Peace Treaties and Genuine Peace
After a dispute with Abimelech, king of the Philistines, Abraham and Abimelech swore an oath (Genesis 21:30:21) to live in peace. Later, in this week’s Torah portion, Toldos (Genesis 25:19–28:9), Isaac reaffirmed the oath with Abimelech (Genesis 26:28).
Isaac’s son Jacob, as well as his descendants, honored this peace treaty.
Hundreds of years later, when King David prepared to conquer Jerusalem, he was confronted by the reality that Jerusalem was inhabited by descendants of Abimelech, known as the “Yevusim” (Judges 19:10).
The Yevusim had erected statues referred to as the “blind and the lame” (II Samuel 5:6). The statues served to remind the Jews of Abraham’s oath that was honored by Isaac, who was blind (Genesis 27:1) and Jacob, who was lame (Genesis 32:26).
However, King David encouraged his soldiers to remove the statues and conquer Jerusalem. By removing the statues, David was proclaiming that the peace treaty was no longer valid because the Philistines [Yevusim] had broken the treaty when they waged war against the Jews (Judges 15) during the time of Samson. David understood that the Philistines’ action voided the treaty, and he was permitted to conquer Jerusalem and liberate this part of Israel, as promised to the Jewish people by God.
Once again, the Jewish people are fighting a battle for survival against enemies who do not honor peace agreements. I pray that the conflict will end soon, no more lives will be lost, and true peace will spread beyond the Middle East. On that day, we will rejoice with King David’s words, “God gives strength to his people; God blesses his people with peace” (Psalms 29:11).
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz
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