Easter!

2 Samuel 16-18

  • 16:1-4 – Mephibosheth is Jonathan’s son who David showed kindness to after Saul and Jonathan died. Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, says Mephibosheth is also siding against David. David grants Ziba a great deal of wealth.
  • 16:5-14 – Any king would have been well within his rights to kill Shimei for cursing him. David, thinking that God could have sent this person, allows the persecution.
  • 16:23 – An interesting verse – it does not say that Ahithophel does consult God, it says that he is like one who consulted with God.
  • 17:1-14 – Ahithophel was an advisor to David but defected to Absalom’s side. Hushai was a false advisor to Absalom who actually was on David’s side. Hushai has built trust with Absalom, but is actually working towards his defeat.
  • There are a lot of names and places in today’s story, which can make it hard to follow. It’s important to know that God continually provides protection and resources for David. He continues to keep him one step ahead of Absalom kind of like he did with Saul. Absalom has now lost his key advisor, Ahithophel, and is not using his proven military leader, Joab.
  • 18:5—This isn’t the only story from the ancient world of a son usurping his father’s throne and trying to kill him, but it just might be the only one in which the father tells his military leaders to deal gently with his son in battle. It’s significant that he said this publicly- you’ll see why later in the story
  • 18:6-8—We don’t typically think of Israel (or the Middle East in general) as a place with lots of forests, but at one time the area was covered in vast forests of cedar and pine. Use Google images to find pictures of the Biriya forest in Galilee, or the Odem Forest in the Golan Heights, to get an idea of what the “forest of Ephraim” (or many of the other forests mentioned in the OT) might of have looked like. These forests would have been full of lions, wolves and bears- extinct in Israel now, but plentiful in the ancient world- which is perhaps what the author is referring to when he says that the forest claimed more lives than the swords of David’s soldiers.
  • 18:11—Joab seems to have forgotten David’s instructions regarding Absalom…
  • 18:12-15—So, the guy who found Absalom stuck in the tree is the only one who actually listened to David. Joab and all of his servants don’t just kill Absalom- they overkill Absalom: three spears to the heart from Joab is two more spears to the heart than necessary, and then all ten of Joab’s servants start beating up what must by now be a lifeless body hanging from a tree branch. That’s definitely not “dealing gently with him” like David wanted.
  • 18:33 – David is deeply grieved at the loss of his son. Just like with Saul, he is able to forgive Absalom for wanting to kill him.

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