- 2 Sam. 19:5-20:26
David was mourning Absalom’s death when his army commander Joab came to him. Joab said David’s behavior was extremely discouraging and predicted that if David didn’t come out to show his support for his troops that they would all desert him by nightfall, which David did. There was much turmoil in Israel in these days as people were confused by David’s decision to flee Jerusalem. It seems some weren’t sure who the nation’s leader was.
So David returned to Jerusalem. Shimei, the relative of Saul who had cursed and threw stones at David as he left Jerusalem, came and apologized to David and asked his forgiveness, which David granted. Also Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, came and asked forgiveness of David. Apparently Ziba had prevented Mephibosheth from joining David as his family fled Jerusalem. (Recall that Mephibosheth couldn’t walk.)
However, there was yet another rebel named Sheba who led a group of Israelites to reject David. Sheba fled to a town named Abel Beth Maacah for refuge. Meanwhile, for some unexplained reason, David placed Amasa as commander of the army instead of Joab. Joab was obviously quite angry about this, for when he met Amasa on the road, he pretended to show kindness to him and then stabbed him in the stomach and killed him.
All of Amasa’s men followed Joab in pursuit of Sheba. When they arrived at Abel Beth Maacah, Joab’s army began besieging the city. A wise woman citizen of Abel Beth Maacah was able to temporarily stop the siege when she summoned for Joab. When Joab met her, she said:
“They used to talk in former times, saying, ‘They shall surely seek guidance at Abel,’ and so they would end disputes. I am among the peaceable and I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?” And Joab answered and said, “Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not so. But a man from the mountains of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has raised his hand against the king, against David. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city.”
So the woman said to Joab, “Watch, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. Then he blew a trumpet, and they withdrew from the city, every man to his tent. So Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.
(2 Sam. 20:18-22 NKJV)
After this Joab was made commander of the entire army.
There are at least two bright spots in these otherwise-dark events. The first is that GOD continued to faithfully protect David. For all the success David enjoyed he still had quite a difficult life, primarily due to his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. Yet GOD forgave David and never left his side through these troubles. GOD is just as faithful to us today. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake us (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).
The second bright spot is how David forgave those who had sinned against him. We must also do the same today. Jesus said:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matt. 6:14-15 NKJV)