BIG WORD: 2 Samuel 19–21

It’s time for BIG WORD! We’re nearly finished with 2 Samuel. In fact, we only have one session left. The book doesn’t end neatly; David’s death and final words are actually provided in the first few chapters of Kings. We’ll dive in those books after the holiday break.

If you missed the homework, I encourage you to download it HERE. (It’s free!) Most of the study questions could be answered directly from the text. Because of this, our discussion last night went took a few tangents.

The Woman in the Wall

In chapter 20 we see Sheba, a Benjaminite, speak up for the tribes of Israel. He decides that if the tribes of Judah will not invite the tribes of Israel to escort David back to Jerusalem, then they want nothing to do with this king. As he stomps off in a little hissy fit, all ten tribes of Israel follow him. (!)

David refuses to see his nation suffer another split, so he employs first Amasa and then Joab to rally the troops and seize Sheba. The army approaches the walls of Sheba’s refuge city. They’ve built a ramp and have entered into seige when a little old woman sticks her head out the window.

“Excuse me! What are you doing? I’m the wisdom queen of this town, so tell me your problems and we’ll find a peaceful solution.” (Clearly, I’m paraphrasing here. Please don’t quote me.) This woman somehow gets the attention of Joab in the midst of this battle and simply talks to him. After hearing that he only wants Sheba, she talks to the people of her city. They behead Sheba and toss his noggin over the wall. The end!

Once again we have a very funny, interesting little story hidden in the details of Scripture. Why is it here? Well, I don’t know exactly. It could be a lesson in peaceful diplomacy. It could be proof that David still has some leadership skills and that one rash loudmouth doesn’t always speak for everyone. This little story is hardly the point of the book, but it does present some very interesting details — mainly that this was a woman and people listened to her.

Too often people see the Bible as a sexist, male-dominated tome that degrades women and belittles their gifts. That’s not the Bible I read.

This story is just one of many that reveal strong, confident women who are not only gifted, but who are respected by men and endowed with God-given wisdom. These women make waves that impact nations and history. There is no limit to what God can do with a surrendered heart. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, strong or weak, influential, homeless, uneducated, talented, abused, stubborn … male or female. God can use you. Even if you’re just an old woman sitting in a city wall’s window.

Family Trees

Our discussion also covered family trees. You can hear congregations grumble when pastors turn to chapters of genealogy, but these relationships are important. The books of Samuel definitely have overlapping branches.

For example, at the end of chapter 21, we have two different Mephibosheths. These come from the family line of Saul. We know that the one preserved is the son of Jonathan, the dear deceased friend of David. That makes him Saul’s grandson. The other is a son of Saul by way of Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. In other words, the sacrificed Mephibosheth was the half-brother of Jonathan, the uncle of the crippled Mephibosheth who dined at David’s table.

This is the same Rizpah at the center of dispute between Abner (Saul’s commander) and Ish-bosheth (Saul’s heir) back in chapter 3. It was a turning point in the civil war between Judah and Israel after their first king’s death. Insulted by the accusations, Abner defected to David’s side, taking most of Israel’s army with him, and was soon murdered by Joab. We hear nothing more about Rizpah until now — when we learn that she had two sons, both of which were sacrificed to avenge the blood of the Gibeonites.

We also find family ties between Amasa and Joab. Joab’s mom was one of David’s sisters. She had three sons, all of whom served in David’s army (2 Samuel 2:18). Amasa’s mom is also listed as one of David’s sisters (1 Chronicles 2:16-17), but, according to 2 Samuel 17:25, her father was Nahash. So, their branch of the family tree looked something like this:

This puts contemporary family dramas into perspective – doesn’t it? I mean, my family feels more normal every day! :)

One cousin sides with their uncle, the anointed king, while the other commands the army of another cousin, the king’s son. When Absalom, the king’s son is killed in battle, the king (their uncle) chooses the “enemy nephew” to replace the “loyal nephew” as commander. Clearly the “loyal nephew” (Joab) didn’t like this. He proved it by killing Amasa and leaving his partially dismembered body on the road for all the troops to march past. Ah, family love … doesn’t it make you want to join their mothers around the Thanksgiving table?

What’s the point?

All this brings me back to Romans 8. That is, by far, my favorite chapter in all of Scripture. In it we learn that:

  • Those who believe in Jesus Christ have no condemnation.
  • We are FREE.
  • We have NEW LIFE.
  • Sufferings have purpose.
  • All of our sufferings amount to nothing in light of the glory God will reveal in us.
  • If God is for us, nothing against us will prevail.
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
  • He works all things for the good of those who love Him.
  • We are more than conquerors.

Oh, and this is only a sampling of the amazing truths presented in the thirty-nine verse there! Life sometimes sucks. Families go crazy and people make bad choices. We all make mistakes and messes and that’s okay. Because God is bigger. He can use an old woman in a wall window, a king with public flaws, a family with more drama than Days of our Lives … He can use you and he can use me and He will do all of this for HIS GLORY and our freedom. Not because we deserve it, but simply because He loves us and He delights in us. Just like He delighted in David.

Let us not get distracted by the dramatic details of life so that we miss the big picture He has planned for us.

Your Turn: What has God taught you through this study? What questions do you have or observations have you made?

Talk to me!

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