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II Samuel 24

1. Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

We read that again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel. This means it was hot against them. Why is this called “again”? I do not think this needs to trouble us too much, for they had done plenty of things to anger Him in their history! If we put the thing in context, He had recently brought a famine on Israel in II Samuel 21:1. In that case it was because of Saul and his bloody house who slew the Gibeonites. That time His anger was assuaged by David granting the Gibeonites’ request to get revenge on Saul and his bloody house. So He has been angry with them recently, and it is not too surprising that He is angry with them again now. Read the rest of this entry »

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II Samuel 23 Part 3

24. Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

Notice first of all that this verse does not list the third member of the second three, as we would expect it to. Instead, it goes right on to start listing the thirty and never mentions the name of the third member of this second three at all. Why might this be? Chronicles does not help us, as it does the same thing, listing only Abishai and Benaiah in the second three and omitting the name of the third.

We cannot tell for sure, since the Bible does not tell us who the third member of this three was, but I think we can make a very good guess, and that our guess will justify the omission. That is, we would guess that the third member of the second three was Joab, Abishai’s brother and David’s army commander. He certainly must have done valiant deeds himself to have been the captain of all David’s army and to have the loyalty of so many men in the army, as we can see he did in passages like II Samuel 20:11. The valiant would not follow a coward or an unworthy man, and Joab certainly must have been one of David’s mighty men. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 23 Part 2

8. These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time.

Now we come to a list of David’s mighty men. It seems David had certain mighty men who fought in his army, warriors who depended on God. God responded by giving these men the ability to do marvelous and even superhuman feats. Like David, who killed Goliath by the power of God, these men also worked exploits by faith and trust in the God of David. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 23

1. Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:

Now we come upon David’s last words. These are a little out of order here, coming from later in David’s life than the historical record we are considering, just as the last chapter came from earlier in David’s life than the historical record. We might imagine that “David’s last words” means that he gasped these out as he was expiring. That may have been near to the case, but I think what is really meant is that this was his last revelation, his last prophetic utterance, his last inspired words from God. He might have said “bring me water,” or “I love you all” to his family, and such things after this, and yet these would still be his last, God-given words. This is what makes them very important, just like we would view Paul’s last words to believers today in II Timothy to be of special importance, since they were the last inspired words God recorded for us chronologically before falling silent. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 22 Part 4

44. “You have also delivered me from the strivings of my people;
You have kept me as the head of the nations.
A people I have not known shall serve me.

Here begins the seventh stanza, which brings us forward to David’s coming rule in the kingdom of God, as the last stanza did into the tribulation battle against the forces of Satan. Here it declares that God also has delivered David from his own people striving against him. There are always divisions in nations. People will fight against the ruler because of their own jealousies, ambitions, and desires. David’s court in the past was no different. He had those who opposed him all his life. Thus we realize this verse must take us into the future kingdom of God, when David will finally be delivered for good from all such petty squabbling. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 22 Part 3

29. “For You are my lamp, O LORD;
The LORD shall enlighten my darkness.

The fifth stanza begins, and the focus comes back from general teaching to David’s situation in particular. The first three stanzas, we suggested, may have been focused more on David’s early life on the run from Saul, recalling the situation in which Saul’s men had David surrounded and were about to take him when sudden deliverance came in the report of an invasion by the Philistines. The middle stanza was focused on general wise teaching for all. Now, these last three stanzas consider David as king and fighting against his enemies on every side. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 22 Part 2

14. “The LORD thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice.

Yahweh thunders from the heavens, and Elyon gives forth His voice. This is typical Hebrew poetry, and the thunder is a poetic picture for the voice. Again, this fits with the picture of Him coming in the great thunderstorm. Elyon is God as the Ruler and Owner of heaven and earth, and clearly Yahweh and Elyon are the same here. There is truly none higher than Yahweh, for He is God.

Here Psalm 18 repeats the line it added at the end of the previous verse, “Hailstones and coals of fire.” This probably means that these accompanied His great thundering voice. Yet they are not mentioned here in II Samuel 22 in the original composition. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 22

1. Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.

“Then” here does not seem to mean right at this time, for this appears to have been written earlier in David’s life after the LORD had delivered him from the power of all his enemies, especially from the power of the jealous and murderous King Saul, and from his enemies all around. This would have been when David was set in peace on the throne, probably around the time of II Samuel 7.

This is called a “song,” which clearly indicates it was meant to be sung and was not just a poem. This song, which he wrote as a personal composition at first for his own use and edification, was later edited by him for public use and placed into the Psalms, the song book of Zion, as Psalm 18. There it was dedicated for public use rather than just David’s own private use, as we can see from its dedication to “the Chief Musician.” We can compare the two psalms and note the many similarities, and the few editorial changes, between the two versions of this song. This is the original version, and Psalm 18 is the edited, final form of the same Psalm. David in doing this uses the same right any author has to do with his own material, particularly when adapting it for a new use. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »