2 Samuel 16: Wisdom and Folly

When we read chapter 16, we see the fall of David even further, the focus now being on the house of Saul cursing David – from Ziba the servant of Saul, deceiving David that Mephibosheth the son of Saul had slandered the root of Jesse (v.1-4), to Shimei who is a loyal man of the family of Saul (v.5), stoning David and his mighty men as mentioned in chapter 15.  Yet, note his ironic words:

(8) The LORD has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”

And these words sum up the purpose of the LORD in portraying David as the rejected king – finally fulfilling what he had always been.  The one rejected when Saul was elected (by men); the one rejected when no one else stood up for Israel.  His enthronement is almost as speedy as his dethronement (from 2 Samuel 5 to 2 Samuel 14), almost as if to confirm that he is but a shadow of the One whose kingdom is eternal (2 Samuel 7:11 – the LORD speaking through Nathan of the Father and the Son working together for David’s house; v.12 shows that the sonship of the eternal Anointed and Chosen Son of God is confirmed through His ascension, though already confirmed preceding the creation of the world in John 17).  What we finally find here, is a consolidation of all that rejection onto the man David – although he was the anointed one chosen by the LORD (1 Samuel 16).  It is here that we must stop and perceive that this is the Father’s plan, for the Chosen and Anointed Son to be rejected in his life, and in his exile, though this rejection is but to last until chapter 19 upon David’s return and an entire reversal of the events of chapter 16.  His election therefore culminates in his death as rejected sinner; so our election in Christ culminates in our baptism into His death, but also resurrection into His life (Colossians 2:12).  Note also David’s response, which is very different from his response to Nabal whom was interceded by Abigail his wife and mediator between her foolish husband and David (1 Samuel 25:13-30).

(10) But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?'” (11) And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. (12) It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.”

Yet, in the midst of such rejection, we see the firstfruit of the LORD’s restoration to also happen through David and his friendships.  Note how Hushai the Archite has been three times referred to as David’s friend in v.16-17, so much that even Absalom calls him as such.  It is here that we must carefully read Hushai’s words in v.18 to Absalom – “

“No, for whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain…”

Although Hushai goes on in v.19 to say that he shall serve Absalom, there is a twang of irony in v.18 in contrast to Absalom’s arrogance in chapter 15.  Where in the beginning of the previous chapter, Absalom had dreamed of being a just king and judge of Israel, here Hushai is mocking Absalom by sarcastically referring him as the one “whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen”; however, Hushai does not deny his friendship with David, though this friendship is the very reason why he believes David is the one whom the LORD has primarily chosen.  Hushai, like Ittai, and soon enough like Ziba, Mephibosheth and Shimei, are all ones who may utter these predictive words of Hushai.  “His I will be, and with him I will remain” (v.18b).

Mark this comparison with Absalom’s lack of friendship with a man like Hushai, let alone with the loyalty of the Israelites.  Note also the string of different tribes coming to David, though exiled, compared with Absalom who commanded only the loyalty of the fickle Israelites – though the chosen race, they have forsaken their elect purpose of looking to the Promised Seed.  Therefore, it surprises us not that Absalom relies on the counsel of the brother of folly, Ahithophel.  It is by the counsel of folly (Proverbs 9:13) that Absalom went in to his father’s concubines, the concubines who were to keep the house of David (2 Samuel 15:16).  This house of Christ is utterly raped from the inside out, to see the graphic extent of the Father’s rejection of Christ – all stemming from the words of folly, misinterpreted as the word of God.  By God’s grace, the death of Christ in his exile is not to remain forever, but that he should resurrect on the third day just as David is to be restored in the pattern of Christ’s re-birth.

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2 Samuel 16: Wisdom and Folly

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