Today David has three conflicts to settle:
1) Judah escorts David back to Jerusalem, which does not sit well with the other tribes who weren’t included in the escort. Conflict between the tribes begins and will continue throughout the story. Sheba starts a revolt against David, and David sends Amasa, the newly appointed head of army over Joab (2 Samuel 19:13), out to subdue Sheba. Joab, upset with his demotion, shoves his sword in Amasa’s stomach, killing him, while in pursuit of Sheba. Then the men follow Joab to the city of Abel where Sheba is “and they cast up a siege mound against the city.”
A wise woman cries out to Joab from the city. She reasons with Joab and convinces him not to destroy the city in exchange for Sheba. So Sheba’s head is chopped off by the people of Abel and tossed over the wall, ending the revolt. Joab returns home as the commander of the army once again. However, David will not let Joab’s betrayal and murder go unpunished. As mentioned before, David will give his son Solomon orders regarding judgment on Joab.
2) During the Conquest Era, we discovered that the Gibeonites deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them (Joshua 9). Today we see how serious the Lord is about not breaking a covenant. After three years of a famine, David seeks the Lord. “And the Lord answered, ‘It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.’” This incident is not recorded in the Bible, but we know it happened because the Lord told David that it did. So David asks the Gibeonites how he can make things right with them. The Gibeonites request seven of Saul’s sons to be handed over to them. David gives them seven of Saul’s sons but spares Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, because of the oath he made with Jonathan. (The Mephibosheth that was handed over was another son of Saul’s with his concubine Rizpah.)
The Gibeonites “hanged them on the hill before the Lord. So they fell, all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.” Rizpah, the mother of two sons who were hanged, sits with the bodies “from the beginning of harvest until the late rains poured on them from heaven. And she did not allow the birds of the air to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.” When David hears of the acts of Rizpah, he buries the men with the bones of Saul and Jonathan. “And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.”
3) The reading ends today with David and his men battling the Philistines. In David’s older age, he grows faint during the battle so his men come to his aid. “Then the men of David swore to him, saying, ‘You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.’” To David’s men, David is the light of Israel. And through David’s bloodline, we will meet the light of the world, Jesus Christ (John 8:12). The reading ends with David’s men defeating the Philistine giants.
Tomorrow David sings a song of praise to the Lord for the victories over his enemies. Keep reading. (2 Samuel 19:31-20:26, Psalm 7, 2 Samuel 21:1-22, 1 Chronicles 20:4-8)