(Verses 1 through 116) Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; it even came to pass on the third day, that , behold, a man came out from the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he cane to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered him, here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: and they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand against the LORD’S anointed? And David called one of his young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD’S anointed.
This is quite a long quotation; but it is the story of a young man who brought David word of the events surrounding the death of Saul. This young man, who was an Amalekite, and a servant of one of the men of Israel, had after the battle, escaped. And as he crossed the battlefield, he came to Saul, who not only had been wounded by the Philistines, but had also attempted suicide, but was unsuccessful in that. As the enemy was fast approaching, Saul commanded him to finish what he, Saul, had already attempted. The young man, thinking he was doing Saul a favor did, indeed, finish the job for him. He not only finished killing Saul, since he did not believe it possible for him to survive his wounds, but he also took Saul’s crown, and brought it to David. Perhaps, anyone else would have rewarded him for this. But David was so adamant that the LORD’S prohibition against laying hands, in a violent manner, upon the LORD’S anointed, that he ordered this young man executed, and one of his men did as he commanded.
(Verses 17 through 27) And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: (also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) The beauty of Israel is slain upon high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How the mighty are fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.
Thus we have David’s lamentation for both Saul and Jonathan. It hardly needs any explanation, since it only expresses David’s admiration of them both. After all the trouble Saul had caused him, one might think that David would rejoice that Saul was dead. And in some ways he might. But there was a genuine bond of love between him and Jonathan; and he respected Saul because, as he so often called him, he was “the LORD’S anointed.” So he accorded him the honor of celebrating him in this lament.
(Verses 1 through 4) And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And He said, Unto Hebron. So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite. And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabesh-gilead were they that buried Saul.
When things began to settle after the death of Saul, David considered returning to Judah. So he inquired of the LORD as to whether he should do this; and the LORD told him to go up into Judah. Then David inquired where in Judah he should Go; and the LORD told him to go to Hebron, which he accordingly did. And with him went all his men, and all their families. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and made David king over Judah. And they told him that the men of Jabesh-gilead were the ones who had buried Saul.
(Verses 5 through 11) And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing. Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them. But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Ma-hanaim; and made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
After David was told that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them with a message of thanks for so doing, and an invitation to join with Judah in the kingdom over which the men of Judah had crowned him king. But Abner, the captain of the host of Saul’s army, brought Saul’s son Ish-bosheth to Ma-hanaim, and made him king over all Israel. (The name, Ish-bosheth, means, “man of shame.”) He was forty years of age when he was made king, and he reigned for two years. But the men of Judah followed David. And David reigned in Hebron seven years and six months.
(Verses 12 through 17) And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Ma-hanaim to Gibeon. And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. Then there arose by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. And they caught every one his fellow’s head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon. And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
This entire incident seems somewhat strange to us. But we have to remember that such things as this battle between the young men at the pool before the main battle was started, were really considered in very much the same manner as the big tournaments in the days of the knights were. It was partially for the entertainment of the spectators, and partly for the training of the young men. The fact that there were no winners, but all the young men were so evenly matched that they were all killed, was an unusual outcome of it. No doubt, both Abner and Joab, together with the men that were with them, expected one group, or the other, of the young men to win the battle. Since they did not, the real battle was engaged; and David’s servants overcame the men that were with Abner, in heavy fighting.
(Verses 18 through 24) And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe. And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am. And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him. And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? How then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother> Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to that place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.
Among David’s followers there were three brothers, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel, the sons of Zeruiah. Although Asahel was not so experienced a warrior as Joab and Abishai, he was a very swift runner; and as Abner was fleeing from the battle, Asahel followed after him, hoping to overtake him, and not realizing the difference between his lack of experience in battle, and the skill that Abner had acquired by much practice, he probably hoped to make a name for himself by overcoming Abner. When Abner saw that Asahel was trying to catch him, he warned him to not do so, knowing that if he did, he would be forced to kill the youth. And if he did, he would be ashamed to even face Asahel’s brother Joab. But Asahel would not heed his warning. And finally, with only one thrust of the spear, he killed Asahel. Then both Joab and Abishai pursued after Abner until sundown, at which time they had come to the hill Ammah at Giah, on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.
(Verses 25 through 31) And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more. Neither fought they any more. And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and came to Mahanaim. And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.
Thus a truce was called in this war. Abner’s men went home, and Joab’s army returned to Hebron. When the roll was called, they found that only nineteen men beside Asahel were lacking from among David’s army. But of Abner’s men there had been three hundred and sixty killed.
(Verse 32) And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
This verse seems to need no comment.
The first verse of this chapter gives us a very short history of the time from David’s becoming the king of Judah, until his becoming the king of Israel. Later verses will give more details of these times, “Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.”
(Verses 2 through 5) And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
This is a list of the sons that were born to David while he dwelt at Hebron. Nothing is said about any daughters. And it seems odd that there was only one son born by any wife. There will later be some things that will come up concerning some of his sons. But for the present nothing seems to be ongoing.
(Verses 6 through 11) And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul. And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine? Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me with a fault concerning this woman? So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him; to translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba. And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.
It was actually by the work of Abner that the house of Saul had been able to continue to hold out against David. And Ish-bosheth decided to rebuke Abner for having an affair with Rizpah, a concubine of his father Saul. We are not told whether or not it was a true accusation, but at any rate, it angered Abner so much that he declared to Ish-bosheth that he was going to help bring about the very thing the LORD had some time ago sworn to do. He would transfer the kingdom from Ish-bosheth to David. And Ish-bosheth was so afraid of him that he could make no answer.
(Verses 12 through 16) And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee. And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face. And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. And her husband went along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned.
David’s answer to Abner was that he would make a league with him, but only on one condition: he must first bring to him his wife Michal the daughter of Saul, whom Saul had taken, and given to another man, Phaltiel the son of Lachish. So David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, demanding the return of Michal. So Ish-bosheth sent one of his servants, apparently Abner, to take Michal from her husband, and bring her to David, Her husband followed her along to Bahurim, weeping as he went. At this point Abner told him to go back home, which he did.
(Verses 17 through 21) And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you: now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of David I will save My people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies. And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and what seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin. So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast. And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.
Abner did what we today would call “all the legwork” needed to persuade the Benjamites, and all Israel that it was time to turn to David as their king, seeing that the LORD had declared that it was by the hand of David that He would deliver Israel from not only the Philistines, but also from all her enemies. Then he reported his success to David. Then David made a feast for Abner and the twenty men who accompanied him. And after the feast David sent Abner away to gather all Israel together, that they might establish David as their king.
(Verses 23 through 27) And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace. When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace. Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why then is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know what thou doest. And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew it not. And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
Without re-quoting this text, we shall just say that in David’s day human nature was the same as it is today. Although David’s fortunes seemed to be taking a great turn for the better, one of his servants was holding a grudge against the very man who had been instrumental in bringing about this great change, and killed that man, not for justice, nor in self defense, but for hatred and vengeance. And, as we shall see, David found it necessary to distance himself from this act of vengeance, in order to continue the work that had been begun by the victim of this evil act.
(Verses 28 through 30) And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: let it rest upon the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lackest bread. So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in battle.
When David heard what Joab and his brother Abishai had done, He disclaimed all connection with the act, and pronounced upon the house of Joab, and the whole house of Joab’s father a very dire curse. It seems that he wished upon them every evil he could think of. Although Abner had slain Asahel, it was in battle, which was not to be held against him as his fault. But this act of Joab and his brother was a simple matter of murder. And David branded it as such.
(Verses 31 through 37) And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier. And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept. And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him. And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more, if I taste bread or aught else, till the sun be down. And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. For all the people and all Israel understood that it was not of the king to slay the son of Ner.
This gives us a record of both the words and actions of king David in response to the death of Abner. In all his conduct he showed sincere sorrow for this terrible event. And the people present, together with all Israel were pleased with his conduct, and thereby understood that he had no part in Joab’s murder.
(Verses 38 and 39) And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of this evil according to his ways.
David again called the attention of his followers to the fact that he had nothing to do with the death of Abner. He declared him a great man and a prince in Israel, and declared that although he was anointed king, this event had made him weak. He further declared that the LORD would not pass lightly over this, but would reward the doer of evil according to his ways.
(Verses 1 through 8) And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. And Saul’s son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other was Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth was also reckoned to Benjamin. And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.) And Jonathan Saul’s son, had a son that was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and they came about the heat of the day to the house of Ish-bosheth, who lay on a bed at noon. And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in the bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night. And they brought the head of Ish-bosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord this day of Saul, and of his seed.
At this point of the story, Saul’s son Ish-bosheth, and his grandson Mephibosheth, appear to be the only males left of the lineage of Saul. Ish-bosheth was king of Israel, and Mephibosheth was a cripple because of a fall he had received when about five years of age. At the moment Ish-bosheth is the one who has the center stage of the account. He has two men who were captains of bands of the soldiers of Ish-bosheth. The names of these two men were Baanah, and Rechab. They went into the house of Ish-bosheth, and murdered him. Then they cut off his head, took it to David, and declared to him what they had done. They, apparently thought that he would reward them for assassinating his enemy, and thus, as they thought, establishing David’s position as king of Israel, and avenging him against Saul, and the seed of Saul.
(Verses 9 through 12) And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, as the LORD liveth, Who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: how much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own home upon his bed? shall I not therefore require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.
When these murderers reported their deed to David, hoping that he would reward them, he did, indeed, reward them, but not as they had hoped. He sentenced them to death, and did not delay execution of the sentence. He commanded some of his soldiers to slay them, which they immediately did. Then to show the disgrace these men were under, they cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them both. But they showed honor to Ish-bosheth, by burying his head in Abner’s sepulchre at Hebron.
(Verses 1 through 5) Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said unto thee, Thou shalt feed My people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
After the assassination of Ish-bosheth all the tribes of Israel were ready to make David king over all Israel, even as the LORD had long before sworn to David. So all the elders of Israel came to Hebron, and anointed him king over all Israel and Judah. We are here given a very brief history of the reign of David, both as he reigned over Judah in Hebron, and as he reigned over all Israel in Jerusalem. In the following account we shall learn of the moving of the capitol from Hebron to Jerusalem.
(Verses 6 through 10) And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. And David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and Inward. And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.
The Jebusites were a tribe of the former inhabitants of the land of Canaan whom Israel had not heretofore been able to drive out or overcome. So they still dwelt in Jerusalem. But David had decided that the time had come to drive them out. So he and his army went to Jerusalem, and attacked it. The Jebusites, apparently thinking that David would not make war upon the blind and the lame, (or they were taunting David’s forces, as not being able to take the fortress if it were defended by only the blind and the lame) said that unless he did take away the blind and the lame, he could not come into Jerusalem. Nevertheless he took the stronghold of the city, and then he made a proclamation to his army that he who went up and smote the blind and the lame, would be made captain of his army. Nothing is here said about who it was that accomplished this feat. Nevertheless David did take the city, and dwelt there. He even called Jerusalem the city of David. So he proceeded to build around the city, from Millo toward the central portion thereof. And the LORD continued to bless him and his kingdom.
(Verses 11 through 15) And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house. And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for His people Israel’s sake. And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David. And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammuah, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia, Elishamah, and Eliada, and Eliphalet.
Hiram the king of Tyre, not only did what is here recorded, but he was also a friend of David all through David’s reign, and even afterward, when Solomon built the Temple of the LORD, Hiram was a great help to him. As soon as David was made to feel secure in his kingdom, he felt he had to take unto himself more wives and concubines. We are not here given the number of either his wives or his concubines; but we are given the names of the sons born to him in Jerusalem, but with no indication of anything they may have accomplished.
(Verses 17 through 21) But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold. The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt Thou deliver them into Mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand. And David came to Baal-perazim, and David smote them there, and said, The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called that place Baal-perazim. And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
As soon as the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they made an attempt to make war upon him and his kingdom. When David inquired of the LORD concerning whether or not he should attack the Philistines, the LORD gave him a favorable answer, telling him that He would deliver the Philistines into his hand. And, as He always does, the LORD fulfilled His word, and gave David a great victory, so that the Philistines abandoned their images, leaving them on the field of battle. And David and his army burned these idols.
(Verses 22 through 25) And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the LORD, He said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that thou bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.
The Philistines thought they had to make another effort to destroy David and the kingdom of Israel. So they came together again in the same place they had tried before, the valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the LORD, the Lord not only promised to deliver the Philistines into his hand, but even told him just exactly how to set up for the battle, and gave him a signal at which to began the charge. David followed what the LORD had commanded him. And again the LORD gave him a great victory.
(Verses 1 through 5) Again David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the Cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
When it seemed that the situation had settled down, David gathered a chosen group of about thirty thousand from all Israel, and together they went down from Baale to the house of Abinadab, where the ark of the LORD had been for some time, with the intention of bringing it up to Jerusalem. Although the LORD had instructed Moses to make it exactly according to the pattern shown him in the mount, with rings made on it for the reception of staves with which it was to be borne on the shoulders of the Levites, they made a new cart, hitched oxen to it, and placed the ark upon it to transport it to their destination. The two sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, were to drive the cart, and all the people were to go along with it, playing on all manner of musical instruments.
(Verses 6 through 11) And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me? So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.
When by reason of the rough road over the which oxen were pulling the cart, the ark shook, Uzzah reached forth, and put his hand upon the ark, the LORD struck him, and he died. This so alarmed David that he was afraid to take the ark on into the city where he had intended to place it. So he took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, and there they left it for three months. All the time that the ark remained in the house of Obed-edom the LORD blessed both him and his entire household. So for that time David was deprived of the blessing that he would have had if he had taken the ark on to the place he had intended.
(Verses 12 through 16) And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. And it was so, that when they that bare the ark had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the host of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
After David had been informed of the great blessing the ark of God had brought to Obed-edom and all his family, he made a new attempt to bring it into the city of David. This time he had it carried by men, apparently in the manner God had originally commanded. And as it moved along, he and others danced, and played their musical instruments before it. And when it had moved six paces he offered sacrifices unto the LORD. Whether he did this after each six pace distance, or not, is not altogether clear. But at any rate, David was wearing a linen ephod during all of this celebration, and was continually dancing before the LORD. And the people were shouting and blowing with their trumpets. As they came into the city, David’s wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, saw him leaping and dancing before the LORD, and she despised him in her heart. Evidently she did not think he was acting with proper dignity for a king.
(Verses 17 through 19) And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. And he dealt among all the people, even the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So the people departed every one to his house.
David had previously set up a tabernacle for the ark, and prepared for it a place therein. So after they had set the ark in the prepared place, David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The fact that he is said to have offered these does not necessarily mean that he officiated as a priest in making them, although he was dressed in an ephod; for there were also priests present. After these offerings, he gave to each man and each woman a cake of bread, a piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine, after which everyone departed, and went home.
(Verses 20 through 23) Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
We have already seen that Michal was angered, and that she had despised David for his laying aside his royal attire, putting on an ephod, and, as we might say, abandoning himself to the dancing he was doing before the ark as it was being carried along. Now she met him as he came home, and began to criticize him for so doing, saying that he had shamelessly uncovered himself before even the handmaids of his servants. It probably sounds like it, but she is not accusing him of stripping naked before everyone, but only that he, in her opinion, should have been dressed in his royal robes, and should have behaved with proper dignity for a king. But David told her that what he was doing , he was doing before the LORD, Who had made him king in the first place. Not only so, but he would even abase himself more. And the very handmaids Michal thought he had embarrassed with his conduct would honor him for what he had done. Then the LORD laid upon her what most women considered the greatest of curses; she was barren all her life.
(Verses 1 through 3) And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
After the LORD had given David and his kingdom peace all around, David began thinking of the difference of the situation that existed between him and the ark of the LORD. And he broached the subject to Nathan the prophet. And without first inquiring of the LORD, Nathan, thinking that he understood what David had in mind, told him to go ahead and do all that he would like concerning the matter.
(Verses 4 through 17) And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell My servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build Me a house for Me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, Why build ye not Me a house of cedar? Now therefore so shalt thou say unto My servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel: and I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime. And since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that He will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but My mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
In the night after David and Nathan had had their conversation about David’s idea of building a house unto the LORD, God came to Nathan, and gave him a message for David. He said that in all the time since He had brought Israel out from the land of Egypt, even to the present, He had never said anything about having anyone build a house for Him. Then He reminded David that He took him from the menial job of being a shepherd, and raised him up to the position of king of Israel. Not only so, but He had also blessed David wherever he went, and made him a name that was great among men of the earth. Not only so, but He made a promise of establishing Israel so that they will not be moving from place to place, and will not be troubled by their enemies any more. Then He further declared that He would cause David’s seed to be set up, and that He would establish the throne of the kingdom of the seed of David for ever. This does not mean that David was going to live for ever in Jerusalem, and be king of Israel continuously through all the ages of time and eternity, If it did, there would be no place for the promise of the kingdom of his seed. And, in fact, it does not even mean that the kingdom shall always remain in the hands of David’s seed, in the sense of a continuous succession of his descendants reigning upon the throne of Israel. But it does mean that even during the long time of the Diaspora the kingdom shall remain sure to the seed of David, just as the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar was made sure to him during the time of his being deposed from the throne, and made to eat grass as the oxen. The kingdom shall for ever remain sure to the Seed of David, Christ Jesus our Lord. He also promises that the seed of David shall build the house to His name. This, of course is a declaration that Solomon would build the temple that David wanted to build. It can also embrace the Christ, Who is building, and will, indeed build the house unto the Name of the LORD God. And His kingdom the Father will surely establish for ever. He continues on with His promise concerning Solomon, who was the seed of David that did build the temple. He declares that “if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but My mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I put away before thee.” Often we hear people talk about how Solomon, in his old age, was led away by his wives and concubines from serving the LORD to even building houses of worship for the gods of his wives. And sometimes we may try to compare the evils of Solomon to those of Saul, whose greatest disobedience, so far as we might evaluate the matter, was that he and the people spared Agag and the cattle of the Amalekites, whom the LORD had sent him to destroy. (What he may have done after this is not to be made a part of the equation, because it was at this point that the LORD rejected him from being king of Israel, although He did let him remain on the throne until He was ready to make David king. But the difference between the two men is found more in this promise of God, than in anything else concerning the matter. The LORD made a promise that if the seed of David committed iniquity, He would punish him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of men: but His mercy would not depart away from him, as He took it from Saul. And He is always faithful to His promise. His promise in verse 16 is that the house of David, and the throne of David would be established for ever, and this we have already addressed. And Nathan delivered all this message to David.
(Verses 18 through 24) Then went king David in, and he sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in Thy sight, O Lord GOD, but Thou hast spoken also of Thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? And what can David say more unto Thee? for Thou, Lord GOD, knowest Thy servant. For Thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast Thou done these great things, to make Thy servant know them. Wherefore Thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like Thee, neither is there any God beside Thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And what one nation in the earth is like Thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to Himself, and to make Him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for Thy land, before Thy people, which Thou redeemedst to Thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For Thou hast confirmed to Thyself Thy people Israel to be a people unto Thee for ever: and Thou, LORD, art become their God.
After receiving the word of the LORD from Nathan, David went into the tabernacle, and sat before the LORD. Then he began praying to the LORD. The first thing he did was to confess his unworthiness for all the wonderful blessings God had already given him, and his amazement at the promises the LORD had made to him, both concerning him and his kingdom, as well as concerning his household. Then he praised the LORD for his wonderful blessings to Israel, even to the fact that the LORD had confirmed Israel to be His people, and Himself to be their God. these are blessings that no other nation had ever experienced.
(Verses 25 through 29) And now, O LORD God, the word that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as Thou hast said. And let Thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of Thy servant David be established before Thee. For Thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to Thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath Thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto Thee. And now, O Lord GOD, Thou art that GOD, and Thy words be true, and Thou hast promised this goodness unto Thy servant: therefore now let it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant, that it may continue for ever before Thee: for Thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with Thy blessing let the house of Thy servant be blessed for ever.
David here continued his prayer, both recounting the blessings the LORD had promised him, and asking Him to bring them to pass. Throughout this prayer, David has continued to praise the LORD for His wonderful goodness to him, and beg for a continuation of His mercies.
(Verses 1 and 2) And after this, it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines. And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.
Since the Philistines had always been adversaries to Israel, David made war upon them, and subdued them, taking the city of Metheg-ammah away from them. Then he attacked Moab, and overcame them. He introduced a new means of determining which of them he would let live, that of their height. He took a line of a certain length, and measured them. Those who were not taller than one length of that line, were allowed to live, while those taller than one full line were put to death. And those who were allowed to live became servants to David and the Israelites.
(Verses 3 through 9) David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David hocked all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for a hundred chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men. Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. And from Betah, and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass.
These are just a few of the excursions David made against the enemies of Israel. And the LORD gave him success in them all. Notice that one of these took place as the enemy was going to the area of the Euphrates to recover his border, that must have been in dispute by someone else, although we are not told who the other party was. In all these excursions, David gained much spoil, as well as subduing many of his enemies.
(Verses 9 through 13) When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer, then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass: which also king David did dedicate unto the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued; of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah. And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.
One man, king Toi, of Hamath, was so well pleased that David had subdued Hadadezer, that he sent his son Joram to David with a present, consisting of vessels of gold, silver, and brass. And David dedicated these, as he had all the other silver and gold he took from the nations he subdued, to the LORD. And after all these conquests, David’s name was great among the surrounding nations. In addition to the twenty two thousand men David’s army slew of the Syrians of Damascus, he killed another eighteen thousand in the valley of salt.
(Verses 14 through 18) And He put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people. And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; and Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.
In verses 14 and 15 we are told that Edom, a people who had been from there beginning enemies of Israel, (and in fact they are their enemies today) were subdued, and became David’s servants. And David reigned with judgment and justice for all his people. Then in verses 17 and 18 we are told the names of the various officers of David.
(Verses 1 through 8) And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame in his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come to David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?
When his affairs had settled down enough that David felt he had opportunity to do so, he began to inquire as to whether there was anyone left of the household of Saul, to whom he might for the sake of Jonathan show any kindness. He found Ziba, one of Saul’s servants, and through him found that Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was still living. So David sent for him, and had him brought to him. Then he promised Mephibosheth that he would restore to him all the land of Saul his father, (grandfather,) and that Mephibosheth himself would stay with him, and eat at his table the remainder of his life.
(Verses 9 through 13) Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt at Jerusalem: for he did eat at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.
Thus, for the love he had for Jonathan, David made arrangements for the servants of Saul to take care of the property of Jonathan’s son, and for him to live at the palace of the king. Mephibosheth also had a young son whose name was Micha. Mephibosheth was, you remember, Jonathan’s son who was dropped by his nurse when he was about five years old, and he had been lame in both feet ever since.
(Verses 1 through 5) And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
The Ammonites and Israel were never the closest of friends, but at one time the king of the Ammonites had shown kindness to David. Now that king had died, and his son had become king. So, in memory of the kindness the former king had shown to him, David sent a delegation to Hanun the new king, to comfort him concerning the death of his father. But, as we see, there were some of the king’s advisors that persuaded him to give very shabby treatment to this delegation, such that they were ashamed to go back home in the condition in which they found themselves. So David sent them word to remain in Jericho until they were in somewhat better condition for returning.
(Verses 6 through 14) And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ish-tob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians: and the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth Him good. And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
The Ammonites became somewhat frightened because they had insulted David by mistreating his messengers. So they went out and hired the Syrians to help them in their fight against Israel. But when the battle was ready to be started, the Syrians ran away, and when the Ammonites saw this, they also fled into their city. And Joab took his forces back to Jerusalem.
(Verses 15 through 19) And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together. And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.
Little would be gained from repeating all that is here set forth. The account seems to be clear enough to allow no misunderstanding of the situation. The once mighty Syrians were subjugated, and served Israel. And they were afraid to try to help the Ammonites any more.
(Verse 1) And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
After the year in which this great battle had taken place had expired, which was about the time David thought his army sufficiently recuperated to take on another war, he sent them forth under the leadership of Joab, to destroy the Ammonites, and to besiege the city of Rabbah; but he remained in Jerusalem.
(Verses 2 through 5) And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her, and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman coneived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
David had always been a man of action. And since his army was gone out without him on an excursion against the Philistines, he was lying idly upon his bed. He became restless, and arose from his bed, and went out on the roof of his palace to walk a little. When he was thus walking, he saw a beautiful woman, who was taking her bath at another house just a little distance away. We have always heard that, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” And so it was in this case. He set out to find out who this woman was, and discovered that she was Bath-sheba the wife of one Uriah the Hittite. So David sent for her, and she came to him. Then they had intercourse, and she went back to her house. She soon discovered that she was with child, and sent that information to David. This naturally presented a problem to David. But, as we shall see, he thought he had the solution for the matter.
(Verses 6 through 13) And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? and Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents, and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul livest, I will not do this thing. And David said to Uriah, Tarry here today also, and tomorrow I will let thee depart. And Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. And when David had called him, he did ear and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
When Uriah came to David, David asked him about the welfare of Joab and the troops, and the progress of the war, and released him to go down to his house and rest. But Uriah stayed at the king’s house with the king’s servants instead of going home. The next day David asked him why he had not gone to his own home to spend the night. And Uriah told him that he could not go and enjoy the comforts of home while the ark of the LORD, and Israel and Judah were having to abide in tents in the open fields. He declared that in no way would he be induced to do so. Then David kept him at Jerusalem another day and night; and David even made Uriah drink so much that he was drunk; but he still did not go down to his own house. So David’s scheme of getting Uriah to go to his house and sleep with his wife failed. He had hoped to have him do this, and then it could be claimed that the baby Bath-sheba was going to have was Uriah’s, thus hiding his adultery with Bath-sheba. But now there was nothing to cover up this sin.
(Verses 14 through 17) And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
This was the height of David’s sin in the matter of Bath-sheba. He had the man whose wife he seduced placed in a spot in the fight where he would surely be killed. And He was killed, just as David wanted him to be. One thing that makes this matter so outstanding is the fact that Uriah was a Hittite. He was of one of the heathen nations of the land of Canaan; but he so much respected the LORD that, with the ark of the LORD and the LORD’S people having to abide in the open fields, he would not accept the comforts of home , even for a night. But David, the man chosen of God as the king of Israel, remained at home enjoying all the comforts thereof, and even seduced this man’s wife, and set up a scheme for getting him murdered, while covering it up as an accident of war.
(Verses 18 through 21) Then Joab sent and told David all things concerning the war; and charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king, and if so be that the kind’s wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight ? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall? Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerub-besheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? Why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
After the death of Uriah, Joab sent a messenger to king David, to report on the progress of the war, and especially to tell him that Uriah was dead. He told the messenger to let the message about Uriah be the last thing he told David. When he reported on the war, he was to watch for the reaction of David. And when he became a little angry about Joab and his army getting a little too close to the walls of the city, and losing men in the attack, he was to tell David that Uriah was dead also.
(Verses 22 through 25) So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for. And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate. And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: and make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
This message was exactly what David wanted. He thought he had covered his sin so that none would ever know about it. So he sent the messenger back to Joab with encouraging words, and gave him orders to put more pressure upon the city, and overthrow it.
(Verses 26 and 27) And when the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
David thought his sin was concealed, and when the days of Bath-sheba’s mourning for her husband were over, he took her as his wife; and she bore him a son. But the LORD, Who knows all things, was displeased with what David had done. And there would surely be consequences of this matter.
(Verses 1 through 6) 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. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save for one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it had grown up together with him, and with his children; and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die because he had no pity.
How easy it is for us to declare judgment upon sinners when we think our sins are hidden, and the one guilty of the sin in question is someone else, and not we ourselves! When Nathan the prophet came to David with this story, David was immediately incensed against the man who had done this terrible thing. There could be no sentence for him but death, because he had no pity on the poor man, whose lamb he took.
(Verses 7 through 14) And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and they master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
After David had pronounced the death sentence upon the man in the story Nathan had told him, Nathan told him, “Thou art the man.” Then the LORD reminded him of all the blessings He had given him, one of which was that He had given him his master’s house and his master’s wives. This does not literally mean that David had taken Saul’s wives as his own. But he had married Saul’s daughter, and while he was dwelling in Hebron, he was married to six other women, and after he moved to Jerusalem, he married more wives, the number of whom is not given. And this was not enough to satisfy him. So he committed adultery with another man’s wife, and had the other man, Uriah, killed by the Ammonites. Because of this, the LORD said that the sword would never depart from the house of David. That is he would be troubled by it all his days. Even of his own family trouble would be raised up against him. The LORD said further that he would take David’s wives, and give them to another, who would have intercourse with them in view of the public, and in view of the sun, because David had secretly done so with the wife of Uriah. Yet He had put away David’s sin-- but not the consequences thereof. This should be an outstanding lesson to all. That is, that our actions bring on consequences even when the LORD has forgiven us of them. Furthermore, the LORD said that since David’s sin had given such great occasion for the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child that was born to David and Bath-sheba would surely die.
(Verses 15 through 19) And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
About the time that Nathan went back to his house, the LORD struck the child with a terminal illness, and it was very sick. Then David prayed the LORD for the child, and he even fasted, and lay down upon the earth, continuing his fasting and praying for the child. The elders of his house, and his servants attempted to get him to get up, and to eat: but he would do neither. On the seventh day the child died, and although the servants were afraid to tell David, he suspected that the child was dead, and asked them if it were. And they confirmed to him that the child was dead.
(Verses 20 through 23) Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
When David knew that the child was dead, he astounded all his servants, by getting up, washing and grooming himself, changing his clothes, and going about his business. His first move after getting dressed was to go to the house of the LORD, and worship. Then he went to his own house and ate. Then his servants questioned what he had done as being so unusual. They said, “What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child while it was alive; but when the child was dead , thou didst rise and eat bread.” This seemed to them as being altogether reversed from what they expected. Then he gave them an explanation that we should all consider very carefully. “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, ‘Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
(Verses 24 and 25) And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.
This seems clear enough without comment. We might point out that the name “Jedidiah” means “beloved of the LORD.”
(Verses 26 through 31) And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters. Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name. And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. And he took their king’s crown off his head, the weight thereof was a talent of gold with precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and made them pass through the brick kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
Joab was David’s captain of his army. And when Joab had almost finished subduing the Ammonites, he sent for David to come, and take over the management of the war so that David would have the glory of the victory instead of Joab, or any other subordinate being thus honored. So David gathered the rest of the people together and came and took the cities of the Ammonites. David and his army treated the inhabitants of those cities, as we would think, very harshly. But that was not such an uncommon practice it those days. After this, David and those with him returned to Jerusalem.
(Verses 1 through 5) 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. And Amnon was so vexed that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? Wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister. And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may eat it at her hand.
Here we have the beginning of the trouble that would afflict the family of David for the remainder of his life, all as the result of his sin concerning Bath-sheba and Uriah. The description of this episode is clear enough all the way through that none can misunderstand it. However, it does have in it many tattle-tale marks, that it seems anyone connected with it should have recognized before the real trouble was developed. As the story progresses we shall see that Amnon did not really love his half sister Tamar, but only wanted to have intercourse with her. Had he really loved her, he would not have wanted to compromise her: but, since in that day, it was not considered improper for a man to marry his half sister, he would have gone to his father David, and asked for her as his wife. But he had a very cunning and evil minded friend, the son of his uncle Shimeah. This friend (actually his first cousin, as we consider it today) was named Jonadab. And Jonadab thought out a scheme for Amnon to get what he wanted, and he coached Amnon in how to make it work. And it certainly appears that any intelligent person would have suspected an ulterior motive immediately upon hearing the request it contained.
(Verse 6 through 14) So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand. Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother’s house, and dress him meat. So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house. And she took flour and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes. And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.. And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly. And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee. Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her.
It is hard to imagine why David did not suspect something evil in just the manner of the request Amnon made of him concerning having Tamar come, and prepare food for him. But, perhaps, the LORD had blinded his understanding, since this was the beginning of the evils that were to come upon David for his great sin. There is no great value in repeating the description here given of this incident. It was simply Amnon’s way of getting Tamar into his power, so that he could rape her, which he did.
(Verses 15 through 18) Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone. And she said unto him, there is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her. Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her. And she had a garment of divers colours upon her” for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins appareled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
As we remarked earlier, Amnon had never loved Tamar, but had only had a lust for her. And, as soon as his lust was gratified, he hated her, and, in spite of her plea, he had his servant put her out of his house, and bolt the door behind her. So, from beginning to end, he had treated her with great cruelty, so much so that she told him that the evil of sending her away was even worse than his raping her in the first place.
(Verses 19 through 21) And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was upon her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying. And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth. And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon , because he had forced his sister Tamar.
As we have noted before, Absalom, Amnon, and Tamar, were all three children of David; but Absalom and Tamar were the children of one of David’s wives, while Amnon was the son of another wife. So Absalom had a closer brotherly feeling for Tamar than did Amnon. Therefore, after this incident, Tamar went to the house of Absalom, and lived there in her sorrow. When king David heard of all these things, he was very angry; but nothing is said about anything he may have either said or done. But although Absalom hated Amnon for what he had done, he counseled Tamar to say nothing more about the matter, and he deliberately said nothing to Amnon about it. However, we shall soon see that he did not forget the situation.
(Verses 23 through 27) And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant. And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him. Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee? But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.
Through the two years Absalom had waited silently, he, no doubt, had been planning this whole matter of vengeance against Amnon very carefully. And finally the time had come. The spring shearing of the sheep was usually a very festive occasion. And at this time Absalom had invited the king and all his sons to come to his sheepshearing event. It took quite a lot of persuasion to get David’s permission for all his sons to go, and even then David would not himself go. But he did give permission for the rest to go.
(Verses 28 and 29) Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous and be valiant. And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up on his mule, and fled.
Now we see what Absalom had been two years in planning. He had his servants slay Amnon. And although in our manner of looking upon such matters, this was murder, it was not so harshly considered in that day. It was usually considered simply as a matter of avenging a wrong. In this case Absalom was only acting as the champion of his sister Tamar. As soon as this was done, all the king’s sons got up, and fled, lest they be considered as having any part in this event.
(Verses 30 through 36) And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left. Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent. And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead. But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him. And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and his servants wept very sore.
Since all the king’s sons arose immediately after the slaying of Amnon, and fled, it is unclear how the news got to David ahead of them, but so it did. And as is often the case, the first report was that it was a far worse event than it turned out to be. But Jonadab, the very one who had been the ground cause of it in the first place, in that it was he who worked out the plan for Amnon to rape his sister, was the one who told David that the event was not so great as the first report said it was. About the time he finished telling David what he knew about the matter, the king’s sons arrived, and there was much weeping because of the matter.
(Verses 37 through 39) But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. and the soul of David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
Absalom did not know just how David would take his slaying of Amnon, so he fled to a city outside of David’s authority, the city of Geshur, whose king was Talmai. And although David, realizing that Amnon was dead, was soon comforted concerning him, and longed to reach out to Absalom, he would not do so. And Absalom remained in Geshur three years.
(Verses 1 through 3) 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, and put on mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead: and come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
As we have seen before, Joab was David’s commander of the host of Israel. We might , in reference to our manner of operation, consider him as both the secretary of defense and the top general in the field, with a somewhat more “hands on” manner of operation than either would today have. So he was well aware of all that was going on. Since he saw that David wanted to bring Absalom back as his son, instead of leaving him as a fugitive in another country, he devised a plan to persuade him to do this. So he sent for a “wise woman,” not necessarily a fortune teller, but one who was considered as having a greater gift than most people for understanding complicated situations. He then proceeded to set before her his plan for persuading David to go ahead and do what he perceived that he already wanted to do. He then sent her to king David.
(Verses 4 through 11) And when the woman of Tekoah spake to the king, she did obeisance, and said, Help, O king. And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, I am a widow woman, and mine husband is dead. And thy handmaid had two sons, and they strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and slew him. And behold the whole family is risen against thine handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth. And the king said unto the woman, Go to thine house, and I will give charge concerning thee. And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, the iniquity be upon me, and on my father’s house: and the king and his throne be guiltless. And the king said, Whosoever saith aught unto thee, bring him to me, and he shall not touch thee any more. Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember the LORD thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.
So this woman of Tekoah went to the king, as Joab had sent her, pretending that she was a widow who had two sons, but one of them had killed the other, and now the people were demanding that she let them take her other son, and put him to death for the murder of his brother. She wanted the king to protect her son, because he was the only heir to his father’s name and inheritance, and to destroy him would bring to an end her husband’s name and his possession in Israel. So David believed her story, and took an oath that no harm would come to her son.
(Verses 12 through 20) Then the woman said, Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on. And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king speaketh as one which is faulty, in that the king doth not fetch home again his banished. For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means whereby His banished be not expelled from Him. Now therefore that I am come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and thy handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. Then thy handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD thy God will be with thee. Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak. And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from aught that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab , he bade me, and put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid: to fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
After David had assured the woman that no harm would be allowed to come upon her son, she began to tell him what this was all about. She pointed out that he had spoken concerning this situation as “one that is faulty,” or one who is not consistent, in that he was so ready to protect her son, but had made no move to bring back his son who was, in effect, banished. Her statement in verse 14 is an outstanding truth, upon which we, even today are depending. “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means, whereby his banished be not expelled from Him.” There can be no argument against the fact that “we must needs die, and are as water spilt upon the ground.” With the exception of only two, Enoch, and Elijah, every person who has ever lived on this earth, except those still here, has died. And Unless our Lord returns before death can overtake us, we also shall die. Not only so, but when we do, we are as water spilt upon the ground, in that we can no more be brought back than can that water be gathered up. And in this, God does not respect any person. Solomon declared in Ecclesiastes that the wise man and the fool die just alike. And neither is any difference made in the death of the righteous and the wicked: not that there is no difference in the destination of the righteous and the wicked, but that there is no difference in the fact that death comes to both. With all this being true, “Yet doth He devise means whereby His banished be not expelled from Him.” That means is none other than His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus our Lord.. As this woman continued her speech to David, he asked her if Joab was with her in all this story she has brought him. And she answers that such is indeed the case. He made up the whole story, and sent her to the king with it. And it was for the very purpose of turning David’s mind to this matter of bringing back his son.
(Verses 21 through 27) And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring again the young man Absalom again. And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, Today thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant. So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face. But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight. And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of fair countenance.
After his talk with the woman of Tekoah, David sent Joab to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem. But even after having him brought back, David would not let him come to see him, and neither did he go to see him. He was still in exile, so far as having access to his father is concerned. Absalom was the best looking man in Israel. Also he had so much hair on his head that when he cut it, as he did once a year, it was more than six pounds of hair. He had three sons and one daughter born to him. And his daughter’s name was Tamar.
(Verses 28 through 33) So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king’s face. Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire? And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? It had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be iniquity in me, let him kill me. So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.
Absalom tried to get Joab to come to him that he might send him to the king with a message, but Joab would not come to him. So Absalom got his attention by setting his field on fire. Then he sent Joab to the king, and reconciliation was made between Absalom and the king.
(Verses 1 through 9) And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. And Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which had any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD. And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.
Thus Absalom set to work immediately to undermine the king, and worked at this for forty years. What he was doing is clearly set forth in the text, and does not need to be repeated. But, as can readily be seen, he was all the time working to turn the people of Israel away from king David, and get them to follow him. After forty years, he felt that he had accomplished his purpose, so he went to the king, and asked permission to go to Hebron, on the pretense that he wanted to pay a vow that he had vowed to the LORD while he was in Geshur. This, on its face seemed ridiculous, since he had let forty years go by without making any effort to go and pay that vow. But David, suspecting no treachery, gave him leave to go: and he went.
(Verses 10 through 18) But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house. And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off. And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
Without re-quoting all of this, we can readily see that Absalom had built up a strong conspiracy against king David. Of course, he had been working on this for forty years, before he was ready to make it publicly known. He sent his spies throughout Israel to alert his followers, and give them his signal for the uprising. He had even taken two hundred men from Jerusalem without their knowing anything about what he was planning. And he had even corrupted one of David’s counselors. When the word came to David concerning the rebellion, he knew that he could not successfully resist it in Jerusalem. So he and all who followed him fled from the city, and went to a place that was quite a distance from Jerusalem, and encamped there. With him were the six hundred men who had been with him when he was in Gath. It is amazing that they were all still living, and able to follow him. He left his house in the care of ten of his concubines, taking all the remainder of his family with him.
(Verses 19 through 23) Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee. And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be. And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
So David and those who were with him left Jerusalem, and went to the wilderness. One man, Ittai the Gittite, was one who had recently come as a refugee from his home when it had been overrun. And David thought he might be safer to stay in Jerusalem instead of going with him, since he did not know what the future held for him and his followers. But Ittai told him that whether death or life awaited David and his followers. He was determined to share it with them. So they all passed over the brook Kidron (the same brook that Jesus and His disciples passed over from Jerusalem to the garden of Gethsemane) and started on their way to the wilderness.
(Verses 24 through 29) And, lo, Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me again, and shew me both it, and His habitation: but if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him. The king said also unto Zadok the priest. Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me. Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
Evidently Zadok the priest, and the other priests in Jerusalem, had intended to go with David. But he, thinking that because they were the priests of the LORD they would be safe, and also that they could be a means of communication for him with Jerusalem, told them to go back to their place in the city. Meanwhile he would remain in the plain of the wilderness until he received word from them. So they waited in Jerusalem.
(Verses 30 and 31) And David went up by the ascent of the mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray Thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
There was indeed much sorrow among those fleeing from Jerusalem, David was even walking barefoot, and weeping as he went. Then someone told him that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom. Now Ahithophel was known for giving good counsel. So David prayed that the LORD would turn Ahithophel’s counsel to foolishness.
(Verses 32 through 37) And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head: unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden to me: but if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king, as I have been thy father’s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king’s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok’s son, and Jonathan Abiathar’s son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear. So Hushai David’s friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
Since David had prayed that the LORD would turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness, God answered his prayer, and sent to him his friend Hushai, who was a great counselor, and would also serve as David’s spy in the house of Absalom. So, now David had completed the setting up of his counter spy operation. Hushai went back into the city, and Absalom also came there.
(Verses 1 through 4) And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these> And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink. And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said, unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, Today shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, Thine is all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.
A little after David reached the top of mount Olivet, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, met him with a present, which was, no doubt, very acceptable to David and his followers. And when David asked about his master, Ziba lied to him about him, saying that he had turned against David, and thought this to be a very good opportunity to have Israel restore to him the kingdom of his father. David believed Ziba, and declared that all that had belonged to Mephibosheth was now Ziba’s. And, of course that was exactly what Ziba wanted.
(Verses 5 through 8) And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shemei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left, And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: the LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.
There is always anger and hatred left in the hearts of people who think that they, or someone whom they love has been wronged. And Although the LORD is the One Who deposed Saul, and raised up David, the adherents of Saul thought that David had unfairly taken the kingdom from him. And this man, Shimei, was one of them. And for that reason he hated David. And since David was now driven out from Jerusalem, he thought it a good tome to vent his anger and hatred toward David. So he came out, throwing stones at David, and cursing him. It seems that such was ill advised, to say the least.
(Verses 9 through 14) Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth from my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust. And the king and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.
Abishai the brother of Joab wanted to go over and cut the head off Shimei: but David would not permit him to do so. In fact, David said that Shimei was only doing what the LORD had told him to do. Perhaps many will say that David did not mean what he said, or that he was mistaken in the matter. But the fact remains that he said it: and who am I to argue with him? He pointed out that his own son was seeking his life, and if he could do that, why could not this descendant of the house of Saul do what he was doing? He also said that, perhaps, the LORD would reward him good for the evil Shimei was saying about him. Finally David and all those with him became weary, and stopped to refresh themselves.
(Verses 15 through 19) And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said, God save the king, God save the king. And Absalom said to Hushai, is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend? And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide. And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.
Absalom and his followers came into Jerusalem, and began to take over the kingdom. When Absalom saw Hushai, he wanted to know why Hushai had not gone with his friend, David. But Hushai, in substance, told him that he was serving the kingdom, and not the man who was king. Apparently, this answer satisfied Absalom.
(Verses 20 through 23) Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong. So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
Since the counsel of Ahithophel had always been so true that it was considered as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God, Absalom asked him what he should do. And although he told Absalom to do something that was a direct violation of the commandments of God, it was what the LORD had told David would take place because of his secret sin with Bath-sheba the wife of Uriah. So arrangements were made for him and the concubines of David, and he had intercourse with them in the view of all the people.
(Verses 1 through 4) Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only: and I will bring all the people back unto thee: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace. And this saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
So Ahithophel advised Absalom to let him select twelve thousand men, and go immediately to overtake David that very night, while he and his men were already tired from their flight from Jerusalem. He promised that he would frighten away all the people who were with David, hurting none of them, and killing David alone. Thus there would actually be no battle at all, and all the people would be at peace. This seemed very pleasing to Absalom and all his elders. But Absalom also wanted to hear what Hushai would say about the matter.
(Verses 3 through 14) Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he saith. And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake to him, saying, Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? If not, speak thou. And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom. And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men. Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one. Moreover, if he be gotten into some city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there. And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.
So Hushai gave exactly the opposite advice from that given by Ahithophel. Now it was up to Absalom and his elders to make a decision about the matter. And they all chose Hushai’s advice over that of Ahithophel. For it was the LORD’S purpose to bring evil upon Absalom.
(Verses 15 through 19) Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counselled. Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him. Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel; for they might not be seen to come into the city: and a wench went and told them; and they went and told king David. Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom: but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man’s house in Bahurim, which had a well in the court; whither they went down. And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known.
It would not have been possible for a messenger to go directly from Hushai to David with a message, without being caught by Absalom’s people. So it had to be worked in relays. And even then the messengers were seen, but not caught. At least their system worked well enough to get the message to David, that he might be better advised how to protect himself and those with him.
(Verses 20 through 24) And when Absalom’s servants came to the woman to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And she said unto them, They be gone over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel counseled against you. Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan. And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father. Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.
Thus the messengers to David escaped capture, and went to him. When David heard their message, he and all that were with him arose, and went across Jordan, so that by daybreak the next morning, none of them was left on the side toward Jerusalem. And they continued on to Mahanaim. Absalom and all his men crossed over Jordan; but Ahithophel, seeing that his counsel was disregarded, went home to his own house, in the city in which he lived, and committed suicide by hanging himself.
(Verses 25 through 29) And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab: which Amasa was a man’s son, whose name was Ithamar an Israelite, that went in to Abigail the sister of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother. So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead. And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Giteadite of Rogelim, brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and bread, and lentils, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for all the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
Absalom made a change in the leadership of his army, for Joab, who had so long been David’s captain of the host, had gone with David. So Absalom replaced him with a man named Amasa. And Absalom and all his host encamped in the land of Gilead. When David arrived at Mahanaim, his old friend, Barzillai, came to him, bringing some much needed supplies.
(Verses 1 through 5) And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also. But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city. And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, Deal gently with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
David numbered the people who were with him, and he organized his forces in preparation for the upcoming battle with Absalom and his army. And when they were ready to go out to battle, David said he was going out with the army; but the people would not let him go, saying that he would be of more value to them by staying in the city until, and unless he was needed to help them; and he yielded to them in the matter. But as the troops were going out of the city, he stood by the gate, and commanded all the captains to deal gently with Absalom.
(Verses 6 through 8) So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
David’s army went forth to battle against Absalom’s army, and the battle was in a wooded area of Ephraim. Absalom lost about twenty thousand men, cut down with the sword by the army of David. This battle was spread out over a very great area: and it seemed that the forest killed as many as, or more than, the sword. The LORD gave David’s forces a great victory.
(Verses 9 through 17) And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak. And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? And I would have given thee ten shekels of silver and a girdle. And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom. Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me. Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.
As Absalom tried to ride under a low hanging limb of an oak tree, his head was caught in a fork thereof, and his mule ran out from under him, leaving him hanging in the tree. This is not a too unusual happening when one tries to ride a mule, or a horse, too fast through a very thick forest. One of Joab’s men saw Absalom hanging there, and went and told Joab. Joab asked the man why he did not kill Absalom while he was thus hanging. And the man’s answer was that first of all he had heard king David when he charged his captains to be gentle with Absalom; and second, because he knew that Joab would have turned him in to David. So Joab declared that he couldn’t listen to such any more, and went to the place where Absalom was hanging. He them thrust three darts through Absalom’s heart, and also had ten of his young soldiers attack Absalom, even while he was hanging there. Then he blew the trumpet to recall all the army of David. Then they buried Absalom in a pit in the forest, and covered him with a great heap of stones. After this every man fled to his tent.
(Verses 18 through 23) Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom’s place. Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies. And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s son is dead. Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself to Joab, and ran. Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But howsoever let me, I pray thee, run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing thou hast no tidings ready? But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
In II Samuel 14:27 we are told, ”And unto Absalom there were born three sons and one daughter.” but in the present text we are told that his reason for setting up a pillar for himself was that he had no son to keep his name in remembrance, Perhaps, he set up this pillar before these sons were born to him, or if not, the question arises, “What became of them?” After his death Ahimaaz the son of Zadok wanted to run, and carry the message to David; but Joab would not let him be the messenger, and sent Cushi instead. For some reason or other Ahimaaz could not be satisfied without making the run, even without a message. So Joab finally told him to run. And he outran the messenger Joab had sent.
(Verses 24 through 30) And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man running alone. And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he is alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near. And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold, another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings. And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings. And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, all is well. And he fell down upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the LORD thy God, Which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king. And the king asked, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was. And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.
When Ahimaaz wanted to run, Joab told him not to do so, because there was no message for him to carry. And although he continued asking Joab to let him run anyway, even when Joab finally gave his consent for him to run, he gave him no message to carry. Therefore when he outran the official messenger, and came before the king, all he could say is that he saw a great tumult, but did not know what it meant. Sometimes we think this same condition applies today to many who claim to be ministers, or messengers of the Lord. They wanted so badly to run that He gave them permission to run, but gave them no message. The principal difference between them and Ahimaaz is that, when David found that Ahimaaz had no message, he told him to “turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still,” while the ministers of today who have no message are not ordered by the church to turn aside and stand still. They just keep on running with no message.
(Verses 31 through 33) And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee. And the king said to Cushi, Is the young man safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise up against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!
When Cushi arrived, he gave to David a message that should have made him rejoice. He told him that all who had risen up against him had been put down. Whereupon Davis wanted to know about Absalom, and Cushi let him know that Absalom was dead. At this point David forgot all about his fears that Absalom would kill him, and take his kingdom, and went into such mourning for Absalom that he forgot everything else.
(Verses 1 through 4) 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. And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
David carried on his mourning and wailing for Absalom so much that the joy of victory was turned into mourning by all Israel. And the people, instead of coming back to the city with their heads held high in victory, came in by stealth as if they were running away from battle David could take no notice of anything except his sorrow dor the death of Absalom.
(Verses 5 through 8) And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of all thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; in that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now. Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.
When Joab came into the house, he took charge of the situation immediately, and pointed out to David very forcefully, that he had better change his focus, or he would be left entirely alone. So the king followed Joab’s advice, and arose, and went out and took his seat in the gate, as a king ought to do. Then word was sent to all the people that he was sitting in the gate, and all the people gathered before him.
(Verses 9 through 15) And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back? And David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house. Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king? And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not, of my bone and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab. And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants. So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct him over Jordan.
Although David and his army had overcome Absalom and his followers, they still remained at Mahanaim. And all the Israelites throughout the land began to talk about their situation since Absalom was dead, and considered bringing David back as their king, that is, all Israel except the tribe of Judah, in whose territory was Jerusalem, and of whom was David. So David sent word to Judah, asking them why, since he was of the tribe of Judah, were they the last to make any move to bring him back. He also played politics a little in this message; for he promised to make Amasa his captain of the host instead of Joab who had held this post for a great while. So Judah quickly made ready, and invited him and all his followers to return to Jerusalem. And a great many of them even went to meet him at Jordan, to conduct him to Jerusalem as their king.
(Verses 16 through 23) And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king. And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; and said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’S anointed? And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
At this time, Shimei, the man who, when David and his followers were fleeing from Jerusalem, to escape from Absalom, ran along beside them cursing David, and throwing stones at him and his servants, came down to meet him, and made apology to him for what he had done. Abishai wanted David to order Shimei put to death, but David refused because he wanted no one executed on that day, since it was the day on which he had been confirmed as king over Israel. We shall later see that, at his death, he left Solomon with orders to have this man killed. So, although at this time, he refused to put him to death, and swore to him that he should not die, he never actually forgave Shimei for what he had done.
(Verses 24 through 30) And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame. And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes. For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king? And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.
We are here given the account of the coming of Mephibosheth to welcome home the king. He, no doubt, had passed the time of David’s absence in mourning, not only because of David’s absence, but also because he had likely heard what his servant Ziba had done. He had been in such sorrow that he had not groomed himself in any way, but as people sometimes will in times of great distress, he had completely abandoned any care of himself. At this time he came to welcome David back to Jerusalem. And, of course, David asked him why he had not gone with him into exile, and Mephibosheth told him that he had intended to do so, but Ziba, his servant, had deceived him. Some might wonder just why David did not restore all Mephibosheth’s property to him. But, because Ziba had brought supplies to him and his followers he had given all Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba, although Ziba had laid false accusation against Mephibosheth, he, because of the help Ziba had been to him in this, would not completely go back on his word. Therefore he divided the property between Mephibosheth and Ziba. Mephibosheth declared that he was so glad David had returned to his own house that it would have been all right with him for Ziba to keep all the property that once was his.
(Verses 31 through 40) And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king sustenance while he was at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward. Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with thee. And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee. And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned to his own place. Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.
Barzillai was another who had been of great help to David and his followers while they were in Mahanaim. And he also came to escort David in the crossing of Jordan. David invited him to go with him, and live with him at Jerusalem. But Barzillai said that he was too old to be able to enjoy all the food and entertainment at the king’s court, and suggested that David take his son Chimham with him, and let Barzillai go back to his own city, that he might die at home, and be buried beside his father and his mother. And this they agreed upon, and Chimham went with David, while Barzillai went back to his own home. All the people of Judah and half those of Israel joined the procession of David and his followers to Jerusalem.
(Verses 41 through 43) And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him, over Jordan? And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then are ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? or hath he given us any gift? And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer that the words of the men of Israel.
Although half the men of Israel had joined the procession to bring back the king, apparently, the rest of those of Israel thought they should have been consulted about the matter before it was done. They appeared to not be angry because he was brought back, but only because they had not been asked about it before it was done. So a great argument arose between them and the men of Judah. And the men of Judah seemed more fierce in the word battle than the men of Israel.
(Verses 1 through 3) And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents. O Israel. So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem. And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep his house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
The outcome of the great argument that had come up between the men of Judah and those of Israel was that Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite, blew a trumpet, calling all the men of Israel around him, and declared that they were cutting all ties to David. So all the men of Israel went to their tents. But the men of Judah followed David. When they reached Jerusalem, David took all the ten women, his concubines whom Absalom had defiled, and put them “in ward.” That is, he shut them away from himself and the remainder of his household. He still provided for them, but would have no more relation with them, as concubines. They were shut up, and were widows the remainder of their lives. Some might think this to be too hard a sentence upon them. But the law of God provides that after a man’s wife has been defiled by another man, she can no more be the wife of the first man; although David did make an exception in the case of his wife Michal.
(Verses 4 through 7) Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present. So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him. And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us. And there went out after him Joab’s men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
As David had promised, he made Amasa captain of the host in place of Joab. So now he sent him out to assemble all the hosts of Judah. But he took longer in this than David had told him that he could. Therefore David then sent Abishai and his forces to pursue Sheba, and try to overtake him before he could hole up in fenced cities.
(Verses 8 through 13)When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab’s garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri. And one of Joab’s men stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab. And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still. When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
Evidently, when they came to the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to them and, having dressed himself in Joab’s coat, went before them. He had girded a belt around himself, and in the scabbard of that belt there was a sword. As he went on, the sword fell out of its scabbard without his noticing it. Then Joab came to him, and inquired of his health. Then Joab took hold of his beard, as if to kiss him, and thrust him through with a sword, and killed him. No doubt, Joab was angry against Amasa for taking the position which he had held for so long. One of Joab’s men called for all who wanted to follow Joab and all who wanted to serve David to go with Joab. But with Amasa lying before them in the road, no one moved. Then Joab’s man removed Amasa from the road and covered him with a cloth. Then all the men followed Joab, and they pursued Sheba.
(Verses 14 and 15) And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and unto Beth-maachah, and all the Beerites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him. And they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.
Joab’s forces finally ran Sheba and his men to ground in Abel of Beth-maachah. Then they set a bank against the city, and began to batter the walls to tear them down.
(Verses 16 through 22) Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear: say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee. And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear . Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter. I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD? And Joab answered and said, Far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall. Then the woman went unto the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.
When the preparations were all complete for overthrowing the city, a wise woman from therein called for Joab, and discussed the matter with him. He agreed that if they would only deliver Sheba to him, he would leave the city, and molest it no more. She promised to have Sheba’s head thrown over the wall to Joab, and accordingly went to the people of the city, and spoke to them about the matter. They shortly cast Sheba’s head over the wall , and Joab and his army left, and went back to Jerusalem.
(Verses 23 through 26) Now Joab was over all the host of Israel: and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites: and Adoram was over the tribute: and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder: and Sheva was scribe: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests: and Ira also the Jairite was a chief ruler about David.
Thus we have the names of David’s top echelon of officers. We have had quite a bit said about Joab, some of which was not so very complimentary, but of the others little is said.
(Verses 1 through 4) Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD? And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye say, that will I do for you.
Here we turn to a different matter from the wars among the Israelites, The Gibeonites were of the remnant of the Amorites with whom the children of Israel had made a treaty. And Saul had broken that treaty, and had tried to kill the Gibeonites. Now a famine had come upon Israel, and had lasted for three years. David inquired of the LORD as to the cause of this famine; and the LORD said that it was for the transgression of Saul in trying to kill these Gibeonites. So David inquired of the Gibeonites concerning what he should do for them, that they would “bless the inheritance of the LORD.” They did not want any financial payment of damages, and neither did they want David to have anyone executed for the crime. So he promised that he would do whatever they wanted him to do for them.
(Verses 5 through 9) And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, let seven of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S oath between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.
The thing that the Gibeonites wanted was that seven of the male descendants of Saul be delivered to them, that they might kill them by hanging them up before the LORD in Gibeah the home of Saul. David, because of the covenant between him and Jonathan, would not let them have Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, but he did give them seven others. They were Armoni and Mephibosheth, the sons of Saul by his concubine Rizpah, and the five sons of Michal, which she had by Adriel to whom Saul gave her when he was seeking to kill David. The Gibeonites took them, and hanged them on the hill before the LORD, in the first days of barley harvest.
(Verses 10 through 14) And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest upon them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: and he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was entreated for the land.
We see from this that Saul occupied a somewhat strange position with Israel. Although he was rejected by the LORD Himself as king over Israel, and had tried to eradicate a people with whom Israel had made a covenant; and for that, the LORD sent upon Israel a great famine that lasted three years, the fact that he was the first king Anointed of God over Israel, The LORD showed him such respect that his bones, and those of his family, both those slain in battle, and those hanged for his sin, had to be gathered up and properly buried before the LORD would end the famine He had sent upon Israel.
(Verses 15 through 22) Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass, he having been girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel. And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was yet a battle in Gath, where there was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and his servants.
Israel continued to have war with the Philistines. And in one of the battles, David had to be rescued by one of his men. Whereupon all his men told him that he was never again to go out with them to battle, because of the great damage it would do to Israel if he should be slain. Then we are told of four special men, giants, that were killed by the Israelites in their battles with the Philistines.
(Verses 1 through 9)And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: and he said, The LORD is my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour; Thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; the sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and He did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
In the day that the LORD delivered David from all of his enemies, including Saul, He composed, and sang this song unto the LORD. He gave the LORD all the praise for everything good that had come to him. He declares that the LORD is his salvation. In this, although he may have also been conscious that the LORD was his salvation eternally, it seems that his principal consideration of salvation is being delivered from all his enemies, inasmuch as all the time they were troubling him he was, as he once expressed it, in such a situation that he felt that there was only a step between him and death. This was when the waves of death compassed him, and the floods of ungodly men made him afraid. He even said, “The sorrows of hell compassed me about, the snares of death prevented me.” In this expression, “prevented,” does not have the same meaning as we customarily ascribe to it. Rather, it means “went before” me. No matter which way he may have turned, the snares of death were there before him. In such great distress he called upon the LORD, and cried unto God. Then he was given of the LORD such a reaction to the situation that it appeared to him that the earth shook, and the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because the LORD was angry; not angry against him, but against his enemies. It was as if The LORD blew out fire and smoke from His nostrils and mouth and devoured his enemies, and even kindled coals of fire.
(Verses 10 through 16) He bowed the heavens also, and came down, and darkness was under his feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and He was seen upon the wings of the wind. And He made darkness pavilions round about Him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. Through the brightness before Him were coals of fire kindled. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered His voice. And He sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
David continued his song, praising the LORD for His wonderful works on his behalf. David even felt that the LORD had caused the heavens to bow, “and He came down; and darkness was under His feet.” This was done so quickly that David declared that the LORD even rode upon a cherub, and flew, and was seen to ride upon the wings of the wind. Without doubt, He made quick response to the prayer of David. He thundered from heaven, and uttered His voice. Then He sent out His arrows and discomfited David’s enemies. He even sent His lightning against them. It seemed to David that even the very foundations of the world were discovered, or laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, and at the blast of His breath.
(Verses 17 through25) He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters; He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth into a large place: He delivered me, because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. And I was also upright before Him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness: according to my cleanness in His eye sight.
I believe that we would agree that when David speaks of his righteousness, he is considering, not so much his righteousness in all things, nor that he was perfect before the LORD; but that as compared to his enemies, and, particularly to Saul, he was in the right, and therefore the LORD delivered him from them. He declares that the LORD sent him help from above, and He drew him out of “many waters,” or many tribulations and dangers. The LORD also delivered him from his “strong enemy.” Certainly, at the beginning of their warfare, Saul had a much greater host fighting for him than that which David had, and it may be that Saul is the “strong enemy” to whom hr is referring. Yet the Philistines were also very strong; and they might have been included in this. However it seems to me that he is using “strong enemy” as an euphemism for death. In either case, the LORD delivered him; and that is the most important point of all. In spite of the fact that these enemies prevented him, or hemmed him in, in the day of his calamity, the LORD delivered him, and set him in a “large place,” a place where he was not surrounded by those who hated him, and sought after his life. He knew that he had “clean hands” in the matter, and the LORD rewarded him accordingly He declares that he has kept himself in the ways of the LORD, and has not departed from His ways and judgments. Therefore the LORD has rewarded him according to his righteousness. As we have mentioned above, this might be considered in the light of the relative righteousness of him and those who would destroy him.
(Verses 26 through 35) With the merciful Thou wilt shew Thyself merciful, and with the upright man Thou wilt shew Thyself upright. With the pure Thou wilt shew Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt shew Thyself unsavoury. And the afflicted people Thou wilt save: but Thine eyes are upon the haughty, that Thou mayest bring them down. For Thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness. For I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for the LORD, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him. For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, except our God? God is my strength and power: and He maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds feet: and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken in mine arms.
Here David turned to the LORD, and addressed Him directly. Remember that our Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” And here David said, “With the merciful Thou wilt shew Thyself merciful. “ The two statements are identical in meaning. So those who have a merciful heart shall indeed find mercy of the LORD. And so also shall the righteous and the pure. But those who are of a froward, that is, an obstinate, or willful and wayward heart, shall find that the LORD can, and will, be “unsavoury,” that is, He will be unpleasant with them. He will save the afflicted people; but He will destroy the haughty. David then says that the LORD is his lamp, and will lighten all his darkness. Then he tells of mighty exploits the LORD has enabled him to do, and he declares that the LORD’S way is perfect, and his word has been tested: and the inference is that it has always stood the test, and never failed. He is a shield to all that put their trust in Him. He is the only God, and none other is a rock as He is It was He Who made David surefooted as the hind, and set him upon his high places. It is the LORD who made David such a great warrior, that even a bow of steel was broken in his hands.
(Verses 36 through 44) Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that My feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them. And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet. For Thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rise up against me hast Thou subdued under me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. They looked, but there was none to save, even unto the LORD, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, Thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.
In this David continued on speaking of the wondrous things the LORD had done for him, in putting down all his enemies, and establishing him as king over all His people, and even over the heathen. Although David did, by the help of the LORD, subdue his enemies all around Israel, and these enemies were heathen, he still was not made the head over them, in the sense of being anointed king over them; but this will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus our Lord, when He returns, and reigns over all the world. And He is often called David, because He is “the greater son of David.” In that day, will come to pass his declaration: “Thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.”
(Verses 45 through 51) Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me. Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation. It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me, and that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: Thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: Thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto Thy name. He is the tower of salvation for His king: and sheweth mercy to His anointed, unto David, and his seed for evermore.
Perhaps, most of this text is also prophetic concerning the Christ. However, it can also apply to David himself. For it was the LORD Who blessed him, raised him up, anointed him king over Israel, and delivered him from all his enemies. David’s entire reign was marred by wars and uprisings, but the LORD kept him through all these, and promised that his kingdom shall last for ever. And, although there have been breaks in it, his kingdom is still lasting, and will at a later day flourish with our Lord Christ Jesus sitting upon the throne thereof.
(Verses 1 through 7) Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and His word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he that shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordained in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow. But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: but the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
Here David gives us his final assessment of what the LORD had done for him. These may not be the last words he ever spoke, but he considered them as the final conclusion of the matter. He calls himself, “David the son of Jesse,” “ the man who was lifted up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel.” The first of these names simply identifies his family lineage, but all the others show, not what he had done, but what the LORD had done for him. The LORD had lifted him up, anointed him king over Israel, and given him the ability to write and sing sweet songs of the praise of the God of Israel. And the Spirit of the LORD had even spoken by him; that is, the Spirit had caused him to prophesy, and had caused him to speak the word of God with his tongue. All of these things were great, but they were done by the Spirit of God; not by David. Only the God of Israel deserved any praise for them. And God had given him some instructions that he passed on to others who might come after him: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” If he will follow this commandment, “he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” David realized that his house was not perfect before God. Some of his sons had done wickedly. He declared that, in spite of this, the LORD had made with him “an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” And this covenant was all his salvation, and all his desire, though the LORD did not make it to grow. If nothing more were ever added to it, it was still all he wanted. But the sons of Belial (sons of the devil) will all be pushed away, because they are so evil that one cannot touch them with his hands. The only way to handle them is with iron, and the staff of a spear. So they shall be utterly burned with fire. In Matthew 25:41 our Lord says that He will say to those on his left, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” And Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” So the New Testament agrees with this statement of David.
(Verses 8 through 12) These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: the Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines that were gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away. He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together in a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentils: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
These are three of David’s most valiant mighty men, and what they were so highly noted for having done. Their outstanding achievements are set forth clearly enough to need no clarification. It is obvious that the LORD was working with these men when they wrought their great exploits.
(Verses 13 through 23) And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in a hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Beth-lehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Beth-lehem, that is by the gate! And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.. And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men. And Abishai, the brother of Joab the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three. Was he not most honourable of three? Therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow. And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had a name among three mighty men. He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
Here we have another listing of mighty men of David’s host, and a brief mention of some deeds they had done. There seems to be little that would need any commentary in these things.
The remainder of this chapter is a continuation of the listing of David’s mighty men, though none of them measured up to some of these already listed And since there seems to be nothing concerning them that needs any comments we shall pass them by.
(Verses 1 through 4) And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing? Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.
Notice the wording at the beginning of this. “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’” So there can be no doubt that the LORD brought on this census. For the moment, we shall leave this matter as stated. Joab, who was David’s captain of the host of Israel, objected to doing this: but since David was the king, he, by rank, prevailed over Joab’s objection. So Joab and his men went forward with the numbering of the children of Israel.
(Verses 5 through 9) And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, toward Jazer: then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon, and came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
Joab and his men spent nine months and twenty days in numbering all the people (all the men) of Israel and Judah, It seems a little odd that the numbers would come out as they did. Judah had almost two thirds as many men as did all (the rest) of Israel. There were eight hundred thousand valiant men of Israel, and five hundred thousand of Judah.
(Verses 10 through 14) And David’s heart smote him after he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech Thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; chose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came unto David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days of pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hands of the LORD; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hands of man.
The order in which this is written might cause us to wonder whether David’s “heart smote him” before Gad came to him, or only after Gad brought to him the word of the LORD concerning this matter. However that may be, he was certainly brought to repentance when Gad laid the three choices before him. We called attention at the beginning of this chapter to the fact that it was the LORD Who moved David to number the people. Yet, because he had done so, the LORD sent to him a list of three punishments from which he had to choose one that should be laid upon him and Israel. Some might think the LORD was unfair in this; but we must remember that He is the Creator, and we are only minute particles of His creation. So our rules of fair play do not apply to Him. We are told at the beginning of this chapter, that the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and for that reason He moved David to have Israel numbered. There is no declaration concerning what was the cause of His anger. And thus it may often be with men. It is not our right to ask why He does anything that He does. If He wills that we should know, He will tell us: otherwise, it is none of our business. David chose what he thought might be the least of the penalties the LORD would lay upon him and Israel. That was a three day pestilence that would be sent upon Israel.
(Verses 15 through 17) So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was at the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo. I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let Thine hand, I pray Thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.
Just as He had said, the LORD sent the pestilence over all Israel, and as the destroyer stretched forth his hand against Jerusalem, the LORD said, “It is enough.” So there He stopped the pestilence, at the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. David, at this time, made a very magnanimous entreaty of the LORD. He asked Him to lay any further chastisement upon him and his father’s house, and not on the people, for he had committed the sin, but the people had done nothing to bring this about.
(Verses 18 through 23) And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him, behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.
Gad came to David with a commandment from the LORD, to go, and erect an altar in the threshingfloor of Araunah, and there offer sacrifices to the LORD. David went immediately. And when he arrived at Araunah’s threshingfloor, Araunah came out to meet him, and inquired for what purpose he had come. David then told him that he had come to buy the threshingfloor, that he might there erect an altar unto the LORD, and offer sacrifices thereupon. Then Araunah offered to give David the threshingfloor, together with oxen for sacrifice, and wood for the fire. Just as one king might give to another, Araunah freely gave David all these things.
(Verses 24 and 25) And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
This is a very simple text, but one from which we also should take a lesson. Although Araunah was willing to give David the threshingfloor, the oxen, and the wood, that he might make the offerings he desired unto the LORD, David made a declaration that we might well remember. “Nay, but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” Certainly, we do not offer burnt offerings as did the children of Israel; but whatever we are doing in the service of our LORD should not be done at the expense of another. We should make sure that we are furnishing that which is required for that service, whether it be our money, or our effort. We are to make whatever sacrifice is necessary for it. David’s sacrifice was acceptable to the LORD: and the plague was ended.