Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 4.1-12
2 Samuel 4:1-12
When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Rekab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin—Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin, 3 because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have resided there as foreigners to this day. 4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.) 5 Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. 6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away. 7 They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah. 8 They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.” 9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble,10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!” 12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron.
Saul’s son Ish-bosheth continued to hold power in Israel after his father’s death. But when Abner his army leader was killed, he lost confidence and key commanders under his authority rebelled and plotted to kill him (vs. 5). They spared the life of Jonathan’s crippled son, since he was not qualified to ascend to the throne (vs. 4 ). They ambushed Ish-bosheth while he was laying in his bed, cut off his head and presented their trophy to David, hoping to receive a commendation (vs. 6-8). David was not pleased and had the two men executed as a result of their cowardly action in putting a righteous man to death.
David had a clear sense of justice, and showed kindness toward his own enemies, for the sake of Saul, God’s anointed, and his prior friendship with Jonathan. The two commanders should have followed the example of Abner, their previous leader, by recognizing that David was now God’s choice as king, and seeking to make peace with David’s household, rather than betraying the house of Saul. More than that, they didn’t seek the mind of God first, they acted on their own authority.
We see in the life of David, the example of a man of God, who respected authority, was slow to assume his own rightful place, until God defeated all his enemies. David was looking to God for direction, wisdom, and victory over his enemies. Even when his followers were stronger than the house of Saul, David sought a peaceful end to civil war, trusting God to establish his reign over all of Israel.
How do we view our leaders? Are we quick to mock or ridicule those who oppose our political views? God’s word exhorts us to “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right” (1 Pet. 2:13-14). This is God’s will for every believer. Father, help us to honor, obey, and pray for those in authority over us today. Like David, help us trust you to fight our battles, and exalt us at the proper time.
Weekly Memory Verse: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3.16