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2 Samuel 19

July 10, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“Now all the people were in a dispute throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘The king saved us from the hand of our enemies, he delivered us from the Philistines...”

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2 Samuel 19

“Now all the people were in a dispute throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘The king saved us from the hand of our enemies, he delivered us from the Philistines, and now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now, therefore, why do you say nothing about bringing back the king?” 2 Samuel 19:9-10 (HCSB)

I was riveted to the television news in late August 2005. A tropical depression-turned-hurricane was bearing down on New Orleans, and it did not look like the kind of storm “Gulf Coasters” were used to weathering. Having grown up in the Southern US and vacationed all along the Gulf Coast, I was well aware of the potential property damage that strong storms can inflict. I had driven past the shells of blown-out beach homes and washed-away tourist attractions. But nobody predicted the enormously ominous impact of Katrina, and it all played out LIVE on cable news.

While the storm itself was horrifying, its greatest impact occurred in the aftermath. The citizens of New Orleans had to cope with the reality that even though they may return to their former houses, they were no longer “home.”

That is the impression 2 Samuel 19 gives us of King David’s return from exile. It becomes one of those “welcome home – maybe” situations where David almost wishes he hadn’t returned. He returns home as king, but the kingdom seems to crumble in his hands. Remember, this is mostly David’s fault. (see 2 Sam 12:11)

All of Israel was in a dilemma. And, as often happens to people in difficult times, they began bickering among themselves. The writer allows people to describe their political condition: The king delivered us many times, but we anointed Absalom king over us. Now Absalom is dead. So, why aren’t we bringing David back as king?

David got wind of this sentiment. He fired off a message to the elders of Judah, his own tribe, via his priestly friends Zadok and Abiathar. He appealed to their PRIDE: why should they lag behind the rest of the tribes of Israel in restoring him as King? He appealed to their RELATIONSHIP: David himself was from Judah, “bone and flesh.” Finally, he appealed to their ANXIETIES: he swore to appoint Amasa, commander of Absalom’s army, in place of Joab. This was a signal that those in Judah who had supported Absalom needed fear no retribution from the new Davidic regime.

David still had the old magic:

“So he swayed the hearts of all the men of Judah, just as the heart of one man…” 2 Samuel 19:14a (HCSB)

Yes, David risked polarizing the rest of Israel, but Absalom’s revolt had begun in Judah. David needed to fortify his kingdom first with his own people (David was a Judean) as the foundation. It reminds us that just as “judgment begins in the house of the Lord” (1 Peter 4:17), it is also where reconciliation must happen first. And if there is to be REVIVAL in the World, it must begin with a “revival of unity” among the Church-at-large. Let it begin with us as we seek His Word!

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