Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I'm blogging back again to the Psalms: Psalms 82...

"All rise."  God is in the house!  He is the ultimate judge. 

"God takes His stand in His own congregation;
He judges in the midst of the rulers.
How long will you judge unjustly
And show partiality to the wicked?
Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked."
(Psalm 82:1-4)

Who says Christians can't get political?  God is interested, invested in governments.  We can't be whimpies and keep our heads in the sand.  It is our privilege in our blessed nation to be able to freely vote.  It is a precious responsibility to choose those who will best lead as described above.  Sometimes it seems as if instead of choosing between  "good, better, best," it is between bad, worse and worst!"  Nevertheless,  God is ultimately over all, and all will answer to him.

"Arise, O God! judge the earth;
Thou shalt inherit all nations."
"Arise, O God, judge the earth!
For it is You who possesses all the nations."

God is concerned over the treatment of the weak, the fatherless, the afflicted and destitute and the needy, those who seem helplessly tied to the railroad tracks of the wicked.  He sees.  He knows.  He will ultimately bring justice.  "Vengeance is Mine, Thus saith the Lord!" (Deuteronomy 32:35)
"Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.
For the Lord will vindicate His people,
And will have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their strength is gone."
(NASV Deuteronomy 32:25-26

An eleven year old sentenced to eight days of hard labor for stealing.
"Magistrates are the mighty.  They are so in authority, for the public good...God stands, He judges among them; they have their power from Him and are accountable to Him.  'By Him kings reign.'
God has their hearts in His hands, and His counsels shall stand, whatever devices are in men's hearts.
Let magistrates consider this and be awed by it; God is with them in the judgment Let subjects consider this and be comforted with it; for good princes and good judges are under a divine direction, and bad ones are under a divine they will answer it to Him by whom they are entrusted with it." (Matthew Henry)

Speaking of family history, oh we weren't?  But now we are considering how we are talking about justice, and when it goes awry:  the Hatfields-McCoy Feud personifies when justice goes rogue, family honor, justice, and revenge.

Somehow we are shirttail relatives of the Hatfields since  Nancy Vance was married to Ephraim Hatfield (born 1765) and was the mother of Devil Anse and sister to Big Bad Jim Vance who rode with Devil Anse leading a regiment of Confederates.  (I just read up a little about it in Wikipedia.) 

Now, I must admit, I'm pretty brave to post such an ugly mug shot and still claim her.

Asa McCoy
First their regiment known as the Logan Wildcats killed Asa McCoy after he had been wounded and imprisoned and sent home.  Asa was one of the only McCoys who fought for the Union.  It was thought that Big Bad Jim Vance was the culprit.  There had been killings and retribution killings among these Confederates and Union officers, one of whom Devil Anse killed.  The McCoys were led by Ole Ran'l McCoy (whose grandfather immigrated from Ireland where he was born in 1750).

Ole Ran'l McCoy

Most McCoys lived in Kentucky while most Hatfields lived over the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in West Virginia. (We did not make it that far north in our travels.) Then a McCoy claimed a Hatfield hog.  Uh-huh.  Evidently the notchings on the hog's ears were not clear.  So the Justice of the Peace, "Preacher Anse Hatfield," assembled a jury of six Hatfields and six McCoys.  It swung in favor of the Hatfields by the testimony of one who was related to both the Hatfields and  McCoys.  He was later shot dead by the McCoys.  The hog settlement might have gotten off Scott-free--(or should we say, Scotch-Irish-free?)  but resentments were building.

Then of all things, Johnes (Johnson) Hatfield, Devil Anse's son, took up with a Roseanna McCoy, got her pregnant but his father was against a marriage; so he let her go and took up with her first cousin instead, Nancy, and married her.  Hmm.   However, when McCoys rounded up them some Hatfields, including Johnes on a charge of bootlegging, Roseanna ran over and warned the Hatfields.  So the Hatfields went about freeing them. 

Then when three of the McCoys, brothers of Roseanna, stabbed Devil Anse Hatfield's brother twenty-five times before shooting him dead, the law did step in, Hatfield constables, but so did the Devil Anse Hatfield gang who got ahold of them murdering McCoys, and did a little justice on their own: they tied them to a pawpaw bush and shot them fifty times.  Devil Anse Hatfield was charged with vigilantisim, but was never brought in along with his other charges of bootlegging. 

Then the governor was bribed to get involved, sent out bounty hunters after the Hatfields, and it all broke out into "HE-double toothpicks."  Somehow bad boy Johnes and a gang of Hatfields later sought retribution and burned out the cabin of a McCoy, beating Randall's wife to death and shooting his daughter and a couple of children while a couple more kids got frostbite while fleeing, but the mother of Johnes' child was smoked out but not killed.  The law came in putting eight Hatfields and associates in jail and hanging the one who killed the woman, Cotton Top Hatfield.   A posse was sent out, Big Bad Jim Vance was shot dead, but Devil Anse was not among them.  He just moved further up in them thar hills and kept to himself.  His brother Valentine was one of the ones found guilty however, and spent the rest of his life in prison. After a couple dozen were killed in both families, with even the Supreme Court getting involved, the two families finally called a truce.  The moral to the story is rogue justice is out of order.
Valentine Hatfield
There is redemption however.  Though some say Devil Anse Hatfield never repented of killing anyone, it is said that he became a Christian and was baptized and spent the rest of his life in peace.
A Mr. Hatfield and a Miss McCoy intermarry,
evidence of the end of the feud.

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