UNCOMMON SENSE

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EJ PEAK, 2787 ft high place

MOVING IN TO THE BIG HOUSE

Solomon has opportunity to learn about the job and the benefits of being king.  I am not sure when Solomon found time with the Shulamite woman of his song, but he wasted no time finding wives.  He quickly added a top of the line model from Egypt.

And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.  Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.  And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.  And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.  1 Kings 3:1-4

Where has the tabernacle gone with its furnishings?  They would show up in the temple when it got built later.  Solomon followed the worship of his day, and the Lord honored his fellowship with an offer.

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.  And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.  Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?  1 Kings 3:5-9

Solomon has been in communion with God, and he only asks for wisdom to care for God’s people.  He acknowledges his youth and inexperience and asks for help.  I hope a few of our leaders still remember to ask for help.  It looks like they may need it even more than this young king did.

And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.  And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;  Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.  And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.  And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.  And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.  1 Kings 3:10-15

Oh, we might think, it was only a dream.  But God speaks in dreams, visions, and in personal appearances.  Solomon recognizes the voice of God and makes an offering immediately to acknowledge the gift and its giver.  He treats his servants to an awards banquet as well.  Then the gift is put to the test.

Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.  And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.  And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.  And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.  And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.  And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.  1 Kings 3:16-21

Crib death is a great tragedy, and it is no less when the child is born out of wedlock.  How much more shocking would it be to find that this is another baby and your own has been stolen.  But who can sort this mess out?

And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No;  but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.  Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.  And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.  And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.  1 Kings 3:22-25

Everyone was waiting for the king to speak, to investigate the truth.  No one was prepared for him to pass a death sentence against the innocent surviving baby.  And he has already issued the command, and his servants are preparing to carry it out.

Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.  Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.  And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.  1 Kings 3:26-28

A woman capable of stealing another’s baby would be cold and uncaring.  A mother will fight for the life of her child, even when they turn out bad.  So any means to keep her son alive will give the real mother hope for a future.  Solomon knew he was dealing with the polar extremes of human nature, and a bold act would provoke a revealing reaction from each.  Now the people of the nation feared Solomon because of the word from God that was demonstrated here.  The cold and the uncaring should be on notice now.

PAYMENTS AND COLLECTIONS

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New Directions and Destinations

PAYMENT DUE

Solomon is the king associated with the peak of Israel’s glory years.  He takes the throne in his youth, and has to assert control over the same dangers that made life so hard for his father.  David gives him good counsel to guide his steps.

Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,  I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;  And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest,  and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:  That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.  1 Kings 2:1-4

David also mentions a few accounts that are not yet paid in full.  He proclaims Solomon to be a wise man, capable of taking care of unfinished business.  He has spoken by faith the wisdom that God will grant Solomon.

Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.  Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.  But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.  And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.  Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.  So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.  1 Kings 2:5-10

After David passed away, Solomon begins his reign.  His brother Adonijah is the first to come to his attention with a request.

And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.  Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.  And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.  He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.  And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the LORD.  And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.  And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.  And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.  1 Kings 2:11-18

Perhaps Bathsheba is not too fond of Abishag the human bed warmer.  She has no problem getting her married off to Adonijah.  She lets herself be used as a lobbyist for Adonijah.

Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.  Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.  And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.  1 Kings 2:19-21

Solomon is immediately aware that Adonijah was the author of this idea.  Marriage to an intimate partner of David might suggest a status of heir to the throne to the people.  Having a representative in Bathsheba might open the door to more petitions for greater things. 

And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.  Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.  Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.  And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.  And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the LORD God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.  So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.  1 Kings 2:22-27

Solomon moves quickly to end the threat of an older brother who had already demonstrated rebellion against this father.  His respect of the office of Priest spares Abiathar but he still fulfils a prophesy about Eli’s sons.

Joab hears about the death of Adonijah, and flees to the tabernacle.  Perhaps he finally has considered seeking God for help.  God will forgive, but the king must protect the kingdom from a pattern of betrayal and misguided zeal.

Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.  And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.  And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.  1 Kings 2:28-30

Joab refuses to leave the sanctuary, so Solomon orders him slain there.

And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.  And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.  Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD.  So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.  1 Kings 2:31-34

Joab has been quick to slay others, and now his transgressions are remembered at his death.  Solomon needs a new leadership team now.

And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.  And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.  For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.  And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.  1 Kings 2:35-38

With new leaders, on last transgressor is to be dealt with.  Shimei is under house arrest, but he slips later on.

And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath.  And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.  And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.  And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the LORD, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good.  1 Kings 2:39-42

Solomon gave a place to Shimei, but his servants presented him with a problem.  Perhaps they knew their master could not follow them.  Was he a harsh master, as critical as he had been of David?  His choice to force their return ultimately set them free.  Solomon points out that he had agreed to the terms, and now he has broken them. 

Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?  The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;  And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever.   So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.  1 Kings 2:43-46

The life of Solomon will be recorded in many chapters to come.  The Song of Solomon is a prophetic treasure that may have taken place in these early years.  He begins his growth in wisdom by disguising himself as a young shepherd to learn about the people of Israel.  He meets a beautiful woman who doesn’t seem to know who he is.  Their love blossoms into a story of the glory that God has in mind for his relationship with his own bride.  It is a story with alternative endings, and we can choose the outcome we want for our own relationship with Yeshua. 

After this his fame grows, and he will not be unknown anywhere.  Solomon has begun to reign, and his years will yield a wealth of wisdom.  Along the way he explores some folly as well, and he will point out the cost of vanity in Ecclesiastes.  Ultimately he will learn the cost of his failures, but he will learn that God is still merciful.  He finally divulges the meaning of life itself, the fulfillment of his quest for wisdom. 

HERITAGE OF FAITH AND FOLLY

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Storms at sunset

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Living in Arizona has exposed me to life among the senior citizen population.  My dad is 94, and I am seeing where I will be going in the next thirty years.  David had a few more issues in his senior years.  Would you think that retirement would offer you some peace?  David had some unfinished prophesy of punishment for his affair with Bathsheba.

Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.  Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.  So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.  And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.  1 Kings 1:1-4

So dad feels cold here in Arizona, wearing a sweater in August.  Perhaps we get used to the heat, as I am a little chilly now at 75 degrees.  Of course that doesn’t mean that I am getting old!  All I get to warm my cold nights is a fuzzy black dog.

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.  And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.  And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.  But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.  1 Kings 1:5-8

So Adonijah got to fantasize about being king after his brother Absalom set an example.  He too has good looks and supporters among the people.  Especially with Joab, who is not inclined to seek direction from God as usual.  But then the priest Abiathar too is out of relationship with God.  Some remain loyal to David, and act to prevent another war.

And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by Enrogel, and called all his brethren the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants:  But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.  Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?  Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon.  Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid,  aying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign?  Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.  1 Kings 1:9-14

So Nathan will work with Bathsheba to assure the ascension of Solomon to the throne.  The conspirators set the plan in motion.

And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.  And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?  And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.  And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not:  And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called.  And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.  Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.  1 Kings 1:15-21

After this presentation, Nathan takes his cue and confirms the report of Bathsheba.

And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.  And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.  And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?  For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah.  But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.  Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?  1 Kings 1:22-27

David knows he didn’t plan to make Adonijah king, and Nathan knows this too.  David understands the danger, and takes action.

Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king.  And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,  Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.  Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.  1 Kings 1:28-31

David prepares to make the coronation of Solomon the official ceremony approved by king David.

And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.  The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:  And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.  Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.  And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.  As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David.  1 Kings 1:32-37

Beniah remembers to honor God, and initiate the official coronation.

So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon.  And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.  And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.  1 Kings 1:38-40

By going to Gihon they are in the hearing of Joab and Adonijah with their music and celebration.  They get the news about Solomon’s coronation.

And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar?  And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came; and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tidings.  And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.  And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king’s mule:  And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard.  And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.    1 Kings 1:41-46

With the authority of David behind Solomon, the rebels get cold feet.  Adonijah has some awareness of the fate he may face in the path his brother Absalom had taken.

And moreover the king’s servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed.  And also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.  And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.  And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.  1 Kings 1:47-50

Adonijah remembers the house of God and the altar as a refuge and prayer point.  This saves his life.

And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword.  And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.  1 Kings 1:47-50

Adonijah fears Solomon, but it remains to be seen if he fears God.  Solomon gives him a chance to prove this.

And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword.  And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.  So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house.  1 Kings 1:51-53

The king has offered mercy, and may prove to be a wise ruler.  He is young, and will have a long life to establish this.

THE HONOR ROLL

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Warriors then...B Battery, 1/92 Artillery

REFLECTIONS

David offers some last words for us: 

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,  The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.  The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.  And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.  Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.  But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:  But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.  2 Samuel 23:1-7

David has learned lessons from life and shares them with all of us.  He knows that a ruler must be fair and just.  I hear on the news that the prisoners in Maricopa County are housed in tents in the Arizona desert.  The temperatures in those tents soared to 140 degrees last week.  The west is still too wild in our day, and justice is a bit inhumane.  Judgment needs to remember a few cases that are found not guilty every year. 

David knows that he deserved punishment, and he would be a felon in our day.  But God is a fair ruler, and saw enough good to preserve and promote David.  Joseph was a convicted sex offender, and became the Prime Minister of Egypt.  Self righteous men who serve Satan will be judged for their own failings in God’s time.  He is not a respecter of persons or titles.  David does respect men who served selflessly in his service, and he remembers them.

These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.  And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:  He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.  2 Samuel 23:8-10

These warriors knew victory, and they would probably testify that God was their source in battle.  David does give glory to God for their victory here.  They had to report for duty, but God was there to carry them to victory.

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.  2 Samuel 23:11-12

Do our leaders today credit the Lord for their successes?  They certainly find someone to name for their failures!  Someone suggested yesterday that the earthquake in DC was centered on a fault line known as “Bushes Fault”. It was probably just the market crashing.

And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.  And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.  And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!  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.  And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.  2 Samuel 23:13-17

David found that his men were loyal to a fault, risking their lives to comfort his concerns.  More are named for their actions and courage.

And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.  Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.  2 Samuel 23:18-19

Abishai was named earlier in these books, and others also obtained promotion for their services.

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:  And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.  These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.  He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.  2 Samuel 23:20-23

Asahel perished in battle, and a number of others are named here.  All are remembered and honored.

Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,  Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,  Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,  Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,  Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,  Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,  Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,  Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,  Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen,  Jonathan,  Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,  Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,  Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,  Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,  Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,  Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,  Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.  2 Samuel 23:24-39

This is a short chapter, but it is a full display of David as a man after God’s own heart.  He could have forgotten to mention Uriah, his great shame.  Uriah had been without fault, denying himself in full submission to his king.  He laid his life down for his king, and David carried this guilt for a lifetime.  It had manifested suffering for all of Israel as David reaped the punishment for his sins.  But God had not abandoned David, and he would not abandon the memory of his friend.  David would be meeting Uriah and his God soon, and truth is important for judgment.

And now...reunion group 1/92 Artillery

 

RELATION CELEBRATION

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Declare HIs Glory

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Like Moses, David offered a song of praise for his lifetime of relationship and mercy.

And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:  2 Samuel 22:1

When David offers a song it’s an epic.  The Psalms are his collected works, but this is his life testimony.  Notice that he did not list Saul as having been one of his enemies. 

And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;  The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.  I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.  When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;  The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;  In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.  2 Samuel 22:2-7

When surrounded by violence and hidden in caves the Lord was his shelter and hope.  This testimony continues in the world of today as missionaries reach out to false religions and cannibals.  Waves of death and floods of ungodly men connect to unfulfilled prophesy in Revelation:

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. Revelation 12:15

As we call for help, David too called out the name of the Lord for help. 

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.  There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.  He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.  And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.  And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.  Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.  The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.  2 Samuel 22:8-14

Being the living God, and not a dead idol, God is unique in answering prayers.  And God answers with action that changes lives and circumstances.  David portrays deliverance as riding on a cherub in the dark clouds of the stormy skies.  A cherub is the cherubim, a creature with four heads and four wings, having power, not a fat flying baby.  This is the unseen warfare of God, thundering down through the nebulous fiery vapors of heaven.

And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.  And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.  He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;  He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.  They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.  He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.  2 Samuel 22:15-20

David speaks of arrows, the missiles of his warfare.  The imagery compares to modern missiles and tsunami waves, the weapons of man and natural disasters.  He draws David out of many waters.

The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.  For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.  For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.  I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.  Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.  2 Samuel 22:21-25

Ah, David was rewarded according to his righteousness, and even in his failures.  We may occasionally speed, but we still look at the speedometer and correct our trespass.  We keep the way of our God by not deliberately continuing in the sin we have discovered.  We follow his path not by being perfect, but by being teachable.  In his eye sight we are thus clean as we repent and turn to Yeshua for mercy and grace.  We are not saved because we are good, but rather because he is good. 

With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.  With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury. And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.  For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.  For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.  2 Samuel 22:26-30

David lived the merciful path, and was slow to seek vengeance.  With God to light his way, David ran through the warriors of strength and sharp blades.  He was able to overcome the obstacles of a real life.  The fear of the Lord has dispersed the fear of man and death.  Fear is defeated in perfect trust.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.  For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?  God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.  He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.  He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.  2 Samuel 22:31-35

Whether your war is with sickness, poverty, or violence we learn to have peace in Christ.  We have the armor of faith as a surrounding of shelter and calm.  We stand confident enough to let the small things pass peaceably.  We can afford to be generous with the bounty and assurance of eternal deliverance.  Without fear we can chose our steps wisely on the slippery slopes of life.

Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.  Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.  I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.  And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.  For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.  2 Samuel 22:36-40

My enemies now are spirits, powers and principalities, not flesh and blood.  By addressing their strongholds, we can also overcome in the natural.  Deprived of the influence of demonic forces, men are less able to overcome the people of God.  If violence and carnal war come to us, we can still have peace.  Rebellion against justice will be overcome.  In Christ we will see our path cleared ahead of us.

Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.  They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.  Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.  Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.  2 Samuel 22:41-44

Evil men facing death remember prayer in their desperation.  If they have not remembered God during their oppression of helpless people, he repays the merciless in their own way. 

I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.  For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.  Isaiah 63:3-4

Paul taught the Romans to embrace this confidence too: 

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:17-21

David gave Israel object lessons in mercy and grace.  God gave them demonstrations of his faithful judgment.  Those enemies who would not accept the patience of David discovered the coals of the wrath of God in their destiny.  David found favor with man and God.

Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.  Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.  The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.  It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me.  And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.  Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.  He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.  2 Samuel 22:45-51

David has been honored by kings; his house was built by a neighboring king.  His enemies fell before the vengeance that he allowed God to perform for him.  He was carried over every battle, just for reporting for duty.  He is wise enough to honor the true source of his success.  This is the masterpiece of the Psalm writer.

THE RIGHTS OF THE WRONGED

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After the storms, the sunset years

RIGHTING A WRONG

One Canaanite nation was promised safety in Israel, and Saul had violated that trust.  Now the bill was due for payment.  Remember, Gibeon had faked being distant neighbors to escape the destruction of the other Canaanites.  God may have favored them to have allowed this, but Israel had to honor their pledge to give them safety. 

Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.  And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)  Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD?  2 Samuel 21:1-3

God told David what was out of balance in the kingdom.  Again his pattern of asking God for understanding pays off.  He turned to the Gibeonites to find what they would ask as judgment for their persecution.

And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.  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.  But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.  2 Samuel 21:4-7

All the males of the house of Saul except Mephiboseth, son of Jonathan were delivered for judgment. 

But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:  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 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.  2 Samuel 21:8-10

David had compassion on the granddaughter of Saul and returned his bones to an honorable burial.

And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.  And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:  And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.  And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father:  And they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.  2 Samuel 21:11-14

God was pleased with the respect David had shown for the people and their needs.  Now they found favor in battle, but David is not so young any more.

Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.  And Ishbibenob, 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.  2 Samuel 21:15-17

David’s men asked him to retire from front line service.  His warriors continued to prosper in the blessing of God though.

And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.  And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.  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.  And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him.  These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.  2 Samuel 21:18-22

David has lived in the age when violence was handmade and bloody.  Enemies intended to dismember you as they had Saul.  They were in your face and skilled in wielding their carving tools.  Here in Arizona we see many seniors who are losing the physical strength that carried them through the great wars of our history.  David can look back at a long life that hinged on the evidence of divine help.  He asked for help and got it, even when he didn’t deserve it.  He will reflect on the wonders of the relationship that let him have the protection of the God of his forefathers. 

EXPIDITED ENDINGS

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ONE LAST DEVIL

So David is victorious and returning to Jerusalem.  The old rivalry between Israel and Judah is rattling a bit though.  A deeper rivalry between heaven and hell underlies the actions of a worshipper of Belial though.  Indeed Belial (Satan) is busy as usual.

And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.  So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.  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.  Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present.  2 Samuel 20:1-4

So Sheba is blowing his own horn, appointing himself king of Israel.  Again the kingdom is divided, and war is rekindled.  David is in a bad mood about the concubines who Absalom defiled, and now has another enemy too.  He orders his new commander to assemble the army.  He has three days to mobilize the the military.

Remember now, Amasa was Absalom’s commander of the army of Israel against David and Joab.

And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab: which Amasa was a man’s son, whose name was Ithra an Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother. 2 Samuel 17:25

Later David made Amasa his military leader over Joab to make peace in the kingdom.

And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab. 2 Samuel 19:13

Amasa does not make the three day deadline, so David has to send Joab to do Amasa’s job. 

So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him.  And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us.  And there went out after him Joab’s men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.  2 Samuel 20:5-7

Before Joab finds Sheba, he encounters Amasa.  David had not judged Amasa, but there may be suspicion that he will turn back to his old army of Israel.  Failing to obey orders compounds this suspicion.  Joab may have a grudge of his own since he was a loyal leader demoted for a former enemy.  Joab does have an opinion and a plan of his own 

When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab’s garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out.  And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.  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.  2 Samuel 20:8-10

Joab has promoted himself and eliminated his suspicions at least.  Again we find no record of divine guidance or prayer in the actions of Joab.  While everyone saw the bloody evidence of his rebellion, they chose to follow Joab in battle. 

And one of Joab’s men stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab.  And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still.  When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.  And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.  2 Samuel 20:11-14

They set up a siege of the city Sheba has fortified himself in.  One woman has a plan of wisdom.  Perhaps the women are tired of becoming widows while the men slaughter their Jewish brethren.

And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.  Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.  And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.  2 Samuel 20:15-17

Joab listens to the woman’s plea for her city. 

Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.  I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?  And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.  The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.  2 Samuel 20:18-21

Joab doesn’t want to destroy Israel, but he has to end the rebellion of Sheba.  She offers to deliver proof of his execution.  She consults the city leaders. 

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.  Now Joab was over all the host of Israel: and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites:  And Adoram was over the tribute: and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder:  And Sheva was scribe: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:  And Ira also the Jairite was a chief ruler about David.  2 Samuel 20:22-26

With the rebellion beheaded, Israel and its tribes were all established under David’s leadership.

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