Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


Second Samuel

Second Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Chapter Twenty


There had been not a little to offset David's grief over the revolt and death of Absalom. As we have seen, his journey back to Jerusalem was marked by several incidents which must have brought satisfaction and joy to the king's heart. The radical change in the attitude of Shimei toward him, the discovery that after all the heart of Mephibosheth beat true to him, the affectionate homage of the aged Barzillai, and the welcome from the elders and men of Judah, were all calculated to cheer and encourage the returning exile. Things seemed to have taken a decided turn for the better, and the sun shone out of a clear sky. Yes, but the clouds have a habit of returning even after a heavy rain. And so it was here. A dark cloud suddenly appeared on David's horizon which must have caused him considerable uneasiness, presaging as it did the gathering of another storm.









The leaders of the ten tribes had met David at Gilgal arid a dispute at once ensued between them and the men of Judah. The elders of Israel claimed to be in the majority, the elders of Judah claimed next of kin. Now one would think David very safe and happy when his subjects are striving which should love him best. But how quickly the real state of their hearts was made apparent. What a little thing it took to cause their affection for David not only to cool off, but evaporate completely.

Sheba, the son of Bichri, belonged to the tribe of Saul, which had bitterly begrudged the honor done to Judah when the son of Jesse was elected king. The Benjamites had a very difficult time submitting themselves to the divine ordination. Sheba saw the moment of indecision and strife as an opportunity to blow the whole scene wide open. "...he blew a trumpet and said, We have no part in David." The sequel at once evidenced how fickle the people were. Hardly had they returned to their allegiance, than they forsook it. It is a blessing to note that some remained faithful to the king. Thus, the test exposed the false as well as the true.

"And David came to his house at Jerusalem...." As we have seen David had multiplied wives and concubines unto himself contrary to the law of God and they had proved a grief and a shame to him (15:16; 16:21 22) . God often has to take severe measures with us before we are willing to forsake our idols.



David is very uneasy concerning Sheba's rebellion. He determines to take prompt and effective action to quell the revolt. Amasa (17:25) is commanded to assemble all the troops within three days. Since Amasa had filled a prominent position under Absalom, it could be scarcely expected that the men who Joab had successfully commanded, would now relish being placed in subjection to the man who recently had been the enemy of their king. Amasa failed at assembling the troops in the appointed time and David couldn't help but get a bit "itchy,"

In Amasa's absence, David commissions Abishai (see 19:21,22) to take command of the regular troops, for he was determined to degrade Joab.

"When they were at the great stone...," it seems this was the appointed meeting place for the concentrated forces of David. Amasa arrived at the scene at the head of the men he had successfully mustered, and promptly placed himself in command of the army. The deposed captain, Joab, is on the premises and greets Amasa with a treacherous kiss while slipping him a "mickey" under the fifth rib (2 Sam. 2:23 and notes).

Amasa falls to the ground, blood gushing from his side. As his life runs forth to the ground (from whence it came), one of Joab's men assures all that the attack is not against the king (vs. 11). Amasa's last moments cause a stirring scene. Joab's compatriot deems it expedient to remove the body from the thoroughfare, He dumps the carcass in the field and covers it with a cloth to conceal the crime.

Sheba is "dug in" at Abel of Bethmaachah. The attack is made, the trench or moat is filled in so that the troops may cross, the walls are battered with artillery fire.



With Sheba held up in the city of Abel, a "wise woman" of the city ventures a meeting with Joab protesting the needless destruction of the city and the slaying of its inhabitants. Joab at once made it known that all he was after was the capture, of David's rival, Sheba, assuring the woman that upon his capture, he and his forces would execute a withdrawal. The wise woman assures Joab that he will have his desire. Sheba is executed within the city walls, the details are not given in the text. The head of Sheba is catapulted over the wall and crashes to the pavement with the splat of an October pumpkin. With the rebellion under control, Joab keeps his word and retires to Jerusalem with the troops. It is interesting to note how Joab continually works his way into a high position of authority, despite the discord between David and himself.



Joab has become such a strong figure and leader in Israel that even the king finds it next to impossible to divest him of his position.

Compare the cabinet list in (2 Sam. 8:16-18).

Benaiah is found in (2 Sam. 23:20-23). Benaiah was amongst those considered to be David's "mighty men." In fact he was one of the top three (23:22). The Cherethites and Pelethites are found in (1 Sam. 30:14; 2 Sam. 15:18; 20:7).

Adoram is called Adoniram in (1 Ki. 4:6; 5:14).

Jehoshaphat is found mentioned in the earlier list in (2 Sam. 8:16). He also is mentioned in (1 Ki. 4:3).

Sheva has apparently replaced Seraiah the scribe (2 Sam. 8:17).

Zadok and Abiathar have played an important role in other accounts, (1 Sam. 22,23,30; 2 Sam. 15,17,19).

It might be noted here that Jehoshaphat, Seraiah and Sheva would be good possibilities when considering the author or authors of Second Samuel.

In (2 Sam. 8:18), David's sons were the chief rulers. With the disintegration of David's family, we find that Ira is mentioned as "a chief ruler about David" (20:26).

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