David’s Census – 2 Samuel 24

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 24

Command of David (24:1–9)

Since a large part of the book of 2 Samuel details David’s shortcomings, perhaps we’d expect the book of 2 Samuel to end on a positive note. Yet, this book concludes with a narrative of divine wrath against Israel, as well as detailing the sin of David in engineering a national census. Continue reading David’s Census – 2 Samuel 24

David Praises God – 2 Samuel 22

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 22

Plea of David (22:1–16)

It is likely that not all the events recorded in the final chapters of the book of 2 Samuel happened chronologically at the end of David’s life. Yet, the psalm recorded in chapter 22 was surely composed by David near the end of his life, as he reflected upon God’s lifelong faithfulness to him. This song is also recorded at Psalm 18. Continue reading David Praises God – 2 Samuel 22

David’s Final Years – 2 Samuel 21

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 21

Gibeonites’ Covenant (21:1–9)

The last four chapters of the book of 2 Samuel narrate several events that mostly transpired during the final years of David’s reign. These events are not necessarily presented chronologically. 2 Sam. 21:1–14 describes an otherwise unknown 3-year famine that occurred in Israel. Here we learn that this famine happened on account of Saul’s earlier murder of the Gibeonites. Continue reading David’s Final Years – 2 Samuel 21

Sheba’s Rebellion – 2 Samuel 20

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 20

David’s Return (20:1–3)

In 2 Sam. 19:9–10 we saw that there was some dispute among the tribes of Israel regarding bringing David back from exile. Providentially, via political maneuvering recorded in 2 Sam. 19:11–14, David was invited by the tribe of Judah to return to Jerusalem. When David returned from exile, it was the tribe of Judah who met him and escorted him into Jerusalem (cf. 2 Sam. 19:15). Continue reading Sheba’s Rebellion – 2 Samuel 20

Return to Jerusalem – 2 Samuel 19

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 19

David’s Mourning (19:1–8)

2 Samuel 15–16 describe Absalom’s rebellion and David’s flight from Jerusalem, including the individuals whom he encountered on his journey. 2 Samuel 17–18 narrates events leading to Absalom’s fall and death, including the conflicting advice he received from his counselors Ahithophel and Hushai. Continue reading Return to Jerusalem – 2 Samuel 19

Absalom’s Treason – 2 Samuel 15

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 15

Rebellion in Hebron (15:1–12)

In 2 Samuel 15 David is still in the midst of grappling with the consequences of his past sins of adultery and murder (cf. 2 Sam. 12:10–12). After killing his half-brother Ammon, David’s son Absalom had fled to Geshur, where he was under the protection of his grandfather, King Talmai (cf. 2 Sam. 13:34–39). Continue reading Absalom’s Treason – 2 Samuel 15

Ammon and Tamar – 2 Samuel 13

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 13

Tamar’s Innocence (13:1–6)

As a part of God’s judgment upon David for his sins of adultery and murder, God told David that “the sword shall never depart from your house” (2 Sam. 12:10). Since God had put away David’s sins (cf. 2 Sam. 12:13), this is best viewed as a prophecy about the results of David’s sins. Continue reading Ammon and Tamar – 2 Samuel 13

David and Bathsheba – 2 Samuel 11–12

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 11-12

David’s Sin (11:1–5)

Given that David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), and considering his rise to power and victorious reign narrated in 2 Samuel 1–10, it may have been tempting for his contemporaries to wonder if he was the promised Messiah. However, in the last half of this book, it is clear that while David was a picture of Christ, he was a only man. Continue reading David and Bathsheba – 2 Samuel 11–12

David and Mephibosheth – 2 Samuel 9

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 9

David’s Kindness (9:1–5)

As we saw earlier, 2 Samuel 7 records the inauguration of the Davidic Covenant. Following this, details of David’s military victories over the Philistines, the Moabites, the Syrians, and others is recorded in 2 Samuel 8. David’s further victories over the Syrians and Ammonites is reported in 2 Samuel 10. In short, David’s reign as King of Israel is summarized in the observation, “So the Lord preserved David wherever he went” (2 Sam. 9:6). After listing David’s political cabinet in 2 Sam. 8:15–18, in 2 Samuel 9 the author of this book narrates the interaction between David and Mephibosheth. Back in 2 Sam. 4:4 Mephibosheth was introduced, as we learned that he was a son of Jonathan and a grandson of King Saul. Moreover, it is recorded that after Saul’s death, when Mephibosheth’s nurse was fleeing with him in haste, he was accidentally dropped, which left him crippled in his legs for life.

In 2 Sam. 9:1–2 David inquired about any surviving relatives of the house of Saul. With this inquiry, David was specifically seeking out children of Jonathan, with whom he had made a covenant of protection at 1 Sam. 18:3; 20:14–15, 42; 24:20–21. At the inauguration of this covenant Jonathan had told David, “You shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut of every one of the enemies of David” (2 Sam. 20:15). At 2 Sam. 9:3 David learned of the existence of Mephibosheth from Ziba, one of Saul’s former servants who appears for the first time in Scripture in this chapter. Note that Mephibosheth is also called Meribbaal at 1 Chron. 8:34; 9:40. We ought not to confuse Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul, with Mephibosheth, the son of Saul and daughter of Rizpah (cf. 2 Sam. 21:7–9). To clear, then, Saul had both a son and a grandson named Mephibosheth.

Mephibosheth’s Character (9:6–10)

Surely, when Mephibosheth received news that he was being summoned to David’s court, it was not a welcomed message. In this era, it was common for kings to eradicate any relatives of preceding kings in order to prevent rival claims to the throne, as well as sedition. Mephibosheth would likely not have known about David’s private covenant with his father Jonathan; although he would have known about Saul’s persecution of David. Note that Mephibosheth would have been about 12 years old when his uncle, King Ishbosheth, had been murdered. When Mephibosheth appeared before David in 2 Sam. 9:6–10, he did so with fear and humility. Unexpectedly, rather than be executed by David, Mephibosheth learned that David would restore all of Saul’s property to him and had appointed Ziba to be his own servant. Given his crippled state, such news must have seemed unbelievable to Mephibosheth.

Zeba’s Service (9:11–13)

The land and estate that Mephibosheth received from David was evidently quite large, for it was served by Ziba, his 15 sons, and his 20 servants. Moreover, David honored Mephibosheth by perpetually feeding him at his own table. Note that Mephibosheth also had a son named Micha, who later had children of his own (cf. 1 Chron. 8:35–38; 9:41–44). Mephibosheth would eat at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons, and govern his estate for the next 17 years. What a change this must have been for Mephibosheth. He went from being marginalized to being favored, from experiencing great want to having great blessings. Don’t miss the gospel overtones of David’s relationship with Mephibosheth: of his own accord a king approaches his enemy, adopts him into his own family, and provides him with unrepayable blessings, all because of a prior covenant.

Mephibosheth, as well as Ziba, disappears from the biblical record until the time of Absalom’s treason, recorded from 2 Sam. 15–19. In 2 Sam. 16:1–4 we read that Ziba met David with supplies when he fled from Jerusalem. Surprisingly, when David inquired about Mephibosheth, Ziba claimed that Mephibosheth had remained in Jerusalem with hopes of being restored to the throne. Given Mephibosheth’s character in 2 Sam. 9, as well as the context of Absalom’s treason, this claim seems highly unlikely. Nevertheless, David hastily gave Saul’s estate to Ziba. Then, upon his return to Jerusalem, at 2 Sam. 19:24–30 David met Mephibosheth. He claimed that Ziba deceived him and slandered him to David. Upon hearing this news, David then divided the estate between Mephibosheth and Ziba. Note the fact that David later spared Mephibosheth’s life is significant (cf. 2 Sam. 21:7).

Application Questions:

  1. What does David’s kindness to Mephibosheth demonstrate about his character (cf. Gal. 5:22–23)? Why did King David show such kindness to Mephibosheth?
  2. Why does David seek to keep his covenant with Jonathan, even after Jonathan’s death? What would Mephibosheth have thought about David’s summons?
  3. Like Mephibosheth, have you ever received a completely unexpected blessing from God (cf. Eph. 3:20–21)? If so, how did this shape your theology?
  4. In what ways does David’s treatment of Mephibosheth reflect the gospel? Have you ever had opportunity to show kindness, grace, and mercy to your enemy?
  5. Whom do you think was telling the truth at the time of Absalom’s treason: Ziba or Mephibosheth? Was David’s decision to divide the land a just and fair ruling?

The Davidic Covenant – 2 Samuel 7

Read the Passage: 2 Samuel 7

David’s Desire (7:1–3)

As this chapter begins, David is in his mid-to-late 30s, he’d recently become king over a united Israel (2 Sam. 5:1–5), he’d conquered what would become his capital city (2 Sam. 5:6–16), he’d defeated the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:17–25), and he’d relocated the ark of God to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6)—albeit with some difficulty. Continue reading The Davidic Covenant – 2 Samuel 7