Thursday, January 15, 2015

Exercising Freedom

I’m speaking out because I think it’s important we take a stand. When media outlets are more concerned with terror acts causing “Islamophobia” than they are about the reality of what’s happening we’re getting it backwards. The truth is we cannot be friends with everybody. There are groups that would rather see us dead than let us mind our own business and live our life in freedom. Meanwhile, in our own country, we are fighting against Christians publicly displaying religion and preaching tolerance toward Muslim religion. We are electing Muslim leaders to our government and ignoring Christians and other religious groups being persecuted worldwide by Islam. We must speak out. 

I recently had a very minor, but personal, experience with a Muslim while returning from Zimbabwe by myself last month. I was on a British Airways flight from London to DFW and the man did not want me to sit on his row. He had the aisle seat, there was a young man in the middle seat (who was ex US military, returning from the embassy in Afganastan, which definitely made me much more comfortable!) and I had the window. They were both seated and the Muslim man refused to let me sit down. The line was backing up behind me as I was blocking the row during our confrontation until finally the guy in the middle elbowed him and basically forced him to get up so I could sit down. When the meal came I considered not ordering the free wine so as not to offend the Muslim man, but then I thought, “I am on a British owned airplane flying to the United States, I will have a glass of wine if I want to”. So I ordered it and he leaned forward and stared at me. Afterward, every drink I took he leaned forward and stared at me. Later I took my jacket off and as I took it he leaned forward and stared at me. It was very uncomfortable but it made me realize how important our freedoms are. I have never been so determined to exercise my free will. And it makes me realize if we continue to turn our heads and let this religion take roots and take leadership roles in our country we are headed for oppression. Not only that, but increased and unspeakable violence, which is already happening worldwide. We’ve got to take a stand for our freedom and quit trying to quiet those who are exercising their rights and support them and condemn openly not only the acts of terror but the stripping away of our rights to practice our religion openly.

Friday, January 9, 2015

David (and Bathsheba)

David, Bethlemite, youngest son of Jesse, shepherd. When David was out tending sheep while living in his father's house, Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as King of Israel. His brothers all passed before Samuel, but none were chosen. Samuel asked Jesse if this were all his sons and Jesse told him the youngest was out tending sheep. They sent for him, and when he came in Samuel anointed him. Saul was still king and David did not take over immediately. In fact, he was anointed without Saul knowing that the anointing had taken place.

He was then summoned to play the harp by Saul, who was tortured by an evil spirit. Saul loved David and made him armor bearer. David continued to play for him as well, and when he did the evil spirit that terrorized Saul would depart.

The Philistines came against Israel and David’s three oldest brothers went to battle. Jesse sent David to them with food and to check on them. While he was there, David saw and heard the giant Goliath taunting Israel. David asked, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” 1Samuel 17:26. Eliab, his older brother, burned with anger toward David and questioned his motives.

Saul heard of David’s questions and sent for him. David tells him he will fight the Philistine. At first, Saul tells him he cannot fight and would never win against such an experienced warrior. But David defends his position, telling Saul of killing a lion and a bear while watching his father’s sheep and that as the Lord delivered him from the attacks of wild animals He will deliver him from the hand of the Philistine. David’s heart and his passion for fighting for God’s people convinced Saul that he could go and he gave him his clothes and put armor on him. David had not worn armor before and told Saul he couldn’t use it. He went against Goliath with his shepherd’s tools and full confidence that God would deliver him.

As he approached the Philistine, Goliath saw that David was just a youth and not dressed for battle. He was offended that Israel would send a kid and cursed and mocked David and Israel. David said to him, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your dead from you. I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Sam 17:45-47.  So Goliath began to approach and David went out to meet him. He took a stone from his bag, put it in his sling and slung it. The stone struck Goliath in the forehead and he fell to the ground. David ran to him, took out Goliath’s sword, and cut off his head. The Philistines saw their champion was dead and fled. Israel and Judea pursued them and killed many and plundered their camps. David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem but put his weapons in his tent.

Saul inquires about David, for he did not know who he was. David was brought before him and tells him he is the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite. Saul took him into his house that day and did not let him return home. It was at this time that Jonathan, Saul’s son and heir to the throne, saw David and the scripture says of them, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself” 1 Sam 18:1 Jonathan made a covenant with David and gave him his robe and armor, including his bow and belt. I believe this signified that Jonathan was willing to give up his right to the throne and at least had an idea or possibly a revelation from God that David was the next anointed king and Jonathan remained loyal to him.

Saul began to send David out to fight and everywhere he went he prospered and Saul put him over the men of war (1 Sam 18:5). It happened that after David killed Goliath, women came out singing and dancing and playing music. They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, David his ten thousands” 1 Sam 18:7. This made Saul angry and he did not trust David from this point forward. The next day, an evil spirit came over Saul and while David was playing his harp Saul hurled a spear at him in hopes to pin him to the wall. David escaped from a situation like this twice, and Saul became afraid of him because he realized the Lord was with David and had left him.

Saul put David over a thousand fighting men and sent him off (mainly to get him out of his presence), and David again prospered. Saul hated it, but he could do nothing against David because all of Israel and Judah loved him. Saul gave his oldest daughter Merab to David in marriage, but David was humble before Saul and said he could not take her, for who was he to marry into the royal family. Michal, another daughter, loved David, and when it was told to Saul he schemed to give her to him in order to set a trap for him. He sent his servants to talk David into it, for he was still disagreeable to marrying into the royal family. The servants told him the king would not require a dowry except for 100 foreskins of the Philistines. This pleased David and he agreed. Saul was hoping he would fall by the hands of the Philistines, but instead he brought Saul 200 foreskins. This reinforced to Saul that the Lord was with David and he knew that Michal loved David, which made him even more afraid of him.

Saul became so afraid of David he goes to Jonathan and all his servants and commands them to put David to death. Jonathan tells David his father’s plans and suggested he hide himself while he talks to his father to see if he can convince him otherwise. Jonathan reminds Saul of all the good David has done for him and the nation of Israel and talks him into not killing innocent blood, so David returns to Saul’s household. However, it isn’t long before David is sent back into war where he again has a great slaughter and Saul once again tries to kill him with his spear as he is playing the harp.

David escapes that night to his home where his wife Michal comes to his aide. She helps him flee and hides an idol in the bed so the servants of Saul will think he was sleeping. When they asked for him, Michal tells them he is sick so they report to Saul and he instructed them to bring David to him on his bed so he can put him to death. When they realize it is only an idol in the bed, Saul asks Michal why she deceived him. She lies and tells him David threatened her.

So David now flees to Samuel at Ramah and tells him all that Saul has done to him. Samuel takes him to Naioth where the prophets are. Saul finds out he is there and sends messengers three different times and each time they are overcome by the Spirit of God and do not harm David but began prophesying with them. Saul finally goes himself, but he too is overtaken by the Holy Spirit. In 1 Samuel 19:23-24 the bible says Saul stripped his clothes and lay down naked all day. My bible commentary mentions this humbling of Saul signifies God’s rejection of him as King of Israel.

David flees from Naioth to Jonathan and tells him about Saul. Jonathan is hesitant to believe that his father would go after David, especially without telling him of it. Once again he tells David to hide in the field while he goes find out. When he realizes Saul is indeed trying to kill David he becomes angry, and Saul throws a spear at him for defending David. He leaves the banquet and goes and tells David to flee. After a heartfelt goodbye and pledge of loyalty to each other and each other’s families David leaves.

He goes to Nob to the priest Ahimelech and asks for bread and weapons, telling him he is on a secret mission for the king. The only bread available is the consecrated bread and the only sword is the one of Goliath, but the priest gives these to David. Doeg the Edomite witnesses the whole thing and eventually tells Saul. David then flees to the king of Gath, but becomes afraid and escapes from there by acting like a madman. After this, Saul is inquires of his men about David and Doeg tells him what he saw. Saul brings the priests of Nob in front of him and confronts them. They stand for David and say they knew nothing of the conspiracy. Saul has Doeg the Edomite, who was the only servant of Saul willing to kill the priests, kill them all. He kills 85 men as well as women, children, and animals. One priest, Abiathar, escapes to David and tells him what happened. David tells him to stay with him for protection.

During this time, David takes refuge in the cave of Adullam and his brothers and fathers, along with many men who were described as in distress or discontented came to David’s side and he becomes leader over them (approximately 400 men). David takes his parents to Mizpah, king of Moab, and asks him to shelter them until he knows what God’s plan for him is.

Soon after, David hears of the Phlisitines attacking Keilah, a city in the western foothills of Judah about 3 miles SE of Adullam. He inquires of the Lord who tells him to go up against the Philistines and they do, although his men were afraid. They defeated them and escaped Keilah as Saul was on his way to pursue him there. Saul continues to pursue David in the wilderness of Horesh where he and his men are hiding, but the Lord allows them an escape and they move to the strongholds of Engedi, an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea which provided good hiding places.

David’s location is again given up to Saul who pursues him with three thousand men. Saul unknowingly goes into the cave where David is hiding to relieve himself and David’s men tell him to kill Saul, that the Lord had delivered him into his hands. David only cuts a corner off his robe though, unwilling to kill the Lord’s anointed. Afterward when Saul has left the cave, David cries out to him and shows him the piece of the garment. He asks that the Lord judge between the two of them, that he spared Saul’s life while Saul determined to take his, chasing after a “dead dog, a single flea”. Saul recognizes that David acted righteously and that his own actions toward David were wicked. He admitted David would have the kingdom of Israel and David made covenant with him to not cut his family off when that time came. Saul left but was not about to hand over the kingdom to David yet. David and his men returned to the strongholds.

Samuel passed away and all of Israel gathered for his funeral. David and his men went to the wilderness of Maon, where lived a wealthy man named Nabal. David sent some of his servants to Nabal to ask for provisions expecting Nabal to cooperate since David had kept some of his servants safe and provided for them as they watched Nabal’s sheep. Nabal refused and the servants returned to David and told him. This angered David and he had the men gird their swords and they headed out to strike Nabal and his household. Abigail, Nabal’s wife, heard of it and rushed to prepare provisions and bring them to David. She told him her husband was a fool and to please accept her gift. David did and spared their household. When she returned, Nabal was throwing a feast and was quite drunk so she waited and told him what happened in the morning. When he heard, Nabal’s heart turned to stone and he was unable to move. Ten days later he passed away. When David heard of it he requested Abigail’s hand in marriage and she accepted, becoming his third wife. His other wives were Ahinoam or Jezreel, and Michal, Saul’s daughter, although in David’s absence Saul had given Michal to another man, Phalti, of Gallim.

Saul once again went searching for David in the wilderness along with 3,000 of his men. David and Abishai snuck into his camp at night and took the spear and water jug from next to Saul’s head. Abishai asked David if he could kill Saul for him but David said no, he would not stretch his hand out against the Lord’s anointed. In 1 Samuel 26:10 David tells him “As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies or he will go down into battle and perish.” David’s trust in the Lord kept him innocent of Saul’s death. So when they left the camp and went a distance, he called out and Saul recognized it was David and that he again had spared his life. Saul admitted again he had sinned by going after David and asked David to come back to him. David responded that the Lord would repay each of them for what they had done and stated the Lord would deliver him from distress.  

After this bold move, David begins to believe that Saul will surely capture him and kill him so he goes to the Philistines and convinces the king of Gath, Achish, that he is on their side. He even is granted a request for an area in Gath’s territory for he and his men to live, which was called Ziklag. David and his men began attacking portions of the land, all the way to Egypt, while telling the king of Gath that they were attacking the Israelites instead. They would kill everyone, women and children included, so that there was no one left to tell the king what they were really doing. Achish became comfortable with David because of this, thinking he was making himself hated in Israel when really he was attacking the enemies of Israel instead.

During this time, the Philistines came against Israel in war and Achish made David his personal body guard. Saul was terrified, and although he had previously removed all the spiritists and mediums from the land he had his servants find him one. They found a woman in Endor, which was a Philistine held territory (according to my commentary) and so he disguised himself and went to her. She was afraid, but he encouraged her and she called up Samuel, who was deceased. The spirit of Samuel told Saul that as he had said when he was alive the kingdom would be given to David and because of his disobedience to God, specifically referencing Amalek (see 1 Sam 15), Saul was about to lose everything. He and his sons would be killed the next day and Israel would be given over to the Philistines.

Saul was devastated and weak. He lay on the ground afraid and with no strength. He had not eaten all day or night, and finally gave in to the woman and his servants and ate bread and a fattened calf. He and his men then went away in the night.

Meanwhile the Philistines gathered their armies and began to move, with David and his men accompanying Achish in the back. Achish trusted David completely, but the lords of the Philistine army would not fight with him. They knew of his reputation of being a valiant warrior, of killing many Philistines and of having favor with the Lord. They feared he would turn against them. So Achish, although he disagreed, sent David and his men back to Ziklag while their army proceeded to Jezreel, a well known battleground approximately 56 miles north of Jerusalem.

When David and his men arrived at Ziklag, they found that the Amalakites had burned it and had taken all of their possessions and their wives and children. The men were furious with David and contemplated stoning him. But it says in 1 Sam 30:6 that David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”  He asked for the ephod and inquired of the Lord and the Lord told him he would be victorious if he went after the Amalakites. So David and 600 men pursued them. 200 men became tired and stayed behind with the belongings. The other 400 carried on with David. They came upon an Amalakite’s Egyptian servant who had been left behind, sick and starving in the desert. They gave him food and water and promised to not turn him over to the Amalakites if in return the Egyptian slave showed them where the Amalakites were.

The Amalakites were spread out, dancing and enjoying the spoils they had gained when David and his men attacked. They slaughtered them, all but 400 Amalakites who had retreated on camels. They recovered all of their belongings and all of their women and children, not one thing was missing. So they brought all of their livestock, families, and belongings and returned to the camp of the 200 that had stayed behind. The text then says, “Then all the worthless and wicked men among those who had went with David said, ‘Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and children, that they may lead them away.’”

David was not pleased with this action against the ones that stayed behind and he pointed out that what the Lord had given them and delivered to them would be shared, and he made a statute to that effect that day. When he came to Ziklag, he also gave some of the spoils to the elders of Judah and to his friends in many areas of Judah.

At this time, the Philistines were fighting against Israel. Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, were killed and he was injured so badly he took his own life by falling on his spear. The next day, the Philistines found them slain and cut off Saul’s head and sent their dead bodies throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news. They then fastened their bodies to the wall of Beth-shan (in the Jordan Valley approx 16 miles south of the Sea of Galilee). When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard, a group of valiant men walked all night and came to the wall and removed the bodies of Saul and his son and honored them by burning them in Jabesh and burying their bodies.

On the third day after David returned to Ziklag, an Amalakite messenger came to him with Saul’s crown and bracelet and told him the news of the Israelites defeat and the deaths of Saul and his sons. The messenger took credit for killing Saul, saying he saw him in distress and did so to help him, but as previously stated Saul took his own life, so the messenger was being deceitful, probably to win the favor of David since he knew David would be the next king. However, David greatly mourned the deaths of all of them and Israel’s defeat. He asked the messenger what right he thought he had to kill the Lord’s anointed and then had him killed. He wrote a song of lament and honor about Saul and his sons that is recorded in the book of Jashar, a poetic collection of Israel’s wars which commemorated great men.

Then David asked of the Lord if he should go down to Judah and the Lord instructed him to go to Hebron. So he did, and there the men of Judah anointed him King of Judah. Abner, the son of Ner and a cousin of Saul, made Saul’s surviving son Ish-Bosheth king over Israel. Abner was the general of Israel’s army and was a much strong leader than Ish-Bosheth act. He actually had more influence over Israel than Ish-Bosheth.

Abner went to the pool at Gibeon with the servants of Ish-Bosheth where he met and challenged David’s men (lead by David’s military leader Joab, who was his nephew) to a competition in which twelve men from each side stood together, drew their swords and thrust it into each others’ sides, killing all involved. This started a civil war. Abner fled but Joab’s brother Asahel, who was very swift, chased him. Abner was a stronger fighter however and he tried to convince Asahel to turn back but he wouldn’t so Abner really had no choice but to kill him. Abner continued to flee but Joab and his other brother Abishai pursued him. They came to a halt and agreed to part. The battle that day took the lives of 360 Israelites and only 19 men of Judah.

When Abner returned to Israel the conflict between Judah and Israel grew stronger and Abner grew stronger in the house of Saul as well. During this time, Ish-Bosheth confronted him about having an affair with Saul’s concubine, which in that day is making a statement that he is after the throne. It doesn’t say clearly if Abner did what he was accused of, but it enrages him and he tells Ish-Bosheth that he will deflect to David. Ish-Bosheth is terrified for he knows how powerful Abner is and that Abner truly is the one with influence and leadership over Israel.

Abner makes good on his word and goes to see David and agrees with David to bring Israel over to his side. David makes agreement with him and sends him off  in peace. Joab returns from a raid and hears that David has trusted Abner. He maliciously sends messengers to have Abner return and in vengeance of his brother kills him. David mourns in front of all of Israel and the people are pleased with him to see that his hands are clean and he is not guilty or associated with the death of Abner.

After Abner dies the commanders of bands in Ish-bosheth’s kingdom Rechab and Baanah, kill him and bring his head to David. Once again, David is not pleased and has the men killed, reminding them of what he did in Ziklag to the man who brought him news of Saul’s death.

Then all the tribes of Israel made David king. He had ruled over Judah at Hebron for 7 years and 6 months and he will rule over all of Israel and Judah in Jerusalem for 33 years.

Once made king, David went out against the Jebusites who were in control of Jerusalem at that time. He captured Jerualem and made it his city, Zion or City of David. He became greater and greater for God was with him. The king of Tyre sent him cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons and built a house for him and David realized the Lord had indeed established him as king. He took more concubines and conquered more nations, including the Philistines. He always asked the Lord for direction.

When the Philistines heard of him all his success, they went out against him in the valley of Rephaim. David asked the Lord if he should go out and fight them. The Lord told him to go, but not directly up. He said to circle around behind them and come from in front of the balsam trees. He told David to wait and listen for the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees and then move quickly for this was the Lord going out before him. So David did as he was instructed and conquered the Philistines. 1 Sam 5:17-25

David gathered 30,000 men and went to get the ark of God and bring it back to Jerusalem. They went to the house of Abinadab where it was and placed it on a cart to carry it back. They celebrated before the Lord as they made their journey. On the way, the oxen pulling it caused it to shift, and Uzzah, a descendant of Abinadab, reached out to steady it. God struck him down for his irreverence and David became angry because of this. He was afraid of the Lord and left the ark with Obed-edom, a Gittite, where it stayed for three months.

It came about that David heard how blessed Obed-edom had been and he went to get the ark, only this time he followed the instructions given by the Lord on how to carry it and was successful. He came into Jerusalem dancing and leaping before the Lord. His wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, was embarrassed by his display and despised him for it. David blessed all of the people who came by giving them food and when he went to bless his own household, Michal confronted him. David stood his ground and proclaimed he would celebrate before the Lord, who had made him king over her father and would be humble, regardless of how he looked to her. She remained barren the rest of her life.

David defeated many nations including Philistine, Moab, Zobah, Aram, and Edom. He took the plunder from these nations and dedicated it to the Lord and many of them became his servants. It is mentioned in 2 Samuel 8 twice that the Lord helped David wherever he went. He became a respected and successful leader.

David asked if there was anyone left in the house of Saul that he may show kindness for the sake of Jonathan. He found Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, who was crippled in both feet and his servant Ziba. David called to Mephibosheth and invited him to eat at his table regularly and he gave him back all of Saul’s land and asked Ziba (who had 15 sons and 20 servants) to help watch over it and cultivate the land. And so it was that Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table and he was greatly humble and thankful toward David. Note Mephibosheth has a son Mica.

Afterwards, David heard the king of the Ammonites, Nahash, died so he sent some of his servants to greet his son, Hanun, and show kindness to him. However, when they got there the servants of Hanun convinced him David’s men were there to spy on him and he humiliated them by cutting off half their beards and cutting their garments off at hip level. David heard of this and met his men on their way back. He had them stay in Jericho until their beards grew back and then return. When the sons of Ammon saw that David was now against them they hired Arameans and men of Tob and the king of Maacah to go against Israel with them. Joab led the Isreali army against them telling them in chapt 10, verse 12 to “Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” The Arameans were defeated.

The Arameans regrouped and Hadadezer (leader of Arameans in Zobah) came back to Helam. When David heard of this he lead his troops there and killed 700 charioteers, 40,000 horsemen and Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer’s army. The Arameans realized they were defeated and made peace with Israel and served them. They feared Israel and would not help the sons of Ammon going forward.

Later in the spring, when kings typically go out to war, David stayed in Israel. He went out on his roof and saw a beautiful woman bathing. He inquired about her and learned she was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, one of his mighty men. This did not stop David from requesting her, so he sent for her and slept with her. She became pregnant and sent word to him. In an attempt to hide his sin, he sent for Uriah so that maybe while he was home he would lay with his wife and believe she was pregnant by him. Uriah traveled from the battlefield and David suggested he go home and spend time with his wife. But Uriah wouldn’t go out of loyalty to his brothers in battle fighting so he slept at the door of David’s house. The next day David asked him why he wouldn’t go, to which he responded that it wasn’t fair for him to come home and enjoy his wife while the ark and men of Israel and Judah were out fighting. So, the next day David had him dine with him and made him drunk, hoping he would go home and sleep with his wife, however again Uriah did not go home to his wife.

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, the commander of his army, sent by the hand of Uriah calling for his death. Joab sent Uriah to the front of the battle near the city wall, which was known to be dangerous and is usually avoided. Uriah, along with several other warriors, was killed. Word came to David and he sent word to Joab not to be concerned over it. He called for Bathsheba and took her as his wife. All of this was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Nathan the prophet came in and by parable made David see the wrong he had done. He rebuked David for his actions and told him he had sinned against the Lord. David realized it and showed remorse. Nathan assured him that the Lord had forgiven him but because of the evil he had done the child born by Bathsheba would die. As Nathan had warned, the child was born but was very sick. David prayed and fasted over him for seven days. On the seventh day of his life the child died. The servants were afraid to tell David of the death for he had not eaten the entire time the child was with him but when he heard of the death he got up, washed and anointed himself, and went in to worship. Then he came inside and ate. His servants were confused by this change in him and he explained that while the child was alive there was hope, for God may have been gracious and allowed the child to live, but now that he was dead there was nothing he could do and that he would go to him some day in death. He went in to comfort his wife Bathsheba who again became pregnant. This time she gave birth to Solomon, who the Lord loved and named Jedidiah (beloved of the Lord).

Meanwhile, Joab was still fighting against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon (the same people against which Uriah was fighting) and was close to capturing the royal city. He sent for David to give him opportunity to claim it. So David came and captured the royal city and took a valuable crown and much spoil. He imposed hard labor on the Ammonites and killed many of them.

Afterwards, one of David’s sons Amnon lusted after his beautiful half sister Tamar. Under the counsel of his cousin Jonadab, Amnon tricked her into coming in his room to care for him while he was sick so he could rape her. He raped her and then burned with hate toward her. Her full brother Absalom killed Amnon for his violation of Tamar by inviting all his brothers and sisters to his house and having his servants put him to death after he had drank a lot of wine. Absalom fled to he and Tamar’s grandfather Ammihud, the king of Geshur, and David mourned for him and wished to go out to him but he did not.

Joab saw that David mourned for Absalom so he had a wise woman from Tekoa go to David and pretend to mourn over her own sons who had gotten into a quarrel and one killed the other. She told David that now the men requested the life of the one remaining and David promised to spare him. When he told her this, she asked why he would save her son whom he does not know, but not reconcile with Absalom. David recognized Joab had concocted this story but he agreed to let Absalom return on the conditions that he would not live with him or see his face.

Absalom returned and did not see David’s face for two years. He sent for Joab twice and asked to see the king but was denied, so to get the attention he desired he set Joab’s field on fire. Joab went to him and asked why, to which he responded if he would not be allowed to see David he should have never left Geshur. So David agreed to see him and Absalom came before him and prostrated himself before him and David kissed him.

After this, Absalom began conspiring against David. He gathered for himself chariots and horses and fifty men, including Ahithophel, one of David’s advisors. He started going out to the city gate where men came for trial and empathizing with everyone and speaking against David so that he won the hearts of the men of Israel and rose up against David, causing David and his servants to flee. Zadok and Abiathar the priests followed him with the ark of God but he had them return. David went up on the Mount of Olives and wept and prayed to God to make Ahithophel’s counsel foolish. At that time David’s friend Hushai the Archite met him and was also mourning. He committed to David to return to Absalom acting as one of his followers to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel.

David ran into more trouble – Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth who tricked him into giving him Mephibosheth’s belongings based on the lie that Mephibosheth was disloyal to him and Shimei who cursed him as he passed through Bahurim. Meanwhile Absalom, following Ahithophel’s advice, went into David’s palace and had sexual relations with the remaining concubines on the roof in front of all of Israel.

During this time, David’s friend Hushai gained the trust of Absalom and was able to advise him to take time to gather a large army and lead them in to battle, compared to Ahithophel’s better plan to take a smaller group of 12,000 men immediately and surprise David and his men. Absalom took Hushai’s advice, which allowed time for him to notify to priests Zadok and Abiathar, who then warned David of the coming attack.

David was prepared when Absalom attacked. He had set three commanders over thousands of troops – Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, and he went out with his people and defeated the people of Israel. During the confrontation, Absalom was killed by Joab even though David had asked his commanders to spare him. David was grief stricken and admonished for being so by Joab since the people were so loyal to him in fighting against Absalom and Israel. He prodded David to rise and speak to his people. So he did and he was restored as king.

Shimei, who cursed him, came to him and admitted his sin and David forgave him. Mephibosheth came to him and told him of Ziba’s deception and David restored half of his land and belongings back to him. Others came forward and declared loyalty to David and Judea and Israel fought over which one of them was closer to David. Judah stated they had closer ties to him by blood and Israel replied they were ten tribes compared to Judah as one and therefore had more right to David. They felt that Judah had kidnapped him since they were the only ones who went out with David when he fled. This led to a revolt as a Benjamite named Sheba called Israel to him saying they had no part in David. Israel followed him and David had his army pursue him as he would cause more harm than Absalom had in dividing the people. The revolt was stopped.

Famine struck the land of Israel for three years until David inquired of the Lord and he told him it was due to Saul’s “bloody house” that put the Gibeonites to death despite a covenant made with them 400 years before. David did as they asked and handed over seven descendents of Saul, but sparing Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. (2 Sam 21)

Israel again went to war with the Philistines and David went out with them. He became tired though and after almost being killed the men of David asked him to care for himself and not go out to battle with them in order to save the “lamp of Israel”.

At one point during David’s reign (my commentary says approximately 20 years after Joab defeated Rabbah and David took the crown from their king, David took a census. This is found in 2 Sam 24 and 1 Chron 21. The text says that the Lord’s anger burned against Israel and Satan stood up against it and moved David to number the people. At this time, numbering people was for military purposes and even Joab advised against it, but David went ahead. David realized afterward that he had sinned and the Lord gave him three consequences for his sin, told to him by Gad the prophet: 1) seven years of famine 2) three months being pursued by enemies 3) three days pestilence. David chose three days of pestilence, stating he would rather fall into the hands of God than the hands of men. Seventy thousand men died, but when the angel stretched his hand toward Jerusalem God stopped him. David cried out to the Lord and asked that the harm to Israel be stopped and be done to him instead. Gad came back to David and told him to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David bought it from him and did as Gad instructed. The Lord was moved by prayer and the plague was held back.

When King David was old, he anointed Solomon as king over Israel and charged him to keep the commandments of the Lord and walk in His ways.  David would have liked to build a temple to the Lord but the Lord said he would rise up his descendant (Solomon) to build His house and the Lord made a covenant with David at that time that his throne would be established forever. David was amazed at His words and started to prepare for Solomon the things needed for the building of the temple (1 Chron 22). David reigned in Israel forty years, seven in Hebron and thirty three in Jerusalem. And Solomon sat on the throne of David and his kingdom was firmly established (1 Kings 10-12).

David’s Psalm of Deliverance is found in 2 Samuel 22 and his last words of David are recorded in 2 Samuel 23. David wrote many of the psalms as his heart reached out to God. Psalm 51 is one of my favorites. I loved reading his song of deliverance as well. I’ve copied it and his last words below. There is so much truth and strength in his words. An imperfect man determined to follow God regardless of setbacks. Spoken of by God Himself as “a man after His own heart” (1 Sam 13:14 & Acts 13:22).

David’s Psalm of Deliverance

22 And David spoke the words of this song to the Lord in the day that the Lorddelivered him from the [a]hand of all his enemies and from the [b]hand of Saul.He said,
“The Lord is my [c]rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
[d]My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.
“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
“For the waves of death encompassed me;
The torrents of 
[e]destruction [f]overwhelmed me;
The cords of [g]Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
“In my distress I called upon the Lord,
Yes, I 
[h]cried to my God;
And from His temple He heard my voice,
And my cry for help came into His ears.
“Then the earth shook and quaked,
The foundations of heaven were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
“Smoke went up [i]out of His nostrils,
Fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
10 “He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
11 “And He rode on a cherub and flew;
And He 
[j]appeared on the wings of the wind.
12 “And He made darkness [k]canopies around Him,
A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.
13 “From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.
14 “The Lord thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice.
15 “And He sent out arrows, and scattered them,
Lightning, and 
[l]routed them.
16 “Then the channels of the sea appeared,
The foundations of the world were 
[m]laid bare
By the rebuke of the Lord,
At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
17 “He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
18 “He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.
19 “They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
20 “He also brought me forth into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
21 “The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
22 “For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not acted wickedly against my God.
23 “For all His ordinances were before me,
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from 
24 “I was also [o]blameless toward Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
25 “Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to my cleanness before His eyes.
26 “With the [p]kind You show Yourself [q]kind,
With the 
[r]blameless You show Yourself [s]blameless;
27 With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the perverted You show Yourself 
28 “And You save an afflicted people;
But Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase.
29 “For You are my lamp, O Lord;
And the Lord illumines my darkness.
30 “For by You I can [u]run upon a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall.
31 “As for God, His way is [v]blameless;
The word of the Lord is tested;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
32 “For who is God, besides the Lord?
And who is a rock, besides our God?
33 “God is my strong fortress;
And He 
[w]sets the [x]blameless in [y]His way.
34 “He makes [z]my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me on my high places.
35 “He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your 
[aa]help makes me great.
37 “You enlarge my steps under me,
And my 
[ab]feet have not slipped.
38 “I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
39 “And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise;
And they fell under my feet.
40 “For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have 
[ac]subdued under me those who rose up against me.
41 “You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
And I 
[ad]destroyed those who hated me.
42 “They looked, but there was none to save;
Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
43 “Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth;
I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets.
44 “You have also delivered me from the contentions of my people;
You have kept me as head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.
45 “Foreigners pretend obedience to me;
As soon as they hear, they obey me.
46 “Foreigners [ae]lose heart,
[af]come trembling out of their [ag]fortresses.
47 “The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be 
[ah]God, the rock of my salvation,
48 The God who executes vengeance for me,
And brings down peoples under me,
49 Who also brings me out from my enemies;
You even lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.
50 “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the nations,
And I will sing praises to Your name.
51 He is a tower of [ai]deliverance to His king,
And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
To David and his 
[aj]descendants forever.”

David’s Last Song
23 Now these are the last words of David.

David the son of Jesse declares,
The man who was raised on high declares,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
“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 righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,
Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.’
“Truly is not my house so with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured;
For all my salvation and all my desire,
Will He not indeed make it grow?
“But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns,
Because they cannot be taken in hand;
But the man who touches them
Must be 
[a]armed with iron and the shaft of a spear,
And they will be completely burned with fire in their