re one to talk” chided Nathaneil. “You’ve just only grown into a beard in the last few years.”
“I will just have to ‘grow into it’ again.”
“We all will” reminded Elihereph solemnly.
“And we will do it together. There is strength in numbers” offered Hammeul.
The agreed as one to support one another from then on. This experience would be an unshakable bond.
It was nearing mid-day when the group finally said their good-bye’s to the people of Mefaat. The kindness they experienced there would also stay with them for many years to come.
As Nathaniel and his company were reading to leave Mefaat, David was dispatching a messenger to meet them along the way. He had received the message from the guard earlier in the day. He was furious with the way Hanun had treated his ambassadors. He fumed for an hour before deciding to take the matter before the Lord.
When David knelt before the Lord at the Tent he asked the priest to inquire of the Lord as to what he should do. The priest reported that the Lord gave no answer. David was confused by the Lord’s silence. He considered asking direct questions of should he attack Ammon but felt his spirit calling him to his music instead. David always found answers in music.
David retrieved his favorite harp from a stand he had set up for musical instruments near the Tent. He settled himself and began to play. As he played his spirit was quieted and he felt the Lord leading him to wait. In his spirit also rose the knowledge that the Lord would fight this battle too for David and for Israel.
After receiving his answer from the Lord, David prepared a message for his envoys. “Remain in Jericho until your beards have grown and then return” (verse 5b). David thought this was a good way to spare his men more humiliation. It would also provide then with a cooling down period. He didn’t know for certain if they needed one but he wanted to make sure one was provided for them, just in case. This was the message he was dispatching as Nathaniel and his fellows resumed their journey home.
With fresh clothing and head coverings the band of ambassadors made better time than they did the day before. They had to stop frequently to reapply the salve. It was refreshing and helped with the pain caused by the clothes rubbing against their burned skin. Their spirits were also a bit better than the day before. They discussed what issues they may face upon their return home and what they thought would be a fair punishment for Hanun.
“He should be made to walk naked in front of his people” offered Joel.
“He would probably like that” offered Ahijah.
“Why would you think that? Asked Elihereph.
“He seemed a perverse king. To do what he did to us makes me think he would enjoy being a spectacle himself. How else would he come up with such ‘punishments.’”
“You may be right” offered Nathaniel. “But I’m going to leave vengeance to the Lord. He WILL repay him.”
Nathaniel and his group continued on. Just as they reached the ford in the Jordan they were met by David’s messenger.
“Greetings brothers. I bring a message from the king.”
The men knew the guard had told David on their circumstances but they didn’t expect him to respond with a messenger coming to meet them.
“What news do you have from the king” asked Nathaniel.
“Remain in Jericho until your beards have grown and then return” repeated the messenger.
This sounded like a good idea to all except Nathaniel. His wife, Noni, was expecting their latest child shortly. He wanted to be there to greet the babe and offer support to his wife. But he didn’t know if this was a suggestion or an order from his king.
“May I send a message in return?”
“I will take it to the king personally” replied the messenger.
“May I return to my home to be with my wife? She is with child and is due any day. I dare not leave her unattended too long. It will take several months for a full beard to be restored.”
“I will return with an answer for you as soon as it is issued. Until then, turn in at Jericho. The king has made accommodations for all of you.”
Nathaniel and his group crossed the Jordan with the messenger then parted ways at Jericho. They were met at the gate and shown to the lodging the king had arranged. They would be quite comfortable during their ‘wait’.
The messenger returned the following day with David’s answer.
“The king asks that you remain in Jericho where you will continue as leader of this delegation until you can all return as one to Jerusalem. He promises to support your wife and all your families in your absence. When your wife is fit to travel, she may join you here if she wishes.”
Nathaniel was disappointed at the answer but he would obey his king. He would count the days until his return.
“At least this way Noni doesn’t have to learn to love you more because you are uglier. You will be the same ugly man you were when she last saw you” chided Joel.
His brother knew him well and his good natured barbs broke the spell of disappointment that had settled on Nathaniel after the news from the king. The band settled in to wait and watch their hair grow.
In Rabbath-Ammon Hanun had heard reports of David’s anger. He also heard tell that the people were talking about his behavior. Israel had gone so far as to cut off all trade with Ammon. Travel between the two nations had also been halted. David never came out directly and condemned Hanun but Hanun knew he was a stench to David and Israel now.
This caused Hanun great concern. It was not that long ago that David’s armies had conquered many of the surrounding nations. Hanun knew Ammon could not stand up against the might of David alone. He was also afraid that David would launch a preemptive strike if Hanun didn’t prevent such a move.
Hanun emptied the treasury and sent for reinforcements. With 1,000 talents of silver he hired chariots and horsemen from Mesopotamia, from Aram-maacah, and Zobah. Maacah provided him with 32,000 chariots, his army and himself to back him in battle.
The forces hired by Hanun and all the Ammonites mustered against David at the entrance of the city. The battle lines were drawn. The city of Jerusalem was a stronghold but David wasn’t waiting for them to storm the gates. He sent Joab and the army of his mighty men to face them.
(to be continued)
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Father God, I know that vengeance belongs to You for the wrongs done to us. I’m surprised that David waited. That’s why I wrote a reason into the story. It would not surprise me in the least if this is what happened. David came to You a lot for battle plans. I wonder if Nathaniel and his group saw the Ammonite army cross the Jordan. If so, what was their reaction? Did they trust in You to handle it or were they ready to join the fight? It’s hard being patient. It’s hard seeing someone ‘get away with’ something you know is wrong and waiting for You to bring about their ‘just deserts.’
But then I think about the fact that You haven’t given me what I deserve. THAT knowledge makes waiting a LOT easier. Maybe I need to work on forgiveness instead of watching for You to rain down Your vengeance on those I feel have earned it. I wonder if David’s emissaries ever forgave Hanun.