Murder of Amasa As Joab and his men were pursuing Sheba, they met Amasa who was finally leading his recruits to King
David. This was a further indication of how much Amasa
had delayed in gathering an army. Joab was in full military attire,
wearing a belt with a sword in its sheath. As he went to meet Amasa,
with feigned words of brotherhood (they were cousins), his sword fell
out. Amasa evidently assumed he was disarmed and did not notice
the short sword in his left hand. He was not on guard when Joab took
hold of his beard to kiss him, and Joab’s weapon found its mark in
Amasa’s belly. Verse 12 says, “Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway.
Defeat of Sheba Joab and Abishai continued to pursue Sheba, but Joab had again assumed leadership. Arriving at the city where
Sheba had taken refuge, they built up a mound against it;
with dirt piled at an angle to make a ramp to the top of the wall. As they were laying siege to the city, they hit the doors and walls with battering rams in order to tear them down. Inside the city, a wise woman asked to speak with Joab. Her plea, verses 18-19, was an eloquent one. She began by telling Joab that her city, Abel, was noted for its wise people.
They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall
surely ask counsel at Abel, and so they ended the matter.
I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel.
thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. why
wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?
Joab assured her that he had no desire to destroy the city, but he
had to have Sheba because he was traitor to the king. The woman then quickly persuaded the people to cut off Sheba’s head and throw it over the wall to Joab. As soon as he had received it, he blew the trumpet and the army returned to David in triumph.
Verse 23 records that Joab was once again head of the army. He had regained and secured his position as the military leader. And David, having survived two rebellions, was again safely reigning Israel on his throne.
David’s Last Battle Chapter 21 contains the record of the famine which occurred as a result of Saul’s earlier attempt to exterminate the Gibeonites and the retaliation that was demanded. As a consequence of this, David retrieved the bones of Saul and Jonathan from the hands of the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had so heroically rescued them from the Philistines. Together with the victims of the Gibeonite revenge, he buried them in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father.
Then, once again, David was forced to fight against the Philistines. At
this time it became apparent that he was growing old because he be-came weary during the heat of the battle. One of the Philistine giants
was on the verge of killing him, and he had to be rescued by Abishai.
This prompted his men to say, “Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.
David’s Song of Thanksgiving Chapter 22 records David’s magnificent song of praise to the Lord for His lifetime of goodness. Verses 2-51 of this chapter are paralleled in Psalm 18:2-50. Chapter 23, which is labeled his last words and which continue his praise, confirm for us that he was the inspired writer of many of the Psalms. Look at the first four verses.
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse
said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed
of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my
tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me,
He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of
God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the
sun riseth, even a morning without clouds, as the tender
grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Not only do these words confirm the fact that God spoke through
David, they also give us God’s criteria for successful leadership.
The balance of chapter 23, contains a recount of some of the
historic activities of the valiant men under David. It is a salute to these
ancient heroes as their names and deeds are recorded for posterity.
XXXVI PREPARATION FOR THE TEMPLE
The story told in II Samuel 24 is not dated but these events
evidently occurred rather late in David’s life. It is paralleled in I
Chronicles 21, and much of its significance is related to the building of the future temple which was in the mind and heart of David.
Census ordered We can read in II Samuel 24: 1, that “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. “ First Chronicles 21:1 gives further in-sight into this incident when it indicates that it was Satan who prompted David to number the people of Israel and Judah. Rather than a conflict in Scripture, this event was a case of God permitting Satan to test David.
David was getting old and evidently beginning to lose some of the confidence which he had in God as the leader of the armies of Israel. As a result, he began to think his strength came from the numbers in his reserve and standing armies rather than from God.
David’s order to number the men displeased God, and
surprisingly, it displeased Joab as well. In this instance,
more spiritual insight into the purposes of God than
David. He made a vigorous attempt to persuade the king to countermand his order, even becoming eloquent in his protest, as recorded in verse 3.
And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the
people, how many soever they be, an hundred fold, and that the
eyes of my lord the king may see it. but why doth my lord the
king delight in this thing?
In other words, Joab urged, do not worry about numbers or quantity.
The Lord will give you as many people as you need when you
need them. He might have added a reminder of the Lord’s promise that the people would be without number-as the stars of heaven and the sand of the seashore.
But David was king and his supreme authority prevailed over
Joab’s resistance. The census-taking project was a long job and Verse 8 says it took nine months and twenty days. Joab and his team made a wide circuit throughout the land making sure to obey the king’s order. Then they came back and gave the count to David as he had requested.
David’s repentance It appears that as soon as Joab placed the figures before him, David knew that he had done wrong. “I have sinned
greatly in that I have done, “ he cried out to the Lord (vs. 10).
“Take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. “ The
next morning the Lord’s response came to him through Gad, the prophet: “I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. “
This is evidence that God’s forgiveness does not preclude the need for restitution, or the need for a public display of His displeasure. All the people in the land witnessed the fact that David had begun to put his confidence in numbers rather than in God. The faith of every inhabitant was affected by David’s lack of faith. God had been offended and His position in Israel had been diminished because of David’s census. So, even though David confessed and repented, the damage had been done and there was a price to pay.
In effect, what God said to David was, You have three alternatives
from which to choose. Either God will send you seven years of famine. Or, if you prefer you will flee for three months before your enemies while they pursue you. Or, God can send three days of plague into the land. Which do you choose? Notice that none of these penalties would fall on David alone. As King over God’s people, his sin caused them all to suffer.
David’s choice demonstrated that he was a man of godly
understanding: “let us fall now into the hand of the Lord for his
mercies are great, and let me not fall into the hand of man” (vs. 14). So God sent a plague over the land, during which time 70,000 men died from the far north to the far south. What a terrible thing! David’s lack of faith and his sin resulted in the death of 70,000 people. It was as if God said, David, you have put your faith in numbers and quantity. I will show you how with the stroke of My hand, I can remove numbers from you. Your victories do not depend on numbers. I can give them or I can take them away.
David was permitted to see the Angel of the Lord as He prepared to
smite Jerusalem with the plague, standing with drawn sword over the
threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (called Oman in II Chronicles 21).
Again he cried out in repentance (vs. 17);
And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that
smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done
wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? let thine
hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.
But David’s house could not be cut off because of the Davidic
Covenant. So the people must be smitten instead.
But David’s prayer was heard. Again, Gad came to him
with the word of the Lord, saying, “Go up, rear an altar
unto the Lord in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. “
Quickly David obeyed the Lord’s command and went
up to the threshing floor of Araunah. He bought his threshing floor, his
oxen for sacrifice, and his tools for the firewood. And so, the last verse of 11 Samuel says (24:25):
And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt
offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the
land, and the plaque was stayed from Israel.
For the full significance of this conclusion, turn to I Chronicles
22:1: “Then David said, This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. “ God had made known His choice of the site where His temple and His altar were to be placed.
Plans and Materials for Building It is evident that the events of II Samuel covered less than forty years, the length of David’s reign. He ascended the throne at its beginning, in 1010 B.C. and he was still alive when the book ended. The gap between the end of 11 Samuel and the beginning of I Kings is covered in I Chronicles 22-29. Here we have recorded the preparations David made for the temple which Solomon was to build. As soon as God had showed him where the temple was to be built, he began to amass the necessary building materials and to instruct Solomon in the details of the work.
And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my
mind to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God:
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. (22:7,8)
It is here that we learn why it was that back in II Samuel 7, when
David had desired to build a house for God, the Lord had said, “No,
you will not build Me a house. “ God had gone on to explain that the
honor of building the temple would go to his son (22:9,10):
who shall be a man of rest, and I will give him rest from all
his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon,
and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.
He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my
son, and I will be his father, and I will establish the throne
of his kingdom over Israel for ever.
This is a further confirmation of the Davidic Covenant announced
in II Samuel 7. It indicates that Solomon was the selected son to carry on the lineage of David which would continue through the time of the
Messiah. Solomon would become the lamp unto David. And Solomon, not a man of blood, would be the one who would build the temple of God in Jerusalem.
First Kings credits Solomon with building the temple of God, but
we read in I Chronicles, that David made great preparations for its
construction. In 22:14, he said,
I have prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand
talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver, and
of brass and iron without weight, for it is in abundance: timber
also and stone have I prepared.
In addition to that, he had selected workmen-stonecutters,
masons, carpenters, and all manner of skillful people. He commanded Solomon to arise and build. He also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon in this great work.
Chapter 28 records how David assembled all the officials of Israel;
the princes of the various tribes, and stood to his feet to confirm the building program that God had given to him for his son Solomon. Beginning in Verse 11, he turned over to Solomon all the plans for the building which were precise in every detail. First Chronicles 28:19 is an amazing verse, indicating that David had received the temple plan directly from God, “The Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. “ I am reminded of Exodus 25:9, 40: According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.... And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was
showed thee in the mount.
God does not rely on human instrumentality when it comes to
His tabernacle and His temple. Very specifically, He gave in writing the pattern by which He wanted those items built. He was the draftsman; He was the engineer. Acts 7:44 says:
Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness,
as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should
made it according to the fashion that he had seen.
XXXVII THE KINGDOM OF SOLOMON
1 KINGS First Kings opens with the kingdom in transition. David had
become advanced in age and was bedridden. Although Solomon had
been chosen as his successor, as we realize from I Chronicles 22-29, he had not been officially anointed. As a result, for a brief period, the power structure in the kingdom was loose and weakened due to King David’s incapacity and the uncertainty regarding his successor.
Adonijah Seeks the Throne Adonijah stepped into this vacuum. I Kings 1:5 records that he “exalted himself, saying, I will be king. “ As David’s oldest surviving son, he was undoubtedly laying claim to his natural right. Then, to gain attention, he did what Absalom had done, “he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. “ With some surprise we read (vs. 7), that he was able to recruit Joab and Abiathar the priest, David’s old friend from Nob, who was also one of the spies who worked with Zadok at the time of Absalom’s rebellion. However, Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and some other of David’s oldest supporters and his band of mighty men, remained loyal to the king.
Next, Adonijah prepared a great feast to which he invited all of
his supporters, his brothers, and the leading men of Judah. The men
loyal to David were not invited and, needless to say, neither was Solomon.
While this political rally was going on, Nathan informed “Hast thou not heard that Adonijah ... doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?” (vs. 11). Old and in bed, David no longer had a grasp on events in the kingdom. Possibly, some senility was setting in. Nathan suggested that Bathsheba inform the king what was happening, and remind him of his promise that her son Solomon would be his successor. Following that, Nathan would then go in and confirm her story.
So, Nathan and Bathsheba had a scenario prepared to act out
before the king. Bathsheba went into David’s bedchamber and told him all that Adonijah was doing. She pointed out that all the king’s sons, except Solomon, had been invited, and that even Joab and Abiathar were among them. She reminded him of his promise concerning Solomon, and then pointed out his duty (vss. 20-21).
And thou, my lord, 0 king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee,
that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of
my lord the king after him. Otherwise it shall come to pass,
when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I
and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.
While she was speaking, Nathan entered and confirmed her
report, diplomatically prefacing his words with a question: “Hast thou
said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?” (vs 24).
Then he described Adonijah’s activities just as Bathsheba had done,
including the fact that he, Zadok, and Solomon, had not been invited.
He concluded, “Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not
shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king
after him?” (vs. 27).
In verse 28 we see a glimpse of the David of old. The news had aroused him to decisive action. Then, calling Bathsheba back into his presence, he renewed the vow he had made to her (vs. 30):
Even as I sware unto thee by the Lord God of Israel, saying,
Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit
upon my throne in my stead, even so will I certainly do this day.
King David was once again in control of his kingdom. He ordered
Nathan and Zadok to get Solomon and have him ride on the king’s own mule to Gihon where he would be anointed as king. They would then blow the trumpet and shout, “God save King Solomon.“ They would then return to Jerusalem and place Solomon on the throne. All the men around David responded with a hearty “Amen. “ The old David was back in action again.
Solomon anointed Beginning in verse 38, Nathan and Zadok followed the king’s instructions. Solomon was anointed and the populace
responded with a spontaneous and noisy celebration that included both shouting and musical instruments. The noise was heard all the way to Enrogel where Adonijah’s party was going on. Joab was the first to be concerned at the sound. Abiathar’s son Jonathan soon arrived with the complete story (vss. 43-46):
Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king. . . .
And . . . hath sent him with Zadok the priest, and Nathan
the prophet .... and they have caused him to tide upon the
king’s mule; ... and ... have anointed him king in Gihon;
and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the
city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard.
And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.
He also described the approval of the king’s servants who had said,
“God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne
greater than thy throne”.
That was the end of Adonijah’s victory party. His guests left quickly
and in fear, knowing they had been accessories to the crime of treason. Adonijah was afraid also, as well he might be, and ran to clutch the horns of the altar for protection. When Solomon heard that, he sent a message of forgiveness. “If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not a hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die” (vs. 52). Adonijah quickly went and prostrated himself before Solomon, his half-brother, who said briefly: “Go to thine house”.
Eliminating Opposition I Kings Chapter 2 contains King David’s final instructions to Solomon, his successor. In effect, he was asking Solomon to take care of some of the “dirty laundry” he was leaving behind. He reminded Solomon of Joab’s misdeeds and instructed him that he “let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. “ He recalled the insults of Shimei who threw dirt and rocks at him when he fled from Absalom. David had sworn personally not to harm him but said that Solomon must find a way to bring “his hoar head . . . down to the grave with blood”.
David also remembered Barzillai, to whom he owed gratitude for
succor and great kindness. Most of all, he reminded Solomon that the
prosperity and success of his future on the throne depended on his
walking in the ways of the Lord God, “to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses” (vs. 3). When all these instructions had been given, “David slept with his fathers” (vs. 10).
Verse 11 is a summary of David’s forty year reign. He reigned
seven years in Hebron (1010 B.C. to 1003 B.C.) and thirty-three years in Jerusalem, as king over Israel and Judah (1003 to 970 B.C.). In the year 970 B.C. “sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was established greatly “ (vs. 12).
Adonijah Soon after his father’s death, Adonijah did a very foolish
thing. He asked Bathsheba to intercede with King Solomon to give him the Shunammite girl who had served King David in his old age. We have previously seen the significance attached to the act of taking a woman from a previous king’s harem. Solomon saw this request as an attempt by Adonijah to overthrow him and gain the throne. It gave Solomon sufficient reason to have Adonijah slain. It was a touchy situation, however, because Adonijah was the natural heir to the throne and he had a substantial following. Solomon could not trust just anyone to carry out the order. He selected Benaiah, the head of David’s old personal bodyguard and probably the most trusted military man in the kingdom with the responsibility of executing Adonijah. Verse 25 says, “he fell upon him that he died.
Abiathar In verse 27, the king dealt with Abiathar, the priest who had
joined the defection to Adonijah, by dismissing him from the priest-hood “that he might fulfill the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh”. Abiathar was the last active priest who was a member of the family under the curse. Although he had joined the
opposition to Solomon, his faithfulness to David in the past saved his
life; and of course, Solomon would not kill a priest of the Lord. He
appointed Zadok to replace him.
Joab Joab saw that he would be next and fled to the horns of the
altar. Solomon sent Benaiah to execute him also. When Joab refused to leave the altar, but insisted he would die there. Solomon said, in effect, “So be it. He recounted Joab’s crimes in justification, and pronounced that his blood would not be on the head of David and his descendants. When Joab was dead, he commissioned Benaiah to the position of Commander-in-Chief, previously held by Joab.
Shimei Next, the king sent for Shimei and made an arrangement under which he might live, but be under the watchful eyes of Solomon’s servants. The arrangement stated that he was never to set foot outside Jerusalem.
After three years, Shirnei broke the agreement by leaving town, and
once again Solomon sent Benaiah to carry out his sentence of execution. With that final execution, “the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon” (vs.46). David’s last orders had been carried out, and the final opposition to Solomon’s monarchy was eradicated.