Doeg the Edomite slays the high priests of Israel at the orders of King Saul.
The First Book of Samuel tells us that Doeg the Edomite was the chief herdsman to Saul, the King of Israel during the time when Saul was obsessed by fear and jealousy of David and his own son Jonathan. Doeg's story can be found in Chapters 21 and 22 of First Samuel and he is the subject of David's Psalm 52:
Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue! Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying, “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”
It is thanks to a chance conversation with my brother Dwight that I made the connection between Doeg and the DHS and FBI thugs in Washington state. After they briefly "rendered" Anthony Bosworth last week, denying him a lawyer, throwing him in a steel cage, using psywar tricks to compel him to break, it seemed to me that these tax-paid secret policemen were indeed the direct descendants of Doeg. His sons, if you will.
1 Samuel describes how after David parted from Jonathan, on the run from from Saul's jealous anger, he went to Nob where he met with Ahimelech, the High Priest. Afraid for his life and needing help, David claimed to be on a clandestine royal mission and so Ahimelech fed David and his men and gave him the sword of Goliath. Doeg was present for this and witnessed Ahimelech's aid to David. Doeg returned to Saul and promptly ratted David out, lying about Ahimelech in the process, neglecting to inform Saul that David had in fact tricked the High Priest -- that in fact when he did so, Ahimelech thought he was serving King Saul.
So Saul, already more than half crazy from fear and jealously, acted on Doeg's lie and summoned the High Priest and his entire company and, in a rage, ordered them all killed. As the King James version states:
And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.
Get that? Doeg, knowing it based on his own lie, killed 85 of the high priests of Israel BY HIMSELF. Now, the first thing you can conclude from that is that the priests should have been open-carrying. This verse is one of the most powerful indictment of arms control ever written. But that was not enough for Saul.
Note too that the King's other retainers refused to obey the massacre orders. Only Doeg was willing to carry it out and carry it out he did with a vengeance. And this was millennia before the Nuremberg defense -- "I was only acting on orders."
In the Comprehensive Commentary on the Bible by Matthew Henry, it says this:
One would have thought that the footmen’s refusal would awaken Saul’s conscience, and that he would not insist upon the doing of a thing so barbarous as that his footmen startled at the thought of it. But his mind was blinded and his heart hardened. . . The most bloody tyrants have found out instruments of their cruelty as barbarous as themselves. Doeg is no sooner commanded to fall upon the priests than he does it willingly enough, and, meeting with no resistance, slays with his own hand (for aught that appears) on that same day eighty-five priests.
But Doeg's obedience to evil did not end there. After the priests were slaughtered, Saul ordered him to attack their city of Nob: "He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep."
Surely Doeg must have had some help from sycophantic like-minded butchers for such an undertaking, although the Bible is silent on the subject. But when my brother mentioned the story of Doeg the willing executioner I could not help but think of all the other sons and grandsons of Doeg throughout history down through the ages to the Holocaust and, 22 years ago, to the massacre of the Davidians, their old men, women and children, by bullets and fire, first at the hands of the ATF and finally from the even bloodier hands of the FBI.
There are murderous spiritual sons of Doeg in every generation. Men -- and women -- who will play the part of the secret policeman, the assassin of the king, the willing toady of power -- not because it is right but simply because it IS the power. Such sons of Doeg attacked Anthony Bosworth. Such sons of Doeg confront us here today -- not merely in the open, but play the part of the clandestine spy, the lying snitch, the evil agent provocateur -- and they know who they are, these evil men.
Many remember the self-destructive story of King Saul. Few remember the tale of Doeg, yet it is the sons of Doeg that we confront most often, most directly, those of us who wish to preserve our liberty, our property and our lives.You know, rabbinical tradition describes him as far more than mere thug.
Though (Doeg) died at the early age of thirty-four years, he is regarded by the rabbis as the greatest scholar of his time, a strong description being supposedly applied to him because he made every one with whom he disputed "blush". He could bring forward 300 different questions with reference to one single ritual case. But he was lacking in inward piety, so that God was "anxious" concerning his end, and "mourned" for him. His most unfortunate qualities, however, were his malice, jealousy, and calumnious tongue.
Yep, that almost makes him sound like a typical United States Attorney or federal judge these days.
The Bible is silent on what happened to Doeg in the end. Rabbinical tradition is not, although it is of divided opinion. In one telling, as often happens with those who strive for something to which they are not entitled, Doeg lost that which he possessed. God sent the three "angels of destruction" to Doeg; the first caused him to forget his learning, the second burned his soul, and the third scattered the ashes. Another tradition says he was slain by his own pupils when they found that he had forgotten his learning and yet others maintain that he was slain by David when the new King of Israel caught up with him after the death of Saul and of Jonathan.
For that is something that the modern sons of Doeg should remember. Regimes rise and fall, tyrants are consumed by their own tyranny, and when they do, the Doegs that serve them are swept away to their own just rewards.