Monday, November 5, 2012

A Bible Story and The Iron Dome

Yes, of course there is a connection between the Bible and the Iron Dome.  Just think about it!

Today, yet, again ad nauseum the Iron Dome is in the news.  The Israeli Government has proudly announced that the Iron Dome will be upgraded to "catch/destroy" Iranian missiles.  Sorry, Chaim, Bibi, IDF aka Charley, but I don't find that very comforting.

Iron Dome battery
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
The Defense Ministry has successfully completed an upgraded version of the Iron Dome anti-rocket shield, it announced Sunday. Jerusalem Post

Nothing's new, and I don't think that our Israeli politicians in positions of leadership are really protecting us.  This reminds me of a very famous Bible story. 

Who was the greatest Jewish warrior in the Bible?  King David, of course!  And what is the first incident when we get a glimpse of David's power?  It's the Goliath story.

David, at that point, was not the ruling monarch.  You can read it in 1 Samuel Chapter 17 שְׁמוּאֵל א.  The background is that G-d had already informed Samuel the Prophet that Saul, the first king, was to be retired.  Saul was punished for not following G-d's instructions, which had been passed to him by Samuel.  The story of that final straw is told in  1 Samuel Chapter 15 שְׁמוּאֵל א.
ג עַתָּה לֵךְ וְהִכִּיתָה אֶת-עֲמָלֵק, וְהַחֲרַמְתֶּם אֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ, וְלֹא תַחְמֹל, עָלָיו; וְהֵמַתָּה מֵאִישׁ עַד-אִשָּׁה, מֵעֹלֵל וְעַד-יוֹנֵק, מִשּׁוֹר וְעַד-שֶׂה, מִגָּמָל וְעַד-חֲמוֹר. {ס} 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.' {S}
ח וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת-אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ-עֲמָלֵק, חָי; וְאֶת-כָּל-הָעָם, הֶחֱרִים לְפִי-חָרֶב. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
ט וַיַּחְמֹל שָׁאוּל וְהָעָם עַל-אֲגָג, וְעַל-מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר וְהַמִּשְׁנִים וְעַל-הַכָּרִים וְעַל-כָּל-הַטּוֹב, וְלֹא אָבוּ, הַחֲרִימָם; וְכָל-הַמְּלָאכָה נְמִבְזָה וְנָמֵס, אֹתָהּ הֶחֱרִימוּ. {פ} 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, even the young of the second birth, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; but every thing that was of no account and feeble, that they destroyed utterly. {P}
י וַיְהִי, דְּבַר-יְהוָה, אֶל-שְׁמוּאֵל, לֵאמֹר. 10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying:
יא נִחַמְתִּי, כִּי-הִמְלַכְתִּי אֶת-שָׁאוּל לְמֶלֶךְ--כִּי-שָׁב מֵאַחֲרַי, וְאֶת-דְּבָרַי לֹא הֵקִים; וַיִּחַר, לִשְׁמוּאֵל, וַיִּזְעַק אֶל-יְהוָה, כָּל-הַלָּיְלָה. 11 'It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments.' And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
In Chapter 16, you can read how Samuel, following G-d's instructions, found David, who was then a shepherd and shunned by his elite family:
ז וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-שְׁמוּאֵל, אַל-תַּבֵּט אֶל-מַרְאֵהוּ וְאֶל-גְּבֹהַּ קוֹמָתוֹ--כִּי מְאַסְתִּיהוּ: כִּי לֹא, אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה הָאָדָם--כִּי הָאָדָם יִרְאֶה לַעֵינַיִם, וַיהוָה יִרְאֶה לַלֵּבָב. 7 But the LORD said unto Samuel: 'Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him; for it is not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.'
י וַיַּעֲבֵר יִשַׁי שִׁבְעַת בָּנָיו, לִפְנֵי שְׁמוּאֵל; וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-יִשַׁי, לֹא-בָחַר יְהוָה בָּאֵלֶּה. 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse: 'The LORD hath not chosen these.'
יא וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-יִשַׁי, הֲתַמּוּ הַנְּעָרִים, וַיֹּאמֶר עוֹד שָׁאַר הַקָּטָן, וְהִנֵּה רֹעֶה בַּצֹּאן; וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-יִשַׁי שִׁלְחָה וְקָחֶנּוּ, כִּי לֹא-נָסֹב עַד-בֹּאוֹ פֹה. 11 And Samuel said unto Jesse: 'Are here all thy children?' And he said: 'There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep.' And Samuel said unto Jesse: 'Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come hither.'
יב וַיִּשְׁלַח וַיְבִיאֵהוּ וְהוּא אַדְמוֹנִי, עִם-יְפֵה עֵינַיִם וְטוֹב רֹאִי; {פ}

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה קוּם מְשָׁחֵהוּ, כִּי-זֶה הוּא.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of beautiful eyes, and goodly to look upon. {P}

And the LORD said: 'Arise, anoint him; for this is he.'
Contrary to American voting history, G-d doesn't choose His leaders by physical height.  G-d has different criterion, and in  1 Samuel Chapter 17 שְׁמוּאֵל א we can read what G-d saw in King David. 

King Saul had the "Iron Dome" of his time.  He had the most advanced defensive armor available.  But that armor didn't give him the confidence to fight Goliath.

ח וַיַּעֲמֹד, וַיִּקְרָא אֶל-מַעַרְכֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם, לָמָּה תֵצְאוּ לַעֲרֹךְ מִלְחָמָה: הֲלוֹא אָנֹכִי הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי, וְאַתֶּם עֲבָדִים לְשָׁאוּל--בְּרוּ-לָכֶם אִישׁ, וְיֵרֵד אֵלָי. 8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them: 'Why do ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
ט אִם-יוּכַל לְהִלָּחֵם אִתִּי, וְהִכָּנִי--וְהָיִינוּ לָכֶם, לַעֲבָדִים; וְאִם-אֲנִי אוּכַל-לוֹ, וְהִכִּיתִיו--וִהְיִיתֶם לָנוּ לַעֲבָדִים, וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֹתָנוּ. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.'
י וַיֹּאמֶר, הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי, אֲנִי חֵרַפְתִּי אֶת-מַעַרְכוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה; תְּנוּ-לִי אִישׁ, וְנִלָּחֲמָה יָחַד. 10 And the Philistine said: 'I do taunt the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.'
יא וַיִּשְׁמַע שָׁאוּל וְכָל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי הָאֵלֶּה; וַיֵּחַתּוּ וַיִּרְאוּ, מְאֹד. {פ} 11 And when Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. {P}
Simply put, Saul, the king, was paralysed in terror and radiated that fear to his soldiers.  Nobody was willing to take up Goliath's challenge.  When the "leader" has no confidence, the people easily give up.

David, who by then had been anointed secretly to be King of the Jewish People,  at most witnessed by just his immediate family, arrived on the scene bringing food supplies to his elder brothers.  Hearing Goliath's threats and taunts, he volunteered to meet the challenge and fight the enemy.

Saul offered David his armor, the Iron Dome of the time, but David rejected it as unnecessary for a war of offense. 
מ וַיִּקַּח מַקְלוֹ בְּיָדוֹ, וַיִּבְחַר-לוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה חַלֻּקֵי-אֲבָנִים מִן-הַנַּחַל וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתָם בִּכְלִי הָרֹעִים אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ וּבַיַּלְקוּט--וְקַלְעוֹ בְיָדוֹ; וַיִּגַּשׁ, אֶל-הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his scrip; and his sling was in his hand; and he drew near to the Philistine.
מה וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד, אֶל-הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי, אַתָּה בָּא אֵלַי, בְּחֶרֶב וּבַחֲנִית וּבְכִידוֹן; וְאָנֹכִי בָא-אֵלֶיךָ, בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, אֱלֹהֵי מַעַרְכוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲשֶׁר חֵרַפְתָּ. 45 Then said David to the Philistine: 'Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin; but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast taunted. מו הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְסַגֶּרְךָ יְהוָה בְּיָדִי וְהִכִּיתִךָ, וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת-רֹאשְׁךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ, וְנָתַתִּי פֶּגֶר מַחֲנֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, לְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְחַיַּת הָאָרֶץ; וְיֵדְעוּ, כָּל-הָאָרֶץ, כִּי יֵשׁ אֱלֹהִים, לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite thee, and take thy head from off thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel; מז וְיֵדְעוּ כָּל-הַקָּהָל הַזֶּה, כִּי-לֹא בְּחֶרֶב וּבַחֲנִית יְהוֹשִׁיעַ יְהוָה: כִּי לַיהוָה הַמִּלְחָמָה, וְנָתַן אֶתְכֶם בְּיָדֵנוּ. {ס} 47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our hand.' {S} מח וְהָיָה כִּי-קָם הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי, וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיִּקְרַב לִקְרַאת דָּוִד; וַיְמַהֵר דָּוִד, וַיָּרָץ הַמַּעֲרָכָה לִקְרַאת הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי. 48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. מט וַיִּשְׁלַח דָּוִד אֶת-יָדוֹ אֶל-הַכֶּלִי, וַיִּקַּח מִשָּׁם אֶבֶן וַיְקַלַּע, וַיַּךְ אֶת-הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי, אֶל-מִצְחוֹ; וַתִּטְבַּע הָאֶבֶן בְּמִצְחוֹ, וַיִּפֹּל עַל-פָּנָיו אָרְצָה. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slung it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead; and the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth.
  • Very simply put, offensive and defensive weapons and tactics are not the same. 
  • When a country is trhreadtened the only way to stop the threat is to destroy the enemy.
This was true in Biblical times and it's true today.  An upgraded Iron Dome won't save Israel.

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