Monday, May 25, 2009
2 Samuel 9-13; Luke 7:36-8:25
2 Samuel 9-13
Chapters 9-10 contain the last good news of the reign of David. Ch 9 gives us the affecting story of David's reception of Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan. David essentially adopts him on the basis of the promises made to Jonathan. It is a beautiful picture of God's adopting us, and feeding us at his table because of Christ. We are as worthless to God as Mephibosheth was to David, yet he has welcomed us into his family. Nick Willborn has a wonderful sermon on this passage, but it does not appear to be available at sermonaudio. If anyone knows where it might be found, let me know.
Ch 10 chronicles David's defeat of the Ammonites, who had called in the assistance of the Syrians. David's victory essentially established Israelites control over the entire area described as the land of promise in Numbers 34. This control extended through the reign of Solomon, when the division of the kingdom brought it to an end. The only time when that great an extent of Israelite control was established was under Jeroboam II (2 Kgs 14).
Chapters 11-13 mark the beginning of the decline of David's rule. First, of course, there is the double crime of the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. Most evangelicals seem to read the passage as if the adultery with Bathsheba were the more heinous sin, but the text itself seems to place the emphasis on the murder of Uriah. The adultery with Bathsheba is concluded in five verses, while the murder of Uriah occupies twenty-two. Further, why was Bathsheba out bathing where she could be seen? My own view is that Bathsheba is not guiltless in the affair. She was already a part of David's court contingent (note her connections in vs 3). Here husband Uriah was one of the thirty (2 Sam 23:39) as was her father Eliam (2 Sam 23:34). Knowing that David was in residence, she may have seen an opportunity to advance her own status, though she doubtless did not foresee her husband's death. The fault certainly lies with David.
Chapter 12 is the well-known confrontation between Nathan and David, that finally brought David to repentance. Nonetheless, the child of the adultery died, and David's house is thrown into turmoil as the direct judgment of God on David. This decent into chaos began with Amnon's rape of Tamar and Absalom's murder of Amnon. What is particularly noteworthy in the whole episode is David's passivity, and his inability to bring himself to punish his guilty sons. This inability simply added to the chaos.
In this material, Jesus emphasizes his ability to forgive sins, and begins his parabolic teaching. We have moved into the period of increasing opposition to Jesus, and only his devoted followers are given to understand the meaning of his teaching. The rest are left to ponder the master's rebukes. The closing episode of Jesus calming the storm shows his deity to the disciples. As he has asserted his deity in possessing the power over the spiritual realm (the forgiveness of sins), so he asserts his deity in possessing the power over the realm of nature.