Thought for the Day - Clifford Longley

I was leafing through the Bible, as one does, to see what it has to tell us about privacy, free speech, and the sexual shenanigans of celebrities. I came across this juicy little gem from the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible if you prefer). I’ve translated it into a more racy modern idiom, by the way, but the facts are the same.

DIRTY DavE in Royal SEX romp cover-up SHOCKer! - sends rival to his death!! In the latest scandal to rock the palace, our randy ruler covets his neighbour’s wife, gets her pregnant, then tells the army to “make sure hubby’s killed in action” for refusing to accept the love-child as his own. Then a right royal gagging order bans the Book of Chronicles from revealing the shocking truth. Now the fearless Book of Samuel has leaked the royal order that sent brave warrior Uriah, husband of gorgeous Bathsheba, to certain death in battle, so lusty King David could grab her for himself.

What a royal rotter!

And God appears to have thought so too: there’s no privacy from his ever-watchful eye! David’s divine punishment was that his love child had to die. And that’s usually the point of these torrid Biblical sex scandals, of which there are quite a few. The moral of the story is that wrong-doers always get their comeuppance.

Hence in no way are we being encouraged to envy or admire the misconduct, and we’re in no danger of turning the perpetrator into a role model. Bad actions have bad consequences in this moral universe. Any modern personality who behaved like King David would find his career quickly over, and probably spend some time staring at prison bars.

Unless he could stop the truth getting out... Why the Book of Chronicles failed to report the scandal of King David and Bathsheba, in what we might call the official sanitised version of David’s reign, we’ll never know. It could be connected with the fact that they started a royal line which included such powerful kings as Solomon, who wouldn’t want the shocking truth about his parents to come out. Maybe they even wanted to spin-doctor a personality cult around King David, to depict him as a great and holy man. Stories of adultery and murder didn’t fit the PR image. Plus sa change, you might say.

There’s no hiding behind privacy in the Bible, no wall between private and public. All is laid bare. Think of Jesus being betrayed by one of the disciples, abandoned by the rest of them, and denied by their leader. If we are told all this embarrassing stuff, it could only be because we have a right to know. In a phrase, as the Good Book tell us, the truth - however inconvenient - will set us free.

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