Wednesday, June 02, 2021

2021.06.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 14:1–22

Read 2 Samuel 14:1–22

Questions from the Scripture text: Who perceived what in 2 Samuel 14:1? For whom does he send (2 Samuel 14:2)? How does he tell her to act? What does he want her to do while acting like that (2 Samuel 14:3)? To whom does she speak in 2 Samuel 14:4? For what does she ask? What does the king ask (2 Samuel 14:5)? How does she introduce herself? What does she say happened (2 Samuel 14:6)? And what does she say the whole family wants done about it (2 Samuel 14:7)? Why would this be a problem? What does the king say in 2 Samuel 14:8? How does she word a refusal of help in 2 Samuel 14:9? What does the king restate in 2 Samuel 14:10? What detailed request does she now make in 2 Samuel 14:11? And how does the king respond? Now what does she ask in 2 Samuel 14:12? Of what does she accuse the king now in 2 Samuel 14:13? Whom does she claim, in 2 Samuel 14:14, would let Absalom off easier? What does she claim in 2 Samuel 14:15-16 as the reason for trying to entrap him in an apparent inconsistency? What flattery does she offer if he will heed her (2 Samuel 14:17)? How can we tell that the king is suspicious in 2 Samuel 14:18? Of what (2 Samuel 14:19)? What was Joab trying to accomplish (2 Samuel 14:20)? How does the king respond to this (2 Samuel 14:21)? And how does Joab respond to that (2 Samuel 14:22)?

Joab gets some inside intel in 2 Samuel 14:1. It’s difficult to see in our English version because of the word ‘concerned’, but the preposition usually means “upon” and can even mean “against.” Joab’s actions imply either that he is trying to give David cover for doing what he thinks David really wants to do, or that he’s trying to get around the shift he’s seen in David’s attitude (not unlike the reversal of Amnon in 2 Samuel 13:15).

The second possibility fits well the words that Joab puts into the cunning actress’s mouth. It may well be that he has observed David’s heart turning against Absalom (cf. 2 Samuel 14:242 Samuel 14:282 Samuel 14:32), and that he thinks this is a terrible waste of good political talent that harms the people of God (cf. 2 Samuel 14:13). Joab “son of Zeruiah” (2 Samuel 14:1) turns out to be a match for his cousin Jonadab “son of Shimeah” (cf. 2 Samuel 13:32 Samuel 13:32). 

Cunning politicians is certainly a form of judgment. So are gullible heads of state. Joab’s staged situation of the woman’s manslaughtering son of 2 Samuel 14:6 isn’t nearly like that of murdering Absalom. Besides that significant difference, there’s the obvious fact that her son is the only one left (end of 2 Samuel 14:7), but David indeed has plenty of possible heirs (as Absalom’s impending death will prove anyway). 

Like Isaac wondering why Esau has Jacob’s voice (Genesis 27:22), David even sniffs through the flattery (2 Samuel 14:172 Samuel 14:19b) to detect the stink of Joab (2 Samuel 14:18-19a). But, even with his eyes wide open, David currently has the spine of a dead fish, and just lets Joab have what he wants (2 Samuel 14:21). Joab lays it on pretty thick in 2 Samuel 14:22, but even as the saccharine syrup of his flattery echoes the cunning woman that he was running earlier, he seems to be saying, “great job being in charge, your highness.”

It is a great sin to use authority to manipulate for wickedness as David had done in chapter 11, and it is a great judgment (and sin) to allow your authority to be manipulated, rather than exercising it firmly and courageously for righteousness. How many families, churches, and nations have suffered under one or the other of these! 

Praise be to God that His Son, our great King, is neither conniving nor cowardly!

To which error do you tend: conniving or cowardice? How are you (and/or others) suffering for it?

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH281 “Rejoice, the Lord is King”

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