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2 Samuel 22

Thursday, April 12, 2018

David’s Psalm of Deliverance

22 And David spoke the words of this song to the Lord in the day that the Lord delivered him from the [a]hand of all his enemies and from the [b]hand of Saul. 2 He said,

“The Lord is my [c]rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
3 [d]My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.
4 “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
5 “For the waves of death encompassed me;
The torrents of [e]destruction [f]overwhelmed me;
6 The cords of [g]Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
7 “In my distress I called upon the Lord,
Yes, I [h]cried to my God;
And from His temple He heard my voice,
And my cry for help came into His ears.
8 “Then the earth shook and quaked,
The foundations of heaven were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
9 “Smoke went up [i]out of His nostrils,
Fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
10 “He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
11 “And He rode on a cherub and flew;
And He [j]appeared on the wings of the wind.
12 “And He made darkness [k]canopies around Him,
A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.
13 “From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.
14 “The Lord thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice.
15 “And He sent out arrows, and scattered them,
Lightning, and [l]routed them.
16 “Then the channels of the sea appeared,
The foundations of the world were [m]laid bare
By the rebuke of the Lord,
At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
17 “He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
18 “He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.
19 “They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
20 “He also brought me forth into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
21 “The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
22 “For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not acted wickedly against my God.
23 “For all His ordinances were before me,
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from [n]them.
24 “I was also [o]blameless toward Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
25 “Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to my cleanness before His eyes.
26 “With the [p]kind You show Yourself [q]kind,
With the [r]blameless You show Yourself [s]blameless;
27 With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the perverted You show Yourself [t]astute.
28 “And You save an afflicted people;
But Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase.
29 “For You are my lamp, O Lord;
And the Lord illumines my darkness.
30 “For by You I can [u]run upon a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall.
31 “As for God, His way is [v]blameless;
The word of the Lord is tested;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
32 “For who is God, besides the Lord?
And who is a rock, besides our God?
33 “God is my strong fortress;
And He [w]sets the [x]blameless in [y]His way.
34 “He makes [z]my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me on my high places.
35 “He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your [aa]help makes me great.
37 “You enlarge my steps under me,
And my [ab]feet have not slipped.
38 “I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
39 “And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise;
And they fell under my feet.
40 “For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have [ac]subdued under me those who rose up against me.
41 “You have also made my enemies turn theirbacks to me,
And I [ad]destroyed those who hated me.
42 “They looked, but there was none to save;
Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
43 “Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth;
I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets.
44 “You have also delivered me from the contentions of my people;
You have kept me as head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.
45 “Foreigners pretend obedience to me;
As soon as they hear, they obey me.
46 “Foreigners [ae]lose heart,
And [af]come trembling out of their [ag]fortresses.
47 “The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be [ah]God, the rock of my salvation,
48 The God who executes vengeance for me,
And brings down peoples under me,
49 Who also brings me out from my enemies;
You even lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.
50 “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the nations,
And I will sing praises to Your name.
51 “He is a tower of [ai]deliverance to His king,
And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
To David and his [aj]descendants forever.”

2 Samuel 21

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2 Samuel 21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Gibeonite Revenge

21 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the Lord. And the Lord said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel [a]made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to [b]kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). Thus David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?” Then the Gibeonites said to him, “We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “I will do for you whatever you say.” So they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and who planned [c]to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel,let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will [d]hang them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord.” And the king said, “I will give them.”

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the Lord which was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of [e]Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they [f]hanged them in the mountain before the Lord, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.

10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until [g]it rained on them from the sky; and she [h]allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. 11 When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12 then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa. 13 He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been [i]hanged. 14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus they did all that the king commanded, and after that God was moved by prayer for the land.

15 Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary. 16 Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the [j]giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, [k]was girded with a new sword, and he [l]intended to kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel.”

18 Now it came about after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among the descendants of the [m]giant. 19 There was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite [n]killed [o]Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 20 There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the [p]giant. 21 When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. 22 These four were born to the [q]giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

2 Samuel 20

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2 Samuel 20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Sheba’s Revolt

20 Now a worthless fellow happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew the trumpet and said,

“We have no portion in David,
Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!”

So all the men of Israel [a]withdrew from following David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah [b]remained steadfast to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.

Then the king said to Amasa, “Call out the men of Judah for me within three days, and be present here yourself.” So Amasa went to call out the men ofJudah, but he delayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him. And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord’s servants and pursue him, so that he does not find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” So Joab’s men went out after him, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men; and they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. When they were at the large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came [c]to meet them. Now Joab was [d]dressed in his military attire, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; and as he went forward, it fell out. Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.

Amasa Murdered

10 But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab’s hand so he struck him in the belly with it and poured out his inward parts on the ground, and did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 Now there stood by him one of Joab’s young men, and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 12 But Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he [e]removed Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.

Revolt Put Down

13 As soon as he was removed from the highway, all the men passed on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

14 Now he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, even Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they were gathered together and also went after him. 15 They came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they [f]cast up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood by the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall. 16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Hear, hear! Please tell Joab, ‘Come here that I may speak with you.’” 17 So he approached her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” And he answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your maidservant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18 Then she spoke, saying, “Formerly they used to say, ‘They will surely ask advice at Abel,’ and thus they ended the dispute19 I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?” 20 Joab replied, “Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy! 21 Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will depart from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem.

23 Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24 and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25 and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 and Ira the Jairite was also a priest to David.

2 Samuel 19

Monday, April 09, 2018

2 Samuel 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Joab Reproves David’s Lament

19 Then it was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourns for Absalom.” 2 The [a]victory that day was turned to mourning for all the people, for the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.” 3 So the people went by stealth into the city that day, as people who are humiliated steal away when they flee in battle. 4 The king covered his face and [b]cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”5 Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, 6 by loving those who hate you, and by hating those who love you. For you have shown today that [c]princes and servants are nothing to you; for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then [d]you would be pleased. 7 Now therefore arise, go out and speak [e]kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.”

David Restored as King

8 So the king arose and sat in the gate. When they told all the people, saying, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate,” then all the people came before the king.

Now Israel had fled, each to his tent. 9 All the people were quarreling throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the [f]hand of our enemies and saved us from the [g]hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. 10 However, Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now then, why are you silent about bringing the king back?”

11 Then King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, ‘Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the word of all Israel has come to the king, even to his house? 12 You are my brothers; you are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 Say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me, and more also, if you will not be commander of the army before me continually in place of Joab.’”14 Thus he turned the hearts of all the men of Judah as one man, so that they sent word to the king, saying, “Return, you and all your servants.” 15 The king then returned and came as far as the Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal in order to go to meet the king, to bring the king across the Jordan.

16 Then Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 There were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, with Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they rushed to the Jordan before the king. 18 Then they kept crossing the ford to bring over the king’s household, and to do what was good in his sight. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he was about to cross the Jordan. 19 So he said to the king, “Let not my lord consider me guilty, nor remember what your servant did wrong on the day when my lord the king came out from Jerusalem, so that the king would [h]take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore behold, I have come today, the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.” 21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah said, “Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’sanointed?” 22 David then said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be an adversary to me? Should any man be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today?” 23 The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” Thus the king swore to him.

24 Then Mephibosheth the [i]son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he had neither [j]cared for his feet, nor [k]trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace. 25 It was when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26 So he answered, “O my lord, the king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself that I may ride on it and go with the king,’ because your servant is lame.27 Moreover, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king; but my lord the king is like the angel of God, therefore do what is good in your sight. 28 For all my father’s household was nothing but dead men before my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right do I have yet that I should [l]complain anymore to the king?” 29 So the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have [m]decided, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’” 30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him even take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.”

31 Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; and he went on to the Jordan with the king to [n]escort him over the Jordan. 32 Now Barzillai was very old, being eighty years old; and he had [o]sustained the king while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. 33 The king said to Barzillai, “You cross over with me and I will [p]sustain you in Jerusalem with me.” 34 But Barzillai said to the king, “How long [q]have I yet to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am [r]now eighty years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I hear anymore the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?36 Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king compensate me with this reward? 37 Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. However, here is your servant Chimham, let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.” 38 The king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight; and whatever you [s]require of me, I will do for you.” 39 All the people crossed over the Jordan and the king crossed too. The king then kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his place.

40 Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; and all the people of Judah and also half the people of Israel [t]accompanied the king.41 And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why had our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household and all David’s men with him over the Jordan?” 42 Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is a close relative to [u]us. Why then [v]are you angry about this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense, or has [w]anything been taken for us?” 43 But the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “[x]We have ten parts in the king, therefore [y]we also have more claim on David than you. Why then did you treat us with contempt? Was it not [z]our advice first to bring back [aa]our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.

2 Samuel 18

Sunday, April 08, 2018

2 Samuel 18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Absalom Slain

18 Then David [a]numbered the people who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. David sent the people out, one third under the [b]command of Joab, one third under the [c]command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the [d]command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.” But the people said, “You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But [e]you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.” Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.

Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. The people of Israel were [f]defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men. For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was [g]left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10 When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Then Joab said to the man who had told him, “Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 The man said to Joab, “Even if I should receive a thousand pieces ofsilver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘[h]Protect for me the young man Absalom!’ 13 Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.”14 Then Joab said, “I will not [i]waste time here with you.” So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the [j]midst of the oak. 15 And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.

16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17 They took Absalom and cast him into [k]a deep pit in the forest and erected over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his tent. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son [l]to preserve my name.” So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

David Is Grief-stricken

19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news that the Lord has [m]freed him from the hand of his enemies.” 20 But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day; however, you shall carry no news today because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22 Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why would you run, my son, since you will have no reward for going?” 23 “But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself. 25 The watchman called and told the king. And the king said, “If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27 The watchman said, “I [n]think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “This is a good man and comes with good news.”

28 Ahimaaz called and said to the king, “[o]All is well.” And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, “Blessed is the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king.” 29 The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was.” 30 Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31 Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for the Lord has [p]freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.” 32 Then the king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!”

33 [q]The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

2 Samuel 17

Saturday, April 07, 2018

2 Samuel 17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Hushai’s Counsel

17 Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and [a]exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone, and I will bring back all the people to you. [b]The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at peace.” So the [c]plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what [d]he has to say.” When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to [e]him, “Ahithophel has spoken [f]thus. Shall we [g]carry out his plan? If not, you speak.”So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithophel has [h]given is not good.” Moreover, Hushai said, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are [i]fierce, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an [j]expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people. Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the [k]caves or in another place; and it will be [l]when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears itwill say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’10 And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will completely [m]lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that [n]you personally go into battle. 12 So we shall come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will [o]fall on him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it into the [p]valley until not even a small stone is found there.”14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity on Absalom.

Hushai’s Warning Saves David

15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “[q]This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and [r]this is what I have counseled. 16 Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be [s]destroyed.’” 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant would go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David, for they could not be seen entering the city.18 But a lad did see them and told Absalom; so the two of them departed quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down [t]into it. 19 And the woman [u]took a covering and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on it, so that nothing was known. 20 Then Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have crossed the brook of water.” And when they searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 It came about after they had departed that they came up out of the well and went and told King David; and they said to David, “Arise and cross over the water quickly for thus Ahithophel has counseled against you.” 22 Then David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed the Jordan; and by [v]dawn not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not [w]followed, he [x]saddled hisdonkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, and [y]set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.

24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Absalom set Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was [z]Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”

To Thine Own Self

Saturday, April 07, 2018

To Thine own self

"This above all- to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!"

 

If this sounds familiar, it should. It is one of the most famous lines ever penned by William Shakespeare. When Shakespeare wrote the line, it represented the foolishness of Polonius, the wise man in the play Hamlet.  

 

I say foolishness because in Elizabethan English the phrase can mean several contradictory things.  For instance, the phrase can mean that he should always hold himself accountable to a higher standard, or it can also suggest it is wise to take care of himself first.  Even when coupled with the next line be not false with any man, a phrase that can mean both don't lie or be brutally and selfishly honest, its application is still open to interpretation.

 

Exchanges like this are woven deeply into the work of Shakespeare, and they are one of the reasons why he is the preeminent playwright. Audiences loved how he revealed his characters through the things they did not say or the turns in their meanings.  Polonius would have been known to the audience as a fool because his advice meant nothing. If wisdom is open to interpretation, then it has no worth. 

 

To the modern reader, the line is not as subtle. In fact, "be true to yourself" has only one meaning. Be who you are without excuse or apology sounds like wisdom, but like the words of Polonius, it has no real worth. It's a form of sugar-coated rebellion.

 

The nobility we perceive in this is nothing honorable. For many, the idea of being true to themselves is little more than a cover for all manner of selfish ungodliness.  It's impossible to calculate the evil wrought, the congregations divided, or families destroyed by those who were "true" to themselves.  As Jesus warned about the dangers of loving wealth, "No man can serve two masters; either he will love the one and hate the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other."(Matthew 6:24)

 

Everything else becomes collateral damage when the master we are most devoted to is ourselves. When I am the highest authority in my life, then I am never unjustified in my actions, or unrighteous in my behavior.  While this certainly sounds appealing to a world where individualism is code for self-indulgence and morality is relative and based solely on the mood of the person.  As Christians, we know the need for a higher authority.  Being true to myself is the worst way to live.

 

The one talent man was true to himself and his nature when he dug in the ground and hid the wealth his master had given to him. (Matthew 25) The parable of the sower is filled with examples of various types of people who are being true to their nature.

 

Matthew 13:3-9 (NASB ) “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

 

Is not the impenetrable wayside soil a heart that is true to itself?  The heart that is like the rocky unyielding soil is also observing its nature. The thorny uncultivated ground is also just being loyal to itself.  The lesson for us should be clear,  the most self-loyal that we can ever be is to surrender to the image of Christ; beyond this our loyalty to ourselves can only ever lead us further from our best desire.

 

The Proverbs warn on at least three occasions of the way that seems right to men, and Jesus in Matthew 6 urged his disciples to enter by the narrow gate avoiding the way that most of the world chooses. Every person going in the narrow gate and walking the broadway is following the way that seems correct to them. 

 

The only reassurance that comes from being true to ourselves, our compass, our values is the assurance of destruction. The values, culture, and acceptance of the world around us to which we often sow our seed and give our heart do not give life.

 

The questions should be asked, "in the name of my truth am I sowing the seeds of my spiritual destruction?"  What of the lives of my brethren, my children, my spouse; am I sowing the seeds of thorns in the garden of their heart?  I recently sat in a meeting where brother Phil Robertson (the preacher not the duck hunter) made this point. 

 

If we are going to be like Christ, we must elevate our thinking, our choosing, and our desires not just for our own sake, but for the sake of those in whose hearts we are sowing seed. This thought should be to each of us a call to be more than seems right to us and instead be faithful in our imitation of our master. 

 

The question then comes are we choosing the way that seems right to us, and being true to ourselves, or are we choosing the way we know to be right and being loyal to the one who is always faithful?

-JB

2 Samuel 16

Friday, April 06, 2018

2 Samuel 16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Ziba, a False Servant

16 Now when David had passed a little beyond the summit, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred clusters of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine.2 The king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these?” And Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine, for whoever is faint in the wilderness to drink.” 3 Then the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” And Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.’” 4 So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!”

David Is Cursed

5 When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. 6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. 7 Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! 8 The Lordhas returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”

9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and [a]cut off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my son who came out from [b]me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him. 12 Perhaps the Lordwill look on my affliction and [c]return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” 13 So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him. 14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary and he refreshed himself there.

Absalom Enters Jerusalem

15 Then Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 Now it came about when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your [d]loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 Then Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whom the Lord, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Besides, whom should I serve? Should Inot serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.”

20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 The advice of Ahithophel, which he [e]gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.

2 Samuel 15

Thursday, April 05, 2018

2 Samuel 15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Absalom’s Conspiracy

15 Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men as runners before him. 2 Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “See, your [a]claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king.” 4 Moreover, Absalom would say, “Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would give him justice.” 5 And when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.

7 Now it came about at the end of [b]forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord shall indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’”11 Then two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, who were invited and went [c]innocently, and they did not know anything. 12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom.

David Flees Jerusalem

13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are [d]with Absalom.” 14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”15 Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.” 16 So the king went out and all his household [e]with him. But the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17 The king went out and all the people [f]with him, and they stopped at the last house. 18 Now all his servants passed on beside him, all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come [g]with him from Gath, passed on before the king.

19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, while I go where I will? Return and take back your brothers; mercy and [h]truth be with you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” 22 Therefore David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” So Ittai the Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people passed over. The king also passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward the way of the wilderness.

24 Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people had finished passing from the city. 25 The king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation. 26 But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good [i]to Him.” 27 The king said also to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace and your two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I am going to wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.

30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went. 31 Now someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.”

32 It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the Archite met him with his [j]coat torn and [k]dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you pass over with me, then you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,’ then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me.35 Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So it shall be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything that you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 14

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

2 Samuel 14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Woman of Tekoa

14 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was inclined toward Absalom. 2 So Joab sent to Tekoa and [a]brought a wise woman from there and said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint yourself with oil, but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead many days;3 then go to the king and speak to him in this manner.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.

4 Now when the woman of Tekoa [b]spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself and said, “Help, O king.” 5 The king said to her, “What is your trouble?” And she [c]answered, “Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead. 6 Your maidservant had two sons, but the two of them struggled together in the field, and there was no [d]one to separate them, so one struck the other and killed him. 7 Now behold, the whole family has risen against your maidservant, and they say, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, and destroy the heir also.’ Thus they will extinguish my coal which is left, so as to [e]leave my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”

8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “O my lord, the king, the iniquity is on me and my father’s house, but the king and his throne are guiltless.” 10 So the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.” 11 Then she said, “Please let the king remember the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

12 Then the woman said, “Please let your maidservant speak a word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Speak.” 13 The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one. 14 For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans [f]ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him. 15 Now [g]the reason I have come to speak this word to my lord the king is that the people have made me afraid; so your maidservant said, ‘Let me now speak to the king, perhaps the king will perform the [h]request of his maidservant.16 For the king will hear [i]and deliver his maidservant from the [j]hand of the man who would destroy [k]both me and my son from the inheritance of God.’ 17 Then your maidservant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be [l]comforting, for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’”

18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king please speak.” 19 So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman replied, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant; 20 in order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth.”

Absalom Is Recalled

21 Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will surely do this thing; go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the [m]request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 However the king said, “Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face.” So Absalom turned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.

25 Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him.26 When he cut the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, for it was heavy on him so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at 200 shekels by the king’s weight. 27 To Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a woman of beautiful appearance.

28 Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, and did not see the king’s face. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So he sent again a second time, but he would not come. 30 Therefore he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s [n]field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the [o]field on fire. 31 Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my [p]field on fire?”32 Absalom [q]answered Joab, “Behold, I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there.”’ Now therefore, let me see the king’s face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death.” 33 So when Joab came to the king and told him, he called for Absalom. Thus he came to the king and prostrated himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.

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