Monthly Archives: August 2009

2 Samuel 11

Bathsheba

Most everyone knows the story of David and Bathsheba.

He was home instead of with his troops where he was supposed to be. He saw a beautiful woman, lusted after her, and since he was the king he abused his authority and took what wasn’t his. Then he had her husband Uriah murdered. But who was this woman? Is there a back-story?

I noticed something about her that I’d not seen before. She was the daughter of Eliam.

He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” – 2 Samuel 11:3

Eliam, as I found out, is another name for Ammiel.

The sons born to David in Jerusalem included Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. Bathsheba, the daughter of Ammiel, was the mother of these sons. – 1 Chronicles 3:5

If you look further you find that both Eliam and Uriah were among David’s thirty “mighty men”. (2 Samuel 23:24-39)

Bathsheba had at least one brother, his name was Makir.

“Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.” – 2 Samuel 9:4

Her grandfather, Ahithophel, was David’s chief counselor, and later supported David’s son Absalom in a revolt.

While not explicitly written in scripture, I think that by connecting the dots I can see how Bathsheba came to be in Jerusalem.

When Mephibosheth was just five years old his nurse fled with him to the city of Lo-debar. By the time David had established his kingdom and started his search for descendents of Jonathan, Mephibosheth was probably in his twenties or even thirties since he already had a son of his own named Micah. Mephibosheth was most likely raised in the home of Ammiel a.k.a. Eliam. If that is the case, then he would have been a long-time friend (almost like a relative) of both Makir and Bathsheba. When David had Mephibosheth and his family brought to Jerusalm to live in the palace, it is highly likely that Eliam, Makir and Bathsheba would have visited with their friend on occasion. And due to those visits and due to her father’s close association with him, Bathsheba likely encountered a young warrior named Uriah, a warrior who asked for and received her hand in marriage.

Father, thank you for the friends that I have in my life. May I not covet anything they have or positions they hold. Please give me the grace to be a true friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Interesting, Jan

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2 Samuel 10

Doing

Many people that I know are of the opinion that if something is to happen, God will be the one to make it so. They take verses like the following and base their entire way of life around them.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 4:19

However, God also said things like,

Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: “Whoever does not work should not eat. – 2 Thessalonians 3:10

In reading today I noticed the following verse.

Be courageous! Let us fight bravely to save our people and the cities of our God. May the LORD’s will be done. – 2 Samuel 10:12

They clearly understood that the Lord’s will would be accomplished. Yet the people did all they could to prepare for victory. They amassed armies, they drew up battle strategies. They did something.

It is not faith to sit around and do nothing expecting God to save you while it is within your power to do something.

I’m reminded of the story of the lepers starving at the gate of the Samaritan capital city. In fact the entire region was slowly starving to death due to the Aramean siege. So the four lepers said:

We will starve if we stay here, and we will starve if we go back into the city. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway. – 2 Kings 7:4

They didn’t just sit around, they resolved to do something. And God rewarded their efforts.

So that evening they went out to the camp of the Arameans, but no one was there! – 2 Kings 7:5

All of the food and treasure was left behind, but the entire Aramean army was gone. Not only had the lepers’ situation radically changed due to their doing something, they saved all of Samaria from starvation too.

Father, please help me to see and to know when you want me to do something, and when I should simply wait. Please give me the wisdom I need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Are you doing something? Jan

2 Samuel 9

Small World

the_new_4park_name_pinNot so many years ago I was an addicted pin-collector. Addicted is definitely the right word.
 
I actually would drive to Disney World, stand in line at 3am, turn around after purchasing my coveted pin at 9am, and go to work. I once scheduled a vacation in California to attend an anniversary party for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Land, just so I could purchase pins. It gets worse. In 2001 I decided to visit my relatives in Europe. I scheduled my vacation to to coincide with the opening day of official pin-trading at Disney Land Paris. But wait, there’s more!
 
While at Disney Land Paris, I actually ran into people that I had stood in pin-lines with in Disney Land California – half way around the globe! Apparently it really is a small world in every Disney park.
 
I had a small world experience in scripture today. King David wants to honor his promise to his deceased friend Jonathan to protect his household. So he finds someone who might know if there are any survivors, a guy named Ziba.

The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them in any way I can.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive, but he is crippled.”
 
“Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.” – 2 Samuel 9:3-4

I looked up this guy Makir, son of Ammiel. He shows up again when David is escaping from his son Absalom who is trying to usurp the throne.

When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash of Rabbah, an Ammonite, and by Makir son of Ammiel of Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim. – 2 Samuel 17:27

It would appear that this man Makir is definitely kind-hearted. But why does this guy help David? It was after-all with great peril to do so. He would incur the wrath of King Absalom.

He was helping a relative.

The sons born to David in Jerusalem included Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. Bathsheba, the daughter of Ammiel, was the mother of these sons. – 1 Chronicles 3:5

Bathsheba and Makir have the same father – Ammiel, or Eliam as he is otherwise know. Makir was protecting his brother-in-law.

Father, thank you for interesting rabbit-trails of scripture. May I never get tired of following them. And thank you for delivering me of the pin-collecting addiction. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It really is a small world after all. Jan

2 Samuel 8

Royal Historian

I reference Flavius Josephus on occasion when I write. He was a Jewish historian who lived in the 1st century in Israel. In addition to chronicling events of his day and age, he wrote extensive commentaries about the past history of his people. His writings bring invaluable insight into what might otherwise be obscure words and references.

I noticed something today that brought new appreciation for those who preserve events of their time in written form.

David reigned over all Israel and was fair to everyone. Joab son of Zeruiah was commander of the army. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. – 2 Samuel 8:15-16

Jehoshaphat, a man we know almost nothing about, was the royal historian to both King David and his son, King Solomon.

So Solomon was king over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah son of Zadok was the priest. Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha, were court secretaries. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. – 1 Kings 4:1-3

It is due to the efforts of this man, and presumably those who worked for him, that we know anything about King David, King Solomon and the events of their time.

Father, thank you for creating and gifting Jehoshaphat as you did. Thank you for preserving your word and ways, at least in part, through him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Preserving my time, one bit at a time. Jan

2 Samuel 7

Getting to know you…

In 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a song for the Broadway musical The King and I entitled “Getting to know you”. In this song Anna sings about getting to know the king of Siam, whose children she is tutoring. In the process of getting to know him, he also gets to know her. 

Likewise there is someone that knows me. It is my King, Jesus. 

What more can I say? You know what I am really like, Sovereign LORD. – 2 Samuel 7:20 

He already knows everything about me. 

 I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. – Jeremiah 1:5a 

My job is to get to know him. 

Father, may I get to know you more and more. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

…all about you. Jan

2 Samuel 6

The Honor of a name

God takes his name and anything associated with seriously – deadly seriously. 

The ark of God, or the Ark of the Covenant, bore the name of Yahweh, the Leader of Heaven’s Armies. 

Then David mobilized thirty thousand special troops. He led them to Baalah of Judah to bring home the Ark of God, which bears the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. – 2 Samuel 6:1-2 

That is literally what the words from the verses above mean. To bear someone’s name meant that the honor and presence of that person, or item was physically embodied in it. 

To put it in more modern terms, an ambassador bears the name of the country he represents and carries within him the full authority and strength of that country. Any offense against an ambassador is an offense against his home country. The the ark was a physical representation of God on earth – an ambassador. 

There were certain rules of contact specified by God, things which he required to maintain his honor. 

But he gave none of the carts or oxen to the Kohathite division, since they were required to carry the sacred objects of the Tabernacle on their shoulders. – Numbers 7:9 

There was a certain branch of priests authorized to carry those items that bore the name, the honor and authority of God. They were specifically required to not use carts or beast of burden. 

God warned the people quite a few times that anyone not following his instructions in regards to the sacred objects, those things bearing his honor, would die. 

This is what you must do so they will live and not die when they approach the most sacred objects. Aaron and his sons must always go in with them and assign a specific duty or load to each person. Otherwise they must not approach the sanctuary and look at the sacred objects for even a moment, or they will die.” – Numbers 4:19-20 

Unfortunately King David did not follow these instructions and in doing so he unwittingly dishonored God’s name.

 They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the hillside home of Abinadab. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were guiding the cart with the Ark of God on it, with Ahio walking in front. – 2 Samuel 6:3-4 

A cart was never to be used, no matter how new. Disaster resulted. 

But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark of God. Then the LORD’s anger blazed out against Uzzah for doing this, and God struck him dead beside the Ark of God. – 2 Samuel 6:6-7 

This did not need to happen. Three months later, when he tired again, David got it right. But what a needless tragedy. The ends did not justify the means. Nor was a wrong thing done for the right reason excusable. God’s honor had been wronged, a response was required. 

How often have I done something my way out of expediency, cutting corners to get it done quickly? Am I honoring the ‘name’ of the person, place, or thing, that I’m supposed to be serving in doing so? 

Father, please forgive me for my continual corner-cutting. I need to do better, to plan ahead and budget sufficient time to do things right. Lord, please give me the desire, strength and ability to bring honor to all I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Is your work honorable? Jan

2 Samuel 5

The Enemy of My Enemy…

There is a very old expression that states, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It is attributed to the Arabians, the Chinese, and several other ancient people groups. It is even found in the bible. 

I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. – Exodus 23:22b 

I see this principle being put into reality between King David and King Hiram. 

Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with carpenters and stonemasons to build him a palace. Hiram also sent many cedar logs for lumber. – 2 Samuel 5:11 

It was quickly evident to King Hiram that King David had a well trained and large active fighting force. From Judah alone he was able to muster a force of nearly 400,000. Once combined with the forces of the rest of the nation he had about 1.3 million fighting men. 

Since they shared a common border, and since both King Hiram and King David both had a common enemy – the Phillistines – Hiram wisely formed an alliance. 

A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

It is good to have friends. 

Father, please help me to be a good friend to those who count themselves as my friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Got any common enemies? Jan