2nd Samuel Chapters 4-5 – John Karmelich
1. I call these two chapters, “Lessons in how to be used by God”.
a) Chapters 4-5 focus on the rise of David to power. We read of the fall of David’s rivals and the fall of the enemies of Israel that still occupy the land of Israel.
b) These factors focus on how God uses David to accomplish God’s will for His people.
i) We’ll read of all of Israel finally accepting David as their king.
ii) We’ll read of any possible rival to David being eliminated.
iii) We’ll read of David winning battles and giving God the credit.
iv) We’ll read of David asking God for direction and discernment in his life.
v) Here ‘s an important part: We’ll also read of David’s shortcomings and failures. David is a man after God’s own heart, but David is by no means perfect.
c) What is important to understand is that God wants “His will” to get done through people. God likes to get people involved in the process of getting His will done.
i) God’s not looking for perfect people. The bible is full of imperfect people that God uses. What God is looking for are people willing to make a commitment for Him.
d) That is what God is looking for in His followers (that’s you and me!). God is looking for people like David He can use to accomplish His will. It could be something on a nation-wide scale, or something in your hometown or just your own home. It is not the size of the project that is important, but our desire to be obedient to God so God can use us!
e) I have to admit, of all the things I do in life, there is no greater thrill than knowing you are being used by God. It’s hard to explain and there are times I doubt it is happening. Those moments when it is happening is greater any thrill this world has to offer. It can be as simple as ministering to a friend. It can be telling someone about Jesus and watching him or her commit their life. Being used by God brings a joy that is unsurpassed in life.
f) The lessons to learn from reading these chapters is not so much about David’s rise to power, although that is historically important and part of the big prophetic bible-picture.
g) What is just as important is that we can read these chapters and say to God, “Lord, I desire to be used by you the same way you used David. I want to make a difference for You. Help me to accept whatever role that is, be it big or small. Help me to step out in faith, be zealous for You, and have boldness for You. Help me, like David to seek you constantly for guidance and do your will, Amen.
h) There, were’ done for the week. The rest is just details and illustrations. ☺
2. Chapter 4, Verse 1: When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed.
a) Let’s refresh our memories of this cast of characters in this drama:
i) Saul was the first king of Israel. He died in Chapter 1 along with 3 of his sons.
ii) Ish-Bosheth was the last living son of Saul. He was the king of Israel except the tribe of Judah. The tribe of Judah made David their king soon after Saul’s death.
iii) Abner was the top general under Saul and Saul’s right-hand man for years. When Saul died, there was a five-year period where no one was king over Israel, (except for David who was king of one-tribe, Judah.)
a) Most likely, for five years, the Israelites were still busy fighting the Philistines. Then Abner “propped up” Ish-Boseth to be king of Israel.
b) Abner was assassinated by David’s top general near the end of Chapter 3. David scolded Joab for this murder, but didn’t have the political power to put Joab in jail for that crime.
b) With that in mind, we are now reading about the fall of Ish-Bosheth as king. In Verse 1, Ish-Bosheth just found out that his top general (Abner) was dead. Ish-Bosheth knew that Abner was the guy who was the real power behind the throne, and now feared for his life.
i) Ish-Bosheth feared for his life when Abner was killed. He was probably afraid Joab would want to kill him next. What was worse is that David was winning the war, and it was becoming evident that Ish-Bosheth was about to fall from power.
c) Notice the phrase “all Israel became alarmed”. It wasn’t just Ish-Bosheth who was afraid. The whole nation feared retribution from David for going against him.
d) The lesson of this comes back to the idea of fear. Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear itself is not a bad instinct, because it teaches when there is danger. The problem is when we become overwhelmed by our fears and then try to fix things our self as opposed to turning to God. That is the case of the Israelites in this story.
3. Verse 2: Now Saul's son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Recab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin--Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin, 3 because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have lived there as aliens to this day.
a) Most of Chapter 4 is the story of two new characters. Their names are Baanah and Recab. These are two brothers. They will murder King Ish-Bosheth in a matter of verses.
b) For the bible novices out there, this is a good time to stop and describe “tribes” again.
i) Here’s my favorite illustration: Suppose there was a man with 50 sons. One son was named California. Another son was named New York. Another was son named Alaska, etc. Let’s say it is now 400 years later, and the descendants of these 50 sons are now millions of people who occupy the United States. The millions of people are divided into tribes based on their ancestors. The descendents of the son named Alaska are called the “tribe” of Alaska. They were allocated the territory of Alaska and live there. The descendents of the son of California are called the “tribe of California” were allocated what-is-now California and are the only residents.
ii) That is how the Nation of Israel was divided up. About a thousand years before this time, there were 12 sons of Jacob. From those 12 sons came millions of people. Every Israelite at that time lived in the territory of his ancestor: One of the “12”.
iii) Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin and ruled from the Benjamin controlled territory. David was of the tribe of Judah. The “Judahites” were a larger tribe and given a larger territory. After Saul was dead, David became the king of the “Judahites”. The descendents of the other 11 tribes all picked Ish-Bosheth as their king, despite the fact his name is impossible to pronounce. ☺
c) Which leads us back to Ish-Bosheth's two assassins: Baanah and Recab. These two guys were top captains in Ish-Bosheth’s army. The text here goes out of its way to point out that Baanah and Recab were part of the tribe of Benjamin. The text even mentions that their hometown of Beeroth is “really” affiliated with the Benjamites even though it is not part of the territory allotted to Benjamin because the Benjamites.
i) The point of the text was that Ish-Bosheth was killed by “one of his own”. If the murderer’s were part of Judah, David’s tribe, the civil war might have gone on longer out of revenge. This doesn’t excuse what these two guys did, but it does show how God “works behind the scenes” to help prevent further bloodshed.
4. Verse 4: (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
a) The NIV translation here puts Verse 4 in parenthesis, because this verse is out of context of the rest of the chapter.
b) This verse is about Saul’s grandson named Mephibosheth. (What is it about Saul’s family that have so many unpronounceable names? ☺ )
c) Mephibosheth was the only surviving son of Jonathan, the “good guy” who was David’ best friend. Jonathan died with his father Saul in battle.
d) This is one of those stories that breaks your heart. Mephibosheth was five years old when his father Jonathon died in battle. The nurse who took care of Mephibosheth now feared for the boy’s life. She picked him up to go run. She dropped him. He became crippled because of that fall.
i) That alone stops and makes me cringe. Can you imagine the guilt that woman felt for the rest of her life causing the boy crippled?
ii) Imagine the boy, knowing his father and grandfather had just died, and now he can’t even run for his own life?
iii) The good news, coming up in Chapter 9, is that David takes care of Mephibosheth when David becomes king of all of Israel. More on that later.
e) What we are reading here in Chapter 4 is the “elimination” of any threat of Saul’s family to David as the king. In other words, Chapter 4 is about the end of Saul’s “dynasty”. The last two men left in this family is King Ish-Bosheth and his nephew Mephibosheth. King Ish-Bosheth is about to die, and Mephibosheth is going to live the life of a cripple.
5. Verse 5: Now Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. 6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Recab and his brother Baanah slipped away. 7 They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah.
a) Now we have the actuary story of the murder of King Ish-Bosheth by Baanah and Recab.
b) We get a few details of how the murder occurred.
i) It was the middle of the day and King Ish-Bosheth was taking a nap. These two brothers used that opportunity to sneak in and kill the king.
a) One commentator I read pointed out that this is a good verse to show your teenage kids the danger of oversleeping. ☺ Actually, it was a cultural issue in desert country to rest in the middle of the day, much like the Spanish culture idea of a mid-day “siesta”.
ii) Remember that Baanah and Recab were army captains. They had the authority to go to the king’s quarters to get some wheat.
iii) They stabbed and killed King Ish-Bosheth. They then cut off his head for the purpose of taking it as proof of their killing to David.
6. Verse 8: They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, "Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to take your life. This day the LORD has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring."
a) So here we read of the two brothers, who murdered the king, taking the head of the king to David and say to David, “Hey look what we did for you!”
b) I can now describe the two murderers, Baanah and Recab in one word: “opportunists”.
i) Remember that these two guys were part of Saul’s army.
ii) They knew that their side was losing the battle.
iii) They probably knew that General Abner had defected and they definitely knew that Abner had been killed. Therefore, they too, sought to switch sides.
c) The problem with these guys is they weren’t interested in joining David because David was God’s anointed king. They were interested in joining David because he was winning.
d) Let me give modern examples of a “Christian” opportunist: There are those who join a church because it is good for business. There are those who join a church to enhance their resume (e.g., going into politics). There are single people who join a church to meet other singles. There are those with young children who join a church to establish a network with other moms who can then help each other out.
i) Having network groups in a church is not the problem in itself. There are some practical benefits to joining a church and that is not the issue. The problem is motivation. We go to church out of gratitude for what Jesus did for us. We go to church to be with other Christians to help “build up the body of Christ”. That means to help others grow and mature in their faith.
ii) An old cliché of a Christian opportunist is that they “come to the banquet for the food sake’s and not for the sake of the one throwing the banquet”.
e) Which leads us back to the two killers. They just wanted to join the right side. I suspect that if they were fighting on David’s side, and David was losing, they would consider doing the same thing to David and give his head to a rival king.
i) The same with opportunists. They look which way “the wind is blowing and then hoist their sails” in that direction. The problem is a lack of loyalty.
7. Verse 9: David answered Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble, 10 when a man told me, `Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more--when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed--should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!"
a) Let me paraphrase David here: “Hey you two, let me tell you a story. Seven years ago, when Saul died in battle, there was this Amalekite that killed Saul and brought me his crown. This Amalekite thought I would be happy because Saul was dead. What I (David) learned in life is that it is God himself who has propped me up, it is God himself who has protected me and God himself who will decide when it is time to me to be king. In other words, I don’t need you to murder anyone on my behalf. Oh, and that Amalekite? I had him killed because he wasn’t afraid to murder someone anointed by God as king. And guess what guys? I’m going to have you two killed because you murdered this man in his sleep! Off with your heads!”
b) In the King James Version, David calls King Ish-Bosheth “righteous”. Here in the NIV translation, it says, “innocent”. In this case, I agree with the NIV-paraphrase. We tend to think of “righteous” as one who is right-with-God. That is true. The word can also be used to describe someone who is innocent of a particular situation. King Ish-Bosheth was innocent in the sense he was murdered in his sleep.
c) Should the Israelites have let King Ish-Bosheth be their king? No.
i) Did God intend David to be the king of All Israel? Yes
ii) Does it excuse what these two murderers did? No.
d) We’re getting into the issue of taking the law into one’s own hands. There were times in Israel’s history where God did use the Israelites to “pronounce judgment” on other tribes.
i) For example, God wanted the Israelites to destroy the specific residents of the Promised Land, not every resident of planet earth. These were specific judgments for specific crimes that go back to Genesis. (Reference Genesis 15:14-16)
ii) There were times in Israel’s history where God used other nations to punish the Israelites for their sins (e.g., the Babylonian captivity).
iii) The point here is these two murdering brothers didn’t pray to God and say, “Lord, do you want us to kill Ish-Bosheth for David’s sake?” They were just opportunists trying to get on the winning side. Just because Ish-Bosheth opposed God’s will, does not excuse the murder that occurred here.
iv) Remember my big-issue of the week is how to be used by God. This is an example of presuming what God intends for us to do. An essential rule-of-thumb is God’s will never violates one of God’s commandments, especially murder.
8. Verse 12: So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner's tomb at Hebron.
a) David publicly executed these two men and publicly hung their dead bodies.
b) This was a good public relations move by “king” David. If David would have rewarded these two men, then the Benjamites may not accept him.
c) An interesting bit of trivia is David had these two muders’ hands and feet cut off. I read an interesting commentary on this point: “They having slain their Master with their hands made their escape from Justice with their feet“. (Symon Patrick)
9. Chapter 5, Verse 1: All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, `You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.' " 3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.
a) Here we read of representatives of all 12 tribes of Israel, coming to David and saying in effect, “You know David, we really wanted you to be king all along. We don’t know what we were thinking when we let Ish-Bosheth be king. You David were the one who was winning all the battles when Saul was alive. You David were the one chosen by God to be the next king and we knew it (See Verse 2). Sorry about all this civil war stuff. So, how about you being our king now?” ☺
b) I have to admit, if I was David, I would be tempted to kill, or at least chew out this entourage of leaders. They admitted that God wanted David to be the king.
i) Where were these guys when David was living like a fugitive?
ii) Where were these guys during the two-year civil war?
iii) Why did these guys allow Ish-Bosheth and Abner to be the leaders?
iv) The answer, I suspect is fear. They were afraid of change. They were afraid of General Abner. They were afraid of what David might do them. They understood that David was a great leader and David killed his enemies. Their fear got them to do many things they should not have done.
a) Remember Saul was a man known for fear. God gave the Israelites a king “just like them”. These were people “governed” by fear.
c) What is great to read in this text is what is not said: David peacefully, humbly and graciously accepted their offer with no hints of any retribution.
i) You don’t read of an official apology by the Israelite leaders, but it is implied. The fact they admitted that they knew God appointed David to be leader is an admission that they were not doing God’s will by letting Ish-Bosheth be the king.
ii) That is the way God works in our life when we “turn ourselves over to Him.
iii) The Israelites came to David on David’s terms, not their own. They knew they were wrong and were now willing to admit it, despite whatever it cost them. Let’s face it, these are the guys who rebelled against David. David could have had them all killed in revenge. What we do read, in a sense, is David just “accepting” them under his kingdom.
iv) If this isn’t a wonderful model for turning our lives over to God, I don’t know what is. When we tell God the Father, we are willing to come to Him on His terms, which is accepting Jesus as payment for our sins and now be willing to live in full obedience to His commands, God does not turn around and punish us for our rebellion against Him. Yes we still have the “scars” of our previous sins, but we are forgiven. That is what is implied here in the text: The Israelite leaders humbly come to David, David accepts the role as leader over them, and then the “kingdom” is established.
10. Verse 4: David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
a) Verses 4-5 summarize the ruling span of king David. He ruled as king for 40.5 years.
i) For seven and one half years, David just ruled over the tribe of Judah.
ii) For the next thirty years, David ruled over all of Israel.
b) This verse also shows that 1st and 2nd Samuel was organized and compiled long after David was dead. You can’t state he ruled for 40 years (until his death) unless the text was organized after the years of these events.
c) The text also tells us of David’s age. He was 30 when he first became king.
i) That means the “fugitive years” was when David was in his 20’s.
ii) It means the years he fought for Saul, David was in his late teen’s or early 20’s.
d) In Hebrew thought, “age 30” is when a Hebrew “boy” becomes a full man in terms of maturity as well as physical growth. Most Rabbi’s were not “recognized” as having enough knowledge and wisdom until they were thirty.
i) I mention this as Luke mentions Jesus was “about thirty” when he began his ministry (Reference: Luke 3:23). This is the age of public acceptance of a rabbi in Hebrew culture at that time.
11. Verse 6: The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, "You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off." They thought, "David cannot get in here." 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.
a) The story now changes gears and we read about David conquering and capturing Jerusalem. As of this time, most (not all) of Jerusalem was not in Jewish control, but was occupied by a non-Jewish tribe called the Jebusites.
b) Before I get into specific’s, let’s stop and look at the big picture:
i) These early chapters focus ton the rise of King David. David’s climb to power involved treason, murder, and treachery as described over the past few chapters. “God’s will” of David becoming king despite the sinful acts of man.
a) God’s-will for our lives and for the world-in-general gets done, despite our own sinful acts. Again, it doesn’t excuse it, it is just that God knows all things, and therefore God “uses” all things to get His will done.
ii) Now let’s go back roughly 450 years ago earlier: When the Israelites first entered the Promised Land (Israel), God told them to “wipe out” all the local residents in judgment for their own set of crimes (Again, see Genesis 15:14-16). The problem is the Israelites never did this. They partially wiped out their enemies, but they never completed the task. That haunted them all during this time era.
c) So, what is David’s first task as king? Let’s “finish the job” that our ancestors’ failed to do! Let’s take all the Promised Land that God wants us to take!
i) David is a man after God’s own heart. (Ref.: 1st Sam. 13:14). Why was David called that? One big reason is about obedience. God wanted the Israelites to defeat all the enemies of the Land. For over 400 years, it was never done. What is David’s first task as king? To finish the job that God told them to do!
d) Gee, that’s neat. What does any of this have to do with our lives? So glad you asked! ☺
i) David’s first order of business was to finish conquering the “Promised Land”.
ii) There is a mistaken idea that the “Promised Land” represents heaven. If the Promised Land represents heaven, then why are their wars there? Why do the Israelites have to fight so much if the Promised Land represents heaven?
iii) The answer is that the Promised Land is a word-picture of the full, rich life we have on earth through Jesus Christ that God has promised us. In order to enjoy that life, we have to submit every aspect of our lives to God. That is what the bible-as-a-whole is all about. It is about learning God’s commands and then living in obedience to those commands. It is reading your bible systematically, praying for guidance in understanding God’s will, and then going out and living our lives.
iv) The word-picture of “conquering the Promised Land” is about conquering the sins of our lives. It is about cleaning out the areas of our lives that we have not fully turned over to God.
v) David was a man after God’s own heart because David’s first order of business as a king was to finish the job of “taking” the Promised Land! David was interested in full obedience to God. Does that mean David was perfect? No, as we’ll read in a few verses. It means that David had a zeal to do everything for God to his utmost and then trusting in God for the results.
e) Meanwhile, back at Verse 6. ☺ I better state it again: “The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, "You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off." They thought, "David cannot get in here." 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.
i) These two verses are about how David captured Jerusalem.
ii) Jerusalem as a city (as it stood then, it is much larger today), is a great defense point from a military standpoint. From three sides, there is a steep decline to lower valleys. The fourth side had a large wall built up by these Jebusites.
iii) The Jebusites were so confident of their safety, they taunted David and his troupes by saying, “Even the blind and the lame can ward you off”. The point is they were so secure in their fortress that they believed they could put blind and lame people in charge of security and still be safe.
f) Verse 7 states that David captured “the fortress of Zion, the City of David”
i) We get two new terms in Verse 7: One is “Zion” and the other is “City of David”.
ii) This is the first time either one of those terms are used in the bible.
iii) The term “Zion” is used 152 times (King James Version) in the bible.
iv) The term “City of David” is used 46 times (King James Version) in the bible.
v) Since these become common terms, it is important to define them both.
g) So what does Zion mean? That is a complicated and debatable question.
i) In reference here “the stronghold of Zion” refers to a hill mount that was the central location that David conquered.
ii) It happens to be the site where Solomon’s Temple, and hundreds of years later Herod’s Temple (the one Jesus cleaned out) was located.
iii) In other words, the “stronghold of Zion” refers to the central place where God was worshipped. The root word for “Zion” is about obeying a command. It is about obedience. If you love God, you want to worship Him! If you love God, you want to be obedient to His commandments.
a) We get another clue in Psalm 146: The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations” (Psalm 146:10a, NIV).
b) God Himself becomes associated with the word “Zion” is associated with the place of worship, centrally located in Jerusalem where the great Temple to God was built by David’s son Solomon.
h) So what does “City of David” mean? Most likely, it is another name for the same location.
i) It refers to the part of Jerusalem where this Temple mount was located.
ii) In some bible passages, the term “City of David” can be a nickname for Jerusalem itself, as Jerusalem will become the nations capital. Simply understand the term can refer to all of Jerusalem or it can refer to this specific portion of Jerusalem.
iii) Remember David was born in Bethlehem. (Ref. 1st Sam. 16:1). Jerusalem has the title “City of David” as it David’s capital and the king’s throne is established here.
12. Verse 8: On that day, David said, "Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those `lame and blind' who are David's enemies. " That is why they say, "The `blind and lame' will not enter the palace."
a) Verse 8 is an obscure verse. The English translations vary a little as to its meaning.
b) What is happening is the Jebusites, who control Jerusalem are taunting the Israelites by saying in effect, “We’re so safe in this fortress that we can put our worse soldiers to guard the place and still be safe. That is the first reference to the “lame and blind” in Verse 7.
c) To paraphrase David: “So the “lame and blind” are guarding this place, eh? Well, boys, we need somebody to get inside this fortress and go conquer those “lame and blind” soldiers. We can enter this fortress through this water shaft. Do I have any volunteers?”
d) There is a parallel passage to this story in 1st Chronicles, Chapter 11.
i) The same way the 4 Gospels have many parallel stories, so does 1st Chronicles has many parallel stories to 2nd Samuel. Like the different gospels, they tell many of the same stories, but with different emphasis and different details.
ii) In 1st Chronicles 11:6, we read that “general” Joab leads a group through the water shaft and presumably opened the gates so David’s army could go in. This is the same Joab who murdered the Abner and was punished by David. I give Joab credit for still doing his duty and being loyal to David. Maybe Joab saw this as an opportunity to get back in the action and David’s good graces.
13. Verse 9: David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him.
a) Here we have the term “City of David” formally defined for us. The text says that David took up residence in this fortress area and called it the City of David.
b) Verse 9 says that David “built up” this city beginning at the supporting terraces.
i) Remember this was a hillside mount. There were supporting walls. David just attacked this city. There was probably war damage that required repairs.
c) David picked Jerusalem and this specific hillside location to be his kingly headquarters.
i) It was a good strategic spot. It is a location that is hard to physically attack.
ii) Jersusalem, surrounded by mountains, also becomes a word-picture for God’s protection: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:2, NIV)
iii) This spot is also symbolic for the remainder of Israeli history. David’s desire is to build a glorious temple for God. God told David that his son Solomon would build it, and Solomon built it on this hillside mount. The same mount became known as the Temple Mount for that reason.
a) Centuries later, that temple was destroyed. A new one was built and eventually remodeled and enlarged by King Herod. That’s the same temple we read of in the New Testament.
b) The temple is gone today. The same mount will have another temple one day as predicted by Jesus, Ezekiel (Chapters 40-48) and others.
d) Verse 10 is God getting the credit for all of the Israelite victories.
i) Israel was now united under one king, David. This is the man God wanted to be the first king of Israel. This is the man God wanted to rule from Jerusalem.
ii) This is about God fulfilling His promises. Despite all of Israel’s failures and despite all of David’s failures, “God comes through”.
iii) That alone is a great lesson for us. We tend to focus on our own mistakes and think we are not worthy of God’s blessings. It is not about us, it is about God. God wants to bless us because He makes unconditional promises to us. In other words, it is not about our faithfulness, it is about God’s faithfulness.
e) One of Jesus’ titles is “The Messiah (king): Another title for the Messiah is the “Son of David”. This is because in Chapter 7, God makes promises about the Messiah to David.
i) Religious Jews for centuries having been waiting for the Messiah to come.
ii) One of the reasons Jesus was rejected was because they want a Messiah like David. If Jesus led a revolt against Rome at that time, he would have been accepted as the Messiah. The other reason given today is that Jesus claimed to be God and they expect the Messiah to be “only a man” like David.
iii) There is no passage in the Old Testament that clearly states the Messiah will come twice. Just because an idea is not clearly stated, does not mean the concept is not there. There are passages in the Old Testament that predict a “suffering” Messiah. This includes Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and in some ways, the life of Joseph in Genesis.
iv) Therefore, there are some religious Jews who argue for “two Messiah’s”, one to suffer on behalf of the Nation of Israel, and one to rule and reign over the world from Israel. They never consider the possibility it could be the same guy.
v) One of the predictions given to Jesus at his birth is that he would have the throne of his father David (Reference: Luke 1:32). Technically and literally, that has never happened. Jesus never ruled over Israel from Jerusalem like David did. Therefore, that prediction in Luke ties to the events of Jesus Second Coming.
f) Which leads us back to 2nd Samuel: It is important to understand that all of these events about the rise of power of David are literal, accurate historical events. They also have predictive ties to Jesus Second Coming. There are “word-pictures” tying to Jesus.
i) Remember that not all bible prophecy are specific predictions. Prophecy is also “patterns”. Some of the Old Testament historical events are there as patterns of future events that tie to Jesus. That is why Hebrews 10:7 makes the statement that the “volume” of the book (i.e., Old Testament) is written of the Messiah.
14. Verse 11: Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
a) Here we have this statement about the nearby King of Tyre. Let me try to paraphrase that King, “Hey, I see this David guy has united all of Israel under his control. I also see he conquered the Jebusites. You know, my kingdom is a stone’s throw away from Israel. Maybe I should try to get on this guy’s good side. Besides, I’m a businessman. I’ve got goods for trade, and Israel has a lot of agriculture that my people need. Further, the main highway to Egypt goes through Israel.”
i) Given that motivation, Hiram gave a present to David of building materials and laborers to build a palace for David.
b) Notice what the text does not mention:
i) There is no thank-you to King Hiram.
ii) There are no self-congratulations on David’s part for all that he did.
iii) Instead, Verse 12 states that David knew God had exalted David.
iv) The principal is that we need to thank God for all our blessings. There may be times in our life where we are blessed either material wealth. If we have given our lives to God and this happens, it is often for a purpose. All “gifts” that God gives us are ultimately designed for His glory. The starting point for us is to acknowledge that whatever blessings we have is from God.
c) Notice David understood why He was being blessed God. Verse 12 says David understood that God was blessing David for the sake of His people Israel.
i) These are the same people who failed to conquer all of the Promised Land.
ii) These are the same people who wanted Saul as their king even though the prophet Samuel told the Israelites it was a mistake.
iii) These are the same people who rebelled against David and made Ish-Bosheth king even though they knew David was predicted to be the king.
iv) Yet the text says God raised up David for their (Israelite’s) sake!
v) What does that say about how much God unconditionally loves us?
vi) What does that say about how God keeps His promises despite our failures?
a) Again, it doesn’t excuse bad behavior, it just teaches of God’s nature.
15. Verse 13: After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
a) Just like the last lesson, we interrupt David’s victory party to give you an update on David’s sex life. ☺
b) Back in Chapter 3, Verses 2-5, we read that when David was “only” the king over the tribe of Judah, he had six wives and six children during that seven-year period. He also acquired a seventh wife later in Chapter 3. Apparently, that is not enough. ☺
c) This statement here in Verse 13 states that David took more wives and some concubines during the years he was king over all of Israel.
d) There are two places in 1st Chronicles that are parallel passages to this one. (Reference: 1st Chronicles 3:5-8 and 14:4-7). If you compare all of these lists of children, the kid-count is 13 kids during the Jerusalem reign along with the 6 kids during the Hebron years. We’re assuming that is all of the kids. There may be others that are not named.
i) The point is David was sexually busy during these times. ☺
e) One has to remember that it was customary of Eastern kings in that culture to have large harems. Further, some of these latter marriages were probably political arrangements for the sake of peace agreements. This doesn’t make it right. As I stated in the last lesson, God forbade the multiplying of wives by a Jewish king. (Reference: Deuteronomy 17:17).
f) So, if David was such a God-fearing man, why did David do this?
i) Apparently, we are reading of David’s weakness.
ii) David was the kind of guy who did everything with a lot of zeal. When we read of David conquering an enemy, he did a complete wipe out. When we read of David praising God in the Psalms, David poured his heart out before God. Apparently, David applied that same zeal to his sexual life. He took on lots of wives and had many children by them.
iii) We’ll also read of another weakness of David in latter chapters. David was not much of a parent. We’ll read of his children rebelling, committing incense, rape and in one case, killing a stepbrother. One son organized a major rebellion against David. Even the next king, Solomon took up David’s bad habits and also had hundreds of wives.
iv) In a few chapters, we’re going to read of the famous story of David committing adultery with Bathsheba. Even with all of these wives, it becomes apparent that there is no satisfaction of having enough.
v) All you have to know for right now is that David’s harem comes back to haunt him. David can’t be king and control a few dozen children at the same time. David focused on his work at the expense of his ever-growing family.
g) What’s the lesson for us, besides not committing polygamy? ☺
i) The lesson is to beware during the times of great blessings. One of the greatest danger times for a Christian is when all is going well. If you are going through a time when you are financially successful, healthy, the family is ok, etc., be on your guard. Success can make us complacent in our relationship with God and less dependant upon Him.
ii) That is what is happening to David. Being a king got to his head. Yes, David was giving God credit for his success, but at the same time David forgot about God’s commandment to not multiply wives. David probably thought, “Well, it is only one trivial law out of hundreds. After all, God is blessing me right now. I’m sure God will excuse this one little sin”. The answer is God does not excuse nor forget any sin. Yes, we are eternally forgiven, but we are still accountable. Just because we are eternally forgiven, doesn’t mean we won’t “pay for it” in this lifetime.
iii) To use a Christian cliché, “God may forgive our sins, but He often leaves our scars in tact.” That means we still have to suffer for sins we commit in this lifetime.
16. Verse 17: When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The LORD answered him, "Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you."
a) OK, back to the warfare. ☺
b) The last bunch of verses told of some of the perks of being the new king. The neighboring king of Tyre sent over a nice present, and we got some verses about David’s ever-growing harem. Those verses are in between battle scenes. Before we had the conquering of the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem. Now we get back to the Philistines.
c) The last we read of the Philistines, they won a major battle against Saul.
d) I suspect the Philistines thought of David as a traitor. Going back to 1st Samuel, when David was fleeing from Saul, he took refuge among the Philistines. David and his army back then were willing to join the Philistines in the battle against Saul. Now the Philistines hear of David being king of all of Israel. The also read of David conquering Jerusalem. Therefore, they wanted to attack this “traitor” David.
e) Understand that God ordained all of this. God’s goal was to have all of Israel under David’s control. Therefore, somehow, God “stirred up” the Philistines to go attack David.
i) Remember, “coincidence” is God working in the background!
f) Give David credit here. Instead of just going to attack the Philistines, which would have been the natural thing to do, David inquired of God first.
i) I think it was David’s nature to inquire of God before all major decisions. Maybe he was worried because of his previous friendly relationship with the Philistines whether or not he should go attack them.
ii) Anyway, God gives David the “thumbs up”, ☺ and David goes to battle.
17. Verse 20: So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, "As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me." So that place was called Baal Perazim.
a) Here is David trusting in God’s promises. God said David would defeat the Philistines. David didn’t kick back on his couch and wait for the Philistines to drop dead! ☺ He went out in battle and defeated them.
b) This reminds us of the principal of “trusting God and doing the footwork.” God wants to lead us, not push us around. Yes, we are to trust in God, and then we are take action because we are trusting in God’s promises.
c) David nicknames the battle location: “Baal Perazim”.
i) Imagine seeing a dam breaking and water gushing out. The battle was so quick and victorious it appeared to David like a bursting damn. Therefore, he names the place accordingly.
ii) Again, notice David gives God the credit for the victory and not his own efforts.
d) Another big-picture idea here is to compare the battle wins & losses of David and Saul.
i) God wanted David to be king and gave David victory over the Philistines.
ii) Saul was a man of fear. Saul was a man the people wanted and not God. Saul eventually died in defeat against the Philistines.
18. Verse 21: The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
a) It was traditional for soldiers to carry “good luck charms” into battle. Therefore, they took idols with them that represented their gods. Here we read of David and his men carrying those idols off the field.
b) Reading Verse 21 out of context, it appears like David and his men collected souvenirs from the battle. If you read the same story in 1st Chronicles, it mentions that David and his men collected the statues to burn them. (Ref.: 1st Chronicles 14:12). David wanted to rid the land of the “pollution” of false idols. Verse 21 is not a contradiction of 1st Chronicles 14, just an omission of the final detail of David burning them.
19. Verse 22: Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, "Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army." 25 So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
a) Here we read of a second battle with the Philistines. There will be others in later chapters. One has to understand that Philistines had territories within and outside of Israel and therefore could regroup for further battles.
b) Like the last battle, David sought God’s approval, God told them to go fight, David did, and David won.
c) The big difference between the last battle and this second battle is the battle strategy was stated in this text. Apparently, God didn’t just tell David to go fight. This time God laid out a specific battle strategy for David to follow.
i) In summary, God told David and his army to go hide in a large grove of mulberry trees. When they hear the Philistine army approaching, the vibrations would cause the trees to shake. That would be David’s cue to start a surprise attack.
d) So why is this battle strategy listed?
i) This is a great lesson about doing God’s will on God’s timing. God often wants us to complete a great task, but often we have to have the patience to wait on God’s timing. There have been wonderful sermons preached (e.g., Charles Spurgeon!) how we need to wait for the “shaking of the Mulberry Trees” before acting.
ii) There are times when God works in specific’s and other times when God just says, “go”. In David’s first battle with the Philistines, God essentially just said, “go for it”, and that was that. In the second battle, God gives specific’s.
iii) That is a reminder to be willing to listen for God’s commands in our life. Just because God worked one way last time, God may have a different strategy the next time God wants a special task accomplished. The mistake is to assume God wants to work the same way every time.
20. OK, wrap up time:
a) These chapters focus on the rise of David and the fall of his adversaries.
b) We don’t read of David being perfect. Instead, we read of God’s will being done and God using David besides his shortcomings.
c) The main lesson to us is that God wants to use us to accomplish His Will. God is looking for people with “zeal for God”. God is willing to accept imperfect and sinful people. God does not wink at sin, but at the same time, God is not waiting for us to be perfect as if we need to be “specially qualified” to be used by God.
21. In the introduction, I wrote a little prayer (see: Point 1g). After going through this whole lesson, I encourage you to reread the introduction and put yourself in that prayer. I encourage you (and myself) to ask God to “use us” like David, for whatever tasks God desires for our lives. If we desire God to be in charge, of our lives, we need to accept both God’s will for us and at the same time understand that God wants us to have the boldness to step out in faith and “see” how God wants to use us. That’s a good ending prayer as well as the one written in “1f”, so I’ll end here. See you next lesson! May God bless all of us until then.