2 Samuel 24 – “David’s Census and its Repercussions”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David takes a census of the people. God is enraged and kills 70,000 Israelites with a plague. David propitiates God with burnt sacrifices.

II. Photo
David counts the people: “The king said to Joab, his army commander, ‘Make the rounds of all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know the size of the population.’” (v. 2)

III. Important Verses
1-4:  The anger of the LORD again flared up against Israel; and He incited David against them, saying, “Go and number Israel and Judah.” The king said to Joab, his army commander, “Make the rounds of all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know the size of the population.” Joab answered the king, “May the LORD your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while your own eyes see it! But why should my lord king want this?” However, the king’s command to Joab and to the officers of the army remained firm; and Joab and the officers of the army set out, at the instance of the king, to take a census of the people of Israel.
9: Joab reported to the king the number of the people that had been recorded: in Israel there were 800,000 soldiers ready to draw the sword, and the men of Judah numbered 500,000.
10: But afterward David reproached himself for having numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, “I have sinned grievously in what I have done. Please, O LORD, remit the guilt of Your servant, for I have acted foolishly.”
11-14: When David rose in the morning, the word of the LORD had come to the prophet Gad, David’s seer:  “Go and tell David, ‘Thus said the LORD: I hold three things over you; choose one of them, and I will bring it upon you.’” Gad came to David and told him; he asked, “Shall a seven-year famine come upon you in the land, or shall you be in flight from your adversaries for three months while they pursue you, or shall there be three days of pestilence in your land? Now consider carefully what reply I shall take back to Him who sent me.” David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for His compassion is great; and let me not fall into the hands of men.”
15: The LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from morning until the set time; and 70,000 of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba.
25: And David built there an altar to the LORD and sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. The LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague against Israel was checked.

IV. Outline
1-4. David orders Joab to take a census
5-9. The census is taken
10. David’s remorse
11-13. God gives David a choice of punishment
14. David’s choice
15. 70,000 people die of pestilence
16-25. David halts the plague

V. Comment
This chapter, which is the final chapter in the book of Samuel, relates how David takes a census of the people, is punished for taking that census, and manages to appease God nevertheless. The chapter also serves an etiological purpose by justifying the location of Solomon’s temple. The Temple will be built upon the threshing floor that David buys from Araunah the Jebusite. This is the place that David’s prayer is answered, and other biblical passages take note of this fact. For instance, 2 Chronicles 3:1 says, “Then Solomon began to build the House of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] had appeared to his father David, at the place which David had designated, at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” Similarly, 1 Chronicles 22:1 says, “David said, “Here will be the House of the LORD and here the altar of burnt offerings for Israel.”” Yet, it is important to note that our chapter merely sets the stage for future events; it makes no mention of Solomon’s temple.

Due to the fact that the David-narrative is coming to a close, Collins categorizes David’s portrayal in the book of Samuel. He writes: “Even if we suspect that much of the portrayal of David in the books of Samuel originated as political propoganda, the character of David as depicted is exceptionally appealing. No other character in the Hebrew Bible is so well rounded. Here we have a fully human figure, who is no saint by later standards. He is a hot-blooded individual who is guilty of murder, adultery, and sundry forms of extortion and exploitation. But he is also an emotional figure, whose grief for his friend Jonathan or for his son Absalom is moving. Even if the biblical authors tried to excuse and justify his actions, they nonetheless portrayed him as a man who was very fallible, and even sinful. Later tradition enhanced the legend of David by crediting him with prophecy and the composition of psalms. In the process, it often depicts him as more pious than he appears in the books of Samuel… The charm of the biblical character, however, is precisely his human fallibility. It is this appreciation of the imperfection of human nature that marks the story of David as one of the finest pieces of literature to come down to us from antiquity.” (243)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.yetanotherforum.net/images/HappyPeople.jpg

2 Samuel 23 – “David’s Theophany; David’s Warriors”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David relates a message he once received from God. David’s warriors and their military exploits are enumerated.

II. Photo
David maligns the wicked: “The wicked shall all be raked aside like thorns; For no one will take them in his hand.” (v. 6)

III. Important Verses
2-4: The spirit of the LORD has spoken through me, His message is on my tongue; The God of Israel has spoken, The Rock of Israel said concerning me: “He who rules men justly, He who rules in awe of God Is like the light of morning at sunrise, A morning without clouds — Through sunshine and rain [Bringing] vegetation out of the earth.”
6-7: But the wicked shall all Be raked aside like thorns; For no one will take them in his hand. Whoever touches them Must arm himself with iron And the shaft of a spear; And they must be burned up on the spot.
8: These are the names of David’s warriors: Josheb-basshebeth, a Tahchemonite, the chief officer — he is Adino the Eznite; [he wielded his spear] against eight hundred and slew them on one occasion.
18: Abishai, the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah, was head of another three. He once wielded his spear against three hundred and slew them.
20-21: Benaiah son of Jehoiada, from Kabzeel, was a brave soldier who performed great deeds. He killed the two [sons] of Ariel of Moab. Once, on a snowy day, he went down into a pit and killed a lion. He also killed an Egyptian, a huge man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, yet [Benaiah] went down against him with a club, wrenched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-3a. Description of theophany
3b-5. David’s state of blessing
6-7. The fate of the wicked
8-39. David’s warriors
8. Josheb killed 800 men at once
9-10. Elazar the Philistine killer
11-12. Shammah the Philistine killer
13-17. Exploits of the three soldiers
18-19. Abishai killed 300 men at once
20-23. Benaiah the lion and Egyptian killer
24-39. The “thirty soldiers”

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/photos/thorns_on_green.jpg

2 Samuel 22 – “David’s Thanksgiving Song”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David sings a thanksgiving song praising God for saving him from his enemies.

II. Photo
David puts his trust in God: “With You, I can rush a barrier, With my God, I can scale a wall.” (v. 30)

III. Important Verses
1: David addressed the words of this song to the LORD, after the LORD had saved him from the hands of all his enemies and from the hands of Saul.
5-7: For the breakers of Death encompassed me, The torrents of Belial terrified me; The snares of Sheol encircled me, The toils of Death engulfed me. In my anguish I called on the LORD, Cried out to my God; In His Abode He heard my voice, My cry entered His ears.
8-11: Then the earth rocked and quaked, The foundations of heaven shook — Rocked by His indignation. Smoke went up from His nostrils, From His mouth came devouring fire; Live coals blazed forth from Him. He bent the sky and came down, Thick cloud beneath His feet. He mounted a cherub and flew; He was seen on the wings of the wind.
16: The bed of the sea was exposed, The foundations of the world were laid bare By the mighty roaring of the LORD, At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
29-31: You, O LORD, are my lamp; The LORD lights up my darkness. With You, I can rush a barrier, With my God, I can scale a wall. The way of God is perfect, The word of the LORD is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
47-49: The LORD lives! Blessed is my rock! Exalted be God, the rock Who gives me victory; The God who has vindicated me And made peoples subject to me, Rescued me from my enemies, Raised me clear of my foes, Saved me from lawless men!

IV. Outline
1-2a. Introduction
2b. Invocation
2c-3. Account of trust
4-6. Account of trouble
7. Account of prayer and salvation
8-21. Theophany: God appeared from above and saved David from his enemies
22-28. Assertion of piety
29-37. Praise
38-46. Account of victory
47-51. Final praise

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

(See Psalm 18)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/travel/escapes/29Parkour.html

2 Samuel 21 – “A Deal with the Gibeonites; David’s Close Call; Victory in Philistia”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Saul’s descendants are killed by the Gibeonites. After a close call in battle, David retires from the military. His men defeat many Philistine warriors.

II. Photo
A famine strikes the land: “There was a famine during the reign of David, year after year for three years. David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord replied, ‘It is because of the bloodguilt of Saul and [his] house, for he put some Gibeonites to death.’” (v. 1)

III. Important Verses
1:  There was a famine during the reign of David, year after year for three years. David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD replied, “It is because of the bloodguilt of Saul and [his] house, for he put some Gibeonites to death.”
3-6: David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, so that you may bless the LORD’s own people?” The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no claim for silver or gold against Saul and his household; and we have no claim on the life of any other man in Israel.” And [David] responded, “Whatever you say I will do for you.” Thereupon they said to the king, “The man who massacred us and planned to exterminate us, so that we should not survive in all the territory of Israel — let seven of his male issue be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king replied, “I will do so.”
8-10: Instead, the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons that Rizpah daughter of Aiah bore to Saul, and the five sons that Merab daughter of Saul bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite, and he handed them over to the Gibeonites. They impaled them on the mountain before the LORD; all seven of them perished at the same time. They were put to death in the first days of the harvest, the beginning of the barley harvest. Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it on a rock for herself, and she stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until rain from the sky fell on the bodies; she did not let the birds of the sky settle on them by day or the wild beasts [approach] by night.
15-17: Again war broke out between the Philistines and Israel, and David and the men with him went down and fought the Philistines; David grew weary, and Ishbi-benob tried to kill David. — He was a descendant of the Raphah; his bronze spear weighed three hundred shekels and he wore new armor. — But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid; he attacked the Philistine and killed him. It was then that David’s men declared to him on oath, “You shall not go with us into battle any more, lest you extinguish the lamp of Israel!”
19-21: Again there was fighting with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, whose spear had a shaft like a weaver’s bar. Once again there was fighting, at Gath. There was a giant of a man, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all; he too was descended from the Raphah. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him.

IV. Outline
1. The famine and its cause
2-6. David makes a deal with the Gibeonites
7-9. David hands over Saul’s descendants to die
10. Rizpah stands guard over the corpses
11-14. David gives Saul and his descendents a proper burial
15-16. War with the Philistines; David almost dies
17. David promises not to fight again
18-22. David’s men defeat the Philistine warriors

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/files/imagecache/news/files/news/20090203_drought.jpg

2 Samuel 20 – “Sheba’s Revolt”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Sheba leads the Israelites away from David. Joab pursues Sheba and besieges him in the city of Abel. The siege ends when Joab is given Sheba’s severed head.

II. Photo
David isolates his concubines: “[David] provided for [the concubines], but he did not cohabit with them. They remained in seclusion until the day they died, in living widowhood.” (v. 3b)

III. Important Verses
1: A scoundrel named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, happened to be there. He sounded the horn and proclaimed: “We have no portion in David, No share in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, O Israel!”
3: David went to his palace in Jerusalem, and the king took the ten concubines he had left to mind the palace and put them in a guarded place; he provided for them, but he did not cohabit with them. They remained in seclusion until the day they died, in living widowhood.
8-11: They were near the great stone in Gibeon when Amasa appeared before them. Joab was wearing his military dress, with his sword girded over it and fastened around his waist in its sheath; and, as he stepped forward, it fell out. Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, brother?” and with his right hand Joab took hold of Amasa’s beard as if to kiss him. Amasa was not on his guard against the sword in Joab’s [left] hand, and [Joab] drove it into his belly so that his entrails poured out on the ground and he died; he did not need to strike him a second time. Joab and his brother Abishai then set off in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri, while one of Joab’s henchmen stood by the corpse and called out, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is on David’s side, follow Joab!”
22: The woman came to all the people with her clever plan; and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it down to Joab. He then sounded the horn; all the men dispersed to their homes, and Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.

IV. Outline
1-2. The Israelites follow Sheba, the Judahites follow David
3. David returns to Jerusalem; His concubines are put in seclusion
4-5. Amasa is sent to gather the men of Judah
6-7. David’s army sets out in pursuit of Sheba
8-13. Joab accidentally kills Amasa
14-15. Joab besieges Sheba in Abel
16-22. A woman delivers Sheba’s head to Joab
23-26. David’s officers

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://divine-www-1.divinecaroline.com/images/photo/image/01/36/55/photo/13655/Womenandprison.jpg

2 Samuel 19 – “David’s Rise”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David weeps for his son. He makes his way back to Jerusalem, pardons those who wronged him, and honors those who honored him.

II. Photo
David is dejected: “The king was shaken. He went up to the upper chamber of the gateway and wept, moaning these words as he went, ‘My son Absalom! O my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (v. 1)

III. Important Verses
1: The king was shaken. He went up to the upper chamber of the gateway and wept, moaning these words as he went, “My son Absalom! O my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son!”
6-9a: Joab came to the king in his quarters and said, “Today you have humiliated all your followers, who this day saved your life, and the lives of your sons and daughters, and the lives of your wives and concubines, by showing love for those who hate you and hate for those who love you. For you have made clear today that the officers and men mean nothing to you. I am sure that if Absalom were alive today and the rest of us dead, you would have preferred it. Now arise, come out and placate your followers! For I swear by the LORD that if you do not come out, not a single man will remain with you overnight; and that would be a greater disaster for you than any disaster that has befallen you from your youth until now.” So the king arose and sat down in the gateway; and when all the troops were told that the king was sitting in the gateway, all the troops presented themselves to the king.
19b-24: Shimei son of Gera flung himself before the king as he was about to cross the Jordan. He said to the king, “Let not my lord hold me guilty, and do not remember the wrong your servant committed on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; let Your Majesty give it no thought. For your servant knows that he has sinned; so here I have come down today, the first of all the House of Joseph, to meet my lord the king.” Thereupon Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for that — insulting the LORD’s anointed?” But David said, “What has this to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should cross me today? Should a single Israelite be put to death today? Don’t I know that today I am again king over Israel?” Then the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die”; and the king gave him his oath.
30-31: The king said to [Mephibosheth], “You need not speak further. I decree that you and Ziba shall divide the property.” And Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take it all, as long as my lord the king has come home safe.”

IV. Outline
1-5. David laments his son; The troops are ashamed
6-8. Joab castigates David
9a. David meets with the troops
9b-15. David is invited to Jerusalem
16-24. David pardons Shimei at the Jordan river
25-31. David makes amends with Mephibosheth; Ziba’s property is split in two
32-39. David honors Barzillai by watching over Chimham
40-41. David’s camp crosses the Jordan
42-44. The men of Judah and Israel debate

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.principalspage.com/theblog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/cryingman-300×144.jpg

2 Samuel 18 – “David is Victorious; Absalom is Killed”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David’s army routs Absalom’s forces. Absalom gets tangled in a tree and is killed by Joab. Messengers tell David about the battle and the death of his son.

II. Photo
The battlefield is fierce: “The battle spread out over that whole region, and the forest devoured more troops that day than the sword.” (v. 8 )

III. Important Verses
2b-4a: And David said to the troops, “I myself will march out with you.” But the troops replied, “No! For if some of us flee, the rest will not be concerned about us; even if half of us should die, the others will not be concerned about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore, it is better for you to support us from the town.” And the king said to them, “I will do whatever you think best.”
5: The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “Deal gently with my boy Absalom, for my sake.” All the troops heard the king give the order about Absalom to all the officers.
8: The battle spread out over that whole region, and the forest devoured more troops that day than the sword.
9: Absalom encountered some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding on a mule, and as the mule passed under the tangled branches of a great terebinth, his hair got caught in the terebinth; he was held between heaven and earth as the mule under him kept going.
14-17: Joab replied, “Then I will not wait for you.” He took three darts in his hand and drove them into Absalom’s chest. [Absalom] was still alive in the thick growth of the terebinth, when ten of Joab’s young arms-bearers closed in and struck at Absalom until he died. Then Joab sounded the horn, and the troops gave up their pursuit of the Israelites; for Joab held the troops in check. They took Absalom and flung him into a large pit in the forest, and they piled up a very great heap of stones over it. Then all the Israelites fled to their homes.
18: Now Absalom, in his lifetime, had taken the pillar which is in the Valley of the King and set it up for himself; for he said, “I have no son to keep my name alive.” He had named the pillar after himself, and it has been called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

IV. Outline
1-5. David’s troops march out in three divisions; David stays behind
6-8. David’s forces rout the Israelites
9. Absalom is entangled in a tree
10-15. Joab and his men kill Absalom
16. The battle ends
17. Absalom is buried beneath a heap of stones
18. Absalom’s monument
19-23. Messengers are sent to David
24-32. Ahimaaz tells David about the battle, a Cushite tells him about Absalom

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.cumbavac.org/images/forest.jpg