Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Unfortunate Task

Today I was reading through the Bible, as I often do, and came upon a passage in the book of I Samuel chapter 18. For those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, this passage talks about the famous King David before he became king but after he killed Goliath.

You remember David and Goliath right?

During this time there was another king named Saul who happens to feel threatened by David because God is on David’s side. I guess that would be as good a reason as any to feel threatened by someone. I once felt threatened by a guy because he had a better wave in his hair. Now look at me. Anyway, back to the story. Saul’s daughter, Michal (yes it’s a girl), fell in love with David and they wanted to get married. So Saul, not liking David gave him a rather daunting task that had to be completed in order to marry his daughter.

Saul replied, "Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” – I Samuel 18:25

I don't know why dried apricots popped into my mind.

Saul’s grand plan was to send David off to kill one hundred of the king’s enemies and get their foreskins as proof. Foreskins. Not swords, shields, teeth, bellybuttons… Foreskins. No wonder God was not on his side. I wouldn’t be on the side of the foreskin guy either. No one wants to be on the side of a guy with a collection of dried up foreskins. Again, back to the story.

This photo was taken when Saul told David to get the foreskins.

So David, being that over achiever that everyone hates to work with, gathes his band of merry men and rides off and gathers not one hundred but two hundred Philistine foreskins. But this isn’t the part I want to focus on today.

Today I would like to talk about the unspoken soldiers that were involved in this merry tale. They fall into two groups. The first group is that of David’s one thousand soldiers. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the average soldier when the commander gathers up the men only to explain that the goal for the day is to lay waste to the enemy camp. I can imagine the men were in high spirits and were elated with the chance to slay the enemy of their country. Then the commander continues on by telling them that once they kill the enemy they must take his foreskin. I just picture a whole lot of smiles turning to sheer horror. There must have been a lot of, “You want us to what?!?” and “I think I misheard him, why does he want us to take their hairpins?” or “Wow… I thought he said foreskin for a second. That would be gross huh?” That would have been a long march to the enemy camp. I don’t know if I would really want to kill any of the enemy. Maybe just wound them so they run off. That way I don’t have to collect any foreskins.

You want us to what?

Then we have the second, unmentioned, group of men in this story; The Philistine army that found their fallen comrades. Imagine the poor scouts that came across the 200 dead soldiers all missing their foreskins. “Hmmm, why are all the loincloths remov… oh the humanity! No, no, no, no, no, no, no…” I’m sure there was a point when one heard a woman screaming only to realize that the woman screaming was he. I’m sure after they emptied their stomach near the bodies they had to go back to the troops and notify the commander of what they had witnessed. That had to be a great moment trying to convince the leader that what they saw was real and not due to the hot desert sun baking their brain.

The permament expression of the scouting party.

What a horrible event to be a part of. Even to this day I think of how much King Saul must have really hated David to make him collect man parts from dead soldiers in order to let him marry his daughter. I know I had to collect fingernails from dead hobos around the greater Los Angeles area in order to marry my wife… but never man parts… that’s just gross.


  1. Hilarious! It's been a while since I've read something that was laugh-out-loud-funny! I'll never be able to look at dried apricots the same.