My Two-Minute Summary of Today's Bible Reading

April

  

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April 1 (Judges)

First Let us review the list of 15 judges (who were either civil (9) or military (6) leaders that God enabled to deliver the Israelites when they were oppressed by their enemies): Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli, and Samuel.

As we can observe in contemporary times, when people reject God's will they always replace it with their own will; the Law's focus is redirected from what pleases/offends God to what pleases/offends each man. Hence the phrase that summarizes the theme of the Book of Judges is, "In Those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25).

Today we read how Shamgar rescued Israel from the Philistines by killing 600 of them with an ox goad (a pole 8'-10' long, with a point on one end and a curved blade on the other). No details are given. Next, Deborah commissioned Barak to take military leadership, but he cowers so the victory was given to the tent-dwelling woman, Jael. Finally, Gideon has an encounter with the Angel of the Lord (the preincarnate Jesus). He knocked down the altar to Baal, but tested the Lord twice with fleece and morning dew.

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April 2 (Judges)

We read how God used Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east with only 300 men. He began with well over 22,000, but God whittled them down so that the Israelites would recognize that it was a miracle performed by the same God that had delivered their ancestors from the overwhelming power of Egypt. The separation of the men who lapped like a dog had no military significance since no Israelite had to engage his enemy. Their opponents ultimately killed each other and/or ran. Gideon made a "sacred ephod" with the gold earrings plundered from the Midianites to commemorate his victory, but the idolatrous people worshiped it and after Gideon died they all rejected God to worship Baal-berith.

Later, the son of Gideon's concubine killed all but one of his 70 sons and ruled as a king for 3 years until Jotham's prophetic curse came to pass (4/3's reading).

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April 3 (Judges)

We read more examples of the level of depravity that man will stoop to when he is left alone; without God's restraint. God avenged the death of Gideon's sons' murders by causing Abimelech and his subjects in Shechem to kill each other. Abimelech burned 1,000 of them alive in a tower, but as he was preparing to repeat this strategy with another tower a woman took advantage of material density differences (she dropped a rock on his head) as he tried to light the fire. So Jotham's curse came to pass (Judges 9:20).

Then the Israelites totally abandoned God again and He turned them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites. They cried out to God, but He told them to try to call on their idol gods for help because He was not going to deliver them. Later, out of grief, He raised up Jephthah, the formerly shunned son (who made the most rash and costly vow." the 4/4's reading) to deliver them. In spite of his repugnant upbringing, he knew his people's history well and made a noble, but fruitless argument to settle the dispute between Israel and the king of Ammon.

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April 4 (Judges)

We learn the sad consequence of Jephthah's most devastatingly rash vow. He sacrificed his only daughter in exchange for a military victory. Her compliance to his foolishness accentuated her precious purity of heart. The fugitives from Ephraim learned too late the importance of enunciating well.

After he and 3 other judges served and died, Samson came on the scene as foretold by the preincarnate Christ. Samson did not take seriously his heavenly-bestowed talent, his divinely assigned role, his Nazirite vow, nor as the deliverer of Israel's oppressor, but God used his foolishness to accomplish His purpose: to destroy many Philistines. He is the only judge who acted as a "lone ranger.". There is no mention of him ever rallying the troops or employing an assistant. Finally, there cannot be found even one comment on his courtly behavior as Israel's judge of twenty years. Solomon was right, "Wisdom is better than strength." Eccl. 9:16, but both of these outstanding men fell victim to the venom of "The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes." (I John 2:16).

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Samson was a man of many striking contrasts in his characteristics (a type of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde):

1.     Separated as a Nazirite, but associated with evil

2.     Occasionally Spirit-possessed, but carnally motivated

3.     Childlike playfulness, but deadly courageous in battle

4.     Mighty in physical strength, but weak to temptation

5.     Noble beginning, but sad ending

6.     Sought his own pleasure, but accomplished God's purposes

7.     Indifferent to the Law, but was named among the heroes of the faith in the NT

(Please see: All The Men of the Bible, Lockyer, 1958, p292. And The MacArthur Bible Commentary, MacArthur, 2005, p282-285).

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April 5 (Judges)

We read how Samson's lethal vengeance stirred the Philistines' hatred for him, as he could not be defeated because of his incredible strength. His weakness was in his lust for sensual pleasure and a misplaced trust in his own strength. Delilah was the agent of his greatest setback. His desire to please her more than God was his downfall that led to the recording of one of the saddest verses in the Bible, "...but he did not realize that the Lord had left him." (Judges 16:20). Ultimately, he did kill more men in his death than he did in the totality of his other conflicts. His last brief prayer was one of only two recorded from his entire lifetime, where he actually employed any spiritual activity. In fact, the only other record of him speaking the name, "God" to anybody was when he betrayed his Nazirite secret to Delilah.

Finally, the idolatrous tribe of Dan who employed Moses' grandson as their priest (formerly the priest of Micah's idol in Ephraim) conquered an unsuspecting peaceful civilization and justified the practice of their pagan religion because they said that they lived too far north from Shiloh. They were glad to come to Hebron when David was crowned king.

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April 6 (Judges)

We read a description of the tragic picture expressing the level of indecency of depraved Israel after years of rejecting God's laws to do "what each man thought was right in his own eyes." This led to the males' severe discount of women's deserved honor and respect, a perverted sense of justice, and the Israelites' discount of God's holy status to that of a good-luck charm. The Book of Judges ends with the grotesque result of rape, murder, injustice, human trafficking, and civil war. This depiction of Israel's debauchery is the backdrop of the story of Ruth who turned out to be the fourth generation away from the arrival of "The sweet psalmist of Israel" who as "a man after God's own heart" would be Israel's most accomplished military leader who united the disorganized twelve tribes to rise together in history as the greatest kingdom of that era. To be followed by his gifted son who built it up further to become the historical pinnacle of Israel's human glory.

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April 7 (Ruth)

Sometime late in the period of the judges, a man moved his family to the other side of the Jordan River to wait out the severe famine in Judah. While there, he and his two sons died; widowing his wife Naomi and their two Moabite daughter-in-laws; Ruth (name means "friendship") and Orpah (name means "stubborn"), descendants of Lot.  Ruth joined Naomi's brokenhearted return to Bethlehem, her hometown where it was discovered that prosperous Boaz could be the family's "kindred redeemer." Because of her unyielding devotion to Naomi, her faith in God, and her diligent work ethic, the Lord blessed Ruth with success by orchestrating her marriage with Boaz. This couple became the great grandparents of King David and in the ancestral line to Jesus. 

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April 8 (Ruth, 1 Chronicles, and 1 Samuel)

We read many genealogies that bridge the generations from Judah to David. Among them is the brief mention of honorable Jabez and his famous prayer that God answered by prospering him, and that was recently employed to create a briefly popular "prayer-formula" hysteria among some Christians.

Finally, we read the story about how barren Hannah was brokenhearted over being ridiculed by Elkanah's other wife who had bore him children. It is this familial tension that set the scene for the unusual birth and rearing up Israel's final judge, Samuel. It was a common misconception (pardon the pun) in ancient Israel that barren women were out of favor with God.

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April 9 (1 Samuel)

We learn of barren Hannah's prayer for a son with a vow to give him (Samuel) back to God as a Nazirite for life (see comment 1). In her prayer she warned that God would humble the proud (see comment 2). At the age of less than 4 years old, she left him in the care of Eli the High Priest. Eli was a lax father to his sons and did not protect the holiness of the worship in Shiloh's tabernacle. As a teenager, Samuel's first message from the Lord was to prophesy judgment on Eli's family and descendants. The Israelites tried to use the Ark of Covenant as a "good-luck" charm and were defeated. The Ark was also "captured" by the Philistines (to their ultimate dismay). Finally, Samuel's prophetic office was confirmed by the death of Eli's 2 sons on the same day.

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The Nazirite vow was an act of separation to be consecrated for God's service for a specific period. There were three rules to obey:

1- no drinking the juice of the vine,

2- no cutting of their hair, and

3- no defiling of self by going near a dead body.

Four notable Nazirites in Scripture:

1-    Samson (Judges 13)

2-    Samuel (I Sam. 1:9-11)

3-    John The Baptist (Luke. 1:15, 80), and

4-    Paul (Acts 18:18).

"These outward signs served as a public testimony of his dedication to God."

(The Ryrie Study Bible, 1978, p216.)

"The idea of God's humbling of the proud is shown throughout 1 and 2 Samuel, toward Peninnah, Eli's sons, the Philistines, Goliath, Saul, Nabal, Absalom, Shimei, Sheba, and even David.

Seven contrasts are found in I Sam. 2:4-7:

1-    mighty and weak,

2-    full and hungry,

3-    barren and fertile,

4-    dead and alive,

5-    sick and well,

6-    poor and rich, and

7-    humbled and exalted." (MacArthur, 2005, p305.)

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April 10 (1 Samuel)

We Read how the prophecy delivered by Samuel to Eli was confirmed. Eli, his 2 sons and his birthing daughter-in-law died on the same day. The Philistines "captured" the Ark of Covenant and learned that the God of the Israelites was superior. In their attempt to be rid of God they inadvertently caused more self-inflicted punishment by sending the Ark of Covenant to 5 different cities. Finally, they made a successful test to determine if the plagues were in fact caused by God and sent it back to Israel where 70 Israelites were killed by God for committing the sin dishonoring God's holiness when they looked into the Ark. Samuel led Israel to victory against the Philistines. Later, when he had aged, the leaders demanded that he give them a king, because his sons were obviously corrupt (like the sons of Eli, the former priest/judge) and they thought that a human king would more successfully lead them in battle than God through His judges would. (see 1 Sam. 18:16 -4/14 reading). Samuel reluctantly complied after he solemnly warned them that God would NOT answer their prayers for relief when the human king abused them with his power.

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The Lord was angry for their request of a king because it was their desire to reject His divine theocracy for an earthly monarchy. Ignorantly, they were trying to fix their spiritual problem with carnal ideas. Not long before the Assyrians destroyed the northern kingdom, Hosea prophesied for the Lord, "Now where is your king? Let him save you!" (Hosea 13:10-11 -6/27 reading).

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April 11 (1 Samuel)

We read the account of Saul looking for Samuel to find out to where his donkeys may have wandered, but leaving him as the first monarch of Israel (talk about "getting your money's worth"). Later, when Samuel assembled the people, he chastised them for rejecting God for a human king. Then he authenticated his prophetic office by calling a thunderstorm during the harvest season (see comment).

As Samuel prophesied, the Holy Spirit changed Saul's heart and he led the army in victory over the ruthless king of the descendants of Lot whose name means, "snake."� Finally, Samuel publicly relinquished his authority over the nation with a prophecy that if the people obey they will be blessed, but if they return to idolatry, "...both you and your king will be swept away."�

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Saul's servant told him what he knew of Samuel's reputation among the people because, as he said, "... everything [Samuel] says comes true." One sure sign that authenticated a prophet's message was the successful performance of producing a miracle; especially one that altered nature: Moses with the plagues, sea, manna, quail, and water from a rock, Joshua with the stopping of the sun, Samuel with the rain during the harvest, Elijah with the drought and subsequent rain, Elisha with the floating axe head, and Jesus by walking on the water and calming the storm (to name a few). No wonder why Jonah was so disappointed when his prediction of doom didn't happen (because of God's forgiveness), or why the Pharisees demanded such a sign from Jesus, and why in The Revelation it says that the nations will be deceived by the false prophet when he calls fire down from heaven. 

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April 12 (1 Chronicles and 1 Samuel)

King Saul began his 42-year reign at the age of 30. 1 Samuel 13:19-23 is an ancient example of the unfortunate result of citizens not enjoying our 2nd amendment right.

King Saul's disobedient impatience, presumption, foolish oath, and ill equipped troops at war with the Philistines caused him much trouble with God and man. As the unarmed Israelites were deserting the battle because Samuel delayed his arrival, Saul sinfully assumed the priestly role by conducting the sacrifice that was reserved for Samuel. In this way he rebelled against God's explicit directive and set into motion the beginning of his end.

His son Jonathan proved to be brave, wise, valiant, and demonstrated his faith in God; good characteristics for the heir to the throne. However, Samuel told Saul that God has found another man who is a "man after God's own heart" to replace him as king. Saul won many battles and conscripted every brave warrior he could find, but his disobedience in the battle against the Amalekites confirmed his disqualification for kingship.

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April 13 (1 Samuel)

We read how Saul's greed, pride, and fear of his own soldiers' opinions influenced him to only obey most of the Lord's command, thereby equaling total disobedience. He committed the same sin as Achan (3/24 reading) by violating the law of "things set apart for destruction." (Leviticus 27:29; Deuteronomy 7:26; 13:17). Confronting him for his cowardly behavior and wimpy explanation Samuel responded with a bold declaration that heralds the overarching theme of worship protocol found throughout all of Scripture: "To obey is better than sacrifice and submission is better than offerings..." In judgment the Lord replaced His Holy Spirit presence from Saul with a tormenting spirit. (Maybe this is why later during his reign, David pleaded the way he did in Psalm.51:11 after the exposure of his great sin with Bathsheba and Uriah? 4/26 reading).  The Lord sent Samuel to anoint David, a man after His own heart, and David received Holy Spirit power. David relieved Saul of emotional distress by skillfully playing music. When Goliath taunted and defied the armies of Israel, David began to inquire the specifics of meeting the challenge. This peaked Saul's curious attention. 

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April 14 (1 Samuel and Psalm 59)

We read the account of David's miraculous victory upset in the battle with the Philistine giant, Goliath. David gave all the glory to God. Noticing David's ever growing and widespread popularity among the people and observing David's blessed success in every military campaign assigned to him, (with the plan that he would die in harms way), increasingly aroused Saul's suspicious jealousy. When his personal attempts to kill David failed, he ordered others to kill him, but none dared to try (duh... smart choice). Finally, David ran to relate everything to Samuel and Saul attempted to kill him there, but in spite of his murderous intent, God's power overwhelmed him and in the same way as He controlled Balaam's tongue, God caused Saul to humble himself and prophesy incessantly. This gave David time to escape.

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April 15 (1 Samuel)

We read how David, who had barely escaped with his life, found Jonathan and protested Saul's unjustified threat on his life. Jonathan denied it was so, but agreed to a test that ultimately revealed that David's fears were well founded. Jonathan blessed David with a very profound statement, "May the Lord be with you as used to be with my father."� They each made a solemn oath of faithfulness to each other and their respective families. David ran to Priest Ahimelech for help, but disguised his urgency with a lie. For his act of hospitality to David, (as we will read tomorrow) Saul slaughtered 85 of the priests and all their respective families). David fled to the land of the Philistines, but had to disguise himself as a raving lunatic (drooling on one's beard was most offensive in that culture) to avoid detection. David composed Psalm 34 at this time. "I will bless the Lord at all times..." 

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April 16 (1 Samuel, Psalm 52; 57; 142, and 1 Chronicles)

We read that David's brothers and relatives joined him in the cave of Adullam and his parents moved to Moab (in fear of their lives, no doubt). 400 people of various reputations (good and bad) defected to his company. God was with David and directed him to move back to Judah where Saul interpreted his return home as an act of aggression. Wicked Doeg revealed that the innocent Priest Ahimelech fed David and gave him Goliath's sword. Saul accused him of treason, but his soldiers refused to kill the priests of the Lord (who were all wearing holy garments). So Doeg himself in a demonic rage killed all 85 of them. Then he killed all their families (even the babies and animals). Only Abiathar survived and brought the ephod to David. David saved the people of Keilah, but God revealed that they were loyal to Saul so he and his followers left them to live as nomads. 

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April 17 (1 Samuel and Psalm 54)

We read that David's personal army grew to 600. They continued to move around so that Saul and his army of 3,000 were unable to find them. Once when they were nearly discovered, a report of Philistine aggression came to Saul so he broke off the search ignorant of his near success. Jonathan found David and they renewed their oath of loyalty to each other. Then Saul resumed the cat and mouse game, but God was protecting David. Even though it would have been justifiable (in human reasoning), David refused the opportunity to kill him in his vulnerable position as he relieved himself in the very cave in which David was hiding. After Saul left the cave David proved his loyalty to his "FATHER" by showing a piece of cloth missing from the king's robe. Saul was humbled by the way David treated his "ENEMY."�

Finally, David's angry plan toward rich and greedy Nabal was thwarted by Abigail's effective persuasion for him to refrain from following through on his rash decision by reminding him of the future ramifications. Then when Nabal died of a stroke 10 days later, David took her to be his second wife. 

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April 18 (1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read how David had another opportunity to take Saul's life, but instead only took proof of such to demonstrate his loyalty and mercy. Saul called him "SON" and David called him "My lord the king." But David did not trust him so he and his followers defected to the land of the Philistines where they supported themselves by raiding their neighbors, killing every eyewitness so that no one could expose their deed. Then he would describe his adventurous exploits to King Achish who was deceived into thinking that David was attacking his former countrymen in Judah, thereby making himself an enemy of Israel and a loyal subject dependent on the Philistines. In desperation, Saul consulted the now deceased Samuel via a medium (the only such occurrence in Scripture). For the first time Samuel reveals the name of the man that God has chosen to replace Saul. David is saved from the paradoxical situation of possibly having to battle his own countrymen by the Philistines' fear of his potential turncoat in battle. (No doubt, they remembered I Samuel 14:21 " 4/12 reading). 

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April 19 (1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and 1 Chronicles)

We read how while David and his men were away, the Amalekites came and took everything and everybody from their homes. A note is made that they did not kill anyone. This was probably because the women and children could not defend themselves. When David and his men returned to learn of their loss they pursued them, killed all but 400 of the Amalekite attackers, and recovered all the plunder of which they had taken. Then David established the rule that the guards at home must receive a division of the booty of which the active warriors won. Actually, Moses did the same thing, but without making it a law (Numbers. 31:25-34, 3/9 reading). Meanwhile, Saul being very aware of his impending doom committed suicide and 3 of his sons were killed. His tragic epitaph was that "... died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord's command, and he even consulted a medium instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse." David mourned and wrote a song for Saul and Jonathan. It was during this drama that Mephibosheth was accidentally crippled.

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April 20 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read that David began to inquire of the Lord before making decisions. He was anointed king of Judah and made his capital in Hebron where he reigned for 7 1/2 years. Subjects loyal to Saul followed Ishbosheth who probably took about 5 years to regain the land taken from the invading Philistines that killed his father. The last two years of which he reigned as king of the northern tribe (MacArthur, 2005, p352). Power gradually was transferred from Ishbosheth to David via a long campaign of conflicts between the two armies. Finally, David's mightiest champions were listed along with a few notable brief descriptions of their victorious exploits. There was a team of three of the mightiest warriors followed by a team of thirty. Among the thirty was one named Uriah the Hittite.

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I think that it is interesting that the writer of 2 Samuel focused so much attention to David's organization of Israel's military leadership while Moses' administration focused so much attention on the organization of the worship leadership at the Tabernacle of Covenant. (See Numbers chapter 2-4, 2/27-3/1 reading.) This is but a reflection of the heart of the general populous that was iterated when they demanded a king saying, "Our king will judge us and lead us into battle. (See 1 Samuel 8:5, 20  4/10 reading.) This also explains David's overwhelming popularity for being such a successful military leader. (See 1 Samuel 18:16  4/14 reading.) And why God was so disappointed when He told Samuel, "... it is me they are rejecting, not you. They do not want me to be their king any longer.� (See 1 Samuel 8:7.) 

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April 21 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read how Commander-in-chief (and cousin to King Saul) Abner used his great influence to convince the remaining people that were loyal to Saul's son to unite with David. Abner sought to promote himself by sleeping with one of Saul's concubines and was offended by Ishbosheth's accusation of such. Circumstances being too premature for Abner to ascend to Saul's throne, he chose to make a lateral move to secure a place of high military authority under David by way of leading the northern Tribes to unite with the southern Tribes. After the agreement was made with David, Joab took the opportunity to murder Abner in revenge during a time of peace for the killing of his brother during the time of war and to protect his personal leadership ambition. David's mournful reaction to this treachery as well as for the murder of Ishbosheth while he slept in his bed exonerated David from all guilt and won over the hearts of all the people. 

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April 22 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read how because he was anointed by Samuel and because of his record of military victories, all the Israelites unanimously agreed to make David their king. Israelites came from the whole territory and partied for 3 days in great joy. Then after his nephew Joab earned the position as army commander in the battle with the Jebusites, he moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem (the city most mentioned in Scripture." MacArthur, 2005) where he built a palace from the resources provided by King Hiram of Tyre.

David continued to further violate Deuteronomy. 17:17, which fostered much strife (and even violence) in his family. (His lustful indulgence will become his successor's obsession.) Consulting his military officials rather than the Priests and Levites, David attempted to bring the Ark of God into his home city, but without following Moses' specific directions on the protocol in transporting it.  Because of their ignorance of Numbers. 4:15, Uzzah died immediately when he tried to steady the Ark. David became angry toward himself and fearful of God's holy power. So they stopped and left it at Obed-edom's house where God blessed everything there.

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April 23 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read how after three months of abundant blessing on all of Obed-edom's possessions, King David had the Ark moved to Jerusalem in the proper manner (carried on poles by the ceremoniously purified Levites). King David ordered the Levites to appoint musical leaders of choirs and instrumentalists. Bronze cymbals, harps, lyres, trumpets, and ram's horns were used to accompany the singers as the Ark of God was being properly transported to Jerusalem. King David dance exuberantly before the Lord in the street. King Saul's daughter Michal, apparently of the opinion that his was not the proper way for a king to behave in public, despised her husband's undignified praise dance and because of her response to this she entered her name into historical obscurity (resulting in the fact that no heir of Saul's would succeed David's throne).

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April 24 (2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, and Psalm 60)

We read how God made His fourth of five "irrevocable unconditional covenants" to David, confirming his dynasty, confirming ownership of the territory to Israel, and prophesying about the coming Messiah's rule in the millennial kingdom. David, noticing that he lived in a fine cedar palace while the Ark of Covenant was housed under a tent, wanted to construct a grand building for God. God sent Nathan the prophet to David with the message that He had no need for a building and although later his son would build a temple, David was a man of war and God's temple should be built by a man of peace. David's prayer of thanks demonstrated his humility and his loyalty to honoring God's reputation before the nations. David enjoyed military successes and dedicated the plunder of precious metals to the Lord upon his return. He composed Psalm 60 at this time after Joab led the army to kill 12,000 Edomites because they had attacked the southern area of Judah while David's forces were winning victories against the countries in the north. 

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April 25 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read that David's kingdom was well established militarily, administratively, and religiously. David remembered his covenant with Jonathan, sought out, found, and provided for his disabled son, Mephibosheth. Finally, The new king of Ammon greatly offended David's representatives when they paid his respects for the death of the former king. Realizing the dire consequences of his decision, the Ammonites hired a large army. Joab and his brother Abishai defeated the Ammonites and the Arameans. Then when more Arameans were summoned, David led the Israeli army to defeat them on the other side of the Jordan River. After that, the Arameans became David's subjects and no longer helped the Ammonites. 

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April 26 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read how David began to enjoy the success of his former conquests by delegating his nephew and army commander, Joab to lead the armies of Israel while he reclined at home. It is during this time of leisure that David committed his most grievous of sins, which led to one of the most poignant phrases made in history, made by the prophet Nathan. After listening to Nathan's very carefully crafted story about a poor man suffering severe injustice by a rich man, David in great indignation, condemned the perpetrator. Then Nathan turned the table when he directly said, "You are that man!" David immediately confessed, "Against You alone Oh God have I sinned" when he composed Psalm 51. His newborn died after suffering a week long illness, but God blessed Bathsheba with another son God named Jedidiah. He was to become David's successor to the throne.

Finally, the name mentioned last in today's reading was David's daughter Tamar, who will be tomorrow's subject that was the catalyst to begin his family's suffering strife and violent rebellion. Nathan had prophesied that this drama would be a result of God's discipline for David's sins. 

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April 27 (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles)

We read that Joab informed David that if he remained in his comfy couch while Joab's army was on the brink of victory over the Ammonites, a new champion would be praised. (No doubt David remembered how his popularity surpassed King Saul's when he accomplished his military assignments.) So David went to lead the final attack and took the 75 lb. golden gem-studded crown from the king and placed it on himself and enslaved the Ammonites to the lowest level of jobs. Next, David's son Amnon lusted uncontrollably for his half-sister Tamar. Realizing that there was no decent way for him to be satisfied with her, he resorted to a shoddy plan to entrap her in his room by pretending to be sick. After he raped her he further dishonored her by throwing her out in the street like garbage. Already ambitious for the throne, Absalom, her full brother plotted for 2 years and then successfully murdered him in revenge and to remove part of his competition. After 3 years of banishment David permitted him to return. 2 years later he was permitted to see King David, but David was unaware that this was the first of several steps in his plot to assume the throne by force. 

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April 28 (2 Samuel)

Absalom won the hearts of the people by making promises that he could not possibly keep, by putting on an act of humble service to the people, by having the support of David's most respected adviser, and by making it appear that his aging father was beginning to share the throne with him.  (See comment 1.) He deceived many and created a treasonous momentum that pushed him beyond the restraint that could hold the door open to any hope of reconciliation with his father. His challenge for the throne put him under the penalty of death so that it would have to be David or Absalom, but coexistence was now impossible. David was torn between justice, self-preservation, guilt, and the fatherly love for his son. David fled like he did from Saul, but wisely sent his adviser, Hushai to spy on Absalom and take advantage of the present confusion to interject a counter opinion to Ahithophel's better advice. (See comment 2.) Finally, all this was in fulfillment of God's plan (II Samuel 17:14).

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By appearance, humanly speaking, Absalom would have been an obvious candidate to assume the throne after his father King David.

1.     He was the only son of David to be of royal descent by both father and mother. (2 Sam. 3:3)

2.     He was unusually handsome. (2 Sam. 14:25)

3.     He was charming and eloquent. (2 Sam. 15:1-6)

4.     He appeared to be religious. (2 Sam. 15:7-8)

5.     He was a schemer. (2 Sam. 15:1-6, 11; 13:28-29).

6.     He was a delegator. (2 Sam. 15:10; 12; 17:25)

Ahithophel's wisdom was so well respected that his words were considered by the people to be equal to that of a word from the Lord (1 Samuel 16:23). As Bathsheba's grandfather (2 Samuel 11:3, 23:34), he may have also been harboring a deep seated resentment for David's defilement of her and the unjust loss of his grandson-in-law, and for the resulting pain laid on Eliam (his son and Bathsheba's father) who, like Uriah, was also one of the mighty thirty. His advice for Absalom to sleep with David's wives may have been to satisfy two purposes: not only to drive an irreconcilable wedge between David and his son so that they would battle each other to the death for the throne, but also to shame David by having someone defile the women that he loved, just as he had done to Bathsheba. 

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April 29 (2 Samuel and Psalm 3; 63)

The priest's sons acted as spies for David, but after being discovered they barely escaped to inform David that his entire company was in grave danger and needed to flee across the Jordan River into the wilderness. Once safely settled in Mahanaim David expressed his faith in God's provision and justice in the composition of Psalms 3 and 63. David organized his troops and gave the order to his commanders to spare his son's life, but Joab took advantage of Absalom's dilemma, (of getting suspended from a tree by his hair when his donkey left him behind during his retreat), to kill him. David's army won. 20,000 rebels were killed mostly by accidents caused in the rough terrain, but David mourned so deeply for his son that his people were nearly ashamed of their victory. Joab wisely advised him to show gratitude to his loyalists before they also deserted him. David returned to Jerusalem and all who had defected to Absalom's rebellion were slow to return to David (probably out of shame and to avoid a traitor's punishment).

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April 30 (2 Samuel; 1 Chronicles; Psalm 7)

We read how David repaid an 80 year old man for his loyalty by taking his son Kimham back with him to Jerusalem.

Shimei met David to apologize for his disrespectful behavior toward him as he was fleeing Jerusalem. Shimei may be the "Cush" of David's Psalm 7. An argument ensued between the 10 northern tribes and Judah giving Sheba an audience to start another rebellion. David, probably to win over Absalom's army and to punish Joab for killing Absalom, named Amasa the new commander of his army. During his pursuit of Sheba, Joab (his cousin) murdered Amasa to regain his position. Joab besieged the town to where Sheba fled. A wise woman negotiated peace in exchange for Sheba's head.

Later, to end a 3 year long famine, David delivered 2 of King Saul's sons and 5 of his grandsons to be executed by the Gibeonites in retaliation for King Saul's earlier attempt to wipe out their family when they should have been protected by the alliance made with Joshua (Joshua 9:1-27, 3/24 reading). Finally, David's warriors prevented him from going into battle because of his age, but not before Goliath's brother and 3 other giants were killed in battles with Israel.

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"The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid."

                            -Martin Luther