Life of David, Day 11 Lent 2013

In the mega Bible reading plan for Lent 2013, I started the life of David Saturday and finished it today, 2nd Samuel through the beginning of 1st Kings. In 1st Samuel, when Samuel tells Saul he's getting fired, he says God is looking for "a man after his own heart." That's a puzzling idiomatic expression to me, 1 Sam. 13:14. Fortunately, the NET Bible has a note explaining it, Heb “according to his heart.” The idiomatic expression means to be like-minded with another, as its use in 1 Sam 14:7 indicates. They translate it as, "The Lord has sought out for himself a man who is loyal to him." Most of the Psalms are a testament to David's devotion to God. He was so talented at music he could calm Saul when he got into real bad funks. He was also a brave warrior. He took down the giant Samson with a rock and sling. He led bandits on raids throughout the Negev. He took on big and small armies. He successfully conquered Jerusalem and made it his own city. Like Saul, he made his own sacrifices (2 Samuel 2:16), but did not receive the heavenly rebuke Saul did for the same priestly boundary crossing (1 Samuel 13).

After so much success, he has an affair with a soldier's wife, Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. The guy wasn't an Israeli. Uriah was an Hittite. [It seems that Israel in David's reign was multi-ethnic. Uriah was honored at the end of David's list of might men, 2 Samuel 23:39. Most of these warriors were not Israelites. Surely, they were mostly original riff-raff who gathered around him in his wilderness exile, 1 Samuel 22:2, in hiding from Saul.] Bathy gets pregnant, David tries to get her husband back from the battlefield to have some R&R with her, but this guy is dedicated to his brothers and arms, and won't lay with her. David sends him back to the front with a private message to his general to leave him exposed in a bad battle. Uriah dies, as planned, Bathy moves in, joining David's half dozen other wives, and the baby is born. The baby is born with God's curse and dies. Their next child is Solomon, the future king.

The death of the baby is not the only consequence God gives him. He promises David rebellion in his own household and the sword of violence, 2 Samuel 12:7-14. One son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. Her full brother, Absalom, kills Amnon, since David did nothing about the rape. Absalom flees, and David let's him stay in exile. David let's Absalom come back after a few years. Absalom plans a coup d'etat. David's army defeats Absalom's and kills him, causing David's despair. In his old age, another son, Adonijah declares himself the new king, to the surprise of Bathsheba, who claims to David that he promised the throne to Solomon, 1 Kings 1:17. Eventually, with the support of  David's staff, Adonijah's uprising is put down, he is killed, and Solomon is crowned.

David's life does not end well. Like Saul, he reigns 40 years. He was wildly successful, but the historian of 2nd Samuel, focuses on his sins, and the consequences therefrom. One would think Solomon would learn from the example of his father, that multiple wives and large broods of sons, cause extreme heartache, but he doesn't. That's tomorrow's story. It's also Israel's story. Bad example follows bad example. Yet God keeps sustaining. He keeps granting long reigns. Sinners gonna sin. God doesn't stop being their God. That part is impressive.
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