A Simple Matter

Fourth in the Solomon Series

Following an attempted insurrection against King David, Solomon had been made king of Israel. Knowing death was near, David's mind sharpened to consider three matters; it would be for Solomon to conclude his unfinished business.

Two of the matters concerned difficult men, Joab and Shimei. We will look at these in future posts.

One matter was simple: David wanted the sons of Barzillai to be honored for their loyalty to him when he was nearly deposed by Absalom. But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. 1 Ki 2:7

A proverb of Solomon reflects this remembrance: Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not... Pro 27:10a

Leaders must not only strategize to keep hold of the reigns of power, they must be thoughtful and kind, rewarding loyalty and setting an example. This must be done from the heart, not as a routine.

King Ahasuerus, famous as Esther's spouse, had forgotten to thank and reward her uncle Mordecai for preventing a plot to harm him. His remembrance of this deed, written down in a book of records, began the undoing of Haman who was the enemy of God's people. Paul often remembered those who helped him and their fellow believers, based on the Lord's own example.

If a leader will not demonstrate that he has respect for others' feelings and show gratefulness for their assistance, a certain type of culture will pervade his dominion. Back-stabbing and self-serving attitudes will be commonplace when they are considered to be acceptable behavior, but civility will be emulated, and brotherly love will increase under the kind-hearted.


Third in the Solomon Series

Since David was "a man after God's own heart," (1 Sam 13:14) there was no one more disappointed than he was about his sins. What a relief the call to repentance was, shared by Nathan the prophet.

God used David's understanding of how very special a single lamb may be in a given context to draw him into confession. (See 2 Sam 12:1-7)

But, if David was a man after God's own heart, specially loved by God because of his qualities, why did he disappoint so greatly? Why did he sin in such large ways? Possible answer: Being special to God does not mean we will not sin; it only means we desire to really repent when we fall.

Israel's first king, Saul, sinned and repented, but his regret was not repentance. In my experience and view, repentance is a gift. We need to pray to receive it, but it may be bestowed even when we do not ask for it.

When David repented it was heartfelt, as shown by his submission to the disciplines that ensued, in the short and long terms. He never balked or complained at the miseries that accompanied his moral failures, though he did cry out to God for help in his distress.

He embraced God as a Father who had the right to discipline him for his wrongdoings. This was the inner man or character of David known and loved by God. David means "beloved."

The man with strong character acknowledges that God has the right to be God. That man will fear God and learn from mistakes. Fortunately for Solomon, his father had a strong character.

David took Bathsheba as a wife whom he loved, and Solomon was conceived. Then, God gave David and Bathsheba three other sons, Shammua, Shobab and Nathan, whose names mean, in order: renowned, rebellious, giver. Solomon means "peace."

Bathsheba was further comforted by a promise that her son, Solomon, would be David's successor. (1 Ki 1:13)

Loving the outsider

Second in the Solomon Series

Solomon was conceived as a way of consoling his mother after the miscarriage of his older brother. (2 Sam 12:24) The Lord had caused the miscarriage to mark King David's sin with Bathsheba. (2 Sam 12:15)

Bathsheba was the first wife of King David during his reign in Zion. Her four sons are first in the list of sons born to King David in Jerusalem. (1 Chr 3:5; 2 Sam 5:14)

Regarding David's sin with Bathsheba, from the outset he knew she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and the daughter of Eliam who was the son of Ahithophel, a counselor of David. (2 Sam 11:3)

Uriah was a Canaanite by birth, a descendant of Heth, a son of Canaan, but he had sworn allegiance to King David and was one of the King's Mighty Men. He is in both listings of the Mighty Men. (1 Chr 11; 2 Sam 23)

How could David betray one of his Mighty Men? These were the faithful, zealous leaders who not only warred for him and protected his kingdom, but wanted to emulate him.

When David wanted Uriah to leave the battlefield to spend time with his wife, as a way of attributing Bathsheba's pregnancy to Uriah though David was the father, Uriah refused. His reasons were:
The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? [as] thou livest, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. - 2 Sam 11:11

It seems that Uriah was a true Jew and an honorable man.

Were there other Canaanites among the mighty men, or was Uriah the only "black sheep"? A study of the 2 Samuel list reveals that the men were Israelites to the extent that their identities were tied to tribes and places within Israel, except for Zelek, the Ammonite (Ammon was outside Israel's border). In the 1 Chronicles list, there are some places of unknown origin and a Moabite is mentioned, but no other Canaanites, to the best of my research. (Moab and Ammon were cousins, not Canaanites. Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, which is northeast of Damascus, is considered an Israelite in Easton's Bible Dictionary.)

Did David harbor an innate prejudice against Canaanites of any stripe, even when they turned to his God? Did he not love the outsider who had become his true brother?

And why did Joab, the commander of the Mighty Men, agree to have Uriah killed by putting him on the front line in battle, as David asked him? Joab was David's nephew, yet he had a mind of his own--and that fact could fuel a lengthy Bible study-- so it's likely he later regretted his acquiescence.

The sins piled up:

  1. Lust of the eyes - David saw Bathsheba and wanted her. (2 Sam 11:2)
  2. Lust of the flesh - He was so set on having her that he did not care that she was the wife of one of his Mighty Men. (2 Sam 11:3)
  3. Sins of omission - David did not love Uriah, his loyal friend.
  4. Adultery - (2 Sam 11:4)
  5. Cowardice - David did not claim his child when he found Bathsheba was pregnant. (2 Sam 11:5)
  6. Hypocrisy, lying - David pretended to desire Uriah's good when he really only wanted to cover over his own sin. (2 Sam 11:6..)
  7. Treachery - David betrayed Uriah by having him put on the front line to assure his death. (2 Sam 11:15)
  8. Abusing Joab - Involving Joab, a family member and leader who looked to him as an example, in a murderous plot; then excusing his role in the murder as though that were his privilege. (2 Sam 11:25)
  9. Murder
  10. Lack of repentance - Initially, David only took Bathsheba as a wife, but he did not confess his sin. (2 Sam 11:27)

Thus, the birth of Solomon was preceded by disastrous sin and gloom, but his arrival signaled the beginning of a new era. The King was not put to death for his sins! (2 Sam 12:13) Grace and mercy had entered to save David, foreshadowing the work of Christ. It was now 1000 BC, a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

Hochosterwitz 01052004 04