Then Samuel said, "Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites." And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, "Surely the bitterness of death is past" (1 Samuel 15:32).
We are a people locked in time. There is an upside to that and a downside, and they are the same: We tend to forget. Or to put it more precisely, we may vaguely remember the event, but the emotional component has a short half-life. This is a good thing in that trauma diminishes after a while and we can function. But it is a bad thing when it corrupts righteousness. Feelings may dull; justice should not.
Agag is about to find out that not every human being succumbs to the corrupting potential of time passage.
The Amalekites had treated the fledgling nation of Israel shabbily in the wilderness and God had them targeted for destruction. King Saul was therefore ordered to take no prisoners, and especially to do away with Agag. Saul disobeyed. The prophet Samuel showed up some days later. When he summoned Agag into his presence, the captured warlord came with confidence, figuring that the heat of battle anger had passed by now. He didn't know Samuel and he didn't know God. Samuel slew him---for it wasn't about feelings but about God's will.
The current political atmosphere in Washington has been one of "dialogue" and reconciliation---with Cuba, Venezuela, Iran. The question bugging me is whether the impetus for this desire for thaw is justice or merely a mood, the psychological phenomenon that Agag was banking on (mistakenly, in Samuel's case).
Gideon Gono, the central bank governor of Zimbabwe, admitted last week to siphoning private and foreign bank accounts into his country's ailing ministries. His plea for his job was a page from old Agag's playbook. Gono said it was time "to let bygones be bygones."
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