Do you care about others? Do you love others? Do you share that fact with them? Do you express it in ways that others would realize it? We are to love God and love people – by doing both of these we should be able to fulfill the law. When we look at times over history when God has sent prophets to correct the people it has been because they were missing the mark in one of these two areas. When people see you, do they know that you care? Do you share and help people in the area of reconciliation? Do you care about people with grace?
Today’s reading starts with David weeping over Absalom who had been out to get him…
David Weeps Over Absalom
1The king was shaken. So he went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. As he walked he cried, “My son Absalom! O my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Absalom, my son, my son!” 2Then Joab was told, “Look, the king is weeping and mourning over Absalom!” 3So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops, for the troops heard it said that day, “The king is grieving over his son.” 4So the troops entered into the city stealthily that day, like troops who are ashamed after running away in battle. 5The king covered his face and cried with a loud voice, “My son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 6Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your servants—who this day have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, and the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines— 7by loving those who hate you, and hating those who love you! For you have shown today that officers and officials are nothing to you. For today I realize that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, then it would have pleased you well. 8So now arise, go out, and speak to the heart of your servants! For I swear by Adonai that if you do not go out, not a single man will stay with you tonight, and that would be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.” 9So the king arose and sat in the gate. When they told all the troops saying, “See, the king is sitting at the gate,” all the troops presented themselves before the king. Meanwhile, Israel had fled each man to his tent.
David’s Restoration and Grace
10All the people throughout all the tribes of Israel were at strife saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and he saved us from the hand of the Philistines. Yet now he had to flee from the land because of Absalom, 11but Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why are we silent about restoring the king?” 12Then King David sent word to Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah saying, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace? The talk of all Israel had reached the king at his residence. 13‘You are my kinsmen, my bone and my flesh! Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 14“Also say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me and even more if you do not become my army commander before me continually, in place of Joab!’” 15Thus he turned the heart of all the men of Judah as one man, and then they sent word to the king, “Come back, you and all your servants.” 16So the king returned and reached the Jordan. Meanwhile, Judah came to Gilgal in order to meet the king, to escort the king over the Jordan. 17Then Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David 18accompanied by 1,000 men of Benjamin. Also Ziba the servant of Saul’s household, with his 15 sons and 20 slaves, rushed to the Jordan ahead of the king. 19They ferried across the ford to bring the king’s household and they did whatever seemed good in his eyes. Now, Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king when he was crossing over the Jordan, 20so he implored the king, “Let my lord not hold me guilty, and not remember the iniquity that your servant committed on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Let the king not take it to his heart. 21For your servant knows that I have sinned. So behold, I have come today the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.” 22But Abishai son of Zeruiah answered and said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed Adonai’s anointed?” 23But David said, “What have I to do with you sons of Zeruiah that you should be my adversary today? Should any man be put to death in Israel this day? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” 24Then the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die,” and the king swore it to him. 25Then Mephibosheth son of Saul came down to meet the king. Now he had neither dressed his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes from the day the king departed until the day he came home in shalom. 26Now it came to pass when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why did you not go with me Mephibosheth?” 27“My lord the king, my own servant deceived me,” he answered. “For your servant had said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself, ride on it and go with the king,’ because your servant is lame. 28However, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like an angel of God. So do what is good in your eyes. 29For all my father’s household deserved only death at the hand of my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those eating at your own table! What right do I have yet to cry to the king?” 30Then the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decreed, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’” 31“So let him take all,” Mephibosheth replied to the king, “as long as my lord the king has come back to his own home in shalom.” 32Then Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and he approached the Jordan with the king to escort him over the Jordan. 33Now Barzillai was a very aged man—80 years old—and he had provided for the king during his residence at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 34The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” 35But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years are left of my life that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 36I am now 80 years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I listen any more to the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be yet a burden to my lord the king? 37Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. But why should the king reward me with such a reward? 38Please let your servant go back, and let me die in my own hometown, near the grave of my father and my mother. But look, here is your servant Chimham—let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good in your eyes.” 39The king answered, “Chimham will cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good in your eyes. Whatever you ask of me, I will do for you.” 40When all the people had crossed over the Jordan and as the king was about to cross over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, so he returned to his own place. 41Then the king crossed over to Gilgal, and Chimham and all the people of Judah crossed over with him, and also half the people of Israel escorted the king over. 42Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to him, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal you away by escorting the king and his household over the Jordan, along with all David’s men that were with him?” 43Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is our close relative. So why are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s cost? Or has he given us any gifts?” 44Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “We have ten shares in the king, so in David we have even more than you. Why then did you despise us? Weren’t we the first to speak of restoring our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.
–from 2 Samuel 19
Will justice prevail? Will reason prevail? Will grace and mercy prevail? Will truth prevail?
1Now a worthless fellow happened to be there, a Benjamite named Sheba son of Bichri. He blew the shofar and said, “We have no portion in David, no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!” 2So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba son of Bichri, but the men of Judah kept close to their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3Now when David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to take care of the palace, and put them in a guarded house. He provided for them but he did not cohabit with them. So they were confined until the day they died, living in widowhood. 4Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon to me the men of Judah within three days and be here yourself.” 5So Amasa went to summon Judah but he took longer than the set time that he had allotted him. 6Then David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. So take your lord’s servants and pursue him lest he find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” 7So Joab’s men went after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, and set out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 8When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military uniform, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his waist; and as he stepped forward, it fell out. 9Then Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you my brother?” With his right hand Joab took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 10But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s other hand. So he stabbed him with it in the groin and poured out his entrails to the ground, and did not strike him again, for he died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri. 11Meanwhile, one of Joab’s young men stood over Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12Yet Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst of the highway. So when the man saw that all the people stood still, he dragged Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him because he saw that everyone passing by him paused. 13Once he removed him from the highway, everyone passed on, following Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 14Now he went through all the tribes of Israel, to Abel and Beth-Maacah. All the Berites gathered together and indeed followed him. 15They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-Maacah and cast up a siege ramp against the city. It stood against the outer fortification and all the people with Joab battered the wall in order to topple it. 16Then a wise woman cried out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come over here that I may speak with him.” 17When he approached her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he answered. Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your handmaid.” “I’m listening,” he answered. 18Then she spoke up saying, “They used to say in old time, ‘They shall surely seek counsel at Abel and that’s how they settled any dispute. 19I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. Are you seeking to destroy a mother city in Israel? Why would you devour Adonai’s inheritance?” 20Joab replied saying, “Never! Far be it from me that I would devour up or ruin. 21The matter is not so; but a fellow from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba son of Bichri his name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give him up alone and I will withdraw from the city.” So the woman replied to Joab, “Look here, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22Then the woman approached all the people wisely. So they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it over to Joab. He then blew the shofar and they were dismissed from the city, each to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23Now Joab remained over all the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24Adoram was over the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25Sheba was scribe; Zadok and Abiathar were kohanim; 26and Ira the Jairite also was a kohen to David.
–from 2 Samuel 20
Will you step up to do what is right? Will you step up to do what is just? Will you be someone who helps bridge relationships in a spirit of reconciliation? How will you help?
Justice for the Gibeonites
1Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year, so David sought the face of Adonai. Adonai replied, “It is because of Saul and his bloody house, for he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2So the king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of Bnei-Yisrael but a remnant of the Amorites; however, Bnei-Yisrael had sworn a covenant with them. Yet Saul had tried to eradicate them in his zeal for Bnei-Yisrael and Judah.) 3David asked the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? How may I make atonement so that you would bless the inheritance of Adonai?” 4The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; nor is it our right to put any man to death in Israel.” “Whatever you say, I will do for you,” he said. 5Then they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and plotted against us to annihilate us from remaining in any of Israel’s territory, 6let seven men of his sons be given over to us and we will hang them up before Adonai at Gibeah of Saul, Adonai’s chosen.” “I will give them over,” the king said. 7Now the king spared Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan son of Saul, because of Adonai’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8But the king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul—Armoni and Mephibosheth; also the five sons of Michal daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite, 9and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites. So they hanged them on the hill before Adonai, so that all seven fell together. They were put to death during the days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest. 10Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it on the rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until the rain poured on them from the sky. She did not let the birds of the sky rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. 11David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12So David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day that the Philistines killed Saul in Gilboa. 13He had the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan brought up from there, and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14So they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish. They did all of what the king commanded. Afterward, God was moved by prayer for the land. 15Once again the Philistines made war with Israel, so David went down with his servants and fought against the Philistines. But David became weary. 16So Ishbi-benob—who was a descendant of the Raphah, whose spear weighed 300 shekels of bronze, who was girded with new armor—thought to kill David. 17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You must not go out with us to battle anymore. You must not quench the lamp of Israel!” 18Now it came to pass after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob, and Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, a descendant of the Rapha. 19Then there was war again with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite killed Goliath the Gittite—his spear had a shaft like a weaver’s beam. 20Once again there was war at Gath, where there was a champion that had on every hand six fingers and on every foot six toes— a total of 24, and he also was a descendant of the Rapha. 21When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of David’s brother Shimea killed him. 22These four were born to the Rapha in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
–from 2 Samuel 21
So let’s not grow weary in doing what is good! Let’s provide God’s wisdom to those around us! Let’ provide guidance in alignment to God’s Word! Let’s share our faith, our hope, and our trust in Jesus with the world around us that they may see it and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s share good and sound advice to those around us!
Advice for Behavior in Community
1But as for you, speak things that are fitting for sound instruction.
2Older men are to be clear-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in patience.
3Likewise, older women are to be sanctified in demeanor—not backbiting or enslaved to much wine. Let them be teachers of what is good, 4so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, managing their household, kind, submitted to their own husbands, so that God’s word may not be dishonored.
6Likewise urge the younger men to be self-controlled, 7in all things showing yourself to be an example of good deeds—integrity in instruction, dignity, 8sound speech beyond criticism—so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
9Urge slaves to submit themselves to their own masters in all things, well-pleasing and not back-talking, 10not stealing but showing all good faithfulness, so that they may do credit to the teaching about God our Savior in everything.
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12training us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live in a manner that is self-controlled and righteous and godly in the present age. 13We wait for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua. 14He gave Himself for us so that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and so that He might purify for Himself a chosen people, zealous for good deeds.
15So communicate these things, and encourage and correct with complete authority. Let no one look down on you.
–from Titus 2