Bible Readings for September 20th
If we began to see the suffering of David at the hand of Absalom in 2 Samuel 15, each of the three scenes in 2 Samuel 16 ratchets up David’s suffering even further, one misery at a time. These scenes are important not only to underscore the treachery of Absalom but also to establish a clear pattern that God’s anointed king must suffer.
First, in 2 Samuel 16:1–4, Ziba deceives David into believing that Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan to whom David showed extraordinary kindness, had betrayed David during Absalom’s uprising. David had brought Mephibosheth into his house and fed him from his own table all the days of Mephibosheth’s life (2 Sam. 9:13), so this news must have been a dagger to David’s heart. Our Lord Jesus also faced betrayal from one of his own disciples who had feasted at his table. Judas, in fact, departed directly from Jesus’ table to go betray his master (John 13:21–30)—the very table where Jesus had given his disciples the bread of his broken body and the blood of the new covenant that he would pour out for the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:26–29).
Second, in 2 Samuel 16:5–14, Shimei causes David to suffer, heaping insults on top of what David must have thought to be his death march. Rather than allowing Abishai to execute Shimei, however, David entrusts himself to Yahweh’s justice. In the same way, Jesus faced curses and insults while he was being crucified, and he prayed for his Father to forgive his executioners (Luke 23:34). He did not revile in return or threaten anyone, but he instead entrusted himself to his Father, who judges justly (1 Pet. 2:23).
Finally, in 2 Samuel 16:15–23, Absalom claims Jerusalem, even going into David’s concubines in the sight of all Israel, making himself a stench to his father. All of Absalom’s acts were calculated to proclaim without any ambiguity that Absalom was the new king who had fully replaced David. And make no mistake—when Satan stirred up the people of Jerusalem to murder Jesus, he did so as a claim to the kingdom of this world. Once the Son was dead, Satan could claim the kingdom as his own inheritance (Matt. 21:38).
But this isn’t the end of David’s story, and that wasn’t the end of Jesus’ story either, even though Jesus actually died through the suffering of the cross. As we will discover over the next few chapters, David is laying down the pattern that Jesus would bring to ultimate completion—the Messiah must suffer, but God vindicates his Messiah in the sight of all people in order to establish his Messiah’s kingdom forever. Through the weakness and suffering of Jesus, God would powerfully save all his people, not only in Jerusalem, but in all the world.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.