2 Samuel 4

We have been looking at David's assent to the throne of all Israel.

Now, we pick up this historical record in Chapter 4.

V. 1 I would say he was feeble, seeing as how Abner was the one who had set him up as king in rebellion against David and God's will and plan, 2:8-11.

He had been set up as a figure-head by Abner, who was the son of Saul's uncle, Ner, making Ishbosheth and Abner second cousins (I think). Ishbasheth's dad, Saul and Abner were cousins.

Abner was Ishbosheth's (the man of Shame) strength. Abner had tried to get all of Israel to serve this man of shame out of selfish motives, confident that he would retain the most power through him.

When he saw how weak Ishbosheth was, Abner switched sides to bring all to David. Joab saw Abner as a threat to his power over the army and killed Abner in gate of the city of refuge.

Now, keep in mind, these men were not a small group of soldiers chasing through the wilderness like Robin Hood and his merry men, but 400 years earlier they had come out of Egypt with 600,000 fighting men and during David's reign, this was the most powerful army on earth.

Nor were they cowards in any way, shape or form. Remember the game they played in chapter 2 where the 12 men on each side calmly walked up to each other and stuck each man's sword in the side of the other.

David feared Joab's power and didn't deal with him as he should have. Ishbosheth now sees his power base gone. The support of the army is gone. He had every reason in the world to be concerned as does Israel. David could now move right in by force and take the throne. This threat would cause concern for anyone. Again, the way of taking the throne was to kill the former king, take his wives and kill all of his children as well as anyone else who might be a threat to him.

(This is from 3:39, which I missed up there. Added 12/18/90. While studying in Isaiah 11, when I came to v. 4, I found this remark by Hengstenberg (Christology, pg.470): "The King shall be adorned with perfect justice, and, in the exercise of it, be supported by His omnipotence,--differently from what was the case with David, who, for want of power, was obliged to allow heinous crimes to pass unpunished (2 Sam. iii, 39)." With this we see that it was David's lack of power that prevented him from being able to deal with Joab for the slaying of Abner. King Jesus will not be hampered by any such problem.)

But David is married to Michal, Ishbosheth's 1/2 sister. This is probably the reason Ishbosheth so readily gave her back to David. Maybe he could see safety for his own neck in David being married to his sister.

The only man of power, Abner, had fallen to David's men. This would naturally cause him great concern.

Vs. 2, 3.

The author identifies some men for us. Two captains of his army, Baanah, son of Grief, and Rechab, companionship. Sons of Rimmon, Rimmon was also the name of a Syrian god, the god of air-weather-storm. His symbol was the axe and a bundle of lightning darts. Rimmon and his two sons were from the tribe of Benjamin, same as was Saul.

As we said elsewhere, the Bible from beginning to end is a Book of cause and effect. To lift an effect out of the Scriptures without looking at the cause is to miss the major teaching of the passage. We too often take a passage out and build upon it, which is OK, but we need to consider the cause. God in His word didn't just lay down a lot of little exciting stories to hold our interest and to look at or teach. We can not study His word as a group of historic events strung together or we miss the beauty, unity and message of this wonderful Book.

Of course the whole Book is written (all 66 chapters of it) showing the effect of the ONE major cause found in Gen. 3, sin entering into the world. How, when and why. He then shows how and what effect that sin has on man and what He did to rescue man from its effects, Christ, and how it can be overcome and of course, how it will be overcome permanently.

V.4. is very interesting to me. This verse takes place right after the news of Saul's and Jonathan's death reach home. The boy, Mephibosheth had been left with a nurse and was 5 when Jonathan, his dad was killed. The news reached home and his nurse, out of fear of his life, fled. Probably out of fear that David would now move in to take the throne.

The custom in the Middle East here was that when a new king took the throne, he killed all the family of the old king so that family would not be a threat to his authority. Read on over in the Books of the Kings.

The nurse ran out of fear of David. Mephibosheth fell and became a helpless cripple, an important fact here as we will refer back to this latter.

Now, notice here. We said that the Bible is a Book, Divinely inspired, of cause and effect. Let's look at the cause of this effect here of v.4.

Saul spent his life perusing David instead of perusing the Lord or even instead of perusing the enemies of God, the Philistines or Amalek.

Saul wanted to establish the throne for his son, Jonathan without having to serve the Lord, I Sam. 20:31. Saul perused the natural thing to do to establish his son, kill any threat, David.

This urge continues even today, which started in the Garden. What did Adam say? "Lord, it's her fault."
What do we see as the way to get what we desire?
Do away with what we feel is a threat to our success, rather than serve the Lord.

The world's means to establish the family on the throne was to do away with all threats. Again, the Books of the Kings as well as the Chron. shows this in action. See Jer. 17:5, 6. We see this fulfilled in the life of Saul here. He depended on human means, and inherited the curse of God, Proverbs 12:3.

[I have this as extra notes in my hand written notes but I do not have the notes.]

David spent probably 10-13 years (30 when crowned at Judah, at the death of Saul), fleeing from Saul out of fear for his life. Now, David would not have had to flee if he had stayed put where God told him to dwell in I Sam. 22:5 (Judah), but, on the advice of friends he didn't stay there. But David's not being where God told him to be did not make it OK for Saul to peruse him.

(Any time we move out from where God wants us to be there will be a Saul to peruse us hotly, day and night through the wilderness.)

Saul was concerned about his family passing off the scene, I Sam. 24:21, and made every provision humanly possible to see that they wouldn't. However, he never went back and took care of the problem with the Lord. If he had, his family would have been established, I Sam. 15:17.

Natural inclination to establish family here -- Get rid of any threat.
God's way to establish family -- Stay right with Him.

In Saul's concern (and rebellion, hardness before God, pride. Refused to humble himself before men and God) he sought to establish his family. The end of the way that seemeth right unto man is death and Saul met that end. It wouldn't have been so bad, but the children he had spent 10 years pursuing David to establish on the throne, died also because he refused to turn to the Lord to establish his family.

1. David spent 10-13 years fleeing out of fear of Saul.

2. Saul is dead now, the Lord took care of him. Actually, Saul took care of himself because Saul had tied the hands of the Lord from helping him by his rebellion. If he would have made that right, the Lord could have helped. Saul knew that but pride prevented his turning from his sin. Does pride prevent us also?

3. The news of Saul's death reached the nurse in charge of his grandson, the next in line to the throne.

Now, the nurse did just what we would have done, she ran. Saul had sought to establish his throne by natural means, killing anyone who might be a threat, David in this case. It was only natural for the nurse to believe that David would move the same way that Saul had for 10-13 years. To move in and establish his throne by the sword.

So really, she did the natural thing.

Let me give 10 short points here in this.

1. She had been influenced by the thinking of Saul's house, "Kill anyone who is a threat."

2. Probably influenced by Saul's attitude toward God's man, David. Really believed that David would kill the boy in 'cold blood.' It was common practice of the time and many of David's decedents latter did just that, killed any threat to the throne.

Those of our household will be influenced by our attitude at home. No matter how hard we may try to avoid it.
Our children will follow what we hold near to our hearts in practice.

3. In fear she seeks to escape from David and runs with the boy.

a. Notice, this is the same thing the boy's grandfather caused David to do, flee for his life. Now in fear she flees from him.

4. Now the sad thing, the boy. He falls and becomes a helpless cripple.

a. It was not the boy's fault. He was too young to know good from evil or anything about David.

b. Saul sought to protect by natural means -- kill David.
The nurse sought to protect by natural means -- flee from David.

c. She fled in haste -- he fell. When we move in hast or anger or under the emotional stress of the moment, we can fully expect to fall and even take others with us.

5. Saul's chickens come home to roost in his grandson.

a. The heir he had pursued David so long to protect now becomes helpless.

b. the nurse because of the grandfather's attitude toward God's ways now flees when no man pursueth. We will pass our fears, even the unfounded ones, on to those in our charge.

6. Saul sowed to the flesh. Sought to establish himself and his family with natural means and ignored his relationship with the Lord.

a. Not only did he reap corruption and death in his own life, but in Jonathan's life, as well as Abinadab and Melchishua. The good boys followed him into a losing battle because God could not help him. Jonathan knew that but went with his dad anyway.

b. And saddest of all, Saul reaped corruption in the life of an innocent grandson. Saul's pursuit of the way that seemed right (Pro. 14:12) ended up with a helplessly cripple grandson.

Once again we see that no man is an Island. "I am harming no one but myself" is a lie. Saul destroyed all of his children and grandchildren, all because his pride would not permit him to confess and forsake past sin.

7. Saul spent years running, chasing, pursuing after David, instead of after the Lord or after the Lord's enemies. If we would spend this much time and effort perusing God then no telling what could take place for us.

8. Notice Pro. 21:31 But safety is of the Lord. If God would take His protective hand off of us for a second, no telling what would happen. As Saul said, "No Lord, I'll secure my future my way," he removed the Lord's hand of safety from himself and from his family, all the way to his grandson.

1. Parents, grandparents, spend our time perusing the Son of David and His method of success instead of Saul's.

(Note of interest. The principles of God have been in effect since Adam, really, since in the beginning God. The OT only shows them at work and gives the 10 basic laws and expands on those (10 Commandments). Psalms and Proverbs and the NT only reveal to us what these principles are and how they work. They will remain in effect until time is no more.)

V. 5
Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon. David got in trouble for 'lazying' around the house. Sol was resting under the tree when he should have been out fighting, 1 Sam. 14:7. One of the commentaries that I checkde with on this said that Ish. was in bed at this time because that was the custom of the day. It is strange that Ish. is the only one that I know of in Scripture that this is mentioned of.

The word of God has a great deal to say about this subject:

24:33, 34.

20:13 love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty... and this man of shame was still in bed at noon because his hands were feeble. We could probably reverse this and say that his hands were feeble because he couldn't get out of bed. We see that not only were his hands feeble, but so was his head and heart.

No wonder Abner decided to get away from him, the man of shame was lazy and slothful.

It is no wonder that when they heard that Abner was dead, all the Israelites were troubled. The one who had the drive and ambition to work out some thing for their benefit was gone and they were left in the hands of a lazy man. Instead of up and trying to work out something with David or preparing his people for war in case David did decide to attack, he was in bed at noon. God doesn't hate the man, but He certainly hates laziness and slothfulness of men.

Christ died for man, but man will die for slothfulness, laziness. In bed at NOON! when there was so much to do. (He deserved to die.) Not only in bed, but asleep. How in the world could he be asleep at noon unless he had been up all night. Had he been up worrying, partying, fellowshiping, maybe planning. Obviously he had not been up working.

2 Samuel 4:7

Now, two of his former servants, the son of grief and his companion find an excuse to come into the house. They go into his bedroom where he is sound asleep, kill him, then cut off his head and flee. These were men from his own tribe, Benjamin.

What would be a more fitting way for the man of shame to die? In bed asleep at noon. Now, the boys were not right in killing him and they lost their lives for this dirty deed. But if Ishbosheth hadn't been in bed at noon asleep, he would not have died there.

The man who loves sleep over work will come to a shameful end.

Pro. 6:4-11 If he had been awake, he would have delivered himself as a bird from the hand of the Fowler.

Proverbs 19:15 (Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep), and his sleep was so deep that two men were able to creep into his bedroom and cut off his head.

Ecc. 10:16-19 Woe to thee O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! And we might add that they eat because they have nothing else to do. V. 17 There is blessing when the leaders only eat at meal times.

I wonder, did the man of shame stay up all night, eating and fellowshiping?

Pro. 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is a broken down and without walls. No wonder all Israel was troubled. Their king did not have enough rule over his spirit to get up in the morning. They were defenseless before David and their enemies.

Pro. 21:25 the way of the slothful killeth him.
Pro. 23:21 .. and drowsiness shall cloth a man with rags.
Pro. 26:13-14 The slothful man saith there is a lion in the way; a lion in the streets (23:13), so I'll go back to bed. In more practical terms, The work is too hard, so I'll stay in bed.

We need to teach ourselves and our children to get up early.

Probably the best thing that happened to me as a boy was my dad making me take a morning paper route, but that habit did not stick with me.

As some of you know, this is one of my pet peeves. I used to get up just in time to get to work, even when I worked for Bob Christ. When Dr. Proter contacted me about going to work for him in Indianapolis as his bus and visitation director, I still got up just in time.

It was while I was with him that I came to the realization that maybe I was not as sharp or maybe I did not have as much education as did the kids going to college there, but I could out-work them. So I then made up my mind to get up early and read the Scriptures and pray. Many other things have come and gone since then, but that has stayed.

At that time I did not do any intensive study, just reading for an hour or more, then prayer. One year in Md. I read the Bible through 15 times. I did not really start writing anything down until we got in LA.

I do not know how many young men I have met with high dreams of doing great things for God, but they couldn't discipline themselves to get up early to meet with the Lord. They say, I don't get to bed in time to get up early, as if that were an excuse. (I might add, then they keep others up late and destroy their desire to get up. That is wicked.)

God can use anyone who is willing to get up early, study His word and seek His power, grace and wisdom for the day.

I have had people say to me, But I am best at night, or even, I don't think you need to get up early to meet with the Lord. You can do it just as well at night. And our answer to that is:

Psalms 57:8, 9.
Psalms 63:1
Proverbs 8:17
Is 26:9

There are only three listings for late in Strong's, and none of those have to do with staying up late to meet with the Lord. The Scriptures clearly speak of rising early to allow the Lord to speak to us.

I suppose the reason that I get so hostile over this is because of the number of people that I have seen who want to do something for the Lord, but they are unable to discipline themselves to get up early and let the Lord do something for them. The result is that they never amount to anything other than a lot of empty dreams.

Dreams without the reality of getting up early to meet with the Lord will not get off the ground.

Back to our man in bed at noon, 4:7

The man of shame never had to work and probably had no intentions of being king until Abner made him king, 2:8. But Abner did not do it out of concern for Saul's line, but out of concern for himself.

Ishbosheth didn't get his name for nothing. He never did anything to anyone, minded his own business, but he stayed up all night and slept all day. He was the man of shame because he wouldn't get up, slothful.

He was 40 when Abner took him and made him king, making him 42 here in bed at noon.

Notice then:

1.> He was born at the start of Saul's reign, making him 2 years old at the time of Saul's rebellion.

2.> He did not follow Saul into battle as did Jonathan, Abinabad and Melchishua. Was he home asleep?

3.> Abner knew this when he made him king. Abner saw a man (of shame) more concerned about himself than he was about the people and the Lord, therefore, a chance for Abner to reign through him. If he would stay home in bed, Abner would have it made.

4.> Ishbosheth tried to do right, which probably caught Abner by surprise. But he didn't have the charactor to carry out his desires. He could not get out of bed.

The desire to serve God that will bring results is a desire that can overcome the desire to stay in bed. It will sacrifice self-desire for sleep, to meet with the Lord.

> He rebuked Abner for the deal with Rizpah, (3:7) which would have shown Abner that he was not going to have as free of a hand as he wanted, so Abner deserted him.

This left Ishbosheth 'high and dry.' He hadn't wanted to be king, Abner talked him into it. NOW WHAT? He was worried, v.1

5.> Even David considered him a righteous person, (4:11) which is more than he said for Abner (3:38). He only called Abner a great man, a prince, a good soldier.

6.> Ishbosheth was just minding his own business asleep, and he is killed. There was no excuse for it.

He was a man of shame because he was lazy, slothful, not because of immorality. It is a shame when a man with abilities and oportonities will not discipline himself so that the Lord can use him. Slothful, lazy is shame there, not immorality.


V. 8.
These men take his head and go to David.

That's silly. They expect to be exalted in his kingdom because of this wicked deed. Ishbosheth wasn't even anointed and David still won't put up with it. The man with Saul's crown did the same, expecting the same and received the same, v.12. Surely these two men knew what happened when the man came with Saul's crown, but they did this anyway.

V. 8, these men also tried to give God the 'credit' for their evil deed. Their motives were to be exalted and tried to use God as a cover.
The Lord hath avenged... No! He didn't. These two wicked men murdered a man in his own bedroom.

How many times do we try to use the Lord as a cover to pursue our own ends? and try to give God the credit for our own wicked motives?

Who sought thy life.. No he didn't. He was to lazy to peruse David. He just wanted to be left alone so he could sleep.

Vs. 9-12.

It is evident that David desired to keep his throne clean of any blood-guilt, even though he was not strong enough to do it with the murder of Abner. Here and with the Amalikite, we see that he tried to keep it clean.

They get their just reward, just as the SON OF DAVID will give our just reward in that day.

Notice here that David is consistent. The man who came to him about Saul died at his own mouth, so did these men. The word of God establishes a standard and if we will be true to that standard, we will be right every time.

Slain a righteous person. Ishbosheth was not guilty of any crime, not even of making himself strong against David. Abner was the one guilty here. Abner took him, set him up as king and strengthened his hand. This man was only a victim of evil influence. Probably could consider him a simple man, easily influenced.

David has them killed to remove the guilt of blood from his kingdom. Same with the Amalikite. How does that work? How is the Blood of a murdered person going to be required of a nation if the murder isn't executed? Gen. 9:1-7, I don't know. That is what God says and our Nation today, having done away with capital punishment and encouraging abortion, will have a lot to account for.

V. 12 he cut off their hands and feet.
Wicked hands that shed innocent blood.
Wicked feet that ran with the news.
Hung up for a public example. Not only for a public example, but also to show he had nothing to do with the murder of the last of the line to Saul's throne. There are still some sons of Rizpath, Saul's concubine left, but they could make no claim for the throne.

Once again, God uses the plans of wicked men for His propose to accomplish His will.

God pronounced judgment on Saul and his house. The only one of his line left now is a cripple and helpless lad.
God used the evil designs of the Amalikite.
God used the wicked desires of Abner to bring Israel to David.
God used the wicked and evil jealousy of Joab to judge Abner for his rebellion against David.
Now God uses the wicked, evil motives and desires of these two men to clear the way to the throne for David.

I would imagine the people watching wondered if God knew what was going on.

All of this mess we see going on today, God is accomplishing His purpose in it all. Satan is not 'running around lose' doing his own thing any more than these evil men were.

He may think he is and it may look to us like he is, but he only operates within the will and purpose of God, and everything that he is allowed to do fits perfectly the plan of God. See Job 1 and 2.