Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021.01.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 1:1–16

Read 2 Samuel 1:1–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What are the time and location of this passage (2 Samuel 1:1)? What is the contrast between what Saul has just done and what David has just done? Who arrives, when, and in what apparent condition (2 Samuel 1:2)? What does he do? What is David’s first question (2 Samuel 1:3)? On whose side does the man claim to have been, and where? What is David’s second question (2 Samuel 1:4)? What does he report (as a subtle explanation for why he isn’t still there and then also why it was so urgent to find David)? What is the first part of the story that David cross-examines (2 Samuel 1:5)? How does the man explain his peculiar location to see what he saw (2 Samuel 1:6)? What does he claim to have seen? Who does he claim saw him (2 Samuel 1:7)? What does he claim that Saul asked him to do (2 Samuel 1:8-9)? But what does he give as his reasoning for delivering the death blow (2 Samuel 1:10)? What had he plundered, and what purpose does he imply for that? What is David’s first/immediate response (2 Samuel 1:11)? Who join him in this? What do they proceed to do until when (2 Samuel 1:12)? For which four specific entities? Now what does David ask (2 Samuel 1:13)? What does the man call the Amalekites? What, then, is David surprised about (2 Samuel 1:14)? Who has previously indeed been afraid to do that very thing (cf. 1 Samuel 26:9)? What does David now command (2 Samuel 1:15)? What reasoning does David give for the swiftness of the judgment and execution (2 Samuel 1:16)?

The Amalekite messenger thought he would not be mourning (2 Samuel 1:2), but that David would be happy to receive at last the kingship and its symbols (2 Samuel 1:10). He didn’t understand David. He didn’t understand a man whose depth of care for God’s anointed and God’s covenant people (2 Samuel 1:12) was a higher priority than either adjudicating a capital crime (2 Samuel 1:15-16) or his own personal ascent to the throne.

It must have been nerve-wracking for the Amalekite to witness the depth of their grief in 2 Samuel 1:11-12, wondering whether his ruse was going to work.  He had just enough of the details of Saul’s death. He knew enough of how to talk about things that David cross-examined him on his background in 2 Samuel 1:13, with the response that this Amalekite had grown up as an immigrant among the Israelites.

But what he didn’t know was to honor Yahweh. To know “the house of Israel” as Yahweh’s covenant people (2 Samuel 1:12b). To know Saul not merely as a rogue and rejected magistrate, but as the anointed of Yahweh. And this is what astonishes David: “how was it that you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy Yahweh’s anointed?”

The Amalekite had actually massaged the story a bit to get credit for the mercy-kill, to get credit for bringing the news, and to get credit for delivering the crown-goods. It didn’t cross his mind that his massaged message was self-incriminating of the highest possible crime! He just didn’t understand the difference it makes when Yahweh and His covenant are of the highest importance.

David understood those things, and that was why he himself did fear to put forth his hand against Yahweh’s anointed (cf. 1 Samuel 24:6, 1 Samuel 26:9). Do we understand it, dear reader? Are the things of Yahweh of the highest importance to us? Is the worship of God and the honor of His name more to us than all the prosperity issues and politics issues with which fleshly minds are consumed? Are first-table commandment issues of a higher order to us than second-table?

What personal issues in your life threaten to be more important to you than whether God’s people are under His discipline, or His Name is being dishonored among them?

Suggested songs: ARP137 “By Babylon’s Rivers” or TPH137 “By Flowing Streams in Babylon”

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