2 Samuel 19-20
(Sheba's Rebellion)
April 5th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Never!” Joab answered. “I will never ruin or destroy your city! That is not our plan. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, who is from the hill country of Ephraim, started a rebellion against King David. Hand over this one man, and I will withdraw from the city.”

- 2 Samuel 20:20-21

Summary of Chapters

This time it's a trouble-maker named Sheba who leads a rebellion against David, but he is handed over by the people at Abel Beth Maccah. The opportunity for this rebellion arose during the confusion that followed the defeat of Absalom. David was slow to recognize his men and return to Jerusalem because he was grieving over Absalom. During this gap the twelve tribes began to asset their independence.

Chapter 20 explains that the rabble-rouser, like Saul, was from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba took advantage of temporary chaos by rallying the other tribes against David’s tribe of Judah.

Sheba was trying to tear apart the country, but David was trying to bind it together by embracing some of the key people from the previous rebellion and adding them to his management team. In a somewhat surprising move, he named his former opponent, Amasa, as the head of his army, thereby supplanting Joab. Joab was not happy about that decision and began to look for an opportunity to resolve the problem the way he had resolved other problems in the past – by eliminating his rival.

David sent Joab and the army after Sheba. They were prepared to attack the town of Abel Beth Maakah, but a wise woman negotiated with Joab, pledging to give him the head of Sheba if he does not attack. The people delivered, the town was spared, and another rebellion was terminated. However, on the way to battle, Joab struck down Amasa, whom David had appointed to lead the armed forces.

This chapter brings to a conclusion the chronological narrative of David from the second book of Samuel. There is another set of chapters that follow, but these are not necessarily ordered by time, and are considered by many experts to be an appendix.

Reflection and Application

The woman in the city of Abel Beth Maccah who stopped the attack by Joab demonstrates that wise words can help avert a disaster. She is probably the wisest person in the tail end of this book. David often allowed his emotions to overrule his mind as he dove head-first into trouble. Joab is a more rational man, acting decisively even in a crisis. But he does not value human life or submit to authority. He has a modus operandi of killing opponents even when told not to and does not linger to grieve.

By contrast, this unnamed woman from Abel had the clarity of mind to explore different solutions to a problem. She figured she could reason with Joab and knew that if you give a person what they want then they will be willing to change their tactics. She saved many lives and preserved the structure of that ancient city. This ability to see between the branches is one of the hallmarks of wisdom.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Do you recall a situation in which you were able to negotiate a peaceful settlement in a conflict (or maybe you were a participant that reached a peaceful accord)?
    2. What is another way that Joab could have dealt with his rival Amasa?
    3. How do we get ourselves to think clearly when we are about to be attacked?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, help us to see clearly and seek your help in all situations

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People with Cancer

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 2 Samuel 21-24 (The Appendix)

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