August 29, 1993

2 Samuel 20

Vs. 1, 2.

These two verses go with 19:41-43.

David returns from exile. He crosses the river and is met by the men of Judah and the men of the other ten tribes. There is a dispute over who has the most claim in David and who loves David the most. Judah's words were more fierce, so Israel backs down. In other words, it was a very heated argument.

Sheba then blew a trumpet and formed another revolt, telling Israel to go home. And they did; they quit following David and every man went his own way.


1. Here the people argue over who loved David the most, then turn around and revolt again against him. It is beyond comprehension how fickle people are. Here they had kisses and hugs for David as they loudly proclaim their love for him. Then, at the drop of a hat, they revolt.

The sooner we learn this point about people, the better off we will be.

2. a Benjamite... The tribe of Benjamin was the tribe of the first king, Saul (but Benjamin claims Paul). No doubt they saw the office of king rightfully belonging to them, and they held a grudge against David for what happened to Saul and for taking the kingdom away from them.

A grudge will turn into action; therefore, the Lord commands:

Le 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.
Jas 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

A grudge will effect our actions toward others; it cannot be helped.

3. this was a victory celebration, not warfare.

We can rest assured that there is always someone around waiting to stir something up for the enemy even in a victory celebration. I have found that the easiest time to become a victim of the enemy is when things are going good. When the battle is strong, I remain close to the Lord. It is when times are good that the real danger comes. We see this very thing with American Christianity.

4. Foolish quarrels turn into full-blooded war if given half a chance. Arguments usually start over some stupid thing. This argument started over who loved David the most. The words got heated and revolt quickly followed.

5. it does not take much to start a argument. And the contention, if not dealt with will get completely out of hand.

The Lord tells us to not let the sun go down on our wrath. In other words, settle matters quickly or they will get out of hand.

Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

I would suppose these two verses clearly illustrate the proverb, Pr 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Grievous words over who loved the king the most stirred up enough anger to start a war.

V. 3.
Just a title for this section pretty well explains it: others pay for our sins. Here David's wives paid for his wickedness.

Vs. 4-13

Amasa was captain of Absalom's army, 2 Sa 17:25. David had promised Amasa that he would be captain of his army in place of Joab if Amasa would come over to his side after Absalom was dead.

Now David keeps his promise, and sends Amasa out on his first assignment as captain. Amasa was David's nephew, the son of his sister. Amasa was Absalom's and Joab's cousin.

David saw the danger in Sheba, and sends Amasa to gather the men of Juda to go fight against Sheba before the rebellion gains to much strength for David's army to put down.

This was not a very smart move on David's part. Amasa had been the leader of Absalom's army of rebellion. The men of Juda had just had very strong words with the men of Israel over who loved David the most and who was the most loyal to David. And now David sends the leader of Absalom's army of rebellion against David to gather the men to David. David seems to be desperate here to replace Joab, but this sure looks like an unwise move on David's part.

David fulfills his promise to Amasa, much to Joab's dismay. David had made the same promise to another man (that is, to replace Joab), Abner, Saul's captain, when David was trying to win over Saul's forces after Saul was dead. Abner met the same fate as did Amasa: death as Joab's hands.

V. 5, Amasa tarried longer than the time allotted. When Amasa is late getting back with the army, David told Abishai, Joab's brother, to go pursue Sheba. If they wait to long, Sheba would be too strong for them. They had to move quickly, or Sheba would overcome them.

Because Amasa was late, he could not pursue the enemy of David as he was told to do.

V. 8.

As Abishai pursues Sheba with David's mighty men, and even though the assignment had been given to Abishai, Joab takes charge from Abishai. Then at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa shows up. Joab walks toward Amasa and moves in a way as to cause his sword to fall out. Joab reaches over and picks up his sword with his left hand and speaks peaceable words to Amasa.

But Joab does not place the sword back in its holder; rather, he walks toward Amasa. As was the custom of friends, Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. Amasa thinks nothing of the sword because it appeared that Joab only picked up something accidently dropped. Joab then sticks Amasa with the sword, cuts his belly open so everything falls out.

Amasa probably should have been killed before this instead of a league made with him because of his rebellion against David, the rightful king. but this WAS NOT Joab's job. Joab is a murderer and David should have dealt with him as such, but he didn't.

In the situation with both Abner and Amasa, David's rule was on shaky grounds, and both times it would have caused great difficulty if he had killed Joab. In both of the murders, Joab killed the men who were threats to his position as captain of the army.

1. When captain of Absolom's army, Amasa saw the two kinds of advises given to Absolom: a) Absolom was given good advise to move quickly, do it now and the victory would be his over David his father, and b) Absolom was given bad advise: put it off and get a lot of people together and he would have the victory. This was wrong counsel, but it was of God that he follow the advise to wait. (17:11-25)

But Amasa should have seen what waiting allows to take place: the enemy to gain strength.

2. now David urges Amasa to move quickly, 20:4-5, but his past training under Absolom caused him to fail to see the importance of haste.

So we see here that evil must be quickly moved against if we expect to gain a proper victory. The longer this movement is put off, the stronger the evil becomes and the more likely defeat is assured.

There is a saying, "Haste makes waste," but in the case of pursuing and destroying rebellion, "Waiting leads to defeat."

3. V. 9, we see that Amasa's lateness cost him his life. We fail to realize the importance of operating in a timely fashion.

4. 1 Kgs 2:32, Joab, the murder, pays for his sin. He does not get away with it. Notice who dealt with Joab: Solomon, the son of David.

There is coming a day when all the evil men of this earth will also pay for thier evil, and the SON OF DAVID will be the one to enforce the law of God against them.

Joab tried to hide behind his religion when his time came to answer for his evil, but it did him no good.

5. Amasa fiddled around and was late while the enemy gained strength. He did not see the importance of being on time. Yes, it cost him his life, but it would have caused David another battle if steps had not been quickly taken to make up for Amasa's indifference and unconcern.

The King's work requires hast, not fiddling around.

6. A very important point. In 19:43, the people fought over who loved David the most. But in 20:1 & 2, they all went home. When it comes time to raise an army to fight and defend David, there was not enough to raise a good dust.

If this does not reflect modern day Christianity, I don't know what does. The average Christian will brag and fight over how much he loves the Lord (the Son of David), but when it comes time to get bloody dirty and make enemies for the cause of defending the King, they are no where to be found. When it comes time to find someone to take a stand against public policy, go door-to-door, repair the buildings or give money, the loving are lacking.

Words, even angry words, are very cheap. It's time for God's people to place action with their words.

September 5, 1993

One more point about Joab:

2 Sam 11:14, 15, David had used Joab to try to cover his sin with Bathsheba. Joab had killed Uriah on David's orders. Now David's sin comes back many times to haunt him. Observe:

a) David used Joab to kill Uriah to protect his position as ruler over Israel and to protect his interest in Bathsheba.

b) Joab kills Abner to protect his position as ruler over the army.
c) Joab kills Absolam to protect his interests
d) Joab kills Amasa to protect his interests

Obviously, David could not very well deal with Joab here in this area because of his own sin. But the Son of David with a clear conscience will judge all men. No person will get away with anything.

The situation here with David and Joab is a good illustration of our present legal system: With our jury system, there is so much personal guilt on the jury and/or so much identification with the criminal that it is becoming increasingly hard to get a good conviction. The jury sits there and thinks, "This could be me or my child; then what would I do?"

David could not pursue conviction against Joab for something he had done himself, and Joab takes full advantage of David's guilt. He made a few feeble efforts, but he did not pursue the matter.

Obviously, we must discipline our children regardless of what we did when we were their age. Christ makes the difference and clears the conscience so we can render righteous judgment with a clear conscience.

I think that one of the most dangerous tendences among parents is to think that their kids are not doing anything they didnot do as a child; therefore, excuse the wickedness of the child.

The SON OF DAVID renders righteous judgment.

Vs. 10-13.

Amasa died in a most horrible way: wallowing in his own blood and guts. But it was the result of not getting after the task he was assigned to do. Amasa's slowness does not justify in any way Joab's murder.

Joab did the murder right in plain sight of the army, showing us the hardness of Joab for his own self-interest. If not dealt with, self-interest will do the same to anyone. Look around us at the many dead bodies along the highway from self-interest.

Self-interests results in:

1. Pron - both adult and child
2. Drugs of all kinds, including alcohol - the drugger has no interest in anyone except himself.
3. the music and media industry; anywhere money is involved.

The list is endless of where self-interests reveals its ugly head. The media uses it openly in advertising and seeking ratings for their programming. Whatever will serve self is being used very effectively, and as with Joab here, those defending their self-interest are becoming very open with it. There is no shame!

I believe we can safely say that Joab was far more interested in Joab than he was in David because he brought David to an open shame with both Amasa and Abner.

And this is far to typical with those who profess to love the Son of David. They are far more interested in self, even in "Christian work."

How many times have we brought the Son of David, Christ, to an open shame protection our self?

How hardened do we become when our interests are at stake, or pride is on the line?

Who do we think of first when there is a choice to be made?

When the chips are down, and we must either stand for the interests of Christ or our own, whose do we defend?

Do we use the failures of others to justify the choice we make.

I have no doubt that Joab used Amasa's failure to move fast enough and David's failure in the murder of Uriah to justify his own murder to protect himself.

If we look hard enough, we will always find enough failure in others to justify our own person wicked desires. But others cannot be our standard: Does the word of God justify our desires and failures?

David's army stood still at the sight of Amasa in the road.

When we see the situation as Amasa laying in the road because Joab justified his murder of Amasa with Amasa' lateness, we can ask:

"How many of God's people stand still when we exalt self over godliness?"
How many of God's people have fallen out from pursuing the enemy because they have seen other supposedly Christians choosing self over right?
How many "Shebas" have escaped as we get more interested in self than in Christ.
How many others have given up or been stopped dead in their tracks because they see self-interests in our lives.
What pleases me
What assures me of my rightful place
What gets me what I want

And we had better not think others don't see it because they do, and until that self-interest is removed and covered by the blood of the Lamb, they will be hindered from pursuing "Sheba."

Vs. 14 - 22

Sheba searched the land for a place where they would permit his entrance. The city of Able was the only one he could find.

Joab follows and starts to tare down the wall to get at Sheba. A wise woman calls out to Joab and asks him why he is taring down the wall without discussing the situation first. She asks Joab what he wants, and Joab says that he wants Sheba because Sheba lifted up his hand against King David.

The woman tells Joab to hold on and wait and he would have Sheba's head. Joab holds off destroying the wall. The woman gathers the men of the city together and they cut off Sheba's head and throw it to Joab. Joab is satisfied and the army departs.


1. the primary thing that stands out to me here is that it is foolishness of foolishness to pursue violent means before all non-violent means have been exhausted.

Joab has many followers today: Shoot first and ask questions latter. Why use non-violent means when you can quickly settle the matter with a few well-placed shots?

2. Ecc 9:13-1, it would sound as though Solomon had this wise woman in mind when he wrote about the poor, wise man.

One woman by her wisdom delivers her city.
One poor man by his wisdom delivers his city.

Therefore, notice that wisdom is not "cornered" by men or by wealth. Because a man or woman has wealth does not make them any wiser than another. By the same token, poverty does not make one wise.

3. this woman very tactfully upbraids Joab for his trying to destroy the city without first seeking peace.

There is no reason or excuse for flying off the handle without first seeking a peaceful settlement. But when peace fails, then tare the wall down.

4. a lack of communication has caused many walls to be torn down needlessly. (Churches, communities, persons, families, &c.)

5. the name, Joab, means Jah is father. In Esther the city represents a person, a man. Thus here we see Sheba, the rebel, fleeing into the city, and Joab is going to destroy the city unless Sheba's head is thrown out over the wall.

Thus, we have God the Father moving against the man who harbors rebellion and sin. God the Father promises to destroy the person who refuses to cast out the sin.

Good message: throwing heads over the wall. Head of pride, anger, lust, covetousness, &c.

Man, the sinner, will have no peace until he throws some heads over the wall, and, of course, the first one is his rebellion against the Son of David, Salvation. Then there are others that need to be thrown out as time goes along and he matures in Christ. There is no peace until man surrenders his rebellion (Sheba), saved or unsaved.

6. Joab spared the city. There can be times when peace can be obtained without war or compromise. Joab got what he wanted, Sheba's head. The woman got what she wanted, Peace and Safety.

7. Sheba could not find help anywhere except one place, the city of Able. And then that one place ended up cutting off his head. Thus when things are looking decent, friends can be found. But when the pressure is on, watch your head.

Vs. 23-26.

There is only one point of interest that I found here. That is, Adoram was over the tribute... This is the first time in David's reign that we read about tribute. David levied a tax on the people at this point.

Why at this point?

I think that we can safely speculate that David had to raise taxes to finance his wars that resulted from his sin. This is certainly a reason for high taxes in our day.

Let me leave this chapter with this idea:

Joab's answer to every problem, whether personal (he murdered two men) or national (he was going to tare down a city in Israel), was violence. He was an extremely violent man who lived by the sword. And, therefore, he died by the sword.

We need to learn the importance of seeking peaceful solutions as long as there is any possible chance that peaceful solutions will work.

I am afraid that those today who are so quick to go to violence are in for a violent end.