Monday, May 3, 2010

Ever Read Second Samuel 18-20?

I am going to try to communicate quickly the week of chaos and confusion in David's kingdom when Absalom, his son, claimed the throne of Israel.
  1. Absalom and his general, Amasa, march into Jerusalem with the support of people from all twelve tribes. Israel proclaims Absalom as their king. David is out.
  2. David flees leaving behind the priesthood, the ark of the covenant, and some of his best advisers in Jerusalem. David's personal body guard and the military forces with Joab flee with David.
  3. The next day David's forces engage Absalom's forces. General Joab kills Absalom. (So far so good. This is fairly simple: General Joab and King David have defeated General Amasa and Prince Absalom. The kingdom is secure . . . but, now it gets confusing, even for David's military . . . )
  4. David is upset when he is told Joab had killed Absalom to end the civil war despite the fact David's military had won the battle securing David's kingship.
  5. David fires General Joab for killing Absalom (the enemy) and replaces him with Amasa, the defeated rebel general of Absalom.
  6. The tribe of Judah, David's tribe, rushes to welcome David back to his throne with out inviting the other eleven tribes to join them. The other tribes were ready to welcome David back, but were upset that the tribe of Judah did not involve them in the "ticker-tape" parade welcoming David back.
  7. The northern tribes (Israel) express their disappointment to the southern tribe of Judah who "responded even more harshly than the men of Israel" (2 Sm. 19:43).
  8. This causes Sheba, a troublemaker from the tribe of Benjamin in Israel, to sound a trumpet and challenge the legitimacy of David as king. All of the northern tribes (Israel) join with him and a second civil war in less than 72 hours now breaks out.
  9. David orders his new general, Amasa, to organize his troops within three days to pursue Sheba. Now remember, Amasa was leading a civil war against David and fighting David's military less than 48 hours earlier. Now Amasa is to organize and lead David's troops into this second civil war.
  10. Israel is still trying to figure out who is king: David or Absalom?
  11. The military is trying to figure out who the general is: Joab or Amasa?
  12. Nobody really knows who the enemy is or who the good guys are anymore. (The Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Amelekites, Ammonites, even the Arameans, all the way up to the Euphrates River, have been subdued by David.) The enemy that was just defeated was the king's own son who was supported by members of David's own royal staff. Now David's faithful military have been placed under the command of the rebel general Amasa and ordered to attack Israel. All this has occurred in about 72 hours.
  13. When David's troops are assembled (3 days later) under the leadership of Amasa, the former General Joab shows up and secretly kills Amasa. As David's forces begin marching under the leadership (they think) of the rebel General Amasa against their own land of Israel they march by Amasa's corpse. Groups of soldiers continue to stop in the road by Amasa's corpse in confusion since he is suppose to be the general who is up front leading them into the battle. They do not realize Joab has regained his position.
  14. David's troops are now marching for David against Israel under the leadership of a general David had fired but they think they are following the rebel general they had just defeated in a civil war earlier in the week.
  15. Amasa's corpse is removed and hidden in the ditch and David's men march to the northern border of Israel to attack an Israelite city where Sheba fled.
  16. Joab, the fired general who murdered David's general to regain his position, begins to besiege the northern city of Abel-Beth-Maacha. While in the process of battering in their walls a wise women looks down from the wall and asks, "What are you doing?" When Joab responds by saying they are fighting the rebel forces of Sheba, the wise woman says, "Give me a minute," and soon returns to the wall with Sheba's head. When she throws the head down to Joab this civil war ends and the men return home.
  17. General Joab went back to King David in Jerusalem and they lived happily ever after . . . until David ordered Solomon to kill Joab after Joab had made Solomon's older brother, Adonijah, king before David had died . . . but, that is a story from First Kings.
Thank God for his mercy on us today in America.

Galyn Wiemers

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