Tag Archives: David


2 Samuel 15-17

Dear God, Fred Smith taught me something I didn’t know this week in his blog post “A Friend’s Revenge.” He taught me that Ahithoophel was likely Bathsheba’s grandfather, and the fact that Ahithophel aligned himself with Absalom in the attempted overthrow of David was possibly motivated by revenge for what David had done to Bathsheba and Uriah. What?!? How have I read that story so many times and not figured that out? I did a little research in Wikipedia (so it must be true) and it indicated that 2 Samuel 23:34 says Ahithophel was Eliam’s father, and 2 Samuel 11:3 tells us that Bathsheba’s father was named Eliam. This could have been a coincidence, but it would be an interesting vagueness for the author to leave us if the connection isn’t there.

That being said, and working from the assumption that this is true, I have a couple of thoughts.

  1. How did Ahithophel think this would end for Bathsheba and his great grandson Solomon? Absalom would certainly have killed Solomon, and Bathsheba would either have been killed or become Absalom’s wife/concubine. Given her age by that point, I doubt she would have been first choice for wife/concubine. So he was putting her in even more danger.
  2. Did he really think a kingdom run by Absalom would be better than a kingdom run by David. At that point, maybe he did. David seems to be  abdicating a lot of responsibility and lying down on the job. In fact, he was in a downward spiral ever since he decided not to go go and join the troops back when he hooked up with Bathsheba. I would imagine that succession planning was so unofficial back then that he might have been just trying to figure out which way the wind was blowing and go with it.
  3. Again, if this is true, then it was obviously an open secret what David had done to both Bathsheba and Uriah. That means that everyone knew including Solomon, which would help to explain why he treated women the way he did as an adult. Isn’t that what kings do?

But let me spend some time on this aspect of revenge as motivation. The most remarkable people in the world are those who do not seek revenge. Dr. Martin Luther King is regarded with more reverence by most people because he was forceful in his demands for justice and equality without being vengeful. The same is true for Nelson Mandela. In fact, in the midst of all of the racial tensions right now in this country, I wonder how much we have to learn from South Africa. I literally don’t know enough to know the answer to that question, but it is certainly remarkable that when Nelson Mandela came to power, as I understand it, he did not seek revenge on those who persecuted him.

I’ve wondered a lot this week about how Jesus would be responding right now if he were here in the flesh. Would he be attending protests? Would he be posting on social media? Would he be giving interviews or making public speeches? Would he just be talking to those in his sphere of influence and loving on them? Would he be seeking out regional and national leaders to give them counsel? Would he be participating on racial equality panels? Would he be vandalizing statues and destroying businesses and burning churches? Would he be taking photos of himself with a Bible? Some of these are obvious “yes’s” and some are obvious “no’s,” but many are vague and I don’t know what he would do. But I do know that revenge would not be part of the motivating factor. After all, even as he died, he asked that you would forgive those that were killing him.

Father, help me to be an instrument of your peace. Help me to know how to forcefully join a peaceful call for action that is not laden with revenge. And please raise up leaders who will lead in this spirit. The spirit of revenge that is flowing through our country right now is painful to watch. Let mercy lead.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


Leave a comment

Posted by on June 13, 2020 in 2 Samuel, Matthew


Tags: , , , , , ,

Mothers of the Bible — Bathsheba

In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.” Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax. ” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?” Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.” “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers. Then Joab sent a battle report to David. He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’” So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.” “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!” When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done. After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the Lord”), as the Lord had commanded.
2 Samuel 11:1-27, 12:15, 18, 24-25

Dear God, as I think about Bathsheba as she experiences this course of events, I can’t help but think of the illustration I’ve used a few times over the last three or so weeks about the blind men who experience an elephant for the first time. Each one has a different description of the elephant because they are touching a different part. Here’s what I perceive to be a point-by-point experience for Bathsheba:

  • Her husband Uriah is gone to war and she is home alone. Living all alone? With any family? I don’t know, but we’ll presume she is alone.
  • She gets summoned to see king David and doesn’t know why. Did David have a reputation for doing this? Had he done this before with other women? Did she know what to expect when she got there?
  • She slept with David. Did she want to sleep with him? Did he force her? Did she have a choice? She had just finished her period. Was there a part of her that was lonely with Uriah gone and wanted to sleep with the King? In any event, she slept with him and I’m sure felt shameful as she went home.
  • She finds out she’s pregnant several weeks later. Let’s say it’s about 6-8 weeks. I don’t know how long it took to figure it out back then. I can’t imagine the horror she must have felt. Her husband is away at war and she is pregnant by the King. Well, she won’t be able to handle this problem alone so she involves David.
    • At this point I’d like to point out that apparently at least one other person knows about this whole situation. Someone had to summon her for David and someone had to deliver the pregnancy message to him. It might have been the same person, but the total number of people who know about that is at least three. I would venture to say more.
  • We aren’t told that David responded directly to her, but all of a sudden Uriah is back! What? How did she feel when she saw him? Did he know? Do the king tell him? Would someone else tell him? Why is he here? But he wouldn’t sleep with her. David had finally met his ethical match. Uriah followed his own code of honor.

    Uriah is gone again.
    She gets word that Uriah is dead. She is pregnant with, presumably, her first child and now her husband is dead. She mourned appropriately for him.
    David publicly moved her to the palace and married her, pregnant and all. Was it the worst kept secret in Jerusalem that the baby was his? Was the company line that it was Uriah’s from when he visited home and David was being a great guy by marrying her. How much shame and confusion did she feel during this time? What a whirlwind! What a tragedy.
    But something worse is coming, and she doesn’t deserve it. David does. The child is going to die. I have to tell you, Father, this seems so mean to me.
    After the son dies she is now left with a dead husband (I assume she loved him–he was apparently an honorable man) and a dead son. She has nothing.
    She has another child with David. This one turns out to be Solomon. She gets word from Nathan that he is “beloved of the Lord.” Who will this boy be?
    We saw yesterday how she orchestrated Solomon’s attaining of the throne. He wasn’t the obvious choice from a line-of-succession standpoint. Adonijah was. And I don’t know when David made his promise to her about Solomon getting the throne (1 Kings 1:17), but did he do it as part of his comforting of her back when she was pregnant with him or when he was born? Either way, it seems that she was ready to do what it took to see that Solomon became king.

Father, this seems like such a terrible deal for her. It seems so unfair. She got caught up in circumstances that were so much bigger than her. She made the best of them, but I can’t help but not like this story even more when I think about how she must have experienced it. But I guess life can be like that. We can get caught up in circumstances that are beyond us. It’s not fair. But as you ultimately did with Solomon, you can come along and redeem it. You can redeem the divorce. You can redeem the criminal. You can redeem anything. You can make us stronger through driving us to depend upon you. Thank you for ultimately providing for Bathsheba. In the end, she got to see her second-born son become king of Israel. I hope that at the end of her life she was able to be at peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



Tags: , ,

Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 5)

About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon. Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.” So Bathsheba went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) Bathsheba bowed down before the king. “What can I do for you?” he asked her. She replied, “My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.” While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. The king’s officials told him, “Nathan the prophet is here to see you.” Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. Nathan asked, “My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. They are feasting and drinking with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But he did not invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or your servant Solomon. Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?” King David responded, “Call Bathsheba!” So she came back in and stood before the king. And the king repeated his vow: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has rescued me from every danger, your son Solomon will be the next king and will sit on my throne this very day, just as I vowed to you before the Lord, the God of Israel.” Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground before the king and exclaimed, “May my lord King David live forever!” Then King David ordered, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came into the king’s presence, the king said to them, “Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” “Amen!” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied. “May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, decree that it happen. And may the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, my lord the king, and may he make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!” So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s bodyguard took Solomon down to Gihon Spring, with Solomon riding on King David’s own mule. There Zadok the priest took the flask of olive oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon with the oil. Then they sounded the ram’s horn and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound. Adonijah and his guests heard the celebrating and shouting just as they were finishing their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn, he asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?” And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said to him, “for you are a good man. You must have good news.” “Not at all!” Jonathan replied. “Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king! The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule, and Zadok and Nathan have anointed him at Gihon Spring as the new king. They have just returned, and the whole city is celebrating and rejoicing. That’s what all the noise is about. What’s more, Solomon is now sitting on the royal throne as king. And all the royal officials have gone to King David and congratulated him, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s fame even greater than your own, and may Solomon’s reign be even greater than yours!’ Then the king bowed his head in worship as he lay in his bed, and he said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who today has chosen a successor to sit on my throne while I am still alive to see it.’” Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, “Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!” Solomon replied, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.” So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, “Go on home.” As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ “And there is something else. You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me when he murdered my two army commanders, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He pretended that it was an act of war, but it was done in a time of peace, staining his belt and sandals with innocent blood. Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace. “Be kind to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead. Make them permanent guests at your table, for they took care of me when I fled from your brother Absalom. “And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the Lord that I would not kill him. But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him. ” Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. David had reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. Solomon became king and sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
1 Kings 1:5-2:12

Dear God, does all of this conflict really come down to simple lack of estate/succession planning on David’s part? What did he think was going to happen?

His firstborn (Amnon) was killed by his third-born (Absalom). His second-born, Daniel, I believe died of natural causes as a child. That left his fourth-born, Adonijah as the “natural” choice. I’ve never understood how Solomon got in there. According to Bathsheba, David had promised her, but I can’t find any reference to that promise in 2 Samuel. Perhaps I missed it, or perhaps it’s just something David said when she was mourning the loss of her first child. Either way, this looks to be another incredible lack of family leadership on David’s part. What was he thinking?

I’m not saying that Adonijah did it right or that he should have been king. But if David was going to make Solomon king all along then he should have been preparing him for it. He should have been guiding him. I suppose it is important to note here that there is another telling of this story in 1 Chronicles. That telling makes things look a little more organized. I think I believe the chaos of this story a little more.

Why was he like this? I was thinking today about the idea that David was a man after your own heart. What did that mean for all of the areas of his life?

  • There was David the servant of you–Check, man after your own heart.
  • There was David the warrior–Check, man after your own heart.
  • There was David the friend–Check, man after your own heart.
  • There was David the king–Check, pretty much a man after your own heart.
  • There was David the husband–Well, I don’t see his heart for you as much here.
  • There was David the father–Well, no, I don’t really see it here either.

David had this great integrity when it came to his worship of you and his humility before you. He had integrity as a warrior (letting Saul live twice) and as a friend (taking care of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, after Jonathan died). I think the power started to corrupt him a bit as king, but he certainly tried to lead the nation in following you. But when it came to husbanding and fathering, he seemed absolutely lost.

I talked to a mother of two teenagers today. I could feel her pain. I experienced some of it. Sometimes, it can be easier to just be a good public person and let the private life suffer. Is that what David did.

Then there is this whole angle of dealing with his estate planning and succession plan. I think I counted that he had 17 sons, although how many were alive when he died is a bit unclear. Did he deal with them and tell them how things were going to be? If not, why? Is there anything I need to be doing now to set my children up for good relationships after I’m gone by being open about what my and my wife’s estate plans are now?

Father, help me to be as attuned to my personal life as I am my public one. Scratch that! Make me more attuned to my life as a husband, father, brother, son, etc. than I am to projecting a good public image. Help me to do the hard work and to lead under your grace and mercy.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



Tags: , ,

Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 4)

Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but he never got to see the king. Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. So Absalom said to his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded. Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?” And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.” So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him. After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!” When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel. After four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.” “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.” So Absalom went to Hebron. But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum. A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.” “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.” So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard. Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness. ” But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.” David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along. Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness. Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city. Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.” The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you.” So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there. David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O Lord, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!” When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden. Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.” So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived. Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!” “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?” “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!” Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?” Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines. Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God. David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains to lead them. He sent the troops out in three groups, placing one group under Joab, one under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one under Ittai, the man from Gath. The king told his troops, “I am going out with you.” But his men objected strongly. “You must not go,” they urged. “If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom’s troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us, and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it.” “If you think that’s the best plan, I’ll do it,” the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands. And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders. So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David’s men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives. The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword. During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree.” “What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver and a hero’s belt!” “I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver, ” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me.” “Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. Ten of Joab’s young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him. Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel. They threw Absalom’s body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. And all Israel fled to their homes. During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom’s Monument to this day. Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Let me run to the king with the good news that the Lord has rescued him from his enemies.” “No,” Joab told him, “it wouldn’t be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger another time, but not today.” Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia, “Go tell the king what you have seen.” The man bowed and ran off. But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me go, too.” “Why should you go, my son?” Joab replied. “There will be no reward for your news.” “Yes, but let me go anyway,” he begged. Joab finally said, “All right, go ahead.” So Ahimaaz took the less demanding route by way of the plain and ran to Mahanaim ahead of the Ethiopian. While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the town, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them. He shouted the news down to David, and the king replied, “If he is alone, he has news.” As the messenger came closer, the watchman saw another man running toward them. He shouted down, “Here comes another one!” The king replied, “He also will have news.” “The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok,” the watchman said. “He is a good man and comes with good news,” the king replied. Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “Everything is all right!” He bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise to the Lord your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against my lord the king.” “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?” Ahimaaz replied, “When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn’t know what was happening.” “Wait here,” the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside. Then the man from Ethiopia arrived and said, “I have good news for my lord the king. Today the Lord has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you.” “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?” And the Ethiopian replied, “May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man!” The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.” Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom. As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.” So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him. Meanwhile, the Israelites who had supported Absalom fled to their homes.
2 Samuel 14:28-15:37,16:15-23,18:1-19:8

Dear God, this is a long story, but I felt like I needed to combine it all into one. This particular father/son relationship was very interesting. I really think that if David had handled the Amnon situation differently and then the Absalom thing differently after he killed Amnon then all of this could have been avoided. I honestly don’t know what David was thinking when he just let all of this go.

I read a book about 20 years ago called The Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. I like it when I originally read it because his thesis was that David had the right approach to attaining and then holding onto the kingdom. While Saul and Absalom (the other two kings) tried to forcibly hold onto or attain the throne, David allowed it to happen in its own time and then allowed you to take it away if that’s what you desired. Cool thesis. But I went back and read it again a couple of years ago and found myself substantially disagreeing with it. I felt like Mr. Edwards completely disregarded Absalom’s experience as a son and a brother. I believe it was a combination of bitterness and a true belief that his father was no longer fit to be king that drove him to try to steal the throne.

The irony is that Absalom ultimately ends up being about as guilty as Amnon after he sleeps with David’s concubines. Even worse, he does it as publicly as possible. He doesn’t even do it for attraction, love, or even lust. He forces these women to have sex with him out of pure pride and ego. As a display of his power. How horrible for these women.

And then there is David. He simply doesn’t know what to do. It reminds me once again of what we’ve talked about many times–the fog of war. David was deep, deep in the fog on this one. He had no idea what to do. He had no perspective. He had even become a bad general. He was lost and clueless. He couldn’t play the tape to the end. Why? Probably because it involved his son and he had no idea how to be a father. It makes me wonder what kind of father Jesse was to him and his brothers. What did he see modeled?

Another irony is that Joab is the one that ends up killing Absalom. He is the one who interceded and got David to bring him back to Jerusalem. He is the one who got David to see Absalom again. And now he is the one who saw Absalom’s ultimate betrayal and killed him. Joab was an interesting character in the tales of David.

Father, I can appreciate the idea that David was willing to let go of the kingdom if that is what you wanted. That is something that Saul was unable to do when it came to Jonathan’s right to the throne vs. David’s destiny for it. How much of this went back to the shame of Bathsheba? I don’t know. But as public as his humiliation was or wasn’t, surely this humiliation was very public. Help me to deal well with my sin. Help me to claim it, repent of it, and then not let it get in the way of doing anything you have for me to do.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



Tags: ,

Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 3)

Now it was after this that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her. Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill, for she was a virgin, and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very shrewd man. He said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so depressed morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Then Amnon said to him, “I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom.” Jonadab then said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill; when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat, and let her prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat from her hand.’” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.” Then David sent to the house for Tamar, saying, “Go now to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare food for him.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was lying down. And she took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “ Have everyone go out from me.” So everyone went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon. When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing! As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up, go away!” But she said to him, “No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!” Yet he would not listen to her. Then he called his young man who attended him and said, “Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her.” Now she had on a long-sleeved garment; for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves in robes. Then his attendant took her out and locked the door behind her. Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her; and she put her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went. Then Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart.” So Tamar remained and was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry. But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar. Now it came about after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant.” But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, we should not all go, for we will be burdensome to you.” Although he urged him, he would not go, but blessed him. Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. Absalom commanded his servants, saying, “See now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then put him to death. Do not fear; have not I myself commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” The servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled. Now it was while they were on the way that the report came to David, saying, “Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left.” Then the king arose, tore his clothes and lay on the ground; and all his servants were standing by with clothes torn. Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, responded, “Do not let my lord suppose they have put to death all the young men, the king’s sons, for Amnon alone is dead; because by the intent of Absalom this has been determined since the day that he violated his sister Tamar. Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take the report to heart, namely, ‘all the king’s sons are dead,’ for only Amnon is dead.” Now Absalom had fled. And the young man who was the watchman raised his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him by the side of the mountain. Jonadab said to the king, “Behold, the king’s sons have come; according to your servant’s word, so it happened.” As soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king’s sons came and lifted their voices and wept; and also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly. Now Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years. The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead. Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was inclined toward Absalom. So Joab sent to Tekoa and 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; then go to the king and speak to him in this manner.” So Joab put the words in her mouth. Now when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself and said, “ Help, O king.” The king said to her, “What is your trouble?” And she answered, “Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead. Your maidservant had two sons, but the two of them struggled together in the field, and there was no one to separate them, so one struck the other and killed him. 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 leave my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.” Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 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.” So the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.” 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.” Then the woman said, “Please let your maidservant speak a word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Speak.” 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. 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 ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him. Now 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 request of his maidservant. For the king will hear and deliver his maidservant from the hand of the man who would destroy both me and my son from the inheritance of God.’ Then your maidservant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be 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.’” 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.” 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; 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.” Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will surely do this thing; go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom.” 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 request of his servant.” So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 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.
2 Samuel 13-14

Dear God, something I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this before, but Amnon made David an unwitting accomplice in his plan. It’s also interesting the language the translators use to describe what Amnon did to Tamar. This NASB choosed “violate.” The New Living Translation (a more modern so it actually uses the word “rape,” as does The Message and the NIV. King James just says “forced.” Rape is an ugly word, but that’s what it was. It was rape.

So as a dad, David had an interesting response to this rape and then Absalom’s reaction. He did nothing. It says he got angry, but, functionally, he did nothing. I am only left with assumptions, but I can’t help but wonder how his getting caught with Bathsheba (I am convinced everyone knew) caused him to give up the moral high ground with Amnon. His oldest son probably knew he had, essentially, raped Bathsheba and killed her husband after she got pregnant. Did the shame from this keep David from confronting Amnon and defending his daughter?

It’s always interesting to try and hold my children to a higher standard than I’m willing to live up to. Examples (not necessarily from my own life):

  • You have to go to church, but I don’t
  • You shouldn’t drink or do drugs in high school, but I did
  • You shouldn’t experiment sexually before marriage, but I did
  • You shouldn’t cheat in school, but I did
  • You should date and marry only Christians, but I didn’t

I have a friend who did A LOT of stuff in high school. He is a very conservative Christian now, but when he told me he did a lot of very edgy stuff as a teenager, including messing around with some sodomy. Now that he is a father of a teenager, he finds himself trying to reconcile himself between his own history and where he ended up and what he wants for his son and what he expects of his son.

The real victim here is Tamar. David simply wasn’t there for her. He didn’t even take her into the palace. He left it undone. He was an unwitting accomplice to Amnon’s sin (he had led her to the lion’s den) and he did nothing afterward. Thankfully, Absalom was at least able to show his sister some love and support. I’m not saying he did the right thing by killing Amnon and then, eventually, trying to take over his father’s throne, but I can certainly see how he ended up where he did.

Father, I am sorry for my sin. I’m sorry for the times I failed my own parents growing up and when I’ve failed you. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t provide the leadership my children needed. I’m sorry for when I’ve failed my wife. Please heal over those shortcomings so I can be the father you need me to be for my children and the husband I need to be for my wife.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



Tags: , , ,

Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 2)

When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done. So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.” Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.” After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate. His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.” David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.” Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the Lord”), as the Lord had commanded.
2 Samuel 11:26-12:25

Dear God, what must it have been like to be Bathsheba? She was forced into adultery. Her husband was killed. Her baby (presumably her first child) died. Then, ultimately, her next son ends up being the king of Israel. She would never had guessed the life you had for her, but I can’t help but feel sorry for her and wish for her the normal life she foresaw for herself.

But in terms of David as a father, he seems very detached in this story. I think I mentioned this in my last prayer journal about this. He didn’t seem to care that he wouldn’t get to know this child. His approach to comforting Bathsheba was to sleep with her. What? As if the opportunity to have sex with him made it all better? I don’t know. Maybe it did.

I’ve also mentioned this before, but I wonder how much of David’s attitude towards women got passed down to his children. Amnon raped his sister. Solomon slept with, at minimum, hundreds of women. One of the other sons, I can’t remember which one, slept with one of David’s concubines. And I’m sure that it was a poorly kept secret what David had done with Bathsheba and Uriah. I’m sure Solomon and all of the other children grew up hearing the stories. How did that impact David’s relationships with them? Did he lose the high ground forever? When one reads 2 Samuel, this is certainly the beginning of the decline of David’s success. The apex of his joy and victory is certainly behind him at this point.

Yes, the losing of the moral high ground is probably really significant when it comes to his relationships with his children. They probably did not respect him after that. Absolom didn’t.

Father, I don’t want or need my children to see me as perfect, but I certainly want to set an example for them. A perfect example doesn’t help because it gives them an unrealistic, condemning view of what a man should be. At the same time, a life of debauchery is no good either. Help me to just be a man that follows you, is humble about his mistakes, and gives his children the love and direction that. you need them to have through me. Do it all, ultimately, for your glory so that you might live through them and enter the world through them.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


Leave a comment

Posted by on February 29, 2020 in 2 Samuel, Fathers of the Bible


Tags: , ,

Fathers of the Bible — David

These are the sons who were born to David in Hebron: The oldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. The second was Daniel, whose mother was Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David’s wife. These sons were all born to David in Hebron. After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. These are the names of David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
2 Samuel 3:2-5,5:13-16

Dear God, for a long time now, David has been one of my “great man, bad father” examples.

One of the interesting things to note is that, of the first six boys born to him, they all had different mothers. Another interesting thing. Right before Solomon, it lists Nathan. Is this Bathsheba’s first child that died? Did they name him after the prophet that confronted David with his sin? Interesting.

You know that I started wondering last year about whether or not David would have made an even better judge for Israel than king. Was it the power of being king that corrupted his heart and distracted him? Not that Samuel was that great of a father. It’s just an interesting question.

We will see some interesting stories coming up about David’s parenting. Amnon will do something reprehensible–what will David do? Absolom will respond to Amnon’s action–what will David do? Even when Bathsheba’s baby dies, David’s response is peculiar. He didn’t seem to care about this child as his own. He didn’t mourn not getting to spend the rest of his life with this child. He treated it more as a random life for which he had responsibility, and he cared whether or not you would save it. When you didn’t, he moved on. I wonder if this story by itself gives us the insight we need into how David felt as a father. Is this how all fathers felt back then? Was this the cultural norm?

Father, you know how I feel about my children. It fascinates me how much of my thoughts they consume, even now that they are in their 20s. I hope for them. I pray for them every day. I reach out to them. I try to show them love. But now that they are older, I also try to back off enough so that they can have the space they need to develop their own relationships with you. Help me to find that line. Help me to be exactly what you need me to be for them. I’m sorry for how I’ve failed them and failed you in the past. I know I’ve let my own ego get wrapped up in my responses to them. I’m doing my best to not let that happen anymore.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2020 in 2 Samuel, Fathers of the Bible



Fathers of the Bible — Saul (Part 2)

Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David, told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.” The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!” So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.” Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before. Then Saul sent troops to watch David’s house. They were told to kill David when he came out the next morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t escape tonight, you will be dead by morning.” So she helped him climb out through a window, and he fled and escaped. Then she took an idol and put it in his bed, covered it with blankets, and put a cushion of goat’s hair at its head. When the troops came to arrest David, she told them he was sick and couldn’t get out of bed. But Saul sent the troops back to get David. He ordered, “Bring him to me in his bed so I can kill him!” But when they came to carry David out, they discovered that it was only an idol in the bed with a cushion of goat’s hair at its head. “Why have you betrayed me like this and let my enemy escape?” Saul demanded of Michal. “I had to,” Michal replied. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t help him.” David now fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. “What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?” “That’s not true!” Jonathan protested. “You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!” Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, “Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, ‘I won’t tell Jonathan—why should I hurt him?’ But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the Lord and by your own soul!” “Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed. David replied, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. I’ve always eaten with the king on this occasion, but tomorrow I’ll hide in the field and stay there until the evening of the third day. If your father asks where I am, tell him I asked permission to go home to Bethlehem for an annual family sacrifice. If he says, ‘Fine!’ you will know all is well. But if he is angry and loses his temper, you will know he is determined to kill me. Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord —or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!” “Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.” Then David asked, “How will I know whether or not your father is angry?” “Come out to the field with me,” Jonathan replied. And they went out there together. Then Jonathan told David, “I promise by the Lord, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father. And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself. Then Jonathan said, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. You will be missed when your place at the table is empty. The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid before, and wait there by the stone pile. I will come out and shoot three arrows to the side of the stone pile as though I were shooting at a target. Then I will send a boy to bring the arrows back. If you hear me tell him, ‘They’re on this side,’ then you will know, as surely as the Lord lives, that all is well, and there is no trouble. But if I tell him, ‘Go farther—the arrows are still ahead of you,’ then it will mean that you must leave immediately, for the Lord is sending you away. And may the Lord make us keep our promises to each other, for he has witnessed them.” So David hid himself in the field, and when the new moon festival began, the king sat down to eat. He sat at his usual place against the wall, with Jonathan sitting opposite him and Abner beside him. But David’s place was empty. Saul didn’t say anything about it that day, for he said to himself, “Something must have made David ceremonially unclean.” But when David’s place was empty again the next day, Saul asked Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse been here for the meal either yesterday or today?” Jonathan replied, “David earnestly asked me if he could go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Please let me go, for we are having a family sacrifice. My brother demanded that I be there. So please let me get away to see my brothers.’ That’s why he isn’t here at the king’s table.” Saul boiled with rage at Jonathan. “You stupid son of a whore!” he swore at him. “Do you think I don’t know that you want him to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother? As long as that son of Jesse is alive, you’ll never be king. Now go and get him so I can kill him!” “But why should he be put to death?” Jonathan asked his father. “What has he done?” Then Saul hurled his spear at Jonathan, intending to kill him. So at last Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David. Jonathan left the table in fierce anger and refused to eat on that second day of the festival, for he was crushed by his father’s shameful behavior toward David. The next morning, as agreed, Jonathan went out into the field and took a young boy with him to gather his arrows. “Start running,” he told the boy, “so you can find the arrows as I shoot them.” So the boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy had almost reached the arrow, Jonathan shouted, “The arrow is still ahead of you. Hurry, hurry, don’t wait.” So the boy quickly gathered up the arrows and ran back to his master. He, of course, suspected nothing; only Jonathan and David understood the signal. Then Jonathan gave his bow and arrows to the boy and told him to take them back to town. As soon as the boy was gone, David came out from where he had been hiding near the stone pile. Then David bowed three times to Jonathan with his face to the ground. Both of them were in tears as they embraced each other and said good-bye, especially David. At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.
1 Samuel 19:1-7,11-17,20:1-42

Dear God, I don’t know if these stories are as much about Saul’s parenting as they are about a deranged king, but Jonathan and Michal has to deal with him as a dad so I guess they are fair game for this little series.

I guess the thing I’ve always admired about Jonathan is that he wasn’t threatened by David. He was okay with not being king. Saul, on the other hand, was consumed with the thought of David replacing his family as king.

I’m sure that at some point after Samuel’s anointing and David’s arrival Saul had dreams of his lineage being the king of Israel forever. He probably looked at his boys and their boys and already had their succession order figured out. It’s part of our vanity. Part of our sinful nature seems to be to want to be known from a fake and power standpoint. If we live a quiet faithful life, we consider it a waste. We must leave our mark!!

I suppose Saul could have responded differently to Samuel’s speech about you taking the kingdom from him (1 Samuel 15:28). He could have submitted to it. He could have asked Samuel, okay, what do I do now? But there’s no way he could voluntarily let go of that power and it poisoned him from then on. Outside of Lyndon Johnson, no president of the United States has ever not run for a second term, and I’m sure some of them considered it.

Then there is how his children were forced to respond to him. They had to lie. They had to hide and scheme. How would their lives have been different, or even better, if they had been able to yield to David’s throne. If David had not been on the run from Saul and living in exile, would Jonathan have lived longer? Would Saul?

Father, as I parent my children, help me to do it in the moment. As I express love and support for them, help me to detach my ego from it. I don’t want anything to get in the way of what you need me to do for them. And I know I’ve failed at this in the past. I’ve felt sorry for myself more times than I can count. I’ve even had bouts of it this weekend. But that does them no good. It does me no good. And it brings you no glory. I am very sorry for the ways in which I am like Saul and look to my children to feed my ego.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2020 in 1 Samuel, Fathers of the Bible


Tags: , , ,

1 King’s 12:26

Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David.
1 Kings 12:26

Dear God, I should have gone just half of a chapter further when I did my study of Solomon a few months ago. I read Fred Smith’s weekly blog this morning and it was about Jeroboam’s reign as king and how it not only went south, but influenced Israelite Kong’s for generations. It lead me to go back and look at his life to see what I can learn. When I went back to 1 Kings, I found this verse. There’s a concept that seems like the original sin that set up all of the others. He decided that hanging onto the tribe for himself was the most important priority.

Contrast that with David. David, a flawed and sinful man whom power corrupted with the indulgences of lust and self gratification still had one thing right when it came to his life. He knew that everything was from you and for your will to be done it would have to remain your right to give and take the throne any time you wanted. He wouldn’t take it from Saul (1 Samuel 24:6-7) and he wouldn’t keep it from Absolom (2 Samuel 15:25-26). He allowed himself to indulge his vices (which caused him countless problems), but he had his overall philosophy and theology correct. He didn’t try to force his will upon you.

Father, I know I have a will that wants to dictate what I allow you to do. I have a will about being safe within my job and my income. I have a will when it comes to what I want my marriage to look like. I have a will about what I how I want my children’s lives to go. But that’s not the prayer Jesus taught us. Let your kingdom come and your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. That is my prayer today. Make me sensitive to your will, and help me to be willing to put it all on the table for your will and your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


Leave a comment

Posted by on December 7, 2019 in 1 Kings


Tags: , , , , , ,

Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups — The Threshing Floor (Ruth 3:6-13)

The above image is from Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups by Ned Bustard. The image itself is called “Ruth and Boaz (after Ben Zion)” and was created by Ned Bustard. 

So she went down to the threshing floor that night and followed the instructions of her mother-in-law. After Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he lay down at the far end of the pile of grain and went to sleep. Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.” “The Lord bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor. Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman. But while it’s true that I am one of your family redeemers, there is another man who is more closely related to you than I am. Stay here tonight, and in the morning I will talk to him. If he is willing to redeem you, very well. Let him marry you. But if he is not willing, then as surely as the Lord lives, I will redeem you myself! Now lie down here until morning.”
Ruth 3:6-13

Dear God, I’ve spent some time looking at Ruth and Boaz, but I don’t know remember spending too much time thinking about Boaz himself. You know, trying to get into his skin. To do that, we have to go back to his introduction in chapter 2. Here are some verses in chapter 2 that are striking me about him and his character:

Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields Stay right behind the young women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to water they have drawn from the well.” (Ruth 2:8-9)

Not only did Boaz provide food for her, but he also cast a net of physical protection over her. I have been reminded over and over again how vulnerable women are to physical harm. I was talking with a friend yesterday morning about our daughters and wishing we could protect them better. My wife and I have talked about her uneasiness walking in crowds and fear of being groped by an anonymous man walking by. These just aren’t fears that I have, but they are real and legitimate fears for women. In fact, until this morning, I don’t think I’ve ever given much thought to the physical danger Ruth was in by going out to glean in the fields. But Boaz thought about it.  Why did he care so much? What was it about Ruth that got his attention?

“Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” (Ruth 2:11-12)

I think that speaks for itself. So I guess my question is, were Ruth and Naomi manipulating Boaz in chapter 3? At the end of the day, I suppose this was part of the culture at the time. In fact, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully understand this story because I don’t understand the culture of that time and place enough. But I do know that this ended up being part of your plan because these two people became David’s great-grandparents. Boaz did a lot of wonderful things, but he never knew he had done this. He was faithful in what you had given to him to steward, and the results would have been beyond anything he ever would have dreamed.

I suppose I would be remiss if I didn’t go back to this image by Bustard and at least say what he had to say about it in his book:

Ben-Zion Weinman (1897-1987) was a sculptor, painter, and printmaker. An emigrant from Ukraine, he came to the United States in 1920 and was a founding member of a 1930’s avant-garde group called “The Ten.” Curing the 1950s he completed several portfolios of expressionistic etchings/aquatints. This print is a reworking of one of those pieces from The Books of Ruth, Job, and Song of Songs portfolio. The Bible is ambiguous about what may or may not have happened that night on the threshing floor: Weinman leaves the way open for either reading of the passage in his visualization of the famous night. He depicts both people asleep under the starlight, the future great-grandmother of King David under a blanket at the feed of Boaz, who snores against a heap of grain.

I looked for the original, and I couldn’t be sure which image was the one that Bustard used as the inspiration, but it’s interesting to consider that the author of Ruth left the events of that night vague. I’d never considered that before. I just took it for what was written on the page. Perhaps I’m naïve.

Father, help me to be faithful this day. Help me to not look to my legacy or my future because I have zero idea how you might be using me. The author Gary Thomas said in one of his books (it might have been Sacred Parenting) that our role in history is to be born, possibly procreate, and then get out of the way. What you do with our lives after that is up to you. Help me to embrace that simplicity and to offer you this one life that I get on earth to further your kingdom and your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



Tags: , , , , ,