Loads of people die, including Absolom.
Joab does some upward management, since his boss is a bit clueless…
In which Joab gets given head by a wise woman.
2 Samuel 17
Ahithophel offers to do a surgical strike on David
Verse 2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only:
Husai, David’s spy is asked his opinion on the black op, and says “bad idea, David will be hiding sin some pit. He manages to convince Absolom to do a full frontal assault
He gets word back to David to peg it.
A couple of David’s spies have to hide in a well to evade capture.
David legs it over the Jordan, and Ahithophel not only resigns but declares they can take his pensions and shove it…
Verse 23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
Absolom is on the hunt for David. And David is given provisions…
Verse 28-9 Brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
2 Samuel 18
David wants to lead from the front,
Verse 3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.
And as they soldiers are leaving, David is heard telling the three commanders to deal gently with Absolom.
There’s your standard big bloody battle in the wood of Ephraim.
Verse7-8 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
And Absolom goes out on a limb…
Verse 9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.
And Joab berates a witness for not taking the opportunity to smite Absolom. The witness points out David’s given orders… Joab gets irritated and takes executive action…
Verse 14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
Ok, this is beautiful, and doubtless will lead to Joab getting his head cut off or some such…
Verse 15 -17 And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.
Joab sends one messenger to tell David nothing, and another begs to be allowed to follow with actual news. Joab consents, David gets the “no news” and then the “Absolom’s very dead” news in quick succession.
Verse 33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!
2 Samuel 19
David’s major moping mangles morale. Joab’s justifiably jagged.
Verse 5-6 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; 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.
How’s this for reading your boss the riot act!!!
Verse 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.
David schlepps back to Jerusalem to be king again, and Shimei begs for mercy. Abishai the son of Zeruiah wants Shimei to shimmy off this mortal coil at the hand of David. David seems tired off all the blood-letting…
Verse 22-3 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? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
And David isn’t too pissed at a servant who didn’t leg it with him. And he lets an 80 year old who kept his army fed stay put and die in his own city, sending his son Chimham as a substitute.
And there’s a people of Judah/people of Israel barney too…
2 Samuel 20
Sheba leads the Israel side against the Judah side.
David does a Bluebeard on his harem…
Verse 3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
He orders Amasa to get everyone together in three days. Amasa, amazingly, tarries overlong. David gets impatient. Joab, well, Joab breaks that ‘Though Shalt Not Kill” commandment…
Verse 10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
And they besiege a town called Abel. A “wise woman” in the town strikes a deal…
Verse 22 Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.
2 Samuel 21
And for Saul’s sins the poor and very young and old must, it seems, be punished. That’s a very sane and rational God, isn’t it…
Verse 1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
So David tries to buy them off, bu the Gibeonites don’t want silver or gold or property. What then?
Verse 5-6 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.
Sparing Mephibosheth (name presumably too long for a death certificate?) David keeps his end of the barbaric ritual.
Verse 9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.
And the mother of the victims, Rizpah, is all upset (can’t think why). And David mixes Saul and Jonathan’s bones with the victims. Which is fine.
Oh, more war with the Philistines, and the amusingly named son of Goliath (sequels are always rubbish, no?)
Verse 16-7 And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David: But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.
More battles (sans David) and it turns out Goliath has some genetic issues…
Verse 20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
2 Samuel 22
And David gives a massive shout-out to Da Lord.
Verse 21 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
And there’s 51 brilliant verses of this…
2 Samuel 23
Ah, at last, David’s dying.
And we get a list of the martial accomplishments of his crew. Including defending a …lentil patch.
Verse 11-2 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
And David’s thirsty for some water from the well in Bethlehem, currently in Philistine hands.
Verse 16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
Then a very tedious list of people under David’s command, including, um Uriah the Hittite. You know, Bath-sheba’s husband who didn’t appreciate being cuckolded and was sent on a suicide mission?
2 Samuel 24
God’s pissed, wants a war. David tells Joab to get an order of battle.
Verse 2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
Joab and co kvetch, but follow orders.
Verse 9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
David has senseless census-orderers remorse and apologises to God.
And via Gad the prophet God gives David a choice of seven years famine, three months running away from the enemy or three days of pestilence.
And David plumps for three days in Punishment Park, which kills seventy thousand men “from Dan even to Beer-sheba”.
And God seems here to change his mind! Either that or not be omniscient…
Verse 16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
David doesn’t want collateral damage, wants only him and his father’s house punished. So following Gad’s instructions he builds an altar on someone’s threshingfloor, insisting on paying the price and not using the guy’s burnt offerings, presumably in case God should think David a schnorrer.
And apparently altars and burning stuff stops plagues….
Verse 25 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
Should someone tell the CDC?