Bible: What Does 2 Samuel 4-6 Teach Us About Justice, Holiness, and Worship?
Baanah and Rechab Murder Ishbosheth
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Abner's murder sends tremors throughout Israel (v. 1). Two of Saul's captains, Baanah and Rechab, Beerothites by birth, play a significant, though very brief, role in the nation’s future (vv. 2-3).
[The author then introduces Mephibosheth: the son of Saul who became lame at age five [v. 4]. He does not mention him again until chapter nine.]
While Ishbosheth naps, Baanah and Rechab clandestinely enter his bedroom, assassinate and behead him, and then escape to Hebron, carrying the bloody member with them to David (vv. 5-8).
Recalling how he treated the Amalekite who, claiming to have killed Saul, expected a bountiful reward (see 2 Sam. 1: 1-16), David metes out the same punishment in this case.
Not only do Baanah and Rechab suffer execution, but also dismemberment and public hanging.
On the other hand, righteous Ishbosheth receives a proper burial (that is, at least his head does!) [vv. 9-12].
John MacArthur: Pastor/Teacher
2 Samuel 5
With Saul's house all but vanquished, the tribes of Israel now turn wholly to David and claim him as their own; the people and elders recognize him not only as their military hero, but also as their anointed king (vv. 1-3).
(The author then summarizes David's forty-year career as king—a term he served partly in Hebron, but mostly in Jerusalem [vv. 4-5]).
Facing the arrogant Jebusites, who think their position in Jerusalem impregnable, David offers a captaincy to any man who defeats them (vv. 6-8).
Once victorious, the king possesses the city and the stronghold, and fortifies it even more (v. 9). David becomes a great king because God is with him (v. 10).
Tyrians build him a fabulous house (v. 11), and David rightly acknowledges that all credit for his ascension to the throne belongs with Yahweh (v. 12).
Last, the author mentions that the king fathers even more children upon more concubines and wives (vv. 13-16).
[Is this an incongruous lifestyle, or am I just thinking too much like a Western Christian?]
Once again the Philistines enter the picture, challenging David in the Valley of Rephaim (vv. 17-18).
Having received divine permission to defeat them, the king wins yet another battle at Baal Perazim (lit. master of breakthroughs), and confiscates their idols [vv. 19-21; cf. 2:1].
Soon thereafter, thinking that this time they may outfox David, the Philistines assemble in the Valley again (v. 22).
When the king inquires of Yahweh, He provides him with a different strategy—a less straightforward one—that requires careful listening and aims at surprise (vv. 23-24).
David obeys the command, and God enables Israel to drive his enemy back a great distance (v. 25).
Uzzah and the Ark of the Covenant
Temporary Host of the Ark
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2 Samuel 6
Thirty thousand troops accompany the king to Baale Judah to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, the city of David (vv. 1-2).
[Notice the high esteem in which the writer holds God (see 1 Sam. 4:4 for another such designation)].
The ark proceeds from Abinadab's house on an oxen-driven cart; Uzzah and Ahio lead it while David conducts the music behind (vv. 3-5).
Sadly, tragedy interrupts the celebration. When the beasts stumble on a threshing floor, and Uzzah grasps the ark to prevent its fall, Yahweh strikes him dead on the spot (vv. 6-7).
David's immediate reaction (anger) turns to a more considered judgment (fear) [vv. 8-9].
Consequently, the king decides to take the ark to the house of Obed-Edom instead of to Jerusalem; because of this move,
God blesses the Gittite for three months (vv. 10-11; cf. 1 Chron. 13).
After hearing about such bounty, David brings the ark to Jerusalem with great joy (v. 12).
Before they travel very far with it, however, they make sacrifices and worship the LORD for His goodness (vv. 13-15).
[In the Law, God gave Israel specific instructions about how men should carry the ark by poles thrust through rings (cf. Ex. 25:12-15).
How they handled it the first time violated that law, but now the text states that men bore it (v. 13).
1 Chronicles 15:13-15 provides David's explanation for why God "broke out" against them].
While David is bringing the ark toward the tabernacle (where he proceeds to offer sacrifices and give generous gifts to the people) [vv. 17-19], he worships the LORD with such exuberance and freedom—dancing and whirling while wearing (apparently) only a linen ephod—that he embarrasses Michal (v. 16).
When he returns home, she does not hesitate to try to shame him for his conduct, thinking that he had uncovered himself before the maids (v. 20).
David meekly explains his behavior as humble worship before the LORD, for which these maids will respect him (vv. 21-22).
As the result of her hatred, Michal becomes barren (v. 23).
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