It’s been six days, and I think I’m in a healthier place. I only want to scream profanity like a wounded pirate and flip people off every OTHER moment, so yea! Progress!
So David is still crying out wishing that he had died instead of Absalom and the people who fought, bled, and almost died for him feel like crap. So they start to drift away from the camp and Joab rightly points out that David’s being stupid by mourning so much in public.
Joab: Hey, man, we bled for you to save your life and you just wish you had died instead of the enemy? Fix this or you won’t have an army or a kingdom by sundown.
So David goes and sits in the city gate, which is where the elders would rule and judge disputes and everyone rallies back to David.
But politically, there’s still division with everyone arguing and David reaches out to the commander of Absalom’s army and the elders of Judah.
David: Hey, we’re kin. Why are you the last one to acknowledge my authority? I’ll make Amasa commander of my army in place of Joab.
Which… come on, I realize he’s probably pissed at Joab, but Joab’s been his guy from day one.
Judah accepts his terms and tells him to come home, so he does. And everyone comes out to meet him. Including Shimei, the guy who cursed him and threw rocks at him.
Shimei: Oh, man… my bad… but in my defense, I totally thought you were going to die.
Abishai: He did curse the Lord’s anointed. He should die.
David: You and Joab suck. No one’s dying today.
Mephibosheth also comes to meet him.
David: Why didn’t you come with me?
Meph: That guy you made work my land and give me the profits of it? He lied to me and came down and lied to you.
David: Ugh… fine, whatever. You and he can split your lands.
Meph: He can have them all. I’m just glad you’re home.
David keeps settling accounts, but right after that, David has to deal with another rebellion, as a conflict breaks out between the tribe of Judah and the other tribes over who likes David best and where the king should spend most of his time, I guess?
So a guy named Sheba convinces the people to rebel… AGAIN, and I’m starting to think David might not have been a very good king, or possibly that we’re all stupid and will listen to any loudmouthed demagogue who promises to make the country great again. I’m sorry… still having trouble with that…
So David comes to his palace and takes the sex slaves he had left in charge and basically puts them under house arrest, feeding them, but no longer having sex with them since they had rape cooties on them, I guess. And I’m starting to think David’s not a great guy…
David: Alright, General Amasa, assemble the army and be here in three days. We’ve got another rebellion to put down.
Amasa: Sure, man, like whatever… three…. Five… ten days, we’ll be here…
But three days pass and he’s not there. Still think it’s a good idea to put the losing general in charge of your army, David? So David turns to Abishai and tells him to take the army and go hunt down Sheba before he can fortify his position.
So Joab and the troops go down to find and kill Sheba, and Amasa finally gets around to meeting them on the way. Joab walks over to him, grabs by the beard and guts him, leaving him lying in the middle of the road wallowing around in his own blood, gore, and intestines. Then Joab tries to rally the men, but they’re busy watching their previous general slowly bleed out and die in his own guts, so Joab thoughtfully throws a sheet over him and throws him into a neighboring field.
Joab: Anyone else have an objection to my being in charge?
Surprisingly, no one did, and they pursued Sheba. Sheba comes to a walled city and hides there and the army besieges it. They’re busy trying to breach the walls, when a woman calls out and asks to speak to Joab.
Joab: What’s up?
Wise woman: Why are you attacking us when we’ve done you no wrong?
Joab: I had no intention of harming the innocent, but a rebel named Sheba is hiding there. Deliver him up and we’ll leave.
Wise woman: Cool. His head will be thrown over the wall.
So the people of the city find him, cut off Sheba’s head and throw it over to Joab. Joab returns with the army to Jerusalem.
Okay, woooo…. This chapter…
So there’s a famine for three years. People are desperate, maybe some are dying of starvation. And David seeks the advice of God.
God: It’s because Saul killed some of the Gibeonites.
David: Oh, that’s good to know. So, God, why did you wait so long before punishing us? I’ve been king now for decades and you could have punished the country back when Saul was in charge. Heck, you could have punished just Saul and killed him or given him itchy boils or something… Why wait until I’m in charge when I had nothing to do with the sin?
God: I don’t see your point.
David: Alright, hey Gibeonites? What’ll make you guys feel better for Saul being a giant tool?
Gibeonites: We’re good, really.
David: Seriously, just ask for something so we can appease God before He kills us all.
Gibeonites: Okay, send us seven men from Saul’s house and we’ll hang them.
David: Okay, so seven innocent men will be used as a human sacrifice to appease an angry God? Fine.
So David hands over seven men from Saul’s family to be hanged as human sacrifices to appease an angry God. And God is pleased with the innocent human sacrifices.
This is a book of morals, people…
But the mother of two of the men David had made into human sacrifices wasn’t happy and spent weeks out in the fields keeping the birds away from her sons and their cousins, until David was guilted into burying them with honors.
I realize apologists will say that the men probably deserved to die, but there’s nothing in the text to support that. There was a natural disaster, an angry God, and then a demand to put humans to death to appease him.
Then there’s war with the Philistines again. David almost dies, but Abishai saves his life, and the army tells David, “You’re not coming to fight with us anymore. We can’t afford to lose you.”
There was war again and again and again, and in one such war, a man named Elhanan killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. Thus we have the well-known story of Elhanan and Goliath that you probably heard about in Sunday School.
Oh, you heard about David and Goliath? Right… cause we already covered that story… well, uh… this is awkward then…we should probably just ignore this verse and all of its implications and continue reading… there was a giant with six fingers on his hands… yeah, so that’s interesting, right? Stop asking questions about who killed Goliath!