Tag Archives: Book of Samuel

Losing a Regained Grip

Introduction
We saw in the previous chapter that the death of Absalom was a reverse type of the death of the great son of David. We will see in this chapter another set of related contrasts—the attitude and response of the respective fathers involved.

The Text:

“And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son . . .” (2 Samuel 19:1-43)

Summary of the Text:

Joab was told that David was in mourning (v. 1). The victory of the people was consequently turned into mourning (v. 2). The troops crept back into the city, as though they had been defeated (v. 3). The king covered his face, and cried out loudly (v. 4)—meaning that he could not see or hear. Joab came in and rebuked him bluntly (vv. 5-6). He tells him to get out there and review the troops (v. 7). Word spread that the king had come out, and the troops appeared before him (v. 8).

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Between Heaven and Earth

Introduction
We see in this passage a stark contrast between the shrewdness of Joab and the sentiment of David. Joab was not a godly man, but he was often clear-headed about the politics of the thing. David was a godly man, but he was at times muddled by his own sense of mingled love and guilt. This is one of those times. We also see a striking example of what might be called a reverse type of Jesus, the Messiah.

The Text:

“And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. . .” (2 Sam. 18:1-33).

Summary of the Text:

So David set his troops in order (v. 1). He placed a third of them under Joab, a third under Abishai, Joab’s brother, and the remaining third under Ittai, the warrior from Gath who had just joined David (v. 2). When the elderly king set out to go to battle with them, he was diplomatically dissuaded (v. 3). The king reviewed the troops as they went out (v. 4). Everyone heard the order that David gave his three commanders concerning Absalom (v. 5). So they went out, and the battle was joined in the forest wilderness of Ephraim (v. 6). And Israel fell before the servants of David (v. 7). In the aftermath, the wilderness devoured more than the sword did (v. 8). Absalom himself encountered some of David’s soldiers, and as he was fleeing from them on his mule, his head got caught in the branches of a tree (v. 9). A soldier saw this and reported it to Joab (v. 10), only to have Joab rebuke him for not killing the rebel leader (v. 11). The man replied that he wouldn’t have killed Absalom for a million bucks, not after what David had said about it (v. 12). He would have taken his own life in his hands, and Joab wouldn’t have said a word to defend him (v. 13). Then Joab said he didn’t have time to argue like this, and took three sticks and thrust them into Absalom’s heart (v. 14). His ten armor bearers followed suit, and killed him (v. 15). So Joab blew the trumpet, and the pursuit of Israel ceased (v. 16). They then buried Absalom ignominiously (v. 17), he who had erected a pillar in his own honor during his lifetime (v. 18).

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A Toxic Civil War

Introduction
We see here in this passage that God is always sovereign, and His Word always comes to pass—regardless of who seems to be in power, and who seems to be powerless. Shrewd counsel is disregarded, and bad counsel followed, and why? Because God determines the movements of men.

The Text:
“Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night . . .” (2 Sam. 17:1-29).

Summary of the Text:
Ahithophel advises immediate pursuit with 12,000 men, which would represent all of Israel (v. 1). They are vulnerable, they will all scatter, and David only will be struck (v. 2). The people will become Absalom’s and there will be peace (v. 3). Absalom and all the elders were pleased with this advice (v. 4). But Absalom wanted a second opinion and called for Hushai (v. 5). When Hushai arrived, Absalom summarized Ahithophel’s counsel, and asked Hushai what he thought (v. 6).

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The Secret Things

Introduction
In the last chapter, we caught a glimpse of the old David. Here, in this passage, he is fading in and out. He is easily duped by Ziba, but he also shows great restraint and humility in the face of Shimei’s taunting. But, for all his stumbles, he remains a clear type of the Lord Jesus.

The Text:
“And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him . . .” (2 Sam. 16:1-23).

Summary of the Text:
As David passes the top of the mountain, Ziba arrives with many provisions (v. 1). David asks, and the provisions are explained (v. 2). The absence of Mephibosheth is noticed by David, and Ziba slanders his “master’s son” (v. 3). David impetuously gives all Mephibosheth’s holdings to Ziba (v. 4). David goes a little further, and encounters someone else from the house of Saul, a man named Shimei, a man cursing as he came (v. 5). Across some kind of a ravine, he threw rocks at David and his entourage (v. 6). He calls David a man of blood, and a son of worthlessness, a son of Belial (v. 7). He accuses David of bloodguilt concerning the house of Saul (v. 8), which was false. Abishai suggests that if someone were to cut off Shimei’s head, it would stop talking so much (v. 9). David rebukes Abishai, and says that the Lord is behind it (v. 10). Look, David says, my own son is trying to kill me. Why can’t this Benjamite curse (v. 11)? Perhaps the Lord will turn this cursing around (v. 12). As they continued, Shimei walked alongside them, cursing, throwing stones, and throwing dirt (v. 13). Eventually, they came to a stopping point, presumably the Jordan (v. 14).
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A Glimpse of the Old David

Introduction
As we begin to work through this passage, we see that David is still far too passive, far too trusting. Even though he is forgiven for his sin, he is forgiven in a palace. It is not until he is walking toward the wilderness, barefoot, as a seventy-year-old man, that we see the stirrings of the kind of shrewd faith that used to accompany him when he had to haunt the wilderness caves earlier in his life. Psalm 3 was written upon this occasion, and look to the great conclusion of verse 8. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

The Text:
“And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him . . .” (2 Sam. 15:1-37).

Summary of the Text:
So Absalom began acting like a Gentile king, in an ostentatious way (v. 1). He would get up early to come and play the demagogue in the gate (vv. 2-6). When he was forty years old, Absalom asked the king for permission to go and sacrifice in Hebron in order to fulfill a vow (vv. 7-9). The conspiracy was well-organized, strong, and shrewdly conducted—involving men who knew nothing of it as a cover (vv. 10-12). Ahithophel, Bathsheba’s grandfather, was among the conspirators. Before the arranged signal for revolt was given, a messenger came and warned David (v. 13). David acts swiftly (finally), and does so in a way that would spare the city (v. 14). All of his people, with the exception of ten concubines, depart with the king (vv. 15-17). His Gentile troops march past him, and David tries to dissuade some recently arrived Gittites (Philistines) from coming with him, but to no avail (vv. 18-22). Little ones are mentioned, which makes this a refugee column, not an army (v. 22). Everyone crossed the Kidron, heading for the wilderness (v. 23). Zadok and Abiathar bring the Ark with them, but David sends them back into Jerusalem for some priestly espionage (vv. 24-29). David went up the Mount Olivet, barefoot and with his head covered (v. 30). On the way David received word that Ahithophel had gone over to the other side, and he prayed in his old manner (v. 31). At the top of the mountain there was a shrine, a high place, and David prayed there. His answer to prayer, a man named Hushai, arrived at that very moment (v. 32). David gives him the mission of going over to Absalom’s side (vv. 33-36), in order to subvert Ahithophel’s counsel. So Hushai arrived in Jerusalem from the east, just as Absalom was arriving from the south (v. 37).
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A Field on Fire

Introduction
God continues to unroll the consequences of David’s sin, while at the same time fulfilling His gracious promises to David. Solomon is not mentioned in this section, but he is clearly waiting in the wings.

The Text:
“Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner . . .” (2 Sam. 14:1-33).

Summary of the Text:
So Joab saw the conflicted nature of David’s attitude toward Absalom (v. 1). He brought a wise woman from Tekoa and told her to present herself as a woman in mourning (v. 2), and to present herself to the king that way with a story that Joab gave her (v. 3). And so she came before the king, prostrated herself, and cried out for help (v. 4). David asks what is wrong, and she says she is a widow (v. 5). She had two sons who got in a fight in the field, and one killed the other (v. 6). The whole clan wants to kill the remaining son (which would be just), but this would destroy her one remaining heir (v. 7). David told her he would take care of it (v. 8). She wants more, and says that if he is worried about bloodguilt, she and her house will bear it (v. 9). David promises a little more (v. 10). She asks for more assurance, and he swears that not a hair of her son’s head would fall to earth (v. 11). But remember how Absalom died.

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David as Patsy

Introduction
This tragic story follows immediately after the David and Bathsheba tragedy. Details and names change, but we have a beautiful woman, fulfilled lust, and then murder.

The Text:
“And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her . . .” (2 Sam. 13:1-39)

Summary of the Text:
Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar, and Amnon loved her (v. 1). Amnon made himself sick over it (v. 2). Amnon had a friend in Jonadab, his cousin, and he was a man full of twists and turns (v. 3). He saw Amnon’s condition and found out the problem (v. 4). Jonadab came up with a plot to get them alone together (v. 5). So Amnon did it (v. 6). So David sent Tamar to her half-brother in his sick bed (v. 7). She prepared the food, but he refused it, and sent everybody out (vv. 8-9). He invited her to his inner chamber (v. 10).

When she did, he grabbed her and said “come, lie with me” (v. 11). She refuses—it would disgrace both her and him (vv. 12-13). But he was stronger, and raped her (v. 14). Then Amnon hated her with greater hatred than the love he had for her before (v. 15).
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You Are the Man

Introduction
David sinned grievously, but his repentance went as deep as his sin had gone. We see complete forgiveness in this portion of the story, offered to David, and received by him. We also see that the reality of ongoing consequences is not the same thing as lack of forgiveness. We must learn to stop reading the latter in terms of the former.

The Text:

“And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor . . .” (2 Sam. 12:1-31)

Summary of the Text:

As many messengers had been sent in the previous chapter, so now the Lord sends Nathan the prophet to David (v. 1). The prophet tells him a stylized story about a rich man and a poor one (v. 1). The rich man had many flocks (v. 2), while the poor man had only one small ewe lamb, like one of the family (v. 3). A traveler came, and the rich man killed the poor man’s sheep in order to feed his guest (v. 4). David got angry, and said that such a man deserved to die (v. 5). Because he had no pity, he will have to restore four-fold (v. 6). And so Nathan then said, “You are the man” (v. 7). God made you king over everything (vv. 7-8), and God would have done even more than that (v. 8). But you killed Uriah and took his wife (v. 9). The sword will therefore not depart from your house (v. 10). Revolt will come from within your own house (v. 11), and another man will publicly sleep with your wives (v. 12).

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