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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 17

Verses 1-29

  1. INTRO:
    1. Mical told me she saw Rambo, our Doberman, burying a rib bone we gave him. [4th of July bbq!]
      1. I never saw him do that before. He doesn’t have a problem keeping them from our little cocker. We don’t take them away from him.
      2. Does he not realize that as long as he belongs to us he’ll be fed & given bones?
        1. I wonder if we often hoard what God gives us today, because we don’t trust Him to provide for our needs tomorrow.
        2. In this last part of ch.17 we will talk about God’s wonderful provisions for us.
    2. Where we left off: Absalom foolishly opted for the slow-moving attack against his father David. Which gave David time to escape & organize his forces at Mahanaim, east of the Jordan River.
  2. TWO ARMIES! (17:24-29)
    1. The Replacement! (24-26)
    2. (25) Absalom appoints Amasa to command the Israelite army in place of Joab.
      1. Amasa was David’s nephew & Joab’s cousin.
      2. How sad that son was fighting against father, uncle against nephew, cousin against cousin, & citizen against citizen.
    3. The Rendezvous! (27-29)
    4. (27) Mahanaim - “2 camps” (where Jacob split is family into 2 companies cuz Esau was coming)
      1. This is where Jacob saw the army of angels God had sent to protect him (Gen.32:1) but David had no such vision.
      2. However, God often uses human “angels” to help His servants; and this time it was Shobi, Machir, & Barzillai.
        1. They brought provisions to the king & his people & saw to it that they were adequately cared for.
        2. David could say, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Ps.23:5
          1. Some ask, Why don’t we see the supernatural at work as we did in biblical times?
        3. Maybe we’re not looking for it in the right places.
        4. Maybe it’s in the Shobi, Machir, & Barzillai’s he sends our way!
        5. Maybe there is a lot of supernatural happening, that looks too natural to us?
      3. Story: An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout "PRAISE THE LORD!" Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, "There ain't no Lord!!"

        Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for GOD to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted "PRAISE THE LORD. God I need food! I am having a har time. Please Lord, send me some groceries.”

        The next morning the lady went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD."

        The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, "I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn't."

        The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, "PRAISE THE LORD. He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them.
        1. ​​​​​​​God provides for His children, be assured!
        2. Hudson Taylor, Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply
  3. TWO MONUMENTS! (18:1-18)
    1. ​​​​​​​The Refusal! (1-4)
    2. David’s troops urge him not to lead them in battle, arguing that his life is worth 10,000 of theirs.
    3. (3) You are worth 10000 of us now - They loved their king too well to permit him to risk his life
      1. Basically meant, “There are 10,000 of us, but only 1 of you.”
      2. David accepted their decisions; he didn’t want to fight his son anyway.
    4. The Request! (5)
    5. But neither did David want the army to fight his son!
      1. Absalom had stood at the gate in Jerusalem & attacked his father; now David stood at the gate & instructed the soldiers to go easy on Absalom.
    6. On one hand...In David’s tender thought of his prodigal & rebellious son, we may clearly see God’s pitiful love towards us when we go astray!
      1. We may have been thoughtless & rebellious; defied His authority, & refused to give Him His rightful place & honor; & yet He gives charge concerning us.
    7. On the other hand...We can understand a father’s concern for his son but there can be no gentleness when it comes to dealing with sin.
      1. David was asking for love w/o justice; but with Joab it was justice w/o love!
        1. Only on the cross of Christ are love & justice both satisfied.
        2. Rom.8:32 He (who) did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.
    8. The Routing! (6-8)
    9. Facing the massive Israelite army, David’s troops chose to fight in the forest of Ephraim, a battle site that favored the smaller army.
    10. The Reprisal! (9-18)
    11. The Helpless Absalom! (9-10)
      1. Terebinth = oak tree. [I remember being about 10 yrs old & riding horses w/a friend. Last thing he said before we took off, “he will try to get you off his back, be careful”. Trying to keep up w/my friend on dirt trails; sharp turn my horse ran right under branches of a tree, laid me completely back in the saddle]
      2. God didn’t need a sword to stop the rebel Absalom; He simply used the branch of a tree!
      3. Note head, not hair. But...ironic, the very thing he was proud of (his hair; 14:25,26) turned out to assist in his death.
        1. Another example is Samson (Jud.16). Eliphaz said, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness, And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them. Job.5:13
    12. The Heartless Joab! (11-18)
      1. (11) Belt - a badge of authority, the mark of an officer.
      2. (17) A very large heap of stones - a deserved fate (Read Deut.21:18,21,22,23).
        1. He dies under God’s curse.
        2. Prov.10:7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
      3. (18) No son? - His 3 sons must have died in childhood.
    13. 2 Monuments:
      1. ​​​​​​​I had the privilege of going to the top of the, then, tallest building in the world a few years ago. It’s called the Taipei 101 Building (1,670’). [massive round damper]
        1. It was recently beat by the Burj Dubai Skyscraper (2,717’).
    14. This world’s full of monuments raised by good & bad. Some monuments of glory, others of shame.
      1. There have been monuments of human pride, like the tower of Babel, and the great city of Neb., & God who resists the proud, has laid them even with the dust.
      2. There have been monuments of human wickedness, like Sodom & Gomorrah, and God, who hates sin, has buried them beneath the fiery tempest of His wrath.
      3. There have been monuments of human obstinacy, like the deserted Temple of the Jews, where once God delighted to put His Name & to receive worship.
      4. There have been monuments of the great, the gifted, and the good. Like in the major cities of our world, their wonderful architecture in its civic buildings & Churches. There we see carved in stone & marble the glories of Poet & Painter, King & Priest, Statesman & Warrior.
    15. 1st Monument! (18)
      1. Both Saul(1 Sam.15:12) & Absalom set up monuments to their memory, but what do we remember about them?
        1. Monuments are established to remember someone or something! [not the 1 in Kidron Valley]
          1. A “memorial” or a “monument”(both from Latin, Reminder) helps us remember.
            1. Prov. 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark.
        2. What did Absalom want us all to remember about him?
        3. What do you want us to remember about you?
          1. Your success in business? Building an empire? How gifted you were in some sport?
          2. Or how about, How generous you were? How you loved God? How you loved others? How you cared for the destitute & hurting?
        4. How about seeing your children as your Monument(s) that you leave behind?
          1. Gene Edwards in his book “A Tale of Three Kings” said, “A gift is worn on the outer man; an inheritance is planted deep inside like a seed.”
    16. 2nd Monument! (17)
      1. Joab & his men built the true monument: a heap of stones over the dead body of a proud rebel.
    17. Application: The life you live is the monument you build!
      1. Shakespeare's tomb may perish, but Hamlet will live for ever.
      2. Among the many monuments and epitaphs in St. Paul's Cathedral, there is a simple tablet to the memory of him who built it (Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most highly acclaimed English architects), and on the stone are engraved the words in Latin, "If you seek his monument, look around you!"
        1. And as you gaze upon the grandeur and beauty of the vast Cathedral, you feel that indeed the work of the architect is his best monument. He needs no sculptured tomb, no gorgeous trappings, no flattering epitaph, to keep his memory green.
      3. When we die no one will raise a grand Monument over us; they will not carve our story upon marble tombs. And yet, we shall have our monument, we have it now, and we are building it ourselves each day we live.
        1. Yes, our life and our works are our monument, and it lasts for eternity.
          1. ​​​​​​​The good life stands like a fair carved memorial of white marble.
          2. The evil life stands too, like Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt, a monument of sin and disobedience.
        2. The palace of Caesar, the ivory house of Ahab, the gorgeous home of Pilate, have perished, but the loving tenderness of Ruth, the sweet ministry of Mary, and the holy affection of John the Apostle, stand as monuments before God which shall never perish or decay.
      4. Every piece of earnest work well done adds a something to our monument!
        1. No matter whether it be the building of a cathedral or a log hut, whether it be the making of a poem, or the making of a pair of boots, work well done, people well loved, the oppressed well cared for, leaves its mark, and builds our monument!
        2. Keep building Calvary Murrieta! Let’s leave our mark on our world.
    18. End Prayer: Lord we desire to leave our mark on our families, on our community, on our world.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 17". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-samuel-17.html. 2017.