Psalms 41 – Even My Close Friend

Hushai was a counselor for King David, but when Absalom rebelled against his father David, David asked Hushai to pretend to shift loyalty to Absalom, but act instead as a spy. Absalom accepted Hushai's advice instead of the advice of Ahithophel, so Ahithophel committed suicide (2 Samuel 17:1-14).

Hushai was a counselor for King David, but when Absalom rebelled against his father David, David asked Hushai to pretend to shift loyalty to Absalom, but act instead as a spy. Absalom accepted Hushai’s advice instead of the advice of Ahithophel, so Ahithophel committed suicide (2 Samuel 17:1-14).

Traditionally, the Hebrew text divided the psalms into five books, the last of which in each finishes with a doxology (a short hymn of praise to God, which occurs here in verse 13); and chapter 41 concludes book one.  As is the case with many psalms, this one has meaning for the situation in David’s life at the time, as well as having application for the Jesus the Messiah.

communion trayMany consider that this psalm was written at a time when David suffered from a great illness that may have facilitated Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15).  The word “poor” in verse one is sometimes translated “weak,” which especially fits verses 1-8.  Jesus applies verse 9 to Judas in John 13:18.  In David’s case, the identity of the close friend of that verse is believed by many to be Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:31).  The reference to the resurrection and ascension to heaven are hard to miss in verses 10-12, with the enemy in verse 11 clearly as Satan.  And verse 9 unmistakably points to Judas during Jesus’ act of instituting the Lord’s supper:

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath

How often is our own anger provoked by someone else that makes us feel insignificant – that our worth counts for nothing?  We would do well to remember this when we encounter someone whose wrath is obvious in both their demeanor and tone.  Consider Gideon’s response to the men of Ephraim in Judges 8:1-3 when they complained that he had only called them out belatedly.  But Gideon’s praise of their accomplishments turned away they wrath.

David and Jonathan were best friends, but Jonathan's crippled son Mephibosheth could have claimed his grandfather Saul's throne. Despite that, David was kind to him, and brought him into the palace to live (2 Samuel 9).

David and Jonathan were best friends, but Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth could have claimed his grandfather Saul’s throne. Despite that, David was kind to him, and brought him into the palace to live (2 Samuel 9).

Now look instead to David’s encounter with Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:10-13, where he insulted David and his mighty men.  It was only Abigail’s soft and wise words in 1 Samuel 25:23-30 that quieted David’s anger, and kept him from doing what he would surely come to regret.

Sometimes the soft answer that is needed in such situations is simply that of kindness.  Everyone wants and deserves to feel that they are important – that what they need, and what they feel matters.  It does matter to God.  It mattered to Jesus (Matthew 7:12).  Shouldn’t it matter to us?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

The Pool of Gibeon

The Pool of Gibeon, where Ishmael dumped the bodies of seventy men he murdered after he murdered Gedaliah, governor of Judah.

The Pool of Gibeon, where Ishmael dumped the bodies of seventy men he murdered after he murdered Gedaliah, governor of Judah.

In 2 Samuel chapter 2, a battle ensued at Gibeon in which Abner and the servants of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth were defeated by the servants of David.  There was a meeting at the “pool of Gibeon” prior to that.  This pool was also the location where Ishmael deceived and slaughtered the seventy in Jeremiah 41.

Excavations at Gibeon (located about 6 miles from Jerusalem at tel el-jib) revealed an elaborate water system. One part of that system is a huge circular shaft (37 feet in diameter).  It was cut into the bedrock about 82 feet deep.  At the bottom of it, there was the water table that formed a pool. The pool was reached by a staircase that was also cut into the limestone. More information can be found in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog.

Tomorrow, we start week 8 in our reading schedule.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 17 – In the Shadow of Your Wings

Only 5 psalms (17, 86, 90, 102, and 140) are called prayers in the superscript, although many more than that are prayers.  There is no reason to ascribe this one to anyone other than David.  His enemies were varied – the Philistines certainly had no love for him (1 Samuel 18:27), within the kingdom itself there was, of course, Saul (1 Samuel 19:11-20); and within his own family there was Absolam, and all those who conspired with him against David (2 Samuel 15:11-17).

wings-02The prayer asks for God’s assurance that he is in the right, and that his enemies will not prevail against him.  He expresses his faith that God will hear him and will answer.  The symbol of wings as protection in verse 8 is repeated often in scripture, especially the poetry of the psalms, but also in Matthew 23:37.

The psalm continues in verses 6-7 with the translation in the ESV of God’s steadfast love, but the word in Hebrew is “hesed” – which involves great mercy, faithfulness to fulfill promises, and His majestic covenant love.  He proclaims God as his savior, and we are reminded of the saving grace of the Son of God who is our own defender and Savior.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Samuel 18 – Absalom Killed

English: Gustave Doré : David mourning Absalom...

English: Gustave Doré : David mourning Absalom. Français : Extrait de la Bible illustrée de Gustave Doré : David inconsolable de la mort d’Absalom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So David gathered his forces and re-supplied, and now these experienced warriors were ready to go on the offensive.  David divided the troops into three – command by Joab, Abishai, and Ittai the Gittite.  he sent them on their way with the admonition to “deal gently” with Absalom (verse 5).  The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim and spread over the face of the country – and twenty thousand were killed (verse 7-8).  In a freak accident, Absalom got stuck in the limbs of an oak (verse 9), and a man saw and told Joab.

Despite David’s instructions, Joab wasted no time in killing Absalom.  Probably he feared that if left alive, Absalom would have the chance to rise up again.  Verse 17-18 contrast the monument that Absalom in vanity had set up for himself with the anonymous pit covered with a pile of rocks that Joab and his men threw him into.

David’s immense grief in verses 31-33 serve as an exclamation point for us in the punishment predicted in 2 Samuel 12:10.

Photo of Absalom's Tomb in Kidron Valley - 1860s

Photo of Absalom’s Tomb in Kidron Valley – 1860s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The monument known as “Absalom’s Tomb” we see today in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem is a structure that was built in a later period – possibly during the Roman rule.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Samuel 15 – Absalom’s Conspiracy

The trouble in David’s house has already become bad, but it will get worse.  In chapter 13, his son Amnon raped his daughter Tamar.  There just is no other word for what happened.  It was a horrible and detestable act. 2 Samuel 13:21 states that David was very angry, yet he did nothing.   David’s other son Absalom quickly finds out, and he hated Amnon for it.  But he waits 2 full years to plot his revenge, and has Amnon killed.  Absalom fled to Geshur, and was there another 3 three years (2 Samuel 13:38).  In chapter 14, Joab intercedes, and Absalom is allowed to return.  But he must stay in a separate house, and never be in David’s presence (2 Samuel 14:24).  David cannot bring himself to forgive, but he never really punishes him.  This went on for two more years. After Absalom dramatically gets Joab’s attention in 2 Samuel 14:29-31,   He has Joab tell his father to either let him back “in” or put him to death.  So a reconciliation occurs.  Or does it…?

In chapter 15, we find Absalom conspiring to take the throne.His strategy – how he “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” is brilliant in verses 1-7.  This went on for four more years, then he asked David to allow him to go to Hebron to worship the Lord to fulfill a vow.  David allowed it, and he went.  But he sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to ready for the rebellion to come.  He took 200 men with him, but verse 11 says that they were innocent and did not know what was coming.

Word comes to David, and he knows that if he stays in Jerusalem , Absalom will bring his army to crush him. So he flees the city with his remaining force.  Abiathar and Zadok came with the ark, but David refuses to use it as some sort of “lucky charm,” and sends them back with it, saying that the Lord will bring him back to it and the city if it is His will (verse 26).  In verse 30, David and company reach and ascend the Mount of Olives weeping as they went.  Then he gets more bad news.  Ahithophel, his trusted counselor (and a wise man) has joined Absalom in the conspiracy.  In verse 31, he prays to the Lord to make Ahiphothel’s counsel foolishness. So he send Hushai to Jerusalem to work undercover and report to Abiathar and Zadok, so they can get word to him.   The evil being raised up against him in his own house for his sin with Bathsheba that was prophesied in 2 Samuel 12:11 has reached a new high.

Despite his sin, David has proven to be a great leader and king, as well as a man of God in contrast to Saul.  But chapters 13-14 especially have shown him to be a lousy father.  God’s word does not sugar-coat the heroes of the story of the Bible.  From Noah to Abraham to Jacob, and now David, we see them “warts and all.”  In the end, no matter how favored they are with God, they are just men.  Sinners who need God’s forgiveness – just like us.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Samuel 7 – The Lord’s Covenant with David

If you asked this blogger for an opinion of the most important passages in the Bible,  it would be a tough task.  But the seventh chapter of 2 Samuel would definitely make the short list.  This is where God makes His covenant with David (although the word covenant itself is not used here, see Psalm 89).  Again, this passage is so important, we will find it again in 1 Chronicles 17.

Nathan advises King David

Nathan advises King David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chapter begins with David in his majestic home built of cedars, realizing that while God has made his kingdom great, David has not built a temple (a fine house) for God.  At first, the prophet Nathan tells David to go ahead – “for the Lord is with you” (verse 3).  But Nathan was wrong, and the Lord let him know that he should tell David not to do it. we will find out in 1 Chronicles 22:7-9 more reasons why God does not want David to build him a house.  But that is not the important message the Lord wants delivered here.

Instead, the Lord proclaims that He will establish David’s house, raise up his offspring, and establish his kingdom forever (verses 12-16 – compare to the Hebrew writer’s words about Jesus in  Hebrews 1:1-5). The comparison there seems similar to the explanation of the covenant with Abraham and his offspring that we find in Galatians 3:11-16 (especially verse 16), although Solomon is clearly the intended for the “short-term” kingdom.  But the kingdom that will last forever will be of Jesus the Christ (Acts 2:25-34).

Notice the prayer from David in verses 18-29 – full of intimate feelings of humility, thanksgiving, honor and respect (David uses the phrase “O Lord God” eight times).  Truly one of the great prayers of the Bible, and fitting to the momentous news he has received from God.  David indicates that he understands the monumental result of this news, but is filled with wonder, that God has chosen him to do his this great thing through.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 8 – Israel Demands a King

Samuel is getting old, and has appointed his sons Joel and Abijah as judges.  But they are corrupt (verse 3) and the elders come to Samuel and tell him that they want a king.  It was not wrong for them to want a king – as a matter of fact, Moses had told them in Deuteronomy 17:14-15 that they could have one when the time came.  But what they wanted was a military leader, when all along it had been God who fought for them.  It was a rejection of the Lord (verse 7) and God points out to Samuel in verse 8 that it had been so with them ever since he brought them out of Egypt.

So although Samuel didn’t want to do it, the Lord told him to “make them a king.”  But at God’s instruction, Samuel warned them of the “ways of the king” that will reign over them (verses 11-17) – “he will take…”  is emphasized over and over.  Some of this is the common practice of rulers, and necessary – like taxes.  But some as in 14 and 16 were prophetic of abuse, and indeed verse 18 predicts that they will “cry out because of your king”  as slaves.  This type of servitude labor would come to pass for them, as we will see in 1 Kings 5:13-16 and elsewhere.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 3 – The Lord Calls Samuel

The Lord calls Samuel twice as he is laying down in the temple, and both times he thinks it is Eli calling him.  But when he runs to him to see what he wants, Eli sends him back to bed.  But the third time, Eli finally gets it, and tells Samuel what to say when the Lord calls him again.  This time, God calls his name twice (verse 10).  The Lord does not waste words.  When we read of Him calling someone’s name  twice, it is of great importance.  he did so to Abraham when he was being tested with Isaac (Genesis 22:11), to Jacob to let him know it was OK to go to Egypt (Genesis 46:2), and to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:4).

Then the Lord told Samuel that he was about to punish Eli’s house forever for his son’s blasphemy and Eli’s own failure to restrain them (verses 13-14).  The corruption of Eli’s sons and Eli’s failure to deal with it were very public sins – all the people would know of it.  And their sexual use of women at the temple (1 Samuel 2:22) defiled the temple of the Lord, as that was the sort of thing that went on at idol worship.  This public “high-handed” sin was warned about in scripture (Numbers 15:30, for example), and Eli was not exactly shocked when Samuel reluctantly told him of the Lord’s plans for him and his house (verse 18).

Verse 19-21 tell how Samuel’s growth and establishment as a prophet became known to Israel because the Lord revealed himself by His word there – meaning that what Samuel prophesied came to pass (see Deuteronomy 18:21-22) there at Shiloh.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Samuel 2 – The Lord Rejects Eli’s Household

The second chapter begins with Hannah’s song of praise to the Lord – a hymn; and many passages in the Old Testament are similar, particularly Psalm 113 – especially verse 9 of that Psalm’s reference to a barren woman.  Verse 12 then moves to the despicable behavior of Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons.  Eli was a priest in the line of Ithamar, a son of Aaron; and the sacrifices brought to the temple were to be handled according to the commands of God.  Their lack of regard for God as demonstrated in verses 12-17 was certainly known to be wrong not only to themselves, but to those bringing their offerings, as the law stated in Exodus 29:13 and Leviticus 3:3-5.

In verses 22-25, Eli does rebuke his sons, but clearly he not forceful, and they have no more regard for what he says than they have for the Lord.  Samuel, on the other hand, is growing “in stature and in favor with the Lord” (verse 26), and his mother made him a robe and brought it to him each year when they came to sacrifice (verse 19).

Beginning in verse 27, the “man of God” who came and told Eli of God’s rejection of him and his house may be a prophet.  We just do not know, but this seems likely because if he was a manifestation of the Lord, usually the scripture would refer to an angel of the Lord instead.  The prophecy of the end of Eli’s priestly line is told and verse 34 serves as the sign that he will know it is true – the day is coming when both Hophni and Phinehas will die on the same day.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.