HOUSMAIL HM#023 -                                                                                                                          28 March 1999


"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5)

The verse quoted above has long been one of the strongholds of those who promote the doctrine of "Original Sin" in one or other of its various forms.

However, for those of us who do NOT believe that doctrine is supported by the rest of Scripture, it is far more logical to assume that the verse has a different meaning.

We have all heard the phrase "living in sin". And we all know that in plain English, it means that two parties are living together without benefit of wedlock. To be "conceived in sin" is to be born as a result of such a liaison.

If we bypass the "invented theology" of "original sin", it is far more logical to take the verse at face value, and assume that there may have been some "scandal" associated with the circumstances of David's birth.

We find some evidence which tends to support that in some of the snippets of genealogical information which are given about David and his family.

From 1 Sam 17:12 we learn that David is one of eight brothers. 1 Chron 2:13-16 names seven, as well as two sisters, Zeruiah, and Abigail.

The sons of Zeruiah include Joab and Abishai and Asahel. Abishai was with David in exile. 1 Sam 26:6. Joab, Abishai, and Asahel all became leaders in David's army. This probably means that although nephews of David, they were of a similar age, and that therefore David's two sisters were much older than David.

Then in 2 Sam 17:25 we learn that in fact Zeruiah and Abigail were only David's HALF SISTERS. Their father was Nahash ..... not Jesse!

Nahash was an Ammonite King who had "dealt loyally with David". (1 Sam 10:2) It seems reasonable to speculate that this is the same Nahash who was the father of Zeruiah and Abigail. If David's two half sisters were in fact the daughters of this Nahash, then Joab, Abishai, and Asahel were his grandsons. So of course it could be expected that Nahash would have a strong incentive to "deal loyally with David" for the sake of his daughters and grandsons.

All of that suggests a "hint of scandal" in the circumstances of David's birth. His mother had two daughters by Nahash, before David was born. Nahash was still living when she bore David to Jesse.

What were the rest of the circumstances? Alas ...... There are too many things left unsaid, to go any further. Some of the unanswered questions include:

- Was David's mother a "divorcee"?
- Or was she perhaps a Jewish captive of war, a slave and concubine in the house of Nahash,
   who later been "rescued", or set free?
- Is it possible that she was an Ammonite? (See Deut 23:3)
- Was she perhaps Jesse's second wife? Or not married to Jesse at all?
- Were David's seven brothers, actually only half brothers?
- Is any of that the reason why, when Samuel asked to meet Jesse's sons, David was not called?
- Does it have anything to do with the reason why David was kept away from the rest of the
   family, tending the flocks?
- Does it contribute to the apparent antagonism of his oldest brother towards him? (1 Sam 17:28)
While we must leave those puzzling questions unanswered, there is certainly enough "hint of scandal" there, to provide a reasonable explanation for David's statement that he was "brought forth in iniquity and conceived in sin".

And it is far more intellectually satisfying than the MYTH of "Original Sin"!