2 Samuel 3-4: Wise King
May 15, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
It is a long civil war, and bloody. David is growing stronger and stronger, the house of Saul weaker and weaker (3:1). But within that house of Saul, Abner is himself growing stronger in gaining power over the people and the army (3:6)—so much so that Abner is able to take one of Saul’s concubines (3:7), a statement of political control over Saul’s inheritance. Ish-Bosheth, the notional king of Israel and Saul’s son, plaintively raises an objection. But when Abner refuses to listen (3:8-10), there is nothing that Ish-Bosheth can do for he is afraid of Abner (3:11). How much the fear of man plagues the house of Saul.
Abner now goes over to David. He sends messengers to him (3:12), and David (wisely) insists that if Abner is to come to his side in the civil war, he must bring with him public tribute—in this case in the person of his wife Michal (3:13-14). This proves Abner’s submission to David. And David celebrates with a feast with Abner (3:20). Joab, however, is furious, because Abner had killed his brother. He pursues Abner, and in deceit kills Abner (3:22-27). David, again wisely, distances himself from Joab’s action by publicly mourning over Abner’s death (3:28-39).
Ish-Bosheth has now lost the captain of his army (4:1)—even if that captain was in the process of betraying him. The game is up. Two junior leaders in the army realize their precarious situation, and so kill the king of Israel and take his head to David as tribute (4:5-8). Yet again, David shows his wisdom. He understands that if it is publicly acceptable to kill a king that it is publicly acceptable to kill him too. He does as he did with the one who had pretended to have killed Saul; these murderers are treated to a swift execution for their capital crime (4:9-12).
David, at this stage in his life, not only appears as a strong king, but as a passingly wise one too. The secret, if we may put it like that, is the fear of the Lord. David does what is right and lets God take charge of the result. May we have the wisdom that is founded on the fear of the Lord.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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