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Benedict XVI and Barzillai: Time to Bow Out Gracefully

Written by Gary North on February 12, 2013

When King David was on the run from his revolutionary son Absalom, Barzillai helped him (II Sam. 17:28). After Absalom’s death, King David returned to Jerusalem. On the way, he met Barzillai.

Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim, and he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. And the king said to Barzillai, “Come over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am this day eighty years old. Can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be one added burden to my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king repay me with such a reward? Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Let him go over with my lord the king, and do for him whatever seems good to you.” And the king answered, “Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you, and all that you desire of me I will do for you.” Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over. And the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. All the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way (II Sam. 19:31-40).

Barzillai knew he was too old to carry on. He refused the great honor of accompanying King David back to Jerusalem. He knew he would be a burden. He knew his advice might be poor, because of his infirmities. So, he wished the King well, but stayed behind.

Pope Benedict XVI has decided to imitate Barzillai. He will retire to a monastery, where he will be cared for. Someone else will replace him. Someone else will bear the burdens.

His decision is unique in modern papal history. It may set a trend. Or it may be regarded as a unique decision like no other: a Pope who admitted he was human, and therefore no longer fit for duty in old age.

I hope I depart with equal grace when I have a terminal case of Barzillai syndrome.

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43 thoughts on “Benedict XVI and Barzillai: Time to Bow Out Gracefully

  1. A very gracious, respectful and sensitive article. Well done Pope Benedict and well done Mr. North.

    • Texas Chris says:

      Agreed.

      • Marlene Langert says:

        Do not agree! I do feel the Pope has been brave to do what he has done and I respect him for it.I believe he is doing the right thing. However, since I will be 80- in 2 1/2 yrs, I do not agree that anyone who is 80 or close to it should step back. Contribute what you can as long as you can. keep your ears open and learn as long as you can. In other words, keep living until you die!
        Now, on another subject, I am jewish, my daughter-in-law is Evangelistic CHristian. She has taught me a lot. Yesterday we were talking about the pope's action and she told me that the next pope will be a forerunner or a helper of the anti-CHrist. THings are happening quickly in our time. It is my hope that I live long enough to see all of this happen.

        • Marlene, you obviously haven't arrived at the age of "Barzillai syndrome". It's different for different people. Carry on, and blessings to you!

    • the Holy Father is a most humble and faithful servant and it took great courage and wisdom from the Holy Spirit–I have nothing but praise for this man

    • The Illuminati mentality reigns on this website. Clearly few here believe that any man, even the Vicar of Christ on earth, has an obligation to fulfill his duty. Like a CEO, he steps down and abdicates his responsibility. And the crowd roars its approval. Is nothing sacred to you people?

    • Discussion link:
      Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, has scheduled a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano

      Another country is charging Ratzinger with crimes…he is going to the Italian president to seek immunity on the 23rd
      I think Jesus is sanctifying his church because he's coming back soon.

  2. Albert Maslar says:

    Pope Benedict made a wise decision to retire in his declining old age, probably in keeping with the will of God. Hopefully the Holy Spirit will guide mere men into making a God-willed selection for the next Pope who will have his hands full and need all the earthly and heavenly strength he can muster. The forces of evil have never been so ominous as today.

  3. HowardRoark says:

    King David was a fool for not properly vetting Chimham. It is good that the US has not accepted George Soros, but his younger agent, Barack Obama, is destroying the nation. David did all this just because Barzillai provided him with food. Sounds a lot like Esau and the mess of pottage, doesn't it? So, Soros comes along and offers the nation food stamps, and give his protege Obama the keys to the kingdom. Now, he has made a Muslim head of the CIA!

  4. Now comes the False Prophet, Peter of Rome!

    • Petrus Romanus is not the next to come, and he is not a false prophet.

    • I heard that the new pope will be the last pope according to the last day prediction. Has anyone else heard this or believes it?

      • gus gianello says:

        Malachy had a vision and made predictions concerning 104 popes. He spoke of Peter Romanus as being the last pope to lead the Roman church which Malachy believed to be Gods church. Malachy was a false prophet and the Roman church-state is the whore of babylon. As a former RC and now professing Reformed Christian of 40 yrs I am convinced that the whore of babylon and antichrist, aka man of sin of Revelation and II Thes are the RC church and office of the papacy respectively. ALL of the reformers believed this and so did the original presbyterian standards, the Westminster Confession and Catechism. God gives genuine prophecy to false prophets as in the case of Balaam. Malachy has visions and prophesies in the 1100s AD, long after the canon closed and therefore tongues, prophecy and visions had ceased. The charismatic and pentecostal movements have paved the way to the acceptance of RC doctrine, clergy and laity as genuine Christians. Theyre not. They worship the bread in the Eucharist, in a ritual called the Adoration of the Eucharist. Google it. Pls see 1John 4:1, 2 Cor 11, 1 Tim. 4:1ff, 2 Tim. 3:1ff, 2 Thess. 3

        Gus Gianello

      • gus gianello says:

        Email corrected

        • Actually, Malachy predicted 112 popes. From 1139 to 1590, those popes may be tainted, though, because there appears to be where cardinals were groomed to fit the predictions, favoring some over others. So, it's questionable on those first ones if they truly did fit the prophecies of Malachy.

        • And you do not understand history. You are blaming and following the same theology that has been believed for 100s of years. However, you must understand that the peoples who comprised the Roman Empire's legions that destroyed the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD were NOT Romans, but rather Syrians, Persians, Arabs. The commanders of the legions were Romans, only. There weren't enough Romans to fill the legions then, so they hired mercenaries from the surrounding territories. At the time of the destruction of the temple, the commanders didn't even know it was being ransacked and destroyed until it was already under way, and they couldn't stop the frenzied actions of their men intent on destroying the Jews then.

        • So, what does that tell you? It is Islam that is the Whore of Babylon, and where the Antichrist will arise from, not the RCC. The Ottoman Empire was in existence until the early 1900s. The Ottoman Empire was the eastern half of the Roman Empire, and it never died out. It is arising, as a phoenix, now, and the Islamic Caliphate is being formed, by Ergodan of Turkey (Istanbul, once Constantinople) and Morsi of Egypt (the King of the North and the King of the South, respectively). Both want an Islamic Caliphate back… along with Iran, Saudi Arabia, et al. Why do you think we are seeing Arabic uprising in the Islam-dominated countries of the world? Why do you think Obama is helping the Muslim Brotherhood, who is behind the toppling of the countries that have monarchies (such as Syria, Jordan, et al), or dictatorships (as Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya, et al)? It is all tied in, together.

    • Must read! "Petrus Romanus, the Final Pope is Here" by Malachi Martin, a Jesuit Priest from NYC. I hope he is still living. Also read "Windswept House". And another of his books I now plan to read, "The Final Conclave". This resignation was the fulfillment of a Catholic prophecy, prophesied several hundred years. It was supposed to happen in 2012, possibly around his birthday or at least by the end of the year. Petrus Romanus was so compelling that I read it twice, over 500 pages, I couldn't hardly put it down.

    • Your masters the false prophet and false god cannot wait of your arrival in their kingdom. PRAISE BE JESUS NOW AND FOREVER. MOTHER MARY PRAY FOR US.

  5. a pope who admits he is human. I wonder what these people think they become when they get a title in front of their name?

    • Alas, it is not the person who receives the title but those that they serve that put them at the top. If you read the story of all true heroes and the "true" Popes they struggled like all humans, but remembered who they should be humbled to and never forgot that they were and in Benedict's case "is" a servant of the Lord. If you don't understand the guidance of the Holy Spirit then it is hard to understand this belief.

      And let us not forget that Obama has suggested that he is the Savior of this nation and it is he that looks down on the people.. ….that is the difference between someone human and a servant of the Lord and someone who tries to make everyone else believe "that he IS the Lord" and above all things and people.

    • You might want to ask President Obama that very question!

  6. Doctor_Bob says:

    I think the simplest and obvious answer is the correct one: he's a tired old man, and wants to sit down and stay there. You can see the extreme fatigue in his face. For him, just standing there and being draped with all the fancy robes, that thing he wears on his head, and carrying that obviously heavy cross thingie is probably more than his body can bear. Let him retire, take to the Monastery (or wherever he wants to go), and put his feet up. For him, it's time.

    • Yes, he is tired and he is old because he is human. He will no longer wear the robes and the miter or carry a staff but what he will do is not put his feet up but go into a solitary life and pray every minute of every hour that he can. He will no longer carry the significant burdens of a Pastor but he will still carry and care about the world, the wars, the weary people, the good, the bad and the ugly. And every day that he has left on this earth will be spent praying for all of us no matter who or what we are.
      Amen Benedict and God speed!

  7. It's a fortunate man that knows when to bow out gracefully, or while they're still on top. Politicians, pro jocks, actors, and churchmen should all pay attention.

    • Most Champions (fighters) don't know when to quit and when they begin their decline it's usually pretty rapid. As Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry) said: "A man's gotta know his limitations… " Carrying the heavy burden of being the Pope is no small task it's why so many have died in office. Look at how our U.S. President's age after just 4-8 years and his burdens are no less than theirs. God's Speed and Blessings Pope Benedict!

  8. THE Roman Catholic Church has made a mess of taking advantage of the Alter Boys ,abusing them and thinking nothing of it ,Except happy am I ,and I won't be prosecuted ,pay a little money that others have donated and everything is okay ???This sinful ways of this orginization has been going on forever ,Man may not stop this ungodly behavior ,but Jesus Christ has and answer ,Vengrence is mime sayeth THE LORD GOD !!! Ishall repay !!!

    • frank martinez says:

      Hey Jimbo…those alter boys liked it…if they had not they would of told their parents…yes a few done so…and yes so the story goes, alter boys would not dare tell mom and pop..feared that they would not believe,maybe even spank them for such accusations of the holy man…In it does not happen only in the Catholic Church, many cases of come to light about other
      non-Catholic churches…less we forget the school teachers,Scout masters,next door neighbors, relatives..
      The Catholic Church is the whipping 'boy'..it 's a giant of an institution, not looked upon as favorable by many other religions.
      Even wonder why these boys waited so long to come clean of their molestation's? Their guilt was equal to that of the men who desired them…wonder if money had anything to do with all of the 'por me cuppa' from these persons?

  9. Interesting article, very well-said. The Pope had the sense enough to say "I can't do it," and retired. It's okay to admit you're human, even if you're Pope.

  10. I believe the story that the Pope was escorted off the scene by the anti-Illuminati forces acting in the background. Queen Beatrix, who announced her resignation two weeks ago, was the first major domino to fall.

    My eyes are now on Queen Elizabeth and Obama; I think they will resign, too, and soon.

    The forces of good are sweeping up the forces of evil — e.g., Petreaus, the blind supporter of Israel — in the background.

    • Obama isn't going to resign. Far be it… at first I had my doubts, but now I believe he IS the antichrist. The Bible said that the antichrist would be worshipped and recognized as the Messiah. What do we see now, in the news, and for the last 4 years?

  11. The Pope is a true man of God and has done a great job. Let's face it he is tired and is sick and deserve to retire just like all human beings. And as far as the sexual abuses done to the alter boy's who are we to judge the priest or any other clergy. God is the judge and they will be judge by Him.And remember if they confess their sin of sexual pleasure and was forgiven in confession we must remeber Jesus said whose sins are forgiven are forgiven.And whose sins are not are not.

    • Sincere supernatural confession obtains Christ's forgiveness for sins however, for our confession to be meaningful individuals must refrain from committing the same sin(s) again (avoiding the near occasion of sin). Being a pedophile rapist, adulterer, murderer etc., is not an excuse to commit the same sin again. Humans with such appetities need to seek counselling and avoid situations that whet their appetites for such behaviors. Looking in the mirror and seeing the sinner is diffcult we are all God's children. A just governing society will have disciplines in place for crimes and still will not be perfect. Socially we need to return our relationships back to their proper roles as God intended versus the human social engineers, hollywood culture and public relations (AD firms) behaviors portrayed as "Normal".

    • Maybe this IS God's hand working in this

  12. geneww1938 says:

    Just pray his successor will be a Biblicists and understand God's adversaries based in the Middle East and rapidly spreading. Let's pray he has wisdom and will be bold to protect Biblical believers out side of his domain

  13. I consider that the title of "Pope" is not a job, but rather an appointment from the Almighty. As such, I believe that this desire to escape and lay down the burden is an unworthy act which must be characterized as either fear, dereliction of duty, selfishness, or lack of reverence. In any case, I leave it to his Boss to sort it out, yet I don't think this should be greeted with accolades for the shirker.

  14. Benedict: the first pope to retire in over 700 years. Every other one has died in office (or been murdered like John Paul I). Even John Paul II was wheeled out drooling and non compos mentis onto the balcony of St. Peter's at the end of his reign, rather than be "retired". There's something sub rosa about this sudden untimely exit from a lifetime gig.

    • I posted the link above

      Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, has scheduled a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
      Kevin Annett: Breaking News: February 14, 2013

      Pope Benedict to seek immunity and protection from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on February 23 –

      International Tribunal calls on Napolitano to "not collude in criminality", and announces global campaign to occupy Vatican property and launch human rights inquiry in Italy

      Media Release from The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State – Brussels

      Rome (9 am local time):

      Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, has scheduled a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano for Saturday, February 23 to discuss securing protection and immunity from prosecution from the Italian government, according to Italian media sources.

      Ratzinger's meeting follows upon the apparent receipt by the Vatican of a diplomatic note from an undisclosed European government on February 4, stating its intention to issue an arrest warrant for Ratzinger, who resigned from his pontificate less than a week later.

  15. Glory be to God
    Now if He would just rid us of our banksters and evil politicians as I have prayed for so often.

  16. I see you are removing my posts about the real truth….as if you think that won't go viral???

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