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Tuesday, May 15 2012
Absalom was one of the many sons and daughters of King David (see The Wives Of King David). A vain and ambitious manipulator (see What Do Leaders Do?), Absalom committed treason, against his king and his country, by staging a coup against his father. He did so by appealing to the liberals of Israel with promises of turning the kingdom into a no-responsibility "democratic" fantasy land (see also Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal). The statement "so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel" is exactly what he did.
"15:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 15:2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou?
When the coup began, David was forced to flee from Jerusalem - the city chosen by the LORD, for the king elected by the LORD (see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David).
"15:13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
Absalom had chosen to rebel against a rulership that the LORD had established. The result was certain - Absalom's forces were severely defeated ("there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men") and swollen-headed Absalom (literally and figuratively) himself was killed.
"18:6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; 18:7 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. 18:8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. 18:9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away." (2 Samuel 18:6-9 KJV)
As happened a number of times (e.g. see On The Brink Of Civil War), Absalom's rebellion materialized along one of the natural conflict lines of Israel - twelve tribes, under the rule of a king who was of just one of the tribes (see The Crease Of Israel). It produced volatile statements such as "the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king."
"19:40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.
"Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David"
The rebellion by Absalom was over, however another vain and ambitious man, Sheba, took the opportunity, made possible by Absalom's treachery, to trigger another revolt, with the same vain justification - the other tribes of Israel, against the king of Israel who happened to be of the tribe of Judah: "We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel."
"20:1 And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel." (2 Samuel 20:1 KJV)
Unlike Absalom, who was of the tribe of Judah like his father, Sheba was of the tribe of Benjamin - the tribe of Saul, the first king of Israel that David had replaced because Saul proved himself to be foolish and unstable (see The Civil War Kings). Sheba of Benjamin was making an argument against Judah that others could have made against Benjamin if Saul had remained king i.e. it was a hypocritical argument that was based on nothing more than a struggle for control.
"20:2 So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem." (2 Samuel 20:2 KJV)
Upon seeing ten of the tribes of Israel forsake their loyalty to him (a situation that repeated, again, in the time of King Solomon - see the Fact Finder question below), David took ten of his concubines that he thereafter left as "widows." Was it merely a shallow, spiteful act against ten innocent women? Or were the ten concubines from the tribes who had forsaken him? Did he lose his love for them? Or did he lose his trust of them?
"20:3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood." (2 Samuel 20:3 KJV)
David then turned his attention to defeating Sheba's revolt. David appointed his nephew Amasa, a son of David's sister Abigail, as a field commander of the battle to come.
"20:4 Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present. 20:5 So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him." (2 Samuel 20:4-5 KJV)
When Amasa delayed, David appointed another nephew, Abishai, a son of David's sister Zeruiah - a fierce, and fiercely-loyal warrior of the king, to begin the pursuit of Sheba. So too the forces under Joab, another nephew of David, the brother of Abishai. The hunt was on for Sheba.
"20:6 And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy LORD servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us. 20:7 And there went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri." (2 Samuel 20:6-7 KJV)
David's nephews were also ambitious to a lethal extreme, but at least their deadliness was against each other, in their competition to be the most loyal to David. While in pursuit of Sheba, Joab killed his cousin Amasa, "So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri."
"20:8 When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab's garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out.
Sheba quickly found himself in full flight to escape the onslaught that was coming upon him. When he took refuge in Abel-beth-maachah, Joab laid siege to the city, with the intention of destroying it and everyone in it because of their giving asylum to Sheba. The inhabitants saved themselves and their city by delivering Sheba to Joab, or at least "his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall."
"20:14 And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him. 20:15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down. 20:16 Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee. 20:17 And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab?
So ended the revolt by Sheba.
"20:22 Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king." (2 Samuel 20:22 KJV)
Fact Finder: Later, when did Israel divide into "Israel" and "Judah"?
This Day In History, May 15
392: Roman Emperor Valentinian II was assassinated while advancing into Gaul against the Frankish usurper Arbogast.
1004: Henry II, the last Saxon ruler of Germany, was crowned king of Lombardy after the defeat of Arduin of Ivrea.
1213: King John submitted to the Pope, offering to make England and Ireland papal fiefs. Pope Innocent III then lifted the interdict (curse upon an entire country) of 1208.
1252: Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull (a Latin abbreviation for "bulletin") ad extirpanda, which authorized the torture of "heretics" in the Medieval Inquisition. A number of the "inquisition" tactics used, such as "waterboarding," have been used by various governments right into the modern era, ranging from Adolf Hitler's Gestapo in the 1940s, to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the present day under the term "enhanced interrogation techniques."
1455: A crusade against the Turks and for the capture of Constantinople was proclaimed by Pope Calixtus III (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1602: English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold discovered Cape Cod.
1702: The War of the Spanish Succession began.
1755: Laredo, Texas was established by Spanish colonists.
1768: With the Treaty of Versailles, France purchased Corsica from Genoa.
1836: British astronomer Francis Baily detected the phenomenon called "Baily's beads" during an annular eclipse of the sun. Just before the moon's disk completely covers the sun, the narrow crescent of sunlight may be broken in several places by irregularity (mountains and valleys) on the edge of the moon's disk; the resulting appearance roughly compares to a string of beads.
1860: Giuseppe Garibaldi, with 1,000 volunteers, defeated the larger Neapolitan army at the Battle of Calatafimi.
1948: In response to Israel's proclamation of the State of Israel the day before, Arab armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon invaded. The first major Israel-Arab War (see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).
1955: The Vienna Treaty, signed by Britain, France, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R, restored Austria's independence after the Second World War. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria; when Hitler came to power, he silenced his critics, that said he was foreign born, by making Austria part of Germany (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion; listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1967: Egyptian leader Nasser remilitarized Sinai, moving in 100,000 men and armour, and ordering out the UN force which complied. The lead-up to the Six Day War.
1972: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning at a Maryland shopping center.
1988: The Soviet Union began its withdrawl from Afghanistan, eight years after their invasion. Their involvement in Afghanistan was one of the final "superpower" acts of the U.S.S.R. before it went bankrupt.
2008: California became the second U.S. State (Massachusetts was the first) to legalize (in man's eye's, not God's) "same sex marriage."