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2 Samuel 9-11

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

2 Samuel Chapter 9

Although King David was totally victorious over the house of King Saul (see Israelite Monarchy - The Civil War), he was nevertheless concerned for the well-being of Saul's family, particularly because of Saul's son Jonathan who had been a very close friend of David before Jonathan was killed, along with his father Saul, in battle against the Philistines near Mount Gilboa.

Loyalty

"And David said, "Is there still any one left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?"

And he said, "Your servant is he."

And the king said, "Is there not still some one of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?"

Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet." (2 Samuel 9:1-3 RSV)

David then ordered that Jonathan's crippled son be made heir to much of what Saul had owned.

"And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David, and fell on his face and did obeisance. And David said, "Mephibosheth!"

And he answered, "Behold, your servant."

And David said to him, "Do not fear; for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father; and you shall eat at my table always." (2 Samuel 9:6-7 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 10

When the king of the Ammonites died, David respectfully sent ambassadors to the new king to express his condolence.

The Jordan River

"After this the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. And David said, "I will deal loyally with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me." So David sent by his servants to console him concerning his father. And David's servants came into the land of the Ammonites." (2 Samuel 10:1-2 RSV)

The new Ammonite king not only rejected David's expression of sympathy, but actually abused David's ambassadors.

"But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?" So Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off half the beard of each, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return." (2 Samuel 10:3-5 RSV)

The Ammonites then apparently realized that they had committed a travesty, but instead of apologizing and seeking peace, they mustered an allied army of Ammonites and Syrians (Jordan and Syria have allied their military against Israel in modern times as well e.g. the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the 1967 "Six Day War," the 1973 "Yom Kippur War" etc.) and attacked Israel.

"When the Ammonites saw that they had become odious to David, the Ammonites sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, twenty thousand foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with a thousand men, and the men of Tob, twelve thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men. And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the gate; and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Maacah, were by themselves in the open country." (2 Samuel 10:6-8 RSV)

David defeated them, and then defeated them again - "so the Syrians feared to help the Ammonites any more" (for a while).

"But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together. And Hadadezer sent, and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphrates; and they came to Helam, with Shobach the commander of the army of Hadadezer at their head.

And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and crossed the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians arrayed themselves against David, and fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and wounded Shobach the commander of their army, so that he died there. And when all the kings who were servants of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel, and became subject to them. So the Syrians feared to help the Ammonites any more." (2 Samuel 10:15-19 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 11

David knew much trouble in his life, a great amount of it from his behavior with his numerous wives and concubines, then the deadly competition between the children of the various mothers (e.g. Absalom). David's adultery with Bathsheba was one of the darkest events of David's life.

Darkness

"In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" [see also Hittites]

So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house." (2 Samuel 11:1-4 RSV)

The act of adultery was just the beginning of the trouble. When David heard that Bathsheba was with his child, David ordered her husband Uriah home from the war, in an attempt to make it appear that Uriah was the father.

"And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am with child."

So David sent word to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David.

When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." And Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house." (2 Samuel 11:5-9 RSV)

When it became obvious that he could not cover up the act of adultery by having Uriah go home to his wife, David resorted to a more ruthless solution - to get Uriah killed in battle and then quickly marry Bathsheba in order to make it appear that her child was David's, which it was. What David did was hardly new, then, or ever since. Commanders have always deliberately or subconsciously sent troublesome or disliked troopers into the most dangerous situations (but will rarely admit it, even to themselves), but David was anointed by The Lord to be above that sort of thing. Nevertheless, David did it. Whether Uriah would have been killed in battle anyway is unknown, but David made sure that he would.

"In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die."

And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was slain also." (2 Samuel 11:14-17 RSV)

According to plan, David then married Bathsheba and she gave birth to David's son. The people of Israel may not have known the truth, but the God of Israel surely did.

"When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased The Lord." (2 Samuel 11:26-27 RSV)

Fact Finder: What happened to the child that was born to Bathsheba as a result of her committing adultery with David? Who was the child that was later born to Bathsheba and David that became king of Israel after David?
See Bathsheba and Solomon


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