2 Samuel 4:1-12
English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio Bible
When Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. 2 Now Saul's son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Beeroth (for Beeroth also is counted part of Benjamin; 3 the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there to this day).
4 Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. 6 And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped [The ancient Greek Septuagint adds And behold, the doorkeeper of the house had been cleaning wheat, but she grew drowsy and slept]. So Rechab and Baanah his brother slipped in ] . 7 When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of the Arabah all night, 8 and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron.
And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.”
9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 when one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?” 12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.
When I think of David, working out God's plan and waiting for God to make it work, I really didn't remember, after Saul's death, Ish-bosheth had been crowned King of Israel at age 40 (2 Samuel 2:10). Making David the third King of Israel.
If you are old enough (radio/tv) you remember the Lone Ranger started out by saying: Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. Where was David's golden ride into kingship? These men act like Clemenza: It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.
The thrilling days when Israel was truly God's glory shining on earth. The Scriptures aren't Pollyanna sweet. David dealt with all kinds of characters, trying mostly to take the High Road himself. Abner, Saul's nephew and general, had made peace with David in the last chapter. David gave clemency, but his general killed Abner after Abner threw in his support for David.
The events swirling around David were far from ideal, but David mostly does his best doing what God would want. Real life, real challenges. More than Sunday School stories.
If this were a television program, about now the narrator would smoothly suggest David had complete control over the Biblical portions as he did the Tabernacle of the Lord. This was true of the non-davidic king, who did control the selection of priests, Herod. It did not end well for Herod. Any of the Herods. Yet if when you read I & II Samuel, all of Kings and all of Chronicles, you see the spin factor did not have control over the guilt or innocent of the kings. Even Ecclesiastes is very honest about the mistakes made by Solomon, who took David's shiny, new kingdom, used it as his playground, and personal display, and had it split before David's grandson could have time to shape his own kingdom.
This passage is also a reminder what Jesus, the Son of God, would have had to endure as an earthly king. Instead we see Jesus as the healer, the reconciler of God and man. Not dealing with people being disemboweled and beheaded. Jesus returning the ear of the man's slave who came to destroy Jesus. Jesus offering all generations forgiveness from the cross He bore for us.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.