2 Samuel 4:1-6:23; John 13:31-14:14; Psalms 119:17-32; Proverbs 15:31-32 (The Message)
2 Samuel 4-6
The Murder of Ish-Bosheth
4 Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, heard that Abner had died in Hebron. His heart sank. The whole country was shaken.
2-3 Ish-Bosheth had two men who were captains of raiding bands—one was named Baanah, the other Recab. They were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, a Benjaminite. (The people of Beeroth had been assigned to Benjamin ever since they escaped to Gittaim. They still live there as resident aliens.)
4 It so happened that Saul’s son, Jonathan, had a son who was maimed in both feet. When he was five years old, the report on Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and ran, but in her hurry to get away she fell, and the boy was maimed. His name was Mephibosheth.
5-7 One day Baanah and Recab, the two sons of Rimmon, headed out for the house of Ish-Bosheth. They arrived at the hottest time of the day, just as he was taking his afternoon nap. They entered the house on a ruse, pretending official business. The maid guarding the bedroom had fallen asleep, so Recab and Baanah slipped by her and entered the room where Ish-Bosheth was asleep on his bed. They killed him and then cut off his head, carrying it off as a trophy. They traveled all night long, taking the route through the Arabah Valley.
8 They presented the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron, telling the king, “Here’s the head of Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son, your enemy. He was out to kill you, but God has given vengeance to my master, the king—vengeance this very day on Saul and his children!”
9-11 David answered the brothers Recab and Baanah, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as God lives—the One who got me out of every trouble I’ve ever been in—when the messenger told me, ‘Good news! Saul is dead!’ supposing I’d be delighted, I arrested him and killed him on the spot in Ziklag. That’s what he got for his so-called good news! And now you show up—evil men who killed an innocent man in cold blood, a man asleep in his own house! Don’t think I won’t find you guilty of murder and rid the country of you!”
12 David then issued orders to his soldiers. They killed the two—chopped off their hands and feet, and hung the corpses at the pool in Hebron. But Ish-Bosheth’s head they took and buried in Abner’s tomb in Hebron.
5 1-2 Before long all the tribes of Israel approached David in Hebron and said, “Look at us—your own flesh and blood! In time past when Saul was our king, you were the one who really ran the country. Even then God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel and you’ll be the prince.’”
3 All the leaders of Israel met with King David at Hebron, and the king made a treaty with them in the presence of God. And so they anointed David king over Israel.
4-5 David was thirty years old when he became king, and ruled for forty years. In Hebron he ruled Judah for seven and a half years. In Jerusalem he ruled all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.
6 David and his men immediately set out for Jerusalem to take on the Jebusites, who lived in that country. But they said, “You might as well go home! Even the blind and the lame could keep you out. You can’t get in here!” They had convinced themselves that David couldn’t break through.
7-8 But David went right ahead and captured the fortress of Zion, known ever since as the City of David. That day David said, “To get the best of these Jebusites, one must target the water system, not to mention this so-called lame and blind bunch that David hates.” (In fact, he was so sick and tired of it, people coined the expression, “No lame and blind allowed in the palace.”)
9-10 David made the fortress city his home and named it “City of David.” He developed the city from the outside terraces inward. David proceeded with a longer stride, a larger embrace since the God-of-the-Angel-Armies was with him.
11-12 It was at this time that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, along with timbers of cedar. He also sent carpenters and masons to build a house for David. David took this as a sign that God had confirmed him as king of Israel, giving his kingship world prominence for the sake of Israel, his people.
13-16 David took on more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he left Hebron. And more sons and daughters were born to him. These are the names of those born to him in Jerusalem:
17-18 When the Philistines got word that David had been made king over all Israel, they came on the hunt for him. David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. When the Philistines arrived, they deployed their forces in Raphaim Valley.
19 Then David prayed to God: “Shall I go up and fight the Philistines? Will you help me beat them?”
20-21 “Go up,” God replied. “Count on me. I’ll help you beat them.”
David then went straight to Baal Perazim, and smashed them to pieces. Afterward David said, “God exploded on my enemies like a gush of water.” That’s why David named the place Baal Perazim (The-Master-Who-Explodes). The retreating Philistines dumped their idols, and David and his soldiers took them away.
22-23 Later there was a repeat performance. The Philistines came up again and deployed their troops in the Rephaim Valley. David again prayed to God.
23-24 This time God said, “Don’t attack them head-on. Instead, circle around behind them and ambush them from the grove of sacred trees. When you hear the sound of shuffling in the trees, get ready to move out. It’s a signal that God is going ahead of you to smash the Philistine camp.”
25 David did exactly what God told him. He routed the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
6 1-2 David mustered the pick of the troops of Israel—thirty divisions of them. Together with his soldiers, David headed for Baalah to recover the Chest of God, which was called by the Name God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who was enthroned over the pair of angels on the Chest.
3-7 They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were driving the new cart loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and grabbed the Chest of God. God blazed in anger against Uzzah and struck him hard because he had profaned the Chest. Uzzah died on the spot, right alongside the Chest.
8-11 Then David got angry because of God’s deadly outburst against Uzzah. That place is still called Perez Uzzah (The-Explosion-Against-Uzzah). David became fearful of God that day and said, “This Chest is too hot to handle. How can I ever get it back to the City of David?” He refused to take the Chest of God a step farther. Instead, David removed it off the road and to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The Chest of God stayed at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. And God prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household.
12-16 It was reported to King David that God had prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household because of the Chest of God. So David thought, “I’ll get that blessing for myself,” and went and brought up the Chest of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David, celebrating extravagantly all the way, with frequent sacrifices of choice bulls. David, ceremonially dressed in priest’s linen, danced with great abandon before God. The whole country was with him as he accompanied the Chest of God with shouts and trumpet blasts. But as the Chest of God came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn.
17-19 They brought the Chest of God and set it in the middle of the tent pavilion that David had pitched for it. Then and there David worshiped, offering burnt offerings and peace offerings. When David had completed the sacrifices of burnt and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies and handed out to each person in the crowd, men and women alike, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. Then everyone went home.
20-22 David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.”
23 Michal, Saul’s daughter, was barren the rest of her life.
A New Command
31-32 When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!
33 “Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
36 Simon Peter asked, “Master, just where are you going?”
Jesus answered, “You can’t now follow me where I’m going. You will follow later.”
37 “Master,” said Peter, “why can’t I follow now? I’ll lay down my life for you!”
38 “Really? You’ll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times.”
14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
5 Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”
6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”
9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.
17-24 Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life;
not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
I’m a stranger in these parts;
give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!—
insatiable for your nourishing commands.
And those who think they know so much,
ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it!
Don’t let them mock and humiliate me;
I’ve been careful to do just what you said.
While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me,
I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight;
I listen to them as to good neighbors!
25-32 I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.
31 Listen to good advice if you want to live well,
an honored guest among wise men and women.
32 An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny;
an obedient, God-willed life is spacious.