Monthly Archives: March 2014




A. Absalom’s deceptive take-over.
1. (2 Samuel 15:1-6) Absalom steals the hearts of the men of Israel.
After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that 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.” Moreover Absalom would say, “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.
a. Chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him: This means that Absalom did not want the chariot for speed, but to make an impressive procession. This is Absalom the politician, sensing what the people want and knowing how to provide them with the image of what they want.
i. Samuel – who anointed Absalom’s father – never went around with horses and chariots and an entourage. Samuel traveled on foot – and as a man, Absalom wasn’t worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Samuel.
b. Whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision: Ancient kings were more than the heads of government, they were also the “supreme court” of their kingdom. If someone believed that a local court did not give them justice they appealed to the court of the king, where the king or a representative of the king heard their case.
c. Your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you: Absalom stirred up dissatisfaction with David’s government and campaigned against David by promising to provide justice that David denied the people.
d. Oh, that I were made judge in the land . . . I would give him justice: Absalom had reason to be disillusioned with David’s administration of justice. When Amnon raped Tamar David did nothing; when Absalom did something about it, David banished Absalom and kept him at a distance even when he came back.
e. Whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him: Absalom was skilled at projecting a “man of the people” image. In an obvious display, he wouldn’t let others bow down to him but would lift them up, shake their hand, and embrace them.
i. From what we know of Absalom we can guess that he really didn’t consider himself a “man of the people” at all. He regularly acted as if he was above others and the laws that applied to others didn’t apply to him. He knew he was better looking, better connected, better off, and had better political instincts than most anyone. But these political instincts made Absalom know that he had to create the image of a man of the people.
ii. In ancient Israel they were too easily impressed by image and too slow to see or appreciate the reality behind the image. Since then, we are only more impressed by image over reality.
iii. “Absalom appeared to be the real and was the undisputed heir to the throne; David could not, in the course of nature, live very long; and most people are more disposed to hail the beams of the rising, than exult in those of the setting, sun.” (Clarke)
f. Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel: Absalom’s cunning campaign worked. He became more popular and more trusted than David.
i. Absalom knew exactly how to do this.
· He carefully cultivated an exciting, enticing image (chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him)
· He worked hard (Absalom would rise early)
· He knew where to position himself (beside the way to the gate)
· He looked for troubled people (anyone who had a lawsuit)
· He reached out to troubled people (Absalom would call to him)
· He took a personal interest in the troubled person (What city are you from?)
· He sympathized with the person (your case is good and right)
· He never attacked David directly (no deputy of the king to hear you)
· He left the troubled person more troubled (no deputy of the king to hear you)
· Without directly attacking David, Absalom promised to do better (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)
ii. Absalom’s clever approach made him able to subvert and divide David’s kingdom without saying any specific thing that could condemn him. If someone objected Absalom would simply say, “Tell me one specific thing that I have said or done.” In fact, Absalom could do all this and say, “I’m helping David to deal with all this discontent” while Absalom was in fact promoting discontent.
iii. David was Israel’s greatest king – and Israel became dissatisfied with him and let a wicked, amoral man steal their hearts. How could it happen?
· Because David was getting older
· Because David’s sins diminished his standing
· Because people like change and Absalom was exciting
· Because Absalom was very skilled and cunning
· Because David had to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings, and be rejected like the Son of David would later be rejected
iv. “Behold a king, the greatest that ever lived, a profound politician, an able general, a brave soldier, a poet of the most sublime genius and character, a prophet of the Most High God, and the deliverer of his country, driven from his dominions by his own son, abandoned by his fickle people.” (Clarke)
iv. We might say that Absalom’s greatest sin was impatience. Absalom “seemed to stand nearest to the throne; but his sin was, that he sought it during his father’s life, and endeavoured to dethrone him in order to sit in his stead.” (Clarke)
2. (2 Samuel 15:7-10) Absalom plans the overthrow of David’s kingdom.
Now it came to pass after forty years that 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!’“
a. After forty years: This may be Absalom’s age at the time, but some believe that this is a minor corruption of the text and that it should read four years, based on the readings in Syriac and Arabic translations, Josephus, and some Hebrew manuscripts.
b. Let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD: Absalom committed treason under the guise of worship. He knew that the appearance of spirituality could work in his favor.
i. It is possible – perhaps likely – that Absalom did all this feeling spiritual and in God’s will. Men in Absalom’s place often deceive themselves with words like this: “Lord, You know we need new leadership. Thank you for raising me up for such a time as this. Guide me and bless me, Oh Lord, as I endeavor to do what is best for Your people.”
ii. Divisive people almost never see themselves as divisive. They see themselves as crusaders for God’s righteous cause and often believe or hope God’s hand is upon them. This is especially a problem when many will only believe a person is divisive if they admit they are divisive.
c. Go in peace: Ironically, these are David’s last words to Absalom. Upon hearing these Absalom went to carry on the plot to overthrow David’s kingdom
d. Absalom reigns in Hebron: Absalom counted on the hope that most of Israel would see this as succession not treason.
3. (2 Samuel 15:11-12) Legitimacy for Absalom’s government.
And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything. Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city; from Giloh; while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.
a. With Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem: Absalom wisely knew that he needed others to endorse – or to appear to endorse – his government. He counted on these two hundred men, who were not against David, to at least be silent – and give the impression that they were for Absalom.
i. When the innocent and unknowing are among the divisive, their silence is always received as agreement.
b. Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor: Absalom’s government gained more prestige when one of David’s top aides defected to his side.
i. Ahithophel was renowned for his wisdom and wise counsel (2 Samuel 16:23). Even wise men can be led into siding with divisive leaders. In Ahithophel’s case it was probably prompted by a sense of personal hurt and bitterness because of what David did to Ahithophel’s granddaughter Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3 and 2 Samuel 23:34).
c. While he offered sacrifices: Absalom was careful to keep up his religious practices, both for the sake of image and because he was deceived enough to think that God wanted to bless him.
d. And the conspiracy grew strong: Once some started coming to Absalom’s side it encouraged more and more to come. Momentum builds because others are doing it.
B. David escapes with the help of faithful friends.
1. (2 Samuel 15:13-18) David flees from Jerusalem.
Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” So 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. But the king left ten women, concubines, to keep the house. And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts. Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.
a. Arise, and let us flee; or we shall not escape from Absalom: David knew well that Absalom was a ruthless man who valued power over principle. He didn’t want the city of Jerusalem to become a battleground (strike the city with the edge of the sword) so he fled the city.
b. The king’s . . . the king . . . the king: The writer here wants to emphasize that David is the king, despite Absalom’s treachery.
c. The king left ten women, concubines, to keep the house: David thought – and had reason to think – that these ten woman could be safely left behind. He felt he needed someone to look after the house.
i. Sadly, this also tells us that David had at least ten concubines. A concubine was essentially a legal mistress. In addition to David’s many wives, this shows that David was a man who sometimes indulged his passions instead of restraining them in a godly way.
d. All the Cherethites, all the Pelethites: These men comprised David’s personal bodyguard. The Gittites faithfully followed him from the time he lived among the Philistines (who followed him from Gath). These men who were faithful to David before he became successful also stick with him when his success seems to be fading away.
i. It is remarkable that in this defining moment foreigners rallied around David; it is more remarkable – and tragic – that his own countrymen and his own family are nowhere to be found.
e. Passed before the king: As David watched this procession leave Jerusalem and head for safety, he was greatly pained. This is reflected in the Psalm that David wrote during this time.
i. David was afraid: My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. And I said, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” (Psalms 55:4-8)
ii. David put his trust in God: Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. (Psalms 3:1-6)
iii. Psalms 41:1-13; Psalms 61:1-8; Psalms 62:1-12; Psalms 63:1-11 were also written during this period.
2. (2 Samuel 15:19-23) David’s faithful friends.
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.
a. Why are you also going with us? As David watched the procession of his faithful supporters, Ittai the Gittite caught his eye. David couldn’t understand why this newly-arrived foreigner should risk such loyalty to David.
b. Return and remain with the king: In calling Absalom the king David shows that he will not cling to the throne. At that moment it seemed that Absalom would succeed, so David called him the king and left it unto the LORD.
c. As my lord the king lives: Ittai meant David, not Absalom. David told Ittai, “Remain with the king.” Ittai answered back, “That’s exactly what I intend to do – and you are the king.”
d. Whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be: Ittai was loyal to David when it looked to cost him something. True loyalty isn’t demonstrated until it is likely to cost us to be loyal.
i. “Remember, the more rebels there are, the more need for us to be conspicuously loyal to our King.” (Maclaren)
ii. We learn a lot from Ittai’s demonstration of loyalty.
· Ittai did it when David was down
· Ittai did it decisively
· Ittai did it voluntarily
· Ittai did it having newly come to David
· Ittai did it publicly
· Ittai did it knowing that the fate of David became his fate
iii. “If Ittai, charmed with David’s person and character, though a foreigner and a stranger, felt that he could enlist beneath his banner for life – yea, and declared that he would do so there and then-how much more may you and I, if we know what Christ has done for us, and who He is and what He deserves at our hands, at this good hour plight our troth to Him and vow, ‘As the Lord liveth, surely in whatsoever place my Lord and Savior shall be, whether in death or life, even there also shall His servant be.’ “ (Spurgeon)
iv. We must determine that wherever Jesus is, we will be also. He lives in the heavenlies, so will we be. He is with His church, so will we be. He is busy in His work, so will we be. He is with children, so will we be.
e. Toward the way of the wilderness: Many years before David left the safety of Saul’s palace to live as a fugitive. Those years in the wilderness prepared David to be king. God sends David out into the wilderness to continue the same work in his life.
i. “Ah! We do not like going over Kedron. When it comes to the pinch, how we struggle against suffering, and especially against dishonor and slander! How many there were who would have gone on pilgrimage, but that Mr. Shame proved too much for them; they could not bear to go over the black brook Kedron, could not endure to be made nothing of for the sake of the Lord of glory, but they even turned back.” (Spurgeon)
3. (2 Samuel 15:24-26) David’s submission to God’s chastening.
There was Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar went up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city. Then the king said to Zadok, “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.”
a. Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: The priests were loyal to David, even though it would probably mean death for them if Absalom succeeded. It was good that the men who should have been spiritually sensitive to Absalom’s evil and David’s good were in fact sensitive to it.
b. Carry the ark of God back into the city: David trusted in God, not in the ark of the covenant. He was willing to let the ark go back to Jerusalem and put his fate in God’s hands.
c. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back . . . if He says thus: “I have no delight in you,” here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him: David’s humble and chastened spirit proves he knew God dealt with him righteously. David submitted to God, but with an active submission, not a passive one.
4. (2 Samuel 15:27-29) David sends the priests back to gather information.
The king also said to Zadok the priest, “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.
a. Are you not a seer? David recognized that Zadok was a prophet. A man of supernatural insight might be a valuable information source for David.
5. (2 Samuel 15:30) David on the Mount of Olives.
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.
a. David went up the Ascent of the Mount of Olives: When Jesus went from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, He essentially traced David’s steps. Both David and Jesus suffered for sin, but Jesus suffered for our sins and David suffered for his own.
b. Wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot: These were emblems of mourning. David was struck by the greatness of this tragedy for the nation, for his family, and for himself.
i. This wasn’t a pity-party or soreness merely over the consequences of sin. “He is crushed by the consciousness that his punishment is deserved – the bitter fruit of the sin that filled all his later life with darkness. His courage and his buoyancy have left him.” (Maclaren)
ii. “In light of all the facts it is almost certain that the tears David shed as he climbed Olivet, were rather those of humiliation and penitence, than those of self-centered regret. For Absalom there was no excuse, but David carried in his own heart ceaselessly the sense of his own past sin.” (Morgan)
iii. This shows David to be a redeemed man. Some would say that God let David off easy – that he deserved the death penalty for adultery and murder. If God forgave him and spared David that penalty, surely David would just do it again. Those who say that don’t understand how grace and forgiveness work in the heart of the redeemed. David’s sin was ever before him – and in a strange combination of deep gratitude and horror over his forgiven sin, David never did it again.
6. (2 Samuel 15:31-37) David hears of Ahithophel’s defection to Absalom.
Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!” Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God; there was 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 it will be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Indeed they have there with them their two sons, 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.
a. Turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness! David knew that Ahithophel was normally a good advisor, but he prayed that the counsel he gave to Absalom would be foolish.
i. “This was done accordingly: great is the power of faithful prayer. The queen-mother of Scotland was heard to say, that she more feared the prayers of John Knox than an army of fighting men.” (Trapp)
b. David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshipped God: David’s life was in danger and he had to flee. Yet he took time to stop at the top of the Mount of Olives, look back upon Jerusalem and the tabernacle, and he worshipped God. David knew worship was always important and could worship when circumstances were bad.
b. Then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me: David sent Hushai, his other aide, back to Jerusalem to frustrate Ahithophel’s counsel to Absalom.
c. Absalom came into Jerusalem: Absalom came into Jerusalem as a cunning, wicked rebel. David came into Jerusalem as a brave, noble conqueror (2 Samuel 5:6-7). Jesus came into Jerusalem as a servant-king (Matthew 21:4-10).


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A. Joab intercedes for Absalom.
1. (2 Samuel 14:1-3) Joab’s plan to reconcile David and Absalom.
So Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was concerned about Absalom. And Joab 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.”
a. Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was concerned about Absalom: David was obviously troubled by his estranged relationship with Absalom. Joab, David’s chief general, perceived this and decided to do something to bring David and Absalom together.
i. “In the case of Absalom and the king, the relationship remained virtually deadlocked, neither side having the spiritual incentive to break it.” (Baldwin)
ii. We know that Joab was fiercely loyal to David and he may have done this to protect David. Joab figured that it was dangerous to have Absalom stewing away in a distant country, and felt that the safest thing to do was to bring about reconciliation between father and son.
b. Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman: Joab decides to soften David’s heart towards Absalom by bringing a widow before him with a similar story of estrangement from her son.
2. (2 Samuel 14:4-11) The woman of Tekoa tells a story of one son dead and another son threatened with death.
And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, 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 of Tekoa 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.”
a. Help, O king! In ancient Israel those felt that their local judges didn’t treat them fairly had access to the court of the king himself.
b. Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may execute him for the life of his brother whom he killed: The woman of Tekoa speaks of the custom of the avenger of blood. The avenger of blood had the responsibility of avenging the death of a member of the family.
i. The cities of refuge mentioned in Numbers 35:9-34 were meant to protect someone guilty of manslaughter from being killed by an avenger of blood before the case could be heard properly.
c. As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground: This is what the woman – and Joab behind her – waited to hear. Now David ignores the cause of justice for the sake of family sympathy and loyalty. In personal relationship it is a good and glorious thing to be generous with forgiveness and mercy when we are wronged. But David had a responsibility as the king and chief judge of Israel, and he was being sorely tempted to forsake that responsibility.
i. “He guaranteed safety at the expense of justice, and immediately the farsighted woman captured him in her trap.” (Redpath)
ii. There were several factors that made this woman’s appeal successful.
· She was a widow, which would invite sympathy
· She lived at some distance from Jerusalem, which made it difficult to easily know or inquire of the facts of her case
· She was old, which gave more dignity to her story
· She wore the clothes of mourning to heighten the effect
· She brought a case of family estrangement to David
· She brought a case that was not too similar, lest it arouse David’s suspicions
3. (2 Samuel 14:12-17) The woman of Tekoa applies her story to David and Absalom.
Therefore 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.’ “
a. The king does not bring his banished one home again: The woman of Tekoa speaks boldly to David, confronting his sin of not initiating reconciliation with Abasalom. Because he was estranged from David and growing more and more bitter, Absalom was a threat to Israel and David allowed it (Why then have you schemed such a thing against the people of God?).
i. David had some responsibility to initiate reconciliation. If David approached Absalom he might be rejected, but he still had the responsibility to try. Yet as king and chief judge of Israel, he had a responsibility to both initiate reconciliation and to do it the right way. David will not succeed in this.
ii. “He is willing to pardon the meanest of his subjects the murder of a brother at the instance of a poor widow, and he is not willing to pardon his son Absalom, whose restoration to favour is the desire of the whole nation.” (Clarke)
b. We will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground: The woman of Tekoa is wisely speaking to David about the urgency of reconciliation. “David, we all die and then the opportunity for reconciliation is over. Do it now.”
c. But He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him: The woman of Tekoa means, “Find a way to do it, David. God finds a way to bring us back to Himself.” It is true that God finds a way – but not at the expense of justice. God reconciles us by satisfying justice, not by ignoring justice.
i. This is one of the best gospel texts in the Old Testament. If we are under the chastening of God, we may feel like banished ones. Yet we can put our place of being His banished ones, belonging to Him and trusting Him to bring us back to Him.
ii. God has devised a way to bring the banished back to Him, that they might not be expelled from Him. The way is through the person and work of Jesus, and how He stood in the place of guilty sinners as He hung on the cross and received the punishment that we deserved.
4. (2 Samuel 14:18-20) David asks the woman of Tekoa if Joab prompted her.
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.”
a. Is the hand of Joab with you in all this? David somehow knew that a plan this subtle had to come from the hand of Joab.
b. He put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant: Joab orchestrated this with precision. He knew exactly what strings to pull in David. Joab was loyal to David, but it was not a selfless loyalty.
5. (2 Samuel 14:21-24) Absalom returns to Jerusalem but not to David.
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.” So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And 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, but did not see the king’s face.
a. Bring back the young man Absalom: Joab got what he wanted and what he thought was best for the nation of Israel. He hoped that Absalom’s reconciliation with David would prevent a rebellion.
b. Let him return to his own house, but do not let me see my face: David was over-indulgent with his sons in the past (as when he did nothing against Amnon in 2 Samuel 13:21). Now David is too harsh with Absalom, refusing to see him after he had been in exiled in Geshur for three years (2 Samuel 13:38).
i. When parents don’t discipline properly from the beginning, they tend to over-compensate in the name of “toughness.” This often provokes the children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4) and makes the parent-child relationship worse.
B. Absalom gains an audience with his father.
1. (2 Samuel 14:25-27) Absalom’s handsome appearance.
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.
a. In all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks: This begins to explain why Absalom was popular in Israel. Israel was attracted to King Saul because he was a very good-looking man (1 Samuel 9:2).
i. Absalom was also a man of political destiny. He was the third son of David (2 Samuel 3:2-5). The firstborn Amnon was gone, and we hear nothing more of Chileab, the second born. It is likely that Absalom was the crown prince, next in line for the throne.
b. He weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels: Absalom had such a great head of hair that he cut five and one-half pounds of hair off his head every year.
i. “He was extremely proud of his long hair, and he lost his life because of it.” (Redpath)
c. One daughter whose name was Tamar: Absalom was a man of deep and sympathetic feeling. He memorialized his wronged sister Tamar by naming a daughter after her.
2. (2 Samuel 14:28-32) Absalom is refused audience with the king.
And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king’s face. Therefore 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 arose and 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.”
a. Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king’s face: During these two years we can imagine that Absalom grew more and more bitter against David. He was reconciled but only partially; David offered only a partial, incomplete reconciliation.
i. Absalom was banished from Israel because he murdered his brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13:1-39). Yet Absalom felt entirely justified in killing the man who raped his sister. His sense of justification made the bitterness against David more intense.
b. Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire: Frustrated that he can’t see his father, Absalom burns Joab’s fields to get his attention. This shows how brutal and amoral Absalom was.
i. It’s hard to think of a greater contrast that that between Absalom and the Prodigal Son of Jesus’ parable. The Prodigal Son came back humble and repentant. Absalom came back burning Joab’s fields.
ii. At the same time, sometimes God gets our attention by setting our “barley field” on fire. “He, knowing that we will not come by any other means, sendeth a serious trial – he sets our barley-field on fire, which he has a right to do, seeing our barley-fields are far more his than they are ours.” (Spurgeon)
c. If there is any iniquity in me, let him execute me: This statement reflects Absalom’s sense that he was fully justified in what he did.
3. (2 Samuel 14:33) David receives Absalom.
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.
a. So Joab went to the king and told him: As brutal and amoral as Absalom was, it worked. Burning Joab’s fields got his attention and made Joab intercede on Absalom’s behalf.
b. He came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground: Absalom outwardly submits to David, but David’s two-year refusal to reconcile left a legacy of bitterness in Absalom that will turn out badly for David, for Absalom, and for Israel.
c. Then the king kissed Absalom: David offered Absalom forgiveness without any repentance or resolution of the wrong. In personal relationships it is often a sign of love and graciousness to overlook a wrong. Proverbs 10:12 says, Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. But as King of Israel this was more than a personal matter with David. He was the “chief judge” of Israel and David excused and overlooked Absalom’s obvious crimes.
i. “He should have kicked him rather; and not have hardened him to further villainy.” (Trapp)
ii. “David’s forgiveness of Absalom was completely inadequate, leading to a further outbreak of sin. God’s forgiveness of a man’s soul is completely adequate, and a great deterrent to continued sin.” (Redpath)
iii. “May God write it on your soul: if the pardon you want is that God should wink at your sin, He will not do it.” (Redpath)

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A. Amnon and Tamar.
1. (2 Samuel 13:1-2) Amnon’s infatuation with Tamar.
After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. 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.
a. Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar: This brother and sister were the children of David through David’s wife named Maacah, who was the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3).
b. Amnon the son of David: Amnon was David’s first born son, born from his wife Ahinoam the Jezreelitess (2 Samuel 3:2). Being the first born, Amnon was the crown prince – first in line for the throne of Israel.
c. Amnon the son of David loved her: Amnon longed for Tamar so much that he became lovesick. It was even more difficult for him because she was a virgin – meaning that she was available for marriage, but not to Amnon because marriage between half-brother and sister was forbidden.
i. The name Tamar means “Palm Tree,” signifying fruitfulness. The name Absalom means “His Father’s Peace.” The name Amnon means “Faithful, Stable.” “None of them answered their names.” (Trapp)
2. (2 Samuel 13:3-5) Jonadab’s evil advice.
But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Now Jonadab was a very crafty man. And he said to him, “Why are you, the king’s son, becoming thinner day after day? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” So Jonadab said to him, “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.’“
a. Jonadab was a very crafty man: Indeed he was. His wicked advice to Amnon begins a disastrous chain of events. Jonadab was a cousin to Amnon, being the son of David’s brother (2 Samuel 13:32).
i. “A friend no friend; a carnal friend, a spiritual enemy, who advised, for the recovery of the body, the ruin of his soul.” (Trapp)
b. I love Tamar: As later events will show, he did not love Tamar at all. Amnon lusted after Tamar and called it love. He certainly is not the last person to do this, and lust often presents itself as love.
c. My brother Absalom’s sister: If Absalom is my brother than clearly Tamar is my sister. In his lust, Amnon cannot allow himself to call Tamar his sister – instead, she is Absalom’s sister. The power of lust is strong enough to twist the way we see reality.
d. Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill: Jonadab advised Amnon to deceitfully arrange a private meeting with Tamar. He doesn’t need to say, “And then force yourself on Tamar” because in their shared wickedness, Jonadab and Amnon think the same wicked thoughts.
3. (2 Samuel 13:6-10) Amnon pretends illness in order to be alone with Tamar.
Then 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.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was lying down. Then she took flour and kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. And she took the pan and placed them out before him, but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said, “Have everyone go out from me.” And they all went out from him. Then Amnon 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 her brother in the bedroom.
a. Please let Tamar my sister come and make a couple of cakes for me: Amnon’s behavior is clearly childish, and David indulged it. Amnon acted like a baby. It is childish to refuse food unless it is served the way we want it.
i. From this and other passages, it appears that David was generally indulgent towards his children. This may be because he felt guilty that having so many wives, children, and responsibilities of state, that he didn’t take the time to be a true father for his children. He dealt with the guilt by being soft and indulgent with his children.
ii. Amnon took Jonadab’s wicked advice quickly and completely. It’s too bad that men don’t often respond to godly advice the same way.
b. And David sent home to Tamar: This is what Amnon wanted. If he is alone with Tamar because David commanded it, then it gives part of the responsibility to David.
c. But he refused to eat: Amnon shows that all he told David was a lie. He continues the deception so he can force himself upon Tamar in the bedroom.
4. (2 Samuel 13:11-14) Amnon rapes Tamar.
Now when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” And she answered him, “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.” However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.
a. Come, lie with me, my sister: Amnon’s evil naturally reveals itself. Here he admits his incestuous desire as he makes the wicked suggestion to Tamar. Amnon seems to be a spoiled prince who always took what he wanted.
b. Do not do this disgraceful thing! Tamar could easily see how evil and disgraceful this was. Amnon could not see what was so plainly evident because he was blinded by lust.
c. Where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel: Tamar wisely asks Amnon to consider the result of his desire, both for her and for him. It would shame Tamar and reveal Amonon as one of the fools. Blinded by lust, Amnon won’t see the inevitable result of his desire.
i. “There is something exceedingly tender and persuasive in this speech of Tamar; but Amnon was a mere brute, and it was all lost on him.” (Clarke)
d. Please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you: The Law of Moses commanded against any marriage between a half-brother and sister (Leviticus 18:11). Tamar probably said this simply as a ploy to get away from Amnon.
e. He forced her and lay with her: This was nothing but rape. Tamar did whatever she could to avoid this and all the blame clearly lays on Amnon.
5. (2 Samuel 13:15) Amnon rejects Tamar.
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!”
a. Amnon hated her exceedingly: This reveals Amnon’s attraction for Tamar for what it was – lust, not love. Amnon was attracted to Tamar for what he could get from her, not out of concern for her. In many lustful relationships there is a combination of both love and lust but in Amnon’s attraction there was only lust.
i. In this single-minded lust, Amnon only built upon the example of his father David. David was never this dominated by lust, but he was pointed in the same direction. David’s multiple wives (2 Samuel 3:2-5) and adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-4) displayed this same direction.
ii. This is often how the iniquity of the fathers is carried on by the children to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 20:5). A child will often model a parent’s sinful behavior, and go further in the direction of sin the parent is pointed towards.
b. The hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her: Amnon had no real love for Tamar, only lust and so he immediately felt guilty over his sin. Tamar was simply a reminder of his foolish sin. He wanted every reminder of his sin to be put far away.
i. “Let me give a friendly, fatherly, tip unto all of you young girls, who may be in the position of Tamar, in that you have some fellow who is really pressing hard to have sex with you. He is the soul of kindness. He is very attentive. He calls all the time. He opens the door for you. He brings you flowers, but he’s pushing hard for a sexual relationship. Don’t give in. If you really love him, make him wait until you’re married. If he really loves you, he will. Over, and over, time and again, the fellow will press and press until he has taken you to bed, and that’s the last you see or hear from him. You’re no longer a challenge. He’s conquered, and he’s off for new conquests. If you really love him and want him, make him wait. If you really love God, and love yourself, make him wait.” (Smith)
6. (2 Samuel 13:16-18) Amnon casts Tamar out of his presence.
So she said to him, “No, indeed! This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her. Then he called his servant who attended him, and said, “Here! Put this woman out, away from me, and bolt the door behind her.” Now she had on a robe of many colors, for the king’s virgin daughters wore such apparel. And his servant put her out and bolted the door behind her.
a. This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me: What Amnon did to Tamar was wrong, but he could still somewhat redeem the situation by either marrying her or paying her bride-price in accordance with Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29. The payment was meant to compensate for the fact that Tamar was now less likely to be married, no longer being a virgin.
b. A robe of many colors: The idea behind the Hebrew phrase is that it was a robe extending all the way down to the wrists and ankles, as opposed to a shorter one. It was a garment of privilege and status, showing the person did not have to work much.
c. Put this woman out . . . bolt the door behind her: Tamar deserved better treatment as an Israelite. Tamar deserved better treatment as a relative. Tamar deserved better treatment as a sister. Tamar deserved better treatment as a princess. Despite all this, Amnon spitefully treats Tamar as this woman.
7. (2 Samuel 13:19-20) Tamar mourns, Absalom comforts her.
Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly. And 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.
a. Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe: Tamar correctly treated this as a calamity and did not hide the truth that a terrible crime was committed against her. She did not give place to shame voice saying, “This was somehow your fault.”
b. Has Amnon your brother been with you? Amnon probably thought he had concealed his crime. Nevertheless it was so obvious to Absalom that he immediately knew that Amnon was responsible.
i. Part of the blindness of lust leads the lustful man or woman to believe that their actions are not obviously apparent to others. Amnon was deceived by this.
ii. Tamar didn’t go to her father David because she knew he tended to be indulgent to his sons, and excuse all kinds of evil in them.
8. (2 Samuel 13:21-22) David’s anger and inaction.
But when King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. For Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.
a. When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry: David was right to be angry but he didn’t do anything to either protect Tamar or to correct Amnon. It may be that David was conscious of his own guilt in a similar matter and therefore felt the lack of moral authority to discipline his own son.
i. If this was the case, it was a grave miscalculation on David’s part. He could have said to Amnon, “I know the evil that results we don’t restrain our lusts and affections. This is something you must address and conquer in God’s strength.” “Why did he not reprove him at least very sharply for this foul fact?” (Trapp)
ii. “They say a man never hears his own voice till it comes back to him from the phonograph. Certainly a man never sees the worst of himself until it reappears in his child.” (Meyer)
b. Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: Absalom played it cool. His devious nature set the stage for future revenge. “Nothing is more unsafe to be trusted, than the fair looks of a festered heart.” (Trapp)
B. Absalom murders Amnon.
1. (2 Samuel 13:23-27) Absalom invites all the king’s sons to a feast.
And it came to pass, after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor, which is near Ephraim; so Absalom invited all the king’s sons. Then Absalom came to the king and said, “Kindly note, your servant has sheepshearers; please, let the king and his servants go with your servant.” But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go now, lest we be a burden to you.” Then he urged him, but he would not go; and he blessed him. Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” But Absalom urged him; so he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.
a. After two full years: Two years have went by but Absalom did not stop plotting revenge Amnon’s sin against Tamar.
b. Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor: Sheep shearing was a festive time, and it was natural that Absalom would have a great feast and invite Amnon and all the king’s sons.
c. So he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him: Absalom shows some of the same cunning we saw in Amnon. He asked David to allow Amnon and all the king’s sons to come to the feast. This made David partly responsible for their meeting, just as Amnon got David to allow Tamar to visit him with food.
2. (2 Samuel 13:28-29) Absalom kills Amnon.
Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, “Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.” So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each one got on his mule and fled.
a. When Amnon’s heart is merry with wine: As a cunning killer, Absalom waited until Amnon was relaxed and vulnerable. Amnon probably came to the feast nervous about being with Absalom, but after a few cups of wine he was relaxed. At that moment, Absalom gave the order to “Strike Amnon!” and they murdered him.
b. So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded: God promised David that the sword shall never depart from your house (2 Samuel 12:10) in judgment of David’s sin. This is definitely a partial fulfillment of this promise.
i. “As David had committed adultery, made Uriah drunk, and then murdered him: so Amnon committeth incest, is made drunk, and [is] then murdered.” (Trapp)
3. (2 Samuel 13:30-36) David learns of the murder of Amnon.
And it came to pass, while they were on the way, that news came to David, saying, “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left!” So the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the ground, and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn. Then Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered and said, “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. Now therefore, let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead. For only Amnon is dead.” Then Absalom fled. And the young man who was keeping watch lifted his eyes and looked, and there, many people were coming from the road on the hillside behind him. And Jonadab said to the king, “Look, the king’s sons are coming; as your servant said, so it is.” So it was, as soon as he had finished speaking, that the king’s sons indeed came, and they lifted up their voice and wept. Also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly.
a. Absalom has killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left: It is significant that David did not react to this news with disbelief. He sensed that Absalom was capable of such evil. David reacted with mourning instead of disbelief.
b. Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the young men: Jonadab brings the “good” news to David that only Amnon is dead, and dead because he forced his sister Tamar. Jonadab probably hoped to gain favor with David by bringing this more favorable news, but God knew that Jonadab set the whole course of events in motion with his wicked advice to Amnon (2 Samuel 13:3-5).
c. The king and all his servants wept very bitterly: David is rightly grieved at learning of the death of his eldest son, the Crown Prince Amnon. Yet David lack of correction against Amnon contributed to this murder. If David had administered Biblical correction according to Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Absalom would not have felt as free to administer his own brutal correction.
i. “Absalom’s fratricide would never have taken place if David had taken instant measures to punish Amnon.” (Meyer)
4. (2 Samuel 13:37-39) Absalom flees to Geshur.
But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.
a. Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur: Absalom did not go to a city of refuge because he was guilty, and the cities of refuge were only meant to protect the innocent.
b. Absalom fled and went to Geshur: This made sense for Absalom because his mother’s father was the king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3.
c. King David longed to go to Absalom: After three years, the sting of Amnon’s murder was not as sharp. David simply longed to be reconciled to Absalom again – without correcting his son for his evil. David indulgence towards Amnon is repeated towards Absalom and he will meet a similar end.

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A. Nathan’s confrontation.
1. (2 Samuel 12:1-4) Nathan’s parable.
Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “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.”
a. Then the LORD sent Nathan to David: David’s sin displeased the LORD but David wouldn’t listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit or to his conscience. Now God will send someone else to speak to David. God mercifully kept speaking to David even when David wouldn’t listen.
i. Yet no one should presume that God would speak forever to the unrepentant sinner. God said in Genesis 6:3, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.” When we hear or sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit we must respond to it immediately, because it might not always be there.
b. There were two men in one city: With wisdom and courage, Nathan used a story to get the message through to David. It was common in those days to keep a lamb as a pet, and Nathan used this story of the pet lamb to speak to his friend David.
i. Previously the prophet Nathan delivered a message of great blessing to David (1 Samuel 7:1-17). David knew that Nathan was not a negative critic but a friend. It made David receptive to the message of the story.
c. Who refused to take from his own flock . . . he took the poor man’s lamb: The sin Nathan describes is theft. There is a sense in which David stole something from Uriah. The Bible says that in marriage a husband has authority over the body of his wife (and vice-versa). Obviously David did not have this authority over the body of Bathsheba and he stole from Uriah. Adultery and sexual immorality are theft – taking something that does not belong to us.
i. This principle is also true regarding pornography and lust. Leviticus 18:1-30 describes the sin of uncovering the nakedness of those other than our spouse. The idea is that the nakedness of other doesn’t belong to us and it is theft if we take it.
2. (2 Samuel 12:5-6) David condemns the cruel man of Nathan’s story.
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.”
a. David’s anger was greatly aroused: Nathan did not ask David for a judicial decision, and David naturally assumed the story was true. David immediately passed sentence on the guilty man of Nathan’s story. David shows that we often try to rid our guilty consciences by passing judgment on someone else.
b. The man who has done this shall surely die! David’s sense of righteous indignation was so affected by his own guilt that he commanded a death sentence for the hypothetical case brought by Nathan, even though it wasn’t a capital crime.
i. David had to condemn his own sin before he could find forgiveness. We often try to find refuge in excusing or minimizing or deflecting the blame of our sin and we do not simply condemn sin in our self.
ii. David’s use of the oath “As the Lord lives” shows how passionate his indignation is. He calls God to witness the righteousness of his death sentence upon Nathan’s hypothetical rich man.
c. He shall restore fourfold for the lamb: David rightly knew that penalizing the rich man – even with death – wasn’t enough. He also had to restore something to the man he took something from. David knew that true repentance means restitution.
i. Restore fourfold also shows that David’s sin and hardness of heart did not diminish his knowledge of the Bible. He immediately knew what the Bible said about those who steal sheep: If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep (Exodus 22:1). David knew the words of the Bible but was distant from the Author.
d. Because he had no pity: The idea is that the man should have had pity on his neighbor and did not. In the same way David should have had pity on Uriah and Bathsheba’s father and grandfather.
3. (2 Samuel 12:7-9) Nathan’s confrontation.
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.’ “
a. You are the man: With this, Nathan applied the parable with alarming simplicity. Nathan had to shock David into seeing his sin for what it was. “This was downright plain dealing indeed.” (Trapp)
i. Shocked, but not frightened: “You cannot frighten men into repentance, you may frighten them into remorse; and the remorse may or may not lead on to repentance.” (Maclaren)
ii. “God accuses us and condemns us one by one that He may save us one by one.” (Maclaren) A personal salvation requires a personal conviction of sin. It wasn’t enough for David to confess that he was a sinner in a general sense; he had to confess his sin at this very point.
iii. In this sense, the confession of our sin needs to be specific. J. Edwin Orr tells of a time of revival in Brazil when a lady stood in a crowded church and said, “Please pray for me. I need to love people more.” The leader gently told her, “That is not confession, sister. Anyone could have said it.” Later in the service the woman stood again and said, “Please pray for me. What I should have said is that my tongue has caused a lot of trouble in this church.” Her pastor whispered to the leader, “Now she’s talking.”
iv. It costs nothing to say, “I’m not everything I should be” or “I ought to be a better Christian.” It does cost something to say, “I have been a trouble-maker in this church” or “I have had bitterness towards certain leaders, to whom I apologize right now.”
b. I anointed you . . . I delivered you . . . I gave you . . . and gave you the house of Israel and Judah . . . I also would have given you much more: Through Nathan, God explains to David that his sin was really a base expression of ingratitude. When God gave all this to David and had so much more to give him, David sought out sin instead.
c. Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? In Psalms 19:8, David said: The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. Yet by his sin he despised the commandment of the LORD. David acted as if God’s command was wrong and to be despised when he did evil in His sight.
d. You have killed Uriah . . . you have taken his wife: This is all another way of saying, “You are the man!” God won’t allow David to blame anyone or anything else.
4. (2 Samuel 12:10) David’s punishment.
“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.”
a. The sword shall never depart from your house: God promised that from this day forward David would know violence and bloodshed among his own family members.
i. David demanded fourfold restitution for the man in Nathan’s parable. God exacted fourfold restitution for Uriah from four of David’s sons: Bathsheba’s child, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah.
b. Because you have despised Me: In 2 Samuel 12:9 God said that David despised the commandment of the LORD. Here Nathan explained that in doing this, David despised God Himself. We can’t despise God’s commandments without despising Him.
i. Many who live in either open or hidden sin seem to believe it has no effect or little effect on their relationship with God. But despising God’s commandment means despising God Himself, and we can’t have fellowship with God and despise Him at the same time. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6)
c. The wife of Uriah the Hittite: God didn’t even use Bathsheba’s own name. He wanted David to consider Bathsheba not only as an individual but as the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
5. (2 Samuel 12:11-12) Adversity against David.
“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.’“
a. I will raise up adversity against you from your own house: The Living Bible translates adversity as “rebellion.” God warns David that because he troubled another man’s house, God will allow trouble to come upon David’s house – from within the house.
b. I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor: As David violated another man’s wife, so another will violate his wives. This was fulfilled in 2 Samuel 16:21-22.
i. “Absalom abused his father’s concubines on the house-top: and haply on that same terrace from whence he first looked, liked, and lusted after Bath-sheba.” (Trapp)
c. You did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel: In these judgments, David will reap what he has sown – with interest.
B. David’s repentance; the death of his newborn son.
1. (2 Samuel 12:13 a) David’s repentance.
So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
a. I have sinned against the LORD: David’s confession is an example for each of us. He placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders. He did not minimize his offence. David realized that he especially sinned against God.
i. In the original Hebrew, David’s statement I have sinned against the LORD amounts to only two words: hata al-Yahweh. These two words, and the heart they reflect, show the fundamental difference between David and Saul. Confession doesn’t need to be long to be real and sincere. “The greatest griefs are not always the most verbal. Saul confessed his sin more largely, but less effectually.” (Trapp)
ii. “The words are very few, but that is a good sign of a thoroughly broken spirit. There is no excuse, no hiding, no concealment of the sin. There is no searching for a loophole, no pretext put forward, no human weakness pleaded. He acknowledged his guilt openly, candidly and without any denial of truth.” (Keil and Delitzsch)
iii. This was an exceptionally good response from a man of David’s standing in life. When confronted with sin, kings often say, “Off with their head.” David shows that God was working on his heart all along, and Nathan’s confrontation was just the last piece of that work.
iv. “In all this David was pre-eminently revealed as a man after God’s own heart. Other men who had been guilty of such failure might have defended their actions, might have slain the prophet. Not so with this man. He knew God, and he knew the wrong of his action, and he confessed his sin.” (Morgan)
b. I: David speaks of himself. It isn’t “we” though it was true that he was not the only sinner. Yet David knew that he had to deal with his sin. David shows personal responsibility for his sin.
c. Have sinned: David doesn’t use elaborate or soft vocabulary. He sinned. It wasn’t a mistake, an error, a mess-up, an indiscretion, or a problem.
d. Against the LORD: This expressed the enormity of David’s sin. His sin against Bathsheba, against Uriah, against Ahithophel, against his wives and children, and against the nation were great. But his sin against the LORD was greatest of all. There are no small sins against a great God, and great sins are even greater.
e. I have sinned against the LORD: After meditation, David more eloquently expressed his repentance in Psalms 51:1-19.
i. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight – that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. . . . For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and broken and contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise. (Psalms 51:1-4; Psa_16:1-11; Psa_17:1-15)
ii. David’s awareness of sin, desire for cleansing, recognition of God’s righteous judgment, and understanding of what God wants are each clear in Psalms 51:1-19.
2. (2 Samuel 12:13-14) Forgiveness and the immediate consequences of David’s sin.
And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also 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.”
a. The LORD also has put away your sin: God’s forgiveness was immediate. God did not demand a time of probation. You shall not die meant that David would be spared the penalty for adultery commanded under the Law of Moses.
i. It was because David believed the word, You are the man! That he could also believe the word, The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
b. You have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme: David did this by doing just what those enemies of the LORD would do in the same situation. What David did was not unusual among the kings and rulers of the world, but it should be unusual among God’s people.
i. “Hitherto all the king’s care had been to conceal his sin from the world, – which yet he could not do with all his skill, for the enemies had got it by the end.” (Trapp)
c. The child who is born to you shall surely die: There is a difference in judgment for sin and judgment by sin. God forgave David’s sin, but He would not shield him from every consequence of the sin. David must face the consequences of his sin, beginning with the death of the child born by Bathsheba.
i. This shows that God didn’t only want to heal David of the guilt of his sin; He also wanted to heal David of the presence of this sin. We never read of David committing adultery again because God used these chastisements to drive such impurities far from David.
ii. “Long before his sin with Bathsheba, there were various indications as to David’s special liability to temptation. That sin only threw out upon the surface the evil that was always within him; and now God, having is him see that the deadly cancer is there, begins to use the knife to cut it out of him.” (Spurgeon)
3. (2 Samuel 12:15-23) The death of David’s son.
Then Nathan departed to his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that 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!” When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and 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.”
a. The LORD struck the child: This is hard for many to accept. Sadly, often the innocent are made to suffer because of the sin of the guilty. Since the sickness came immediately after the words of Nathan the prophet, it was received as from the hand of God.
i. “The biblical writer does not hesitate to attributed directly to the Lord the sickness of this child, in accordance with the prophet’s word.” (Baldwin)
ii. This was far more tragic for David and Bathsheba than it was for the child himself. Their young son suffered for several days and we may trust that God’s comfort was extended to the child in the midst of suffering. At the end of his suffering the child went to eternal glory. Though the child died, the chastisement was really upon David and Bathsheba and not upon the child.
iii. “God’s mercy to his erring and repentant children will be shown in converting the results of their sin into the fires of their purification.” (Meyer)
iv. This illustrates an important principle: even when sin is forgiven a price must be paid. God does not simply pass over or excuse our sin. It is forgiven and a price is paid. Often an innocent party pays the price for forgiveness.
b. That Uriah’s wife bore to David: Though Uriah was dead and David was legally married to Bathsheba, the Biblical writer can’t help but refer to Bathsheba as Uriah’s wife. This is because when the child was conceived Uriah was alive and Bathsheba was Uriah’s wife. It is God’s way of saying, “Uriah’s death and the subsequent marriage doesn’t make everything alright.”
c. David therefore pleaded with God for the child: David is right to take the announcement and presence of God’s judgment as an invitation to earnestly seek His mercy. When God’s judgment is announced or present, we shouldn’t receive it passively or fatalistically. We should cry out to God in repentance and ask for His grace and mercy, realizing we deserve none of it.
d. David fasted . . . the child died: This shows that extraordinary prayer and fasting does not change God’s mind. It put David in the right place to receive what he must from God but it did not “force” God to change His plan.
i. Extraordinary prayer and fasting are not tools to get whatever we want from God. They are demonstrations of radical submission and surrender to God’s power and will.
e. He went into the house of the LORD and worshiped: This shows that David’s extraordinary prayer and fasting were answered. He had a sense of peace when the child died, knowing he did all he could to seek God’s mercy in a time of chastisement.
i. The ability to worship and honor God in a time of trial or crisis is a wonderful demonstration of spiritual confidence.
f. I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me: David was confident that his son would meet him in heaven. This is an indication that babies and perhaps children who pass from this world to the next will go to heaven.
i. 1 Corinthians 7:14 is an additional promise of assurance that the children of believers are saved, at least until they come to an age of personal accountability (which may differ for each child). However, we have no similar promise for the children of parents who are not Christians.
ii. If the children of non-Christian parents are saved, and do go to heaven – even some of them – it is important to understand that it is not because they are innocent. As sons and daughters of guilty Adam, we are also born guilty. If such children go to heaven, it is not because they are innocent and deserve heaven, but because the rich mercy of God has been extended to them also.
4. (2 Samuel 12:24-25) God extends His mercy to David and Bathsheba.
Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the LORD loved him, and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.
a. David comforted Bathsheba his wife: This is the first time the Biblical writer calls this woman Bathsheba except for the mere reporting of her name in 2 Samuel 11:3. Each time before this she is called the wife of Uriah. Only now, after the chastisement for sin, is she called Bathsheba his wife.
b. Went in to her and lay with her: This shows that God did not command that David forsake or leave Bathsheba, even though his marriage to her was originally sinful. He was to honor God in the marriage commitment he made, even though it began in sin.
i. Paul commands the same principle in 1 Corinthians 7:17 : As the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. In part, this principle in context warns us against trying to undo the past in regard to relationships. God tells us to repent of whatever sin is there and then to move on. If you are married to your second wife, after wrongfully divorcing your first wife, and become a Christian, don’t think you must now leave your second wife and go back to your first wife, trying to undo the past. As the Lord has called you walk in that place right now.
c. So she bore a son . . . the LORD loved him: This shows the great forgiveness and tenderness of God. He did not hold a grudge against David and Bathsheba. The days of blessing and fruitfulness were not over for David.
i. “David’s best sons came of Bath-sheba; because they were the fruit of their humiliation.” (Trapp)
d. He called his name Solomon: Remarkably it is this son – the son born out of a marriage that began in adultery – that will be heir to David’s throne. God chose this son among David’s many sons to be heir to the throne and the ancestor of the Messiah to demonstrate the truth that God forgives repentant sinners.
i. People may not forgive; we may refuse to really believe that we are forgiven. But God forgives repentant sinners.
e. So he called his name Jedidiah: The name Jedidiah means, “loved of the LORD.” It was God’s way of saying that He would love and bless this son of David and Bathsheba.
C. David’s victory at Rabbah.
1. (2 Samuel 12:26-28) Joab fights against Rabbah.
Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the people of Ammon, and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city’s water supply. Now therefore, 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.”
a. Joab fought against Rabbah and the people of Ammon, and took the royal city: This continues the war that began in 2 Samuel 10:1-19. Joab was about to complete the defeat of the Ammonites.
b. Lest I take the city and it be called after my name: Joab goads David into returning to battle by saying, “I’ll take all the credit to myself if you don’t come and finish this war.”
i. Joab struggled for more than a year to conquer Rabbah, and the victory only came when David got things right with God. There was an unseen spiritual reason behind the lack of victory at Rabbah.
ii. “David’s sin at home had hindered Joab’s good success abroad, and retarded the conquest of this city Rabbah, which now is ready to be taken, that David reconciled to God may have the honour of it.” (Trapp)
2. (2 Samuel 12:29-31) David captures the city, takes the spoil, and sets the people to forced labor.
So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, fought against it, 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. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
a. David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah: This is the final phase of David’s restoration. He went back to doing what he should have done all along – leading Israel out to battle, instead of remaining in Jerusalem.
b. Fought against it, and took it: David is in victory once again. His sin did not condemn him to a life of failure and defeat. There was chastisement for David’s sin, but it did not mean that his life was ruined.
c. He took their king’s crown . . . it was set on David’s head: David’s sin didn’t take away his crown. Had David refused the voice of Nathan the Prophet it might have. Because David responded with confession and repentance, there was sill a crown for David’s head.
i. “David’s fall should put those who have not fallen on their guard, and save from despair those who have.” (Augustine)

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“In the whole of the Old Testament literature there is no chapter more tragic or full of solemn and searching warning than this.” (G. Campbell Morgan)
A. David’s adultery.
1. (2 Samuel 11:1) David stays home from the war against the Ammonites.
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.
a. In the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle: In that part of the world, wars were not normally fought during the winter months because rains and cold weather made travel and campaigning difficult. Fighting resumed in the spring.
b. David sent Joab . . . But David remained at Jerusalem: David should have been out at the battle but he remained behind. In 2 Samuel 10:1-19 Joab and the army of the mighty men were preserved against the Syrians and the Ammonites but they did not win a decisive victory. The decisive victory came when David led the battle at the end of 2 Samuel 10:1-19. Both through custom and experience God told David, “You need to be at the battle.” But David remained at Jerusalem.
i. The principle of Galatians 5:16 rings true: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. If David had his attention where God wanted it, he would never put it where God didn’t want it. “While Joab is busy in laying siege to Rabbah, Satan is to David, and far sooner prevailed.” (Trapp)
ii. Nevertheless, it is wrong to think that this was the beginning of the chain of events David followed all the way down to adultery and murder. David showed his disregard God’s plan for marriage many years before when he took more than one wife (1 Samuel 25:42-43, 2 Samuel 3:2-5). David’s practice of adding wives showed a lack of romantic restraint and an indulgence of his passions. This corrupt seed, sown long ago, has grown unchecked long enough and will now begin to bear bitter fruit.
iii. “As I think of what happened, of this I am sure, that it did not happen all at once. This matter of Bathsheba was simply the climax of something that had been going on in his life for twenty years.” (Redpath)
iv. Therefore, staying home from the battle merely provided opportunity for the long-standing lack of romantic restraint and indulgence of passion to display itself.
2. (2 Samuel 11:2) David encounters temptation.
Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.
a. David arose from his bed and walked on the roof: The Hebrew verb form of walked suggests that David paced back and forth on the roof. He couldn’t sleep and was uneasy – uneasy because he wasn’t where God wanted him to be.
b. He saw a woman bathing: There is little doubt that this woman (later called by the name Bathsheba) acted immodestly. Though it was evening and apparently the time when most people were asleep, certainly she knew that her bath was visible from the roof of the palace. Any immodesty on Bathsheba’s part did not excuse David’s sin, but she was still responsible for her wrong.
i. We must be an occasion for sin in others, even in how we dress. Paul’s word 1 Timothy 2:9 is relevant here: the women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.
c. He saw a woman bathing: David’s sin was not in seeing Bathsheba. It was unlikely that he expected or planned to see her. David’s sin was in choosing to keep his eyes on an alluring image after the sight came before his eyes.
i. Christians – men, especially – must learn to never let their eyes (or their mind) rest on alluring images except for what “belongs” to them in marriage. Our eyes must “bounce” off of an alluring image that comes in sight.
ii. David’s many wives did not satisfy his lust. This was because you can’t satisfy lusts of the flesh, because they are primarily rebellious assertions of self. It wasn’t so much that David wanted Bathsheba; it was that he could not be satisfied with what God gave him.
iii. The principle would be illustrated in an exaggerated way in the life of Solomon, David’s son. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. David and Solomon show us that if one woman isn’t enough, 1000 women aren’t enough.
d. The woman was very beautiful to behold: Bathsheba’s great beauty made the sight tempting. But the real strength of temptation often does not lie in the quality of the tempting object, but in the state of heart and mind of the one being tempted. David had long been “prepared” to stumble at this very point. Even so, this temptation was not too strong for David, no matter how beautiful Bathsheba was.
i. For example, Joseph was more severely tempted to commit sexual immorality than David was here, but he fled that temptation.
ii. David looked at Bathsheba and said “beauty” but God saw this as ugly. The pleasures of sin deceive us like the bait hides the hook. We must call it what God calls it – sin. We want to say, “affair” but God says “adultery.” We want to say, “love” but God says “lust.” We want to say “sexy” but God says “sin.” We want to say, “romantic” but God says “ruin.” We want to say, “destiny” but God says “destruction.”
3. (2 Samuel 11:3) David pursues the temptation.
So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
a. So David sent and inquired: David could have ended the temptation by leaving the scene at that time, even after entertaining the temptation for a while. Instead, David put himself into a more tempting situation.
b. Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam: From this David learned that the woman came from a notable family. She was from the upper classes. Her father was Eliam, one of David’s Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:34). Her grandfather was Ahithophel – one of David’s chief counselors (2 Samuel 23:34, 2 Samuel 15:12).
c. The wife of Uriah the Hittite: From this David learned that Bathsheba was married, and the wife of another of David’s Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:8; 2Sa_23:39). He also learned that this woman’s husband was away, because the Mighty Men were away in battle against the Ammonites. This knowledge made the situation far more tempting. David began to think, “I could get away with this.”
i. David committed adultery in his heart up on the roof. Now he knows that he has an opportunity to commit adultery in practice. Adultery in the heart and mind is bad; adultery in practice is far worse.
ii. David should have received the news of the woman’s identity as a warning. He learned that this woman was related to men close to David. In taking Bathsheba David sinned against Uriah, Eliam, and Ahithophel – each men close and important to David.
4. (2 Samuel 11:4) David embraces the temptation.
Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.
a. The David sent messengers, and took her: In this the man after God’s heart went against his own heart, following through on a lustful impulse. David ignored every warning and way of escape God set before him.
i. “In the expression he took her, and she came to him there is no intimation whatever that David brought Bathsheba into his palace through craft or violence, but rather that she came at his request without any hesitation, and offered no resistance to his desires. Consequently Bathsheba is not to be regarded as free from blame.” (Keil and Delitzsch)
ii. “We hear nothing of her reluctance, and there is no evidence that she was taken by force.” (Clarke)
b. He lay with her: David knew this was wrong, yet he did it. It’s hard to explain David’s thinking here, because he wasn’t thinking. He acted on feeling and impulse instead of thinking.
i. If David thought about all this, he would see that the cost was so much greater than he wanted to consider at the time. If David knew that this illicit pursuit of pleasure would directly or indirectly result in:
· An unwanted pregnancy
· The murder of a trusted friend
· A dead baby
· His daughter raped by his son
· One son murdered by another son
· A civil war led by one of his sons
· A son who imitates David’s lack of self-control and it leads him and much of Israel away from God
ii. The same kind of ruin comes of adultery today. We think about all the children who went to bed without daddy at home because of the terrible attack on our country on September 11, 2001. But far more children go to bed every night without daddy in the house because of adultery.
iii. At this moment David agreed with the world’s understanding of the purpose of sex, seeing it primarily as the pursuit of a pleasurable experience. With his many wives, David may have never really understood God’s purpose for sex: to be the “cement” that helps bond together a one-flesh relationship.
c. She was cleansed from her impurity: This confirms that Bathsheba had recently had her menstrual period and was not already pregnant when David committed adultery with her.
i. It seemed like David “got away” with this sin. But he and we could only think that if we believed the sin was something good God wanted to keep from David. David did something harmful and destructive to himself and others and harm and destruction will come of it. Just because David wasn’t caught at the moment doesn’t mean that he got away with anything.
5. (2 Samuel 11:5) Bathsheba’s message to David.
And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”
a. And the woman conceived: David and Bathsheba didn’t plan on this. They were terrified both at the “problem” of the pregnancy itself and that it meant that their adultery would be found out.
b. So she sent and told David: Her message “involved an appeal to him to take the necessary steps to avert the evil consequences of the sin, inasmuch as the law required that both the adulterer and adulteress should be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10). (Keil and Delitzsch)
B. David murders Uriah.
1. (2 Samuel 11:6-11) David attempts to cover his sin.
Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. And David said to 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 of his lord, and did not go down to his house. So when they told David, saying, “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 said to David, “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.”
a. Send me Uriah the Hittite: When David heard the disastrous news of Bathsheba’s pregnancy he should have used it as a prompting to repent. Instead, David did what most unrepentant sinners do: hide his sin. He wanted to draw Uriah back home to have relations with Bathsheba to give a reason for her pregnancy.
i. The whole concept of hiding our sin is deceptive. Our sin is never hidden before God and only hidden with difficulty from our conscience. Our hidden sin hinders our fellowship with God and others and is a barrier to spiritual life and power.
ii. “The real question for us all is: Are we prepared to face sin? Not to discuss someone else’s sin, but to face our own.” (Redpath)
iii. The answer to hidden sin is confession and repentance. To whom should we confess? The answer is in the question, “Whom have we sinned against?” “If you sin secretly, confess secretly, admitting publicly that you need the victory but keeping details to yourself. If you sin openly confess openly to remove stumbling blocks from those whom you have hindered. If you have sinned spiritually (prayerlessness, lovelessness, and unbelief as well as their offspring, criticism, etc.) then confess to the church that you have been a hindrance.” (J. Edwin Orr)
iv. “As soon as ever we are conscious of sin, the right thing is not to begin to reason with the sin, or to wait until we have brought ourselves into a proper state of heart about it, but to go at once and confess the transgression unto the Lord, there and then.” (Spurgeon)
b. David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered: This was David’s awkward attempt to pretend that nothing happened. David gave every appearance that things were normal when before God nothing was normal or right.
c. Go down to your house: “David’s design was that he should go and lie with his wife, that the child now conceived should pass for his, the honour of Bath-sheba be screened, and his own crime concealed. At this time he had no design of the murder of Uriah, nor of taking Bath-sheba to wife.” (Clarke)
d. The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents: This shows that Uriah had a passion for the glory of God, even though he was a Hittite and not a native Jew.
e. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife: This shows Uriah as a man of great integrity. He was a true “team player” who did not want to enjoy the comforts of home as long as his fellow soldiers endured hardship on the field of battle.
i. “David had expected and hoped that Uriah would prove to be like himself; instead he proved to be a man of integrity, whose first loyalty was to the king’s interests rather than to his own pleasure.” (Baldwin)
2. (2 Samuel 11:12-13) David’s second attempt to cover his sin fails.
Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
a. Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart: David lied to Uriah, knowing that he wanted to get back to the battle front as soon as possible. He hopes that Uriah will treat the coming evening as his last before returning to battle and be with Bathsheba.
b. When David called him, he ate and drank before him: David hoped that getting Uriah drunk would weaken his resolve to identify with his fellow troops. Yet Uriah did not go down to his house, refusing to enjoy what his fellow soldiers could not while the battle still rages.
i. Uriah is a good example of how Christians should conduct themselves as fellow-soldiers in the spiritual battle. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. (Romans 12:15-16)
ii. David was drunk with lust when he slept with Bathsheba; he hoped that making Uriah drunk with wine would bring the same result.
c. But he did not go down to his house: Some commentators believe that Uriah suspected some infidelity in Bathsheba, and avoided her out of jealousy. “It is like he smelt something.” (Trapp)
3. (2 Samuel 11:14-17) David sends Uriah to battle with his own death sentence in hand.
In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
a. David wrote a letter to Joab: Meyer imagines Joab saying, “This master of mine can sing psalms with the best; but when he wants a piece of dirty work done, he must come to me.”
b. Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle: Having failed to cover his sin, David wanted Uriah dead. Many adulterers secretly wish death would free them to marry the object of their adultery. This is the very heart of murder even if the deed is not done. David had the power to act on his wish.
c. And sent it by the hand of Uriah: David trusted the integrity of Uriah so much that he made him the unwitting messenger of his own death sentence.
i. “This was the sum of treachery and villany. He made this most noble man the carrier of letters which prescribed the mode in which he was to be murdered.” (Clarke)
d. That he may be struck down and die: David commanded Joab to arrange Uriah’s death. Though it was hidden by the raging battle, Uriah was murdered just as surely as if David killed him in his own home.
i. “If a child was to be born, Uriah’s lips, at least, should not be able to disown it.” (Meyer)
ii. “David was better while a servant than when a king; for being a servant, he feared to kill Saul his adversary, but becoming a king, he basely slew his most faithful friend and dutiful subject.” (Trapp)
iii. “Though we mourn over David’s sin, yet we thank God that it was permitted, for if he had not so fallen he had not been able to help us when we are conscious of transgression. He could not have so minutely described our griefs if he had not felt the same. David lived, in this respect, for others as well as for himself.” (Spurgeon)
e. Uriah the Hittite died also: Joab did exactly what David commanded. He knew it was wrong but simply followed orders and murdered Uriah at David’s order.
i. If not immediately confronted, one sin and take a wretched course. David indulged his sensual lusts for years and ignored God’s warnings and ways of escape. He allowed temptation to turn into lust and lust to turn into adultery. When the consequences of his adultery threatened to expose his sin he covered it first with deception and then with murder. Satan could never tempt David with the entire package at once, but he could deceive him with it piece by piece.
4. (2 Samuel 11:18-25) Joab sends word of Uriah’s death back to David.
Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, and charged the 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.’“ So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him. And the messenger said to 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.”
a. Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth: This is a reference to Judges 9:50-57, where Abimelech was killed by coming too close to the walls of a city under siege. The idea is that Joab knew it was a bad military move to get so close to the walls, but that he did it anyway on the command of David.
b. Uriah the Hittite is dead also: David heard these words with relief. He thought that now he could marry Bathsheba and give a plausible explanation for her pregnancy.
c. The sword devours one as well as another: This was a proverb regarding fortunes of war. It was a way of saying, “These things happen.” David said it to his own guilty conscience as much as he said it to Joab.
5. (2 Samuel 11:26-27) David marries Bathsheba.
When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
a. When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead: We have no reason to believe that Bathsheba knew that David arranged the death of her husband. It is likely that David concealed all this from Bathsheba. At the same time, she was partly relieved to hear of her husband’s death.
i. “There is little doubt to be made but that she was inwardly glad, considering her danger of being punished an adulteress, and her hopes of being now made a queen.” (Trapp)
b. And she became his wife: This was nothing new for David. He had added wives before, so now he simply adds another.
i. “David is sort of a hero now, in the eyes of the people. He has taken into his harem, the poor, pregnant wife, the widow of one of his fallen captains, so that the people say, “My look at the way he stands behind his men! He takes care of their widows when they are killed in battle. My what a marvelous king!” (Smith)
c. The thing that David had done displeased the LORD: This is the first mention of God in the chapter. God witnessed every event and read the intent of every heart, but His displeasure is only implied until this specific statement.
i. David’s state of heart in the intervening year is reflected in Psalms 32:1-5 : Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
ii. Psalms 32:1-11 shows that David was under intense conviction during this time and that all the joy in his life evaporated away. David knew the stress and agony of living a double, false life. He found no relief until he repented and got right with God again. “The better the man the dearer the price he pays for a short season of sinful pleasure.” (Meyer)
iii. David was in that terrible place where he had too much sin in him to be happy in God, but he had too much of God in him to happy in sin. Because David was a man after God’s heart, God will draw David to repentance and restoration.
iv. “When there is the most necessity for confession, there is often the greatest tardiness in making it. It was so in David’s case. . . . I think I can see why he could not have gone straight away from the sin to confession, for the sin prevented the confession-the sin blinded the eye, stultified the conscience, and stupefied the entire spiritual nature of David.” (Spurgeon)

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A. The offense of the Ammonites.

1. (2 Samuel 10:1-2) David sends ambassadors to the Ammonites at the passing of their king.

It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.

a. I will show kindness: David’s kindness to Mephibosheth in the previous chapter didn’t end his kind works. Here he shows kindness towards a pagan king because he can sympathize with the loss of his father.

b. So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him: David wasn’t content to feel kindness towards Hanun. He did something to bring the grieving man comfort.

2. (2 Samuel 10:3-5) Hanun, the new king of the Ammonites, treats Israel’s ambassadors shamefully.

And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “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?” Therefore 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 they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”

a. Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? It’s hard to explain why these advisers to Hanun said this to the king of Ammon. It’s possible that they genuinely suspected David, or they may have just used this as a way to appear wise and cunning to King Hanun. It is common for liars to always suspect others of lying.

b. Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle . . . and sent them away: This was a disgraceful insult to these ambassadors from Israel. In that culture, many men would rather die than to have their beard shaved off, because to be clean shaven was the mark of a slave but free men wore beards.

i. “With the value universally set upon the beard by the Hebrews and other Oriental nations, as being man’s greatest ornament, the cutting off of one-half of it was the greatest insult that could have been offered to the ambassadors, and through them to David their king.” (Keil and Delitzsch)

ii. “The beard is held in high respect in the East: the possessor considers it his greatest ornament; often swears by it; and, in matters of great importance,pledges it. Nothing can be more secure than a pledge of this kind; its owner will redeem it at the hazard of his life.” (Clarke)

iii. To cut off their garments in the middle was also an obvious insult and humiliation. “That the shame of their nakedness might appear, and especially that of their circumcision, so derided by the heathen.” (Trapp)

iv. To insult the ambassador is the insult the king. It was just as if they had done this to David himself. The same principle is true with King Jesus and His ambassadors. Jesus reminded His disciples: If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18)

c. Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return: David didn’t use these men as political tools to whip up anger against the Ammonites. He cared more for their own dignity and honor, and allowed them to wait before returning to Jerusalem.

3. (2 Samuel 10:6-7) The Ammonites and Israelites prepare for war.

When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men. Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men.

a. When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive: They knew that they did this. David didn’t reject the Ammonites, they made themselves repulsive to Israel.

b. The people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians: This was a common practice in the ancient world. 1 Chronicles 19:6 says that the Ammonites paid 1,000 talents to the Syrians.

c. When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men: This is the first mention of David’s mighty men, calling them the army of the mighty men. What a glorious force was the army of the mighty men!

i. It’s important to understand that David was nothing without his mighty men, and they were nothing without him. He was their leader, but a leader is nothing without followers – and David had an army of the mighty men to follow him. These men didn’t necessarily start as mighty men; many were some of the distressed, indebted, and discontent people who followed David at Adullam Cave (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

ii. One of these mighty men was Adino the Eznite – famous for killing 800 men at one time (2 Samuel 23:8). Another was Jashobeam who killed 300 men at one time (1 Chronicles 11:11). Another was Benaiah who killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day and took on a huge Egyptian warrior and killed the Egyptian with his own spear (1 Chronicles 11:22-23).

B. Victory for Israel.

1. (2 Samuel 10:8-12) Joab divides the army into two groups.

Then the people of Ammon came out and put themselves in battle array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba, Beth Rehob, Ish-Tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field. When Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of Israel’s best and put them in battle array against the Syrians. And the rest of the people he put under the command of Abishai his brother, that he might set them in battle array against the people of Ammon. Then he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD dowhat is good in His sight.”

a. Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind: As the army of the mighty men approached the Ammonite city they found themselves surrounded. In front of them were the Ammonites in battle array at the entrance of the gate. Behind them were the Syrians in the field. It looked bad for the army of Israel.

b. If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me: Joab had only one strategy in battle – attack. Many generals would consider surrender when surrounded on both sides by the enemy, but not Joab. He called the army to courage and faith and told them to press on.

i. “It is interesting to observe that in his arrangements he made no allowance for the possibility of ultimate defeat in his conflict with Ammon . . . it does not seem to have occurred to him that the combination might have been too much for both of them.” (Morgan)

c. Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight: This is a great speech by Joab before the battle. He makes at least three great points.

i. Be of good courage, and let us be strong: Courage and strength are not matters of feeling and circumstance. They are matters of choice, especially when God makes His strength available to us. We can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).

ii. Let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God: Joab called them to remember all they had to lose. If they lost this battle they would lose both their people and their cities. This was a battle bigger than themselves, and the army of the mighty men had to remember that.

iii. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight: Joab wisely prepared for the battle to the best of his ability and worked hard for the victory. At the same time, he knew that the outcome was ultimately in God’s hands.

2. (2 Samuel 10:13-14) Joab defeats the Syrians, and the Ammonites retreat to the city of Rabbah.

So Joab and the people who were with him drew near for the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. When the people of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fleeing, they also fled before Abishai, and entered the city. So Joab returned from the people of Ammon and went to Jerusalem.

a. They fled before him: It doesn’t even say that Joab engaged the Syrians in battle. This mercenary army fled before the army of the mighty men because God was with them. God promised this kind of blessing upon an obedient Israel (Deuteronomy 28:7).

b. They also fled before Abishai, and entered the city: When the Ammonites saw the Syrians retreating, they also retreated. They could no more stand before the army of the mighty men than the Syrians could.

3. (2 Samuel 10:15-19) David wipes out the Syrian reinforcements.

When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together. Then Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam. And Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army went before them. When it was told David, he gathered all Israel, crossed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in battle array against David and fought with him. Then the Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand horsemen of the Syrians, and struck Shobach the commander of their army, who died there. And when all the kings who wereservants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.

a. When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together: The enemies of Israel wouldn’t quit after one defeat. They were a persistent enemy, and came back to fight again.

b. When it was told David, he gathered all Israel: David gathered the rest of the army of Israel to prevent this army of Syrian reinforcements from crushing the army of the mighty men. The result was glorious: the Syrians fled before Israel.

c. The chapter ends with unfinished business at Rabbah. The offending Ammonites are still in their city and Joab has returned to Jerusalem. In the Spring King David will send Joab and the army out again to deal with Rabbah as he waits in Jerusalem. While he waited comfortably in Jerusalem he fell into sin with Bathsheba.

i. Most of us know about David’s sin with Bathsheba, and how it happened when David waited in Jerusalem when he should have led the battle at Rabbah. We see in 2 Samuel 10:1-19 that God gave David a warning by showing it necessary for him to come out against the Syrians. David tried to leave the battle with Joab in 2 Samuel 10:1-19, but his army needed him and God tried to show him that by blessing it when David did go out to battle. 2 Samuel 10:1-19 was God’s gracious warning that David sadly wasted.




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A. David’s kind heart towards the house of Saul.

1. (2 Samuel 9:1) David’s kind question.

Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

a. Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul: In 1 Samuel 7:1-17 David asked, “What can I do for God?” and he proposed to build a temple for the Lord. Now David asks another question we should each ask: “What can I do for others?”

i. David’s question showed a great love because Saul made himself an enemy of David. It was customary in those days for the king of a new dynasty to completely massacre anyone connected with the prior dynasty. David goes against the principle of revenge and against the principle of self-preservation and asks what he can do for the family of his enemy.

b. That I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake: David did this because he remembered his relationship and covenant with Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:14-15). His actions were not only based on feelings, but also on the promise of a covenant.

2. (2 Samuel 9:2-4) Ziba, a former servant of Saul, tells David about Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan.

And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name wasZiba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “At your service!” Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.” So the king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”

a. Ziba: David could only learn that there was a descendant of Saul still living and could only learnwhere he was through this servant named Ziba. This means that Mephibosheth was in hiding.

b. The kindness of God: This phrase is key to understanding David’s motivation in this chapter. David wanted to show someone else the same kindness God showed to him.

c. There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet: We first learned of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 4:4. It tells us that this son of Jonathan was madelame in his feet from an accident when they heard that his father Jonathan and his grandfather Saul died in battle.

i. We should remember why Mephibosheth’s nurse gathered the boy and fled in haste at the news of Saul and Jonathan’s death. She rightly feared that the leader of a new royal dynasty would execute every potential heir of the former dynasty (2 Samuel 4:4).

d. A son of Jonathan: This means that according to the prior dynasty of Saul, Mephibosheth had the right to the throne. He was a son of the first-born son of the king, and other potential heirs were dead. In a political sense David could see Mephibosheth as a rival or a threat.

i. Later in 2 Samuel 16:5-8 we see a man named Shimei who was a partisan for the house of Saul against David. There were at least a few in Israel who felt that the house of Saul should still reign over the nation and that David shouldn’t be king. Mephibosheth might draw upon these partisans and develop a rival following.

ii. Ishbosheth was Mephibosheth’s uncle, and he waged a bloody war against David for the throne of Israel. There was at least an outside chance that Mephibosheth might do the same.

e. He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel: This speaks of Mephibosheth’s low station in life. He doesn’t even have his own house. Instead, he lives in the house of another man.

i. Machir the son of Ammiel later showed he was intensely loyal to David. When David’s son Absalom led a rebellion against David, Machir supported and helped David at great danger to himself (2 Samuel 17:27).

B. David’s kindness to Mephibosheth.

1. (2 Samuel 9:5-6) Mephibosheth makes a humble appearance before David.

Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar. Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!”

a. Then King David sent and brought him out of the house: Mephibosheth must have been terrified when messengers from David knocked at his door and demanded that he come with them to see the king. In the back of his mind he anticipated the day when David would do as other kings did and massacre every potential rival to his throne.

i. The knock on the door also meant that Mephibosheth was no longer hidden from David. He felt secure as long as he believed the new king didn’t know about him.

i. Remember why Mephibosheth’s nurse was fleeing in 2 Samuel 4:1-12; she feared David would come and slaughter all the potential heirs to the throne of Saul

b. He fell on his face and prostrated himself: According to the custom of the times, Mephibosheth had a lot to fear from David. Yet his fear of David was not founded in fact, only on assumption.

i. Up to this point Mephibosheth and David never had a relationship and it was because Mephibosheth wanted it that way. He avoided David out of unfounded fears.

2. (2 Samuel 9:7-8) David removes the fears of Mephibosheth.

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 he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”

a. Do not fear: These words would have been cruel or meaningless unless David gave Mephibosheth a reason to not fear.

b. I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake: David made a covenant with Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:1-42, promising to show kindness to the descendents of Jonathan. David gladly makes good on his promise, though Jonathan is long dead.

c. Will restore to you all the land of Saul: David simply promised Mephibosheth would receive what was his. Mephibosheth knew about these lands all along but he was afraid to take possession of them because it would expose him before the king. David went against all custom in showing such kindness to an heir of the former dynasty.

d. And you shall eat bread at my table continually: This goes far beyond giving Mephibosheth what was rightly his. He gave Mephibosheth the honor of a close relationship with the king.

i. A similar promise is given to the followers of Jesus. Jesus told the disciples that they would eat and drink at His table in heaven (Luke 22:30)

e. What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?Mephibosheth didn’t feel worthy of such generosity. He considered himself a dead dog, meaning a worthless and insignificant person.

i. All the years of hiding from the king and living in fear and poverty made Mephibosheth think of himself as worthless.

3. (2 Samuel 9:9-12) David’s instructions to Ziba.

And the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “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.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king has commanded his servant, so will your servant do.” “As for Mephibosheth,” said the king, “he shall eat at my table like one of the king’s sons.” Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha. And all who dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth.

a. You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him: In addition to the land, David gave Mephibosheth servants to work the land. The food from the land was for Mephibosheth’s family, because he would eat at David’s table.

b. He shall eat at my table like one of the king’s sons: Mephibosheth was happy to know that David didn’t want to kill him. To have a promise like this was almost unbelievable.

4. (2 Samuel 9:13) David fulfills his promise to Mephibosheth.

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.

a. Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: No longer hiding in fear of the king, this descendant of Saul now lived openly among the people of God.

b. He ate continually at the king’s table: No longer in poverty and estranged from the king, now he had great privilege before the king.

c. He was lame in both his feet: Mephibosheth’s weakness did not vanish. His life was far better, but he was still lame.

i. David’s grace to Mephibosheth is a wonderful picture of God’s grace to us. We are Mephibosheth.

· We are hiding, poor, weak, lame, and fearful before our King comes to us

· We are separated from our King because of our wicked ancestors

· We are separated from our King because of our deliberate actions

· We separated ourselves from the King because we didn’t know him or His love for us

· Our King sought us out before we sought Him

· The King’s kindness is extended to us for the sake of another

· The King’s kindness is based on covenant

· We must receive the King’s kindness in humility

· The King returns to us what we lost in hiding from Him

· The King returns to us more than what we lost in hiding from Him

· We have the privilege of provision at the King’s table

· We are received as sons at the King’s table, with access to the King and fellowship with Him

· We receive servants from the King

· The King’s honor does not immediately take away all our weakness and lameness, but it gives us a favor and standing that overcomes its sting and changes the way we think about ourselves

ii. David’s grace to Mephibosheth is also a pattern for us in serving and ministering to others. We are David.

· We should seek out our enemies and seek to bless them

· We should look for the poor, weak, lame, and hidden to bless them

· We should bless others when they don’t deserve it, and bless them more than they deserve

· We should bless others for the sake of someone else

· W must show the kindness of God to others




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