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3rd April

2 Samuel 22-24; Psalm 93

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
3rd April

2 Samuel 22-24; Psalm 93

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Samuel, we've read through the rise of Samuel, Saul, and David, and then Samuel and Saul's deaths. Samuel was born to Hannah, who gave him over to the priest Eli to server in the Tabernacle. Samuel grew up in God's presence and grew in favour with God, while Eli's own sons and the rest of Israel were disobedient and rebellious. Samuel stepped up to fill the gap and led the Israelites to repentance before defeating the Philistines, giving the Israelites a new era of peace.

But as Samuel got older, the Israelites did not want his sons leading them, so they asked Samuel for a king. Samuel warned them that this king would oppress them, but they weren't interested. So Samuel gives them what they want and appoints a young man named Saul to be king. Saul started off okay, but things quickly turned south. He offered sacrifices himself when he wasn't meant to and he made foolish and impulsive decisions that impacted his people negatively.

So Samuel found a new king. A young shepherd boy, David. When Samuel anointed him, the spirit of God left Saul and settled on David. We saw as David grew in favour with the people and with Saul's children, while Saul became unhinged by jealousy, wanting to kill David. Eventually, David fled from Saul's court, fearing for his life.. But David continued to grow in favour while on the run, gathering men around him who looked to him for leadership. And in it all, David was committed to being obedient, refusing to kill Saul when he had the chance.

Saul finally died in battle against the Philistines and David was made king, but only of Judah. The rest of Israel chose one of Saul's sons as king. This led to a civil war as the two kingdoms fought it out. David's commander, Joab, showed himself to be manipulative and violent, killing the enemy commander Aber in cold blood after he had made peace. But David didn't punish him for his behaviour. We read as David won the civil war, defeated the Philistines, claimed Jerusalem as the capital city, and reclaimed the Ark of the Covenant. But cracks started to show with David taking many wives for himself and his wife Michael despising him.

David then had an affair with a married woman and then killed off her husband. The prophet Nathan pronounces God's judgement on David. While God forgave David, the consequences of this are that someone is going to rise up against David and claim his wives as David claimed this Bathsheba. That someone was one of David's own sons, Absalom, who rose up and set himself as king against David, causing David to flee. David's men went to battle with Absalom's men, defeating them. Joab then killed Absalom. Then yesterday we read as David won back the support of some key advisors, returned to the throne and defeated a second claim to the throne. 

We then moved into the epilogue where we reflected on Saul and David’s reigns. We read about the Gibeonites who Saul treated badly but David treated justly. Then we looked at David and men’s defeat of the Philistines and the last of the giants (likely descendants of Nephilim).

2 Samuel 22-24

As we come to the last chapters of 1-2 Samuel, we read of David's poem to God and his last words. We read of some of the exploits of his 'mighty men' and then we end on a story of David taking a census of how many people are in Israel and then get punished for it. It's very strange. So let's have a look.

The poem David writes can be split into two parts; the first is about deliverance and the second is about victory. The first part (2 Samuel 22:1-25) is David declaring the goodness of God and then admitting that he's in a difficult place and asking God to save him. He speaks of how powerful God is and then of how God rescued him because he has been faithful.

David's focus then switches to victory (2 Samuel 22:26-51). He starts on how good God is and continues by talking about how powerful God is; there is no one like him. He goes on to say how God equips his people for battle and then gives them victory, before ending with praise.

Poems like this and the psalms can be useful models to us on how we should pray. Often it's useful to look at the structure of the poem, and what kinds of thing the writer talks about in what order. We can learn as much from the structure of these psalms as we can from the specific words they say.

After David's poem comes his final words, in the shape of another, much smaller, poem. This one is short and simple. David talks about the ideal mindset of a king. He is someone who is committed to God, so that God can use him to reign over his people in a good way, like light from the sun brings life and joy to the earth while reigning over it.

Moving closer to the end of the book, the writer takes some time to honour some of the key soldiers that fought under David. First are the big three; Josheb-basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah. Each of these men at one time or another killed hundreds of men on their own.

There was one time when David was on the run where he desperately wanted a drink from a specific well in his hometown of Bethlehem. Overhearing this the 3 men thought their way into this town, got him a bucket of water from the well, and brought it back to David.

David realised what these men risked getting him this drink. Because of this, he chose to pour it out to God. To us, this may seem really ungrateful, but this wasn't just David pouring the water on the floor. He would have made a big deal of offering it to God. He was telling his men that their sacrifice was worthy of God. We then get a few more specific soldiers and their stories told, and then the rest of David's mighty men are listed.

And finally, we end on this weird story of David starting a census that ended up bringing a plague on the people. It seems a strange story until you look at the wider picture of this last section of the book.

In 2 Samuel 21, we read how Saul had made a foolish mistake treating the Gibeonites poorly. It brought judgement against the people of Israel and David was the one that fixed it. Here we see David making a foolish decision that ended up bringing judgement on the people of Israel, but David is once again the one to fix it.

Back in Exodus 30:11-16 we got instructions on how to take a census. The key thing was that each person mentioned in the census should give half a shekel. It may be that the idea was the census was costly, so leaders only did censuses when it was important. Not to just inflate their ego. It specifically mentions in Exodus 30 that this is to avoid a plague. Presumably then David didn’t do this properly.

When God gave him the options, he purposely chose the one that would cause the shortest amount of time suffering for the people, and because of David's willingness to repent, God ends up cutting the judgement short. The book then ends with David making an offering to God and God ending the plague.

The moral of the story? David is a man that makes mistakes, but he is always willing to clean up his mistakes and God continues to be with him because of this. It's still a strange end to a book, but it sends a fitting message.

Yes, humanity is broken. But we're no longer in as bad a place as at the end of judges. God's leaders are always going to mess up, but as long as they stay humble and committed to God, God will be with them. And we know that God has promised David his descendants will be king forever, so we have hope that the next king and the kings after him will learn from David's mistakes and be better kings than he was.

Psalm 93

This psalm isn’t attributed to anyone and falls into the category of praise psalms. It’s part of a short collection of psalms (Psalm 93-99) that focus on God as king.

Psalm 93:1-2 - God’s throne and reign

Psalm 93:3-4 - God is mightier than the waters

Psalm 93:5 - God’s house is holy and trustworthy

The psalmist starts by asserting God's reigns. He is robed like a king. All the world has been established by him, and he sits upon an eternal throne.

The psalmist then asserts God’s authority over the chaotic water. The floods of chaos and the mighty seas rage. But God is mightier than them all.

Finally, the psalmist focuses on what God has established. His decrees are trustworthy, and his house, where all should seek to dwell, is holy.

The psalm is short and sweet. God is king over all who brings stability and confidence with his reign.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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