Read 102.) II Samuel 12:18 thru 14:24. And, so, David’s troubles begin. It was only from our last reading, we learned of David’s fall with Bathsheba and the fallout that was to come of it. Chapter 12, verses 11 and 12 told of how the Lord would ‘bring calamity’ upon David from out of his own household. We open with the taking by the Lord of the child conceived by David’s sin. With it comes those famous words of 12:23. From this, we derive a hope, along with verses from the New Testament, that those so young, who die, are under the covering of the Lord and received of Him into His everlasting Kingdom. We don’t describe them as saved, but as ‘safe’. We also derive a corollary belief that there is some ‘age of accountability’ whereby a child becomes answerable unto the Lord for themselves. The New Testament verses seem to make clear that this age of accountability must come at some time after toddlerhood. Having learned of so many who say they placed their trust in the Savior at 4 and 5 years of age, it would appear that accountability might commence in early childhood. Chapter 12 ends with David subduing the Ammonites to their east, and taking that king’s crown of some 75 pounds of gold, worth some $1,350,000 today!
With chapter 13, we read of the incestuous rape of Tamar by her half-brother Amnon, David’s first-born. He might have been more then 10 years older than her. She took her rape to another half-brother, Absalom, David’s third-born, who would get revenge. The second half of the chapter relates how that Absalom killed Amnon 2 years later, and closes with yet 3 more years passing. It may well be that David has already reigned more than 20 years, and is now past 50, maybe closer to 55, and about 885 BC.
What happens next, in chapter 14, thru verse 24, is the account of how that after the passing of 3 years after Absalom fled, Joab, David’s nephew and military commander, devised a means by which Absalom might return to Jerusalem. The purpose of the plot was to divorce the real situation with a hypothetical, but similar one, so that it could be weighed and judged from the outside, and in a more objective manner. According to the Law, Absalom committed murder, broke the 6th Commandment, and should have been executed for it. But, then, Amnon had committed rape, and that was a violation of the 7th Commandment, concerning adultery, as she would have one-day become another man’s wife, but he had borne no consequences for it. Obviously, this was because of his ‘privilege’ in Israel, as the prince and king’s first-born son. It was David’s place to have caused something to have been done to Amnon about this, but 13:21 only says that when ‘David heard all this, he was furious‘. Furious was not enough! Amnon ‘got away’ with rape, and so, Absalom exacted Tamar’s revenge. It was a vigilante sort of justice, but there was no one else who would work justice. A right thing had been done, but in a wrong manner. But, it was now time to seek reconciliation. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell