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Imagining Trump’s Evangelicals in King David’s Time

(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Earlier this week, I had what might be the ten thousandth conversation (slight exaggeration) where an Evangelical Trump fan compared the president to King David. Yes, the comparison is still out there. Yes, it’s still ridiculous. But I wanted to tackle the issue from a different angle. What if Trump’s Evangelicals were alive in King David’s time? I imagine it would have gone down a little like this . . .

Jerusalem News Channel, 1,000 B.C.

David’s Religious Allies Push Back Furiously Against Murder Charge

The David Regime, under fire for the king’s alleged affair with Bathsheba and the death of her husband, Uriah the Hittite, turned to his most loyal religious allies for public support. At a palace press conference yesterday, they hit back hard against claims of adultery and murder.

“Fake news,” said one priest. “The king was nowhere near the fighting. How can he kill a man from a distance? His Majesty is a mighty warrior, but not even his bow can reach that far.”

Others attributed the claims to “Saulite holdovers” in the regime. Still others noted that even if the claims were true, David was still far better than his predecessors.

“Remember, it wasn’t long ago that the King of Israel was consulting witches,” said a local prophet. “With Saul it was retreat and defeat. Now, I’m almost tired of winning.”

David’s allies refused to respond to sources who claim that the king specifically instructed his military commanders to “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

“I don’t respond to leaks,” said another priest. “David is the Lord’s anointed, and the resistance obviously wants to overthrow Samuel’s lawful and divinely-ordained choice.”

He continued, “David is a king, not a priest. We don’t need a holy man in the palace. We need a warrior and a leader.”

The priest concluded with an emphatic statement. “So long as he’s strong, we’re strong.”

Of course that’s not how it went down in David’s time. Of course that’s not the role of the people of God when confronting sinful leaders. Nathan showed us the way:

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

And how did David respond? Let’s go to Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

Does any of this resonate today? Or are his most loyal Evangelical fans giving the president a “mulligan” for his affairs and applauding his crass and deceptive public statements as “authentic” or “down to earth”?

Trump is no King David, and Nathans are hard to find. It’s time to dispense with the lame biblical analogies and hold Trump accountable for his own actions. “Better than Hillary” isn’t the phrase that washes Trump’s sins away.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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