2 Samuel: Tying up loose ends, pt 1

2 Samuel 3:1ā€“30

Politics. Politics. Politics.

Here’s an interesting thought: God is present and at work in the midst of human corruption and ploys for power.

It could be very easy for us to get bogged down by the details in a passage like this. Let’s keep the end in mind. This chapter and the one following detail the earliest threats to David’s throne, and the writer wants to convince us that David handles the whole situation honorably and with integrity.

Succession is a messy thing. Living in America in the 21st century, I can easily forget this. Here, we have an election. The cable news talking heads work themselves into a frenzy, but in the end, nobody dies. This a relatively new concept in history. In the ancient world, if you didn’t like the king, you arranged to have him murdered and you took over.

At the end of the film The Godfather, there’s a bloody, violent scene where Michael Corleone eliminates one-by-one the leaders of each of the rival mafia families in order to establish his role as the new leader.

The biblical writer is going to great lengths to show us that David is not like that.

Here is our cast of characters:

David: God’s choice as king.

Ish-bosheth: Saul’s son, who has been made king of Israel by Saul’s general.

Joab: David’s general. His brother was killed in battle (see chapter 2) by Abner. He has a score to settle.

Abner: Ish-bosheth’s general. While the writer doesn’t come right out and say it, it appears Abner is manipulating Ish-bosheth. The accusation of taking one of Saul’s concubines is a gossipy detail straight from the tabloids that would have been taken to mean that Abner was assuming Saul’s kingly authority and an act of treason against Ish-bosheth. Abner knows how to play the politics game.

Abner is the central character in this chapter. Perhaps one thing he shows us is that ambition to be important and influential, without God, comes to a bad end.

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About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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