Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Reflections on 2 Samuel 15:7-12
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Four years after Absalom returned from exile when he had gained sympathizers throughout Israel, he began to carry out his plan for a coup d'état. He went to his father and asked permission to fulfill a vow by worshiping God in Hebron. David suspected nothing and sent Absalom away with his blessing, "Go in peace."

PLACE. Hebron was an ideal city from which to launch the coup. It was far enough away from Jerusalem (20 miles) that Absalom could carry out his plan without immediate detection, but close enough that he could launch a surprise attack on David's capital. Furthermore, Hebron was the leading city in Judah, perhaps the most influential tribe in Israel. It had been David's former capital, and may, therefore, have resented its loss of influence when David moved the capital to Jerusalem. With Hebron on his side, Absalom removed David's oldest base of support.

PEOPLE. Absalom invited 200 citizens of Jerusalem to Hebron. Although they were unaware of Absalom's plot, they played an important role. Even if none of them could be won over, their presence would give the appearance of popular support and guarantee that their families in Jerusalem would be reluctant to resist Absalom when he attacked the city. In addition, Absalom called Ahithophel, who had been one of David's trusted advisors, from Giloh, his hometown near Hebron. Because Ahithophel was called from his hometown instead of Jerusalem, he may have already left his position as David's advisor (see Smith, 2000, p. 454). Ahithophel may have joined the coup because he was Bathsheba's grandfather (2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34) or because he wanted to restore Judah's influence in the kingdom (Smith, 2000, p. 454 footnote). His presence gave Absalom's regime legitimacy.

PLAN. The sacrifice that Absalom planned in Hebron was really a coronation feast. Absalom sent messengers throughout Israel so that trumpets might be sounded throughout the land coinciding with the coronation feast. When the trumpets sounded, the messengers would announce Absalom's ascension to the throne of Israel.

Absalom was declared king at a sacrifice just as his father David was anointed at a feast, but their careers bore little resemblance thereafter. The Spirit rushed powerfully on David (1 Samuel 16:13), but Absalom's "conspiracy gained strength." David waited patiently for the throne and refused to raise his hand against King Saul. Absalom seized the throne as soon as possible, raised an army against King David, and publicly insulted David's concubines in Jerusalem. David's reign thrived on righteousness, but Absalom thrived on disorder and wickedness because he was motivated by selfish ambition. As James 3:16 notes, "Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Consummate Politician

Reflections on 2 Samuel 15:1-6
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In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
-- Charles de Gaulle
Absalom was a keen observer of how David's government operated. He saw an opportunity to exploit the system to undermine his father and advance his own royal ambitions, which he exhibited by riding in a chariot and sending fifty men to run ahead of him just as Samuel had warned that kings would do (1 Samuel 8:11).

FINDING GRIEVANCES. Absalom observed that people unhappy with decisions of their city elders brought their complaints to the king. Absalom decided to greet these people before they got to the king. Greeting the people in this way would make them feel that they were important.

PRETENDING SYMPATHY. Not only did Absalom make the people feel important, but he also assured them that their complaint was important and just. Nevertheless, he warned the people that the king didn't even have any representatives to hear their complaint. Indeed, the people may have had a difficult time getting a hearing if they had not been sent by their city elders because the case was too difficult for them (Deuteronomy 17:8-10). If for any reason a hearing was denied or delayed (to collect evidence or gather witnesses, for instance), then these people would think favorably of Absalom who not only met them but also would have already ruled in their favor.

STEALING HEARTS. Absalom identified himself with the people. He did not allow the people to bow down to him. Instead, he reached out to them, gave them a hearty hug and kissed them. His informality and intimacy contrasted with the formal greeting given royalty. In this way he "stole" the hearts of the people. In other words, he took their hearts with stealth or secrecy (TWOT, #364). By refusing to allow the people to bow down to him, Absalom could always "prove" that he had no aspirations to the throne (see Bergen, 2001, p. 397).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pretension and Protocol

Reflections on 2 Samuel 14:23-33
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Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem where he was restored to his wife and children. However, David did not accept him in the royal family or as an heir to the throne. David refused to see Absalom personally.

PRETENSION. Absalom had a kingly appearance much like Saul before him. While Saul was praised for his height, Absalom was highly praised for his appearance. But God had warned Samuel not to put confidence in appearance, and the people should not have put confidence in Absalom's appearance. Nevertheless, the people praised him. They were still looking for a king like the kings of the nations around them. Absalom, their choice was vain about his appearance and especially his hair. Nevertheless, the appearance of virility was an illusion. Though he had three sons, they all died before Absalom himself (2 Samuel 18:18). In the end, even his hair would become his undoing just as it was the undoing of Samson.

PROTOCOL. Absalom felt his position in Jerusalem was intolerable. It stood in the way of his ambitions. After two years, he was tired of being treated as an inferior. He sent servants to fetch Joab as a member of the royalty might call an inferior. The commander of David's army did not think the demand fit proper protocol; he did not feel compelled to answer the summons of one not admitted into the royal family. At the same time, Absalom, who felt his rightful position was heir apparent, was not about to go crawling to Joab, so he commanded his servants to set fire to Joab's barley fields. Though he would probably be required to pay for the burned fields (see Exodus 22:6), he anticipated that the benefits of his action would far outweigh the costs. As Absalom foresaw, Joab came personally to see him. Through Joab, Absalom was able to get an audience with the king. He acted according to protocol himself. He bowed down with his face to the ground before David, and David kissed him.

Absalom acted according to protocol when he met his father, but his actions were pretentious. He didn't want merely the king's recognition. He wanted the king's crown. Restored to the royal family, Absalom would soon be acting the part of a king. Soon, people would be bowing down to him, and he would kiss them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drama in the Courtroom

Reflections on 2 Samuel 14:1-22
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As king, one of David's responsibilities was to judge difficult cases according to law. Often enough, plaintiffs and defendants dramatized their cases, and David had to separate fact from fiction. In 2 Samuel 14, the entire case is a fabrication. A woman of Tekoa played the part of a widow in a play written by Joab. As a superb actress, she changed David's behavior toward his son Absalom.

BROTHERS IN A FIELD. The woman stated the case quite simply: "I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed him" (2 Samuel 14:6). Immediately, David would recall the story of Cain, who killed his brother in a field. Though Cain was guilty of murder, God had spared Cain and even protected him from being killed himself (Genesis 4:15). Without denying her son's guilt, the woman artfully prepared the king to make a judgment favorable to her.

CLAN'S QUESTIONABLE MOTIVE. As would be expected, the elders of the clan asked that the remaining son be turned over to them so that they might kill him to avenge the death of his brother (see Numbers 35:16-25), but the woman insinuated that the clan was more concerned with profit than justice because they had said that when they got rid of the murderer, then they would "get rid of the heir as well" (2 Samuel 14:7).

BURNING COAL. Finally, the woman revealed her own motive for wanting to spare her son. He was the "only burning coal" she had left. Housewives used a glowing coal from the previous day's fire to start a fire for the coming day. If only one ember was left, it was very important to preserve it until the fire was started for the next day. Her son was her husband's one remaining descendant. If he was executed, her husband would have "neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth" forever.

The woman acted superbly, and she obtained the judgment she desired though at first it appeared half-hearted. Then when she applied her story to Absalom, she also obtained the judgment Joab desired. Joab wanted David to show mercy to his son who had killed a brother just as God had shown mercy to Cain. Joab, through the woman, also insinuated that David's motive for not recalling Absalom may not have been justice so much as a desire to "get rid of the heir" so that David could give the throne to young Solomon. David immediately suspected Joab's role in the plot, but he relented. Joab was relieved because he knew he had forced David's hand. David sent Joab to recall his son from Geshur.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet Revenge

Reflections on 2 Samuel 13:23-39
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Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools.
-- Juvenal

Absalom waited two years to exact his revenge on Amnon, the heir apparent who had raped his sister Tamar. During that time, he had apparently confided his intention to a few friends perhaps including Jonadab (2 Samuel 13:32 NIV and NET). He planned his revenge during sheep shearing festivities at Baal Hazor, a mountain about 15 miles NNE of Jerusalem. Absalom's revenge mirrored Amnon's sin in many ways (Bergen, 2001, p. 385).

DECEPTION. Just as Amnon deceived King David about his intentions, so Absalom deceived the king. When the king declined Absalom's invitation to the feast, no doubt as Absalom expected, he asked that, in lieu of the king being the honored guest, the heir apparent be the guest. David appeared suspicious but relented when Absalom called him his brother.

TRAP. Just as the king had sent Tamar into a trap devised by Amnon, so now the king sent Amnon into a trap devised by Absalom.

VIOLENT MEAL. Just as the little meal Tamar prepared for Amnon turned violent when Amnon overpowered her, so the feast Absalom prepared for Amnon turned violent when Absalom's men killed him. The other sons of David rose in terror and fled.

The first news to reach Jerusalem was that Absalom had killed all the king's sons. Immediately David rose from his throne just as his sons had risen from the feast. Then he tore his clothes just as Tamar and torn her clothes in grief (Youngblood, EBC, 1992, p. 970). The king, whose adultery with Bathsheba was mirrored by Amnon's rape of Tamar, and whose murder of Uriah was mirrored by Absalom's murder of Amnon (Youngblood, EBC, 1992, p. 969), was overcome with grief. The sword had turned upon his own house. Furthermore, Absalom had just proved himself a fool. Eventually, the sword would consume him also.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fodder for a Family Feud

Reflections on 2 Samuel 13:1-22
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Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
-- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, first sentence

Family feuds have a cast of characters. Some cause trouble, some find trouble, some feed trouble, some are victims of trouble, and some stumble into trouble. Amnon's behavior was fodder for a family feud that David was unable to contain. It ripped through his sons and daughters, their cousins and uncles, and even his own wives killing some and wounding all.

CARNAL SON. Amnon was David's firstborn, the son of Ahinoam from Jezreel in Judah (2 Samuel 3:2). Being the son of a powerful king whom he would probably succeed made Amnon a privileged person. Despite his privilege, he lusted for his beautiful half-sister Tamar, a woman who was forbidden to him by law (Leviticus 18:9) just as his father had lusted for a woman forbidden to him. Amnon's lust for Tamar so consumed him that several people guessed his thoughts. Absalom had observed his lustful looks and immediately knew the cause of Tamar's grief after Amnon raped her (v. 20). Jonadab watched his unsatisfied lust turn to self pity and suggested a way for him to satisfy it. Amnon's lust was not love for Tamar. He did not hesitate to use his strength to overpower Tamar despite her protests. Then when he had proved her weak and vulnerable, he loathed her even more than he had desired her. He threw her out of his house and barred the door. The consequences of his sin proved him to be the fool that Tamar saw him to be.

SHREWD COUSIN. Jonadab was David's nephew, the son of Shimeah (Shammah), who was the third of Jesse's sons (1 Samuel 16:9). He was a shrewd judge of human weakness. He observed Amnon's self pity, and knew David to be a doting father. He was willing to exploit the moral weakness of his uncle and to purvey sexual fantasies to his cousin knowing full well that Amnon would not stop at watching Tamar lustfully but would also rape her.

VIRTUOUS SISTER. Tamar was the daughter of Maacah, the daughter of the king of Geshur and mother of Absalom. Tamar appealed to Amnon not to do anything wicked saying, "Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing.... You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel." She plead with Amnon that her virtue might be preserved: "What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace?" Finally, in desperation, she begged Amnon to ask the king that she be given to him in marriage. Although this was forbidden by the Law (Leviticus 18:9; Deuteronomy 27:22), she saw this was a way of preventing a rape (Deuteronomy 22:28). Her pleas were ignored. After Amnon raped her, she tore her virgin's garment as a sign of sorrow and shame. Though beautiful, she remained desolate in the house of her brother Absalom.

INEFFECTUAL FATHER. Although Jonadab and Absalom had seen lust written on Amnon's countenance, David failed to see it. When asked, he granted Amnon's desire to have Tamar sent to his house failing to see that it was not prudent. David was incapable of preventing his own sin from corrupting his children. Then, after Amnon had raped his sister, David failed to punish Amnon for his sin even though David was very angry. Perhaps David was reluctant to discipline Amnon because of his own adultery, or perhaps he was unsure what punishment to mete out according to Law (Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Leviticus 18:9, 29). Regardless, David's silence, his total failure to rebuke Amnon, made David an impotent judge in this case. Where there is no justice, wickedness and every evil work prospers.

PENT-UP BROTHER. Absalom provided refuge for his disgraced sister, but he never said anything to his half-brother Amnon. He waited and saw David's silence and impotence, but Absalom's silence was not the silence of impotence. It was the silence of a man who intensely hated his brother and who was intent on revenge (see Robert Atler, The Art of Biblical Narrative, p. 79).

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Child of Promise

Reflections on 2 Samuel 12:24-25
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After Bathsheba's son died, David comforted her, and she bore a second son who would later sit on his father's throne in Jerusalem. The names given to her second son are significant.

SOLOMON. David named his son Solomon, which means something like "His [Yahweh's] Restoration/Peace" (Bergen, 2001, p. 376). By giving his son this name, David expressed his confidence that God had forgiven him and restored the relationship that had been broken by his sin (TWOT, 1999, #2401, p. 930: "The general meaning behind the root š-l-m is of completion and fulfillment-of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship.)

JEDIDIAH. The Lord confirmed that Solomon was a special son. He sent a message by Nathan the prophet to give Solomon a second name, Jedidiah, which means "loved by the Lord" (see footnote in NIV). Hence, this son would build a house for God, and God would love him as his own son and establish his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12). Solomon had older brothers who would try to usurp the throne, but Nathan the prophet would be an advocate for God's choice and help anoint Solomon as the next king.

The Lord renews his mercies every day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Genuine Repentance

Reflections on 2 Samuel 12:13-23
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Nathan's rebuke occurred at least nine months after David's sin. Although David was occupied with the final assault on the Ammonites during those nine months, he had not been able to hide from his own guilt. Undoubtedly, his guilt weighed heavily on his heart as when he wrote Psalm 32:3-5a:

When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD"

NO EXCUSES. David was quick to acknowledge his sin and accept full responsibility for it when confronted by Nathan. He said quite simply, "I have sinned against the Lord." He was not like Saul who at first denied his sin (cf. 1 Samuel 15:13, 20) and blamed others (cf. 1 Samuel 15:21). Neither was he like Saul who, even after he reluctantly acknowledging his sin, still excused it (1 Samuel 15:24) and asked to be honored as if there were no shame in his sin (1 Samuel 15:30). David knew he could not hide his shame from God. In Psalm 51:4, he confessed, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight."

FORGIVENESS. In his repentance, David did not desire honor before men but God's mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. - Psalms 51:1-2

FELLOWSHIP. Forgiveness was the means to an even greater desire, that his fellowship with God might be renewed.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. - Psalms 51:10-11

FREELY GIVEN. God freely forgave and restored fellowship to the penitent king. Though God did not change the consequences of the sin, David saw the death of the son not as God's refusal to forgive but as evidence of God's faithfulness. If God said he was forgiven and his son would die, and if God kept his word with regard to his son, then he was assured God kept his word with regard to his own forgiveness. He washed and went to worship the Lord. His fellowship with the Lord was restored, and the Lord would sustain him in the troubles he would face.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Severe Mercy

Reflections on 2 Samuel 12:1-12
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We all know that God was merciful to David and forgave him, and we usually assume that God's mercy removed the severity of his punishment. While God's mercy certainly removed completely the eternal punishment of his sin, God did not in his mercy reduce the severity of the consequences of his sin. God's severe mercy is justified by the parable Nathan told David.

THE PARABLE. The parable stresses three things. First, it stresses the great difference in the wealth of two men. The rich man had a "very large number of sheep and cattle," but the poor man had a single ewe lamb that he had bought. Second, the story stresses the intimacy between the poor man and his ewe lamb. It lived in his house like a pet. It ate his food, drank from his cup, and "slept in his arms" ("lay in his bosom" - KJV). The lamb was like a daughter (Heb. bat, which is the same as the first syllable of Bathsheba). Finally, the story emphasizes the rich man's heartless treatment of the poor man. The rich man had no pity and slaughtered the poor man's dear pet to feed a traveler.

THE KING'S JUDGMENT. David was enraged because the rich man had no regard for the feelings of the poor man. David declared, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die." The fourfold restoration for the sheep required by the Law (Exodus 22:1), and which guided David's final judgment, could not restore the object of the poor man's affection. The Law's penalty was a woefully inadequate for the callous act (EBC, 1992, p. 943). David's declaration recognized the inadequacy of even fourfold restoration and left him no room to protest the Lord's judgment.

GOD'S JUDGMENT FOR MURDER. As soon as David gave his verdict and noted its inadequacy, Nathan declared, "You are the man who had no pity, you are the man who deserves to die. You are the rich man who had many wives while your poor neighbor had but one. Nevertheless, you killed Uriah with the sword (in other words, in battle, for he was killed by archers on the wall) and took his wife. Therefore, the sword will never depart from your house." The actions set in motion by David's sin could not be stopped with David's death. The sword would not devour one man, David, but many in David's family instead. David's earlier reply to Joab, "the sword devours one as well as another," would haunt him repeatedly as the swords of lust, revenge, rebellion, and selfish ambition devoured his own sons. David learned that the God whose law he had despised, was the God who said, "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me" (Exodus 20:5). What a great punishment God handed down!

GOD'S JUDGMENT FOR ADULTERY. After sentencing David for murder, God turned to the charge of adultery. Just as David had taken the wife of a man close to him, so one close to him would take his wives and lie with them openly. What David had done to Uriah would be done to him, "wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:23-25), but with a painful twist. Not merely one of his wives would be taken, but many; furthermore, they would not be taken secretly, but openly. What a dreadful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God!

Monday, November 7, 2011

White-washed Sepulcher

Reflections on 2 Samuel 11:14-26
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Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
-- John 3:20

David did not want his sin exposed. He was afraid of the consequences. Therefore, he committed even fouler deeds to keep his dark secrets hidden.

BRAZEN. David, the man who restrained his own men from killing Saul and who punished Recab and Baanah for murdering an innocent man in his bed, decided to have a faithful and innocent soldier killed and brazenly sent the death warrant by the hand of Uriah himself. David, the leader who mourned the death of Jonathan, brazenly commanded Joab to act imprudently in war so that not only was Uriah killed but also several other innocent soldiers. All this he did to hide his adultery. God's light had gone out in David's heart.

PHONY. Because his heart was darkened, David became a pretentious phony. After word came of Uriah's death, David told Joab not to get discouraged because "the sword devours one as well as another" as if what happened was merely a matter of chance. He even pretended piety when he allowed Bathsheba to observe the usual thirty days of morning (see Numbers 20:29 and Deuteronomy 34:8) before taking her as his wife. David had become a white-washed sepulcher concealing the bones of dead men.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Drunken Soldier, Sober King

Reflections on 2 Samuel 11:6-13
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After Bathsheba informed David that she was pregnant, David attempted to remove any suspicions that he was the father of her child. David's attempts soon impaired his sober judgments.

A CONSCIENTIOUS SOLDIER. David recalled Uriah from battle with hopes that Uriah would go home and spend a night or two with his wife. In that way, Uriah might assume that he was himself the father when a child was born eight or nine months later. Even if he had suspicions, nothing could be proved, and David would be free from any consequences for his sin. Uriah, however, slept with David's servants at the entrance of the palace. When David asked why he had not gone home, Uriah said he could not in good conscience enjoy homemade cooking or lie with his wife at home while his fellow soldiers and the ark of God were camped on a battlefield.

A SOBER KING. If at first they don't succeed, even kings try again. David asked Uriah to stay another day and dine with him. David made Uriah drunk hoping he would forget his scruples and go home for the night, but Uriah slept again with David's servants. Uriah drunk remained more pious than David sober (Ackroyd in Smith, 2000, p. 424). Although David was not intoxicated with wine, his thoughts were impaired by a consuming desire to hide his sin. Sobriety would fail him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Tragic Sin

Reflections on 2 Samuel 11:1-5
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So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12

Few sins related in the Bible are as tragic as David's sin. David had made a name for himself as a warrior who trusted in the Lord and so defeated Israel's enemies. Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, was about to fall. Plunder from Aram, Moab, and Edom had been dedicated to God. More than that, he had shown zeal for God. He had brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem and established a just and righteous government. He was at the peak of his career. But at that very moment when David appeared to be standing firm, he fell. He acted like one of the kings of the nations. Samuel had warned that such kings would take the daughters of Israel to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers (1 Samuel 8:13), but David did much worse.

UNBRIDLED PASSION. From the rooftop of David's palace, David could see inside the walled, private residence of Uriah where Bathsheba was bathing. Instead of retiring quickly from the rooftop until the bath was over, he lingered to gaze at her beauty and then inquired about her. He foolishly allowed his physical desires to gain control of his thoughts and entice him to sin (James 1:14).

BROKEN LAWS. David's informant told him that the woman's name was Bathsheba, and that she was the wife of Uriah. This information should have served as a warning. She was a neighbor's wife. The Law was explicit: "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife" (Exodus 20:17). But David paid no heed. He sent messengers to get her, and he slept with her breaking a second command which said "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).

BETRAYED FRIENDSHIPS. David's deeds were treacherous. He betrayed Bathsheba's husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 23:39), who was one of his Thirty Mighty Men. Furthermore, he betrayed her father, Eliam, another of his trusted mighty men (2 Samuel 23:34). Finally, David betrayed Bathsheba's grandfather Ahithophel, who was one of David's trusted advisors (2 Samuel 15:12; 23:34). David's sin could not be excused or white-washed. He had betrayed three loyal and honored servants: one the husband, one the father, and one the grandfather of Bathsheba.

DAMNING EVIDENCE. If David thought he was too big to fail, or above the law and shame, his delusion did not last long. Bathsheba sent him a message: "I am pregnant." Soon Bathsheba's whole family would know she was pregnant: her husband, father, and grandfather. Because Uriah had gone to war against Rabbah, they all would suspect something was amiss. Furthermore, David knew that Bathsheba had not been pregnant when he slept with her because she had been purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness when he saw her. David could not escape the conclusion that he himself was the father of Bathsheba's child.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Unusual Kindness

Reflections on 2 Samuel 9:1-13
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The justice and righteousness of David's reign was demonstrated in his treatment of Mephibosheth, who might lay claim to the throne, though he was lame, because he was the the grandson of King Saul. Saul, of course, had become the mortal enemy of David and had driven him out of his homeland. If David had modeled his reign after the kings of the nations, he would have killed Mephibosheth and never looked back. But David did not do that.

COVENANT LOYALTY. Instead, David remembered his covenant with Mephibosheth's father, Jonathan. David and Jonathan had been best friends even while Saul was consumed with jealousy knowing that God had chosen David to be the next king. They had agreed that regardless of what happened they would show kindness to other's offspring (1 Samuel 20:42; 24:21-22). Accordingly, David wanted to show loyal kindness to any descendants of Jonathan who might yet be living. Such loyalty and kindness was a supreme virtue among God's people.

LAWFUL OBEDIENCE. When Mephibosheth appeared before David, he was understandably afraid. His uncle, Ish-Bosheth, had been king for two years and was murdered by traitors trying to please David. David, however, never sought revenge against Saul, and he would not punish Saul's descendants for the sins of their father in accordance with the Law which stipulated, that "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers" (Deuteronomy 24:16).

COMPASSION. So David did not kill Mephibosheth or banish him, but he showed him kindness by restoring to him the property that had originally belonged to his grandfather, King Saul, and assigning Saul's steward, Ziba, to manage the property for him. Furthermore, he gave Meshibosheth a permanent invitation to dine at the royal table even though it might be inconvenient to accommodate a person who was lame in both feet. David showed not only faithfulness to a covenant and obedience to the law, but also genuine kindness to a person with disabilities. David showed that he still had the heart of God.