However, it the image of the “enraged king” who sends an army to destroy the city and kill those who have committed but then rejected the summons that bothers us. Is God really that way? I don’t know about you but I have this image of someone who completely flies off the handle in a rage and temper tantrum much like Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano did several weeks ago. But the text does not indicate this type of reaction. This is really our projection onto the text.
The text does indicate that the king was not only dishonored but was flagrantly disrespected. The king was slapped in the face and literally being challenged. We remember that ritual purity was important to Pharisees especially during meals. This is because meals were the primary context where honor and shame were assigned. Therefore, the disrespect was in essence stealing the king’s honor and literally mocking him. It was a huge offense that forced the king to respond as if they were assassinating him.