Bad Birds

This blog is for the birds.  Really.  If something relates to birds, we think you might be interested in it.  We certainly don’t waste your time talking about such silly things as the sexual peccadillos of politicians.

David and Bathsheba

David and Bathsheba by Jan Matsys

Nonetheless, Governor Mark Sanford’s recent extramarital activities reminded  of us of a myth involving a bird.  Sanford, in one of his “apologies” last week compared himself to King David of the Old Testament who, Sanford said, fell as mightily as has Sanford.  Presumably Sanford was referring to David’s adulterous liaison with Bathsheba.

You will recall the story.  David sees Bathsheba without clothes on and is so smitten that he ends up arranging to have her husband killed off so he can marry her.  He does and is soon visited by a prophet who foresees many calamities as a result of his philandering.

Now on to the bird myth associated with the story.  In the story as told by the Midrash, Bathsheba is hidden behind some kind of screen, and is not visible to David.  But Satan wants to create trouble, so he comes to earth disguised as a bird which David tries to kill, perhaps with a sling shot.  The bird/Satan easily dodges the missile which then hits and knocks over the screen behind which the naked Bathsheba is standing.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Satan Cast Out of Heaven by Dore

Satan Cast Out of Heaven by Dore

This is not the first time we’ve come across Satan disguised as an innocent little bird.  Why was he trying to give birds a bad name?  They don’t deserve it, not even the pigeons.  David may also have learned that gratuitously trying to kill birds isn’t such a good idea either.

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