|Part Two, Section One, begins in verse 12 where the Lord says to
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with
thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall
proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish
the throne of his kingdom forever.
No monarch had ever received such a promise as this. God was
promising David a seed (offspring), in perpetuity. His dynasty was to
continue forever and ever. The physical proof of this was that there
would always be a male heir of David to sit on the throne generation
after generation. The people could look at their king and say, “there, in the descendent of David, is the physical evidence of God’s promise to King David.”
Sections Two and Three are found in verse 16: “And thine house
and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever”. David was promised three things to be realized after his death: An eternal seed, finally realized in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ; An eternal kingdom, set aside for the present, but to be reestablished again when the Lord Jesus returns to earth; An eternal throne upon which Christ Himself will sit. All these promises were conveyed by God to David through the prophet Nathan.
What a privilege it must have been for the prophet to announce the
Davidic Covenant to his monarch.
David’s Response David listened in awe to the words of God through Nathan. Then in humility and gratitude, he sought to commune with the Lord, sitting before the Ark and saying (vs. 18ft),
Who am I, 0 Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast
brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in thy
sight, 0 Lord God, but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s
house for a great while to come.
David continued, recognizing that nothing in him deserved such
exaltation (vs. 21): “For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own
heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know
them. “ From there he continued in a beautiful prayer of worship, and
exaltation, and glory to God.
XXXI FURTHER VICTORIES
SECOND SAMUEL Philistines and Moabites
A major reason why God did not permit King David to fulfill his
dream of building Him a temple, was the fact that his career had been
one consisting of much bloodshed. This is made clear in I Chronicles
22:8, where David is speaking.
But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed
blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not
build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much
blood upon the earth in my sight.
In II Samuel 8, we have some further evidence of this as David fights to subdue those neighboring kingdoms that still seek to cause trouble on their common borders.
After a successful assault against the Philistines, he engaged in a
major battle to subdue the Moabites. Here we get a little more insight
into one of the customs of the day. For the most part, prisoners were not taken unless they could be profitably sold as slaves. It was not
feasible to provide for their sustenance, so prisoners were usually slain after a battle. In chapter 8, David practices this custom in his military conquests.
It is interesting to remember that only a few years earlier he had
entrusted his parents’ safety to the king of Moab. Now, to expand his
territory and secure his borders, He has engaged them in battle and
defeated them. He made the captives lie down on the ground in three
lines, then he ordered two lines to be put to death while those in the
third became his servants. The remainder of the chapter summarizes
David’s conquests and names the chief officials in his government.
Mephibosheth When not engaged in battle, David continued to perform those acts which drew him closer to the hearts of the people, especially those from the northern kingdom who had remained loyal to Saul and were David’s former enemies. Second Samuel 9 recounts one of the things which David did to solidify his relationship with the tribe of Benjamin.
The first mention of Mephibosheth occurred in II Samuel
4:4. There we learned that he was a son of Jonathan and
that he was five years old when his father and grandfather
were killed in battle. In the panic that followed that defeat, his nurse
sought to flee with him but he was dropped and became lame. That
would have been in 1010 B.C.
Chapter 9 relates how in 995 B.C., David further endeared himself
to the relatives of Saul and the inhabitants of the northern kingdom
through his kindness to Mephibosheth. There was a deeper motive than that, however. It was the promise and the commitment he had made to Jonathan to show kindness to his descendents, and the assurance he had given to King Saul, that he would not cut off his descendents. This was an extraordinary promise because it was common practice in those days for a monarch to completely annihilate any and all relatives of his predecessor if he had been deposed, assassinated, or otherwise displaced by one other than his natural heir.
Mephibosheth would have been about twenty years old when
David called for him. As an heir of Saul and Jonathan, he was naturally filled with fear when the king summoned him. Verse 6 says “he fell on his face. “ David had to reassure him, saying, “Fear not. “ Mephibosheth, no doubt, expected to be killed on the spot. Instead, David turned Saul’s entire estate over to Him along with the lifetime services of one of Saul’s former servants named Ziba. Mephibosheth was given the honor of eating continually at the king’s table and being treated with all the deference accorded the king’s own sons.
Do not overlook the fact that this is a picture of pure grace.
Mephibosheth had done nothing to earn this pardon and blessing.
David’s love for Jonathan, and his previous commitments to Jonathan
and Saul, moved him to show this kindness, and Israel loved him for it.
Victory Over Ammon and Syria About this time, the princes of Ammon, without probable cause, committed a serious insult to David and his emissaries. As a consequence, Joab and his brother Abishai led the army out to battle against the Ammonites, who then called upon the Syrian army for aid. Joab and Abishai defeated the Syrians and forced the Ammonites into retreat, but the Syrians called in reinforcements and drew up a great battle array against Israel. So, King David led additional soldiers into the battle.
Second Samuel 10:18 records the result. “The Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen. Syria, therefore, made peace with Israel and served them and feared to help the children of Ammon any more” (vs. 19).
This began a period in David’s life when he no longer needed to
be active militarily, as he had been in the days of his flight from Saul
and in the early years of his monarchy.
XXXII A TRAGIC DOWNFALL
Murder of Uriah David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba was one of passion, impulse, and emotion. However, in plotting and systematically carrying out the murder of Uriah, David committed a sin of a high hand. The severity of God’s judgment upon him, appears to do with his deliberate actions of hiding his sin as much as with his original misdeed, for Nathan, when he later confronted him, said: “thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon” (II Sam. 12:9). It is as his son Solomon later wrote: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper. but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).
Not only did the systematically planned murder of Uriah bring
David under the judgment of God, but by using Joab as the man who
was privy to the entire sequence of events, he put himself in a position where Joab would always be able to control him because he knew where the “bodies were buried”. He knew about the skeletons in the closet. In sending Joab the order to place Uriah in the front line of the battle, David probably rationalized in his mind that his difficulty was Uriah’s fault. He may have thought, “If only he had followed his
monarch’s advice to spend the night at home, the whole problem would have been solved.” But God does not accept human rationalizations.
The prophet Nathan made it very clear that God was judging David for the murder of Uriah and for taking the dead man’s wife as his own. His sin had brought disgrace on God and had made both himself and God’s nation a laughing-stock for the heathen. His personal testimony was ruined.
One fact overlooked in the description of Uriah’s murder, is that
while the fighting was in progress where Uriah had been stationed,
verse 17 reports, “and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also. “ Other valiant men were sacrificed as a cover-up for the reason behind Uriah’s death. So, other soldiers as well as Uriah died because of David’s lust and sin.
As a final cover-up touch to his scheme, David sent a letter of
consolation to Joab, saying (vs. 25), “the sword devoureth one as well as
another”. In other words, “be comforted, that is the way war goes.”
Then he sent for Bathsheba and made her his wife. Everything was
under control with no loose ends. No one was aware of the situation
except Joab. But 11:27 closes the narrative by saying, “The thing that
David had done displeased the Lord.
Confrontation In chapter 12, the curtain is pulled back on King David’s throne room and we are allowed to see the confrontation between the prophet Nathan and the king. This was the only nation on earth where the
prophet was allowed to confront a king and to rebuke him regarding
his actions without losing his head. After this it will not always be so,
even in Israel, but David was Theocentric. Although he had allowed sin to come into his life, he still loved God and wanted to serve Him. When Nathan the prophet came to him, the king respected his words from God and was sensitive to them. This is the touchstone of David’s life. He was not perfect, but neither was he stiff-necked. He did not rebel at the words of God. His heart was sensitive and when Nathan spoke to him, he listened and obeyed.
Nathan presented David with the parable contained in
verses 1-4. David passed judgment on the man described
in the parable, and in doing so passed judgment on himself.
In verse 7, Nathan pointed to him and said, “Thou art the man. “ Then he delivered God’s words of judgment and future tragedies on David’s family.
As tragic as this judgment was, it is possible that verse 8 is even
more tragic. Alongside it in my Bible I have written “lost potential.” Just imagine what David could have experienced in the perfect will of God. God reminded him of everything He had done for him, and in verse 8, He says, “And if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. “ But David was not faithful in all things. He sinned, and as a result of his sin, he was judged. However, he repented and was fully restored to the will of God. But verse 8 leads me to believe that he never experienced the things he could have experienced had he remained faithful. Who can ever know what God has in store for the individual who lives and walks in the perfect will of God? How many of us, through impatience or impetuousness, have involved ourselves in those things which have caused us to be relegated to the secondary, permissive will of God. And as a result, for the rest of our lives will never ever experience what we could have experienced had we been faithful from the beginning. Oh, the tragedy of lost potential.
Repentance David was genuinely repentant. He confessed (vs. 13), “I have sinned against the Lord. Not against Bathsheba and not against Uriah. David knew that all sin is first and foremost against God. Nathan replied, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die”.
Following the encounter with Nathan, David was a broken and
repentant man. Nevertheless, a price must be paid. There is no miraculous deliverance from the after-effects of a sin that affects those around us or dishonors the One we profess to serve. God’s words of judgment through Nathan continued (vs. 14): “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. . . . “ David would pay the price in his own household because he had destroyed the household of Uriah. The impact of what he had done would have its affect on his wives and children. David repented and God forgave and spared him, but He did not miraculously erase what everyone had seen take place.
Consequences In addition to future judgment, God also decreed that the child which Bathsheba bore would die. After Nathan left him, the child became ill. Even though God had said “the child ... shall surely die” (vs. 14), David still besought the Lord for the child’s life. He did everything he possibly could to change God’s will in the matter. This is well within the program of God. David did not sit back as Eli had done and say, “Let God do what He will.” God had determined that the child would die, but David, acting 180 degrees opposite from the spineless Eli, implored the Lord to spare the baby’s life. He fasted; he prayed; he lay all night on the ground. He mourned and wept and when the elders came and stood beside him, to implore him to eat, David would not because he was doing everything possible, physically and spiritually, to implore God to save his child.
Then verse 18 records, “on the seventh day, the child died. “ God’s
mind had not been changed. But, David did not hate God because the child did not recover. He was a man of sound mind, solid and well
adjusted, both spiritually and psychologically. Look what he did after
learning that the child was dead.
And it came to pass, on the seventh day, that the child died.
And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child
was dead; for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive,
we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice:
how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
They reasoned among themselves: “He has been mourning these
seven days with praying and fasting. He will be destroyed psychologically if we tell him that his prayers have not had any effect. He would not listen to us when the child was alive. If we tell him the child has died he might do himself harm.” Verse 19 says that when David saw his servants whispering among themselves he knew what had happened and asked, “Is the child dead?” They responded, “He is dead.”
Look now how David acts. He got up; he washed himself; he
anointed himself with oil; he changed his clothes. Then, he went to the house of the Lord to worship. After that he went home and said, “now it’s time to eat.” His servants were astonished and asked him, “What is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child is dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
Is this not a wonderful chapter on emotional and psychological
well-being. David explained:
While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept. for I said,
Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the
child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast?
can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall
not return to me. (12:22-23)
How often we do just the opposite. We do not mourn and cry and
lie all night on the ground and fast for our loved ones when they are ill, in the event that God may spare them. Then, when they die, we
continue grieving, and often become bitter. Our hearts turn against
God because He did not spare them. The root of bitterness begins to
spring up and causes people to hate God and to spend the rest of their lives turned inward to themselves in self inflicted pity. This was not the attitude of David. He was a spiritually and psychologically well adjusted individual, who provides a pattern which should be followed.
David said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Here is a
tremendous Old Testament statement of the resurrection.
Birth of Solomon David’s love for Bathsheba continued. She conceived and bore a son whom they named Solomon. Verse 24 says that “the Lord loved him. “ Sin had been forgiven and put behind them. There is no better example in all of God’s Word regarding the truth of Psalm 103:10-14. 1 believe that when David penned the words of Psalm 103, he was thinking about this event. David’s sin with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah were in the past. As in the words of the Apostle Paul, “Forgetting those things which are behind. . . . I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (PhD. 3:13-14). Bathsheba gave birth to a son, and this son would become the greatest man ever to sit on the throne of Israel. “And the Lord loved him”.
Victory at Rabbah During all these events, the siege of Rabbah had been continuing. This was the city which was being attacked when Uriah was killed. The remainder of chapter 12 describes its finish.
This incident gives us an indication of Joab’s integrity. He was a
valiant man, a man of war. He knew everything David had done, and
would use it to his advantage later on. Nevertheless, he was a man of
integrity and knew his position in the political/military structure of the
kingdom. He was now about to capture Rabbah, the capital city of the
Ammonites, after a long siege. It began, you will remember, back in
11:1. So, we have an excellent example here of how long siege warfare could take. When Joab knew the city was his, we read in verses 27-28,
And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought
against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters. Now
therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp
against the city, and take it. lest I take the city, and it be
called after my name.
What Joab said, in effect was, “you go in and make the final military
thrust, David.” Joab had brought the city to its knees and all that remained was the triumphal entry by the victor into the city. Joab did not want to do that lest they worship him as the hero and even name the city after him.
David gathered his forces and went to Rabbah where he marched
triumphantly into the city. He took the crown of gold from the head of
their king and had it placed on his head which Samuel anointed so
many years before, So, King David got the glory of the victory. Joab’s
example of integrity shows us that, regardless of all his faults, he was a man of honor in the true military sense.
XXXIII TROUBLE IN THE FAMILY
All the events we have examined from II Samuel 11:1-12:26, fall
between chapters 19:19 and 20: 1 in First Chronicles. Chapter 20:1-3
duplicates, the story of the siege and capture of Rabbah. Not only is the account of David’s sin and judgment omitted from Chronicles, but all the events recorded in II Samuel 13:1-21:17, also do not appear there. Even though the author of Chronicles, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, saw fit to pass over these occurrences as being irrelevant to his theme, they are important to our general history and survey. We will cover them as they are recorded in II Samuel.
The Rape of Tamar In II Samuel 13, we are introduced to some of the children of David. Back in II Samuel 3:2-3, we were given a list of the six sons born to David (each by a different wife) during his reign in Hebron. In order of birth, the first four of these were: Amnon, who would have been considered heir to the throne; Chiliab (also called Daniel, see I Chron. 3:1), of whom little is known; Absalom, and Adonijah, who both aspired to the throne of their father.
Keep in mind that these young men were princes, accustomed to
being catered to, having whatever they wanted, and probably quite
proud and haughty. Later, in First Kings 1:6, in connection with Adonijah, we read that he had never been subject to parental rebuke or discipline. “His father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?” Probably, this was David’s normal pattern of parenting. In these sons, David reaped the fruit of his sin. Even though forgiven of his sin, he still reaped the fulfillment of God’s judgment on his family, as pronounced through Nathan.
Amnon was a wicked man and, as natural heir to the throne, was probably insufferably high-handed. He became desperately enamored of his beautiful half-sister, Tamar, who was full sister to Absalom. With the connivance of his cousin Jonadab, he made plans to take her. As part of the plan, he feigned illness and loss of appetite. When his father visited him, he suggested that he could eat if “Tamar my sister” prepared and served his food. So it was arranged.
As soon as Amnon had Tamar alone, he forced her to submit to
him. Tragically, however, as soon as he had vented his lust, it turned to hatred against her and he commanded his personal servants to throw her out and lock the door behind her. Shamed and ruined, this young Israelite princess went through all the formal motions of mourning. She put ashes on her head, rent the beautiful garment that proclaimed her a virgin of the royal family, and with her hand on her head, went stumbling and crying aloud through the streets.
When Absalom found her and learned what had happened, he
was furious. However, he urged her to keep quiet and let him take
care of her. “So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house”
The story did get to David and we are told “he was very
wroth”. It is evident, however, that he made no move to
punish Amnon for the crime either as father or as king. We
have seen that he was unaccustomed to disciplining his children, and
he was no doubt paralyzed emotionally by the memory of his own sin
which Amnon could readily throw up to him. Amnon could have said:
“Look what you did, Dad! “ He was angry, but he was paralyzed when
it came to taking action over the heinous thing that had happened in his
Absalom’s Revenge Beginning in verse 22, the focus shifts to Absalom. Although he hated Amnon for violating his sister, he said nothing about it, either good or bad. He pretended indifference, but he had a plan and was patient until the time was right.
I am certain that after two years had gone by, Amnon had
forgotten the matter. Absalom had not; he arranged a great
sheep-shearing party and invited his father and brothers to attend. David declined, but Amnon and the rest of his brothers went along. Absalom then instructed his servants to watch for a suitable time, then kill Amnon.
Thinking, perhaps, that this was a plot to seize the throne,
the remaining brothers fled. Rumor sped faster, however,
and by the time the news reached David, it had mushroomed
into a report that all the king’s sons had been slain. David promptly
went into deep mourning, tearing his clothes and lying on the ground.
After sowing the wind, he was beginning to reap the whirlwind. Lust,
incest, rape, and murder have occurred among the members of his own family.