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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19 - 2 Samuel 19-21: The Fallout of Absalom's Fall

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 19-21

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Today's reading is the aftermath of Absalom's reign.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

David wept over Absalom's death so much that his soldiers felt unimportant to him. David reconciled with Shimei and Mephibosheth, who declined Ziba's land. Barzillai insisted his servant Kimham be given David's offer to move to Jerusalem.
Sheba defected; Israel followed.
David sent his concubines who stayed in Jerusalem to a separate home.
Amasa failed to muster soldiers for David and paid for it with his life.
Sheba was killed in Able Beth Maacah.
God told David to repay the Gibeonites for Saul's sin: seven sons of Saul. He took Saul's, Jonathan's, and the seven sons' bones and buried them.

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

David's love for Absalom blinded him to those who actually cared for him.

Joab acted as a bucket of cold water to David. He helped him see how his mourning over Absalom, a traitor who had treated him badly, hurt his relationship with the very people who protected David with their lives,
What is this - loving those who hate you and hating those who love you? Your actions give a clear message: officers and soldiers mean nothing to you. You know that if Absalom were alive right now, we'd all be dead - would that make you happy?" (19:6, The Message)
Do not let your disappointment for those who you loved spoil your love for those who love you.

Israel continues to be wishy-washy.

Israel cannot decide who they want to serve. Here is David, the one with God's Spirit, chosen by God to lead them to great victories, and brought peace to their land. Instead, they choose Absalom, the usurper, and Sheba, the feckless. In the end, this story should help give us comfort. The masses have never been able to stay loyal to one side or another. Leaders, do not expect a congregation to be behind you at all times. If they did not stay loyal to David—a man after God's own heart—what chance do you—a normal human—have?

David forgives Shimei.

Shimei shows the fruit of his forgiveness. He could have run away and never faced David again. However, he does not. He comes and risks his life by apologizing. David realizes this and forgives him. Set things right with those who persecute you—especially when they ask for forgiveness.

The people in Abel Beth Maacah set things right for David.

They are worried that Joab and his army are going to sully God's name within Israel and among the nations by destroying an ancient town. When they learn of Sheba's doings they set things right for David by cutting off Sheba's head. All Joab needed to do was ask. Before barging into a place demanding justice, have a conversation. It might get you further.

Starting in chapter 21, these stories may not be in chronological order.

I do not normally discuss technical details about the Bible; however, I believe this tidbit is important before moving through the rest of the book. Hebrew narratives were passed on orally so the stories were thematic. When the books were codified, the oral stories were brought together—under the auspices of the Holy Spirit. The reason these snippet-stories may have been added at the end of 2 Samuel could be that they did not fit the narrative at the time. Or they were added later after the rest of the book was put together. Either way the stories are equally important. One reason it is significant to write about this is because these sections may fill in holes left by the other stories. Another is that they may not fit together well. For example, why would God wait so many years to punish Israel for Saul's genocide of the Gibeonites? If the book is thematic instead of chronological, the story was added at the end either because it did not fit well in its place or was added too late to get placed in the correct position.

As David aged, his ability to fight waned.

I mention this because it could set up what happened in 2 Samuel 11.

Are you wishy-washy?

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