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Summary: David and Nabal I Samuel 25:4-13 Hospitality This Middle Eastern cultural practice of “hospitality” is what saved the life of Marcus Lattrell. Jesus challenges Simon with a failure to keep a well-known Middle Eastern cultural practice. Luke 7:44-48

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“Revenge or Hospitality?”

I have three stories to share with you this morning. One is from the movie “Lone Survivor” and the other two are from the bible. All three have something in common.

Luke recounts Jesus’ visit in the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-40).

David and Nabal I Samuel 25:4-13

Lone Survivor is a 2013 American war film In Afghanistan, Taliban leader Ahmad Shah is responsible for killing over twenty United States Marines, as well as villagers and refugees who were aiding American forces. In response to these killings, a United States Navy SEALs unit is ordered to execute a counter-insurgent mission. Eventually Luttrell and his unit are discovered by the Taliban and a battle ensues. As they try to escape, jumping off several cliffs, three Seals are killed.

Luttrell stumbles upon a small body of water and submerges himself only to find upon surfacing that a local Pashtun villager, Mohammad Gulab, has discovered his location. Gulab takes Luttrell into his care, returning to his village, where he attempts to hide Luttrell in his home. Gulab then sends a mountain man to the nearest American air base to alert military forces of Luttrell's location. The Taliban fighters arrive at the village to capture and kill Luttrell, but Gulab and the villagers intervene, threatening to kill the fighters if they harm Luttrell.

Why did the villagers protect Lattrell? What did Jesus say to Simon? (Luke 7:44-48)

Why did David say to his men: “Put on your swords?”

This Middle Eastern cultural practice of “hospitality” is what saved the life of Marcus Lattrell.

Jesus challenges Simon with a failure to keep a well-known Middle Eastern cultural practice. Luke 7:44-48

The traveler had few legal or political rights in the ancient world. He was largely at the mercy of the residents where he journeyed. By accepting the traveler, especially in providing him food and sharing that food with him, the host also took the responsibility of protecting him.

The traveler was expected to accept what the host offered. Nabal refused to apply the Middle Easter cultural practice of “hospitality”.

I Samuel 1: 25:10-13, 21-23 To refuse such hospitality would be an insult that only an enemy would inflict. Marcus Lattrell could not refuse the protection. On the other hand, a traveler would interpret a resident’s failure to provide food and amenities as a hostile act. Nabal nearly started a war over his refusal to feed David and his men. Abigal, Nabal’s wife intervenes and feeds David’s men and spares the execution of Nabal and all his male employees.

David was right in seeking revenge against Nabal for his refusal to apply traditional Middle Eastern cultural rules for hostility.

The environment of the desert and arid land in most of the Middle East is harsh. For a traveler, access to water and food was a matter of life and death. Most settlements were built near available water or wells. The traveler needed to have access to the water. Yet, it was also important for the settled community to have protection. As a result, strict codes of conduct developed to govern such encounters. These conventions of hospitality also applied equally to the desert dwellers who lived in tents as they followed the grazing herds. They were obligated to provide for travelers that stopped at their tents, and under these customs could expect some protection from hostile actions from the "stranger."


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