Tuesday, September 13, 2011
So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 20:2
David gets very little relief from the civil war trauma in Israel. No sooner does he end one rebellion than a new one arises. Again a Benjamite gives David trouble. Sheba manages to lead away the armies of most of Israel in a short-lived rebellion. While David should be attending to restorative duties, he is forced to continue to wage a war at home against his own people.
David hopes to quickly control this insurrection. He dispatches his new "head general", Amasa (a political move since he came from the armies of the northern tribes), to rally the Judean army in three days time. But Amasa fails to achieve this task by the due date. David then appoints Abishai, the brother of his demoted general Joab, to finish the task. That sets in motion more of Joab's reckless bloodthirsty cruelty. Taking matters into his own hands and without the authority of the king's orders, Joab tracks down Amasa and murders him in full site of the armies of David. He then assumes command of the forces and chases down the rebel Sheba, who is now defensiviely holed up in the fortified Israeli city of Abel.
Joab lays seige against a leading Israelite city, threatening great loss of life and destruction to get his man. A wise woman of the city negotiates with Joab at the wall of the city. By the end of that day the city leaders toss the head of Sheba over the wall and Joab is satisfied. He gets what he wants by any means necessary.
Horrible things happen in war time.This is evident by what we see occurring at the hands of Joab. Ideally, Amasa should have been relieved of his command by David. But Joab seized control quickly by violence. Eventually David would never forgive this of Joab. He is a powerful general, but ruthless, because he is a morally weak person. He is more of a gangster than a real leader. Yet even in the messiness of human sinful actions in war, God protected David and delivered Israel back over to David's leadership. The real picture is God's sovereign control over all these wild and wrong political and military actions. Not even the worst sins that people commit against one another can thwart the plan and power of God. No human rebellion will succeed against God's rulership.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13