Absalom is dead, David is being taken across the River Jordan, the land has just been through civil war, but feelings of jealousy are strong between Israel and Judah.
In chapter 19 we smelled the smoke of trouble and now we see the fire. As the people begin to bicker (2 Samuel 19:41, 42, 43), they provide an opportunity for a worthless fellow, a slick troublemaker, to rise up (2 Samuel 20:1).
When Amasa, David’s new commander of the army, returned, Joab was waiting for him (2 Samuel 20:5, 8, 10). Joab just won’t clean out his desk and fade into the background. Power was so important to him that he would kill his own relatives (Amasa was Joab’s cousin – 1 Chronicles 2:16-17, and also David’s cousin – 2 Samuel 17:25).
- What in the previous chapter fuels the fire of Sheba’s revolt? (2 Samuel 20:1, 19:41-43)
- Why does David treat these concubines the way he does? (2 Samuel 20:3, 16:21-22)
- Why does David bypass Joab (twice)? First with Amasa and then with Abishai? (2 Samuel 20:4-6)
- What is it that galls Joab about Amasa’s appointment? (2 Samuel 17:25, 19:13)
- From where comes the phrase, “I’ve got you by the hair of your chinny-chin-chin?” (2 Samuel 20:9, 10)
- Here we find the first reference to rubber-necking in the Bible. (2 Samuel 20:12)
- How does this unnamed wise woman bring peace and spare the city? (2 Samuel 20:16-22)
- Who do you know who risked everything by getting involved and it made a difference?
- At what point in your life have you ever felt the desire to revolt against your King?
- What kept you from going AWOL?
- When your status or authority is diminished or given to someone else, how does that make you feel?
- When resentment builds up, how do you keep that in check? Where might resentment be building in you right now?
These events in chapters 21-24 are non-chronological, but they tie up the book as an appendix, taken from events earlier in David’s reign. There is a three-year famine in the land because of a broken vows made to God (2 Samuel 21:1). The Gibeonites were a sneaky bunch (Joshua 9) and eventually received protection from God’s people. An oath was made and God was holding them to it. Saul sought to destroy the Gibeonites and he and his sons paid the price for the father’s sins.
- What caused this severe famine in the land? (2 Samuel 21:1, 2, Joshua 9:3-4, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20-23)
- Saul whips the Gibeonites in his zeal but David seeks to uphold the vow, how does this show the difference between the two men? (2 Samuel 21:1, 2, 3)
- How serious are we to take the vows we take? (2 Samuel 21:4, 7) How serious does God take a vow? Why would it please God to see Saul’s descendents executed? (2 Samuel 21:14) The sheer horror of what the Gibeonites do should help us see how serious God takes a vow (2 Samuel 21:9, 14).
- Why does David spare Jonathan’s son yet allow the Gibeonites to kill the rest of the house of Saul? (2 Samuel 21:5, 7, 9)
- Rizpah pulls several “all-nighters” (April to October), but what does she hope to achieve?
- How do we see natural disasters in the land today? Do we ever see them as God’s judgment?
- How are we to react when treaty rights are violated?
- How casually does our society take making a vow or an oath? (True Love Waits, marriage, promises, an oath of office)
- When times get bad, how long does it take for you to seek the Lord? (2 Samuel 21:1)
Rather than continue in disobedience, God would have us repent and recommit. After David sought the Lord and dealt with the Gibeonites, so times of refreshing may come (2 Samuel 21:14). Regarding the bodies of Jonathan and Saul, the king had some unfinished business. They needed a proper burial (2 Samuel 21:11, 12, 13, 14).
What unfinished business do you have in your life? What old scores need to be settled in a Christ like manner? God’s weapons of love, mercy and forgiveness are more effective that guns and tanks. Who needs your forgiveness, acceptance, release? We will suffer as we allow unsettled issues to fester. It’s time for some battles to end. Rebellion leads to famine in our relationship with God.