Posts Tagged 'Mourning'

2 Kings Chapter 22

Hezekiah had been a righteous leader in Judah. On the other hand, his son Manasseh, was extremely wicked, and brought the people of Judah along with him into great sin. Manasseh’s son, Amos, followed in the wickedness of his father and continued to lead the people in idolatry. All of these had died and at this point, Josiah, the son of Amos, had become king. This chapter begins with:

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

At the age of eight, Josiah became king of Judah. He ruled for 31 years, or until he was about 39 years old. He was not like his father Amos, but lived and ruled in righteousness like King David. (see also 2 Chronicles 34)

3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying,
4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:
5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house,
6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

After 18 years had passed, Josiah being about 26 at the time, he sent a servant, named Shaphan, to the temple priest, Hilkiah, to take total of the money gathered from the people for the work of repairing the temple. This money was the tithes and offerings of their day. The priests had been faithful and did not require a reckoning of the money they were given to have the work done, because they could be trusted.

Tithes and offerings are for the purposes of building up the kingdom of God on Earth. Today, this money goes to the building and maintaining of temples and other church buildings around the world. The churches and temples are sacred places, consecrated for the faithful to gather, teach and uplift one another, worship God, covenant and serve. In ancient times, the temple of the Lord served the same purposes. It is right, that a faithful and righteous leader would desire to use the offerings of the people to rededicate the house of the Lord. If you would like to see more about temples in the LDS faith, I just saw this great, simple video about them: Mormon Temples

Trust in the work of the Lord, is so important to the uplifting and edification of all those who serve. Trust in God, of course, is of greatest importance. Those who serve in His kingdom, need to trust that God will keep his promises and covenants, and that He will be there to help them when they ask for help. Trust in others is also needed. So much of the work of the Lord, is Priesthood leaders, such as the prophets and high priests, giving callings and assignments to others, such as these priests in the temple, and then trusting that they will do their part in the work. When the work is accomplished the one who delegates is able to continue His work, others are able to come and participate in worship and service to the Lord, and most of all, those who were trusted and followed through, have opportunities to learn; grow in testimony, wisdom and knowledge; and become more as individuals. Additionally, we each individually, need to have trust in ourselves, that we are strong enough to do the work of the Lord. In one of the greatest paradoxes of the gospel, we are strong enough, when we become completely humble and submissive to the will of the Lord, becoming, in a sense, our weakest, in order to grow the most. Trusting the Lord, others and ourselves, is the only way that we can truly further the work of the Lord and reach our greatest potential as individuals.

8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.
10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
13 Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.

The book of the law was found in the temple and given to Shaphan, who read it and returned to Josiah to give a report of what had happened. He told Josiah that the money of the temple had been gathered and given to workers. He also showed the king that the book of the law had been found. He read it to Josiah. Josiah responded by renting his clothes. He told the Shaphan, his son Ahikam, a man named Achbor, and his servant Asahiah, to ask the Lord about the words of the book of the law, in behalf of Josiah and the people of Judah. Josiah was concerned for the people because their ancestors had so often willingly disobeyed the words of the book. The men went to Huldah the prophetess, to her home in the northwest part of Jerusalem, and communed with her.

What a huge blessing it must have been, to have found the record of the law. This was their scriptures, even the record of the law of Moses. Nations who loose the records of their laws, forget what that law is and create their own laws in order to make civilization work. The lessons from the past, especially those found in our own scriptures, show that the nations who are strongest, both physically and spiritually, are those who know the law because they keep the records and use them. People who are raised up without the laws, are so much more likely to fall away from the traditions of the past. (This is one of the themes we can read about this throughout The Book of Mormon.) The laws of God, such as the law of Moses for the ancient Israelites, had not changed. This law was still in complete effect at the time the book was given to Josiah. Because it had not been preserved by the kings, as they had been commanded when first given to Moses and passed on to Joshua, it had been forgotten. Josiah did not know the fulness of the law, until he was able to read it. Our scriptures our precious, but only if we read them and apply them to our lives.

15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,
16 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:
17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.
18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;
19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.
20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

Huldah prophsied that evil would come to the people of Judah just as the book of the law had said it would, or rather all the evil and curses brought upon the wicked found in the record, because they had chosen to worship other gods of their own creation. The words of verse 17, sound as though the curses would come because the people deliberately turned to idolatry to upset the Lord. Their wickedness may have been more rebellion than being raised in ignorance of what was right. Their choice to practice wickedness would have strong consequences. However, to Josiah, the Lord had heard his humble weeping and she prophesied that he would die in peace and not be the one to see the destruction of his people. The men returned to Josiah and told him what she had spoken.

Josiah would be blessed for his choice to do what was right, once he had learned of it from the word of the Lord. Three things happened to him in order to receive these blessings. First, his heart was tender. This sounds like he had an open heart, softened to the word, sensitive to it and ready to receive it, because he was willing. Second, he humbled himself to the Lord. In Alma 32:14, Alma was teaching the Zoramites who were poor and brought to humility by their circumstances. He said, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?” Greater blessings come to those who are humbled when they learn the gospel, just as Josiah had done. In his humility, Josiah was concerned for others who would be destroyed, and was mourning for their loss. This humility and care for others, was seen by the Lord and blessings were promised as a result. If we are compelled into a situation where we become humble and then turn to the Lord with greater commitment, we will be blessed, but the greatest blessings and the most growth to our souls, comes in actively studying the word of God, and choosing for ourselves to have faith in that word and live what is taught. And third, Josiah heard or read the words and heard the spirit’s influence and inspiration. The word of the Lord will do nothing for us, if we read them, but refuse to hear what they can teach us. The blessing that was his, and can be ours if we follow this example and pattern, is peace. Peace is something that men desire for their lives, and he was promised to have this, even knowing what would come of his people.

As I read this chapter, I think back on a time in my life, after having three of my six children, when the hard drive that held all my digital photos and videos, had stopped working. I had lost all of them and experienced a mourning for something non-living, that I had never known was possible. (It seems a given to mourn for the loss of something living.)
I was beside myself with grief for weeks, as we did all that we could to possibly get something back. I felt as though I would not be able to remember my children as babies, and memories are so important to me. After several weeks, we got word, that the majority of the files had been recovered. My joy was so full. I know now, just how much I could mourn for the loss of non-living things of great value to me. This taught me to have greater gratitude for these things. Likewise, I am so grateful for the scriptures. I love them more than other things of this world, much like family photos, because of the happiness I feel as I study them. I am so glad that there are so many ways to have the scriptures available to us, because if they were lost to me now, I would be heartbroken. I know I would mourn them, because my memory will not always hold on to the words I study. I would forget them and yearn for the peace they bring. Knowing that the scriptures have not always been as available to mankind, and reflecting on just how short a time anyone in the world has even known about the Book of Mormon, enlarges my gratitude for being able to live today and have them. Finding the scriptures in the temple, truly was a blessing for Josiah and the people of Israel.

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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 15

Absalom was the son of David, whom he was reconciled with several years after Absalom had killed his other son. However, the promise and curse to David, was that his house would continue to see the sword from the time that he had planned the death of Uriah. I think that this would mean that he and his family would have great contentions among themselves. The curse from the Lord, goes on to say, “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house” (see 2 Samuel 12:11). David’s future was not going to have peace and joy with his family. This chapter continues to describe the fulfillments of the promises from the Lord, to David and his house. It begins:

1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Absalom begin to build himself an army. He made a place for himslef near the gates of the city. When people came to bring their complaints to the king, which was part of the course of everyday life for David, Absalom would stop them and ask them where they were from. He would tell them that they were right to come there, but no one was able to hear their case. Then he would say something like, “If only I was a judge over the land, when any man would come to me, I would give him justice.” He put on a show of love for all men of Israel. Because he did this, he began to steal away the hearts of the people.

7 And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.
8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.
9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.

After time had past, Absalom asked David if he could leave and pay his vow in Hebron. He said that he had made a promise to the Lord, to serve him, if He would allow him to return to Jerusalem. David allowed Absalom to go to Hebron.

10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.
12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Absalom planned for the people to rise up with him in Jerusalem, at the sound of a trumpet. The people who supported Absalom, were to announce that Absalom reigned. He took two hundred men with him, without drawing attention to themselves. Absalom called for a man named Ahithophel, who was David’s counsellor. Absalom continued to grow in strength with the support of the people.

13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
15 And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.
17 And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.
18 And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.

David learned that the hearts of the people had turned towards Absalom. He took his servants and all but ten concubines, and they fled the city of Jerusalem. Many others left with David.

19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
22 And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.
23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

David told Ittai of Gittite, that he and his people could return to their home, instead of going with David. But Ittai said that he would serve the king and remain with him wherever he was. So, Ittai and all the people with him, left with the king, and all of them escaped towards the wilderness.

24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
25 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation:
26 But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
27 The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28 See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.

Zadok and the Levites that were with him, brought the ark out of the city, but David told them to take it back. He felt that if the Lord wanted him to regain the city, the Lord would bring him back to it. If he did not want him to go back to Jerusalem, David felt the Lord could do what he wanted with him. He told Zadok that he would remain in the wilderness and he would wait for word from Zadok, letting him know he could return. Zadok and his sons returned to Jerusalem, taking the ark with them.

30 And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

David left by way of Mount Olivet. He and all the people with him, went away crying and in an attitude of mourning.

31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.

One of his people, told David that his counselor, Ahithophel, had been among the consipirators. David prayed that the Lord would cause the man’s counsel to be foolishness for Absalom.

32 And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:
33 Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:
34 But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father’s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
35 And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king’s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok’s son, and Jonathan Abiathar’s son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.
37 So Hushai David’s friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

When David had reached the top of the mountain, he worshipped the Lord. An Archite man, named Husahi, came to him in mourning. David told him that he would be a burden to the king, if he stayed with him, but if he went instead and offered himself as a servant to Absalom, he could help by defeating the counsel of Ahithophel. He could be a spy for David, and pass on word to Zadok and Abiathar. They would pass along word to David through their own sons, Ahimaz and Jonathan. Hushai did as David asked and Absalom went into Jerusalem.

There is no reason given, for Absalom’s betrayal of his father. As far as the scriptures show, Absalom should have been grateful that his life was spared after he had killed his own brother. I wonder if David realized how this was a part of the fulfillment of the word of the Lord to him. He must have known that his reign was not going to be peaceful, and that sorrow would come through his own household. I imagine that this action would have made his heart heavy with sadness, and that he may have wondered how the remainder of the curse from the Lord, would play out in his life.

Through it all, David continued to be an example to me of a man who wanted to do what was right. He had made mistakes in his past, but he knew that Jerusalem was the better place for the ark and the priests to remain. He was not going to be a selfish king by taking the ark from the people while he had to hide away. He was using wisdom, by not assuming he knew where the ark should be, but that the Lord would help him to know where he should be in relation to the ark. Moreover, David continued to worship the Lord, even though he was going through hard trials. He did not blame God for the circumstance that he was in. It is clear to me, that David had not become prideful in his position as king, but rather he knew his place and wanted to be the leader God wanted him to be. David accepted this new trial humbly. I hope that I will be willing to accept more of the difficulties that come into my life with humility and trust in the Lord. I know that if we are faithful, God will bless us through our own trials.

2 Samuel Chapter 13

David had many wives and concubines during his life. His first wife named Michal, who was the daughter of Saul, was not able to have children with him, but with his other wives he had several sons, namely Amnon, Chilean, Absalom, Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, Eliphalet, and Solomon (See chapters 3, 5, and 12 of 2 Samuel). He had at least one daughter as well, but I cannot recall if she was not mentioned in the previous chapters. This chapter is about two of his sons who were born before he ruled in Israel, Amnon, his firstborn, and Absalom. These two were half-brothers, who only shared David as their father. The chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

Amnon loved the daughter of David, Tamar, who happened to be the fair virgin sister of Absalom. He desired to have her so much that he became sick over it. His friend and cousin, Jonadab, the nephew of David, saw that he was sick and possibly loosing weight, and asked why. Amnon told him his problem, and Jonadab, who is described as a subtil, or clever man, told him to lay in his bed sick. When his father would come to see him, he planned to ask him for his Tamar to bring food to his bedside, and then prepare it for him and feed him. I don’t think that the love Amnon felt for Tamar, was real love, but rather a physical attraction and a desire to be with her. He knew this was not right.

6 So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.
10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

Amnon went through with his plan, and when Tamar followed the instructions of her father, Amnon refused to eat the cakes she had made. Instead, he asked all the men to leave him and told Tamar to bring the food into his room. When she did, he took hold of her and told her to lie with him. She refused and told him not to force her because it would bring her shame, and he would look like a fool. It was strictly against the statutes of God, for a man to be with the daughter of his father. Tamar pleaded with him to ask their father, David, if he could have her, but Amnon would not listen and using his strength against her, forced Tamar to be with him.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

After this, Amnon’s love turned into an even stronger hatred for her. He told her to leave him, and even though she told him sending her away was worse than he had already done to her, he forced her out. Amnon took a bad situation and made it worse by doing this.

19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.
20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

Tamar mourned the unholy loss of her virginity. Her brother, Absalom, asked what had happened with Amnon, as she was crying over it. He told her not to regard this thing, because this was her brother. She stayed in Absalom’s house, and remained desoloate, or in a state of emptiness. Being a worthy and holy woman for your possible future husband, was mainly what a woman had to live for in the times of the bible. Amnon, had taken that from Tamar and then refused to keep her as his own. In effect, I think he made her feel worthless and likely very hopeless in her situation. Perhaps Absalom’s words were a way of saying that he would take care of things for her.

21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

King David heard what had happened and it made him angry. Not only had his son ruined the life of his daughter, but he had brought shame to his name as well. Absalom, hated his brother for doing this, and would not speak to him.

23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.
25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.
26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?
27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

Two years passed and Absalom invited all his brothers, the sons of king David, to the sheepshearers. Absalom went to David and told him of the sheepshearers, asking him to join them. David refused, saying they should not all go. After trying hard to persuade him, and David still refusing, he blessed him instead. Then, Absalom asked that Amnon go with them, but David did not want to allow it. Absalom asked again, for David to allow all of his sons to go along.

28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

Absalom had made a plan, which is probably why he had pressed the king so hard to allow Amnon to join his brothers. Absalom told his servants by his command, to kill Amnon when he was drunk. He told them to have courage and be valiant, when he himself was not being a man of courage. If he truly felt this was an act of courage, he should have been willing to do it with his own hand, but he asked others to do it instead. The servants obeyed, and when the sons of David got up, everyone fled. The reason may have been different, but I think that they may have felt that their own lives were in danger, so they hurried to get away from Absalom.

I don’t think that revenge and planned murder of another person, could ever be considered a courageous thing. I think it would have been more courageous for the servants to stand up for what was right and tell Absalom that this thing was not right, but that there were better ways to handle the situation. And yet, the servants were obedient to his command and followed through with his plan.

30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.
31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.
34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.
35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.
36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.

David heard that all of his sons were dead at the hand of Absalom, and he mourned for his sons. Jonadab, David’s nephew, who had helped Amnon come up with his original idea to be with Tamar, told him that only Amnon was dead and that Absalom had had his heart set on this since Amnon had taken advantage of Tamar. Absalom had fled, and the king’s sons returned. David and his servants wept at their return, along with David’s sons.

37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.
38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Absalom fled to Geshur for three years. Geshur was where his mother was from, and Talmai was family to him. Meanwhile, David had received comfort over Amnon, and so he mourned for his son and desired to go to Absalom.

I think this may have been a beginning to the fulfillment of promises made to David through the prophet Nathan. He had said that the sword would never depart from his family (see chapter 12). Here we have fighting and death among his family members and also continued mourning for David.

There is, has been, and will continue to be, times of drama within families. We are all human and we will make mistakes, especially with those whom we love the most. That is the nature of families. Even our eternal family has a bit of drama in it, with a great war and an eternal separation between family members. In this life, the hope is that as individuals, we can rely more on help from the Lord. This applies especially when we have temptations, difficulties, sorrows and struggles. In this story, things would have been different for everyone if they had relied upon God rather than seek for solutions from men. Amnon had temptation and sickness that could have been healed by turning to the Lord, rather than listening to the plan of a friend. Tamar had pain that though hard and really not her fault, could have been healed by God. Absalom had anger and temptations that could have been calmed, had he turned to God, rather than to his own plan to kill another. It would not have been easy for them. It will not always be easy for us, and it is not meant to be, but relying on the Lord, can keep families whole and intact. I believe that families which are whole, are our greatest hope for having the strength to return to our Father in Heaven and receive the eternal rewards prepared for us there.

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.

2 Samuel Chapter 1

This is the beginning of a new book in the Old Testament, which is otherwise known as the Second Book of the Kings. According the the Bible Dictionary, this was part of the same book in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, but has been split in the version which is used in the King James version. I believe the split has to do with it being the record of two kings in Israel. In the narrative of the first book of Samuel or the First Book of the Kings, the people of Israel chose to have an earthly king rather than follow the prophets under the direction of the Lord. The first king, anointed by the Lord, was Saul. Saul allowed the influences of the world and the temptations of the adversary, to creep into his heart. He became a wicked man and the Lord withdrew from Him. David was chosen and anointed to be the next king, though he did not become the king right away. King Saul feared David and after several attempts at killing him, David showed his good character, and spared Saul’s life more than once. David trusted in the timing of the Lord. Eventually, Saul met his end in a battle against the Philistines. This second book will tell of the reign of David and it begins as follows:

1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag;
2 It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance.
3 And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.
4 And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.
5 And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.
7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
8 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.
11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:
12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.

David had been in his home in Ziklag, for just two days, when a man from Saul’s army, came mourning and he bowed down to David. The man told him that he was from the camp of Israel, and that he had escaped. He told David that the Israelites had fled and that many had died, including Saul and his son, Jonathan. When asked how he knew these things, the man said that he had seen Saul leaning upon his spear, as the Philistines came upon him. Saul saw the man and asked who he was. The man told him he was an Amalekite. He said that Saul told him to kill him, and so he did. The man took his crown and bracelet and brought them to David. David rent his clothes and fasted, in mourning for their king and for Jonathan, as well as all those who they had lost in that battle.

It seems that the Amalekite was making a claim to something happening in a way that the previous chapter told differently. It is my guess that the Amalekite hoped that in claiming to kill Saul, he would find favor in the sight of David, because it was known that Saul had made himself an enemy to David.

13 And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.
14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?
15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.
16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord’s anointed.

David asked the man where he was from, and the man told him he was an Amalekite stranger. Then David asked how he was able to kill the anointed of the Lord without any fear. I think in saying these things to the man, he was telling him that he was wrong to think that David would have been pleased to hear these tidings. Instead, David was prepared to punish the man for it. David commanded one of his men to kill this man who claimed to have killed Saul and he told him that he had brought this upon himself by his own testimony.

17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.
22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

David lamented over the death of Saul and Jonathan with a song to go with an instrument. This would have been fitting, since David had first served Saul in playing for him. I find it interesting that it says it was written in the book of Jasher, which is not one that we currently have in our Bible. This must be among the lost scriptures. It is always a wonder to me, all the things that we possibly do not know, because they are in the lost scriptures of the prophets of old.

The song of David tells the Israelites to not give the Philistines more opportunities to boast of how they had killed the mighty men of Israel. He sang of the mountains receiving no moisture where Saul, the anointed, had fallen. He praised both Jonathan and Saul and told Israel to weep for Saul who had brought them good fortune. He hints to the loyalty of Jonathan to his father, in spite of the things that we know Saul did to him, by saying that they were not divided in death. Jonathan was there to fight under the command of his king and his father. David mourned for the loss of Jonathan, whom he loved more dearly than he loved any woman. The Israelites had lost much in this fight.

It is good to know that, even though Saul had brought a lot of trials and tribulations into David’s life, he did not rejoice in his death. He knew that Saul had done many good things in his life, and that he had done a lot of good for Israel. He honored Saul, because Saul was his king, anointed by the Lord to be such, and he deserved great respect for it. David was not seeking after the throne or power. He was a man of honor and integrity, and at least at this point in his life, he was a great example to Israel.

Alma, Chapter 4

Why do the people of Zarahemla mourn?

To mourn is to be truly and utterly sad over something.  I can only think of one time that I’ve mourned.  I felt the deepest sadness I have ever known.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had a time when I have been really angry at something.  (If so, I have blocked it out of my mind).  I’ve been really frustrated and maybe angry at a situation or two.  I’m not sure.  I think when anger comes along, it’s a lot harder to keep doing what is right, where when mourning can cause you to do more right than before.

“But the people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted for the loss of their brethren, and also for the loss of their flocks and herds, and also for the loss of their fields of grain, which were trodden under foot and destroyed by the Lamanites (v. 2).  And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty (v. 3).  And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the high priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma (v. 4).  And it came to pass in the seventh year of the reign of the judges there were about three thousand five hundred souls that united themselves to the church of God and were baptized. And thus ended the seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; and there was continual peace in all that time (v. 5).”  The Nephites were truly sad about the battles that they had endured with the Lamanites and Amlicites.  They had lost many brothers, their herds, and their land.  The Nephites felt that it may have been a punishment from God for their sins.  This gave them renewed faith and a desire to choose the right more fully.  If they had gotten angry instead, they probably would have retaliated in some way, against the Nephites.

When we choose to take responsibility for our own actions, the way the Nephites did, we can truly become better.  We can learn from what has happened and move on.  We can choose then, to try harder and be better, so that the next time around (if the situation should come again), we are stronger and firmer in our faith.  If we apply this in our homes, we can have peace and happiness with our loved ones.

But the people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted for the loss of their brethren, and also for the aloss of their flocks and herds, and also for the loss of their fields of grain, which were trodden under foot and destroyed by the Lamanites.
3 And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were aawakened to a remembrance of their duty.
4 And they began to establish the achurch more fully; yea, and many were bbaptized in the cwaters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the dhigh priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma.
5 And it came to pass in the *seventh year of the reign of the judges there were about three thousand five hundred souls that united themselves to the achurch of God and were baptized. And thus ended the seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; and there was continual peace in all that time.

Repetitious pride problems

“And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel (v. 6).  Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church; yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun to be among their people (v. 7).  For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure (v. 8 ).  And thus, in this eighth year of the reign of the judges, there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God (v. 9).”  When we choose the right, the Lord blesses us.  The Nephites were blessed with prosperity.  With prosperity, often times comes pride.  It may start simple, but can grow to be a problem.  The church leaders of the Nephites, became sad for the people.  They could see that this was leading to unrighteous behaviors.  Our leaders in modern times have had their share of feeling sad because of the pride of otherwise righteous people.

In Alma 1:27-30 we read, “And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely (v. 27).  And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions (v. 28 ).  And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth (v. 29).  And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need (v. 30).”  Here is an example of being prosperous, but not allowing pride to enter into the heart.  Some of the Nephites had been prideful in the 2nd year of the judges, but then it took until the 8th year of the judges for the righteous people to turn from humility to pride, about six years.  Then in less than a year, a good number turned quickly to pride.  We can be living righteously even with wealth, and in a matter of a short time, completely change to a prideful people.  It is something worth reflecting on in our own lives right now.  Are we in danger of becoming a prideful people.

How does wickedness within the Church affect those who are not members?

“And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress (v. 10).”  People who are learning about the gospel, have a fire in them to change their lives and do what is right so that they can be baptized.  When they see that those who are in the church, are not living righteously, it becomes a contradiction of gospel principles.  Why should they change their lives to join a church,where the members are not being righteous?  It become something that stops their personal progress and prevents them from joining.  I think in particular, the Nephites were behaving like they were above others, but teaching the principles of the gospel of Christ, which says that God is not a respecter of persons. (It doesn’t matter how wealthy we are, everyone is the same in the sight of God.)

“And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people (v. 11).”  The example of the members, was causing more sin with the Nephites as a whole.  If their is no reason to live better, than people will continue to sin.  We need to be mindful of our actions at all times.  We need to make sure that we are not “sunday mormons”.  Our lives should reflect our beliefs, so that others can see the light of Christ and want to share in it.

How can we “retain a remission of our sins” and be “filled with great joy”?

“Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were thirst, and those who were sick and afflicted (v. 12).”  These were the behaviors of some of the Nephite people at this time.  “Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy (v. 13);”  The Nephites were divided.  There were those who were pridefully assuming that they were better than others in the church (and out of it), who were not serving their fellow men, and then there were those who were humbly serving and yet suffering in their own lives.

Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking, / Hailing a future of freedom and light. / Angels above us are silent notes taking / Of ev’ry action; then do what is right!

Do what is right; the shackles are falling. / Chains of the bondsmen no longer are bright; / Lightened by hope, soon they’ll cease to be galling. / Truth goeth onward; then do what is right!

Do what is right; be faithful and fearless. / Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight. / Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless. / Blessings await you in doing what’s right!

[Chorus]  Do what is right; let the consequence follow. / Battle for freedom in spirit and might; / And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow. / God will protect you; then do what is right!

“Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death (v. 14).”  Those who serve others and give to those in need when they will “retain a remission of their sins” and have great joy.  To retain a remission of sins is to be forgiven for our sins.  What a wonderful blessing we can receive if we take some time to think of ways that we can help others.  I don’t have much to give at this time, but I think I can start by going through some of my stuff and finding things that I don’t need anymore.  I can pass these things along to others, who may need it.  Because I have been in need and this act of service has blessed me greatly in the past.

What did Alma do to combat wickedness among his people?

“And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him (v. 15).”  Seeing the suffering of some of his people at the hands of others (still of his people), made him very sorrowful.  Even through his sadness for them, he still had the spirit with him, so he would be able to stand his sorrow.  It was important for Alma to have that spirit with him.

“And he selected a wise man who was among the elders of the church, and gave him power according to the voice of the people, that he might have power to enact laws according to the laws which had been given, and to put them in force according to the wickedness and the crimes of the people (v. 16).  Now this man’s name was Nephihah, and he was appointed chief judge; and he sat in the judgment-seat to judge and to govern the people (v. 17).  Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah (v. 18 ).  And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them (v. 19).  And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy (v. 20).”

Alma needed a strong spirit, because he would serve a much needed mission among his own people.  He was needed to bring the people in the church back to where they needed to be.  He could only do this by bearing his testimony to the people, so he gave up the judgement seat so that he could focus all his energy on this.  The position of chief judge is like being a judge on the supreme court today.  He gave the position of Nephihah, who he felt was a “wise” man.  Alma did this so that the people would remember what it means to be a member of Christ’s church.  Alma knew that the pride was the root of the problems the people were having, and no laws or judgments could truly stop them.  To stop the problem, the people needed the spirit to testify them that their pride was a sin and they needed to repent.  The spirit can repair those things that the laws of man cannot.


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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