King David and Genghis Khan: A Comparison on Cultural Anthropology
To be a king, one needs his generals and soldiers to be loyal and be devoted to him, besides God blesses him and he shows understanding of the times. It has no exception at all times and in all countries. The two following stories are about the warriors look for drinks for their masters at the risk of their lives. From the stories, we can learn that it’s both hard to be a king and be a general.
It is recorded in “the Old Testament, 2 Samuel” that King David longed to drink the well water from Bethlehem. So his three warriors went to look for the water at the risk of their lives. When they found the water and offered up it to King David, King David did not dare to drink it. He dedicated the water to Jehovah to show his reverence toward God. It’s not easy to be king. In the belief of the Jews, the legitimacy of the judges and the kings come from God. King David devoted himself to Jehovah for God’s Grace and his victory. Jehovah is the only dependence in the hearts of King David and his people. They must serve God all the time without any carelessness.
It is recorded in “The Secret History of the Mongols” that one day Genghis Khan got injured in a war, he needed cheese to survive. Zheliemie, one of Genghis Khan’s general, went to the enemy camp to search for cheese at the risk of his life. Zheliemie was almost naked when he went to the enemy camp. He came and went in the enemy camp, found a barrel of cheese, but no one saw him. Just like the warriors look for the water for King David at the risk of his life, Zheliemie also has a dangerous experience during his searching for cheese for his master. It’s also not easy to be a general.
People don’t understand why Zheliemie need to be naked to steal things from the enemy camp. At that time, Genghis Khan asked the same question to Zheliemie. Zheliemie answered, “If the enemies catch me, I’ll say to them, ‘I want to surrender to you, but they realized and caught me. They were going to kill me, so they took off my clothes. When there were only my underpants left, I ran away.’ If I say so, being almost naked, they’ll believe me, give me clothes and accept me. So I’ll have a chance to find a horse to come back.” It is also recorded in “The Secret History of the Mongols” that once Genghis Khan was defeated by Jamuqa. Jamuqa killed some followers of Genghis Khan by throwing them into a boiling cauldron. It has yet to be proved whether traitors are taken off their clothes when they are executed in ancient Mongolia, but the answer of Zheliemie is reasonable and logical, because it’s unreasonable to kill someone who is dressed in by throwing him into a boiling cauldron.
When the westerns do research, they often won’t neglect some details, and their persistence in the details often brings out surprising result. There is an American historian who studies the history of Mongolia. When he did research on the history of Mongolia, he cared about the part of the streaking, and he was not satisfied with Zheliemie’s answer. So he decided to go to Mongolia for his investigation. He spent five years in Mongolia. In most times, he lived with the most traditional Nomadic Mongols. So he shifted from a historian to an expert in cultural anthropology. He discovered a custom in Mongolia. When a Mongolian goes out of the yurt to relieve himself in the evening, if others run into him, they should avoid looking at him to show their respect to him. Zheliemie went into the enemy camp only wearing his underpants. When the enemies saw him almost naked, they might think one of their person just went to relieve himself and avoided looking at him, rather than no one saw him in the enemy camp. Zheliemie’s appearance is battle fatigues in cultural anthropology, so the enemies turn a blind eye to him, and he successfully stole cheese for Genghis Khan. If Zheliemie went to the enemy camp with arms, he must be killed by the enemies and never come back. Then Genghis Khan can hardly keep himself alive, and the history will be full of countless variables.