I Samuel 12-15
We are in The Nation stream and reading from the Easy-to-Read Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Jesus, forgive us for our having lapses in our discipleship, suffering for it, only to muse, “why is this happening to me if God loves me?” God, you do not bring or wish or want evil upon us. It just happens in this life. Our disobedience has invited evil into this world. May our pleasures make us grateful, and our pain make us even more prayerful. Amen.
12 – God needed to use a parallel story told by a trusted friend to get to David. As has been said, he had less ethics when he was sober than Uriah did when he was inebriated. The sheep story from Nathan crushed David who came out of his moral coma finally. David did not feel the change coming over him as he took in one wife after another. But subconsciously somewhere along, he thought, “I can because I want, I want because I can, and I can because I am King. If David had paused long enough, he would have been reminded that taking Bathsheba from Uriah, was coveting and stealing and adultery and murder. Strangely enough, David had lapsed, thinking the 10 Commandments didn’t apply to him. But his realization started him on the road right back into God’s presence. David was quick to confess and repent (Psalm 51 and 32). However this sin of David’s started an avalanche that haunted him the rest of his years. He had Uriah murdered and soon this murder visited his own home. He let lust take him to places he shouldn’t go. Lust therein took over others in his family. He had sex with Bathsheba in secret thinking it would keep it hidden. Soon all his wives were ransacked in public; on the rooftop. From this day on, “the sword would never leave David’s home”. This translation says he would never have peace in his home. And to top off the chapter, the baby David gave Bathsheba dies. Solomon is then born. The chapter ends with a war victory but it feels less victorious in the wake of David’s violations
13 – David’s troubles amplify as one of his sons, Amnon, from one of his wives tricks, seduces, and rapes one of David’s daughters, Tamar, from one of his other wives. Absalom, another one of David’s sons, plots to kill Amnon for his deed of raping their sister Tamar. On cue Absalom calls it and Amnon taken out. All of David’s other sons escape in fright and Absalom becomes a fugitive in hiding in Geshur for three years. The drama is thickening in David’s family. He must have dreamed of “days gone by” when dinner hour was a joyous event. Not anymore. The consequences for David’s transgressions are visiting him for what he had done; line by line.
14 – Absalom was afraid to come back to Jerusalem. David seemed reticent to fetch him or even call for him to come back. It’s sad, but reality is that David’s resolve during his valiant deeds and battles of yesteryear doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Joab pulls together a scheme that spurs David enough to call for Absalom to return to Jerusalem. Abs’ returns but is quarantined in a sense and doesn’t get to visit the King; his own father, for two more years. Absalom gets frustrated and lights Joab’s field on fire to get some attention. This finally triggers an arrangement for Absalom to visit his father in the palace for the first time in five years. The overdue meeting finally happens. It is cordial, bittersweet, yet distant.
15 – Absalom was not satisfied (murderers rarely are!) and soon began the role of self-appointed arbitrator so to turn affections from King David to himself. Absalom was a huckster and not enough people saw through him. He asks his father permission to go to Hebron but is not forthcoming as to what his real plans are. Absalom goes, takes 200 men with him and even gets Ahithophel, one of David’s confidants, to join him in the rebellion that Absalom is incubating. David hears what is really happening and seems to resign and simply leaves Jerusalem taking his household with him. It’s a sad affair and many are weeping aloud. They pause and David insists that the Ark of the Covenant be taken back to Jerusalem and David would come back if he felt God prompting him to do so. (It’s really sad how David had become so aimless in character.) He is disturbed to learn that Ahithophel is against him now too. He sends messages that he is willing to follow Absalom as the next king [getting looney isn’t it?!] and his messengers arrive back in Jerusalem just as Absalom arrives from Hebron. What happens next …?