A Brief History of King David, Part Three

Okay, our goal today is to finish this history of King David. We have established that David was the youngest of 7 sons. He was a compassionate individual who believed in having compassion on his king, and that he was a sinful man.

Amnon and Tamar

David’s son, Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. He was advised to go to bed and pretend to be ill and ask for Tamar to come prepare him some food. He then, when she got near him, grabbed her and raped her. Then he hated her afterward. Now Absalom, Tamar’s full brother, had it in his mind to avenge his sister’s rape. So, he talked David into letting Amnon and the rest of the king’s sons go with his sheepshearers to shear his sheep. Then, he had the shearers turn on Amnon and kill him. The rest of the king’s sons fled.

So, the report came to David that all of his sons had perished. Jonadab, Amnon’s servant, told David that all his sons were not dead, but only Amnon. Absalom had fled and went to Talmai, son of Ammihub, the king of Geshur. David longed to go to Absalom. He was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.

Joab knew the king wanted Absalom, but Absalom was still with the king of Geshur. So Joab sent a wise widow from Tekoa, apparently the town that the king was in, to talk to David. She told him she was a widow, her two sons got into a fight and one killed the other. Now the wh0le clan had risen up against her and demanded that she hand over her other son to them, that they may kill him and be rid of the heir as well. This would leave her with no descendants at all. David told her to go home and he would issue an order on her behalf.

The Widow Confronts David

Then she asked David to invoke the Lord to intervene and prevent the avengers from destroying her son. When David assured her that no one would harm her son, she said,

“Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.

“And now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; perhaps he will grant his servant’s request.  Perhaps the king will agree to deliver his servant from the hand of the man who is trying to cut off both me and my son from God’s inheritance.’

“And now your servant says, ‘May the word of my lord the king secure my inheritance  for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you.’” (2 Samuel 14:13-17)

Then the king asked her if Joab had anything to do with this. She said yes. So, he brought back Absalom.

Joab Brings Absalom Back

So, Joab went to Geshur and brought back Absalom, but he did not bring him to David, because he had said “Absalom must not see my face.” Absalom lived two years without seeing the king’s face and he had three sons and a daughter.

Three times Absalom tried to get Joab to come to him to send him to the king. When he finally got Joab’s attention, he said he wanted to see the king, and if he was guilty of anything, let the king put him to death.

So, David sent for him, and when he got there, David kissed him.

Absalom’s Conspiracy

Absalom conspired to undercut King David. Anytime someone would come by, he would call out to them, “What town are you from?” When he was answered, he would say there was not a representative of the king to hear them. Then he would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.” (2 Samuel 15: 4) In this way he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

After four years, he asked David to let him go to Hebron to worship the Lord as he had vowed in Geshur. So, David let him go. He took two hundred men with him, who had been invited, and knew nothing of the conspiracy. Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to tell them that as soon as they heard the sound of trumpets, to say ‘Absalom is king in Hebron’ He sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from his hometown. And so Absalom’s following kept increasing.

A messenger came and told David that the people of Israel were following Absalom. So, the king fled the city. He left ten concubines to take care of the palace. David took with him all the men who were loyal to him. He also took the ark of the covenant to the edge of the city. The Levites set down the ark and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all had passed. Then David said to the priest to take the ark of God back into the city. He told Abiathar and Zadok to return with their two sons and stay there.

Absalom Usurps His Father’s Power

Then David proceeded up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. He began to pray, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” (2 Samuel 15:31). When David arrived at the top of the Mount of Olives, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him. David told him to go to city and tell Absalom his allegiance had changed. With him there he could frustrate Ahithophel’s advice. Hushai was to send Zadok and Abiathar’s sons with news that he should hear at the palace. So Hushai was David’s confidant, and arrived at the same time as Absalom.

Shimei’s Rage

When David was a short ways past the summit, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, met him with food for his journey. Shimei was a man who was from the same clan as Saul. He came out cursing and pelted David and his entourage with stones. Shimei said,

“‘Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!’” (2 Samuel 16: 7-8)

But David ignored him.

When Absalom arrived at the palace, Hushai the Arkite, was there to meet him. Hushai told Absalom, “Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.” (2 Samuel 16: 19)

Ahithophel’s Advice

Absalom turned to Ahithophel for advice. Ahithophel told him,

“”’Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace.

Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.’” (2 Samuel 16: 21)

So, they pitched a tent on the roof.

Ahithophel then advised Absalom on how to capture David. But Absalom asked Hushai the Arkite about the advice and he gave him different advice. Absalom believed Hushai’s advice was better than Ahithophel’s, so that’s what they did. Then Hushai told The sons of Abiathar and Zadok.

Ahithophel Commits Suicide

Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, so he went to his hometown and hanged himself.

Absalom Is Killed

So ,Absalom and the Israelites found David’s men and a battle ensued. David had given orders for Absalom to be brought back alive. But Absalom was riding his mule under the branches of an oak, his hair got caught in the branches and he was hanging in midair while the mule kept on going. Joab was told of Absalom’s predicament and went and killed him.

Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok ran to tell the king of the news, along with a Cushite, Ahimaaz got there first, but the Cushite was the one to tell David of his son’s death and David grieved .

David Grieves

Joab was told of the king’s grief. So, Joab said to the king that the men were all humiliated. He said that David had made it clear that his men meant nothing to him. The only one he was concerned about was Absalom.

David’s Return to Jerusalem

David returned to Jerusalem and named a new commander of his Army. Shimei son of Gera apologized for throwing stones at David. But Abishai, the brother of Joab, protested saying he should be put to death for cursing the king. David responded, asking what right anybody had to interfere.

When David returned to the palace He took his ten concubines and locked them up. He cared for them but had no sexual relations with them.

In Pursuit of Sheba

They left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri, whom had become obnoxious to the king. Amasa, the man that David had made commander of his Army, came to meet them in Gibeon. Pretending to be friendly, Joab stabbed him to death. Then Joab and his brother Abishai commenced to pursue Sheba again. They caught up with him at Abel Beth Maakah. They built a siege ramp to the city and while they were battering the wall to bring it down, a woman called out to Joab. She asked why he was attacking a city that had stood for many years. He said all he wanted was Sheba, the son of Bikri. She promised the head of the man would be thrown from the wall. So she told the people of the city, they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it from the wall, and the fighting was over.

The Gibeonites Vindicated

Now Saul had attacked the Gibeonites, whom the Israelites were sworn to spare. There was a famine in the land and the Lord said it was because of the bloodshed of the Gibeonites. So, King David called the Gibeonites before him. He asked them what they would like him to do for them. They asked for seven of Saul’s descendants that they could put to death so David gave them two sons of Saul’s concubine Rizpah and five sons from Saul’s daughter Merab, and they put them to death and displayed their bodies on a hillside. Rizpah then sat on sackcloth for the entire harvest and watched over the bodies, not allowing the birds or the wild animals touch them. David then took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead, and buried them in Saul’s father’s tomb.

War with the Philistines

War broke out with the Philistines. David went with the men to fight the Philistines and he became exhausted. One of the men of the Philistines was going to kill David and Abishai, son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saved David. So, David’s men said to him that never again would he go to battle with them.

The Lord was unhappy with Israel So ordered David to take a census of the land. David in turn told Joab to do it. Joab argued with David about it, but then went ahead and did it. After nine months and twenty days Joab came back and told David the results, and David was greatly ashamed. I’m guessing it was because there were so many more men in Israel than anyplace else. Anyway the Lord gave David a choice: three years of famine in the land, or three months of running from his enemies, or three days of plague? David told the Lord he would put himself at the mercy of the Lord, only do not let him fall into human hands. So the Lord sent a plague on the land and killed 70,000.

David Buys The Threshing Floor

David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Then David built an altar to the Lord at the threshing floor.  He sacrificed burnt offerings there and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer and the plague ended.

David’s Last Years

When David was quite old, he could not stay warm. So, his attendants got a young virgin to stay with him. One of her tasks was to lay with him and keep him warm. She was young and beautiful, but he had no sexual relations with her.

Adonijah Sets Himself up as King

Adonijah, David’s son set himself up as King. But Bathsheba, the woman David had seen bathing on the roof so long ago, came to him and said,

“My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: ‘Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.’ But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it.” (1 Kings 1: 17)

And Nathan the prophet said, “Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? (1 Kings 1:24)

Solomon Becomes King

So David had Solomon taken to Gihon, where he had him set on his own mule and be anointed king. Then Adonijah took hold of the horns of the altar of God. He asked that Solomon would have mercy on him, and Solomon said,

“If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.” (1 Kings 1: 52)

So, King Solomon reigned and David went to his maker.

Some Thoughts

I promised to give my thoughts on this story. There aren’t many. First of all, the whole thing is taken from 1 and 2 Samuel, except for the very end, which is taken from 1 Kings. David was a compassionate man, always trying to do what was right by his enemies. He did have his enemies, as the interaction with Shimei shows. And he sinned. He did some of the most unrighteous things in the Bible, yet he was called a ‘man after God’s own heart.’ He was a contradiction in terms, but, overall, he was a good man, because the Lord loved him.




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