II Samuel 21

1. Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.”

Now we start to consider some of the noteworthy events of the latter part of David’s reign. The first one of these is a famine that comes on Israel. Bullinger in The Companion Bible suggests that the words “year after year” actually indicate that this famine started the next year after the events of the previous chapter. This would make David to be 58 years old at the time of the famine. This famine lasts for three years.

David asks the LORD why there is a famine. This was in line with how Israel was supposed to think according to the law. We might think a famine is just a natural occurrence, and in our day that could well be all it is. Yet Israel was never supposed to think this way, for a famine in Israel was never just a natural occurrence. The advent of a famine in the land was known, by any who knew God’s law, to be a sign that the LORD was not pleased with His people. This was made clear in multiple passages in the law, such as Deuteronomy 28. First of all, we read the positive side of it: there would be no famine if they were obeying the LORD’s commands. We see this in Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 4-5, 8, and 11-12, quoted below. Read the rest of this entry »

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II Samuel 20 Continued

11. Meanwhile one of Joab’s men stood near Amasa, and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David—follow Joab!”

One of Joab’s men, no doubt acting at Joab’s orders while personally fully supporting this popular and charismatic man, encourages all to favor Joab. He stands by Amasa’s body and suggests that to favor Joab, and even to be for David, means to follow Joab. This does not leave much choice, does it? Who would favor a dead body as army commander over a living and successful, mighty man? Who among David’s loyal men would turn back and refuse to act for him now? So Joab’s man makes it “a vote for Joab is a vote for David,” and David’s loyal men have little choice but to go along with it. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 20

1. And there happened to be there a rebel, whose name was Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. And he blew a trumpet, and said:
“We have no share in David,
Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!”

We have seen that tensions had mounted to the breaking point between the angry people of Israel, who felt insulted that David had not waited for them before crossing the Jordan, and the people of Judah, whom they had insulted by accusing them of stealing David from the rest of the nation. Now the tense situation is made worse by a troublesome man who happens to be there, and who takes the opportunity to make a bad situation worse. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Question. Read your article on Right Division in Genesis in the Bulletin. You seem to equate the drop in age after the flood to genetics. I thought it was because of the destruction of a canopy over the earth.

It may be a simplification to say that the drop in age was due to any one cause. Clearly, something changed at the time of the flood. Ages were not dropping before that time in any detectable way at all. After the flood, they dropped rapidly. I have heard various ideas as to why this was, and the one that makes the most sense to me is genetics. Intermarrying with only 8 people (really 5, since you had Noah, his wife, and his three son’s wives; his three sons all shared Noah and his wife’s genes) resulted in a rapid drop in ages. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Phil 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

In this passage you say that “heaven” is plural.

How did you know that this is a plural word?

Greek is en ouranois. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following questions:

Question #1. What was the gospel preached to Jews in the land during the Acts period? That the man Jesus was their promised Messiah, and belief in him would bring forgiveness of sins and eternal life?

I understand your explanation for gospel, about it being good news because it is right, and that it is spoken in view of a need.

I also understand that the Jews and “Greeks” outside the land were promised forgiveness for their sins of not following the law (they were unable to outside the land).

But I just don’t have a handle on the simple question: What is the gospel? Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 19 Part 4

31. And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and went across the Jordan with the king, to escort him across the Jordan.

Now we read of a third and final significant man who meets David upon his return from exile. This is Barzillai from Gilead on the east side of Jordan, the man from Rogelim who had met David as one of the entourage of three wealthy men who thoughtfully and loyally came to offer him generous supplies and aid for himself and his people as they fled. This man stands in happy contrast to the insincere hypocrisy of Shimei and the half-hearted and self-centered support of Mephibosheth. Barzillai is a man of a different stripe. His love is unmixed with selfishness. His loyalty is whole-hearted and real. He had no ulterior motive to come to support David as he fled. He did not hope for future favors, nor seek to cover past sins. He simply came to support with love and loyalty the king God had set over him and over his people. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 19 Part 3

24. Now Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. And he had not cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he returned in peace.

Now Mephibosheth Saul’s son meets him. We might wonder about this name “the son of Saul,” since we know that he was actually Jonathan’s son and therefore Saul’s grandson. Yet we need to realize that there was no word for “grandson” in Hebrew, and “son” meant the representative of Saul’s family, which Mephibosheth certainly was at this time. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 19 Part 2

16. And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David.

Now we have a very interesting section in which we will consider three different men who came to meet King David during his crossing of the Jordan. We will consider them, why they came, and how David reacted to them. We will see that they had very different motives in doing this, and we will learn some lessons from each one of them.

The very first to meet David is Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite of Bahurim. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 19

1. And Joab was told, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.”

Joab receives a report back, perhaps from Cushi, of how David received his tidings. It is reported to him that the king is weeping and mourning over his son Absalom. This Joab might well have anticipated, considering what David’s orders to his captains had been. Yet perhaps Joab was more concerned with getting his own way, with doing what he thought was right instead of what the king thought was right and with how to get away with it afterwards, to consider that David might respond this way when he learned the news of Absalom’s death. Read the rest of this entry »