2 Samuel 19:8-15, 40-43 – Sour Grapes Mar Unification

BIBLE TEXT

2 Samuel 19:8-15

SUMMARY

After the death of Absalom, Israel and Judah compete for who can support David, and who has a greater share in the king. 

ANALYSIS

Foreshadowing divisions in the kingdom that will come to fruition in future decades, David appeals to Judah, his tribe, to support him and make him king. Shimei brings one thousand men of Benjamin to support David as well. However, after the coronation party makes it to Gilgal, they encounter representatives of the rest of the Israelites who openly wonder why Judah has been given preferential access to King David. Shortly thereafter, a leader of Benjamin rebels, and all Israel follows him against David and Judah. The united kingdom seems to never have been fully united under David. 

Not only do Israel and Judah war, but the extended house of David also refuses to close old wounds. David’s nephew, Amasa, had been Absalom’s chief general during the rebellion. After the death of Absalom, as a brilliant reconciling move, David appoints Amasa as his chief general, in place of Joab (also David’s nephew). Yet Joab murders Amasa, probably to retain his own place in charge of David’s armies, but possibly also because Joab feared Amasa might be joining Sheba’s rebellion, as he had joined Absalom’s. 

The main point here is that the violence does not cease simply because Absalom is dead. David’s bloody reign will only become increasingly fratricidal.