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Chapter 20 

Rebellion of Sheba 

Sheba’s rebellion. (1-3): One trial arises after another for our good, till we reach the place where sin and sorrow are for ever done away.

Vs. 1&2…The people of 10 northern tribes were always conscious about their share, inheritance, and numbers. This time Judah was not part of the rebellion.

Amasa slain by Joab. (4-13):

V. 4…kind said to Amasa…This time David asked Amasa, whom he had appointed as commander in the place of Joab.

V. 5…delayed longer than the set time…But, being new, he could not gather the people of Judah to pursue Sheba in time.

V. 6…Abshai…Now, David turned to Abishai who was brother of Joab, his former commander. These brothers were able to work together to accomplish the task. Sheba…will do us more harm than Absalom…David, in fact, overestimated the strength of Sheba.

V. 8 …in Gibeon, Amasa cam before them…no reason is given for Amasa’s presence in Gibeon.

Vs. 9&10…Again, as in previous cases (Abner and Absalom), Joab killed Amasa. Amasa was his cousin.

Sheba takes refuge in Abel. (14-22)

Vs. 14 & 15…Besieged him in Abel of Beth Maachah… Joab located Sheba in Abel of Beth Maacha.

Vs. 16 – 21…a wise woman…Now the wise woman did not want them to destroy the important mother-city (v. 19).And Joab conveyed his intention was not to destroy the city but to capture Sheba, the rebel (V.20). The wise women fulfills her promise (v.21) to Joab to drop Sheba’s head from the city wall (v.22).

V. 22 … Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem… David did not punish Joab for the murder of Amasa (since Joab was still commander at the end of David’s reign; 1 Kings 1:19), but he did not forgive him either (1 Kings 2:5).

David’s officers. (23-26):

Here is the state of David’s court, after his restoration. It is well when able men are
appointed to discharge public duties. This list is somewhat similar to the one in 8:15-18.

Chapter 21

2 Samuel 21-14 are Concluding chapters of David’s history.

There are six sections arranged concentrically.

1. The first section deals with a drought,
2. David’s heroes,
3. Psalms of David,
4. Psalms of David,
5. David’s heroes,
6. The plague, the events lead to the purchase of the land on which Solomon would build the temple.

The Gibeonites avenged. (1-9):

Every affliction arises from sin, and should lead us to repent and humble ourselves before God; but some troubles especially show that they are sent to bring sin to remembrance… God often visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, and he gives no account of any matters. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin; nor can we build hopes of escape upon the delay of judgments. – Mathew Henry Commentary.

After the victories in Jericho and Ai in Joshua, Joshua 9 tells how the Gibeonites tricked the Israelites into guaranteeing their safety with an oath (Josh. 9:15). They were also called as Hivites in Josh 9:7.Because of his zeal, Saul had broken that oath and killed some Gibeonites. This incident is not recorded elsewhere,but Saul’s ability to act ruthlessly (though hardly out of zeal for Israel) is also shown in 1 Sam. 22:16–19.

Vs. 3 – 6: This apparently ignores the command in Deut. 24:16: “nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. However, the relief from the famine (21:14) does show that the payment was enough (and indeed more than enough).