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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 10, 2024

 Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: II Samuel 19-21


II Samuel 20:10

But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So, Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.


In this one verse four primary men are mentioned (Bichri is only mentioned in relation to identifying his son Sheba). An understanding of who these men are can give the reader a better understanding of the underlying story lines of this portion of God’s Word. Let’s take a brief look at these four men, and a bonus one if space permits.


Joab. He was a man who only thought of himself. He was a great general, yes, for he won many great victories on the battlefield. He was loyal to David, yes, but only in relation to his own self-promotion. He was vindictive and ruthless and he oftentimes opposed David’s desires as king. He was quick to rebuke David and seemed to be the tail wagging the dog at times. He was completely absent of any relationship with God. He was also David’s nephew by his half-sister Zeruiah.


Amasa. This man was the general of Absalom’s dissident army. He attempted to overthrow David thereby making Absalom king. After the death of Absalom, David forgave Amasa and gave him a place of responsibility. Yet, Joab, probably through jealousy and spite, feigned closeness with Amasa and killed him in the same moment. This man was also a nephew of David through his half-sister Abigail.


Abishai. He was one of David’s mighty men. He slew 18,000 Edomites in the valley of salt (I Chronicles 18:12). He won many victories over the Philistines. He was the brother of Joab, the nephew of David by Zeruiah.


Sheba. This man was an opportunist of the first degree. After the death of Absalom, Sheba saw an opportunity to steal the throne away from David. He tried and failed. He was ultimately betrayed by his own, having his head cut off and presented to Joab. As far as antiquity knows, he was no relation to David, nor of a royal bloodline.


As a bonus note this: the Mephibosheth of 21:7 and 21:8 is not the same person. In verse 7 he was the son of Jonathan, the grandson of Saul. He was the man who was lame on his feet whom David showed kindness to because of David’s friendship to Jonathan and loyalty to Saul. This Mephibosheth pictures a repentant sinner and his relationship with Jesus Christ. He was made lame by a fall, the King remembered him because of a promise made; he was exalted before the king, he lived a life of self-denial, was persecuted and slandered, and rejoiced at the return of the king.


The Mephibosheth in verse 8 was a son of Saul by his concubine Rizpah who was one of the seven David gave to the Gibeonites in II Samuel 21:8.


May this overview help keep these great personages clear as we read of their exploits.


Dr. William T. Howe

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