2 Samuel 19 — Joab had a good point (vv. 5-7) but c’mon, the guy’s son was just killed. As much as Absalom should have been killed it couldn’t have been easy to take that news. And I can’t figure out if David’s grief was causing him to show more leniency and mercy than he should have, but it’s hard to disagree with Abishai when he called for Shimei’s death (v. 21 cf. 2 Sam. 16:9). Sure, Shimei came seeking forgiveness (vv. 18-20), but he also spoke falsely in the name of the LORD (2 Sam. 16:8), which was a no no (Deut. 18:22 cf. 13:1-3) and could even be punished by death (Zech. 13:3). But then again, if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6:14-15). It’s not like there hadn’t been division between the tribes before this, but vv. 41-43 seem to be the beginning of the split that would solidify after Solomon’s death.
2 Samuel 20 — I’m finding out that I really like Joab more than I realized.
2 Samuel 21 — Two major things in this chapter. First, David makes amends with the Gibeonites in order to stop the famine that has been going on for three years (vv. 1-9). They wanted the lives of seven of Saul’s descendants (v. 6). David spared Mephibosheth because of an oath (v. 7) but then seems to have randomly selected the seven (v. 8). I get that he wanted to stop the famine; I get that he wanted to right Saul’s wrong; but I don’t get his selection process. It would be nice to know that the seven he chose were all criminals or covenant breakers or something. But as it stands in the narrative, they just seem like random descendants of Saul. And what are we to make of them being hanged “before the LORD”? Does this simply mean something like “in his sight” or “with the LORD as a witness” or does it indicate something of a mock sacrifice? The second major thing in this chapter is yet another war with the Philistines (vv. 15-22). But the men of Israel seem to have more of David’s spirit than they had back when he was the only one man enough to face Goliath. Here we have Abishai (v. 17), Sibbecai (v. 18), Elhanan (v. 19), and Jonathan (v. 21) all killing giants without incident. I guess there’s something to be said about leading by example.