Read 105.) II Samuel 19:5 thru 20:26. With the army of Israel defeated, and Absalom, David’s rebellious third-born dead; it’s time now to bring David back to Jerusalem and to his throne. But, first, see how that Joab needs to shake David from his grievous error of showing such favoritism to his own sons, as he did his first-born Amnon in chapter 13, and Absalom, here in this account. Absalom had been no son, and he deserved to die for his treachery! (But, it was Joab who killed him.) It works, as David then resorted to his own army for their proper recognition. But, see what arises next! David is to come back, but declares that Amasa, who had sided with Absalom, and is a near relative, like Joab is, is to be elevated to chief commander in the place of Joab! This can’t end well. So, David commences to return, and who is personally mentioned as first to greet him, but Shimei of 16:5-13. David showed this man mercy, but look for this name again later. Then, comes Mephibosheth, and we learn that perhaps Ziba, of 16:1-4 had lied and deceived. Next, is Barzillai, who had supported David while in exile, at great personal risk to himself, and all he had. By the end of chapter 19, see how much in-fighting, covetousness and jealousy is within the people of the tribes of Israel. There is need of much healing in the nation to come from the Lord. David has reigned some 30 or more years already. His difficulties are not over yet. There is yet more to come.
So, with chapter 20, we read of yet another rebel. Because of the bitter infighting among Israel’s tribes, one Sheba, who was of Saul’s tribe, and that may have been a cause for his animus against David, rose up against him and drew away many in Israel, outside of David’s tribe of Judah. Now, David was true to his word, and elevated Amasa, who had just been Absalom’s army commander, to command his own army above Joab. Pay close attention here! Amasa was to raise an army for David to pursue this Sheba, but he delayed, and took longer than David had ordered. So, David sends Joab’s brother, Abishai, now in command of that army with David, to go pursue Sheba. Joab is with this army, and under Abishai. We can only surmise that David has demoted Joab for slaying Absalom against his orders. But see what happens. Abishai and David’s army meet up with Amasa and those he had amassed unto him for David. Joab then took this occasion to murder Amasa, his rival and a relative! Now, go back to chapter 3, as Joab had also murdered another rival before, when Abner, who had been Saul’s army commander, sought to come over to David. That was some 30 years before! Joab even played on their familial blood relationship in his treachery in verse 9. Wow! Then, see, how that with verse 10, though David sent Abishai out after Sheba; it is Joab who assumes the command once again! With that, Joab pursues Sheba and holes him up in a city in Israel, who kills Sheba and turns him over to Joab. The threat has passed, and Joab, as verse 23 tells us, is reinstated by David as his commander. He “earned” it, by showing a ‘true fidelity’ unto David that went way beyond propriety. O, the depths human nature will go to do ‘good’! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell