Posts Tagged 'Deceit'

2 Samuel Chapter 21

David returned to leadership in Israel, with a divided nation between those in Judah and the rest of the tribes of Israel. However, they had managed to maintain a peace with their neighboring nations. The people in the land, were generally living according to their own desires and passions. It seems that the Israelite people would not have been considered devoted to the Lord at this time. Even David, had dealt with a lot of heartache and difficulty, because of his personal choices against the laws of the Lord. This chapter continues the story of David’s reign as king during this time of difficulty.

1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)
3 Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord?
4 And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.
5 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,
6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whomthe Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them.
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that wasbetween them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

The kingdom of David had a famine that last three years. David asked God why they had this famine, and the Lord told him it was because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were a people that lived among the Israelites from the time that they first returned to the promised land. The Gibeonites were afraid that they would be killed by the great nation, and their mighty God, whom they had heard about, so they had promised to be their servants if they would allow them to live among them in peace. However, the Gibeonites had come to this agreement by deceiving the princes of Israel. This was not something that was an easy thing for the host of Israel to realize, and many of the congregation murmured against it. The Gibeonites were spared at that time, because of the oath made between them and the princes of Israel, but they were made servants of Israel because of their deceit. Apparently, Saul had try to kill them, even though they had an oath with the children of Israel. This wickedness had brought the famine upon the David’s kingdom.

This was in a day when oaths were taken so seriously by men, that breaking them could mean death. We do not hear of oaths made with this kind of weight behind them, in fact, it seems that more often than not, people make oaths with a back-up plan as to how they can get out of it. We have contracts signed, promises made, and word given, only to have several ways to back out afterwards. While, I am glad that we don’t have people fearing death at the breaking of a contract, I feel that their is great integrity in keeping promises and doing all that we can to fulfill contracts and oaths we have with one another. Truly strong character is shown in those who value promises with the same importance as those we read about in ancient times. Our world would be so much better today, if the words of another could more consistently be trusted and depended upon.

David went to the Gibeonites and asked what he could do to made amends for what Saul had done. In response, they said they did not want to be paid or have any Israelite killed. David offered to do anything they desired. The only thing they asked for, was for seven sons of Saul to be delivered to them for hanging, because he had been the man to go against them. David agreed, but he spared Mephibosheth, because he had made an oath with his father, Jonathan. Seven of the sons of Saul were given over to the Gibeonites, and they were hanged for the things that Saul had done. I cannot imagine how hard this would have been for David. It was not the custom of the Israelites to allow children to suffer for the sins of their parents (see Deuteronomy 24:16), but Saul himself was no longer there to make restitution for what he had done. This decision was probably not made lightly, and I can imagine that the families of those taken, would have been heartbroken.

10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

The mother of two of those who were taken, laid on the rock where they had been hung, making sure that nothing happened to the bodies for several weeks. David learned of this thing she did, while she was in mourning.

12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.
14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was entreated for the land.

Perhaps, because of learning what Rizpah had done for the bodies of those when loved, or perhaps for some unknown reason, David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-gilead, and gathered them with the bones of those who had been given over to the Gibeonites. Saul and Jonathan were buried in the grave of Saul’s father, Kish. I expect that the bodies of the seven sons were allowed to be placed where their families wanted them to be. After these things were done, they asked God for the land, which I think might mean that they may have asked a blessing upon the grave sites, or the land where they were buried.

15 Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.
16 And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.
17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.
18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again abattle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.
19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.
20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man ofgreat stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him.
22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

Then, Israel went to war again with the Philistines. David became faint from battle, which I imagine may have been caused by his age or health at this time. Knowing David was not able to fight, the son of Goliath, Ishbi-benob, wanted to kill David, but Abisahi helped David and killed the Philistine. The men of David told him he was not to go out to battle again, because they did not want to lose their king, the “light of Israel”. The battles with the Philistines continued, and the men of David continued to kill those who were the sons and family of Goliath.

The promises of God that were made to David after he had the man named Uriah killed, continued to effect his life. In this chapter, we can see that the sword would not depart from the house of David (see 2 Samuel 12:10). Not knowing how soon after the famine that these battles with the Philistines started again, it is possible that the Israelites were forced into battles while still dealing with the effects of it. These times must not have been great for the people of Israel, and I am sure it would have been hard to be their leader at this time. David, who could have turned to his own wisdom or that of his counselors, turned to the Lord. He knew that God could help him to know how to stop the famine and help his people. He continues to be an example of the importance of going to the Lord, and each time he did, he and his people were blessed by following the direction and counsel given. We too, should continually turn to the Lord for guidance and direction. When we do, trusting in the will of God, we can also be blessed with those things that we stand in need of at that time.

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Joshua Chapter 9

The Israelites were beginning to show themselves as a real threat to those in the land of Canaan and the nearby area. Since crossing the Jordan, they had taken both the areas of Jericho and Ai. The miracles accompanying them, brought fear to the nations of the land.

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.

The kings of the area, gathered together to fight against the children of Israel.

3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;
5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?
8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.
11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.
15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.

The Gibeonites heard of the strength of the Israelites as well. They prepared themselves to pretend to be poor ambassadors. They presented themselves to Joshua, in rags and with old provisions and belongings. They begged to be allowed to live among them. The Israelites questioned what their relationship would be. The Gibeonites told Joshua that they would be their servants. Joshua questions where they were from and they told him from a far land. They had heard of all that the Israelites had done with the Lord on their side. They deceitfully led the Israelites to believe that they had traveled far and had worn out their belongings on the journey to find them. The Israelite princes made an agreement with them to allow them to live and be their servants, but did not counsel with the Lord in this. In Deuteronomy 7:2 we read, “And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:” The Lord had commanded the Israelites not to make any covenants with people in the land of their inheritance, and I think that they would not have agreed to this had they known who these people really were. I am sure that revelation would have let them know who the Gibeonites were, if they had counseled with the Lord instead of trusting in their own wisdom.

16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim.
18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.
20 This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.
21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.

Three days passed, when the Israelites learned that these people were actually their neighbors who had come among them. They went to the cities of the Gibeonites, but did not destroy them because of the covenant they had made. The host of Israel murmured against their leaders for doing this thing, but the princes could not go against their promise. The princes suggested that the Gibeonites be servants to the host of Israel.

22 And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?
23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.
24 And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the Lord thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing.
25 And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.
26 And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not.
27 And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.

Joshua questioned the Gibeonites for deceiving the Israelites about who they really were. He cursed them for their deceit and made them bondmen or servants to the Israelites. They told him that they had feared for their lives, so they lied to be spared.

The Lord had told them that if they made covenants with the people of the land, they would be a problem for them later. They valued their covenants and promises to much, to go against them once made with the Gibeonites, but I am sure that this mistake would eventually lead to temptations and falling away. When we make covenants, the Lord tells us what blessings will come. He also knows that we will fall short of being perfect in those things and we will suffer consequences for the mistakes we make as well. This is why the Savior and His atonement was and is necessary to all of us. We can easily be deceived by others who are looking out for themselves, as the Gibeonites were. The atonement will allow us to repent and return once we recognize the error of our ways. I think one of the important lessons in this story, is that we should counsel with the Lord in all things in our lives. Alma 37:37 teaches us with these words, “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” Prayer is so vitally important in our lives and I am so grateful for it. We can hold fast to this promise as well. If we remember to pray always, God will direct us for our good and eventually we will be lifted up at the last day.

Honesty

View the entire chapter from the Gospel Principles manual here: Honesty

I’ve been trying to help my seven year old gain a better understanding of honesty and why we do not lie, so I think that I can benefit a lot from studying this chapter. To me, honesty is one of the core principles to the gospel that a lot of other things rest on. Why? Because the Lord is honest and Satan is the father of all lies and deceit. In the beginning of the life of man, he lied to Eve to get her to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In 2 Nephi 2 Lehi taught his family about this.

17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

Since he is the father of all lies, we choose to become his children when we are dishonest. We give Satan the power when we lie and deceive others as he has done.

What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?

My mind is not fully capable of imagining what that society would be like, but I believe that when all people are perfectly honest, they are living a life of peace and happiness. Honesty goes to our very core, it is in our hearts, thoughts, actions, and all that we are. When we are honest with others and with ourselves, we are certainly honest with God. Honesty bring harmony and unity, which is the way that it will be in heaven. When we are honest, we can be trusted. This type of society would be in harmony with God, and would probably be allowed to be with Him forever.

As I said above, lying is a form of dishonesty. When we lie, we intentionally deceive others or ourselves. In the ten commandments we are told, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (Exodus 20:16).” To bear false witness is to lie. Therefore, we are given a commandment that we must not lie. I would take it even further and suggest that we lie when we purposely hide truth, in order to get our own way. I think they call this a lie by omission, and it is just as deceitful as a straight-out lie spoken to another. I’m not perfect in this, but I am a huge supporter of honesty. Most of my friends know that if they ask me a question, I will tell the truth, even if it means saying more than they would expect to know. (I suffer from TMI syndrome – Too Much Information) I would much rather be honest, then possible not be. In proverbs 12:22 we read, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.” I have hope that people will gain a greater desire to delight the Lord, by dealing truly.

Another form of dishonesty is stealing. To steal is to take something that belongs to another, and claim it as your own. One of the definitions I found for the word “honest” said, “gained or obtained fairly”. When we steal, we are not being fair. It is only fair to allow the person who has earned or paid for something, the owner of that belonging, to keep it until they decide to no longer have it. This is also a commandment found in Exodus, chapter 20. “Thou shalt not steal (v. 15).” My husband and I have talked a lot about this lately, because it seems that some leaders are insisting on taking things that have rightfully been earned from some, to give to others. A better society and a better people, come from them being willing to give of themselves to those in need, not being forced to give. Being forced to have things taken from us, will only encourage more dishonesty so that people can keep what is rightfully their own. This in not the way that God would have us live because it is dishonest.

Finally, cheating is a form of dishonesty. Words that I have found to describe cheating are swindle, defraud, elude, violate (as in rules), and to be unfaithful. All of these things relate to using deceit to get your own way or to satisfy your own desires. Cheating occurs all the time, when things are gained that are not deserved. Lying, stealing and cheating go hand-in-hand, and they are all tactics that Satan uses to tempt people to be dishonest.

What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?

When we excuse our dishonesty, we excuse a sin. If we justify why we lie, cheat and steal from another, we truly give Satan control in our lives. These things have a snowball effect. One lie leads to another, cheating once leads to cheating again, and stealing encourages more stealing. Likewise, cheating can easily lead to stealing, which almost always involves lying to someone along the way. This continues until we realize that we no longer have control over our own lives, and eventually great costs will have to be paid, especially spiritually. In Doctrine and Covenants 3:2 we read, “For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.” Nothing that is dishonest is acceptable to God, because he is perfect in honesty. There are no exceptions to this. There is no excuse of anything dishonest being deserving of any blessing. If we cannot be honest with our fellow men, we are not able to be honest with God, and therefore we must be separated from him. We cannot have the spirit to guide us in our lives, if we choose to be dishonest.

What does it mean to be completely honest?

My favorite definition of complete as far as honesty is concerned, is “perfect in kind or quality” (dictionary.com). Therefore, to be completely honest means to be honest to perfection. It means that there is nothing in our lives that is dishonest. It means that every fiber of our being is truthful: every word we speak is truth, every thing we imply is truth, every thing we own is truly ours, every thought we have is true, every promise we make is kept, and so on. It means that we are like God in honesty. Complete honesty requires repentance, because no person is perfect. We can become completely honest through repentance. This is a possible goal in this life. We may not be perfect in all things, but we can become perfect in this. We know this because it has been done before. We know of the people of the city of Enoch, who were taken up to live with God. We can also read in Alma 27:27, that the people “were perfectly honest and upright in all things”. This is a goal that we should reach for continually.

In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?

Being honest has the added blessing of the spirit, which will testify to us that we are doing what is right. It can lift our mood and strengthen our confidence in our actions. Honesty helps us to stand a little taller and feel better about ourselves. On the other hand, dishonesty brings guilt, shame, and the feeling to withdraw from others, especially those who are trying to live righteously. “Wickedness never was happiness”, and so there is no lasting happiness that will ever come from being dishonest (Alma 41:10).


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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