2 Samuel 20 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Loyalty – it’s showing faithfulness to our commitments, vows or an allegiance to someone or a cause.
The political scene is difficult. A man named Sheba effectively drew the 10 tribes further in their distance from supporting David being reinstated over them. His rebellion caused David to act strongly in tapping this down. Joab being overlooked in leading the troops this time (which is fascinating) David places another in leadership. His slowness to act results in his murder by Joab’s hands. Taking charge, they find Sheba holed up in a city where a woman intercedes on behalf of the people, and in turn, they as a city cut off Sheba’s head and toss it over the wall. The revolt is over.
The 10 tribes had argued with Judah over who was a greater supporter of David in the previous chapter. Yet, their response reveals their words were just lip service as they backed the treachery of Sheba. In all this, Judah remained loyal to David. Their support is astounding and wonderful.
There is much to be said in this day and age about loyalty. So many things come and go, many things press in upon us. As the world has become more anti-Christian, it can be a temptation to neglect the things we stand for, the loyalty to our own King. We slip here and there, we fail in our commitment and all too many times take the easier route not to be left standing alone on some matter.
But our loyalty to Jesus is of utmost importance. We must have the Holy Spirit directing our resolve and determination to follow no matter what. As the tribe of Judah stood alone, many times so do we. We want to take the easy route and not deal with the effects of such loyalty to Him.
Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, 3 diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.Ephesians 4:1-3 HCSB
As one commentator wrote, we don’t make the unity of the Spirit, we keep the unity of the Spirit.
Just as Judah was loyal to David, in the same way, we must remain loyal to Jesus despite the mocking and hardship. Even when our own desires rise up, the battles of which we wage continually, our loyalty is so important. And yes, even when we go through the hard times, those aspects when He seems so distant to our requests, our needs – our loyalty to our King matters.
2 Samuel 20 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Concubines, intestines, and a severed head being thrown over a wall! This chapter is not for the faint of heart. Coming off the heels of a civil war, David is drawn back in. At the end of 2 Samuel 19, there were glimpses of a dispute brewing. Here in 2 Samuel 20, we read of a man named Sheba who successfully managed to pull the 10 tribes of Israel away from David’s kingdom.
However, before we get into that, why did David go back to Jerusalem and put his 10 concubines under watch? This was a sad and direct result of both David and Absalom’s sin. David should not have taken them as concubines in the first place, and if you remember, Absalom raped these women on the roof in plain sight of all of Israel. Because of that fact, David would have been viewed as detestable if he were to become intimate with them after they had been defiled by Absalom. It is a horrific ending to their lives, but David, in mercy, makes sure all their needs are provided for.
“He could not well divorce them; he could not punish them, as they were not in the transgression; he could no more be familiar with them, because they had been defiled by his son; and to have married them to other men might have been dangerous to the state: therefore he shut them up and fed them – made them quite comfortable, and they continued as widows to their death.”Adam Clarke
Now, let’s get back to the action. In the previous chapter, David demoted Joab and promoted Amasa to the position of commander. As we find out here in 2 Samuel 20, Amasa was not a great military leader. David gave him an order and he failed to follow through. Whether it was because of jealousy, weakness, or loyalty we do not know, but Joab felt it was necessary to end Amasa’s life.
In Eastern culture, it is customary to greet a man by kissing his beard. Joab pretended to do this while driving a dagger through Amasa’s stomach, ripping out his bowels. Unfortunately, this is the way Joab operated. He was so bold as to murder the army commander in front of his soldiers and those men then turned around and immediately followed Joab!
From there, Sheba was next on the list. But David’s army would not capture him. The people inside the city feared David’s army and they turned on Sheba, cutting off his head and throwing it over the wall to satisfy Joab and his men. This inflammatory feud between the tribes of Israel and the tribe of Judah foreshadows what we will see later when the nation is shattered into two factions led by different kings.