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How Jesus Christ viewed King David


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How Jesus Christ viewed the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel (Part II)

PREFACE

1. As with the books of Numbers, Joshua, and Judges, the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel are a compilation of the works of several authors (apparently, for the most part, the same people who wrote and/or compiled the books of Numbers, Joshua and Judges). The two books of Samuel should logically be thought of as a single book, or perhaps as a continuation of the book of Judges. They cover a period of about 130 years from the time when Eli was the Chief Priest to the end of the reign of King David. Although much of the writings may have originated during that period, they were apparently compiled into a somewhat coherent story during the Babylonian exile by Hebrew scholars (and prophets) who were concerned with answering the question "What did we (as a people) do wrong that led to this?" 1st and 2nd Chronicles contain descriptions of some of the same events and some further stories about the end of David's life, but they were written for a different purpose, and the stories of Saul and David which they convey are far less complete. Due to time constraints, Part I of this article only covered 1st Samuel. Part II of this article covers all of 2nd Samuel plus the chapters in 1st Kings and chapters in 1st Chronicles that further describe the life of King David.

1a. As in my earlier articles, this article contains "considerable borrowing" from the New King James (NKJ) version of the Bible. I've tried to make the texts more easily readable by editing out much of the redundant verbiage and no-longer-relevant genealogical references contained in the NKJ translations. Like my commentaries on Numbers, Joshua, and Judges, this article will primarily examine these stories from the "second heaven" point of view (i.e. literally, from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments as summarized by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (NKJ)

1b. Occasionally, I'll refer to religious or political teachings which violate these two commandments as being "Satanically inspired", and you'll see why. It won't take you long to see how this "second heaven" point of view differs SIGNIFICANTLY from the commonly taught "first heaven" points of view which often attempt to make the concept of national sovereignty appear to be more "holy" than God Himself. In a few places, I will also indicate where some "third heaven" parables or interpretations (i.e. allegorical interpretations based on God's two most fundamental commandments) were carefully crafted into the stories. I'll address the third-heaven parables and interpretations in detail when we examine the writings of the great prophets of Israel, because they are very much related to each other. But before we can accurately understand the "good stuff" (how Jesus interpreted those prophecies), we must first understand (accurately) how the great prophets of Israel viewed the history of their own people.

A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE EVENTS WHICH LED UP TO 2ND SAMUEL

2. In our review of the Book of Judges, we saw how the theocracy set up by Moses eventually degenerated into a state of near anarchy much of the time. The religiously inspired acts of brutality which the Children of Israel practiced against their neighbors as described in the Book of Joshua were now being practiced among various factions of the Children of Israel themselves. As a result, the Levites lost much of their credibility and authority (and rightly so). In 1st Samuel, we saw how the elder's of the 12 tribes of Israel finally decided that they needed a stronger form of government (i.e. a monarchy, like their neighboring kingdoms had). So they persuaded one of their most revered religious leaders at the time, Samuel, to set up such a government. Samuel agreed to do so, but with great reluctance, because it amounted to an admission that Moses' theocracy had failed. Furthermore, once such a monarchy was established, the priests would then have to compete with that monarchy for its share of the "taxes". With God's help, Samuel chose and trained a tall and handsome man named Saul to be Israel's first king.

2a. Once Saul won some battles and established a standing army under his command, he apparently concluded that it was his duty as king to wage war against his neighbors as often as he could, whether they wanted war or not. The absurdity (and ungodliness) of such a policy didn't seem to bother Samuel. Evidently, what bothered Samuel was that he no longer had Saul "under his thumb" (i.e. he could no longer control the monarchy that he helped to create). So Samuel set out to find and anoint someone else to become king (i.e. David); he thereby sewed the seeds for what turned out to be a long and bloody civil war within Israel. In spite of numerous efforts by Saul to kill David, David refused to kill Saul when he had the chance, and he kept finding ways to escape.. As for Samuel, he died of old age before he could see David crowned as king.

2b. At the end of 1st Samuel, Saul's repeated attempts to "harass" the Philistines led to a battle at Mt Gilboa that he couldn't win. If David had been one of Saul's commanders at that time, the outcome of that battle might well have been reversed. But Saul had chased David into exile where he lived as an "outlaw" under a weird sort of covenant with the Philistine king Achish of Gath. This unfortunate situation, along with Saul's massacre of the inhabitants of the Israelite town of Nob, were further "fruits" of Samuel's effort to replace Saul as Israel's king. After a disastrous defeat of the Israelite forces at Mt. Gilboa, the Israelites fled from their towns and cities (which the Philistines promptly occupied). So at the end of 1st Samuel, it appeared that the Israelites' experiment at having theirown monarchy had failed. Israel's first experiment with monarchy was in effect "done in" by one of its own, anarchy-minded, religious leaders!

2c. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus Christ taught his listeners to identify false prophets by observing their "fruits" (i.e. by observing and results of their teachings and actions and evaluating those results from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments). So evidently, Jesus viewed Samuel as being a false prophet, at least in his elderly years, because the "fruits" of Samuel's teachings and conduct in his elderly years were GRUESOME, not only for the Amalekites, but for the Israelites as well.

2d. In today's world, we have similar false prophets like the Rev. Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland whose "fruits" have included the deaths thousands of Protestants as well as Catholics in his own land. In America we have "Christian Right" preachers like Hal Lindsey and Jack Van Impe whose ungodly (anarchy-minded) efforts to financially cripple the United Nations have contributed to the deaths MILLIONS of people PER YEAR! This is how Jesus Christ taught us to view the conduct and teachings of such people, regardless of whether they were characters described in the Hebrew scriptures or characters who are alive now in our present world. Regardless of their "sheeplike" claims, you will know them by their "fruits!" So, let's continue now to examine how Jesus Christ viewed

THE STORY OF ISRAEL'S KING DAVID (2nd Samuel, 1st Kings, and 1st Chronicles)

3. In chapter 1, on the third day after David returned to Ziklag (having rescued his village's women and children from a band of Amalekite raiders), a young man in tattered clothing came to David bearing the news that Saul and his three sons had been killed and that the Israelites were fleeing from the Philistines. When David asked him how he knew that Saul and Jonathan were dead, the man said, "As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, 'Here I am.' And he said to me, 'Who are you?' So I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' He said to me again, 'Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.' So I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord."

[It seems rather amazing that an Amalekite would be serving in Saul's army, since Saul was instructed by Samuel to kill all the Amalekites that he could find. It also seems like "poetic justice" (?) that Saul would end up begging an Amalekite to finish him off in the heat of battle. Perhaps this was the authors' way of illustrating that Saul had "reaped what he had sewn", from God's point of view.]

3b. After David and his men mourned for a while, David asked the young man where he was from, and when he told him he was an Amalekite, David said to him, "How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?" Then David ordered that the Amalekite be executed, saying "Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the LORD'S anointed.'" Then David composed a psalm of mourning for Saul, Jonathan, and the Israelites."

[In spite of all that Saul had done to him, and in spite of the account that Saul had begged the Amalekite to kill him, David (who had likewise been anointed) clearly wanted to discourage the idea that one could kill "the LORD'S anointed" and get away with it. When we examine 1st and 2nd Kings, we'll see that such respect for the "LORD'S anointed" distinction didn't hold up over time.]

3c. Somewhere between the end of 1st Samuel and the 2nd Chapter of 2nd Samuel, the Philistines apparently abandoned most of the towns and cities of Israel that they had occupied. The authors provide not explanation as to why they left. Perhaps they were simply not interested in occupying (and having to defend) such a large area.

4. In Chapter 2, David and his followers at Ziklag moved to Hebron where the men of Judah anointed him as king over Judah. David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead praising them for retrieving the bodies of Saul and his sons from the Philistine town of Beth Shan and giving them a proper burial. He asked them to join him, but Abner, commander of Saul's army, decided to make Saul's son Ishbosheth king over all of Israel. Ishbosheth actually reigned over 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel for about two years.

4a. One day, Abner arranged a meeting with David's commander Joab near Gibeon where they politely [?] decided to stage a small fight of "champions" to determine who should rule all of Israel. So twelve men from the tribe of Benjamin engaged in a fierce battle against twelve servants of David. When the servants of David prevailed, Abner (like the Philistines after David killed Goliath) evidently decided that their previously arranged agreement wasn't such a good idea and fled. Joab's brother Ashel persued Abner, but when he refused Abner's attempts to talk him out of pursuing him, Abner turned in self-defense and thrust the blunt end of his spear at Ashel. Nevertheless, the spear went through Ashel's body and killed him. Then Joab and his brother began pursuing Abner. By the time they caught up with him, many other Benjaminites had gathered together behind Abner as a unit. Then Abner called to Joab and said, "Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the latter end? How long will it be then until you tell the people to return from pursuing their brethren?" So Joab blew a trumpet; and all the people stood still and did not pursue Israel anymore, and each side returned to their homes.

5. In Chapter 3, it became clear that the deal made by Abner and Joab did not hold. There was a long, bloody civil war between the House of Saul and the House of David.

[It's interesting to note that although 2nd Samuel 5:4 states that David reigned over Judah for 6 years and six months , which indicates that this civil war must have lasted nearly that long, the text fails to mention how many Israelites were killed during that conflict. Such potentially embarrassing information may have been there originally and gotten edited out (censored) by subsequent scribes. The census taken by David in Chapter 24 indicates that the slaughter during this "fruit of Samuel" war may have been ENORMOUS.]

5a. As the civil war progressed, David's military forces grew stronger while Abner's forces grew weaker. For some reason, Abner decided to have an affair with one of Saul's widowed concubines. When Saul's son Ishbosheth criticized him for this, Abner became so angry that he decided to hand over Ishbosheth's kingdom to David. He sent messengers to David offering to make a covenant with him. David agreed to his proposal, but added that we wanted the return of his former wife Michal (Saul's daughter). Abner concurred and began making arrangements with the elders of Israel to accept David as their new King. Then he and twenty of his men came to Hebron to share a feast with David, after which he left in peace to make further preparations for the turnover of Ishbosheth's kingdom to David.

5b. But when Joab leaned of this, he became angry and said to David, "Surely you realize that Abner came to deceive you, to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing." Then Joab secretly sent messengers out to bring Abner back. When Abner returned, Joab killed him to "avenge the blood" of his brother Ashhel [in accordance with the "Laws of Moses"?].

5c. Afterward, when David heard it, he said, "My kingdom and I are guiltless before the LORD forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father's house; and let there never fail to be in the house of Joab one who has a discharge or is a leper, who leans on a staff or falls by the sword, or who lacks bread." Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, "Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner." And King David followed the coffin. So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, "God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!" Now all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king's intent to kill Abner. Then the king said to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The LORD [with some help from David and Solomon] shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness."

[Clearly, David had a far better understanding than Saul ever had regarding the attitudes, statesmanship, and spiritual concerns that would be required in order to hold his monarchy together.]

6. In Chapter 4, two of Saul's former captains sneaked into King Ishbosheth's bedroom, killed him, and brought his head to David. Apparently, they expected to be rewarded for what they had done, but as with the young Amalekite who finished off Saul, David viewed their conduct as treachery and ordered that they be executed.

7. In Chapter 5, David gets anointed (again) as King of (all of) Israel. For some reason, perhaps because Jerusalem could be more easily defended, David decided to move the capital of Israel to the fortified town of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites at that time, and they refused to let David's troops enter the fortress, evidently believing that it was so impenetrable that the "blind and the lame" could defend it. So David proclaimed, "Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David's soul), he shall be chief and captain." According to 1st Chronicles 11"6, it was Joab who led his troops up through the water shaft and defeated the Jebusites. Perhaps Joab figured this would put him back in good graces with David. Apparently, for a while it did.

7a. Once in control of the town, Jerusalem soon became known as the "City of David". Almost immediately, David began a building program to expand it. Hiram, the king of Tyre, volunteered to provide cedar trees, carpenters, and masons to support this effort, thereby making it clear that he wanted to be viewed by David as a friend rather than a potential enemy [a very wise move]. During this time, David also expanded his family of wives, concubines, and children.

7b. When the Philistines realized that Israel was becoming strong again under the leadership of David, they decided to launch a "pre-emptive strike" in order to defeat Israel while they were still able to do so. [Sound familiar?] David assembled his troops and asked for the Lord's guidance as to whether or not he should attack the Philistines. The Lord responded, "Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hands." So David's troops attacked and defeated the Philistines "like a breakthrough of water" in the first battle. But the Philistines re-grouped and prepared to launch another attack. David inquired of the Lord again, and this time the Lord said, "You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines." And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

[Notice that David communicated directly with the Lord on such issues, rather than relying on priests or prophets as intermediaries. This was contrary to the teachings of Moses in his elderly years (or at least the teachings of Moses as revealed to us by the Levites.). After the Levite-inspired Benjaminite massacre described at the end of the Book of Judges, the Levites lost their credibility as "exclusive intermediaries" between God and man. After that, God began speaking to (or through) non-Levites as well, often to the dismay of the priests. As I showed in my article, "How Jesus Christ viewed Moses, Part I", direct communication with God was, in fact, what Moses was teaching before his Levite brethren convinced him to teach otherwise.]

8. In Chapter 6, David decided to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem from the town of Baale where it was being housed by Abinadab and his two sons Uzzah and Ahio. They put it on a new cart and as they went, they played lively music with wood instruments, harps, tambourines, and cymbals. Suddenly, one of the oxen stumbled and the cart began to tip precariously. Uzzah put his hand on the ark to keep it from falling, and then (according to the authors), "the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God." David became angry because of the LORD'S outbreak against Uzzah; so he named the place Perez Uzzah. Then he decided it was too risky to bring the Ark into Jerusalem, so he diverted it to the house of Oben-Edom where it remained for three months.

[Actually, Uzzah may have died of a heart attack brought on by the very thought of the Ark falling down with its contents spilling out onto the ground. It's interesting that David and the authors would view God as being "angry" at Uzzah for preventing that from happening, a view that seems absurd. In light of the instances of pestilence that they associated with the Ark in chapters 5 and 6 of 1st Samuel, it seems to be understandable that David feared and mistrusted God at that point in time. Another possible explanation of this story is that it may have been a satirical attempt by the authors of 2nd Samuel to illustrate the absurdity of the Levite tendency to credit (or blame) God for the evil consequences of their own actions (viewing God as "delivering the enemy into their hands", etc.).]

8a. Apparently, things went well for the house of Oben-Edom after the arrival of the Ark, so David made arrangements again to transport the Ark to Jerusalem. This time he arranged for consecrated priests to carry the Ark on poles in accordance with the instructions God gave to Moses. After the appropriate animal sacrifices were made, the procession began accompanied by lively music and dancing. David was wearing a linen ephod (1 Chronicles 15:27 says he was also wearing a robe of fine linen), and he was leaping and whirling before the Lord (apparently exposing his "lack of pants"). When David's wife Michal (the daughter of Saul) saw this, she despised him in her heart.

8b. After the Ark was set up in the tabernacle, David conducted some more offerings to the Lord and distributed bread, meat, and raisin cakes to the people. When he returned to bless his household, Michal came out to meet him saying, "How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!" David replied, "It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor." Therefore Michal had no more children to the day of her death.

9. In Chapter 7, after David completed his palace and secured a reasonable degree of peace throughout Israel, he said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains." And Nathan replied, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you."

[In my articles, I will be paying particular attention to "Nathan the prophet", because he appears to have been one of the non-Levite authors of Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st Kings.]

9a. But that night the "word of the LORD" came to Nathan, saying, "Go and tell My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: "Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'"' Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth.
Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously,
since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."'"

[This message from God was quite extraordinary for three reasons. 1) Through Nathan, God countermanded King David's opinion regarding what the God wanted him to do. 2) In spite of that, Nathan lived to tell about it (i.e. David accepted God's guidance as revealed by Nathan). 3) It marked the beginning of a very significant turn in the Hebrews' understanding of God back toward the view of God portrayed by the authors of Genesis. According to this revelation to Nathan, God really didn't care much whether he dwelt in a house or a tent. But if a house were to be built for Him, He would prefer that it by built by one of David's sons, because God was not entirely pleased with David. At this point He doesn't explain why. But as we will see later on, although the Lord supported David in a number of key battles, He viewed David as having done far too much killing. Notice that He promises to establish David's throne "forever", but that it will be done through his son (which turned out to be Solomon). Now we all know that in political terms, David's dynasty came to an end when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem. Does that make God (and Nathan) a liar? Well, as we shall see in my May 98 article, in addition to a highly successful political kingdom, Solomon helped establish the spiritual "kingdom" which Jesus Christ referred to as "not of this world."]

9b. Upon hearing these things, David sat before the LORD and said, "Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; and You have also spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant.
For Your word's sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O Lord GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name--and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land-- before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God. Now, O LORD God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, 'The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel.' And let the house of Your servant David be established before You. For You, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, 'I will build you a house.' Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You. And now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever beforeYou; for You, O Lord GOD, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever."

[So what does this tell us about King David? Clearly, he was perplexed when he learned that the Lord did not want him to do what he (David) thought the Lord wanted him to do. But ultimately, David was willing to accept guidance from the Lord, especially in light of His promises regarding the future success of what David assumed to be his political dynasty.]

10. In Chapter 8, David decides to expand the size of his political kingdom. After capturing a couple of towns from the Philistines, he defeated Moab. "With two lines he measured off those to be put to death, and with one full line those to be kept alive. So the Moabites became David's servants, and brought tribute."

[It wasn't the Nazis who invented that two-line procedure. Keep in mind that David himself was a descendant of Ruth, a Moabite woman. What do suppose the authors are trying to point out here?]

10a. Then "David defeated Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his territory at the River Euphrates. David took from him 1,000 chariots, 700 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. Also David hamstrung all the chariot horses, except that he spared enough of them for 100 chariots. When the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 of the Syrians. Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus; and the Syrians became David's servants, and brought tribute. The LORD preserved David wherever he went."

[Clearly David and his commanders were highly competent, militarily. But unlike Joshua and some of his successors, David did not kill ALL of those whom he captured (though he evidently killed many). David's primary objective was to subjugate neighboring kingdoms and establish tribute arrangements so as to provide a continuing source of income for his monarchy. In today's terminology, we might call such practices "extortion" and a "protection racket", but in those days such practices were quite common.]

10b. The rest of chapter 8 describes how David subjugated other neighboring kingdoms (as well as some of "spoils of war" that he thereby received). King Toi, of Hamath, wisely began paying tribute to David without waiting to be subjugated, thereby saving the lives of many of his people. In time, David's kingdom was receiving a considerable amount of wealth from such practices. David's sons became chief ministers over the immense bureaucracy required to run all this. Zadok and Ahitub were David's chief priests.

11. In Chapter 9, David inquired, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" A former servant of Saul informed him that Jonathan's son Mephibosheth was still alive, although he was lame (due to injuries suffered while attempting to flee from David's troops). David sent for Mephibosheth who upon arriving prostrated himself on the floor and said, "Here is your servant!" So David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually." Then Mephibosheth bowed and said, "What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?" And the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, "I have given to your master's son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house. You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master's son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread at my table always." Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants, so Mephibosheth was pretty well fixed.

12. In Chapter 10, when David learned that the king of Ammon had died and that Hanun was reigning in his place, he decided, "I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me." So David sent his servants to comfort him concerning his father. When they arrived in Ammon, the princes of Ammon said to Hanun, "Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?" [Sounds like the kind of advice Hal Lindsey would give, does it not?] So 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. When David learned of this, he sent messengers to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return." [Evidently, all Israelite men wore beards in those days.]

12a. Upon learning that David was upset by their actions, Hanun made arrangement to hire 33,000 mercenaries from Syria, Maacah, and Ish-Tob. David responded by assembling his own forces under the command of Joab. Joab decided to assign half of his forces against the Syrians and the other half against the rest. But the Syrians began fleeing almost immediately [mercenary troops are often poorly motivated], and when the rest of Ammon's forces saw the Syrians fleeing, they fled as well.

12b. Then the Syrians sent for reinforcements from beyond the Euphrates River. David responded by reinforcing his army as well and crossing the Jordan River to fight with them in their own territory. In the ensuing battle, the Syrians lost 700 charioteers and 40,000 horsemen. The Syrians then negotiated a truce and agreed to serve or pay tribute to Israel.

13. Chapter 11 starts out, "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."

[So, according to the authors of 2nd Samuel (and 1st Chronicles 20:1), the kings in those days (including David) had the attitude, "Now that spring has arrived, let's go fight a war." That's not much of an improvement over Saul.]

13a. One evening, while David was walking on the roof of his palace, he noticed a woman bathing, and he saw that she was very beautiful. So David inquired about the woman, and someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent for her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, and she returned to her house. When the woman realized that she had conceived; she sent a messenger to tell David, "I am with child."

13b. Then David sent a message to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." When Uriah arrived,, David asked him how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. Then he told Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah departed from the king's house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants; he did not go down to his house. When David learned that Uriah did not go down to his house, David said to Uriah, "Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" And Uriah responded, "The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing." So David asked Uriah to stay in Jerusalem a day or two longer and tried to get him drunk. But Uriah still would not go down to his house.

13c. Then David wrote a letter to Joab, sent by the hand of Uriah, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die." So Joab assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there would be valiant men fighting against him. Sure enough, the men of the city came out and fought, and in the course of the battle, they the killed some of David's troops including Uriah.

13d. Then Joab charged a messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, if it happens that the king's wrath rises, and he says to you: 'Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?'-- then you shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'"

[This is interesting, because it shows that both Joab and the messenger feared the consequences of David's wrath if he heard news of a military setback. In effect, Joab told the messenger to "be sure to inform the King that Uriah died too", thereby secretly informing the King that this "defeat" was part of their plan.]

13e. So Joab's messenger told David, "Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate. The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also." Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab: 'Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.' So encourage him."

13f. When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when her mourning was over, David brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But this thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

14. In Chapter 12, the Lord sent Nathan to David to deliver a bold and very risky message. To soften the message, Nathan told the following story [a parable] to the King:

"There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."

14a. So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity." Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.'"

14b Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD has put away your sin; you shall not die. 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." Then Nathan departed, .and the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became ill. David pleaded with God for the child, and he fasted and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his house went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day, the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, "Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!"

14c. When David saw that his servants were whispering, he perceived that the child was dead. When the servants finally told him that the child was dead, David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, "What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food." And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

[King David was saying in effect, "Why should I worry about things I cannot change?" That's sound advice for avoiding stress. It should be taught everywhere.]

14d. Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Unlike David's first child with Bathsheba, the Lord loved Solomon, and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.

14e. In the meantime, Joab sent messengers to David, and said, "I have fought against Rabbah (the royal city of Ammon), and I have taken the city's water supply. Now gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name." So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and took it. Then he took their king's crown from his head. Its weight was a talent of gold, with precious stones. And it was set on David's head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought out the people who were in it, and put them to work with saws and iron picks and iron axes, and made them cross over to the brick works. So he did to all the cities of the people of Ammon.

[This was the price that the Ammonites paid for following their princes' (Hal Lindsey-like) advice. There's a lesson to be learned here, but some of our best-known religious leaders are refusing to heed it!]

AMNON'S RAPE OF TAMAR

15. In Chapter 13, David's son Amnon developed a crush for his lovely half-sister Tamar (the sister of David's son Absalom. Amnon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick; for she was a virgin, and it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her.

15a. But Amnon had a crafty friend whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother. Jonadab suggested to Amnon, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.'" So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let Tamar my sister come and make a couple of cakes for me in my sight, that I may eat from her hand." And David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Now go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him."

15b. So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he was lying down. She took flour and kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. When she took the pan and placed them out before him, he refused to eat. Then Amnon instructed everyone but Tamar to leave, and he said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them to Amnon in the bedroom. Then Amnon took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." And she answered, "No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you."

[Apparently, in spite of the Laws of Moses, marriages between siblings having a common father were still happening in those days.]

15c. However, Amnon would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone!" So she said to him, "No, indeed! This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me." [Evidently, Tamar would have preferred such a marriage.] But Amnon would not listen to her. He called his servant who attended him, and said, "Here! Put this woman out, away from me, and bolt the door behind her." Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors (a kind of robe that signified that she was a virgin), laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly.

15d. Absalom her brother said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this thing to heart." So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house. When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry, but he did nothing about it [He was NOT inclined to enforce the "Laws of Moses" when his sons were implicated]. Two years later, Absalom invited all of David's sons to a sheepshearers feast in Baal Hazor. When they were pretty thoroughly drunk, Absalom ordered his servants to kill Amnon (in accordance with a previously established plan). The rest of David's sons got on their mules and fled.

15e. At first, the news came to David that Absalom had killed ALL of the king's sons, so he tore his garments and lay on the ground Then Jonadab said to David, "Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the young men, the king's sons, for only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar." David was greatly relieved to learn that only Amnon had died, but he also grieved for Absalom who had fled to Geshur where he stayed for three years.
King David longed to go to Absalom. He had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.

15. In Chapter 14, Joab perceived that the king's heart was concerned about Absalom, so he sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman, and said to her, "Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning apparel; do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has been mourning a long time for the dead. "Go to the king and speak to him in this manner." So Joab put the words in her mouth [and encouraged her to use a persuasion technique similar to that used by Nathan].

16a. When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the and said, "Help, O king!" Then the king said to her, "What troubles you?" And she answered, "Indeed I am a widow, my husband is dead. Now your maidservant had two sons; and the two fought with each other in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other and killed him. And now the whole family has risen up against your maidservant, and they said, 'Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may execute him for the life of his brother whom he killed; and we will destroy the heir also.' So they would extinguish my ember that is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the earth." Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you." And the woman said to the king, "My lord, O king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father's house, and the king and his throne be guiltless." So the king said, "Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you anymore." Then she said, "Please let the king remember the LORD your God, and do not permit the avenger of blood to destroy anymore, lest they destroy my son." And he said, "As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground."

[So the Levite "avengers of blood" traditions were still being practiced in Israel, even though Israel now had a monarchy to make and enforce laws.]

16b. Then the woman said, "Please, let your maidservant speak another word to my lord the king." And he said, "Say on." So the woman said: "Why then have you schemed such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this thing as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring his banished one home again. For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him. Now therefore, I have come to speak of this thing to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. And your maidservant said, 'I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his maidservant. For the king will hear and deliver his maidservant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the inheritance of God.' Your maidservant said, 'The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.'"

16c. Then the king answered and said to the woman, "Please do not hide from me anything that I ask you." And the woman said, "Please, let my lord the king speak." So the king said, "Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?" And the woman answered and said, "As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. For your servant Joab commanded me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant. To bring about this change of affairs your servant Joab has done this thing; but my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of the angel of God, to know everything that is in the earth." And the king said to Joab, "All right, I have granted this thing. Go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom." Then Joab fell to the ground on his face and bowed himself, and thanked the king. And Joab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant."

16d. So Joab went to Geshur, and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. But the king said, "Let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face." So Absalom returned to his own house, and did not see the king's face. Now in all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he cut the hair of his head--at the end of every year he cut it because it was heavy on him--when he cut it, he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels according to the king's standard. To Absalom were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a woman of beautiful appearance.

[Evidently, hair growing ability was highly prized in Israel in those days. As we will see, in Absalom's case, his abundance of hair helped expedite his death.]

16e. And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king's face. Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. And when he sent again the second time, he would not come. So he said to his servants, "See, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." And Absalom's servants set the field on fire. Then Joab came to Absalom's house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" And Absalom answered Joab, "Look, I sent to you, saying, 'Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still."' Now therefore, let me see the king's face; but if there is iniquity in me, let him execute me." So Joab went to the king and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.

[At this point, it looked like things were pretty well getting "back on track" for David's monarchy.]

17. In Chapter 15, Absalom acquired chariots and horses and fifty loyal men. Over the next forty years, he would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. Whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, Absalom would call to him and say, "What city are you from?" And he would say, "Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel." Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you. Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice." And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

[The fact the Absalom was doing all this "behind David's back", shows that David had not given much thought to establishing a peaceful process for determining who would succeed him when be became too old to effectively rule such a large kingdom. This proved to be a BIG mistake on his part.]

17a. After forty years [David must have been quite old by then] Absalom said to the king, "Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD. For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, 'If the LORD indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.'" And the king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron. Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, 'Absalom reigns in Hebron!'" And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything. Then, while he offered sacrifices, Absalom sent for Ahithophel, David's counselor. As time went on, the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.

17b. One day, a messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." So [rather than trying to make arrangements for a peaceful succession of power], the elderly David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise, and let us flee; or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword." And the king's servants said to the king, "We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands." Then the king went out with all his household after him, except for ten concubines who were left behind to keep the house.

17c. At the outskirts of Jerusalem, all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, and six hundred men who had followed him from Gath (over 40 years ago). Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place. In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you." And Ittai answered the king and said, "As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be." So David said to Ittai, "Go, and cross over." Then Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the little ones who were with him crossed over. And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the wilderness.

17d. When David noticed that Zadok the priest, and all the Levites with him, were bearing the ark of the covenant of God on this retreat, he said, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus: 'I have no delight in you,' here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him." Then he said to Zadok, "Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me." Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.

17e. So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up. Then someone told David, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!" When David reached the top of the mountain to worship God, he saw Hushai the Archite coming to meet him with his robe torn and dust on his head. David said to him, "If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me. But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father's servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,' then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me. And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore whatever you hear from the king's house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Indeed they have two sons with them, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear." So Hushai, David's friend, went into the city. And Absalom came into Jerusalem.

18. In Chapter 16, on the other side of the mountain, David met Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who offered as gifts (for him and his men) a couple of saddled donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 summer fruits, and a skin of wine. Then the king said, "And where is your master's son?" And Ziba said to the king, "Indeed he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.'" So the king said to Ziba, "Here, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours." And Ziba said, "I humbly bow before you, that I may find favor in your sight, my lord, O king!"

18a. When King David came to Bahurim, there was a man named Shimei from the family of the house of Saul, who came out and began cursing continuously. He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and at all the people and all the mighty men who were on his right hand and on his left. Shimei said thus when he cursed: "Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!" Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!" But the king said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, 'Curse David.' Who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?'" And David said to Abishai and all his servants, "See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him. It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day." And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.

[David let Shimei live, because he knew that Shimei was telling the truth. Throughout most of his life, David was indeed a "bloodthirsty man."]

18b. Meanwhile Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him. David's friend Hushai came to Absalom saying, "Long live the king! Long live the king!" So Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?" And Hushai said to Absalom, "No, but whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain. Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father's presence, so will I be in your presence." Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give counsel as to what we should do." And Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Go in to your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong." So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

[It's interesting that Ahithophel would recommend such an obscene way for Absalom to demonstrate to the people of Israel that he had taken his father's place in Israel's monarchy. But this act did in fact fulfill Nathan's prophesy that the Lord would take David's wives before his eyes and give them to his neighbor who would lie with them "in the sight of this sun" before all Israel. One might say Ahithophel 's suggestion to Absalom made Nathan's prophesy a "self-fulfilling prophesy". We'll examine this "self-fulling prophesy" phenomenon in greater detail when we review the writings of the great prophets of Israel.]

19. In Chapter 17, Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Now let me choose 12,000 men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king. Then I will bring back all the people to you. When all return except the man whom you seek, all the people will be at peace." [This was actually pretty sound advice.] Ahithophel's proposal pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel, but Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he says too."

19a. So Hushai said to Absalom: "The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. For you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are enraged in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not camp with the people. Surely by now he is hidden in some pit, or in some other place. And it will be, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, 'There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.' And even he who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt completely. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. Therefore I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, like the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. So we will come upon him in some place where he may be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and all the men who are with him there shall not be left so much as one. Moreover, if he has withdrawn into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city; and we will pull it into the river, until there is not one small stone found there." So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel."

[Then the authors of 2nd Samuel add the editorial comment, "For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom."]

19b. Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, "Thus and so Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so I have advised. Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, 'Do not spend this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily cross over, lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.'" Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel, for they dared not be seen coming into the city; so a female servant would come and tell them, and they would go and tell King David. Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom. But both of them went away quickly and came to a man's house in Bahurim, who had a well in his court; and they went down into it. Then the woman spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground grain on it; and the thing was not known. When Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" So the woman said to them, "They have gone over the water brook." And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. After they had departed, they came up out of the well and went and told King David, and said to David, "Arise and cross over the water quickly. For thus has Ahithophel advised against you." So David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed over the Jordan.

19c. When Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father's tomb. [Athithophel probably realized by then that he had sided with a loser and would end up being executed by David anyway.]

19d. Then David went to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed over the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. And Absalom made Amasa captain of the army instead of Joab, and they encamped in the land of Gilead. When David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the people of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, brought beds and basins, earthen vessels and wheat, barley and flour, parched grain and beans, lentils and parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him to eat. For they said, "The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness."

[This seems incredible. After what David had done to the Ammonites, they nevertheless provided David and his men with food and water in the wilderness! Who were the ones, would you say, who were REALLY following God's guidance?]

20. In Chapter 18, David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. Then David sent out one third of the people under the hand of Joab, one-third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, "I also will surely go out with you myself." But the people answered, "You shall not go out! For if we flee away, they will not care about us; nor if half of us die, will they care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us now. For you are now more help to us in the city." Then the king said to them, "Whatever seems best to you I will do." So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.

20a. Now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains orders concerning Absalom. So the people went out into the field of battle against Israel. And the battle was in the woods of Ephraim. The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of 20,000 took place there that day. For the battle there was scattered over the face of the whole countryside, and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

[Actually, until this century, this was a common occurrence in large military battles. Since most of the "soldiers" were involuntarily conscripted, they often took advantage of the confusion of battle and in this case perhaps the cover afforded by the woods to desert from their military units and return home.]

20b. Then the servants of David began chasing Absalom who rode on a mule. When the mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on. Now a certain man saw it and told Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging in a terebinth tree!" So Joab said to the man who told him, "You just saw him! And why did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt." But the man said to Joab, "Though I were to receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king's son. For in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, 'Beware lest anyone touch the young man Absalom!' Otherwise I would have dealt falsely against my own life. For there is nothing hidden from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me." Then Joab said, "I cannot linger with you." And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom's heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. Then ten young men who bore Joab's armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him.

20c. So Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel. They took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent. Now Absalom in his lifetime had set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King's Valley. For he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance." He called the pillar after his own name; it was known as Absalom's Monument.

20d. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, "Let me run now and take the news to the king, how the LORD has avenged him of his enemies." But Joab said to him, "You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, because the king's son is dead." Then Joab said to the Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." So the Cushite bowed himself to Joab and ran. And Ahimaaz said again to Joab, "But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite." And Joab said, "Why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?" "But whatever happens," he said, "let me run." So he said to him, "Run." Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.

20e. Now while David was sitting between the two gates, a watchman saw a man running alone. When the watchman told the king, the king said, "If he is alone, there is news in his mouth." Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "There is another man, running alone!" And the king said, "He also brings news." Ahimaaz, who arrived first, called out and said to the king, "All is well! Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!" The king said, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about." [He lied.] Just then the Cushite came in and said, "There is good news, my lord the king! For the LORD has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you." David asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" And the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!" Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: "O my son Absalom-- my son, my son Absalom--if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"

21. In Chapter 19, Joab was told, "Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom." So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people. And the people stole back into the city that day, as people who are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. [Another alternative explanation offered by the authors of 2nd Samuel, this time regarding the "devouring woods" theory.]

21a. Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, "Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well. Now therefore, arise, go out and speak comfort to your servants. For I swear by the LORD, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now." Then the king arose and sat in the gate (of Mahanaim). And they told all the people, saying, "There is the king, sitting in the gate." So all the people came before the king. For everyone of Israel had fled to his tent.

21b. Now all the people were in a dispute throughout the tribes of Israel, saying, "The king saved us from the hand of our enemies, he delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, and now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now therefore, why do you say nothing about bringing back the king?" So King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, "Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, 'Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the words of all Israel have come to the king, to his very house? 'You are my brethren, you are my bone and my flesh. Why then are you the last to bring back the king?' "And say to Amasa, 'Are you not my bone and my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if you are not commander of the army before me continually in place of Joab.'" So he swayed the hearts of all the men of Judah, just as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word to the king: "Return, you and all your servants!" Then the king returned and came to the Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to escort the king across the Jordan.

21c. Even Shimei, the cursing Benjamite from Bahurim, hastened and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. There were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over the Jordan before the king. Then a ferryboat went across to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. Shimei fell down before the king when he had crossed the Jordan and said, "Do not let my lord impute iniquity to me, or remember what wrong your servant did on the day that my lord the king left Jerusalem, that the king should take it to heart. For I, your servant, know that I have sinned. Therefore here I am, the first to come today of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king." But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, "Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD'S anointed?" And David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should be adversaries to me today? Shall any man be put to death today in Israel? For do I not know that today I am king over Israel?" Therefore the king said to Shimei, "You shall not die." And the king swore to him.

21d. Then Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he returned in peace. So it was, when he had come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?" And he answered, "My lord, O king, my servant deceived me. For your servant said, 'I will saddle a donkey for myself, that I may ride on it and go to the king,' because your servant is lame. And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king, but my lord the king is like the angel of God. Therefore do what is good in your eyes. For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king. Yet you set your servant among those who eat at your own table. Therefore what right have I still to cry out anymore to the king?" So the king said to him, "Why do you speak anymore of your matters? I have said, 'You and Ziba divide the land.'" Then Mephibosheth said to the king, "Rather, let him take it all, inasmuch as my lord the king has come back in peace to his own house."

21e. And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and went with the king, to escort him across the Jordan. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. And he had provided the king with supplies while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very rich man. And the king said to Barzillai, "Come across with me, and I will provide for you while you are with me in Jerusalem." But Barzillai said to the king, "How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am today eighty years old. Can I discern between the good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any longer the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be a further burden to my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way across the Jordan with the king. And why should the king repay me with such a reward? Please let your servant turn back again, that I may die in my own city, near the grave of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good to you." And the king answered, "Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good to you. Now whatever you request of me, I will do for you." Then all the people went over the Jordan. And when the king had crossed over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own place

21f.. Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. And all the people of Judah escorted the king, and also half the people of Israel. Just then all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to the king, "Why have our brethren, the men of Judah, stolen you away and brought the king, his household, and all David's men with him across the Jordan?" So all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "Because the king is a close relative of ours. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we ever eaten at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?" And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, "We have ten shares in the king; therefore we also have more right to David than you. Why then do you despise us--were we not the first to advise bringing back our king?" Yet the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.

[As you can see, the "neighborly relationship" between the descendants of Judah and the rest of Israel was already beginning to break down. This was a "fruit" of Moses' decision (in chapter 27 of Numbers) to preserve inheritances within tribal bloodlines, thereby placing another significant restriction on the children of Israels' definition of neighbor.]

22. In Chapter 20, we find that not everyone was pleased with David's return. A Benjamite named Sheba blew a trumpet, and said: "We have no share in David, nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse, every man to his tents, O Israel!" So every man of Israel deserted David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king.

[Notice that the authors of 2nd Samuel specifically cite that inheritance issue as a major cause of this breakup. It's also appears from this, that even in his prime, David may not have been as popular a king among the Israelites as most people have tended to assume.]

22a. When David returned to his house at Jerusalem, he put the ten concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, in seclusion. Although he supported them, they remained shut up and childless to the day of their death, because they have been "soiled" by Absalom.

22b. Then the king said to Amasa (Absalom's former military commander), "Assemble the men of Judah for me within three days, and be present here yourself." So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah. But he delayed longer than the three days David had appointed him. So David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he find for himself fortified cities, and escape us." So Joab's men, with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, went out after him.

22c. When they were in Gibeon, Amasa came before them. Joab was dressed in battle armor one which was a belt with a sword fastened in its sheath at his hips. As he was going forward, it fell out. Then Joab said to Amasa, "Are you in health, my brother?" And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not notice the sword that was in Joab's left hand. And he struck him with it in the stomach, and his entrails poured out on the ground; and he did not strike him again. Thus he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother continued pursuing Sheba.

22d. Meanwhile one of Joab's men stood near Amasa, and said, "Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David--follow Joab!" But Amasa wallowed in his blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he moved Amasa from the highway to the field and threw a garment over him. When Amasa was removed from the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba. Eventually, they ended up besieging him in Abel of Beth Maachah. And all the people who were with Joab battered the wall to throw it down.

22e. But a wise woman cried out from the city, "Hear, Hear! Please say to Joab, 'Come nearby, that I may speak with you.'" When he had come near to her, the woman said to him, "Hear the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." So she spoke, saying, "They used to talk in former times, saying, 'They shall surely seek guidance at Abel,' and so they would end disputes. I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?" And Joab answered, "Far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not so. But a man from the mountains of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri has raised his hand against the king. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city." So the woman said to Joab, "Watch, his head will be thrown to you over the wall." Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba and threw it out to Joab. Then he blew a trumpet, and they withdrew from the city, every man to his tent.

23. In Chapter 21, David's kingdom experienced a famine 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."

[The Gibeonites were the ones who wisely tricked the Children of Israel into swearing a peace covenant with them in Chapter 9 of Joshua. It's interesting that they would seriously consider this to have been the cause of the draught.]

23a. The Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah. Therefore David said to [the king of the] Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?" The Gibeonites said to him, "We will have no silver or gold from Saul or from his house, nor shall you kill any man in Israel for us." So David said, "Whatever you say, I will do for you." Then they answered the king, "As for the man who consumed us and plotted against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the territories of Israel, let seven men of his descendants be delivered to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD chose." And the king said, "I will give them."

23b. But the king spared Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the LORD'S oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul [one of David's first wives], whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; and he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the hill before the LORD in the first days of barley harvest.

23c. Now Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until the late rains poured on them from heaven. And she did not allow the birds of the air to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. When David was told what Rizpah, the concubine of Saul, had done, he took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from Jabesh Gilead and gathered the bones of those who had been hanged and buried them in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the tomb of Kish his father. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.

23d. When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David grew faint. Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant [Goliath], the weight of whose bronze spear was three hundred shekels, thought he could kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel." [David was too old to fight anymore.]

23e. Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. Sibbechai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was also one of the sons of Goliath. Again there was war at Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he was also a son of Goliath. So when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

[Are the authors of 2nd Samuel gloating over the ability of David's men to kill giants, or are they subtly exposing the tragedy of war in personal terms? Jesus shared the second point of view.]

24. In Chapter 22, the authors or compilers of 2nd Samuel published one of David's psalms which he apparently wrote shortly after he became King of Judah ("when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.")

[I shall quote this psalm verbatim here, because it reveals a lot about the young King David's mindset and how greatly his perceptions of God at that time were distorted by the "national sovereignty" limitations which he placed upon his definition of "neighbor." As we have seen so far in 2nd Samuel, as is often the case with the concept of "national sovereignty", King David had no problem extending his definition of "national" in include neighboring kingdoms (and then subjugating them) whenever it suited him to do so. The writings of King Solomon, on the other hand, are generally quite different in this regard (consider, for example, Proverbs 16:7, 24:17, and 25:21). Notice also the heavy use that David makes of the literary techniques of allegory and metaphor (his non-literal use of such words as "rock", "floods", etc.), . This indicates the he was well aware of at least some of the third-heaven (allegorical) interpretations of the stories which authors of Genesis and Exodus carefully crafted into their writings. ]

24a. "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. When the waves of death surrounded me, the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.

24b. "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub, and flew; and He was seen upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness canopies around Him, dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him coals of fire were kindled. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice. He sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning bolts, and He vanquished them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered, at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils. He sent from above, He took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.

24c. "He also brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me; and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His eyes.

[David's truthfulness in making the above claims is highly debatable, but then (as I pointed out in last month's article on 1st Samuel) honesty was never one of David's strong points. Even without counting all of the killing that he did, David certainly could not (truthfully) make such claims after he lay with the wife of Uriah the Hittite.]

24d. "With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down. For You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; he is a shield to all who trust in Him.

24e. "For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; so my feet did not slip. I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. And I have destroyed them and wounded them, so that they could not rise; they have fallen under my feet. For You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose against me. You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who hated me. They looked, but there was none to save; even to the LORD, but He did not answer them. Then I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trod them like dirt in the streets, and I spread them out.

24f. "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. The foreigners submit to me; as soon as they hear, they obey me. The foreigners fade away, and come frightened from their hideouts. The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation! It is God who avenges me, and subdues the people under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; you have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name. He is the tower of salvation to His king, and shows mercy to His anointed, to David and his descendants forevermore."

[Actually, like Moses, Joshua, and Samuel had done in their elderly years, in this psalm David was committing the sin of using God's name in vain. In later articles, we'll examine how the great prophets of Israel came to realize this themselves.]

25. In chapter 23, the authors of 2nd Samuel claim, "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:"

[The authors of 1st Kings and 1st Chronicles offer different accounts of what David's last words were. We'll examine those accounts as well in this article.]

25a. "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: 'He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.' ALTHOUGH my house is not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; will He not make it increase? But the sons of rebellion shall all be as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands. But the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they shall be utterly burned with fire in their place."

25b. The rest of Chapter 23 briefly recounts the names and accomplishments or duties of various "mighty men" who served David throughout his career. One interesting story, which is told in 1st Chronicles as well, is that when David and his men were besieging a Philistine encampment at Bethlehem, David said with longing, "Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!" Three of his mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD, saying , "Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?"

26. In Chapter 24, the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He (1st Samuel says it was God, 1st Chronicles says it was Satan) moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah." So the king said to Joab, "Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people." And Joab said to the king, "Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?" Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.

26a. When they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. There were in Israel 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000 men. David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly."

[Why do you suppose David was so upset when he learned about these figures? In my Oct 97 article "How Jesus Christ viewed Moses and the Levites (Part II), I pointed out that the census which was taken soon after the children of Israel entered the wilderness counted 603,550 men over 20 (not counting the Levites). The corresponding census that was taken 39 years later (just before they entered "The Promised Land") counted 601,730 men over 20. So, in spite of the Levites' strong encouragement of high birth rates (and the fact that is was customary for Israelite men to have two or more wives and many children with each), the death rate among the Israelites must have been horrendous to result in a lower census count 39 years later. All things considered, most of the deaths during those 39 years appeared to have been caused by an overzealous enforcement of the "Laws of Moses" ("blood avenging", stoning people to death, etc.). Now, over 400 years later, the corresponding census count was only 1,300,000 men over 20 (1,570,00 according to 1st Chronicles 21:5). As the authors of 2nd Samuel allude to (out of the mouth of Joab), that count SHOULD have been 100 times as high! Why had the population of Israelite men grown so little in over 400 years in spite of Israel's relatively high birth rates? Evidently, in addition to the casualties resulting from enforcement of the "Laws of Moses", such horrendous death rates were a result of the casualties suffered during the many wars that Israel was involved in, especially during the reigns of Kings Saul and David. So was Israel "being fruitful and multiplying" under the reign of King David? Evidently, not. THAT is why David was so upset with those figures. David was finally beginning to recognize the magnitude of the deadly "fruits" of his military actions (as did his son, King Solomon).]

26b. When David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go and tell David, 'Thus says the LORD: "I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you." So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, "Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me." And David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man."

[It was a selfish decision on David's part, but indicative of the reason Israel's population had increased so little over a period of 400 years.]

26c. So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men of the people died. And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, "It is enough; now restrain your hand." And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, "Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father's house." And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded.

26d. When Araunah saw the king and his servants coming toward him, went out and bowed before the king and said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people." Now Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God accept you." Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

[Thus Araunah's threshing floor became the site for the temple built by King Solomon and later rebuilt Herod the Great. In the version of this story in 1st Chronicles Chapter 21, this property belonged to Ornan the Jebusite. The Levite authors of 1st Chronicles (who wrote 1st and 2nd Chronicles after the Hebrews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon) clearly attributed the blame for this plague on the fact that David had ordered a census to be taken in the first place. Perhaps they were attempting to divert attention away from the embarrassing results of that census and the implications of those results. Or perhaps they wanted to discourage such a potentially embarrassing census from ever been taken again. In any case, from the third-heaven point of view, it's quite significant to note that King Solomon's Temple was built on the site of a threshing floor, where wheat was being thrown into to the air to let the wind separate the grain from the (lighter-weight) chaff. The activity of threshing symbolizes the Holy Spirit casting the bad from out of the good, distinguishing the ungodly from the godly, etc. It was HERE that the Angel of death was brought to a halt!]

27. In Chapter 1 of 1st Kings, when King David was very old, they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. His servants said to him, "Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm." So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her [i.e. she remained a virgin].

27a. Then Adonijah a son of David and Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and like Absalom, he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?" He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.) Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei [the cursing Benjaminite], Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah. And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.

27b. So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, "Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go immediately to King David and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne"? Why then has Adonijah become king?' Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words."

[Nathan really knew how to manipulate the king.]

27c. So Bathsheba went into the chamber to the king and bowed and did homage to the king. Then the king said, "What is your wish?" Then she said to him, "My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.' So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it. He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders." [and probably put to death]

27d. While she was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet came in and said, "My lord, O king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne'? For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look! They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, 'Long live King Adonijah!' But he has not invited me--me your servant--nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?" Then King David answered and said, "Call Bathsheba to me."

27e. So she came into the king's presence and stood before the king. And the king took an oath and said, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so I certainly will do this day." Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, "Let my lord King David live forever!" And King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. The king also said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah." Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, "Amen! May the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David." [And He did.]

27f. So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and took him to Gihon. Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!" And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.

[Jesus Christ acted in a similar manner, for a similar symbolic purpose, when he triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey's colt in Matthew 21 and John 12].

27g. Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the horn, he said, "Why is the city in such a noisy uproar?" While he was still speaking, there came Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest. And Adonijah said to him, "Come in, for you are a prominent man, and bring good news." Then Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, "No! Our lord King David has made Solomon king. The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king's mule. So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. Also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom. And moreover the king's servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, 'May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.' Then the king bowed himself on the bed. Also the king said thus, 'Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!'"

27h. So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way. Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'" Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."

28. In Chapter 2 of 1st Kings, the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'"

28a. Then David's tone turned dark as he said, "You know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace. But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother. And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, 'I will not put you to death with the sword.' Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood." So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.

[According to this account, David went to the grave with a vengeful spirit in his heart. He even reneged on his oath to forgive Shimei (the cursing Benjaminite).]

We'll examine what happened next in next month's article on King Solomon.

29. Chapters 11 through 20 of 1st Chronicles retell some of the stories in 2nd Samuel with only minor variations (which I have alluded to in earlier in this article). However, chapters 22, 28 and 29 of 1st Chronicles contain additional stories about King David which are not in 2nd Samuel.

30. In Chapter 22 of 1st Chronicles, David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. Now David said, "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it." So David made abundant preparations before his death.

30a. Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: "My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 'Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 'He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.' Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you."

30b. David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, "Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD."

31. In Chapter 28 of 1st Chronicles, David assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel: the officers of the tribes and the captains of the divisions who served the king, the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officials, the valiant men, and all the mighty men of valor.

31a. Then King David rose to his feet and said, "Hear me, my brethren and my people: I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, 'You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.' However the LORD God of Israel chose me above all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever, for He has chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father, He was pleased with me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. Now He said to me, 'It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. 'Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day.' Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever. As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it."

31b. Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat; and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things; also for the division of the priests and the Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the articles of service in the house of the LORD. He gave gold by weight for things of gold, for all articles used in every kind of service; also silver for all articles of silver by weight, for all articles used in every kind of service; the weight for the lampstands of gold, and their lamps of gold, by weight for each lampstand and its lamps; for the lampstands of silver by weight, for the lampstand and its lamps, according to the use of each lampstand. And by weight he gave gold for the tables of the showbread, for each table, and silver for the tables of silver; also pure gold for the forks, the basins, the pitchers of pure gold, and the golden bowls-- he gave gold by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls, silver by weight for every bowl; and refined gold by weight for the altar of incense, and for the construction of the chariot, that is, the gold cherubim that spread their wings and overshadowed the ark of the covenant of the LORD.

31c. "All this," said David, "the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans." And David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God--my God--will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD."

32. Finally, in Chapter 29 of 1st Chronicles, King David said to all the assembly: "My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the LORD God. Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: gold for things to be made of gold, silver for things of silver, bronze for things of bronze, iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood, onyx stones, stones to be set, glistening stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and marble slabs in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?"

32a. Then the leaders of the fathers' houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king's work, offered willingly. They gave for the work of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, into the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the LORD; and King David also rejoiced greatly. Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; with the following psalm:

32b. "Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope. O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision."

32c. Finally, David said to all the assembly, "Now bless the LORD your God." So all the assembly blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD and the king. And they made sacrifices to the LORD and offered burnt offerings to the LORD on the next day: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. So they ate and drank before the LORD with great gladness on that day. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him before the LORD to be the leader, and Zadok to be priest.

32d. Now the acts of King David, first and last, indeed they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer, with all his reign and his might, and the events that happened to him, to Israel, and to all the kingdoms of the lands.

[Evidently, the books of "Nathan the Prophet" and "Gad the seer" did not survive on their own. It appears likely that the authors of 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and Second Kings, and 1st and 2nd Chronicles used those two books are part of their source material. It's interesting to note that the (post exile) authors of 1st Chronicles show quite clearly that even though David wanted very much to build the temple himself, he was not permitted to do so, because he had been a man of war who had shed much blood.]


33. In Matthew 5:33-35, Jesus Christ says, "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King."

32a. When Jesus referred to "the great King" here, was he referring the King David, King Solomon, or to God? We'll examine this in next month's article entitled, "How Jesus Christ viewed King Solomon."


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