Reading 86/341, 2 Samuel 4-7

[A] This reading is in some ways the perfect Old Testament reading. All the things we have come to expect from the Old Testament are in this reading. Then it ends with such a beautiful prayer.
[B] One of the things that we have come to expect is the wrath of God, which David sees against Uzzah. It is now about 500 years after Moses. The book of the Law was largely ignored, the way we would ignore a 500 year old rule book as out of date. They just throw the ark on the back of an ox cart and take it to Jerusalem. The wrath of God is necessary in order to remind the people that God is holy.

...2 Samuel...

When Ishbosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died in Hebron, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. Ishbosheth, Saul's son, had two men who were captains of bands, the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin (for Beeroth also is reckoned to Benjamin, and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and have lived as immigrants there until this day). Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news came about Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled, and it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. The sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came in the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, as he took his rest at noon. They came there into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat, and they struck him in the stomach, and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. Now when they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they struck him, and killed him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night. They brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Behold, the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his seed.” David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of all adversity, when one told me, saying, ‘Behold, Saul is dead’, thinking to have brought good news, I took hold of him, and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?” David commanded his young men, and they killed them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and spoke, saying, “Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. The Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah. The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, “The blind and the lame will chase you away. You shall not come in here”, thinking, “David cannot come in here.” But David took the stronghold of Zion, the city of David. David said on that day, “Whoever strikes the Jebusites, let him get up to the watercourse, and strike the lame and the blind, who are hated by David's soul.” Therefore they say, “The blind and the lame cannot come into the house.” David lived in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. David built round about from Millo and inward. David grew greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him. Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons, and they built David a house. David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake. David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron, and there were more sons and daughters born to David. These are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, and Ibhar, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia, and Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet.

When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David, and David heard of it, and went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines had come and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hand?” The Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly deliver the Philistines into your hand.” David came to Baal-perazim, and David struck them there, and he said, “The Lord has broken my enemies before me, like the breach of waters.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal-perazim [God of Bursting]. They left their images there, and David and his men took them away. The Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. When David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up, make a circuit behind them, and come against them by the balsam trees. It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, that you shall then stir yourself, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.” David did so, as the Lord commanded him, and struck the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.

David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David arose, and went with all the people who were with him, from Baale-Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord of hosts who sits above the cherubim. They set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was on the hill, and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. They brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark. David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord with all manner of instruments made of wood, and with harps, and with stringed instruments, and with tambourines, and with castanets, and with cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error, and there he died by the ark of God. David was displeased, because the Lord had broken forth against Uzzah, and he called that place Perez-Uzzah [Breaking Forth Against Uzzah], to this day. David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David would not bring the ark of the Lord to him in the city of David, but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-Edom, and all his house. It was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom, and all that pertains to him, because of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom into the city of David with joy.

It took place in this way: when those who bore the Lord’s ark had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened calf. David danced before the Lord with all his might, clothed in a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. It was so, as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, in the middle of the tent that David had pitched for it, and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. He gave to all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to everyone, a portion of bread, roast meat, and raisins. Then all the people departed, everyone to his house. Then David returned to bless his household. Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, like one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will make merry before the Lord. I will be yet more vile than this, and will be base in your sight, but the handmaids of whom you have spoken, they shall honor me.” Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

It happened, when King David lived in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart; for the Lord is with you.” It happened that same night, that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Shall you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day that I brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, to this day, but have moved around in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all places in which I have walked with all the children of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to be shepherd of my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ Now therefore thus shall you tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of Armies, I took you from the sheep pen, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you. I will make you a great name, like the name of the great ones who are in the earth. I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them that they may dwell in their own place, and be moved no more, nor shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as at first in the days that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord tells you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled, and you sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men, but my loving kindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David.

Then David the king went in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? This was yet a small thing in your eyes, Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come, and this too after the manner of men, Lord God! What can David say more to you? For you know your servant, Lord God. For your word's sake, and according to your own heart, have you worked all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, Lord God, for there is none like you, nor is there any God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. What one nation on earth is like your people, like Israel, whom God went to redeem for himself to be a people, and to make a name, and to do great things for you, and awesome things for your land, before your people, whom you redeem for yourself out of Egypt, from the nations and their gods? You did establish for yourself your people Israel to be a people to you forever, and you, O Lord, became their God. Now, Lord God, the word that you have spoken concerning your servant, and concerning his house, confirm it forever, and do as you have spoken. Let your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’, and the house of your servant David shall be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have revealed to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to you. Now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are truth, and you have promised this good thing to your servant, now therefore let it please you to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you, for you, Lord God, have spoken it, and with your blessing let the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

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