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From: King David To: Governor Sanford Dear Governor Sanford, Lying here in my crypt in Jerusalem, I heard across the span of 3,000 years that you recently gave me a shout out.  You said, "King David…fell mightily.  He fell in … Read More

By / July 1, 2009

From: King David To: Governor Sanford

Dear Governor Sanford,

Lying here in my crypt in Jerusalem, I heard across the span of 3,000 years that you recently gave me a shout out.  You said, "King David…fell mightily.  He fell in very significant ways.  But then picked up the pieces."  It’s true, I did fall, but not in the same way that you did.  You fell in love.  I didn’t.  I never did.  I was too busy fighting and killing.  It’s not easy founding a kingdom. I presume you were comparing your affair with my affair with Bathsheba, but that really is comparing hummous to babaganoush.  In my case, my affair was wrong, not because I was married (I had a number of wives and concubines at that point), but because she was.  That is, she belonged to another man, and taking her was like stealing. I know, you live in the enlightened 21st century, and women aren’t chattel or property, but I bet that if your wife was doing the hora with another man and then became big with child, the Iron Age man in you, too, might be roused from its egalitarian slumber.  But wife-stealing wasn’t the worst of it.  I brought Bathsheba’s husband home on a furlough to try to get him to have marital relations with his wife so I could pass the kid off as his, but he refused to do the deed with her since soldiers in battle weren’t allowed to have sex (it diminished their capacity on the field).   I had no option but to get rid of him and make it look like he was a casualty of war.  He was sent to the front lines where he was killed.  Nobody would have known any differently, either, but God knew, of course. Yet, what I find so amazing, even after all this time, is that I’m remembered more for a sex scandal than for all of my other, far more egregious, behavior.  I was a pillager and plunderer and extorter and murderer; I raided and took the spoils.  I killed the Philistines, then turned traitor and was hired as a mercenary by them and fought against Israel, my own people.  But as you know, Governor Sanford, you can do whatever you do – whether good or bad – and it doesn’t matter: get caught with your willy in the wrong woman, and that’s all anyone talks about.    Governor Sanford, in my day, having sex with this divorced woman would have rendered her your concubine.  It wouldn’t have been considered adultery.   But let me share with you a parable that Nathan the prophet said to me after I’d had Bathsheba’s husband killed.  He said, "There were two men, one of whom had everything, and the other had only this little ewe.  The one who had everything was preparing a dinner for a traveler, but instead of dipping into his own flocks, he took the other man’s ewe and killed it.  What should happen to that man?"  And I, livid, because I had a wicked temper back then, said, "Kill him!"  Nathan looked me in the face and said, "That man is you."  In your case, when Bill Clinton was found to have a wandering wanker, you said, "That man should resign!"   The extra-marital affair is your own business.  It’s your hypocrisy that has all of the other hypocrites’ tunics in a twist.    Because there’s just nothing that creates such a frenzy as one puritanical hypocrite outing another, especially when the hypocrisy is related to sex.  I feel for you.  I’m even a little jealous of you.  But mostly, I don’t understand you.  I was collecting Philistine foreskins; you collect love letters.  You like to coo.  (The tan lines!  The curvy hip!)  I prefer to coup.  (The Jebusites, the Amalkites, the many ‘ites’!)  As for love, I loved being loved.  My first wife, Michal, who was my arch-enemy, King Saul’s daughter, loved me, (from my perspective, she brought me closer to the throne), and her brother, Jonathan’s, love for me was more than the love of women.  You can make of that what you will.  But I was so busy creating my kingdom and getting rid of anyone who stood in my way that I had no time for or interest in love.  In the end, as an old man, I was always cold, could never get warm, and so a young virgin was brought to me to warm me.  (They make wonderful hot water bottles, these virgins.) She was my companion but I never had sex with her.  Oh, I could have.  I wasn’t really impotent.  But my heart wasn’t in it.  I was cold in every way, you see.  My life had made me cold to emotion and to love.  You are no King David, Governor Sanford, though you cheated and lied.  And for that, you should be grateful and thank God.  Finally, my advice is, don’t resign.  Nobody else ever did.  Repentance is good, though. And a word of warning: there are those around you (not mentioning the lieutenant governor by name) who are going to use this little scandal to claw their own way into power.   I understand politics.  Love remains a mystery. From my cold grave in Jerusalem, I wish you luck picking up the pieces and I remain, yours, King David

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