A couple of Davids cut from the same cloth?

What parallels do you see, if any, between King David and scandal-plagued war hero David Petraeus? David Baker of Religious News Service writes:

It’s tempting to view the sex scandal surrounding retired Army Gen. David Petraeus through a religious lens.

After all, most faiths forbid adultery, and even before his fall from grace, some Pentagon colleagues compared Petraeus to the biblical King David — another proud and powerful warrior.

The comparison seemed even more apt after the former four-star general’s resignation from the CIA on Friday. “More than one officer cited the biblical adultery of King David and Bathsheba,” wrote The New York Times.

The Bible says that David acted righteously and kept God’s commandments — except in the case of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband.

“Will history remember David Petraeus with the same caveat?” asked Jim Denison, a Southern Baptist scholar in Dallas.

Even liberals saw the scandal in religious terms, albeit from an opposite pole.

“Don’t understand why `adultery’ is quasi-illegal in a nation in which church & state are separate,” tweeted the renowned novelist Joyce Carol Oates. “The ugly word `bastard’ has been phased out of usage & next should come `adultery’ with its Biblical rectitude & cruelty.”

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5 Comments
  1. Matthew Buterbaugh+

    I suppose one major difference is that no one was murdered with the more recent David’s scandal. I suppose another difference is that the first David got to keep his job after his scandal.

  2. F.Harry Stowe

    I am puzzled by the firing (er, resigning). The problem with an adulterous spy has always been presented as the possibility of blackmail and the loss of secrets. But, since the General’s sins are known, this problem doesn’t arise. If he is good at the job, keep him and scandal be damned! We’ve kept more than a few Presidents with worse records.

  3. Ann Fontaine

    Because the military has a rule against adultery that they have to enforce if discovered.

  4. Maplewood

    The issues regarding Gen. Petraeus are multiple.

    1. Adultery is against military law, law which Gen. P swore to obey and enforce as an officer.

    2. His partner is an officer in the military reserve, who is bound by the same military law and made the same pledge to obey and enforce.

    3. An adulterer in the military/intelligence sets themself up as a potential extortion target, endangering US/allied security.

    4. A known adulterer in the military creates the perception of a sexually hostile environment for other officers and enlisted personell.

    I can go on, but I think I make my point. Adultery is not something to be taken lightly in the military or intelligence world.

    (Actually, adultery should not be taken lightly in any world. Its effects are far-reaching and profound.)

    Kevin McGrane

  5. billydinpvd

    A quibble: Adultery *is* a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but Petraeus is no longer active duty military; I don’t think the adultery provisions of the UCMJ were the direct cause of his resignation. I think it has more to do with a personal sense of honor formed by the UCMJ and a lifetime in military culture. He didn’t resign because he had to, but because he thought that was the right course of action.

    Bill Dilworth

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