By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 2 Samuel…A fleeing David heard of the death of Saul and Jonathan, and while relief may have been expected, David responded in grief instead. He mourned the death of his brother, Jonathan, and the Lord’s anointed, Saul. However this led to him finally being anointed King over Israel, although Abner, Saul’s general, attempted but failed to continue the reign of Saul’s lineage through his son, Ish-bosheth. As the new King, David conquered and established Zion, the city of David (aka Jerusalem), struck down the Philistines, and brought the ark back to Jerusalem. After so many years of war, flight, murder, and death, David finally found rest, and at that time the Lord spoke to him through Nathan, the prophet, promising him that his kingdom would be established forever! David responded to the Lord’s unmerited favor in complete humility for such an undeserved gift. After receiving such a gift, David quickly reflected God’s glory by bestowing Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, with similar grace! David continued to live for the Lord, but he still fell to temptation. He lusted after a woman named Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and he acted on that lust in sin. His sin brought for death to the son who is conceived, and the Lord promised that evil would rise from within David’s house. We eventually see that evil come forth through David’s son, Absalom, who allowed hate to grow within his heart and caused it to expel his own father from the throne.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 2 Samuel 16 – 21.
2 SAMUEL – The second book of Samuel chronicles the majority of David’s life as King of Israel. From the death of Saul to David’s old age, we get a compact snapshot of all that David faced and did for the Lord. In the first book of Samuel we saw David’s anointing as king, but we also saw grave opposition from Saul, the current ruler, which took the form of relentless pursuit. David showed great character as Saul constantly tried to take his life, and he was established as a man after God’s own heart. In 2 Samuel he finally takes on the mantle of King, but the man after God’s own heart was far from perfect. Amongst his countless victories and empowered rule as King, we also see clear failings (sin). Those failings had frightening consequences, but the Lord was faithful to see through them and to hold fast to the promise to establish David’s kingdom forever! The book introduces many characters including Nathan, the prophet, Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, Joab, David’s general, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, Absalom, Solomon, and many more! All of these men and women play an important role in defining the heart of man towards God and the propensity of the same to sin, and we also see the terrible consequences of allowing the fruit of sin to come forth. But above all, we are constantly reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness and power to redeem all no matter the circumstance.
- 2 Samuel 16 | Ziba throws Mephibosheth under the bus, Shimei insults David, David shows mercy and humility, Absalom arrives in Jerusalem, and Hushai pretends to serve him: In the previous chapter we see men righteously follow after David, although he had been ousted from his rightful throne. Most notably, Chapter 15 ends with David tasking Hushai with secretly serving him while in the presence of Absalom and his evil council. In Chapter 16 we see a different group of people reacting to Absalom’s mutiny. Ziba, Mephibosheth’s faithful servant, brought a great quantity of provisions to David and his faithful followers, and he claimed that his master accepted Absalom over David. David gave all that he had promised to Mephibosheth to Ziba upon hearing this news. As David and his people continued their journey, they also came across Shimei, a man from the house of Saul. Shimei followed David and his people and cursed them and threw things at them until they reached the Jordan, but David showed him great mercy despite his sin allowing him to continue his cursing. David trusted that the Lord would repay him for any wrong done to him, and on that note, we see Absalom arrive in Jerusalem. And in beautiful irony, Hushai arrived to “pledge his loyalty” to the new “anointed”, and he would eventually be used by the Lord to redeem David. After Absalom arrived, he turned to the counsel of Ahithophel who was renowned and had deserted David for Absalom. Ahithophel told Absalom to go into his fathers concubines before all of Israel, which fulfilled part of the Lord’s promise/punishment for David’s sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12: 11-12.
- 2 Samuel 17-18 | Hushai serves his purpose and counters the council of Ahithophel, Joab kills Absalom, and David is immensely grieved: David’s prayer in 2 Samuel 15 was that Ahithophel’s counsel be turned to foolishness, and he sets Hushai against him to that end. In Chapter 17 all of that comes to fruition as Absalom requests Ahithophel’s counsel again. Ahithophel advises Absalom to allow him to pursue David to the river Jordans so that he could kill the king and bring back the rest of the people. Ironically, Absalom requested that Hushai be counseled as well. Of course Hushai sways Absalom away from the counsel of Ahithophel by reminding him that David is with his mighty men of valor who have seen war and are extremely experienced. He suggested gathering all of the hosts and meeting David and his men himself in battle to utterly destroy David and his men, and Absalom accepted his counsel over that of Ahithophel:
And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom. | 2 Samuel 17:14
Hushai was able to relay the information to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, who tasked messengers to take the updates to David. David crossed the Jordan and prepared his army giving charge to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, and he made it clear that Absalom should be dealt with gently. During the battle, Absalom is comically caught between heaven and earth when his head is trapped in branches as his mule continued onwards. Joab and other men find him, and while others were convicted to follow King David’s request, Joab decided to kill Absalom. Absalom’s death caused all of Israel to disperse, and the King David was deeply grieved by the news.
- 2 Samuel 19 | Joab knocks some sense into David, Amasa replaces Joab, David returns to Jerusalem, Ziba’s deception is revealed, and David shows mercy to all his enemies: In David’s grief, Joab came and spoke bluntly to him saying that he had brought shame on the faces of all his servants because he loved those who hated him and hated those who loved him. He claimed that if Absalom were alive and all else were dead, then the King would be happy, and he warned that if David did not rise out of his grief and speak kindly to the people, they would leave him! All of these words were true, but they also came out of the mouth of one who often deceived and/or acted of his own accord. David seemed to recognize this in Joab as he appointed Amasa as the new commander over his army in verse 13. David reached out to him and all the people of Israel, and he was eventually called back to be their king. The King was pulled between the land of Judah over the Jordan and the Israelites because all wanted him back, but he was swayed to cross the Jordan and enter Judah first. His first acts upon his return was to show mercy and grace to all. He forgave Shimei for his cursing. He learned that Ziba had lied about Mephibosheth, but he still allowed him to split all Saul’s land with Mephibosheth. However, Mephibosheth was so pleased with the King’s return that he did not want any of it, and he gave it all to Ziba. He also showed great kindness to his servants Barzillai and Chimham. David just continued to pour out and exhibit righteousness in many ways. The men of Israel rose up against the men of Judah for they had taken their King away, but we read that the men of Judah’s words overpowered that of the Israelites.
- 2 Samuel 20 | Sheba rebels against David despite David’s righteousness, David arrives in Jerusalem, Joab kills Amasa and resumes command, the people of Israel reject Sheba, and the leaders of Israel are listed: Despite all of David’s goodness to the people, men still rose up against him. Sheba’s words against David enticed the men of Israel since their king was in Judah. The men of Judah continued to follow David as he returned to Jerusalem. Once in Jerusalem, David put away his concubines “until the day of their death” causing them to live “as if in widowhood”, and he tasked Amasa with taking care of Sheba. Amasa delayed in doing this, so David tasked Abishai in fear that Sheba might turn out like Absalom. Abashai pursued the man with Joab, his brother, and when Amasa joined the two brothers, Joab immediately murdered him so that he could assume the mantle of commander again. Joab had acted treacherously many times from Abner to Amasa. Joab and Abishai pursued Sheba to the city of Abel, and while trying to batter the walls down, a woman spoke to them. She talked with Joab and promised to give over Sheba to stop his attack on the city. The woman, in her wisdom, talked with the people and they killed Sheba throwing his head over the wall to Joab, which ended the pursuit. The final verses of this chapter go on the list the commanders, leaders, priests, etc. that were over Israel.
- 2 Samuel 21 | Israel suffers for Saul’s sin, the Gibeonites get revenge against Saul, and the Philistines war against Israel again: During David’s reign after the Absalom ordeal, the Israelites faced a famine for 3 years. David inquired of the Lord and learned that it was a result of Saul’s unjustified attack on the Gibeonites out of zeal for Israel. Back in Joshua 9, Joshua and the elders made a treaty of peace with the Gibeonites to let them live. Saul’s actions were clearly against this treaty, and the people faced the punishment. David sought the Gibeonites to make atonement for this sin, and they requested seven sons of Saul be given to be hanged before the Lord. David obliged with the exception of sparing Mephibosheth, and the Lord responded to the plea for the land after David recovered and buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan and all those who were hanged. As the chapter closes out, the Israelites were again called to war against the Philistines. Many giants, much like Goliath, rise up against Israel, and all of them fall to David and his servants. David went out into battle, but this time he grew weary, and Abishai had to save him from the Philistine giant, Ishbi-benob.
But Abishai the son of Zeruiaah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.” | 2 Samuel 21:17
What a great honor to be called the lamp of Israel!