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Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 20.13-26

2 Samuel 20.13-26
As soon as he was removed from the highway, all the men passed on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. Now he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, even Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they were gathered together and also went after him. They came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood by the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall. Then a wise woman called from the city, “Hear, hear! Please tell Joab, ‘Come here that I may speak with you.’” So he approached her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” And he answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your maidservant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” Then she spoke, saying, “Formerly they used to say, ‘They will surely ask advice at Abel,’ and thus they ended the dispute. I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?” Joab replied, “Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy! Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will depart from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem. Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; and Ira the Jairite was also a priest to David.

David’s kingdom remains fragile as God has promised (2 Samuel 12:10).  In the previous passage, Joab killed David’s designated commander, Amasa, while in pursuit of Sheba who was leading the men of Israel in secession from Judah.  In today’s passage, Joab pursues Sheba.  In an echo of Joab’s attempt to reconcile David to Absalom (2 Samuel 14), a wise woman approaches Joab as his men are attempting to breach the city walls.  Her intent is to protect her city from ruin.  Joab sees an opportunity to achieve his goal via a shortcut as the woman promises to give up Sheba, which she does, avoiding further bloodshed.

In the end Joab succeeds in stopping Sheba’s rebellion, but all was not well.  Joab’s indictment of Sheba to the woman was that he had rebelled against King David, but Joab was no less innocent, having killed the King’s designated commander out of jealousy.  Joab, as David’s former army commander could not stop questioning David’s decisions, seeking a kingdom of his own design with a place of glory and power for himself.  Ultimately Joab’s pride and insubordination was his demise (2 Kings 1).

Many missed the first coming of the Messiah because they were expecting a great king to lead a rebellion against the Roman occupation and return David’s line to the throne.  Similarly, today many worship a Jesus of their own making - embracing the parts of scripture which conform to their own or the culture’s sensibilities and discarding those which don’t. 

The real Jesus will one day confront all the people of the world (Matthew 24:30-31).  In the meantime, we as believers must submit to His call on our lives and trust fully in His perfect will, that we may introduce others to the real Jesus, the reason for the hope within us.

Weekly Memory Verse: I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  Galatians 2.20