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2 Samuel 21-24, 1 Kings 1

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

2 Samuel Chapter 21

The primary reason that David's son Solomon was later given to build the Temple of The Lord (see the Fact Finder question below) in Jerusalem was because King David was "a man of blood" ("You may not build a house for My Name, for you are a warrior and have shed blood" 1 Chronicles 28:3 RSV) - not that David necessarily would have been. Unlike all of those who tried to overthrow him, David did not seek the throne of Israel; he was a humble shepherd from Bethlehem who was "drafted" to be king. Nevertheless, David, as king, was forced into battle after battle against the enemies of Israel and Judah, and civil conflict after civil conflict within Israel itself. David even inherited the "blood" responsibility of his predecessor, Saul, as in this example with the Gibeonites.


"Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the face of The Lord. And The Lord said, "There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death." [see Gibeon]

So the king called the Gibeonites. Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to slay them in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. And David said to the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? And how shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of The Lord?" (2 Samuel 21:1-3 RSV)

The demand of the Gibeonites was granted by David, although David did not surrender Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, to them (there were two named Mephibosheth - one a son of Saul, the other a grandson of Saul).

"They said to the king, "The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel, let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them up before The Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of The Lord."

And the king said, "I will give them."

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, because of the oath of The Lord which was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before The Lord, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest." (2 Samuel 21:5-9 RSV)

Along with the recovered bones of Saul and Jonathan, David gathered the remains of those killed by the Gibeonites and had them all buried in their family tomb of Saul.

"he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. And they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father; and they did all that the king commanded. And after that God heeded supplications for the land." (2 Samuel 21:13-14 RSV)

The wars with the Philistines continued, but David's ability to fight in battle was nearing an end.

"The Philistines had war again with Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines; and David grew weary. And Ishbibenob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was girded with a new sword, thought to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David's men adjured him, "You shall no more go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel." (2 Samuel 21:15-17 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 22

Despite all of his troubles, David remained a faithful man of God. David made mistakes, but he never turned away from The Lord.


"And David spoke to The Lord the words of this song on the day when The Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,

"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence. I call upon The Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. "For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol [see Sheol and Hades] entangled me, the snares of death confronted me. "In my distress I called upon The Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears." (2 Samuel 22:1-7 RSV)

David well understood the "Christian" principle that The Lord's salvation will be given to the obedient.

"The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of The Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his ordinances were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt. Therefore The Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. "With the loyal thou dost show thyself loyal; with the blameless man thou dost show thyself blameless; with the pure thou dost show thyself pure, and with the crooked thou dost show thyself perverse." (2 Samuel 22:21-27 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 23

The "last words of David" - "the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel":


"Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel: "The Spirit of The Lord speaks by me, his word is upon my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth upon a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. Yea, does not my house stand so with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? But godless men are all like thorns that are thrown away; for they cannot be taken with the hand; but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire." (2 Samuel 23:1-7 RSV)

The account of David's "mighty men" in this chapter is mostly retrospective because the list includes Uriah The Hittite, who had been killed long before then.

"And three of the thirty chief men went down, and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. And David said longingly, "O that some one would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!" Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to The Lord" (2 Samuel 23:13-16 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 24

The army of Israel was given to David in the service of The Lord. It was not provided for a king's adventurism. When David counted his army as a means toward such an end, The Lord punished him for it to make clear to him that taking a nation to war was not to be done according to a leader's personal lust for blood.


"And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand.

But David's heart smote him after he had numbered the people. And David said to The Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray thee, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly."

And when David arose in the morning, the word of The Lord came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go and say to David, 'Thus says The Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you."

So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, "Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me."

Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of The Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man."

So The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time; and there died of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, The Lord repented of the evil, and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And the angel of The Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." (2 Samuel 24:9-16 RSV)

The long-term effect that the incident had upon Bible History was that it resulted in David purchasing the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite in Jerusalem, the place where the Temple would later be built upon what it today known as the Temple Mount.

"And Gad came that day to David, and said to him, "Go up, rear an altar to The Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." So David went up at Gad's word, as The Lord commanded." (2 Samuel 24:18-19 RSV)

"But the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will buy it of you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to The Lord my God which cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to The Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So The Lord heeded supplications for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel." (2 Samuel 24:24-25 RSV)

1 Kings Chapter 1

David had survived to become elderly and bed-ridden. His son Solomon was chosen to be his successor. But as had happened so often up to then, someone else tried to seize the throne of Israel for themselves. Even one of David's sons had tried it (Absalom); now another son tried it - Adonijah. Even some of David's highest officials, including Joab, became involved.

An Old Warrior

"Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, "Why have you done thus and so?" He was also a very handsome man; and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and they followed Adonijah and helped him." But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and David's mighty men were not with Adonijah. (1 Kings 1:5-8 RSV)

Nathan The Prophet remained loyal to The Lord's anointed king, David. When he became aware of the coming coup attempt, he and Solomon's mother Bathsheba informed David that the rightful kingdom was in serious danger.

"Then Nathan said to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, "Have you not heard that Adoni'jah the son of Haggith has become king and David our lord does not know it? Now therefore come, let me give you counsel, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in at once to King David, and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne"? Why then is Adoni'jah king?'" (1 Kings 1:11-13 RSV)

David responded by having Solomon declared king immediately - an unusual occurrence since the royal succession would not have otherwise happened until after David had died.

"King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. And the king said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead; and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah." (1 Kings 1:32-35 RSV)

Fact Finder: How many times was the Temple in Jerusalem built and rebuilt? What was and is the spiritual fulfillment of The Lord's physical Temple?
See Physical and Spiritual Temples

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Copyright © Wayne Blank