Hiel – Steve

Hiel – 1 Kings 16:34 – Steve

This one has puzzled me from the first time I read it.  I wasn’t sure how to take it.  It has never been clear to me Hiel even knew about the curse.  I thought maybe he was like Oedipus, condemned to fulfill a curse without knowing how to avoid it.  Still don’t know what to make of it and don’t think the heavy hitters do either.  I copied Adam Clark’s commentary on it below, but it doesn’t sound to me like he understands it either.
The other possibility that occurs to me is that Hiel is ambitious and defiant.  The commission to rebuild Jericho may have meant to him what the Sistine Chapel did to Michelangelo – his big breakout commission, the one that will put him on the map for all time.  Maybe he’s heard about the curse, maybe he hasn’t.  Maybe he just dismisses it b/c this commission is just too good to pass up, damn the consequences.
In this scenario his first son dies and he writes it off to coincidence.  Abriam dies in what seems to be an accident.  Disturbing, but Hiel convinces himself it’s was just bad luck. Like when the hapless young thing hears that first twig snap behind her in the dead of night and tries to convince herself no one is following her.
Maybe he’s not even sure when his younger son dies at the end of the project.  Or maybe he’s more sure than he lets on to himself and just doesn’t want to own it.  Or maybe it destroys him when he realizes what he’s done.
If I’m wrong about all this, then it’s some form of child sacrifice I’ve never heard of.  If he’s doing it deliberately, he’s doing it like Abraham would have offered a sheep.  It’s propitiation for a good result for the project.  How many son’s did he have?  Did it cost him all of them?  Did he decide two out of four wasn’t too high a price to pay?  Or was he just an ambitious asshat who didn’t give a rip about his children?  Seems like there’s lots of latitude in this one.

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