Grace to Rule – 2 Samuel 14. RBT Notes, 18th October

“The righteous are as bold as a lion” (Prov.28.1). Since his disastrous failure with Bathsheba, David has lost courage and resolve. His boldness went with his righteousness, and others are filling the vacuum. Step up Joab, and Absalom.

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Joab has shown his impatience with his master before, and will show it again. He is tired of this stand-off between the king and his son, so he engineers a reconciliation – of sorts (vv.1-3). The historian relays in great detail the scene of the woman and David with her carefully-prepared story (vv.4-20). Just as with Nathan’s story after the adultery and murder, David is reeled in again. The effect of this exchange is less to show that David is merciful, and more to show that David is a pawn of others more decisive than he is.

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That indecisiveness even continues when Absalom returns to Jerusalem. This handsome young man was used to the king’s attention, and probably, everyone else’s (vv.25-26), so when the reconciliation seems impossible, he engineers things so that Joab is forced to bring him to the king (vv.28-32).

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Don’t be fooled. David is less the merciful king, more the cowardly one. He avoids heart-wrenching decision about justice for his son, and meekly kisses him and signals his favour. Forgiveness is a great virtue, but cowardice is a reproach for God’s people.

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A Prayer to Pray

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Father, You are a great God, and greatly to be praised. Life is so confusing, and relationships are so complicated. As I look to you I can be wise, and brave. As I look to myself I am foolish, and afraid. Lift my eyes, Lord, and strengthen my heart to live well, to Your praise. Amen.

Lewis Allen

Pastor, Hope Church Huddersfield, Director of Gospel Yorkshire, husband, father of five, football follower and dreaming fly-fisherman, Daily Reading the Bible Together blogger.

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