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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 7, 2024

 Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: II Samuel 8-12

 

II Samuel 11:21

Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye night the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

 

Remember Abimelech, the bramble king, from Judges 9? About one hundred and forty years later, Joab, the great general of David’s army used the story of his death in a meaningful way. That bramble king was killed by a woman throwing a millstone off a high wall injuring Abimelech. He, not wanting his life to be ended by such an embarrassing event, told his armor bearer to kill him, which the armor bearer did.

 

Now, so many years later Joab used this story as an excuse for going close to the wall, an excuse that may be needed if his king (David) ranted about him getting close to a wall. After all, David may have thought that Joab should have learned from Abimelech’s death not to go close to the wall of an enemy city. Evidently, Joab believed that David would blame him for the loss of life of some of David’s soldiers. Obviously, Joab was a student of the history of wars, as probably was David. Joab, a general, should not make such an elementary mistake which resulted in unnecessary loss of life.

 

There is a lesson here. It is summed up in Romans 15:4. This verse has been quoted often in these Rēad to Read devotions so far this year, and will be used continually throughout. That verse states For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Joab could have learned about the dangers of approaching the high ground of an enemy from Abimelech. We can learn the same lesson also. Plus, we can learn the lesson of learning the lesson from history. After all, the old saying is true “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” 

 

There are many stories in the Old Testament. Stories of heroism, dastardly deeds, honor, betrayal, sin, and faithfulness. These all are recorded for our learning, that through their life stories, we may have patience, comfort and hope. This is why reading the Old Testament is so important. As difficult a task as that may be. But stay with it, we will get through it together.

 

Returning to David. Joab needed not to worry. David did not ask the messenger why Joab sent these men to the wall of the valiant enemy. Because the servant served up his “trump card” in his initial report, saying, …and there fell some of the people of the servants of David: and Uriah the Hittite died also. (II Samuel 11:24) It was David that ordered Joab to put Uriah in the hottest part of the battle. Uriah was a good man based on all Biblical accounts, but he had to die to cover up the sins of the king. He did die, but David’s sin was not covered. God displayed it for all to see. For the balance of the book of II Samuel, King David suffers heartbreak, difficulty, and one family failure after another, after another after another. All because he himself did not learn from history that sin always brings unintended consequences.

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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