2 Samuel 15:23–16:23
David could have probably stayed in Jerusalem and defeated Absalom, but it seems as if David is not so sure he doesn’t deserve all this upheaval. Some say he was trying to avoid a war in the middle of the city of Jerusalem, and the shedding of blood of innocent lives, but as we see David meekly flee the city, it’s definitely not the same David who led his men in the great military victories of the past.
That’s one thing to consider. Another is they say you find out who your true friends really are…in the tough times.
Zadok the Priest, tries to stay with David, but he returns of the Ark of God back to Jerusalem where it belongs, along with Zadok himself. We read David’s words and his mixed emotions:
2 Samuel 15:25–26 (NKJV) “Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. 26 But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.’”
David departs from Jerusalem by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, he and other weeping as they leave. He sends his friend Hushai back as a “counselor” to Absalom, as well as a spy, and part of a team of informants with the sons of Zadok.
Ziba greets the king with supplies, but also brings indicting words about Mephibosheth. God only knows…if he was telling the truth.
The next scene of David being cursed by Shimei, is the most telling of all. David’s actually open to the possibility he deserves this curse, which explains his exit as king in the fashion he’s chosen. David’s men understandably want to put Shimei to death:
2 Samuel 16:9 (NKJV) “Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!’”
But David doesn’t allow Abishai to defend him. David wonders if these words coming from God, and he leaves everything in the hands of the LORD. David wisely considers that his passivity, will make room for God’s mercy upon Him (2 Samuel 16:11-12).
When Absalom arrives in Jerusalem, Husahi is able to convince him that he will serve him loyally, as he had his father, as he would whomever the Lord, the nation, and the men of Israel would choose to be king.
And then poetic justice is finally served. At the advice of Ahithophel, Absalom ascends to the same place his father David was when he first set his eyes on Bathsheba, on the roof of the king’s house (2 Samuel 11:3) and Absalom had sex with his father’s concubines…in the sight of all Israel. God had informed David through Nathan that this would happen (2 Samuel 12:11-12). To add one more twist to the story, Ahithophel, Absalom’s anointed advisor, was the grandfather of Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34). He was well aware of all the damage David had done to this family.
While Jesus was standing, Peter was falling, denying he even knew the Lord. It’s heartbreaking the things we end up doing when we refuse to heed the warnings of God. Peter had become self-confident, which led to a lazy prayer life, which led to following at a distance, which led to warming himself at the enemies’ fire, which finally led to him denying the Lord. You can bet your bottom buck that Satan would meet Peter there with a world of condemnation. Thank God, that unlike Judas, Peter turned back to the Lord, and rather than perishing in condemnation, he prevailed in conviction.
As Jesus conversed with Pilate He acknowledged the fact that He was indeed a King, but His Kingdom was not of this world. Pilate thought he was among the elite, the educated, in questioning the very existence of truth – what a fool he was! Here was Truth incarnate, right in front of him (John 14:6), Love incarnate, Life incarnate, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. Pilate tried to suppress it, but he knew deep down inside that Jesus was innocent, righteous, special, maybe even not of this world.
Pilate did everything he could to squirm out of this situation, but his political career was in jeopardy. The last thing he needed was more problems in Jerusalem, Rome wouldn’t tolerate it.
In the end both Pilate and the people chose to free a robber and murderer by the name of Barabbas, instead of Jesus. Barabbas is symbolic of us, we deserved to die, but Jesus took our place.
“Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him…” and then we’re supposed to simply keep reading? Many men died from scourging; the Roman soldiers used the cat of nine tails, leather strips with bones, sharp rocks, and glass embedded into the strands, that would tear away the flesh and expose vital organs. I can’t imagine the pain.
“The soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head…” They beat it into Him, mocked Him as the King of the Jews. They had no inkling He was the King of kings, the Lord of lords, that He was God in the flesh. Thorns came into the world as a result of our sin, its cause, the curse (Gen. 3:17-18) and here He is wearing our curse upon His sacred head. Jesus became the curse for us in crowning fashion and not only with a crown of thorns, but ultimately with a Roman cross (Genesis 3:17-18; Galatians 3:13).
Pilate presented Jesus to the people as a bloody mess. I have a hunch that he wanted to invoke some sympathy from them – hadn’t He suffered enough? Tragically this only fueled the fire of their hatred, they were thirsty for blood – and yet, ironically this blood would be shed to wash away their sins.
Pilate struggled with the decision, here he was so close to Christ, he knew He was innocent, he knew the religious leaders were envious (Mark 15:10), his wife had had dreams to warn him (Matthew 27:19). As the people inform him that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, Pilate is afraid (John 19:8). I think maybe even deep deep down inside, he was starting to believe. He straight-out asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Pilate gave in, thinking he could do so innocently, but he couldn’t. His name is forever attached to this event, going down in history as the man responsible for Jesus’ death in the Apostle’s Creed. He’s a lesson for us and all of mankind, we can’t escape the personal decision that must be made about Jesus – who is He? Do you confess or deny Him as Lord? There is no middle ground (Matthew 10:32-33).
He bore His cross, and there on Golgatha, which in Aramaic means “skull” (the Latin translation gives us our word Calvary) they crucified Him. It was the most horrible of deaths, invented by the Phoenicians for maximum pain over maximum time, and there God hung virtually naked, executed, humiliated as only the worst criminals were.
His crime was only the truth, He was Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
We’re not sure who wrote this chapter, but whoever it is, they loved the Word of God, and of course its ultimate Author.
He found hope in the Word, with a heart to keep and obey it. It was though this Word he’d be upheld and protected from the wicked. The Psalmist had a healthy fear of God and His Word and (as we’ve read before) his eyes failed, from seeking the Word (Psalm 119:123).
The Psalmist prayed for God to teach him, for God to give him understanding, to know God’s testimonies.
When I read Psalm 119:126 I think of the times we now live in!
Psalm 119:126 (NKJV) “It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void.”
I’m sure there are many out there who feel the same way, don’t you feel the same way? Things are getting so bad – unbiblical, antibiblical, even in the church! O LORD, it seems to me that it’s time for You to act.
But we trust You Lord!
V. 10 – Obviously, the king of a country has been given a great responsibility to administer justice for all – and the “divination” or divine aspect is because God put him there, or allowed him to be there (Psalm 75:6-7; Romans 13:1).
I like the way the NLT puts it:
Proverbs 16:10 (NLT) “The king speaks with divine wisdom; he must never judge unfairly.”
After all, the authority God delegates to leaders, is for us to serve others.
V. 11 – Another warning for us to make sure we’re squeaky clean in all our business dealings.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.