Day 120 (April 30): Barzillai honors David, David is kind to Barzillai, Israelites and Judah argue over king, Sheba’s revolt, Joab kills Amasa, wise woman delivers head of Sheba, David’s song against evil, David settles conflict with Gibeonites

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Samuel 19:31-20:26

Psalm 7

2 Samuel 21:1-22

1 Chronicles 20:4-8

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 20:10): So, Amasa was stabbed because he took more than 3 days to notify Judah?  What’s the big deal?  His slowness stalled their plans or they may think he was up to something besides notifying Judah?

A. No, David had no knowledge about Joab’s plans: Joab killed Amasa to ensure that he remained commander of David’s army.

Q. (20:16-22): What?  This woman’s actions do not follow protocol.  This is quite a little story.  She is quite wise and how did she get Sheba’s head?

A. It is quite a story.  She was apparently a town elder who had great influence.  Sheba and his men were likely under the protection of the city (they probably agreed to terms before Sheba’s men came into the city).  This woman apparently was able to convince the townspeople that they had gotten a bad deal — there was no way Sheba was going to stop Joab — and they turned on him.

Q. (21:1-14): I don’t see a correlation between Saul and his family murdering the Gibeonites and a famine.  I thought God had little concern for Saul and the Gibeonites are not Israelites.  So, why a focus on this conflict?  This story is confusing to me.  I thought a while back, David had asked if any of Saul’s descendants were still living.  I thought Mephibosheth was the only one.  And, he came to live with David … or eat at his table anyway.  So, where did all of these other children come from?  So, Saul had both a son and a grandson with the name Mephibosheth?

A. Let’s untangle this: we do not know about where these other sons of Saul came from — the Chronicler doesn’t mention any other descendants — so I don’t have a good answer for that.  They may have been more distant relatives of his or the children of slaves/concubines and therefore “lesser” children (I know that sounds horrible).  Regarding the famine, back in Joshua 9 (from Day 83), the Gibeonites were the clever tribe who tricked the Israelites into signing a treaty of protection, which the people swore in God’s name.  Saul’s efforts to eliminate tribe violated this vow, and God was apparently not pleased.

Q. (21:15-22): Why are the giants important?  Are the four that were killed here the last of them?  It’s interesting that the Israelites would battle with Goliath’s brother.

A. The significance of their story is really about their defeat by David’s men.  This is a bit of sabre rattling in which the writer is saying, like their king who killed Goliath, David’s men were so fearsome in battle that they could kill giants too.

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