God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17 - 2 Samuel 16-18: The Fall of Absalom

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 16-18

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

David holds out hope that the relationship with his son can be reconciled.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Ziba, Mephibosheth's steward, met David with fresh supplies. Mephibosheth had returned to Jerusalem hoping to become king. Ziba was given Mephibosheth's possessions.
Shimei hurled insults at David. David feared these were God's insults and would not hurt him.
Absalom slept with his father's concubines in public.
Hushai convinced Absalom to attack his father with a large force. Hushai then informed David of the plan and David's army escaped across a river.
David instructed his army not to hurt Absalom. Joab killed Absalom, dangling by his hair from a tree.
David wept bitterly over Absalom's death, wishing he had died instead.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Mephibosheth betrays David. Ziba earned Mephibosheth's possessions.

In David's attempt to honor Mephibosheth's father, Mephibosheth was given his grandfather's land and servants. Unfortunately, Mephibosheth's heart was not changed. In fact, he had visions of grandeur that he could become king. Why he believes this fantasy is not mentioned in scripture. What is mentioned is that his delusion cost him all he had. Although yesterday's reading is not completely accurate that "everyone" left David, this episode would have felt that way.
Ziba, on the other hand, understood David's kindness and returned kindness. Because of this he, the servant of David's former rival, was given Mephibosheth's property.

Shimei's insults show David's humility.

David cannot allow Abishai to punish Shimei for insulting him because David believes God may be behind the insults. Even if they are not from God, he wants God to redeem him. David, the king, the one running for his life from his own son is humble enough to allow a citizen to heave unwarranted insults at him without penalty. What humility! When we humble ourselves to allow God to set things right we no longer need to force others to respect us.

Ahithophel becomes a victim of his own hubris.

Ahithophel became famous as a self-proclaimed wise man. When Absalom took Hushai's advice over his he went and hanged himself. Beware success apart from God. It can be fleeting and you will not like the end result.

David is still hopeful that his relationship with Absalom will be restored.

This is the hardest part of the entire story to read. Absalom killed David's eldest and favorite son. He overtook David's city and publically embarrassed him. Yet David tells his three generals not to kill the boy. The love of a parent can set many wrongs right.

When David learns of Absalom's death:

The king was stunned. Heartbroken, he went up to the room over the gate and wept. As he wept he cried out, O my son Absalom, my dear, dear son Absalom! Why not me rather than you, my death and not yours, O Absalom, my dear, dear son! (18:33, The Message)
It is impossible to know just how much pain David experienced during this time. It truly was his darkest hour. Rather than explain more, listen to this piece written by Joshua Shank.

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O Absalom, my son!

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