Dispatch Two

Posted: December 22, 2013 in First Bundle
Tags: , , , , , ,

PSALM 72:1-7, 18-19

Give the king your justice, O God,
    and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
    and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
    and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
    give deliverance to the needy,
    and crush the oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures,
    and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
    like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
    and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;
    may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.

It may be that David’s humble origins as a sheep herder and the youngest of eight sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite had made him sympathetic towards people of the lower classes. Their culture of hard labor, long days, and heavy taxes – the revenue for top-heavy imperial administrations was typically extracted from the peasant and artisan classes – made life for them nasty, brutish, and short.

As a matter of moral integrity, and out of honor for the memory of his former life, David worked diligently to represent the needs and ambitions of the poor in his policies as king. He knew there could be no prosperity in the land so long as the larger percentage of the people were shouldering the burden for the happiness of the small wealthy upper class.

Which all begs the question: How can wealth and power be more equitably distributed, unless it is taken from the rulers and capitalists by force and given to the underprivileged?

Whereas Jesus would later advocate an alternative program to the coercive measures of deposition and confiscation of property, his principle of human compassion and self-sacrifice in the interest of a more broad-based happiness for all was still only in its early conception phase.

That the wealthy and powerful might come to apprehend their shared identity with the poor and oppressed, to the extent that they measure their own success as human beings by their ability to elevate the quality of life for everyone, is a high ideal for any society, however ‘enlightened’.

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