Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bible for Dummies - Chapter 9 Part 4 - David Reigns and Dies (1 and 2 Samuel)

David is blessed by God. Even though he is an extremely challenged man and his flesh often gets the best of him, he is a "man after God's own heart."  Our study in this chapter covers the dysfunction of David's family while the kingdom of Israel flourishes.  God's hand is on David unlike, perhaps, anyone ever seen in human history.

Below are notes you can use to follow along. I trust that the Lord will bless you as we study His Word together.

Building a Dynasty…David Secures his Throne – 2 Samuel 1-4

** At the beginning of 2 Samuel, David hears of Saul’s demise (and his best friend, Jonathan’s, death) and engages a period of mourning.

** David does not immediately become king over all of Israel because Abner, commander of Saul’s northern army, and some from the northern tribes of Israel declare that Saul’s other son, Ishbaal (whose name means, “Man of Baal”) – at the age of 40, is the new king (2 Samuel 2:8-10)

** War ensues between David and Ishbaal (as led by Abner). However, Abner grew more powerful
than Ishbaal, and Ishbaal feared Abner to the point that Ishbaal
did nothing to Abner even though Abner had slept with one of Saul’s former wives.

** Abner, in time, betrayed Ishbaal and assisted David to defeat Ishbaal by setting up the armies of Ishbaal.

** However, Joab, general of David’s army, does not trust Abner.

·      So Joab devises a plan to kill Abner.

·      Joab sends a messenger to retrieve Abner in the name of David. Abner returns to Hebron, where Joab proceeds to kill Abner, partly in revenge for Abner having killed Joab’s brother, Asahel.

** David hears of the killing. He calls for Joab, declares that he (David) is innocent of Abner’s blood, and that Joab’s household is forever cursed with all kinds of skin diseases (2 Samuel 3:29).

** David demands that Joab should mourn Abner’s death.  And all the people mourned Abner’s death.

** When Ishbaal heard of Abner’s death, he withdrew out of fear. Two of Ishbaal’s captains murdered him and the rest of Saul’s heirs. They took Ishbaal’s head to David. David had them killed for killing the king.

** The result of this rebellion and the actions of the captains is that David becomes the undisputed king of all of Israel, not just Judah over which he had been king for 7 years (2 Samuel5:5).

Point: You have to appreciate and admire David’s commitment to honoring the Lord. Not only would he not do harm to the King, he held his followers to the same standard. God honors those who honor him.

David’s Political Savvy (2 Samuel 5-10)

** David’s first act as king is to move the capital of Israel from Hebron to Jerusalem (in Judea) where David reigned for 33 years (2 Samuel 5:5)

** In order to make Jerusalem (which David renamed, the “City of David”), he defeated the Jebusites. This made Jerusalem a symbol of the new thing that the Lord was doing in Israel: New King…New Capital.

** David named both Abiathar (Moses’ lineage) and Zadok (Aaron’s lineage) as high priests.

** Then David had the Ark of the Covenant transferred to Jerusalem.

·      The transfer was more like a parade: music, dancing, cheers.

·      The mood is diminished when Uzzah is stricken by the Lord for touching the Ark when the Ark was about to fall off the ox-pulled wagon.

·      David becomes angry at God for this, and does not want to take the Ark into his care.

·      So, the Ark is left in the household of Obed-edom, who is blessed by God.

·      But David becomes envious of Obed-edom’s blessing, so he has the Ark taken to Jerusalem.

·      Along the way, David then becomes so entranced with the party, he dances partially nude along the route.

·      This angers his wife, Michal (Saul’s daughter) chastises David (2 Samuel 6:20) for the vulgarity of prancing around partially naked.

·      But he excused the actions saying he was dancing for the Lord. David then “showed” Michal by never being naked before her again. Thus, she remained childless all the days of her life. (v. 23)

** Next Nathan, a prophet, enters the scene (2 Samuel 7:1). He will become David’s closest confidant.

** David and Israel experience peace with their enemies and neighbors. So David wants to build a Temple for the Ark. In response, Nathan receives a word from the Lord saying:

·      God is with Israel, has been with Israel, and will always be with Israel (2 Samuel 7:8-10)

·      God will continue to bless David and his ancestors (v. 11)

·      When David dies, though, that is when his offspring will continue in leadership over Israel, but David is not the one who will build the Temple. And God will establish David’s lineage “forever” over the people of Israel (v. 12-16)

·      The establishment of David’s successors as King over Israel is known as the Davidic Covenant. It was fulfilled, of course, in Jesus Christ, who was a descendant of David (See Matthew 1)

** Then David led Israel against all of their neighbors and defeated them because God was with him.

** David did kind things for many, including Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson – Jonathan’s son, who was crippled. So David hired one of Saul’s former servants, Ziba, to work the land that was Saul’s, and bring the produce to Mephibosheth who would live in Jerusalem and eat at David’s table.

David’s Fall from Power

David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12)

** It’s that time of year (Spring) when nations go to war, so David sends his army out under the command of Joab. Under his leadership, Israel destroys the Ammonites in response to their conspiracy, rebellion, trickery and deceitfulness (2 Samuel 10:6-14).

** David chose to stay at home during the conflict when, one unsuspecting day while strolling about the palace terrace, he saw Bathsheba sunbathing on her rooftop.

·      One of Joab’s leaders, Uriah, was Bathsheba’s husband. When he was on the military campaign, David summonsed Bathsheba.

·      David and Bathsheba committed adultery, and she became pregnant.

·      To try to cover his sin, David sent for Uriah at the battlefront. Upon his return, David invited Uriah to have sex with Bathsheba.  It was a tough order since the rest of the army was still at battle, so Uriah declined as he was a man of integrity and character, unlike the King (David).

·      In retaliation, David sent Uriah back to the war with a  letter written to Joab telling Joab to send Uriah to the battlefront, and once there, have the rest of the men withdraw so Uriah will be killed. (2 Samuel 11:15)

·      Joab wrote David that Uriah’s death happened as David planned.

·      Bathsheba mourned him in the appropriate manner, then after the prescribed time (one cycle of the moon – or 30 days), Bathsheba married David.  Bathsheba delivered a son.

** There was one tragic catch, though… “The thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27)

** God sent Nathan, the prophet, to confront David. (2 Samuel 12:1ff)

·      Nathan asked David a question, making his point through a parable – Read 2 Samuel 12:2-4

·      David unknowingly declares his own sentence (see 2 Samuel 12:5-6)

·      Then Nathan breaks the bad news of judgment from God (2 Samuel 12:7-12)

1.     David’s family will forever be dysfunctional and divided

2.     David will experience the embarrassment of his wives publicly sleep with other men

3.     The child carried by Bathsheba will die

·      David accepts his conviction (2 Samuel 12:13a)

·      God forgives David, but does not rescind the judgment/punishment (2 Samuel 12:13b-14, 18), so the baby dies…the first of the three prophecies to come true.

Point: God’s forgiveness is not mysterious here…the mystery is why God chose to allow the consequence/judgment proceed?

Fighting for David’s Throne (2 Samuel 13-21)

** In one of the sorriest displays of family dysfunction, David’s family displays contempt for each other and the Lord.

** According to 1 Chronicles 3:1-6, David had many sons by many wives:

·      Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel
·      Daniel, whose mother was Abigail from Carmel
·      Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur
·      Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith
·      Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital
·      Ithream, whose mother was Eglah

·      His wife Bathsheba, daughter of Ammiel, bore him four sons: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon.

·      He had nine other sons: Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

·      He also had a daughter that is recorded in the Bible, Tamar.

** In all, David had 20 “named” sons by his wives and more by his concubines. For the curious, Solomon was #10.

** Amnon, David’s oldest son, is doomed when his obsession with his half-sister, Tamar, leads to his raping of Tamar. This was done at the suggestion of his cousin, Jonadab, son of David’s brother.

o   When David is told of the rape, he does NOTHING about it.

o   However, Tamar’s full-brother, Absalom – David’s third son and the most handsome man in the kingdom (2 Samuel 14:25), plots his revenge

o   Some two years pass, and Absalom throws a huge party and invites Amnon to the party. As soon as Amnon is completely drunk, Absalom commanded his servants to kill Amnon, and they did (2 Samuel 13:29).

o   Interstingly, the rest of the brothers got up and fled…perhaps fearing this was a larger plot by Absalom, to get rid of  all of the competition for the throne.

·      The news reported to David was that ALL of his sons had been killed by Absalom, but Jonadab tells David that only Amnon was killed in retaliation of Tamar’s rape. (2 Samuel 13:32-33)

·      Nevertheless, Absalom flees to Geshur (modern-day Syria), which is his mother’s (Maachah) homeland.

·      Joab displays great wisdom through a woman from Tekoa who plays a role in front of David by telling him another parable about HER two sons who had fought and the one killed the other.

·      In the end, David invokes God’s protection on “her” living son, and thus, Absalom is permitted to return to Jerusalem, but is not allowed to be in the presence of David. (2 Samuel 14:24)

·      However, after two years, Absalom and David are reunited when David accepts Absalom’s repentance.

Rebellious Children and Parents in Denial

·      Absalom conspires for four years against David throughout all of Israel and, eventually, wins the heart of the majority of Israel. He declares himself King of Israel (2 Samuel 15:10)

·      David flees Jerusalem in response to the threat Absalom now poses (2 Samuel 15:14). A number of people join David as they go into the wilderness, taking the Ark of the Covenant with them (2 Samuel 15:24). But then David rethinks this, and directs the priests, led by Zadok and Abiathar, to take the Ark back to Jerusalem.

·      Absalom returns to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 16:15) and assumes a kingly lifestyle, including having relations with all of David’s concubines.

·      Eventually, David rallies his followers, divides them into three armies, and orders them to attack the army of Absalom…yet dealing “gently” with Absalom (2 Samuel 18:5)

·      The battle goes poorly for Absalom who tries to escape on his donkey, only to have his long hair get caught in a tree, leaving him exposed. So Joab kills Absalom by thrusting 3 spears into him (2 Samuel 18:14)

·      Absalom’s armies flee, returning to their homes. Word of Absalom’s death reaches David.

·      David’s response is fascinating – “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33)

·      Then David mourns uncontrollably, only to have Joab do a very bold thing: he confronts David and tells him to either thank his men for winning this battle or lose them all. (2 Samuel 19:7)

·      David makes a public appearance at the gates of Jerusalem as the victorious king and leaves his grief in his room.

·      The remaining chapters (20-21) deal with the reestablishment of David’s authority as King over Israel.

David’s Latter Days (2 Samuel 22-24)

** At the end of his life, David returns to his former pleasure: writing songs for the Lord.

** Tragically, though, David displays an incredible lack of faith in God at the end of his life. The symbol of this lack of faith is the decision to take a census of the number of soldiers in Israel.

·      Joab warned David against taking the census, but “the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census.” (2 Samuel 24:4)

·      The census angers God, and David realizes he had dishonored God.

·      The next day Gad, the prophet, spoke the word of God offering David one of three things from which David could choose his own fate in response to his sin:

1.     Three years of famine, or,

2.     Have a three month head start before his enemies chase him, or

3.     Three days of pestilence in the land.

·      It ended up being Choice #3…pestilence.  70,000 people died. And just before the Lord was going to destroy Jerusalem via his angels, He relented (2 Samuel 24:16)

·      Yet David still needed to “pay” for his sin, so Gad told David to erect an altar to God. Purchasing the threshing floor of Araunah, David built the altar, offered sacrifices there, and the plaque was averted.

** At the end of 2 Samuel, David is right with God, again, but a price has been paid.

·      Not only did tens of thousands die in a civil war, but David’s three sons (Amnon, Absalom and the unnamed son of Bathsheba) are dead.

·      But this is just a foreshadowing of the chaos and dysfunction that marks David’s life…so, next week, we begin 1 Kings.

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