After dealing kindly with Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 10:1-19 tells us how David also dealt kindly with Hanun, son of Nahash the Ammonite King on the occasion of the death of Nahash. However, advisors for Hanun got into his ear and planted seeds of suspicion and fear and David’s ambassadors were treated with contempt. An all out war soon arose with inevitable consequences. Whenever God’s grace and kindness to mankind is rejected, those inevitable consequences still happen. We call it judgement and we must pray that people will repent before that judgement comes.
After God made a covenant with David in chapter 7, in turn, David remembered the covenant he had earlier made with Saul to never wipe out Saul’s descendants. In a lovely part of the unfolding tapestry of God’s grace, 2 Samuel 9:1-13 records how David showed loving kindness (Hebrew: chesed) to one of Jonathon’s sons, Mephiboseth. To many people this may come as a surprise as the Old Testament is often characterised as being all about law or war. But in the story of David’s kindness to this cripple, the heart of the gospel can be seen.
After God established his covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7, the next chapter, 2 Samuel 8:1-18, tells of the evident blessing that came upon David’s kingdom. It not only grew in size, reaching out in all the directions of the campass as a fulfillment of the promises given to Abraham, but it also grew in wealth as God continued to give David’s army much success. But more than that, the nature of David’s kingdom reflected the righteous rule of God. His laws were honoured and it was a good place to be…but not a patch on what it’s going to be like when Jesus comes back as King of Kings. He is the King we need!
All chapters of Scripture are important, but some are more important than others! 2 Samuel 7:1-29 is one of those chapters. After David had settled the ark of the covenant in a tent in Jerusalem, he expressed a desire to God that he would like build something more permanent. Was he concerned about the fact that he lived in a palace while the ark remained in a tent? We really don’t know, but what we do know is that God said ‘no’ to David while also promising David his own ‘house’ – his very own royal line. How did David respond to such a promise? And what does this promise have to do with the fulfillment of God’s plans for His people through David’s greater Son, Jesus?
When King David set out to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jeusalem, he had no way of knowing what would eventuate and what fallout there would be from such a move. 2 Samuel 6:1-23 tells us that the first attempt at moving the Ark ended in disaster when Uzzah stretched out his hand to stop the Ark from falling. As a result, David grew angry. Three months later, after David had done some careful research, the second attempt ended in criticism as his wife, Michal, gave him a very frosty reception when he came home. In the midst of all these events there are lessons to learn from Uzzah, Michal and David as well as a timely reminder that there were still even greater things in store for God’s people.
Soon after David’s coronation as king and the conquest and establishment of Jerusalem as his capital, the old enemy, the Philistines, returned. David’s life up to this point had been one of continual conflict with this enemy and this return match would show what kind of king David would be. The text of 2 Samuel 5:17-25 tells us that David sought the Lord for His help and guidance and that God answered his requests, providing a decisive victory over the enemy. God’s people often find themselves in the heat of a battle, but our enemy is not ‘flesh and blood’. David’s experiences form a good basis for our response to the spiritual battle that we as God’s people know on a daily basis.
After David became King over all Israel and Judah, he needed to settle down into his own place and palace. Where else to go but the ancient city of Jebus the home of the Jebusites? 2 Samuel 6:6-16 tells how David came to the city and conquered it, defeating the enemy in the process. When Jesus came to Jerusalem, He also came to conquer, but His targets were sin and death. Unlike David, He did not do this by force but by sacrifice. And while David had a palace built for him within his new royal city, Jesus went in to heaven to prepare a place (John 14), in fact a new city (Revelation 21) for His people.
22 years is a long time. It’s a long time to wait. For 22 years, David was been waiting for King Saul and his descendants to be cleared from being in the way of his accession to the throne. Saul was dead by suicide. Abner was dead by murder. But Ish-bosheth, son of Saul remained as King over the 11 tribes of Israel. Would God’s promises to David in 1 Samuel 16 ever reach their fulfilment? And if so, how would David become King? And, given the bloodthirsty nature of some of his followers, how could he establish a kingdom that was not won by force or coercion? And if David points us to Jesus, in what ways is this seen in his rise to the throne as recorded in 2 Samuel 4:1-5:5?
With the scene set for full scale civil war between the houses of David and Saul, things took a brighter turn when Saul’s army general, Abner, turned from supporting Ish-bosheth to lend his support for David. With this, peace in Israel was in sight. Negotiations began and were running smoothly…that was until Joab took the matter in his own hands and murdered Abner. What would Jesus have learned as he read all this from 2 Samuel 3:1-39? And what do we learn as followers of Him who seek to bring in His Kingdom?
With David ascending to the throne as King over the tribe of Judah, and Ish-bosheth (son of Saul) installed as King over the remaining eleven tribes, the scene was set for a showdown…but not the kind of showdown you might have been expecting! Led by the two opposing army generals, (perhaps in some attempt to prove their young men were better), a fight ensued between young men from both sides with the end result, needless death and bloodshed (who would have seen that coming?) But God’s Word is God’s Word and even a passage like 2 Samuel 2:12-32 has much to teach us!