When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to care for the palace, and he placed them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but he no longer slept with them. They were confined until the day of their death, living as widows.
2 Samuel 20:1-3. - (GILGAL.)
"We have no part in David,
I. IT AROSE OUT OF AN EVIL DISPOSITION INDULGED BY THE PEOPLE. They were:
1. Discontented with the government of David; the restlessness, lawlessness, and ungodliness which they displayed in joining Absalom's revolt were only partial? corrected by recent chastisement (2 Samuel 19:9, 10); their complaint to the king concerning the conduct of "the men of Judah" (ver. 41) was due more to regard for their own honour than zeal for his; and was an indirect expression of their dissatisfaction at the disrespect which he bad shown toward them, for "very probably it had been learned that he had a hand in the movement."
2. Contentious in their treatment of their "brethren;" ready to find occasion of offence "because of envy" and ill will; their auger being increased by the proud and contemptuous bearing of the latter. Whatever may have been the motives of the men of Judah in their recent action, they were now as blamable as the men of Israel; each party sought to exalt itself and depreciate the other; and "the words of the men of Judah were more violent than the words of the men of Israel" (ver. 43). "Grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1, 18; Proverbs 25:15; Proverbs 29:22). How differently had Gideon spoken to the men of Ephraim under similar circumstances (Judges 8:1-3)!
3. Self-blinded. Indifferent to their true interests, without proper self-control, liable to surrender themselves to the guidance of an ambitious leader, and prepared for open rebellion. Having violated the spirit of unity, they were ready to destroy the formal union of the tribes, which it had cost so much to bring about, and on which their strength and prosperity so much depended. "Where jealousy and. faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed" (James 3:16; James 4:1, 11).
II. IT WAS INSTIGATED BY A WORTHLESS LEADER, "A man of Belial, a Benjamite" (like Shimei, 2 Samuel 16:11); "a man of the mountains of Ephraim" (ver. 21); who probably took an active part in the late rebellion, and had numerous dependents. "He was one of the great rogues of the high nobility, who had a large retinue among the people, and consideration or name, as Cataline at Rome" (Luther).
1. The worst (as well as the best) elements of a people find their chief embodiment in some one man, who is the product of the prevailing spirit of his time, and adapted to be its leader.
"Avarice, envy, pride,
2. Such a man clearly perceives the popular feeling and tendency, with which he sympathizes, and finds therein his opportunity for effecting his own purposes. The design of Sheba was, doubtless, to become head of a new combination of the northern tribes.
3. He seizes a suitable moment for raising his seditious cry; and, instead of quenching the sparks of discord, kindles them into a blaze. "They claim David as their own. Let them have him. We disclaim him altogether. The son of Jesse! Let every man cast off his yoke, return home, and unite with me in securing liberty, equality, and fraternity!" What at another time would have been without effect, is now irresistible with the people. Nothing is more unstable than a multitude; one day crying, "Hosanna!" another, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!"
III. IT ATTAINED A DANGEROUS MAGNITUDE. "And all the men of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri" (ver. 2); "Now will Sheba do us more harm than Absalom" (ver. 6). The insurrection:
1. Was joined in by great numbers of the people.
2. Spread over the greater portion of the country. "He went through all the tribes of Israel," rousing them to action, and gaining possession of the fortified cities.
3. Threatened to produce a permanent disruption of the kingdom. "It was, in fact, all but an anticipation of the revolt of Jeroboam. It was not, as in the case of Absalom, a mere conflict between two factions in the court of Judah, but a struggle arising out of that conflict, on the part of the tribe of Benjamin to recover its lost ascendency" (Stanley). With what anxieties must it have filled the mind of the restored monarch! And how must it have led him to feel his dependence upon God! The influence for evil which one bad man sometimes exerts is enormous (Ecclesiastes 9:18). It is, nevertheless, limited; and, though it prevail for a season, it is at length "brought to nought" (Psalm 37:12, 20, 35-40).
IV. IT ENDED IN UTTER DISCOMFITURE. The first act of David, on arriving at Jerusalem, attended by the men of Judah, who "clave unto the king" (after setting his house in order, ver. 3), was to adopt energetic measures to put down the insurrection; and these succeeded (though in a different manner from what he expected).
1. Many who at first followed Sheba deserted him when they had time for reflection and saw the approach of the king's army; so that he found it necessary to seek safety in the far north.
2. He was beheaded by those among whom he sought refuge; and "rewarded according to his wickedness" (2 Samuel 3:39). "Evil pursueth sinners" (Proverbs 13:21; Proverbs 11:19).
3. All the people returned to their allegiance. "While to men's eyes the cooperation of many evil powers seems to endanger the kingdom of God to the utmost, and its affairs appear to be confused and disturbed in the unhappiest fashion, the wonderful working of the living God reveals itself most gloriously in the unravelment of the worst entanglements, and in the introduction of new and unexpected triumphs for his government" (Erdmann). - D.
They shall surely ask counsel at Abel.
I. THE ABEL OF EXPERIENCE. There is an Abel, a venerable city, called Experience; why not go down to the Abel of experience, take counsel there: and so settle the matter? Experience ought to go for something. Experience is man's account of life. He tells you where he has been, what he has done, how he has conducted himself, and what results have accrued from the policies and the processes which he has adopted. We ought to hear that man. We always think there is a shorter cut than he took. Every age think it could work the programme better than Solomon worked it. For a long period this must go on, but the day will come when experience will go for something, when grey hairs will be taken as the symbols of philosophy, when the wrinkled face will itself be a title to be heard on all the practical questions and issues of life.
II. THE ABEL OF TIME. Why not go to another aspect of this same experience, another corner of this same Abel, and consult Time? Why not admit Time to our counsels? Why leap at new theories? Why bristle up when the unpronouncable name of some lager-beer drinker is associated with some new mare's nest in the realm of letters and theology? How many theories have come and gone! Where are they? Gone with the lager-beer! When men come to you with new theories, you should say, We must test these, or see them tested by long time. The Cross — the weird, grim, ghastly Cross — is nineteen centuries old, and it lifts itself up to-day the symbol of universal life. As for these theories and inventions of yours, it is only right that we should see how they bear the stress and the sifting of time. In old time our fathers were wont to come to the Abel of the Bible; venerable men would say, To the law and to the testimony! Perhaps they had too narrow a way of referring to the scriptures; they might make too much of a chapter and a verse, they might not sufficiently compare Scripture with Scripture and get their souls into the very genius of Divine revelation as to speak Biblically rather than textually: but their principle was right. They said, We know nothing of God but what is revealed, we know nothing of the future but what is written in the Book, we know nothing about sin and about redemption except what we are told by the revelation of God, as we believe it to be: therefore let us go to:
III. THE ABEL OF THE BIBLE, take counsel, and so end the matter. I am here to say in my own name, as the result of my own searching and experience, that I can get no answers to the greatest problems of mind and time equal in largeness, in precision, in hopefulness, to the answers that are given in the Bible. There are other answers, but I have found none that can stretch themselves with ease and dignity over the whole space of necessity.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.).
PeopleAbel, Abiathar, Abishai, Absalom, Adoram, Ahilud, Amasa, Benaiah, Berites, Bichri, Bichrites, Cherethites, Dan, David, Gibeon, Ira, Jehoiada, Jehoshaphat, Jesse, Joab, Kerethites, Maacah, Pelethites, Sheva, Zadok
PlacesAbel-beth-maacah, Gibeon, Jerusalem, Jordan River
TopicsAlive, Care, Concubines, Confinement, Custody, David, Death, Didn't, Fed, Guard, Husband, Jerusalem, Kept, Lie, Maintained, Necessaries, Palace, Placed, Provided, Putteth, Returned, Shut, Sustaineth, Sustenance, Taketh, Ten, Till, Ward, Widowhood, Widows, Women, Women-concubines
Outline1. By occasion of the quarrel, Sheba rebels in Israel
3. David's ten concubines are put in confinement for life
4. Amasa, made captain over Judah, is slain by Joab
14. Joab pursues Sheba to Abel
16. A wise woman saves the city by Sheba's head
23. David's officers
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 20:3
LibraryAppendix 2 Extracts from the Babylon Talmud
Massecheth Berachoth, or Tractate on Benedictions  Mishnah--From what time is the "Shema" said in the evening? From the hour that the priests entered to eat of their therumah  until the end of the first night watch.  These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: Till midnight. Rabban Gamaliel says: Until the column of the morning (the dawn) rises. It happened, that his sons came back from a banquet. They said to him: "We have not said the Shema.'" He said to them, "If the column …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
The Sixth Commandment
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