Posts Tagged 'Forgiveness'

1 Kings Chapter 8

Temple

The temple was built in Jerusalem and was prepared to be dedicated to the Lord. This chapter tells of the final steps needed to take this grand building that Solomon had built and make it truly the House of the Lord rather than just a pretty bulding. It begins with the following:

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
4 And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.

The leaders of Israel were gathered together, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple, from where it had been placed prior to this. Once assembled, the elders had a feast. The priests and Levites brought the ark, as well as the tabernacle and all that went with it, and placed it within the holy place of the temple, just as they had been commanded in the tabernacle under the direction of Moses. The congregation of Israel made sacrifices in great number. It was placed under the wings of the cherubs, as it’s permanent location. There was no intention of it being moved again now that the there was a permanent structure instead of the portable tabernacle, so they removed the staves which were connected to the ark in order to carry it as they traveled. The two tablets of stone, brought down from the mount by Moses, which contained the words of the Lord regarding the covenants of Israel, remained in the ark. A cloud and the glory of the Lord filled the temple to the point where the priests were unable to stand and minister. The cloud showed the people that God accepted the temple.

The cloud was a physical representation of the presence of God among the Israelites. There was a cloud that led them from Egypt and was there when Moses received the law. There was a cloud with the tabernacle as they wandered in the desert. When they could see the cloud, they knew that God was there. Sometimes I wonder how people today, including myself, would behave if they were able to witness a physical representation of God in this way. I believe that we do not have this experience as a people, because we live in a time, even the latter days, when greater faith is required of us. In order to stand in the battle we have against evil, our faith must be strong. We can have our own personal witnesses after we act in faith. A personal witness has the power to convert our hearts and shape our character in ways that draw us nearer to God.

12 Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
15 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
20 And the Lord hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

King Solomon gave a blessing upon the congregation of Israel. He praised God for fulfilling the promise he made to his father, David. He spoke of the word of the Lord to David, telling him that his son would build the house to His name, which David desired to build. David spoke of building a place for the ark, which contained the words of the covenants made between God and the Israelites who were brought out of bondage in Egypt.

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
25 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

Solomon prayed to the Lord, giving praise to God. He asked that the Lord also continue to fulfill another promise made to David, which was that David’s line would continue on the throne according to their faithfulness. He asked if God would dwell among them, even though the house they build could not contain Him. He prayed that the temple would be watched over as His house, with His name, and that the prayer of Solomon would be heard, as well as the prayers of those who would turn towards the temple, that they might be forgiven.

31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:
32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

Solomon prayed that all their oaths would go before the altar of the Lord, and that they would be judged by them to the condemning of the wicked and blessing of the righteous.

33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

He prayed that when the people fell away and were brought down by their enemies, repenting and praying to the Lord, they might be forgiven and restored to the land of promise.

35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

He prayed that when times of drought, brought upon them by sin, caused that they returned to the Lord and to the temple, then God would hear them and forgive them, teaching them to walk in righteousness through the word of God and revelations, and allowing the rain to come upon the land of promise.

37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake;
42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

He prayed that the prayers of those who suffered from any plague, whether upon the land or in one heart, would be heard. He prayed that God would forgive them and bless each man according to his heart. He prayed that as long as they live in the promised land, they would fear the Lord, and that any who left their own lands seeking for the Lord, praying towards the temple, could be blessed by having their prayers answered. He prayed that people all over the earth would know the Lord and fear Him as the people of Israel feared Him. He prayed that all would know that this temple was the Lord’s house.

44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:
52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

Solomon prayed that those faithful who prayed towards the temple would be blessed in the battles with their enemies (at least those who God would command them to fight). He prayed that sinners, who would be carried away captive by their enemies, but repent and turn their hearts back to God in prayer, would be forgiven and blessed that their enemies would have compassion on them. He asked that the Lord would remember them as His people when they had repented. When Solomon finished his prayer, he blessed the congregation, with a reminder that the Lord would be with them, if they would turn their hearts to God and keep the commandments. The Lord had fulfilled all that He had promised them regarding the rest among their people, and for this they should have been grateful. God always keeps his word and promises to mankind. He asked that all the earth would come to know that the Lord was the true and only God, as they strived to keep the commandments.

62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

The people then made sacrifices at the dedication of the temple. Solomon held a feast and the people were worshipping there for fourteen days. Then Solomon sent the people back to their homes, and they were full of joy and gladness because of the blessings that the Lord had given to David and all Israel. The completion of the temples today, followed by the sacred dedications, also bring much joy and gladness to the hearts of disciples of Christ.

There is great importance in having dedicatory prayers. When we want the Lord to accept our sacrifices and offerings, we need to commit them through our words to Him. When we want to serve the Lord in our personal lives, we need to dedicate our time to Him through prayer. The spirit can attend us, just as it can be in the house of the Lord, after we dedicate our bodies, hearts, minds and time to Him.

This chapter is an indication of the love that Solomon had for the Lord. He clearly desired to do the will of God and lead his people to do the same. He showed gratitude and praise for God, and recognized His hand in the lives of his predecessors as well as his own life. Solomon did not take credit for the peace of his people, but owed that to the Lord. He feared God and loved his people.

One other thing that this chapter causes me to ponder on, is the need to pray towards the temple. The children of Israel were told to physically turn towards Jerusalem and pray towards the temple. We have not been told to do this physically in our day, but we too must face ourselves towards the temple if we desire to have the Spirit as our companion. This means that we pray with the intent to keep our covenants and the commandments of God. It means that we will strive to live the gospel, with a continued prayer in our hearts. It means that we will live worthy of the temple, even when we are not in the walls of the temple. I am grateful for the temple and the figure of holiness it is in my life. It is a constant reminder of my personal desire to draw nearer to God.

The temple is truly the house of the Lord. I know that the Lord continues to command His people to build temples today. I have seen the dedication and rededication of a handful of temples and I have felt the spirit there. I know that this prayer of Solomon is much like the dedicatory prayers of the temples today. And like the people of Israel, the Lord will bless those who repent of their sins, turn to Him, worship Him, and serve in His holy house.

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2 Samuel Chapter 24

King David had specific duties as the leader of Israel, in particular, the Lord had given specific direction for how one was to rule His people. At times, the Lord would do something to remind his people of the duties they were not following. This chapter deals with one of those times. It begins:

1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
3 And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
4 Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.

At David’s command, the people of Israel were to be numbered. It reads here, that David was instructed by the Lord to number Israel and Judah, so he sent Joab out to number them. In the footnotes it references 1 Corinthians, which says instead, that Satan provoked David to number Israel (see 1 Cor. 21:1). Joab questioned the king’s command, however he took the captains and numbered the people. The idea that Satan influenced David, makes it so I can see why the Lord would have his anger kindled against Israel. I am not sure what was involved in the numbering of the people, but it reads as if it was hard on the people and should not have been performed simply in order to please the king.

5 And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, and about to Zidon,
7 And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba.
8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

Several months later, they returned to Jerusalem and told him that the king had 800,000 men of war in Israel, and 500,000 in Judah.

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

David’s heart was smitten. I think that this is another way of saying that his conscience got to him, and he felt guilt in his heart over what he had chosen to do. He went to the Lord and confessed his sin in numbering the people of Israel and Judah. He asked for forgiveness. The prophet, Gad, received word from the Lord, that he was to go speak to David. Gad told David that the Lord offered a choice of three things to him. First, seven years of famine to the land, second, enemies who would pursue him for three months as he fled from them, or third, three days of pestilence in the land. David, pled with the prophet, that he and the people be at the mercy of God and not fall into the hands of other men.

It is interesting to me, that the Lord would offer David a choice in his punishment for sinning against him. The people of David would suffer for his choice, but I think that having to choose the punishment, was to be a reminder to David of what he, as their leader, had done wrong.

15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.
16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.

The Lord fulfilled his promise of pestilence for three days, and 70,000 men died. An angel was given the responsibility of bringing the destruction upon Israel. David saw the angel, near the farm of a man named Araunah, and pled with the Lord, that the plague would be stopped, and that he and his family would take the consequences instead of the people, because they had not been the ones who had done wrong in this thing.

The Joseph Smith Translation of verse 16 reads, “And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, [the Lord said unto him, Stay now thine hand, it is enough; for the people repented, and the Lord stayed the hand of the angel, that he destroyed not the people]. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.” The Lord stopped the plague, because the people had been humbled to repentance.

18 And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.
24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

The prophet returned to David and told him to make an altar where he had seen the angel. David went to the place, as he had been commanded. When Araunah saw him coming, he greeted him and asked why he had come. David offered to buy his threshingfloor, so that he could build an altar and make sacrifice to stop the plague. Araunah offered his threshingfloor to the king, as well as anything he had that could be used for the offering, including oxen and tools. David would not take it without price. I think he did this because he knew his choice needed to be more of a sacrifice on his part. David bought the threshingfloor and other items from Araunah, built and altar, and offered sacrifice and peace offerings to the Lord. The plague against Israel, was then stopped by the Lord.

We all make mistakes in life. There are going to be those moments when we think of our own wants and desires before others. For a moment, David’s pride led him to make the decision to number the people, which he should not have done. After it was done, he felt the guilt that we so often feel when we have done something we know we should not have done. This guilt, when applied correctly can move us towards repentance and drawing closer to God. David and his people, suffered the consequence of his choice, and then from his guilt, he turned to repentance. Something I am learning more as I get older, is the importance of sacrifice and service in order to make the repentance process complete. David gives us a good example of this. He recognized that he had to personally sacrifice in order to really humble himself towards the Lord. Then, I believe, in more than an attempt to stop the plague, he served the Lord through giving sacrifices and offerings at the altar he had built. Likewise, in the repentance process in our own lives, we will have to sacrifice and serve to have the forgiveness needed for us to change and become better or more like our Father in Heaven. Sacrifice and service are two actions that humble the soul. When we are humble, we are willing to let the Lord help us with His infinite atonement. That is the only way that we will have a lasting change of any kind. I am grateful for the repentance process and for the knowledge that forgiveness is real. The atonement is real and it can free us of the plagues and guilt we bring upon ourselves. This is a blessing that I am eternally grateful for.

2 Samuel Chapter 19

Joab was the captain of the armies of David. He had been serving in this capacity for quite some time at this point. He had seen to the death of Absalom, the son of David, who had made himself an enemy to the king. David had commanded his captains, to allow Absalom to live through their battle, but Joab had gone against this command. Upon learning of the death of his son, David went to his room and mourned.

1 And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.
2 And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.
3 And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
4 But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
5 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;
6 In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.
7 Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.
8 Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.

Joab learned that David was mourning his son, and instead of celebrating their victory over the armies of Absalom, the people of David mourned. They secretly went back into the city, as if they had fled in battle. David continued to mourn for his son. Joab went to David and told him that he had brought shame to his servants who had fought for him and their people. Joab accused him of caring more for his enemy, than he did for those that had supported him and were his friends. Joab felt that if Absalom had been left alive, their people would have died, and David would have been okay with that. He told David to go and comfort his servants, be grateful to them for their service, or his people would not stay with him, and that would be the worse thing to happen to him since the days of his youth. David, got up and went to the gate of his house, where the people came to him from their own homes.

9 And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.
10 And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?

There was a confusion and conflict in the land of Israel, because David had brought them peace from their enemies and then was forced to flee because of Absalom. Then, the king they had chosen, Absalom, was dead, and they were not sure if they were to bring David back as the king of Israel.

11 And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.
12 Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king?
13 And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.
14 And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants.
15 So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.

David sent a message to the elders of Judah, to ask why they had not asked for him to return to his home in Jerusalem. They were his people and yet, they did not bring him back. His messengers, Zadok and Abiathar, were to ask Amasa to be the new captain of his army, in place of Joab. Amasa was family to both Joab and David. I think that Amasa was the cousin to Joab and the nephew to David. The men of Judah were unified and asked David and his people to return to Jerusalem. David met the men of Judah at the Jordan River, be escort the king over the river.

16 And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David.
17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.
18 And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan;
19 And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.
20 For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.
21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?
22 And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
23 Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.

A man of the tribe of Benjamin, Shimei, who had been the man to throw stones at David and his family as he had fled from Jerusalem, quickly went to the Jordan to meet the king, bringing a thousand of his men. Ziba and his family and sons, crossed over the Jordan before David, and a ferry was there to carry David and his household across the river. Shimei met the king and bowed down to him, begging to be forgiven for what he had done. Abishai advised David that Shimei should be put to death for cursing David, the Lord’s anointed king of Israel. In the laws given to Moses, the people had been commanded not to curse their leaders, or those that had been chosen by the Lord to lead them. However, David did not want to have any man put to death that day, so he pardoned Shemei for his actions against him. Many men in David’s position, would have followed the counsel of Abishai, but David was a more forgiving man. He has shown this quality as part of his character from his youth, especially with Saul. I am sure, that knowing his own need to be forgiven, David was more willing to forgive those who offended him.

24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.
25 And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth?
26 And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame.
27 And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.
28 For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
29 And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.
30 And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.

Mephibosheth, who had been falsely accused by his servant, met David, having waited for this day when the king would return in peace. David asked why Mephibosheth had not gone with him, and he told him how his servant, Ziba, had deceived him and then lied to the king. He told David to do what he would with him, because he knew he had been blessed by David when he took him in as one of his own family. David told him that he didn’t need to beg anymore, because he had been promised to have the land divided between him and Ziba. Mephibosheth said that Ziba could have it all, because the king had returned in peace. The header for this chapter says that in these words, Mephibosheth pledged allegiance to David.

31 And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.
32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.
33 And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.
34 And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?
35 I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
36 Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?
37 Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.
38 And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.
39 And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.
40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.

David was escorted by an aged man named Barzillai, who had been one to give provisions to David in the wilderness. David told him to return with him to Jerusalem, but he did not want to be a burden to David, as an old man with not much of a life left to live. He planned to escort the king for a little while, but not to be repaid for it. He asked instead to be allowed to return to his home, where he could be buried with his family, and he offered Chimham as a servant to David. David accepted the offer and offered to do what he could for Barzillai. The people crossed the Jordan, and David said goodbye to Barzillai and blessed him. David took Chimham with him, to Gilgal, and the people of Judah and some of Israel, escorted them back to Jerusalem.

41 And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him, over Jordan?
42 And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? or hath he given us any gift?
43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.

The men of Israel wanted to know why the men of Judah had been the ones to escort the king. The men of Judah said that it was because King David was family to them. They felt the others had no reason to be upset with them, because the king had not given them any special treatment or reward for doing this thing. The men of Israel responded that they had more of a right to the honor, and that they should have been consulted before the king was brought back. This started contention between the men of Israel and Judah.

With all that had happened leading up to this decision in bringing King David back, it seems that the nation of Israel was a broken nation. Many were deceived into thinking that David was not supportive of them, through the works of his son. Since they had peace with their surrounding nations and enemies, they turned to finding opportunities to fight from within. It seems that at this point, the people were working themselves up to greater contentions in the land. This has been a tool that Satan uses to break down the strong. Often times throughout the scriptures, people unite together in the cause to protect their nation from outside influences. Then once their issues with others are resolved and they have peace, they begin to find ways to fight between themselves. It often seems to come from a place of pride, or in other words, one group feeling they are better or deserve more than another. Satan knows that if people can be divided from within, the fall will be greater than anything that could happen from without. A lesson in this for us personally, is that we need to look to ourselves and our families, and be watchful for this tactic of the adversary. Contention within the home will break down the strongest family. This is the most effective way for the adversary to break down the good, righteous influences of society, because the family is the most basic unit in society. Our families deserve our greatest efforts. We should be working to strengthen our families in all times and seasons of our lives. I am so grateful for the family that God has given to me. I hope that I can and will do all that I am able to protect it and keep it whole, so that my family will have a greater chance to stand strong in the face of any trials and difficulties that may come our way.

2 Samuel Chapter 17

Ahithophel was the former counselor to King David, who joined the conspiracy of Absalom, to overthrow David. Once David had fled Jerusalem, Ahithophel had become Absalom’s counselor. He had advised Absalom to take his father’s concubines, which had been left to take care of David’s home. Absalom had followed his counsel. Meanwhile, David had sent his friend Hushai to pretend to serve as a counselor to Absalom, and instead to spy on him. He was to report back to the priests, who would let David know all that he said. Additionally, Hushai was there to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, so that it was seen as foolishness.

1 Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:
2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only:
3 And I will bring back all the people unto thee: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace.
4 And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
5 Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.
6 And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto him, saying, Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? if not; speak thou.
7 And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time.
8 For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
9 Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.
10 And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men.
11 Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person.
12 So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one.
13 Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there.
14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.

Ahithophel gave counsel to Absalom, that he should allow him to take 12,000 men and go after David. His plan was to surprise David in his weakness and kill him alone. Then, he said that he would gather all the people back to Absalom and there would be peace. Absalom and the other leaders thought this sounded like a pleasing idea. They asked for Hushai to come to them and give them counsel as well. They told him of Ahithophel’s counsel, and he told Absalom it was not a good time to do it. He told him that the men of David were not weak men, but men of war. That they were bitter because of what had happened to them, and also, that David would not be with his people, but that he would be hiding elsewhere. Hushai said that when they began to go against the people of David, others would say that those that follow Absalom were being salughtered. He told Absalom that valiant men would be afraid, because of David and his men. Instead, he counseled Absalom to gather Israel to him, and for Absalom to go to battle himself. He said that they would find David and be able to defeat him and the men with him. That, they could defeat any city David would go into. Absalom and the elders agreed that this counsel was better than the counsel of Ahithophel. So, with help of the Lord, Husahi had defeated the counsel of Ahithophel. This was an answer to the prayers of David as he had fled Jerusalem.

15 Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counselled.
16 Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.
17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel; for they might not be seen to come into the city: and a wench went and told them; and they went and told king David.
18 Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom: but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man’s house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court; whither they went down.
19 And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known.
20 And when Absalom’s servants came to the woman to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman said unto them, They be gone over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21 And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel counselled against you.
22 Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.

Hushai went back to the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and told them what had been counseled by Ahithophel and by himself. He sent warning to David, to flee over the Jordan, so that he would not be destroyed. The sons of the priests, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, went in secret to warn David. A young man saw them and told Absalom. They hid in a well in the court of a man named Bahurim. The woman of the house helped them hide by covering the well and hiding it. The servants of Absalom asked her where they had gone and she told them that they had passed over the brook. The servants were unable to find them, so they went back to Jerusalem. The sons came out of the well and found David to deliver their message to him. David quickly fled with all of his people, and were gone from the wilderness by morning.

23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.

Ahithophel learned that Absalom had not followed his counsel, so he went home to Giloh, and hung himself. I am guessing that he felt great shame in not being able to cousel his leader. He may have felt that he would never be listened to again, and so there was nothing else to live for. Absalom took his men and passed over the Jordan as well.

25 And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab: which Amasa was a man’s son, whose name was Ithra an Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother.
26 So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.

Amasa was made captain of the hosts of Absalom and they made their camp in Gilead. Absalom was prepared for war against David.

27 And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim,
28 Brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse,
29 And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.

As David went to Mahanaim, many of the leaders around, had provisions brought to David, to help him and his people.

In the course of events that had transpired, David had not continued in the path of sin he had found himself on, but was trying to live according to the will and commandments of God. Even though he had made some bad decisions while in Jerusalem, the Lord was willing to hear his prayers and give him help. We all make mistakes. We all sin, and when we feel godly sorrow for the things we have done, God will also be there for us. He will allow us the opportunity to repent and make up for the things we have done. There is very little that would not be forgiven by God, and I don’t think that many people would do those things. So, we should follow David’s example in continuing to turn to the Lord. He did this, even though he knew that there were things he could not make up for during his life time. God will bless those who are trying to become better each day. God will hear our sincere prayers and will be there for us as we strive to improve and serve.

2 Samuel Chapter 14

Absalom, was the son of David, who had killed his brother out of revenge. He had fled to Geshur, where he had family from his Mother’s side. David wanted to see his son, in fact the last verse of chapter 13, said that his soul longed to go to him. Joab, who led the king’s army and happened to be his nephew, was a faithful servant to David. This chapter tells the story of what Joab did to help the king.

1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom.
2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:
3 And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.

Joab made a plan for a wise woman to go to king David disguised as a woman who mourned for a long time. He told her the words to speak to David.

4 And when the woman of Tekoah spake to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king.
5 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and mine husband is dead.
6 And thy handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and slew him.
7 And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth.
8 And the king said unto the woman, Go to thine house, and I will give charge concerning thee.
9 And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house: and the king and his throne be guiltless.
10 And the king said, Whosoever saith ought unto thee, bring him to me, and he shall not touch thee any more.
11 Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember the Lord thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.
12 Then the woman said, Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on.
13 And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king doth speak this thing as one which is faulty, in that the king doth not fetch home again his banished.
14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.
15 Now therefore that I am come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and thy handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his handmaid.
16 For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.
17 Then thine handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the Lord thy God will be with thee.
18 Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
19 And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid:
20 To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

The woman pleaded for help from David. She told David a story about her problem. She said that she was a widow with two sons. Her sons had been together in a field and one killed the other. She said that her family was all against her at this time, because they wanted her to deliver up the son who had killed his brother, so that they could kill him for his crime. If they did this, they would take away the heir of her family, leaving her alone and she would be left with nothing. In the law of Moses, it was known that the family of one who had been killed by another, where allowed to seek revenge out of justice. The family would not have been in trouble for doing so according to the law. However, David told her to return to her home and he would take charge of her. She told him that the problem was for her and her family, but that the king was not responsible. David told her that anyone who spoke against her, could be sent to the king and she would be protected. She reminded the king that he would not allow anyone to kill her son by revenge, as she said her family planned to do. David promised that no one would be allowed to harm her son. The woman asked to speak further with the king and he allowed her. Then, she said, what she had really come to say. She said that the king himself did this thing, by not allowing his own banished son to return home. Everyone will die and no one is different in the eyes of God. But God works to bring home those that are banished from Him, because he is a merciful God. If the king was willing to hear her story and help her, she suggested that she reveal herself and the Lord would be with David in deciding what to do. David told her to reveal herself to him. He asked her if Joab had arranged this. She admitted that this was true and that David had been wise.

21 And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.
22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant.
23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.

David recognized what he had done and told Joab to bring Absalom to him. Joab thanked David for it, honoring him with a blessing, and went to bring Absalom from Geshur. He told Joab to have Absalom go back to his home and not to come to the king at this point. According to the chapter header, this was about three years since he had left Jerusalem.

25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight.
27 And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.

Absalom was described as a man of great beauty, without blemish, and long and heavy hair. He had three sons, and a beautiful daughter named Tamar. In returning, he would have been able to go back to his family again.

28 So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king’s face.
29 Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
30 Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
31 Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?
32 And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.
33 So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.

For two years, Absalom lived in Jerusalem, without seeing his father’s face. Absalom asked Joab to go to the king for him, but he would not do it. He asked again and was denied again. Absalom had his servants set Joab’s field on fire, in order to get his attention. Joab came to him and asked him why he had done this thing. Absalom said that he wanted Joab to go to the king and ask him why he had brought him from Geshur. He could have stayed there and it would have been good, as he was safe from harm there, but now he wanted to see the face of his father, the king. If the king felt there was any iniquity in Absalom, he could have him killed, according to the law. Joab went to the king and told him this, and Absalom was called for by David. He came to the king and bowed to the ground before him. David kissed his son to show that he was reconciled to him.

It could not have been easy for David to handle these situations within his own family. As the king, he would have had so much to do and think about for his people. Adding the difficulty that must have existed knowing Amnon had taken advantage of his daughter, would have been hard enough for any loving father. Then, having Amnon, his first born son, killed out of revenge for it, must have been heartbreaking. Finally, Absalom had fled to another land and was no longer in Jerusalem with the rest of his family. David’s heart must have been aching and struggling to know how to grieve, comfort, and forgive, while still remaining a strong and able king for Israel. Joab was kind to risk his standing with David, to show him that he needed to forgive and bring his son back into his life in order to have peace come to his heart. Sometimes, in order to give greater help to those we love, we have to take risks, or make decisions, that may hurt them. Sometimes these decisions might hurt us as well, but it is true charity, to care for the welfare of another soul in doing so. Though it is not exactly related, I can’t help but think of the example of the Savior. He made the decision to follow through with the atonement and crucifixion. He chose to hurt His closest friends by leaving them and allowing them to go on without Him, and then made the decision to suffer the greatest a man would ever suffer, with the intent to bring an infinitely greater help to those who knew Him in His life, as well as to all mankind. This was pure love. This was charity.

2 Samuel Chapter 3

Saul had been the king of Israel, and had died in a battle with the Philistines. His followers caused that his son, Ish-bosheth, became the new king over Israel. On the other hand, David had been anointed to be the next king of the Lord’s people. His followers anointed him king of Judah. This meant there was a greater divide between the people of Judah and the people of Israel. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.

The division became a long war, in which the house of David grew stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker.

2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;
3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

David lived in the city of Hebron, within the land of Judah. David had several sons, namely Amnon, Chileab, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream.

6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul.
7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?
8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman?
9 So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I do to him;
10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba.
11 And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

Abner was the captain of the guard for the army of Saul. He had helped to place Ish-bosheth as the king of Israel. He was also responsible for the death of Asahel, who had pursued Abner. Joab and Abishai had tried to seek revenge, but had given up their course. Abner became very strong in the service of the house of Saul, but was accused of being intimately involved with the concubine of Ish-bosheth, named Rizpah. Abner was offended at the accusation, and so he left the house of Saul and said he would sware to David as the Lord had, and help David to rule all of Israel. Ish-bosheth was afraid of Abner.

12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee.

Abner sent messengers to make a proposal to David about joining with him.

13 And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face.
14 And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
15 And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.
16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned.

David responded that he would join with Abner, as long as Abner did not approach David without bringing David his first wife, Michal. David sent for Michal to be returned to him, whom Saul had given to another man named Phaltiel. Ish-bosheth took her from Phaltiel. Her husband followed, crying for her, and Abner commanded for him to return home.

David had made covenants of marriage with Michal, and earlier chapters teach us that he loved her and she loved him. They had been deprived of several years together, when she was taken and given to another man by her father. Much of the law of Moses, was about giving a man what was his, which would have included his wife.

17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you:
18 Now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.
19 And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.
20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast.
21 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, reminding them that they had once desired for David to be their king and now they had the opportunity to do it. He reminded them that the Lord had raised David to deliver Israel from the Philistines. Abner worked hard in his support of David and everything seemed to be well. David had a feast with Abner and his men, and Abner promised to do all that he could to gather the support of Israel to David.

22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from pursuing a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.
23 When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace.
24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone?
25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest.
26 And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew it not.
27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.

Abner was sent from David in peace. Meanwhile, Joab and the servants of David returned from fighting, bringing great spoil. Joab learned that David had let Abner go in peace. Joab went to David, to know why he let him go, knowing that Abner was the man who had killed his brother, Asahel. Joab said that Abner was there to decieve David like a spy. After he left, Joab had men bring Abner to him, with David unaware of it. Once Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab secretly killed him, just as Abner had killed his brother.

28 And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner:
29 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.
30 So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.

David learned what Joab had done. He knew that the death of Abner, was something that Joab and his family would carry with them. This was not a burden of David or his kingdom.

31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier.
32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.
33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?
34 Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.
35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down.
36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people.
37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.
38 And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?
39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.

David commanded Joab and his people, to mourn for the death of Abner. David mourned for Abner, and fasted. The people of Israel could know from his actions, that David had not desired for the death of Abner. David praised Abner, and said that the Lord would do what was needed, to those who had done this evil.

In this chapter, David again showed that he was a forgiving man. Abner had not been in support of David when Saul had died, and was even willing to lead men of Israel against him. Yet, when Abner came to him claiming his support, David allowed him to join with him and even made a feast for him and his men. He knew that Abner had not sought out Asahel in order to kill him, but that he did it in defense of his own life during a battle. David knew that even though Asahel had been killed by this man, Abner was not worthy of retribution for it. If he had felt that Joab’s desire for revenge was appropriate, than David himself would have been worthy of punishment, for all the men he had killed in the battles that he had fought. David seems to have been a man who cared for the lives of others, even those whom could have been considered his enemies. He cared more for following the patterns established by God, than for the privileges of men.

1 Samuel Chapter 25

In the last chapter, David and his men were living in the strong-holds of En-gedi. Saul had been hunting David in hopes of destroying him, and so David and his men were hiding in a cave. Saul took a rest in the same cave, and David spared his life when the opportunity came to kill Saul. After David confronted him, Saul realized that David would one day rule Israel, and he abandoned his personal mission to kill David. David returned to the strong-holds and his story continues:

1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

Samuel was the prophet, who had anointed Saul as the king of Israel and also David to be the next king when Saul had turned from the Lord. During his flight from Saul, David had sought refuge with Samuel and the prophets. That was the last that we read of Samuel. After a full life of devotion to the Lord, Samuel died. The people of Israel mourned his death. David went to wilderness of Paran. Near there, in Carmel, was a man named Nabal. Nabal was a wealthy man, who was married to a beautiful and understanding woman, named Abigail. Nabal was not a righteous man, but was rude and rough.

4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
9 And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

David heard that Nabal was in Carmel and he sent some of his young men to speak with Nabal. He wanted to find favor with Nabal, and ask for food and other provisions. Some of the men who had been around David, were the servants of Nabal, and he felt they should tell of David’s kindness. The young men did as David asked them to do.

10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
12 So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.
13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

Nabal questioned why servants would leave their master, and why he should give to these men whom he did not know. The men went back to David and told him that Nabal had refused to help him. David was angry and called his men to take arms and they followed him towards Nabal.

14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.
15 But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:
16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.
17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

One of the young men, who was a servant to Nabal, went to Abigail and told her what had happened in the exchange between the men of David and her husband. He also told her that David and his men had done nothing against the servants of Nabal, but rather had been added security for them while they tended the flocks. He told her that she needed to decide what to do, because David was coming against Nabal and his household.

18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.
20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.
21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,
24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.
25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.
26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.
27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.
29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.
30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;
31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

Abigail quickly burdened animals with enough food to provide for David and his men. She did not tell her husband about it, but had her servants start with the provisions and told them she would follow them. She met David and his men, down the hill. David had felt that he and his men shown kindness to the servants of Nabal, but Nabal had treated them unkindly in return, making himself an enemy to David. When Abigail saw David, she got down from her mule and bowed herself to the ground before David. She begged for him to allow her to speak to him. She begged David not to go against her household, because while her husband had been foolish, she had not seen the young men when they had first come to ask for help. She asked David not to be the reason for the shedding of blood, but instead I think that she said to let the enemies of her husband and those of David be as foolish as Nabal had been. She offered the food that she had brought with her for forgiveness. She acknowledged the goodness of David. She said a man was in pursuit of him, but her lord would stand against the enemies of David. She said that once David became ruler of Israel, she hoped this would not still be an offense, because he had either shed blood for no reason, or had been avenged. Rather, she hoped that in the end, David would remember her.

32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
34 For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.

David blessed the Lord, and thanked her for her words to him, which stopped him from shedding blood. David recognized that if she had not come, he would have destroyed all of Nabal’s household. He took the gift of provisions that she had brought, told her to go in peace and to remember that he listened to her.

36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.
37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.

Abigail returned to her husband and saw that he held a grand feast and was drunk, so she decided she would tell him what happened in the morning. When morning came, and Nabal was sober, she told him what had happened, and his heart failed him. About ten days later, he died.

39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.
40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.
41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
42 And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.
43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.

David heard the news of Nabal’s death and blessed the Lord for interceding before he had killed Nabal himself. He recognized that the Lord had dealt with Nabal in his own way. David decided to offer marriage to Abigail. His servants went to Carmel and told her that David asked to take her to wife. She bowed herself to the earth and offered herself as his servant. She quickly left and took five ladies with her, following the servants of David. She became his wife, along with Ahinoam.

44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.

Michal, David’s first wife and daughter of Saul, who had loved him and saved him, had been given to another man named Phalti.

This chapter is part of the ongoing narrative of the life of David, before he became king of Israel. It seems that David was responding in anger against Nabal, and that it would have been an unnecessary loss of many lives. The Lord continued to be an influence in David’s life, through the actions of Abigail. She was inspired to offer what had been denied to David and his men, and to intercede for her husband without his knowledge. Because she had the courage to do this, her household was spared. Moreover, the Lord did not leave Nabal without consequences for refusing to return kindness to David and his men, but rather allowed his body to fail him when he was shocked to learn what his wife had done without his knowledge. David did not do anything that would have caused the Lord to withdraw his influence, which was a great blessing for his future.

Abigail is an example of one who was willing to sacrifice themselves in order to spare others. She was a peacemaker. Even though her husband was not a kind man, he and his household were not deserving of destruction by David’s men. I am sure that approaching men armed for battle, was a dangerous thing. She very likely could have been killed as she met them, but she still went forward with a heart full of courage. She became the mediator between David and Nabal, even without Nabal’s knowledge, and was able to talk David into leaving in peace. Abigail was blessed for her courage and desire to do what felt right.

Sometimes we, like David and his men, are wronged by another. It may feel like the only fair thing to do, is to retaliate, but this is not what God would want of us. The right thing to do, is to forgive others of those offenses and move on, trusting that the Lord will make all things right. At other times, we have the opportunity to be like Abigail, who decided to put others before herself. She took on the role of mediator, much like the Savior does with each of us. She interceded and pleaded for the forgiveness of another. If we can choose to be like Abigail, being Christ-like in our character, we can not only help others to be spared of excessive responses, but also help stop those who took the offense, so that they might not do something they will later regret. In thinking about these possible roles for ourselves, we should look to the Savior. We should remember that He is the one who intercedes for us. He will not only persuade us to stop before making additional mistakes when we have been wronged, but will plead for our forgiveness in the day of judgement. He, like Abigail, knows that we can be foolish, but that we deserve a chance at forgiveness. He alone can plead for us, when we eventually stand in front of God, and He has the ability to offer us the gift of Eternal Life.

Jesus-Portrait

1 Samuel Chapter 24

King Saul was jealous of David and the love that the people had for him. Saul wanted to kill David and had spent a lot of time, energy and effort, in hunting for him. Time and time again, David had managed to escape from Saul. In the last chapter, the invasion of their common enemy, the Philistines, had stopped Saul from pursuing a fight with David and his men. Their attentions turned to protecting Israel from the Philistines. This chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.
2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.
5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.
6 And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.
7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

After fighting the Philistines, Saul learned that David was in the wilderness of En-gedi. He returned to his personal mission to find and kill David. Saul and 3,000 of his men went searching for him. Saul found a sheepfold or a cave, where he could rest, which happened to be where David and his men were. Saul did not know that they were there. David’s men told him that the Lord had delivered Saul into his hands. David went and secretly cut the skirt-hem of Saul’s robe, which “smote” David’s own heart. I think he may have felt hurt in his heart for doing something against Saul. According to the footnote, this was the portion of his robe that represented his authority. So, in effect, David would have been symbolically removing his authority as king, which is what he would eventually do. I think it is possible, that for a man of pride, such as Saul, having his authority threatened would have been harder to face than David threatening his life.

While Saul continued to sleep, David returned to his men and told them that the Lord did not want him to kill Saul, because he had been anointed king and master by the Lord. David convinced his men to let Saul go, which they did. Saul was unaware of what had happened. David followed after him, and honored him as his king.

I think that David knew the Lord well enough to know that the Lord would remove Saul in His own time. Until the Lord did so, Saul was still the anointed leader of Israel. Sometimes we are given promises from the Lord, but we cannot rush His plan. We should not take it upon ourselves to force something to happen, just because it has been promised to us. Rather, we should be patient with the Lord’s timing and everything will work out for our good. David was wise and knew he could trust that the Lord would do things the right way. It is possible, that this was a test given to David, to see if he would follow the direction of the Lord, or follow the natural feelings of men, which would have been to take this seemingly perfect opportunity to kill Saul.

9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.
11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.
12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
15 The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

David told Saul, that the Lord had delivered him into his hands and some had told him to kill him, but he had spared his life because he was his anointed master. Then, he pointed out the cut of skirt, which David held in his hand, and which showed how he could have killed him while he was resting. David told him that he had no desire to hurt him, even though Saul wanted to kill him. David said that the Lord would judge between their choices and the Lord would avenge him, but David would not be the one to kill Saul. David trusted that the Lord would deliver him from Saul.

16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.
17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.
21 Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.
22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

Saul recognized the voice of David and cried. He admitted that David was more righteous then he was, because he had desired to do evil against him, when David would not do evil against him. David was showing forgiveness to Saul for his hatred towards him, and desire to hurt and kill him. There may be times in our lives, when others will hate or despise us. There may be no fault in us for something we are blamed for, just as it was for David. When someone chooses to become our enemy, we do not have to follow the ways of the natural man, which would be to go on the offensive. We can choose to have a forgiving heart and instead respect and love all people, friend or foe.

Saul knew that David had spared his life, when he had every reason and the ability to kill him. Saul knew that because of his goodness, David would one day be king. He asked David to swear that he would not cut off Saul’s seed or destroy his name, after Saul was no longer king. David agreed. Saul left and returned to his home, while David went into the strongholds of En-gedi.

We can learn from wise David, the great importance of trusting in God. The Lord loves us. He wants to bless us with many things. He will make promises with us, if we are willing to do what he has asked of us. If we can live our lives faithfully, even when we are tested and tried, he will fulfill the promises he makes to us. The Lord knows what is best for us and for all men. He will fulfill those promises when it is the right time.

Ponderizing – Week 8 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is
2 Nephi 25:26.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Jesus-Portrait

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everything I do to live my faith and my religion, revolves around the understanding that Jesus is the Christ. That He is the Lord who, under the direction of His Father, created the world I live on today. That Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, who spoke to the prophets of old, and cared for His people. He came down to the earth, to live and die for all mankind. He has made it possible for all men to live forever as resurrected beings. He is the only way that we have the opportunity to return and live with our Father in Heaven for all eternity. This opportunity can only come through our acceptance of His infinite atonement. He has done his part, but we need to choose to accept Christ into our lives and live faithful to Him and His commandments. Through the atonement, we can repent and be forgiven of all our sins. The faith and hope I have in Jesus Christ, has blessed my life beyond anything I ever thought possible.

As a covenant member of the church of Christ, I have a duty to share that understanding with others around me. This scripture is one of my favorite verses in all of the scriptures, because I am a parent. I personally find so much joy in believing in Christ, and I have a great desire to share all that I can about this with my children. I believe that families on earth, can be families in heaven. The gospel teaches that each person much choose this for themselves, and so if I hope to have my family with me forever, I have a responsibility to teach them of Christ and the power of His atonement. How will my children know Him, if I do not speak of Him? How will they know that He can bring the greatest joy, if I do not rejoice in Him? How will my children know that He is still actively leading His people today, if I do not teach them about the prophesies of Him that have come to pass and are still to come? How will they know where to go to learn of Christ, if I do not show them the importance of reading the holy scriptures and modern revelations, where the prophets’ writings of Him can be found? How will they know, that Christ is the only way to becoming and remaining free of the bondage of sin, if I do not do all that I can to teach them this truth? This freedom is the only way to have true happiness in our lives. This is eternal happiness.

There are places that people can learn of these things without their parents, such as church, but the best place for children to learn is within their own homes. A parent, who has already gained a testimony of Christ and his mission, would be shirking their greatest responsibility by selfishly keeping this knowledge to themselves. I understand that whether I have my own children or not, my responsibility would still be to help others in my sphere of influence, to learn these eternal truths, because everyone should have the same opportunities to learn them if possible.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Jesus taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) My heart yearns to tell the world as Alma’s of old. “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.” (Alma 29:1-2) In no other place does this mean more to me, then in my home. Jesus Christ, who’s birth we celebrate at this special time of the year, is the way.

Numbers Chapter 20

The Israelites wandered through the wilderness for forty years. When last mentioned, they were in the wilderness of Paran. Many had rebelled and were destroyed for that. They were promised then, that all the adults would not live to see the promised land, but would die as they wandered. The book of Numbers continues as follows:

1 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.
2 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
3 And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!
4 And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.

They were led into the desert of Zin. While living there, Miriam died. The people began to suffer for water, so they took their complaints and arguments to Moses and Aaron. They murmured and said they would have been better to have died with the others before them, then to suffer death where they were. This sounds so familiar. It seems to have been a pattern, that they would go for a little while and then begin to complain about their situation. They were not happy with the desert being a place where they could not grow food either. Moses and Aaron went to the Lord and He appeared to them.

7 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
9 And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him.
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

Moses was told to take his rod in front of the assembly, and he and Aaron were to speak to the rock and it would give them water. Moses went with his rod, as he was commanded. He drew the attention, it almost sounds as if stirred up in anger towards the murmuring people, and hit the rock twice with his rod. Water came out of the rock in abundance.

12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
13 This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.

Moses and Aaron had not showed the people that this was the power of God, but it seems like they claimed this miracle as their own doing. The Lord chastised them. In the time of thirst before, Moses was told to strike the rock to bring forth water. This time they were told to speak to the rock, but they had not faithfully followed through. Knowing that hitting the rock had worked before, they trusted in their own wisdom. Moses and Aaron would not bring the people to the promised land. The place of the rock was called Meribah. The Lord was with the children of Israel there.

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14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:
15 How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers:
16 And when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border:
17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king’s high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.
18 And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.
19 And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet.
20 And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.
21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.

The Israelites, who were in Kadesh, on the border of Edom, planned to pass through the land of the Edomites. Moses sent out some men to go to the king and explain the situation. They were to ask if they might go through the land, not touching anything of the people’s, but passing straight through. The king refused, saying he would fight them if they did. The Israelites offered to pay for anything used on the way, such as water. The king refused again, but instead brought his people against the messengers. I believe that the Lord promised he would raise his hand against those who opposed the children of Israel, so I am guessing that either, this was not going to be good for the land of Edom, or it was in fact part of the necessary path for the Israelites, as they wandered.

22 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.
23 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying,
24 Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.
25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:
26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.
27 And Moses did as the Lord commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation.
28 And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.
29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

Instead, the Israelites moved to the area of mount Hor, still bordering Edom.

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The Lord told Aaron that he would die and not continue with the people, because he had not listened to the counsel of the Lord in Meribah. Aaron and Eleazar were to go up into the mount. Eleazar was to become the new high priest in his stead. Moses, Aaron and Eleazar went into the mount, and the host of Israel witnessed it. Moses removed the garments from Aaron and passed them to his son Eleazar. Aaron died, leaving Moses and Eleazar to return to the people. All the Israelites mourned for this loss for thirty days. (See also Numbers 23:37-39) I believe this was near the end of their wanderings.

A lot happened to the Israelites in this chapter. Miriam, the sister to Moses, died. I imagine that she was a great example to the people of Israel, as many of the family members of the modern prophets are today. The people were blessed, again, with a miracle from the Lord. They needed water and even though they were complaining, the Lord gave them water. Also, we learn of a relationship between the Israelites and the outside world. They were not to be allowed to simply go through the land of Edom, but were forced to go around it at this time. We also learn here of how the Lord will not allow his called servants to be disobedient to direct commandments. Moses and Aaron did not follow what had been commanded, and probably could have been able to lead the people astray. As a result they were promised that they would not see the promised land. This promise was fulfilled in Aaron, as he passed the office of the high priesthood to his son and then he died. I am not sure what may have happened to have caused Moses and Aaron to do what they did, but I know that we can only be blessed by the Lord when we follow his commandments. When we choose to disobey, He is no longer bound to give us promised protection and other blessings. Prophets are mortal, and capable of making mistakes just like the rest of us. They are not immune from temptations, trials, and their own faults and fears. They are also not immune from consequences for those mistakes. I think that a lot of times, God must take a step back from those who disobey, and allow the world to effect us without His interference. I think on the other hand, when we are obedient, the biggest blessing is that we can be guarded from much of the negative influence around us, or at least given a greater strength to endure, because His presence is there.

I can’t say that I have ever known the reason that Moses was not allowed to see the promised land, so reading this was new for me. I have known, however, that Moses must have been forgiven of this, because the scriptures teach us that he was taken to live with God. In Alma 45:19, we learn of the great prophet Alma as we read, “Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.” (emphasis added) I also believe that Moses was given the privilege of restoring priesthood keys in modern times. In Doctrine and Covenants 110:11 we read, “After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.” I know that the Lord would only allow a worthy bearer of the priesthood, to restore it once again, and in order to be worthy, he must have been forgiven of this trespass. As a prophet of God, the standard was higher for Moses. As disciples of Christ today, the standard is high for us as well. I get great comfort in knowing that through repentance, I can be forgiven of the mistakes and sins in my life. I have a strong feeling that we would be surprised if we could see the amount of mercy that will be shown for our mistakes. I hope that knowing this, can give me greater resolve to draw nearer to the Lord and strive daily to keep His commandments.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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