Bible Readings for September 24th

2 Samuel 20 | 2 Corinthians 13 | Ezekiel 27 | Psalms 7576

As we read yesterday in 2 Samuel 19, David replaced Joab as his commander with Amasa because Joab had ignored David’s command not to harm his son Absalom. This demotion does not sit well with Joab, who finds an opportunity to murder Amasa in the middle of putting down yet one more rebellion against David’s reign, led by Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite (2 Sam. 20:1).

The background of Sheba’s rebellion stems from the time of Absalom’s rebellion, when David had sought refuge east of the Jordan with a man named Barzillai in Gilead (2 Sam. 19:31). At the end of 2 Samuel 19, then, after things returned (momentarily) to normal, the ten tribes become angry that David would leave them to return to his people in the land of Judah, wondering, “Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?” (2 Sam. 19:41). The people of Judah, however, deny that they have received any special treatment from David (2 Sam. 19:42).

During this tumult, Sheba blows a trumpet to gather all the ten tribes to himself with this call to arms: “We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!” (2 Sam. 20:1). In the confusion—while David is still trying to put his own house back in order (2 Sam. 20:3)—Joab betrays Amasa with a kiss, pretending to greet him, but stabbing him with a sword and leaving him to wallow in his blood on the highway (2 Sam. 20:9–12). Joab immediately retakes command of David’s armies back to himself, pursues Sheba, and works with a wise woman in the city of Beth-maacah to see Sheba’s head thrown over the city wall to avoid even more bloodshed (2 Sam. 20:14–22). At the end of 2 Samuel 20, then, we read this summary: “Now Joab was in command of all the army of Israel” (2 Sam. 20:23).

Although Joab represents a significant failure of David’s leadership, we should also see in Joab a dark foreshadowing of the fact that David’s greater Son would necessarily face betrayal by those closest to him. Our Lord Jesus faced opposition from the religious leaders of his day but also from his own disciples: Peter three times denied even knowing Jesus (Matt. 27:75), and, more severely, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, just as Joab betrayed Amasa (Luke 22:48).

David’s sufferings continue because Jesus would also become a man of sorrow, well acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3). But while the sufferings of David stem from his failure of leadership, the sufferings of Jesus came about because of his great, sacrificial love for you.

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.

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