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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (chapter 4) Criminal Vengeance!

Ish-Bosheth, one of Saul’s sons, the one whom Abner had made king over some of Israel, hears about Abner’s death. We are told of Rimmon the Beerothite‘s two sons Baanah and Rekab.

We are introduced to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, who was lame in both feet. He became disabled when news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths were learned by his nurse who fell and injured Mephibosheth when he was five.

Rekab and Baana go to Ish-Bosheth’s house in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. They stabbed him in the stomach and slipped away (v. 6), after cutting off his head. They bring the head to David at Hebron and boasted, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.” (v. 8).

But Rekab and Baanah don’t get the response from David that they expected. David says, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!” David orders their executions, has their hands and feet cut off and their bodies hung by the pool in Hebron. They took Ish-Bosheth’s head and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron (v. 12).

Some takeaways for me:
1. Incredibly evil actions are sometimes explained as actions directed by the Lord. Saul used such religious language several times. Rekab and Baanah describe their cowardly act of murdering Ish-Bosheth while he was taking a nap as “this day the Lord has avenged my lord the king!”
2. Even in wartime, there are lines that should not be crossed. David describes their action as wicked men killing an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed! David gives the order to execute them, to “rid the earth of you!” (v. 11).
3. Some today suggest that capital punishment is not useful as a deterrent. David did not hold that opinion (he publicly displays Rekab and Baanah’s bodies for all to see).

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2019 in 2 Samuel 4

 

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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel! (3:22-39) Vengeance!

We have a sad text before us this morning. Let’s notice what happens in the last section of 2 Samuel 3:
From our previous section, we learned that Abner had slept with one of Saul’s concubines and had been reprimanded by Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son, for doing so. Ish-Bosheth reigned over Israel as king for two years.

This reprimand infuriates Abner and he defects to David’s side and promises him the entire kingdom of Israel. They make an agreement (contingent upon Abner’s bringing Michal to David) and David provides a feast for Abner and his men.

In this section of 2 Samuel 3 we see that Joab, the commander of David’s men, returns from a raid and is incensed that David had sent Abner away in peace (v. 25).  Joab has Abner captured without David’s knowledge. Joab takes Abner aside into an inner chamber and kills him to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel (the swift runner).

David mourns Abner’s murder, proclaims himself and his kingdom innocent of the action, and calls down a curse on Abner and his family (“May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”) (v. 29).

The text tells us again why Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner. David has Joab and all the people with him mourn Abner’s death. The king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb and even sang a song of lament for Abner (v. 33). David fasted until sunset — which pleased the people who now knew that David had no part in the murder of Abner. David addresses his men and says that a great man has fallen in Israel this day, that he is weak, that the sons of Zeruiah (Joab, Abishai and Asahel) are too strong for him, and that the Lord would repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds (v. 39).

Some takeaways for me:
1. A longing for vengeance causes one to deceive, take matters into one’s own hands, and jeopardize one’s entire family. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord!
2. It is always right to mourn the wrongful death of another. David’s mourning (with fasting) shows that he had no part in Abner’s murder.
3. What is the place of calling down God’s curse on another person? David doesn’t hesitate to do so, but I know of no biblical commands for us to follow his example.
4. There is a transparency in David that is convicting. He admits that he is weak.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in 2 Samuel 3

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 109): Part 2

Psalm 109

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-6-58-42-am

My God, whom I praise,
    do not remain silent,
for people who are wicked and deceitful
    have opened their mouths against me;
    they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
    they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
    but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good,
    and hatred for my friendship.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
    and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few;
    may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
    may they be drive] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
    or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
    their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
    may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
    that he may blot out their name from the earth.

16 For he never thought of doing a kindness,
    but hounded to death the poor
    and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse—
    may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing
    may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment;
    it entered into his body like water,
    into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
    like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
    to those who speak evil of me.

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

26 Help me, Lord my God;
    save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
    that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
    may those who attack me be put to shame,
    but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
    and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in imprecatory Psalms

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 109): Part 1

Psalm 109

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-9-43-39-am

My God, whom I praise,
    do not remain silent,
for people who are wicked and deceitful
    have opened their mouths against me;
    they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
    they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
    but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good,
    and hatred for my friendship.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
    and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few;
    may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
    may they be drive] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
    or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
    their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
    may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
    that he may blot out their name from the earth.

16 For he never thought of doing a kindness,
    but hounded to death the poor
    and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse—
    may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing
    may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment;
    it entered into his body like water,
    into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
    like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
    to those who speak evil of me.

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

26 Help me, Lord my God;
    save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
    that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
    may those who attack me be put to shame,
    but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
    and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2017 in imprecatory Psalms

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 94)

Psalm 94

The Lord is a God who avenges.screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-6-59-20-am
    O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth;
    pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, Lord, will the wicked,
    how long will the wicked be jubilant?

They pour out arrogant words;
    all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, Lord;
    they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner;
    they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see;
    the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
    you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
    Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
    Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
    he knows that they are futile.

12 Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,
    the one you teach from your law;
13 you grant them relief from days of trouble,
    till a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not reject his people;
    he will never forsake his inheritance.
15 Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
    and all the upright in heart will follow it.

16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
    Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
17 Unless the Lord had given me help,
    I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

20 Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—
    a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
21 The wicked band together against the righteous
    and condemn the innocent to death.
22 But the Lord has become my fortress,
    and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
23 He will repay them for their sins
    and destroy them for their wickedness;
    the Lord our God will destroy them.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in judgment

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 58)

Psalm 58

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 6.19.37 AMOf David. A miktam.

Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
    Do you judge people with equity?
No, in your heart you devise injustice,
    and your hands mete out violence on the earth.

Even from birth the wicked go astray;
    from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
    like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
that will not heed the tune of the charmer,
    however skillful the enchanter may be.

Break the teeth in their mouths, O God;
    Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!
Let them vanish like water that flows away;
    when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.
May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along,
    like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.

Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—
    whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away.
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
    when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say,
    “Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
    surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2016 in evil

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 109)

Psalm 109

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 6.25.34 AM

My God, whom I praise,
    do not remain silent,
for people who are wicked and deceitful
    have opened their mouths against me;
    they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
    they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
    but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good,
    and hatred for my friendship.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
    and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few;
    may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 6.29.47 AM
    may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
    or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
    their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
    may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
    that he may blot out their name from the earth.

16 For he never thought of doing a kindness,
    but hounded to death the poor
    and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse—
    may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing
    may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment;
    it entered into his body like water,
    into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
    like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
    to those who speak evil of me.

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

26 Help me, Lord my God;
    save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
    that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
    may those who attack me be put to shame,
    but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
    and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 79)

Psalm 79

A psalm of Asaph.Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 6.25.26 AM

O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
    they have defiled your holy temple,
    they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
They have left the dead bodies of your servants
    as food for the birds of the sky,
    the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
They have poured out blood like water
    all around Jerusalem,
    and there is no one to bury the dead.
We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
    of scorn and derision to those around us.

How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?
    How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
Pour out your wrath on the nations
    that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
    that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob
    and devastated his homeland.

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
    may your mercy come quickly to meet us,Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 6.32.14 AM
    for we are in desperate need.
Help us, God our Savior,
    for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
    for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”

Before our eyes, make known among the nations
    that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
    with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
    the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
    we will proclaim your praise.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 41)

Psalm 41
For the director of music. A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 6.31.38 AM

1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
2 The Lord protects and preserves them—
they are counted among the blessed in the land—
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.

4 I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
5 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die and his name perish?”
6 When one of them comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it around.

7 All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
8 “A vile disease has afflicted him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
9 Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned[b] against me.

10 But may you have mercy on me, Lord;Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 6.33.26 AM
raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 Because of my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever.

13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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