2 Samuel 21 The Message (MSG)
Famine and War
21 There was a famine in David’s time. It went on year after year after year—three years. David went to God seeking the reason.
God said, “This is because there is blood on Saul and his house, from the time he massacred the Gibeonites.”
2 So the king called the Gibeonites together for consultation. (The Gibeonites were not part of Israel; they were what was left of the Amorites, and protected by a treaty with Israel. But Saul, a fanatic for the honor of Israel and Judah, tried to kill them off.)
3 David addressed the Gibeonites: “What can I do for you? How can I compensate you so that you will bless God’s legacy of land and people?”
4 The Gibeonites replied, “We don’t want any money from Saul and his family. And it’s not up to us to put anyone in Israel to death.”
But David persisted: “What are you saying I should do for you?”
5-6 Then they told the king, “The man who tried to get rid of us, who schemed to wipe us off the map of Israel—well, let seven of his sons be handed over to us to be executed—hanged before God at Gibeah of Saul, the holy mountain.”
And David agreed, “I’ll hand them over to you.”
7-9 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the promise David and Jonathan had spoken before God. But the king selected Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons that Rizpah daughter of Aiah had borne to Saul, plus the five sons that Saul’s daughter Merab had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He turned them over to the Gibeonites who hanged them on the mountain before God—all seven died together. Harvest was just getting underway, the beginning of the barley harvest, when they were executed.
10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah took rough burlap and spread it out for herself on a rock from the beginning of the harvest until the heavy rains started. She kept the birds away from the bodies by day and the wild animals by night.
11-14 David was told what she had done, this Rizpah daughter of Aiah and concubine of Saul. He then went and got the remains of Saul and Jonathan his son from the leaders at Jabesh Gilead (who had rescued them from the town square at Beth Shan where the Philistines had hung them after striking them down at Gilboa). He gathered up their remains and brought them together with the dead bodies of the seven who had just been hanged. The bodies were taken back to the land of Benjamin and given a decent burial in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father.
They did everything the king ordered to be done. That cleared things up: from then on God responded to Israel’s prayers for the land.
15-17 War broke out again between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went down to fight. David became exhausted. Ishbi-Benob, a warrior descended from Rapha, with a spear weighing nearly eight pounds and outfitted in brand-new armor, announced that he’d kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to the rescue, struck the Philistine, and killed him.
Then David’s men swore to him, “No more fighting on the front-lines for you! Don’t snuff out the lamp of Israel!”
18 Later there was another skirmish with the Philistines at Gob. That time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another of the warriors descended from Rapha.
19 At yet another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaar, the weaver of Bethlehem, killed Goliath the Gittite whose spear was as big as a flagpole.
20-21 Still another fight broke out in Gath. There was a giant there with six fingers on his hands and six toes on his feet—twenty-four fingers and toes! He was another of those descended from Rapha. He insulted Israel, and Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.
22 These four were descended from Rapha in Gath. And they all were killed by David and his soldiers.
2 Samuel 22 The Message (MSG)
22 David prayed to God the words of this song after God saved him from all his enemies and from Saul.
2-3 God is bedrock under my feet,
4 I sing to God the Praise-Lofty,
5-6 The waves of death crashed over me,
7 A hostile world! I called to God,
8-16 Earth wobbled and lurched;
17-20 But me he caught—reached all the way
21-25 God made my life complete
26-28 You stick by people who stick with you,
29-31 Suddenly, God, your light floods my path,
32-46 Is there any god like God?
47-51 Live, God! Blessing to my Rock,
2 Samuel 23 The Message (MSG)
23 These are David’s last words:
The voice of the son of Jesse,
2-7 God’s Spirit spoke through me,
8 This is the listing of David’s top men.
Josheb-Basshebeth, the Tahkemonite. He was chief of the Three. He once put his spear to work against eight hundred—killed them all in a day.
9-10 Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite was the next of the elite Three. He was with David when the Philistines poked fun at them at Pas Dammim. When the Philistines drew up for battle, Israel retreated. But Eleazar stood his ground and killed Philistines right and left until he was exhausted—but he never let go of his sword! A big win for God that day. The army then rejoined Eleazar, but all there was left to do was the cleanup.
11-12 Shammah son of Agee the Hararite was the third of the Three. The Philistines had mustered for battle at Lehi, where there was a field full of lentils. Israel fled before the Philistines, but Shammah took his stand at the center of the field, successfully defended it, and routed the Philistines. Another great victory for God!
13-17 One day during harvest, the Three parted from the Thirty and joined David at the Cave of Adullam. A squad of Philistines had set up camp in the Valley of Rephaim. While David was holed up in the Cave, the Philistines had their base camp in Bethlehem. David had a sudden craving and said, “Would I ever like a drink of water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three penetrated the Philistine lines, drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David wouldn’t drink it; he poured it out as an offering to God, saying, “There is no way, God, that I’ll drink this! This isn’t mere water, it’s their life-blood—they risked their very lives to bring it!” So David refused to drink it.
This is the sort of thing that the Three did.
18-19 Abishai brother of Joab and son of Zeruiah was the head of the Thirty. He once got credit for killing three hundred with his spear, but he was never named in the same breath as the Three. He was the most respected of the Thirty and was their captain, but never got included among the Three.
20-21 Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was a vigorous man who accomplished a great deal. He once killed two lion cubs in Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion. Another time he killed a formidable Egyptian. The Egyptian was armed with a spear and Benaiah went against him with nothing but a walking stick; he seized the spear from his grip and killed him with his own spear.
22-23 These are the things that Benaiah son of Jehoiada is famous for. But neither did he ever get ranked with the Three. He was held in greatest respect among the Thirty, but he never got included with the Three. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
24-39 “The Thirty” consisted of:
Asahel brother of Joab;
1 Thessalonians 1 The Message (MSG)
1 I, Paul, together here with Silas and Timothy, send greetings to the church at Thessalonica, Christians assembled by God the Father and by the Master, Jesus Christ. God’s amazing grace be with you! God’s robust peace!
Convictions of Steel
2-5 Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.
5-6 You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.
7-10 Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.