Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in 2 Samuel - "David as King"|
Chapter: 2 Sam 12
Passage: 2 Sam 12:1-14
A. Find Out:
1. Who went to whom and why? v.1
2. What story did he tell? v.1b-5
3. What was David's response to the story? v.5,6
4. How does Nathan apply it? v.7-9
5. What does he say will happen? v.10-12
6. How does David respond and what is he told? v.13,14
1. What was the object of Nathan telling that story?
2. How does the Lord emphasise the responsibility He had given David?
3. Note the specifics of the judgement on David.
David has sinned and the Lord will not ignore it, so He sends His prophet, Nathan, to talk to David. Nathan tells David a story which immediately stirs David's sense of justice - and he condemns himself out of his own mouth!
Then the Lord emphasises how David has abused his position. The Lord had anointed him king, had saved him from Saul, had given Saul's household over to him, had given the nation over to him and would had even gone on to give him much more, yet in one foolish act David despised all this and threw it away when he had Uriah killed.
Sin always has consequences. God ALWAYS punishes sin. Either we take it or allow Jesus to take it. Yet there is still punishment in civil law that has to be taken. If we steal and repent, we may yet have to go to prison. There are often natural consequences we must take. If we commit adultery, there may yet be STDs to contend with. Thus, now David is going to have to bear the consequences: there will be conflict in his family, his family will rebel and the son to be born will die. You might say the family will follow his example and disregard authority.
This sin has opened the way for more to follow, but that which follows will act as judgement on David. Unrestrained sin, is allowed by the Lord to act as discipline.
1. A man reaps what he sows (Gal 6:7). We often have to live with it.
2. Repentance averts God's anger but there may still be effects.
Chapter: 2 Sam 15
Passage: 2 Sam 15:1-12
A. Find Out:
1. What did Absalom first get for himself? v.1
2. What would he do? v.2-4
3. How did he treat people and with what result? v.5,6
4. What did he eventually ask of David? v.7-9
5. What message did he send out? v.10
6. Who did he take with him? v.11,12
1. What was Absalom's clear aim?
2. How did he gradually work for that?
3. Why do you think he took the various people with him?
God has warned David that division will come to his household but David does nothing to avoid it. Sin blinds and so perhaps David was blinded to it. Over a period of time Absalom works to win the hearts of the nation in preparation to steal the throne.
Previously Absalom has killed his step-brother Ammon for raping his sister Tamar and had fled from the land (see 2 Sam 13) but had eventually been brought back into favour (2 Sam 14). He was a very good looking young man (2 Sam 14:25) and now he adds fine deeds to fine appearance to win the hearts of the people.
First of all he put on the appearance of a young prince with runners before his chariot. Then he would put himself in the place where he would encounter those coming needing help. Next he treated each person as someone special and won their hearts. What is sad is that David could have done each of these things and the people would have remained loyal to him, but instead their hearts started going over to Absalom.
Finally Absalom stage managed a big party at which all the important people - except David - would be, and then arranged for himself to be proclaimed king throughout the land. The nation would thus all turn to him. The clock is ticking for David!
1. Evil men succeed because good men remain silent.
Chapter: 2 Sam 15
Passage: 2 Sam 15:13-37
A. Find Out:
1. How did David respond to the news & who went with him? v.13-19
2. How did he try to turn Ittai back? v.19,20
3. Yet how did Ittai respond? v.21,22
4. What did David do with Zadok? v.24-29
5. What disturbing news did David hear? v.30,31
6. What did David do with Hushai? v.32-37
1. How is much loyalty to David shown?
2. Why do you think David sent Zadok back?
3. Why did he send Hushai back?
David is wise enough to know when the public opinion is with Absalom, and that he is outnumbered and would do well to escape to a secure place. Thus David is forced to leave Jerusalem . In his leaving we see the loyalty he has created in so many around him and the wisdom and concern he expresses in respect of those people.
First there was Ittai, a Gittite, a native of Gath , a Philistine who had gone over to David. David gives him the chance to return home and not get involved in this civil war, but Ittai will not have it.
Then there was Zadok and Abiathar with the ark of God. David recognises that the ark's place is in Jerusalem and should not be carted around in the midst of a civil war. Not only that, it will be good to have these two loyal men still in Jerusalem where they can report to him.
Finally there is Hushai of the clan of Ataroth of the tribe of Ephraim, a faithful old retainer. It's better that he doesn't have to run around the countryside, and perhaps his wisdom can be used in Jerusalem to thwart the wisdom of Ahithophel, a wise counsellor who has gone over to Absalom.
David's dealings with these men is a mixture of pastoral care and wise war strategy. Even in retreat, the characteristics that made him great come to the fore.
1. Even in adversity do we show care and compassion for others?
2. In warfare, do we exercise wisdom?
Chapter: 2 Sam 16
Passage: 2 Sam 16:1-4
A. Find Out:
1. Who met David? v.1a
2. What had he brought for David? v.1b
3. Why had he brought them? v.2
4. Where was Mephibosheth? v.3
5. What did David decree? v.4
1. Reread 2 Sam 9:1-13 and also read 2 Sam19:24-29
2. What appears in question over today's reading? (careful!)
3. What, in the end, did David see, in today's reading?
In the previous chapter we saw various people wanting to come with David as he rapidly leaves Jerusalem , before Absalom arrives with a larger following. Now we see the incident involving Ziba. Let's observe two different things: what he did and what he said.
First, note what Ziba did. He brought an excellent supply of provisions for David as he left. This was a really practical form of help. It wasn't just him coming; he also brought means of sustaining David on the run.
Next, note what he said. He first explains the purpose for which he's brought the things. This shows he's thought what David is likely to go through. As a good steward (of Mephibosheth's house) he would be able to foresee the needs of his master. And he's now done that well for David. That is excellent! But it's what he says next that is perhaps questionable, his explanation of why his master has not come.
When David returns after Absalom's death and Mephibosheth gives his reasons for having stayed, David allows him to live but divides his land and gives half of it to Ziba. There may have been an element of truth in what Mephibosheth says, but the truth is that Ziba did help David in a very practical way and go with David at a time of great need.
2. May we not attribute wrong motives to others.
Chapter: 2 Sam 16
Passage: 2 Sam 16:5-14
A. Find Out:
1. Who next came and did what? v.5,7,8
2. What more did he do? v.6
3. What did Abishai want to do? v.9
4. What was David's response to this? v.10
5. What was also his logic? v.11
6. In what did he put his trust? v.12
2. Read 2 Sam 19:16-23 & 1 Kings 2:8,9
3. What do you understand about David's feelings towards Shimei?
Still on their way fleeing from Jerusalem and from Absalom, David now encounters one who is not friendly, not loyal, Shimei, a Benjamite from Saul's clan. Without doubt he is a foolish man, for David's men could have easily killed him. He sees David in his weakness and “kicks him when he's down”. If we ever have the temptation to do this to others with whom we haven't got on and who are now looking weak, think again! David will be back and then Shimei will have to act differently. Abishai also represents those who want to use their human strength to beat up those who offend them. We may want to do it just verbally, but it's still wrong!
But what about David? Twice he spares this man's life, here now on the retreat and later when he returns, but that does not mean he absolves this man of his wrongs. It just means that in his wisdom, he knows that for the time being it is more gracious to let this man live, but when he hands the kingdom over to Solomon, that's another thing. Shimei's heart is wrong and if he's left he'll be a problem to Solomon, so now give him what he deserves. David is an example of grace, wisdom and justice.
1. Don't kick others while they are down. Pray for them instead.
Chapter: 2 Sam 16/17
Passage: 2 Sam 16:15 - 17:29
A. Find Out:
1. What was the first advice given by Absalom's counsellor? v.21
2. What was this counsellor's standing in those days? v.23
3. What was the next advice he gave Absalom? 17:17:1-3
4. What was the advice given by Hushai? 17:7-13
5. Why did Absalom listen to Hushai? v.14
6. What did Hushai then advise David? v.16
1. What was the reasoning behind the first counsel?
2. What was the reasoning behind Hushai's counsel?
3. What was the outcome?
This is a crucial time. David and his party have fled. They will be dispirited and weary and are in no state to fight. Absalom and his followers arrive in Jerusalem, triumphant; the city and the nation are theirs! They are the victors and are ready to take on anyone! For David this is the most crucial of times. If he can get away, regroup and be refreshed, he has a chance; if not, he is doomed.
So then we come to the two advisors, one for Absalom and one secretly for David, one of is a top rate counsellor and the other just an old friend of the departing king. The one advises go straight after David and beat him while he is tired and dispirited. The other counsels, wait, get all your troops together and then go after him. To us as observers today, the first counsel was obviously the best, but that isn't how it was seen at the moment.
Absalom preferred to take the more careful approach and so David was given a reprieve. The writer astutely observes that it was God's will to thwart Absalom. Yes, David may be being disciplined by God for his sin, but that doesn't mean that God gives free reign to those He uses to do that. The wisest of counsel may come but if it is contrary to God's purposes then God will thwart it.
1. Human wisdom isn't necessarily God's will. Beware!
A. Find Out:
1. How was it agreed David's army would go? v.1-4
2. What instruction did David give in respect of Absalom? v.5
3. Where did the battle take place and what was the outcome? v.6-8
4. What happened to Absalom? v.9
5. Why didn't one of David's men kill him? v.10-13
6. Yet what happened to Absalom? v.14-18
1. What instruction had David obviously given about Absalom?
2. What effect had this had on the ordinary man?
3. What does it say about Joab that he disregarded this command?
Again in this passage we something of the heart of the man of God described as a “man after God's own heart”. David has been hounded out of Jerusalem by his own son and yet when battle approaches, David's heart is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. He knows there has to be a battle but Absalom is still his son and therefore he doesn't want him killed. As we read this we may simply observe David's reaction but not fully appreciate how unusual that was.
To seek to more fully appreciate it, we need to see Joab's response to the whole thing. When an ordinary soldier comes across Absalom caught in the overhanging branches of a tree, His desire may be to kill his enemy but he is thwarted by the command of his king. Joab, on the other hand, sees himself as a general in the king's army who is above the king's command and therefore he disregards it and does what is on his heart to do - to destroy his enemy. THAT is the natural response of man, to destroy your enemy. David, however, wants to restore his enemy. In this he reflects the whole heart of Christ in respect of mankind. In Christ's place we would condemn mankind that had rebelled against us. Instead he redeemed it! No wonder he commands us to love our enemies (Mt 5:44 )! David, remember, was a man after God's heart. God always seeks to redeem.
1. The old nature wants revenge, wants to see enemies destroyed.
2. The Spirit of Christ within us wants to see enemies reconciled.
A. Find Out:
1. What was David's response to the news about Absalom? v.33
2. How had the army come back? v.2,3
3. What did Joab say David had done? v.5
4. What did he say David seemed to do? v.6
5. What did he say David should do and why? v.7
6. So what did David do? v.8
1. How is David's grieving good?
2. By also why is it bad?
3. What should this teach us?
The news of Absalom's death is brought to David in gradual stages ( 18:19 -31), but eventually it is quite plain, Absalom is dead. Again the heart of the man of God is revealed. Yes, Absalom was an enemy but he was also David's son and the strength of relationship prevails over the fact of opposition. When we have opposition from a brother or sister in Christ (or even our physical brother or sister), can we let relationship prevail over feelings.
However, in David's case there was a downside to this. His army had gone out, fiercely loyal to him, and had fought for him and triumphed over Absalom's forces. They deserve some appreciation from David and it's Joab who reminds him of this.
Yes, it is right to grieve over the loss of Absalom, but not at the expense of rejecting the army. Grief can so often swamp everything else that is there and make us forget the needs of others around us and that life has to carry on. Not everyone else feels as we do. It is right to grieve but not to the exclusion of others. Life has to carry on.
There are important lessons here: 1. Love you enemies. 2. Let relationship overcome antagonism. 3. Grieve for the loss of those near to you. 4. Don't let that grieve swamp everyone else around you. 5. Hold a balance between grief and concern for others.
1. Grieving is important. It is natural and right. Don't be afraid of it.
2. Don't let your grief be so great it rejects all others.
A. Find Out:
1. What was happening in the land? v.8b-10
2. So how did David bring about his return? v.11-15
3. Who was the first to meet him and what happened? v.16-23
4. Who was next and what happened? v.24-30
5. Who came next and what happened? v.31-39
6. What disagreement was going on? v.40-43
1. How many times is David's wisdom seen in this passage?
2. How many times does he express grace and mercy?
3. How does the revolt have a clearly unsettling effect on the nation?
When any sort of revolt happens, people take sides and division and dissension continue. That was obviously happening in Israel at this time, both between people and between tribes.
The way David deals with various people on his return is instructive. First there is Shimei who had cursed David (16:5-13) but who now seeks forgiveness. His life is spared by David. Then there came Mephibosheth who had apparently ignored David's departure (16:1-4) and who apparently was slandered by Ziba. David simply blesses them equally. Then came Barzillai who had provided for David's men ( 17:27 -29) and who came just to see David on his way. David wants him to return with him and be blessed.
Each of these men David dealt with peaceably. One of them deserved punishment (Shimei) and received mercy, one had a question mark over him (Mephibosheth) and received equity, and one deserved reward and received appreciation. This could have been a time of retribution but David makes it a time of peace. He knows he had brought the whole thing on himself and he knows the best thing is simply to seek for reconciliation of the nation. There is a time for dealing with these issues more deeply, but that will come later. Now is a time for peace.
1. When there is a dispute, do we take sides? May it not be so.
A. Find Out:
1. What happened next in Israel ? v.1,2
2. Who did David send to deal with it, but what happened? v.4,5
3. So who did he next send, and what happened? v.6-10
4. Where did Sheba flee to and what did Joab do? v.14,15
5. How was Sheba eventually taken? v.16-22
1. How does chapter 20 flow on naturally from chapter 19?
2. How was it even having an effect in David's own men?
3. Why do you think it was necessary to pursue Sheba ?
We read yesterday how Absalom's revolt had caused general upset in Israel with people taking sides. However some people were not content to merely talk about it, Sheba actually causes further rebellion. David knows that if this is not dealt with it will cause a total fragmentation of the kingdom.
He therefore sends Amasa to call his men together to get ready to go to sort the trouble out. However, it would appear that the same casual approach to David has also infected Amasa for he fails to do what he is told by his king with the result that David has to send others out to do the job.
When Abishai and Joab go they encounter Amasa on the way and Joab, in his somewhat usual manner, takes matters into his own hands and exercises summary judgement and kills Amasa and leaves him in the road for all to see. It is left to some of the other soldiers to carry him to the side and cover him. Joab continues in pursuit and the end result is the death of the rebel. What do we observe here?
First we see the unsettling of the kingdom under David as a result of his earlier sin. Second we see Joab acting in a way that we know, from what we have seen of David so far, is very far from what David would have wanted. There is an air of confusion and lawlessness here, which are the fruits of sin.
1. Sin destabilises society.
2. Lawlessness follows that.
A. Find Out:
1. What had happened and what did David do? v.1a
2. What did the Lord tell him? v.1b
3. So what did David do? v.2-4
4. What did the Gibeonites ask? v.5,6
5. So what did David do? v.7-9
6. What was the outcome? v.14b
We might be tempted to pass this passage by in our studies on David but it teaches us a number of important things. In Israel 's earliest days of entering Canaan , the Gibeonites had fooled Israel into making a covenant with them. Israel had been instructed by the Lord to clear away all the pagan idol-worshipping inhabitants of Canaan but these particular ones had deceived Israel who had made a promise to protect them. That promise, given in good faith, had over-ridden the command of God and the Gibeonites received Israel 's protection from then on.
In some unrecorded incident, Saul had obviously sought to destroy the Gibeonites. We are now some years on and we might think it is all past history, but the Lord sees there is unfinished business that Israel needs to attend to. Justice needs to be done - even if it is years later. Thus God brings it to David's attention by causing a famine. David knew this was contrary to God's promise of blessing so sought the Lord for the reason, and then immediately went about putting right the wrong.
This might seem hard justice to us but these were tough times and justice had to be done. As soon as the wrong had been put right, the Lord blesses the land again. If this seems shocking to us, it perhaps indicates our low view of the awfulness of sin.
A. Find Out:
1. What did the Lord seem to say and do? v.1
2. So what did David do? v.2
3. What was Joab's response? v.3
4. But what happened? v.4-9
5. What did David then feel and say? v.10
2. Why do you think David's actions were foolishness?
3. Read Heb 12:5,6. How could that be applied here?
First, the simple facts of what happened: David wanted to have a count taken of all his people, Joab resisted, David over-ruled him, the census was taken and then David was guilt ridden.
Second the apparent spiritual realities behind the scenes. Just what was going on?
Well first, the Lord was angry with Israel again. Why? We aren't told specifically but we do know (in Ch.21) that the Lord saw there were things that needed putting right, and we do know that after David's sin and Absalom's rebellion, there was unrest and a bad feeling in the nation. It seems there was need of discipline and correction.
So next, how did the Lord go about that? 1 Chronicles tells us that God had Satan stir up David. How can Satan do that? He can play on our weak or vulnerable areas. Obviously, in David, there was pride and perhaps complacency that he had overcome the Absalom incident and all was now well again. Not so! Satan plays on David's pride and David has the people counted so he can see how great he is. The moment he has done this, he realises what he has done and the state of his heart. This was foolishness, this was sin!
A. Find Out:
1. What were the three options the Lord gave David? v.11-13
2. Which did David choose and why? v.14
3. So what happened? v.15,16
4. What was David's response to the Lord? v.17
5. What did he subsequently do? v.18-25a
6. With what result? v.25b
1. What was David's thinking in choosing the judgement?
2. How does there seem interaction between God's heart and man's?
This seems a strange episode at first sight. God is going to bring judgement and allows David to choose it. God then brings the judgement, seems to relent and David intercedes and it is stopped. So what does it all mean?
God was clearly going to bring judgement on Israel for their godless outlook; that is His prerogative when He sees evil. However, rather like with Abraham (Gen 18), He wants to involve His man in the process. It is an opportunity for David to reveal his heart again, and he does. He chooses the judgement that is short and sharp and is in the hands of the Lord, not in the hands of men, for he trusts in the grace and mercy of God. David is a man of deep understanding.
As the angel of the Lord goes out to destroy, God's heart is grieved. He does not delight in the death of man (Ezek 18:32 ). It seems that as He feels this, the prophet Gad gets a sense of what is needed to stop it. God wants it to be stopped, but He also wants his people to recognise its source and cry to God to it to be stopped. David responds, builds an altar, intercedes for the nation and is heard by the Lord. There is a mysterious interaction here whereby man catches the heart of God. The Lord is bringing judgement yet doesn't want to. He needs to see repentance and contrition and David brings it. There are deep lessons here for us to learn.
1. God doesn't want to bring what we deserve! That's why the Cross.
2. Gad & David caught God's heart and prayed. May we do the same!
RECAP - "Discipline" - 2 Samuel 12-24
In this final group of 13 studies we have seen :
The episodes that we have picked out of these chapters show us the prophetic fulfilment of God's words to David through the prophet, Nathan, in chapter 12. First there is the rising up of Absalom who deposes his father for a while. The fact that Absalom did this is probably more that the Lord provoked him or took His hand of restraint off him, because it was obviously something latent in Absalom, just waiting to happen. That whole episode revealed the hearts of a lot of different people around David, some who were whole-heartedly loyal to him, and others who were either against him or who were easily swayed. The whole episode was a revealing of hearts. Similarly the numbering of the people and the ensuing judgement is a time for David's heart to be revealed. There are powerful lessons in all this.
1. God sees sin and moves against it.
2. We are called to worship God, even when we've lost loved ones.
3. Failing to discipline children means they will rise up later.
4. Upsets reveal the hearts of all who are involved.
5. Pride lurks, waiting to be exposed by the enemy.
Ask the Lord to teach you through the upheavals we've read about in these chapters and the upheavals you experience in life.
In these chapters we have seen the following episodes:
1. David being Made King
2. Victory & Defeat
As we come to the end of these studies, the following are some of the things that should perhaps stand out to us:
The Slowness of God's Purposes
Not long after Saul was made king, Samuel had cause to rebuke him and the prophetic word flowed, declaring that God had sought out another to lead His people (1 Sam13:14). A while later Samuel is told to go and anoint one of Jesse's sons because God has chosen him as king (1 Sam 16:1) and is guided to anoint David. Then followed a number of years (we suppose) when David was on the run from Saul. Even after Saul's death it is at least seven years before David fully became king.
The lesson for us must surely be that God's purposes are often worked out slowly. In an ‘instant age', we expect prophecies to be fulfilled within weeks or months, whereas it may be decades! Rest in God's timing. The process is all-important!
Acclaim doesn't mean Perfection.
When we read the description of David as a man after God's own heart (1 Sam 13:14 & Acts 13:22), we may be tempted to think of David as a man above all other men. The truth is that he was very human and quite often had a tendency to get it wrong. In 2 Samuel we see his casual way of bringing the ark into Jerusalem, his sin with Bathsheba followed by his murder of her husband, and then later his pride being expressed in the numbering of Israel. He blew it a number of times!
As Christians we need to keep a right balance about ourselves. On one side there is the glorious fact that we are children of God with all that that means. On the other side we are still vulnerable human beings who have a tendency for getting it wrong – still!
Lessons in godliness
If David is acclaimed as a man after God's own heart, we see it being expressed in his gentle heart that weeps over the death of those who never reached their potential. He is seen as a man who looked to redeem those who had been against him – he is a peacemaker and a reconciler. He is also a man who seeks God for guidance again and again. The challenge to us in the light of all this is a) how do we view people who are against us, b) how do we view others who have blown it, c) how often do we seek God for guidance? David is a challenge to us!