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II Samuel 13

1. After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

Now the trouble God promised as David’s punishment starts. We will see from where this trouble comes, and it will be even as the LORD said: trouble will come on David out of his own household. When we think of it, this only makes sense. When power and thrones are part of the picture, jealousy and murder and other terrible crimes often follow. All one has to do is look at the history of any longstanding dynasty and one will see that this is so. Moreover, David had made this even more likely in his household by basically having rival families. Since he had multiple wives, he therefore was the father of multiple families: one family with one wife being related to but not the same as another family by another wife. Full siblings can have difficulty enough with each other in a royal court, but with half siblings and rival mothers, things can only get worse. David was setting up his family for chaos by the unwise practice of taking so many wives, completely contrary to the LORD’s command to kings. Read the rest of this entry »

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II Samuel 12 Continued

14. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

Though the LORD has taken away David’s sin, this does not mean that there will not be consequences. Moreover, these consequences must come because David by this deed has given great occasion to the enemies of Yahweh to blaspheme. That is what the current, Hebrew text reads. Yet this is one of the places where the Sopherim, the self-proclaimed “wise ones,” decided to edit Scripture and changed the text from what it originally read. What Nathan actually told David is that he had greatly blasphemed Yahweh. He had indeed caused Yahweh’s enemies to blaspheme, it is true, for David had been identified with Yahweh as His anointed king and therefore as His representative on earth. Anything he did that was amiss, and particularly something as awful and foul as this, would cause these enemies to speak against Yahweh. Yet it is also true that Yahweh was in relationship with David, and David’s every action reflected his attitude towards the One Who had stooped to work with him and love him as Yahweh had done. For him to shove Yahweh behind his back, to spit on His laws and mock His justice, was not just for David to cause others to blaspheme, but also for him to blaspheme Yahweh himself. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 12

1. Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.

In His displeasure, the LORD sends Nathan to David. Nathan is the familiar prophet we already read about in chapter 7. He was the one David sent for when he was thinking about the fact that he lived in a settled house and the ark of God was in a temporary tent. David wanted to build a temple for the LORD. Nathan at first spoke his own thought that David should go ahead, but the LORD quickly straightened him out and sent him back to give David the real message. Now, he is the one whom the LORD sends to rebuke David and express to him His displeasure at his sin. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 11 Continued

5. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

It seems that after this illicit union Bathsheba returns home. Yet that is not the end of the matter, for she conceives from this union, and sends to tell David. It is interesting that she does not go herself. We wonder who her chosen messenger was? Of course, it does not really matter.

Her message is brief, yet its import David will immediately understand. Her husband is off at the war, and so he will know quite well that this child is not his. If she is caught in adultery, she will be put to death. Yet the law does not just prescribe this penalty for her, but for him as well. The death penalty was for both the adulterer and the adulteress, as Leviticus 20:10 makes clear. Of course, she could always shield David and refuse to say who the father of her child was, but her message to David makes it rather clear that she is not planning on doing this. She wants David to shield her. She has no intention to shield him. She wants him to know that she will not be afraid to take him down with her if he does not do something to rescue her! Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 11

1. It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

Now we come upon one of the saddest chapters in the Bible, and certainly the saddest one in the life of the great King David, yet still this is a chapter from which we can learn much. We might almost wish that David’s life had come to an end early and unexpectedly, rather than that he lived to darken his reputation and shame the character of his God, as we read him doing in this chapter. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 10 Continued

4. Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.

An older and more experienced king may not have been taken in by the spiteful lies of these counsellors. Hanun, however, as a young and impressionable king, believes their slanderous accusations. Thus, in supposed retaliation for what he believed to be David’s attempt to spy on him, he subjects David’s ambassadors to malicious humiliation.

First he shaves off half their beards. I suppose this would not seem so humiliating to us. If your beard was wrecked this way, you would probably just shave it off altogether. Yet in that time all men wore beards, so it was disgraceful not to have a beard. To finish cutting it off, then, would not really remove the humiliation. Then as a second act of spite, they cut their garments in the middle to expose their buttocks. Then, in this disgraceful state, they send David’s ambassadors away. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 10

1. It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place.

This short period of peace comes to an end again, and another war begins, this time a most regrettable one. It all begins with the death of Nahash, king of the sons of Ammon. Hanun his son reigns instead. Hanun’s name seems to mean “Gracious.” This was a very good name, yet sadly it belonged to a very foolish young man. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 9

1. Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

Now for a time again, as in chapter 7, David finds himself free from war. As in that case, he has time for thinking. In the last case, he thought to do something great for the LORD. The result was that he learned that the LORD is able to do far greater for him than he can ever do back, and that anything great done for the LORD must be done in His time and His way. So this time his thoughts turn to doing something good for his fellowman. He is perhaps reviewing in his thoughts his own history, and remembering the good times and the friends of his youth, and those who had been most helpful and sympathetic to him in the time prior to his taking the throne. Prominent among these, his thoughts must have turned back time and time again to his late friend Jonathan, Saul’s son. Not only had Jonathan been a good and sympathetic friend, but they had shared a common love and zeal for the LORD. Jonathan had helped him out to his own hurt, and they had made a covenant together to watch out for each other and each other’s descendants. David had promised to do good to Jonathan and his house, and he gets to wondering if any of that house is left. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 8

1. After this it came to pass that David attacked the Philistines and subdued them. And David took Metheg Ammah from the hand of the Philistines.

After this brief time of peace, we find David again at war with the many enemies of Israel. First we read of another battle with the Philistines, this time due to David attacking them. Though David had become friends with the king of Gath, that did not mean that the Philistines could be pardoned for their many wicked and destructive actions of the past against Israel, God’s people. David wins this battle and brings the Philistines into subjection to Israel. In the battle he captures Metheg ha-‘Ammah, which means “Bridle (for controlling power) of the Mother City.” Apparently, this was the original city of the Philistines back when they had first crossed the Mediterranean and landed on the coast of Palestine. If we would compare this to I Chronicles 18:1, we would learn what city is meant. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 7

16. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’”

Now comes the crowning statement of Yahweh’s great promise to David. He promises that David’s house and government will be established or firmly fixed forever before him, and then repeats it: his throne shall be fixed forever! Notice that He does not say the throne of David’s descendants, but He says David’s throne. Thus He was guaranteeing David that He would raise him from the dead and fix him on the throne for the eon of the Kingdom of God. His seat of government will exist throughout the Kingdom of God. This is not the only place that speaks of this, for this is confirmed in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 34 and verses 23-24. Read the rest of this entry »