September 6, 2023

Justice is God's, not yours.

2 Samuel 4

David Fultz
Wednesday's Devo

September 6, 2023

Wednesday's Devo

September 6, 2023

Big Idea

No one is immune to sin.

Key Verse | 2 Samuel 4:7-8

When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, "Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The LORD has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring."

2 Samuel 4

Ish-bosheth Murdered

When Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. Now Saul's son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Beeroth (for Beeroth also is counted part of Benjamin; the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there to this day).

Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 1 4:6 Septuagint And behold, the doorkeeper of the house had been cleaning wheat, but she grew drowsy and slept. So Rechab and Baanah his brother slipped in When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The LORD has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 when one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?” 12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.


[1] 4:6 Septuagint And behold, the doorkeeper of the house had been cleaning wheat, but she grew drowsy and slept. So Rechab and Baanah his brother slipped in

S2:173 2 Samuel 4

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Dive Deeper | 2 Samuel 4

It's easy for me to miss small details, even ones that are important. For example: every time I put furniture together from Ikea. I set the thousand tiny pieces out, grab whatever tools I need, and start assembling. Inevitably, I begin to think, "This is actually going pretty well. I'm almost done!" Imagine my disappointment when I realize I missed a tiny detail in the instructions 10 steps ago!

Oftentimes, the same thing happens to me when I read through the Old Testament. I skim through verses and chapters that seem tedious, but I miss incredibly meaningful details. Though 2 Samuel 4 is relatively short, there is so much to learn from this chapter.

As we continue in the story of King David, there is brief mention of Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was crippled by an accident when he was 5 years old, and David ends up forever granting him a seat at his table, all because of who Mephibosheth's father is. (Don't miss the end to this incredible story in 2 Samuel 9 that mirrors our relationship with our Father!)

In our key verse, we see the selfish act of vengeance performed by Rechab and Baanah. They thought they were serving the king, but David reproves them for taking matters into their own hands. David points to the sovereignty of the true King, "who has redeemed [David's] life out of every adversity" (2 Samuel 4:9).

So often I take the same approach as Rechab and Baanah. I have difficulty trusting God's sovereign plan and try taking matters into my own hands. Whether it's getting back at someone who wronged me or seeking to control the circumstances around me, I try to create my own outcomes instead of trusting the One who has proven Himself faithful. 

May we trust in the sovereignty of our Father and yield to His plans and His timing. He has redeemed us from every adversity we could ever face through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Trust in Him. We've already been rescued!

This month's memory verse

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

– Matthew 5:16

Discussion Questions

1. How can you more deeply pursue the details of God's incredible rescue story?

2. How has the Lord personally redeemed your life out of every adversity?

3. What areas of your life are you trying to control instead of trusting God?

4. How can you practice submitting yourself to the Lord's sovereign plan today?

Respond to Today's Passage

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Hugh Stephenson

Good morning, David, IKEA. I went there once with Amy and said that forever after I would wait in the car. Over 25 years ago I put a gas grill together from a bunch of parts and an exploded diagram in a foreign language. That was it for me. What I love about the Bible is it’s a detailed 800,000-word instruction manual styled as a love letter from God who wants me to be reconciled to Him. It’s not easy to follow His directions all the time but I think it’s easier than assembling that gas grill. ------------------------------------------- Q1. My time daily in JTJ is a huge blessing. One crazy rescue after another. Q2. The steps were God’s patience, mercy, and grace. All at once. I should have been hauled off to Babylon years ago. But God… in His kindness waited and taught. Most importantly He used the consequences of my own sin to teach me through the fire of purification, Malachi 3:3. Q3. I struggle with the line where shepherding my adult children turns to control and then to enabling. After 13 years in prodigal crazy town I still have much to learn. Q4. The best circumstance is when there is no way for me to crawl up into the driver’s seat. If there is a way, I’ll try it.

Hugh Stephenson

The treachery and deceit in many characters conveys the nature of that culture.  It seems that many of the leaders are power hungry and live in a mindset of no boundaries or barriers.  Whether they kill Canaanites or their own fellow Israelites it all seems self-justified.  From the notes-   "With the death of Ish-Bosheth, no other viable candidate for king remains for the elders of the northern tribes. Meanwhile David sits in regal isolation, above the fray as always, innocent of the deaths of Saul, Jonathan, Abner, and now Ish-Bosheth. The way is open for his march to the throne of Israel."[79]   “One cannot help but note the similar career of Jesus Christ, who now sits in regal isolation above the fray below, awaiting His universal acknowledgement as King.”     “The message of 2 Samuel is that man's attitude toward God creates an opportunity for God, and God's attitude toward man creates an opportunity for man.”   “God is to each person what that person is to God (cf. James 2:13).”   “This is a great encouragement to readers of 2 Samuel. The Christian's deep underlying attitudes toward God provide a foundation on which God can build and use him or her in some way. The direction one is heading is more important than how far he or she has advanced in Christian growth.”

Michael Sisson

Re: 2Sam 4:4 2Sam 4:4 (NASB) Now >>>Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son<<< crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was >>>Mephibosheth.<<< Mephibosheth will become the beneficiary of Jonathan’s covenant with David in 1Sam 20:15-17, 23, 42. Just as David swore never to cut off his lovingkindness from Jonathan and his descendants forever, so G-d has sworn to never to foresake His people. See Dt 31:6, Pr 18:24, Mt 28:19-20, and Heb 13:5. Sadly, the parallels don’t end there. Just as we too often repay G-d’s faithful lovingkindness with perfidy, so Mephibosheth repaid David’s lovingkindness with disloyalty (2Sam 16:1-4) in the vain hope Saul’s dynasty would be restored.

Michael Scaman

Ithbosheth means 'man of shame and humility' When he was crowned would be King 'man of shame'? Mephibosheth is the opposite means exterminator of shame or scatters shame (Also Mephiboshen was said to be in a place of "Lo Debar" literally nothing . Did he name that himself out of despair or did the writer do it for emphasis? ) Before, Davidi was the one on the run, in hiding. Now it's Saul's son Ishbosheth (aka man of shame and humility) . His two raiding men were not faithful to him, put their thumbs in the air and changed jerseys form team Saul to team David or so they thought killing Ishbosheth hoping to get favor from David. David does not like this way of removing opposing family of David at all who executed them. No one left of Saul to oppose David as King and only one relative for David to uphold his promises to Jonathon for and it is the handicapped Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth represents us in some ways.. He was in 'Lo bebar' which is literally no thing ... nothing... He had nothing and was elevated to the King's household and table. His shame was scattered by David's loyal lovingkindness to Jonathon.

Michael Scaman

Lots of irony. David's kept promise to Jonathan and Mephibesheth stands in contrast with broken promises to the Gibeonites Saul dies in a battle near Gibeon. Saul harmed and killed many Gibeonites driving them from their city which was just 9 miles north of Jerusalem. The Gibeonites were pledged to serve the taberbnacle from the time of Joshua, hauling water and cutting wood as servants of Israel. God will later send a drought because of the injustice. Fitting because the Gibonites were servants who brought buckets of water for the tabernacle and their massacre led God to send a drought water crisis. Mt Zion being from a root word for thirst and dry (Mt drought) reminds us how important water was there. David will deliver 7 relatives of Saul to the Gibeonites but spare Mephibosheth the son of Jonathon. Ishboshth's two servants mercenaries who turned on him were from a former Gibeonite city where the Gibeonites were killed or forced out. People disagree if they were the original native Gibeoites or Jews that replaced them. Ishbothesh's unfaithful servants stand in contrast to David's 600 men who stood with him in the face of adversity

Greg Jones

Great connection on looking for the details. Another detail I notice here is how there is a change in the narrative between V6 and V7. V6-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. V7-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. That’s the same event being described two different ways by the same source. Investigators would call this a suspect changing his story. Most Bible scholars call it a seam. A seam in scripture is considered a place where two sources are blended together. The sources could have been written sources or oral traditions. Another type of seam can be different details are added onto or into an existing story. If this is a seam I would say it fits the description of the latter. Some scholars find any mention of these kinds of seams within the narrative offensive. I get where a disagreement comes from. I don’t think the suggestion should be a reason for offense. Looking at a seam in two books. 1 Kings 8 describes Solomon’s dedication of the temple and a dedication prayer. 1 Kings 9 because the Lord has heard Solomon prayer he appears to him and the dialogue is recorded for us. 2 Chronicles 7 roughly, “chronicles” the end of 1 Kings 8 and into 1 Kings 9. 2 Chronicles 7:14, a well recited verse, and verses surrounding it (7:13-16) are sown into and added to the dialogue found in I Kings 9 between verses 3&4. In 1 Kings Solomon primarily carries the weight of Gods relationship to Israel. The fate of the people rest in the leaders hand. Yesterday in a comical way we saw how Joab called off a pursuit after all his men had quit pursuing. It lead to a change in fate for hundreds of men. Later Joab through a ruse kills Abner. Joab had a thing against Abner that thing influenced his men, until it didn’t. When it didn’t, it influenced Joab to call off the pursuit. In that you can hear a positive echo of if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 In todays chapter Baanah and Rekab quit following Ish-Bosheth and bring his head to David claiming this is what the Lord has done. In contrast where the actions of Joab’s men saved lives, the actions of Baanah and Rekab lead to a death. And in this story you can hear a negative echo of 2 Chronicles 7:14. Just a thought.

Sue Bohlin

Thanks, David. And here we are introduced to Jonathan's son Mephibosheth (my Bible buddy--God allowed both of us to be crippled so He could show off through us), to whom David will demonstrate a breathtaking degree of grace in chapter 9. I appreciate Dr. Constable's commentary on David's compartmentalization of his work/family imbalance: "Note David’s inconsistency in his dealings with Ish-bosheth’s murderers and Abner’s murderer, David’s nephew Joab. David succeeded at work, but he failed at home. He did not deal with the members of his own family as he should have, but he was more careful to manage the affairs of his government properly. The home, not one’s work, is the proving ground for church leadership. This is because the church is, or should be, more like a family than a business (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:1-2)."

Amy Lowther

1. I have a job by God to be the best Amy I am made to be. I have a job in sales in the business world to make lots of money. By finding the balance of the two jobs as God would prefer it, I will be able to more deeply pursue God’s rescue story. 2. The Lord redeems me when I am tired and stressed to believe in myself, in others, and in opportunities. 3. Currently, I trust God and I am not trying to overpower Him. 4. I woke up and prayed to God this day and everything in it was His.