2 Samuel 19-21 - Daily Study Questions1. 2 Samuel 19:1-15. Describe David’s actions (v1, 4) and the effect they had (v2-3)? How did Joab confront this (v5-7) and how did David respond (v8)? What else did he then do and why (v9-13) and what resulted (v14-15)? / David was loudly and publicly mourning the death of Absalom with total disregard for the victory his troops had accomplished in his behalf that day. This had a negative effect on them, leading them to “sneak back” into the city rather than celebrating as would be normal. They had the feeling of humiliation similar to that soldiers would have when they lose a battle. When Joab observed this he burst into David’s house and confronted him, telling him that he had shamed all his servants and supporters by “loving those who hate you” (Absalom) and “hating those who love him” (his people). This implied that they meant nothing to him, whereas Absalom was the only one he cared about. He told him to go out and encourage his servants (troops), for otherwise they would all desert him, leaving him in the worst condition of his life. Since David’s kingship was hanging in the balance even though the leader of the rebellion had been killed his response was vitally important. So, he did as Joab said and sat at the city gate (still at Mahanaim) and all his troops came before him. A semblance of normalcy had returned, but the people throughout the land were in chaos wondering if they should restore David to his rightful throne. Apparently the consensus was to do so everywhere but in Judah. So David did two things to remedy the situation. First, he sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar asking Judah why they were the last tribe to agree to bring him back, encouraging them to go ahead and do so since they were his flesh and blood. Secondly, he appointed Amasa, Abaslom’s general as the commander of his troops in place of Joab. This would gain the support of all who had served under him while Absalom was alive and it would punish Joab for his insubordination in killing Absalom (although he was actually right). Also, Amasa was his nephew (by a different brother), too, just like Joab. This plan worked; the troops of Judah unanimously returned to David’s side and Judah’s leaders invited David back. Thus, his entire entourage returned to the Jordan and Judah met him to bring him across the river and back home.
2. 2 Samuel 19:16-39. What 2 negative situations did David then have to resolve and why (v16-20; 24-28)? How did David respond to each (v21-23; v29-30)? Summarize the conversation he and Barzillai then had (v21-37) and how David responded to him (v38-39). What lessons can we learn from these encounters? / The two Benjamites, Shimei and Mephibosheth, had to be confronted and either banished or restored. Shimei hurried down to David to make amends, along with a thousand Benjamites and Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant. They assisted in the job of getting David and his household across the Jordan. When David himself got ready to cross Shimei fell prostrate before him and asked forgiveness for the wrong he had done to David – cursing and throwing stones and dirt at him - and asked him to do what was good in his sight. He also noted that he was the first to lead the way in Israel of bringing the king back. Even though Abishai still wanted to put him to death, David responded both with frustration towards the “sons of Zeruaiah” (Joab and Abishai) for their vengeful attitude and with forgiveness towards Shimei. He didn’t need to kill him since his throne was now secure, although later chapters would show that he did encourage his son, Solomon, to keep and eye on him. The second situation was to deal with Mephibosheth. He had neither cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, since David had left. When David saw him he asked why he had not supported him, wondering if the story Ziba had told him was true. His answer was that Ziba had sold him out by saying that he was going to the king to show their support, when in fact he betrayed Mephibosheth for his own gain. Rather he viewed David as an angel of God and said he would consider whatever he did as the right thing. He affirmed that he had been shown mercy in the beginning and still didn’t deserve anything good from David. In light of this David decided now to split all the possessions that he had given to Ziba; Mephibosheth accepted this with great humility, saying only that he was glad David had been restored. David then encountered Barzillai, whom he tried to get to come with him to Jerusalem where David would provide for him. But Barzillai was old (80) and just wanted to go back home. Rather, he asked that the king’s reward for his provision to them would go to his servant Chimham. David agreed to this and blessed Barzillai as he returned home. David provides a good example for us in these encounters; he shows that when life begins to rebound for us that we should continue to walk in God’s grace, passing it on to others. It is easy to get vengeance or power up on others when our authority is restored, but we must remember that it is because of God’s grace that things have gotten better. Therefore, we should show others the same grace.
3. 2 Samuel 19:40-20:3. Describe the next 2 situations David had to resolve (19:40-43; 20:3). How did the first one work out and why (19:43-20:2)? How did the second one work out (20:3)? Do you agree with the way he handled this? / The first situation David had to resolve was that of an argument between Judah and the ten northern tribes of Israel. Even though Israel had initiated the idea of restoring David, Judah, at David’s request actually did accompany him completely across the Jordan. Israel, who had about half of their troops there, thus outnumbered by the troops of Judah, felt disrespected and accused Judah of kidnapping the king. Judah’s answer was that they were David’s closest relatives and had not eaten any of David’s provisions or taken anything from him in doing this. Israel responded that they had ten tribes (counting Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons as one tribe) to Judah’s one (the Levites were the remaining tribe but they had no territorial inheritance), and that they had thought of bringing him back first. However, Judah responded with more harshness, thus opening the door for even greater division among the north (Israel) and south (Judah). As the proverb says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” (Prov 15:1). Had they answered differently this might not have developed into the widespread rebellion led by Sheba, a Benjamite. He rallied all the forces of Israel against Judah, saying they had no portion with David. Thus all Israel withdrew from following David and began to follow Sheba, while Judah steadfastly supported David. This was in fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy that the “sword would never depart from his house” (12:10) on a national scale, and a resumption of the conflict between Ish-bosheth of Saul. The second situation that David had to resolve was that of his concubines who had been violated by Absalom. His answer to this was to place them under guard and provide for them, but keep them as widows the rest of their lives. This may appear as punishment, but the fact that he provided protection and provision for them was merciful. He could have killed them even though it was not their fault.
4. 2 Samuel 20:4-13. What did David instruct (v4), what happened (v5) and how did David respond (v6-7)? What occurred next (v8-10) and why was this not surprising (see 2 Sam 3:26-30)? What resulted from Amasa’s murder (v11-13)? / David instructed Amasa to call the men of Judah to him within three days and to be there himself so they could pursue Sheba. The swiftness of his response was due to the realization that he must not allow the rebellion to solidify. Having demoted Joab, when Amasa didn’t return within three days, David appointed Abishai to pursue Sheba. He took with him David’s elite guard and his “mighty men”, Joab among them. As they went they encountered Amasa returning, and Joab went to greet him. When he did his sword fell from its sheath and he picked it up stealthily with his left hand. He then greeted him in the customary manner, kissing him on the cheek. When he took his beard with his right hand to kiss him, he plunged the sword into his belly with his left hand. Joab’s actions were not surprising in that he had dealt with his foe, Abner, in the same way a few years before. When everyone saw Abner lying there in his pool of blood they were dumbfounded, but one of Joab’s men moved him off to the side and called for the troops to follow Joab. They then resumed their pursuit of Sheba with Joab and Abishai at the helm. As always Joab had retained his power.
5. 2 Samuel 20:14-26. Who pursued Sheba (v14) and where did he go (v15)? What did they do (v15) and what problem did this present (v19)? Describe how this dilemma was resolved (v16-18, 20-22). / With Joab now leading his troops they pursued Sheba all the way to Abel in Beth-maacah, which was north of Dan near Syria. When they arrived they besieged the town, casting up a siege ramp against it causing much destruction as they tried to topple the city wall. Simply trying to kill Sheba would have led to the destruction of the entire town had not a wise woman intervened. She called out for Joab to discuss the matter with him, reminding him that the wisdom of Abel was proverbial, and asking what he was after. She told him that they were peaceable and faithful and that his actions would swallow up the inheritance of the Lord. He told her that his intention was not to swallow up or destroy but to apprehend Sheba. She responded that his head would be thrown over the wall, which was after she gained consent from the people. Then, the fighting stopped and the troops were dispersed back home with Joab returning to the king at Jerusalem. Then the new configuration of David’s government was rehearsed, with Joab still being over his army in spite of David’s repeated attempts to replace him.
6. 2 Samuel 21:1-14. What final problem presented itself to David (v1) and how did David resolve it (v2-6, 8-9)? Do you agree with his actions? Who did he honor in this entire process (v7, 10-14) and why (v10-11)? What can we learn from this? / The land of Israel was experiencing famine for three years and David prayed to the Lord about it. Finally He told David that the cause was Saul’s breaking of the covenant with the Gibeonites when he killed them during one of his campaigns. Josh 9 records the deception they had employed to obtain this covenant of peace, but Saul had ignored it and had destroyed them. So, David asked them how he could atone for this sin against them so they could ask God to bless them. They had no desire for payment, but only that seven sons of Saul would be given to them to put to death. David handed over seven of his sons, but spared Mephibosheth in the process in honor of his covenant with Jonathan. So, two of the sons of Rizpah were given to the Gibeonites, along with five sons of Merab and they hanged all of them before the Lord on the mountain on the first day of the barley harvest. Once they were dead Rizpah spread sackcloth on a rock and did not allow birds or beasts to harm their dead bodies from the time the harvest began until it first rained. When David heard about this he retrieved the bones of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-Gilead along with the bones of the seven and buried them in the grave of Kish, Saul’s father. Once this was done God responded to prayer from David and the famine ended. This story teaches us that no matter how much we pray about something if there is unresolved sin it must be dealt with before God will respond to our prayer. We may not know what that is but we must seek God to find out why He is not answering the prayer, and if it is sin that we have not confessed, we must do so.
7. 2 Samuel 21:15-22. Who did David have to fight again (v15-16) and what were the results (v17)? Who did Israel have to fight next (v18-21) and what did they all have in common (v22)? What principle can we draw from this? / David had to fight against Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giant (probably Goliath) and defeated him with the help of Abishai, Joab’s brother. At this point David’s men took an oath that they would not let him go into battle again so that he wouldn’t get killed and extinguish the “lamp of Israel” (he “lit the way” for Israel and guided them into good paths). After this Israel had to fight three more giants – Saph, a descendant of the giant, Goliath the Gittite, (the son of the giant – Jr?), and then a very large man who had 6 digits on each of his hands and feet. Each of these was defeated by David’s men. This shows us that even though we may defeat one giant in our life, we will probably have to continue to fight giants, especially those related to the first “giant” issue. The battle never stops this side of heaven, not only because of us, but also because the enemy doesn’t want to give up.