Sunday 12th June 2022

2 SAMUEL 19 and 20

That scheming Joab was right this time: David was so preoccupied with his own grief for his dead son, Absalom, that he was totally neglecting his duties as king.  You would have thought it was a military defeat rather than a great victory!  Joab, who was never afraid to confront his king with uncomfortable truths, rebuked David for indulging himself instead of showing gratitude to the men who had fought bravely and saved his life and his throne.  He also gave a politically savvy warning that David’s still fragile support would melt away very quickly if he did not do something about this.  David therefore wisely took Joab’s advice and put aside his personal problems for the sake of the Lord’s people.  That is something that leaders have to do so often; a choice that will always be rewarded by the Lord in the fullness of time.

David then moved quickly to rebuild his fragmented kingdom, to re-establish the priesthood and the Temple worship, and to forge some strategic political alliances across the land.  For example, he promoted Amasa – who had been Absalom’s army commander – over Joab as head of the national army.  This pleased the people of Judah very much – about as much as it disgusted and offended Joab himself!  And Joab was never slow to take revenge, particularly when there was power at stake! 

Shimei was forgiven for cursing the retreating King, and Mephibosheth and his steward, Ziba, were also forgiven, although you get the impression that David did not really know who was genuinely at fault in the end. 

Joab’s chance of revenge came quickly, and he stooped to his usual underhand tactics with a hidden dagger and a rival’s unsuspecting stomach.  The dagger always came out on top!  Yet again, Joab seemed to avoid being brought to justice and perhaps his military prowess and victories were a degree of protection for him from David’s anger.  So, yet again, Joab was put back in charge of the army.  He duly quashed a rebellion against the King and seemed to regain David’s favour – for the time being!

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