Through the Bible – Day 113

Bible text(s)

David gets ready for battle

1David divided his soldiers into groups of a hundred and groups of a thousand. Then he chose officers to be in command of each group. 2He sent out one third of his army under the command of Joab, another third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, and the rest under the command of Ittai from Gath. He told the soldiers, “I'm going into battle with you.”

3But the soldiers said, “No, don't go into battle with us! It won't matter to our enemies if they make us all run away, or even if they kill half of us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better for you to stay in town and send help if we need it.”

4-6David said, “All right, if you think I should.”

Then in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, he said, “Joab! Abishai! Ittai! For my sake, be sure that Absalom comes back unharmed.”

David stood beside the town gate as his army marched past in groups of a hundred and in groups of a thousand.

Joab kills Absalom

The war with Israel took place in Ephraim Forest. 7-8Battles were being fought all over the forest, and David's soldiers were winning. Twenty thousand soldiers were killed that day, and more of them died from the dangers of the forest than from the fighting itself.

9Absalom was riding his mule under a huge tree when his head caught in the branches. The mule ran off and left Absalom hanging in mid-air. Some of David's soldiers happened to pass by, 10and one of them went and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in a tree!”

11Joab said, “You saw Absalom? Why didn't you kill him? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a special belt.”

12The man answered, “Even if you paid me a thousand pieces of silver here and now, I still wouldn't touch the king's son. We all heard King David tell you and Abishai and Ittai not to harm Absalom. 13He always finds out what's going on. I would have been risking my life to kill Absalom, because you would have let me take the blame.”

14Joab said, “I'm not going to waste any more time on you!”

Absalom was still alive, so Joab took three spears and stuck them through Absalom's chest. 15Ten of Joab's bodyguards came over and finished him off. 16Then Joab blew a trumpet to signal his troops to stop chasing Israel's soldiers. 17They threw Absalom's body into a deep pit in the forest and put a big pile of rocks over it.

Meanwhile, the people of Israel had all run back to their own homes.

18When Absalom was alive, he had set up a stone monument for himself in King's Valley. He explained, “I don't have any sons to keep my name alive.” He called it Absalom's Monument, and that is the name it still has today.

Ahimaaz wants to tell David

19Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Joab, let me run and tell King David that the LORD has rescued him from his enemies.”

20Joab answered, “You're not the one to tell the king that his son is dead. You can take him a message some other time, but not today.”

21Someone from Ethiopia was standing there, and Joab told him, “Go and tell the king what you have seen.” The man knelt down in front of Joab and then got up and started running.

22Ahimaaz spoke to Joab again, “No matter what happens, I still want to run. And besides, the Ethiopian has already left.”

Joab said, “Why should you run? You won't get a reward for the news you have!”

23“I'll run no matter what!” Ahimaaz insisted.

“All right then, run!” Joab said.

Ahimaaz took the road through the Jordan Valley and outran the Ethiopian.

24Meanwhile, David was sitting between the inner and outer gates in the city wall. One of his soldiers was watching from the roof of the gate-tower. He saw a man running towards the town 25and shouted down to tell David.

David answered, “If he's alone, he must have some news.”

The runner was getting closer, 26when the soldier saw someone else running. He shouted down to the gate, “Look! There's another runner!”

David said, “He must have some news too.”

27The soldier on the roof shouted, “The first one runs just like Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.”

This time David said, “He's a good man. He must have some good news.”

28Ahimaaz called out, “We won! We won!” Then he bowed low to David and said, “Your Majesty, praise the LORD your God! He has given you victory over your enemies.”

29“Is my son Absalom all right?” David asked.

Ahimaaz said, “When Joab sent your personal servant and me, I saw a noisy crowd. But I don't know what it was all about.”

30David told him, “Stand over there and wait.”

Ahimaaz went over and stood there. 31The Ethiopian came and said, “Your Majesty, today I have good news! The LORD has rescued you from all your enemies!”

32“Is my son Absalom all right?” David asked.

The Ethiopian replied, “I wish that all Your Majesty's enemies and everyone who tries to harm you would end up like him!”

David cries for Absalom

33David started trembling. Then he went up to the room above the city gate to cry. As he went, he kept saying, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I could have died instead of you! Absalom, my son, my son!”

1Someone told Joab, “The king is crying because Absalom is dead.”

2David's army found out he was crying because his son had died, and their day of victory suddenly turned into a day of sadness. 3The troops were sneaking into Mahanaim, just as if they had run away from a battle and were ashamed.

4David held his hands over his face and kept on crying loudly, “My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!”

5Joab went to the house where David was staying and told him:

You've made your soldiers ashamed! Not only did they save your life, they saved your sons and daughters and wives as well. 6You're more loyal to your enemies than to your friends. What you've done today has shown your officers and soldiers that they don't mean a thing to you. You would be happy if Absalom was still alive, even if the rest of us were dead.

7Now get up! Go out there and thank them for what they did. If you don't, I swear by the LORD that you won't even have one man left on your side tomorrow morning. You may have had a lot of troubles in the past, but this will be the worst thing that has ever happened to you!

8David got up and went to the town gate and sat down. When the people heard that he was sitting there, they came to see him.

Israel and Judah want David back

After Israel's soldiers had all returned home, 9-10everyone in Israel started arguing. They were saying to each other, “King David rescued us from the Philistines and from our other enemies. But then we chose Absalom to be our new leader, and David had to leave the country to get away. Absalom died in battle, so why hasn't something been done to bring David back?”

11When David found out what they were saying, he sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. It said:

Say to the leaders of Judah, “Why are you the last tribe to think about bringing King David back home? 12He is your brother, your own relative! Why haven't you done anything to bring him back?”

13And tell Amasa, “You're my nephew, and with God as a witness, I swear I'll make you commander of my army instead of Joab.”

14Soon the tribe of Judah again became followers of David, and they sent him this message: “Come back, and bring your soldiers with you.”

David starts back for Jerusalem

15David started back and had gone as far as the River Jordan when he met the people of Judah. They had gathered at Gilgal and had come to help him cross the river.

16Shimei the son of Gera was there with them. He had hurried from Bahurim to meet David. Shimei was from the tribe of Benjamin, and 17a thousand others from Benjamin had come with him.

Ziba, the chief servant of Saul's family, also came to the River Jordan. He and his fifteen sons and twenty servants waded across to meet David. 18Then they brought David's family and servants back across the river, and they did everything he wanted them to do.

Shimei meets with David

Shimei crossed the River Jordan and bowed down in front of David. 19He said, “Your Majesty, I beg you not to punish me! Please, forget what I did when you were leaving Jerusalem. Don't even think about it. 20I know I was wrong. That's why I wanted to be the first one from the northern tribes to meet you.”

21But Abishai shouted, “You should be killed for cursing the LORD's chosen king!”

22David said, “Abishai, whatever will I do with you and your brother Joab? Is it your job to tell me who has done wrong? I've been made king of all Israel today, and no one will be put to death!” 23Then David promised Shimei that he would not be killed.

Mephibosheth meets with David

24Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul, also came to meet David. He had missed David so much that he had not taken a bath or trimmed his beard or washed his clothes the whole time David was gone.

25After they had gone back to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth came to see David, who asked him, “Why didn't you go with me?”

26He answered, “Your Majesty, you know I can't walk. I told my servant to saddle a donkey for me so I could go with you. But my servant left without me, and 27then he lied about me. You're as wise as an angel of God, so do what you think is right. 28After all, you could have killed my whole family and me. But instead, you let me eat at your own table. Your Majesty, what more could I ask?”

29David answered, “You've said enough! I've decided to divide the property between you and Ziba.”

30Mephibosheth replied, “He can have it all! I'm just glad you've come home safely.”

Barzillai returns home

31Barzillai came from Rogelim in Gilead to meet David at the River Jordan and go across with him. 32Barzillai was eighty years old. He was very rich and had sent food to David in Mahanaim.

33David said to him, “Cross the river and go to Jerusalem with me. I will take care of you.”

34Barzillai answered:

Your Majesty, why should I go to Jerusalem? I don't have much longer to live. 35I'm already eighty years old, and my body is almost numb. I can't taste my food or hear the sound of singing, and I would be nothing but a burden. 36I'll cross the river with you, but I'll only go a little way on the other side. You don't have to be so kind to me. 37Just let me return to my home town, where I can some day be buried near my father and mother. My servant Chimham can go with you, and you can treat him as your own.

38David said, “I'll take Chimham with me, and whatever you ask me to do for him, I'll do. And if there's anything else you want, I'll also do that.”

39David's soldiers went on across the river, while he stayed behind to say goodbye to Barzillai and to wish him well. Barzillai returned home, but 40Chimham crossed the river with David.

Israel and Judah argue

All of Judah's army and half of Israel's army were there to help David cross the river. 41The soldiers from Israel came to him and said, “Why did our relatives from Judah sneak you and your family and your soldiers across the Jordan?”

42The people of Judah answered, “Why are you so angry? We are the king's relatives. He didn't give us any food, and we didn't take anything for ourselves!”

43Those from Israel said, “King David belongs to us ten times more than he belongs to you. Why didn't you think we were good enough to help you? After all, we were the first ones to think of bringing him back!”

The people of Judah spoke more harshly than the people of Israel.

2 Samuel 18:1-19:43CEVOpen in Bible reader

A dishonest manager

1Jesus said to his disciples:

A rich man once had a manager to take care of his business. But he was told that his manager was wasting money. 2So the rich man called him in and said, “What is this I hear about you? Tell me what you have done! You are no longer going to work for me.”

3The manager said to himself, “What shall I do now that my master is going to fire me? I can't dig ditches, and I'm ashamed to beg. 4I know what I'll do, so that people will welcome me into their homes after I've lost my job.”

5Then one by one he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, “How much do you owe my master?”

6“A hundred barrels of olive oil,” the man answered.

So the manager said, “Take your bill and sit down and quickly write ‘fifty’.”

7The manager asked someone else who was in debt to his master, “How much do you owe?”

“A thousand sacks of wheat,” the man replied.

The manager said, “Take your bill and write ‘eight hundred’.”

8The master praised his dishonest manager for looking out for himself so well. That's how it is! The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light.

9My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home. 10Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters. 11If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12And if you cannot be trusted with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something that will be your own? 13You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Some sayings of Jesus

14The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him. 15But Jesus told them:

You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.

16Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets. But since God's kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in. 17Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does.

18It is a terrible sin for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is also a terrible sin for a man to marry a divorced woman.

Luke 16:1-18CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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