Today's Bible Commentary

  2 SAMUEL Daily Bible Readings
  Commentary, Cross Reference Bible, and Bible Dictionary
Books on 2 Samuel from Amazon.com
 

1 SAMUEL | 2 Thessalonians | | 2 SAMUEL | 1 Timothy | 1 KINGS

DateScripturesDaily devotional commentary
Apr 13-21: 1 Samuel | Apr 22: 2 Thessalonians
Apr 22 2 Thessalonians 1-3
2 Samuel 1-2
Why God's People Suffer
Fighting For The Promise
Apr 23 2 Samuel 3-5Power Plays
Apr 24 2 Samuel 6-9Getting Stronger and Stronger
Apr 25 2 Samuel 10-12Lust Fulfilled Despises the LORD
Apr 26 2 Samuel 13-14"One Sin Drags Another"
Apr 27 2 Samuel 15-17David's Punishment
Apr 28 2 Samuel 18-19Counting the Cost of Sin
Apr 29 2 Samuel 20-22Deceit, Rebellion, More War, and a Song
Apr 30 2 Samuel 23-24King David's Later Life
May 1-2: 1 Timothy

Fighting for the Promise

April 22 reading
2 Thessalonians 1-3 (C)
2 Samuel 1-2
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* The Book of Yashar (Jashar) * Pool of Gibeon, BiblePlaces.com * Mahanaim and Hebron
LAMENT: "Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen." (1:19)
Thought for today: It is better to inquire of the Lord BEFORE making decisions and plans.
After fighting and defeating some of the Amalekites, David was back home in Ziklag (in the Simeon section of Judah, but given to him by the Philistine leader) when he heard that Saul was dead. An Amalekite living among the Israelites took advantage of the situation to come tell David and his men how Saul had died. He revised the story, saying that Saul's attempt at suicide had only left him mortally wounded, and that the Amalekite had finished him off at Saul's request. True or not, if the Amalekite man had hoped David would reward him, by saying, "I killed the LORD's anointed" he had shown contempt for the LORD. David had him killed.

David wrote a lament for the deaths of Saul and his son Jonathan, "... in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted." By his order, all the men of Judah were taught this lament of the bow, and wrote it in the Book of Jashar.

After awhile, David inquired of the LORD if he should move to one of the towns of Judah. The LORD told him to move with his wives and all his men to Hebron where soon after, he was anointed king of Judah. He reigned there 7 years and 6 months. One of his first acts as king was to honor the men of Jabesh Gilead for burying Saul. (Scriptures on Jabesh Gilead. 1 Samuel on Saul's hometown, Jabesh Gilead)

Notice that even though Samuel had obeyed the LORD to anoint David as successor to Saul as king, the kingdom wasn't just handed over to David. David had to fight for the promise. Saul's commander, Abner, made Saul's 40 year old son Ish-Bosheth king over Gilead, Ashuri, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel. Ish-Bosheth's men lead by Abner met David's men led by Joab at the pool of Gibeon going from a wrestling match to a deadly battle. Abner returned to Mahanaim, and Joab to Hebron.

Power Plays

April 23 reading
2 Samuel 3-5
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* From Hebron to Jerusalem, BiblePlaces.com
* David, Jewish Encyclopedia
PROMISE: "May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!" (3:39b)
Thought for today: The Lord promised and Samuel anointed, but David
was required to use obedience and faith before becoming king of Israel.
The transition of power from King Saul of Israel to King David was not smooth. David was busy in Hebron with six wives, and they began having children:

David's 1st son
with Ahinoam
of Jezreel
1. Amnon
David's 2nd son
with Abigail
widow of Nabal
2. Kileab (aka Chileab)
David's 3rd son
with Maacah
dau of Talmai of Geshur
3. Absalom
David's 4th son
with Haggith
--
4. Adonijah
David's 5th son
with Abital
--
5. Shephatiah
David's 6th son
with Eglah
--
6. Ithream
In Jerusalem, David took more concubines and wives. His children born there were:
Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Hepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

But David was also busy with affairs of state. Saul's commander, Abner, had a falling out over a woman with Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son and temporary successor. So Abner sent word to David that they should make an agreement. David agreed to meet with Abner, so long as he brought David's first wife, Michal, back to him. (Her father Saul had annulled their marriage and married her to Paltiel, son of Laish.) When Abner took Michal away from Paltiel, he followed - weeping - behind her until Abner commanded him to go home. Then Abner and David met to work out the agreement for David to become king of Israel, including Saul's Benjaminites.

After Abner left to present the agreement to his people, David's men with Joab returned from a successful raid. Joab hated Abner for killing his brother, and was upset with David for letting Abner make peace. A better warrior than diplomatic leader, David had no control over Joab going after Abner, and murdering him. Later when David heard about Joab's blood revenge, he cursed him and his family, but allowed Joab to live and be part of the burial ceremony. David fasted until sun set, and the word spread that David had had no part of killing Abner. David told his men that Joab and his brothers were too strong, but David trusted that the LORD would repay them.

Rather than taking revenge on David, Ish-Bosheth and all Israel became afraid. Two of Ish-Bosheth's own raiding party leaders came into his bedroom and killed him. The two men anticipated David's pleasure when they brought him Ish-Bosheth's head, but David had them killed for murdering Saul's son. Now there was only one son of Saul left alive, Mephibosheth, who had been crippled since he was 5 when his nurse dropped him while rushing to get him into hiding when Saul and Jonathan died at Jezreel. Now he was almost a teenager.

All the tribes of Israel sent representatives to David at Hebron, and anointed him king over all Israel. He had become King of Judah when he was 30 years old, and reigned in Hebron for 7 years and 6 months. When he attacked the fortress of Zion at Jerusalem, the Jebusites were sure their city would not fall. But the LORD was with him, and David moved to Jerusalem, nicknaming it the "City of David". David became more and more powerful because the LORD was with him. He also may have equated increasing power with the number of wives and children he had.

Responses to David as king were varied. The king of Tyre sent the means to built a cedar palace for him in Jerusalem. The Philistines gathered for war twice, and the LORD provided David with specific instructions for defeating them both times.

Getting Stronger and Stronger

April 24 reading
2 Samuel 6-9
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* David the King, Aish.com
* 2 Samuel, MessiahRevealed.org
* Israel today: War and West Bank
PROMISE: ".. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies." (7:10-11)
Thought for today: The LORD revised into promises what were only David's good intentions (to build the Lord a house). Is this the LORD's usual way of dealing with man? (from 7:1-17; 7:19b)
King David led 30,000 men to bring the ark of God from Abinadab's house in Baalah of Judah to Jerusalem with a great celebrating procession. But when the oxen stumbled and Uzzah, a son of Abinadab, reached out and held the ark, the LORD struck Uzzah down and he died. This made David angry and afraid of bringing the ark any farther, so it was taken to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. When it was evident that the LORD blessed Obed-Edom and his household, after 3 months David went to bring the ark of God on up to Jerusalem. Again celebrating and rejoicing, David was very careful to have animal sacrifices made after those carrying the ark took 6 steps. David himself wore a linen ephod, and danced so adamently before the LORD that his wife Michal - who once had loved him - now despised what she saw of his behavior. After the sacrifices to the LORD and bread and cakes distributed to all the people in attendance, David came home to bless his household. Instead, Michael criticised his undignified behavior and dress. David declared that he not only would celebrate before the LORD but would be undignified and humiliated doing it. But, he said, the slave girls Michal held in contempt would honor David. And Michal never had children.

Reflecting on the peace given to Israel by the LORD, one day David realized he was living in a cedar palace but the ark of God was still in a tent. When David mentioned this to Nathan the prophet, Nathan told David to go ahead with whatever he had in mind to do. But that night the LORD told Nathan what to tell David instead. Had the LORD ever asked for a house instead of a tent? Wasn't living in a tent practical for staying with Israel on the move? The LORD had even moved David from the pastures and following the flocks, to the throne and ruling over the LORD's people Israel. The LORD had promises for David. The LORD would establish a house for David. The LORD would make David's name great, and would establish his kingdom. David's own offspring would succeed him as king, and would be the one to build the house for the LORD's name. The son of David would be the son of the LORD, punished when he did wrong but always loved. Not like Saul.

David was overwhelmed by the LORD's plan and generosity for him and his successors, and told Him so. "Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign LORD? ... There is no God but you. ... And who is like your people Israel - the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself... Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, 'The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!' .. with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever." And David went back to his assignment of defeating enemies for the LORD and governing Israel. Joab commanded the army. Jehoshaphat was recorder. Zadok and Ahimelech were priests. Seraiah was secretary. Benaiah was over the Kerethites and Pelethites (couriers?)(body guards?)(special Philistine forces?). David's sons were royal advisors.

What do we find here besides history? David cared about the LORD. He cared about worshiping the LORD. He interacted with the LORD. David's own victories - over lion then Goliath then other enemies - matched the promise the LORD had made to Israel that they would succeed gradually (Deut 7:22). David had defeated the Philistines and the Ammonites, and the Moabites paid tribute in fear of David allowing a third of them to live. When Israel defeated Hadadezer of Zobah, David's control extended to the Euphrates River. David's troups defeated the Arameans and the Edomites also paid tribute to Israel.

An internal loose end David decided to tie up was to find someone in Saul's house still alive, more for Jonathan than for his promise to Saul. Ziba had served Saul, and he knew where Jonathan's lame son Mephibosheh was living. David met Mephibosheh, then restored all of Saul's land to him and assigned Ziba (who had 15 sons and 20 servants) to farm that land for Saul's grandson. Crippled in both feet, Mephibosheth, who had a son Mica, moved from Lo Debar to Jerusalem and was always to eat at the kings table.

Lust Fulfilled Despises the LORD

April 25 reading
2 Samuel 10-12
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Was Nahash kind to David?

PROMISE: "Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight." (10:12) - Israel Commander Joab to his brother, Abishai
Thought for today: By making decisions based upon lust and greed for getting things his way, David was despising the LORD's word. With far reaching disastrous results, David's human failings weren't what the LORD loved about him.
Whether this is another example of one of King David's good intentions backfiring or not, I'm not yet sure. But the advisors to Hanun of Ammon thought David's message of sympathy for the death of Hanun's father, Nahash, was only a means for spying out the capitol city. So Hanun had the delegation from David physically humiliated and sent back to Israel. The Ammonites hired Aramean foot soldiers plus the king of Maacah and men from Tob to join them in fighting against Israel's retaliation. Israel's army was led by Joab, not David anymore. Joab placed some of his troups to fight the Arameans, and the rest under Abishai (Joab's brother) to fight the Ammonites. Israel defeated both the Arameans and the Ammonites, and the Arameans didn't work with the Ammonites against Israel again. Israel's war with the Ammonites resumed at the ususal time kings went to war - the next spring. Again, David sent Joab off in command of the army while the king stayed back in Jerusalem.

It was at this time that walking on roof of his palace, David saw Bathsheba bathing. She was the wife of Uriah the Hittite who was a loyal member of Israel's army. David sent for her, slept with her, and they conceived a child. Then David sent for Uriah to come back from the army base camp. He obeyed and came, but Uriah refused to sleep with in comfort with his wife so long as the rest of the army was sleeping in tents. Even getting Uriah drunk didn't dissuade him. So David sent Uriah back to the front with orders to Joab to put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is most dangerous, then withdraw from him so he will be killed. So during the seige of Ammon, Uriah was killed from his position close to the city's strongest defenders. Israel had learned the lesson not to get so close to cities in war when a woman dropped a millstone on Abimelech from her city wall. But David was not so upset as Joab expected, and David sent word to Joab to press on and destroy the city. Uriah's wife mourned him during the prescribed period. Afterward, David brought her into his house, she became his wife, and bore him a son.

The LORD was displeased with David, and sent Nathan the prophet to him with orders to tell him a parable. The rich man of the story had taken and sacrificed the one valued possession of a poor man. David reacted to the story with anger, and then Nathan identified David as the person illustrated in the story. Jolted back to reality by the LORD's confrontation, David admitted his sin. The LORD responded through Nathan. David's sin was taken away so it would not kill him. But his son with Bathsheba would die.

Sometime after Nathan left, the little boy got sick. David pleaded with the LORD for the child's life. Perhaps he asked the LORD not to punish the son for the sins of the father. David fasted and mourned so completely that when the child died 7 days later, the servants were afraid to tell David. But when the king heard the servants' whispering, he asked them point blank if his son was dead. His response - to get up, dress, and go to the (pre-Temple) house of the LORD to worship - baffled the servants. David explained to them that he thought the LORD might forgive him and let his son live. When the son was dead, could David bring him back to life? No. David said, "I wil go to him, but he will not return to me."

So David comforted Bathsheba and in the course of time she became pregnant again with a son they named Solomon. The LORD told Nathan to name him Jedidiah, "loved by the LORD."

During this time Joab fought Rabbah of the Ammonites, and captured its water supply. Joab sent messengers to David, deferring to him to send troops to capture the city and loot it. From their king, David took his heavy gold crown to wear himself.

"One Sin Drags Another"

April 26 reading
2 Samuel 13-14
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* The Spiral Staircase, Aish.com - Life as war
* Obedience VS Political Expedience, MyJewishLearning.com
PROMISE: "Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him." (14:14) A wise woman actor from Tekoa, to King David
Thought for today: The LORD forgives acknowledged and repented sin, but He also foresees the consequences that sin has done to my character.
Even with all his good qualities, for David's sin of despising the LORD and taking Uriah the Hittite's wife, the LORD promised continuous dissention and upset in David's house. David's difficulty with wanting beautiful women also appeared in his son Amnon who raped his half-sister, Tamar, then despised and rejected her. No longer a virgin, Tamar left her father's palace and lived with Absalom, her brother. In anger, Absalom stopped speaking to Amnon. King David did nothing to correct his son Amnon. Two years later, Absalon made and took an opportunity to kill Amnon. The other brothers returned to their father after seeing the attack and Absalom fled for assylum in his mother Maacho's home of Geshur. Maacho's father was the King of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3). Absalom stayed in Geshur for 3 years.

David got over Amnon's death, but continued to mourn for Absalom, wanting to see him. Army commander Joab came up with a plan to use a woman actor to state a situation requiring the King's judgement about her two sons. Joab knew David well enough to know he would promise to protect her one son who had killed her other son. Joab instructed the woman of Tekoa what to say, and how to logically ask the King to let Absalom return to Jerusalem. David knew Joab well enough to know he had put the woman of Tekoa up to this mission. He sent Joab to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem, but David refused to see his son.

Absalom was an extremely handsome man with thick, heavy hair. He had three sons and a beautiful daughter named Tamar, after her aunt. Absalom lived in Jerusalem two years before Joab or David finally would see him.

David's Punishment

April 27 reading
2 Samuel 15-17
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Absalom, Wikipedia
* Absalom, Daily Bible Study
GUIDANCE: "It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." (16:12) David, to Abishai
Thought for today: When King David was out of favor, loyalty to him required discernment for
taking sides, deceiving traitors, and spying on the opposition. Do I have this kind of loyalty to my King?
When deception replaces truth as the main practice, good advice is frustrated and deceivers are deceived.
After Absalom killed his oldest half-brother, Amnon, he spent several years in exile with his mother's people in Geshur. After he returned to Jerusalem, it became obvious that King David cared more about this son of his than Absalom cared about his father. Absalom plotted ways to gain political power at his father's expense until he deceived his father to permit him to go to Hebron. When Absalom declared himself king in Hebron, King David fled Jerusalem, leaving 10 of his concubines to care for the palace. Those faithful to David included the Philistine Kerethites, Pelethites, and Gittites including Ittai the Gittite. David was not sure that the LORD was pleased with him or not after his sin with Bathsheba. So David sent the ark of the covenant of God back to Jerusalem with Zadok the Levite, and asked him to inquire of the LORD whether he was pleased or not with David. David and those faithful to him continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping.

David had heard that his counselor Ahithophel the Gilonite had gone over with Absalom. So David prayed that the LORD would turn Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness. When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives, his friend Hushai the Arkite met him in mourning. David asked Hushai to return to Jerusalem, frustrate Ahithophel's advice to Absalom, and tell the priests Zadok and Abiathar anything he overheard in the king's palace. Hushai agreed, and arrived at Jerusalem just as Absalom was entering the city.

David had gone on beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives when Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, was waiting for him with donkeys and provisions of food for David's household. David asked where Mephibosheth - the crippled son of Saul's son Jonathan - was, and was told that he was waiting in Jerusalem in case Israel would give him the kingdom. Was he deceiving David? David said that all that had been Mephibosheth's was now Ziba's.

As David and his party moved on, a relative of King Saul's cursed and threw stones at David. "You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood," he said. David thought the LORD had told Bahurim to curse him, and if he took it well, the LORD would give David good for the cursing he was taking.

Meanwhile, Absalom accepted his father's friend Hushai to court and believed Ahithophel when he advised Absalom to make his separation from David definite by sleeping with his father's concubines. Ahithophel advised Absalom to pursue his father with 12,000 men and kill him. Absalom checked with Hushai who advised the king to call men from all Israel to fight David and so insure victory. In this way, the LORD frustrated the good advice of Ahithophel, and Absalom was deceived.

Hushai sent word to two priests to inform David what was happening. The priests were seen, and the woman who hid them in her well deceived the men Absalom had sent to find the priests. Meanwhile, when Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been taken, he went to his hometown, got his affairs in order, and hung himself. By now, David was across the Jordan from Jerusalem, exiled in Mahanaim. Back in Jerusalem, Absalom had appointed Amasa commander of his army. Amasa's mother and Joab's mother were sisters so these first cousins would be leading the two armies. These sister's brother Shobi was one who brought David food in the wilderness before the impending battle.

Counting the Cost of Sin

April 28 reading
2 Samuel 18-19
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Ittai the Gittite and Absalom, Frost
* David's Reign, Frost * City of Mahanaim
PROMISE: ".. nothing is hidden from the king..." (18:13)
Thought for today: After surviving and winning a very public rebellion, David grieved for his enemy,
rewarded loyalty, and forgave the disloyal who repented. How had the LORD dealt with David's rebellion?
As his son Absalom threatened to take his throne, David took over the command of his army again in the city of Mahanaim, east of Jerusalem and of the Jordan River. David's army was now greatly reduced in size. David put a third of the men under Joab, a third under Joab's brother Abishai, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. But the men insisted that David stay in the city. "You are worth 10,000 of us," they said. David publicly gave instructions to take Absalom alive, and gently.

The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim with the forest claiming more lives than the sword. Riding a mule, Absalom's thick, beautiful hair got caught in the branches of a large oak tree, and he hung there in midair. This was reported to Joab and he killed Absalom with his javelins with 10 of Joab's armor-bearers also stricking Absalom to death before burying him in the forest in a pit. Absalom had no son, but had erected a monument to himself in the King's Valley.

Joab knew enough to have a foreigner take the news to David that his son was dead, but Ahimaaz son of the priest Zadok insisted that he wanted to be the one to tell David. Joab let him go, and he took a shortcut to outrun the Cushite messenger. Ahimaaz reported that, praise the LORD, the rebellion had been put down. The Cushite reported the victory and that Absalom was dead. David went into mourning - ignoring his troups' victory. Joab confronted David: "You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. ... Now go out and encourage your men." So David went out to sit in the gateway.

The people of Israel were confused. Who was king now? David asked the priests (Zadok and Abiathar) to ask the elders of Judah to bring him back as king, announcing that Amasa (Absalom's army commander and Joab's 1st cousin) would replace Joab as commander of the army. So Judah insisted that David return as king. David had made it back to the Jordan River, from the east, when Shimei the Benjamite (16:5) and Ziba (19:26) with many men rushed to the meet David there. Shimei confessed his sin - cursing David - and begged for forgiveness. Abishai wanted to kill Shimei, becoming David's enemy for the suggestion.

The lame grandson of Saul, Mephibosheth, also came to David, revealing that Ziba had betrayed him while Mephibosheth remainded faithful to David. So David, Solomon-like, ordered Ziba and Mephibosheth to divide the fields that once were Saul's, then inherited by Mephibosheth, and proclaimed by David to be Ziba's. But Mephibosheth said Ziba could have them all. David's return to Jerusalem as king was Mephibosheth's reward. What he valued was a place at King David's table - not just for the food, but for the king's conversations, behavior, discussions, and news. David attempted to reward the 80 year old Barzillai of Gilead who had given provisions to David and his men. But Barzillai offered him Kimham instead so the old man could die in his hometown. The men of Israel argued loudly with the men of Judah for bringing the king back without including them. With the king, grace was abounding. But among his people, trouble was brewing.

Deceit, Rebellion, More War, and a Song

April 29 reading
2 Samuel 20-22
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Gibeonites get revenge, Radio Bible Class
* Strategy of the Enemy, Kolchin
PROMISE: "In my distress, I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From His temple he heard my voice; my cry came to His ears. The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because He was angry." (22:7-8) | "Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." (Psalm 44:22)
Thought for today: Why not make up and sing a song to the LORD remembering times (at home?
in Viet Nam? at work?) He has intervened in my life. Or make up a tune for David's song in Chapter 22.
The LORD saves the humble from their troubles, but He watches the haughty for times to trip them up. (from 22:28)
Sheba, a Benjamite and son of Bicri, was not ready to have David back as king, so he sounded the trumpet and led another rebellion. Most of Israel followed him taking up where Absalom left off. But Judah remained loyal to David, and he was able to return to his palace in Jerusalem. The ten concubines were still there, and he had them set up under house arrest. They lived as widows until they died.

David had replaced Joab with Absalom's army commander Amasa to lead his troups. But Amasa took longer than his 3 day deadline to gather the men of Judah to fight Sheba. So David sent Abishai, Joab's brother and first cousin of Amasa, to fight Sheba. Abishai took Joab's men, the Kerethites and Pelethites (Philistine special forces loyal to David), and all the mighty warriors. With them was Joab, who - as usual - used deceit to get close to Amasa when they met. Joab assassinated his cousin with a dagger into his intestines. After Joab's men dragged Amasa off the road, Joab's and Abishai's men continued following reports of Sheba. They found him in Abel Beth Maacah and were preparing to destroy the city when a wise woman negotiated a way to save the city. They would throw Sheba's head over the wall. This satisfied Joab, who sounded the trumpet to disperce and go home. Joab had retained leadership of Israel's army. The rest of David's staff is listed. Benaiah led the Kerethites and Pelethites. Adoniram led the forced labor. Jehosaphat was recorder. Sheva was secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were priests, and Ira the Jairite was David's personal priest.

During David's reign, Israel experienced a three year famine. At harvest time, when David inquired of the LORD about the famine, the LORD said it was because of Saul's blood-stained house. Saul had broken a treaty made in Joshua's time and had tried to annihilate the Gibeonites. (The Gibeonites had deceived Joshua into a peace treaty. In a battle near Gibeon, the sun had once stood still. They were Amorite survivors.) David asked the Gibeonites how he could make amends for Saul's slaughter, and they asked for seven of Saul's descendants. David spared the crippled grandson of Saul, but gave them the two sons of Rizpah, Saul's concubine, and all 5 sons of Saul's daughter Merab. Rizpah mourned over her sons' bodies from the beginning of harvest until the rains game again. Then David had the bones of Saul and Jonathan moved to Saul's father Kish's tomb at Zela in Benjamin, and gathered the bones of these 7 men, also. Then God resumed answering prayer for Israel.

War resumed off and on with the Philistines, who still had large and mighty warriors, descended from the Rapha. One time Abishai rescued an exhausted David from the Rapha descendant (Ishbi-Benob) who planned to kill the king. Abishai and his men refused to let David come with them to war any more, in order to protect David, the "lamp of Israel". David's men were able to kill 3 more of these giant Philistines, including one with 12 fingers and 12 toes.

And David sang of the LORD's deliverance, describing the very real attributes of the LORD along with the very real trouble and distress David was often in. His song was the story of his life and of the LORD's delieverance. A long ways from being a shepherd for his father, King David still composed and sang new songs, thanking his LORD for everything and every step. David sings "I have been blameless before Him and have kept myself from sin. The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight." (22:24-25) Some think this song was written earlier in his life, after the LORD delivered David from Saul. Some think these verses expressed David's desire to please the LORD. Could this also reflect the LORD's way of seeing his people as described in Romans 6:7 - that David had experienced a kind of death and the LORD had forgiven and freed him from sin? David acknowledged that the LORD had made all the difference in his life - as He still does in our lives today.

King David's Later Life

April 30 reading
2 Samuel 23-24
2 Samuel Commentary
Dictionary and Books
* Still singing: Songs of Jerusalem
* Remembering King David, at his tomb - T.S. McCall
PRINCIPLE: ".. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.." (24:24)
Thought for today: David recognized the LORD's grace and mercy more than
the reasons for His actions, and he knew that true sacrifice - like grace - has a cost.
When David reflected back upon his life, his identity as David son of Jesse was completed by his relationship with the LORD, being exalted and anointed by the Most High God, the God of Jacob. David had written and sung so many songs that he was known as Israel's singer of songs. David had listened when the LORD spoke. The LORD had taught him how to rule over men in righteousness, keeping an abiding respectful fear of the LORD. Living this way made David like a light at sunrise, thus the name "Lamp of Israel" (21:17).

David remembered the covenant promise the LORD had made earlier for his house. ".. the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son." (7:11b-14a) As David had watched the events of his sons' lives unfold, with deceits and deaths, David's response was to believe that whichever son who would follow him as King was already arranged and secured by the LORD. David trusted the LORD for his salvation. But how could David say that the LORD would grant him his every desire? Perhaps David's hit song "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10) indicated that David's desires were agreeing with the LORD and undergoing change. Not so with evil men.

2 Samuel 20:23 listed David's staff, including Benaiah leader of the Kerethites and Pelethites. Now in 2 Samuel 23, the most distinguished of David's mighty men are named and honored for outstanding bravery and loyalty to David. The Kerethites and Pelethites are finally identified as David's bodyguard.

For some reason (see Who Incited David to Number Israel?, E. Lyons) David had Joab and the army commanders to find out how many fighting men were in the army. Joab objected but David insisted. Once David found out the number, he realized he had sinned greatly, and prayed that the LORD would remove his sin. Gad, David's seer prophet, told David the LORD gave him 3 choices and to choose his punishment. "Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men." So there was a plague in Israel for 3 days, and David even saw the LORD's angel striking down people. The LORD stopped the plague at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, just before it reached Jerusalem. David wanted to build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor, and Araunah offered even giving David the animals to sacrifice. But as Dietrich Bonhoeffer would later explain, David refused the free grace, saying, "I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

After this sacrifice, the LORD resumed answering prayer on behalf of the land of Israel. And may it be so, today.
More reading: In the LORD's Army, Keith R. Keyser

Tomorrow's Reading: 1 Timothy 1-5 and Commentary Devotion

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