Wednesday, May 26, 2021

2021.05.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 13:23–39

Read 2 Samuel 13:23–39

Questions from the Scripture text: How much time passes between 2 Samuel 13:22 and 2 Samuel 13:23? What celebratory event is Absalom enjoying? Where? Whom does he invite? With whom, specifically, does this inviting begin (2 Samuel 13:24)? What does David reply, and how does that interaction proceed/conclude (2 Samuel 13:25)? For whom does Absalom specifically ask (2 Samuel 13:26)? What does David wonder? But what does Absalom do (2 Samuel 13:27)? And how does David respond? Whom did Abasalom command to watch whom for what (2 Samuel 13:28)? Then what were they to do? How does he reinforce this? What do the servants do (2 Samuel 13:29)? How do the rest of the king’s sons respond? What news arrives ahead of them (2 Samuel 13:30)? About how many of his sons? How was the completeness emphasized to him? What does the king do (2 Samuel 13:31)? Who else does this? Who speaks up in 2 Samuel 13:32? Whom had he previously advised (cf. 2 Samuel 13:3-5)? Whom else has he apparently been advising (verse 32b)? How does he reconcile David to the extent of his loss (2 Samuel 13:32-33)? How does he reconcile the king to the appropriateness of his loss? What has Absalom done by now (2 Samuel 13:34)? Which young man in verse 34 sees what? Now whom is Jonadab advising (2 Samuel 13:332 Samuel 13:35)? Who arrive in 2 Samuel 13:36? And who, all, do what in verse 36? But where has Absalom gone (2 Samuel 13:37, cf. 2 Samuel 3:3)? What is David’s response, how often? For how long was Absalom there (2 Samuel 13:38)? And what continued this whole time (2 Samuel 13:39, cf. 2 Samuel 13:37)? About whom did David have comfort?

The Lord’s Word is true. David’s punishment has risen from his own house (cf. 2 Samuel 12:10–11), and it has corresponded to his own sin. In the first half of this chapter, lustful sin from one of his sons mirrored his lustful sin with Bathsheba. 

Now, in the passage currently before us, Absalom’s coldly calculated elimination of Amnon mirrors David’s coldly calculated elimination of Uriah. We can even hear the echoes of the 2 Samuel 12:25 encouragement to Joab in Absalom’s own encouragements to his servants in 2 Samuel 13:28. One coldly calculated murder by another’s hand has been punished with another.

We can see a couple other features of God’s judgment against David here. The Lord is permitting the clever scoundrel Jonadab to wreak havoc. He had helped Amnon get what his lustful flesh wanted (2 Samuel 13:5), and now he has helped Absalom get what his murderous flesh wanted (which is how he has the inside info in 2 Samuel 13:32), and even helps David indulge his own lazy and self-pitying flesh (2 Samuel 13:332 Samuel 13:352 Samuel 13:39).

This last might need a little more explaining. David’s inordinate longing for Absalom, every day, for three years, is an indicator that he didn’t want to punish Absalom now any more than he wanted to punish Amnon in 2 Samuel 13:21. He may be upset at what Absalom has done, but he’d really like to find some way to just get his son back to normal; Amnon, after all, can’t be brought back (2 Samuel 13:39). 

An obviously clever fellow like Jonadab almost certainly perceived David’s heart about these things and positioned himself perfectly to be the only one not joining the mourning party in 2 Samuel 13:31-32. There are conspiracies of clever men; that’s a reality. But we should remember that the Lord can easily confound them. When he gives us over to them, that’s a providence that’s consistent with being under His chastening hand.

Finally, it’s another feature of God’s judgment against David that he is still being irresponsible as king. Absalom has run home to his maternal grandpa (2 Samuel 13:37-38, cf. 2 Samuel 3:3), but David longs to go to him (2 Samuel 13:39). Just as with Amnon, there doesn’t seem to be any thought of meting out justice, which is a king’s responsibility to do. This too is grimly appropriate. For, it had been the king’s responsibility to go to battle in the spring of the year (cf. 2 Samuel 11:1), and slacking in his duty was a big part of how David ended up under judgment in the first place (cf. 2 Samuel 11:2).

There’s often an appropriate symmetry in the providence of God. Let us look to Him to strengthen us by His Spirit for the killing of unchecked lust, or coldly calculated murderousness, or unprincipled cleverness, or self-indulgent irresponsibility. 

When have you suffered a consequence that was appropriate to your sin? How can you use this as a reminder to help against future sin?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH464 “The Beatitudes”

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