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First Reading: 2 Samuel Chapter 9 and 10

2 Samuel 9

9:1 David's Kindness to Mephibosheth

Now David said, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"
2 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?"
He said, "At your service!"
3 Then the king said, "Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?"
And Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet."
4 So the king said to him, "Where is he?"
And Ziba said to the king, "Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar."
5 Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.
6 Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, "Mephibosheth?"
And he answered, "Here is your servant!"
7 So David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually."
8 Then he bowed himself, and said, "What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?"
9 And the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him,"I have given to your master's son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house. 10 You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master's son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread at my table always." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then Ziba said to the king, "According to all that my lord the king has commanded his servant, so will your servant do."
"As for Mephibosheth," said the king, "he shall eat at my table like one of the king's sons." 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha. And all who dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king's table. And he was lame in both his feet.

2 Samuel 10

10:1 The Ammonites and Syrians Defeated
(1 Chron 19)

It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. 2 Then David said, "I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me."
So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David's servants came into the land of the people of Ammon. 3 And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?"
4 Therefore Hanun took David's servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return."
6 When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men. 7 Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men. 8 Then the people of Ammon came out and put themselves in battle array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba, Beth Rehob, Ish-Tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of Israel's best and put them in battle array against the Syrians. 10 And the rest of the people he put under the command of Abishai his brother, that he might set them in battle array against the people of Ammon. 11 Then he said, "If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight."
13 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near for the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. 14 When the people of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fleeing, they also fled before Abishai, and entered the city. So Joab returned from the people of Ammon and went to Jerusalem.
15 When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together. 16 Then Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam. And Shobach the commander of Hadadezer's army went before them. 17 When it was told David, he gathered all Israel, crossed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in battle array against David and fought with him. 18 Then the Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand horsemen of the Syrians, and struck Shobach the commander of their army, who died there. 19 And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 73

Psalms 73

73:1 The Tragedy of the Wicked, and the Blessedness of Trust in God

A Psalm of Asaph.
Truly God is good to Israel,To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful,When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pangs in their death,But their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men,Nor are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace;Violence covers them like a garment. 7 Their eyes bulge with abundance;They have more than heart could wish. 8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;They speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens,And their tongue walks through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here,And waters of a full cup are drained by them. 11 And they say,"How does God know?And is there knowledge in the Most High?" 12 Behold, these are the ungodly,Who are always at ease;They increase in riches. 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,And washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued,And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, "I will speak thus,"Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. 16 When I thought how to understand this,It was too painful for me — 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!They are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awakes,So, Lord, when You awake,You shall despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved,And I was vexed in my mind. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant;I was like a beast before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel,And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail;But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,That I may declare all Your works.

Bible Background



Part 3 of 7


A listing of the history of Genesis 2 & 3 helps to sort out what is said, and what is not said:

Genesis 2:

God rests from his creative work on the seventh day
Detailed account of creation of man --formed of dust and life breathed into him
A description of the garden planted by God including the tree
of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
The command to the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil--and the punishment for disobedience was
The naming of all the creatures by Adam
The creation of the woman from the side of Adam
The standard for marriage--a man leaves father and mother and
"cleaves" to his wife.

Genesis 3:

The serpent (snake), a wild animal, is introduced
The lie--"you will not surely die" is told by the snake.
The woman believes the snake, is tempted and eats of the forbidden tree.
Adam eats of the tree when Eve hands it to him.
Their eyes are opened and they see their nakedness or shame.
God metes out the punishment:
The snake will crawl on its belly and eat dust
The snake will strike the heel of the seed of the woman, but
the woman's seed will crush its head.
The woman will have pain in childbearing and will be ruled
over by her husband
The earth will be cursed to bring forth thorns and thistles so that the man will have painful toil to provide daily food.
They would return to the dust from which they were taken.
God makes them clothes of animal skins.
They are banished from the garden and from the tree of life.

After reading these two chapters, what did you not find that you thought was written in these first few chapters of Genesis? For instance--there is no mention of what kind of fruit came from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Is there any description of the snake other than it was a wild animal that was crafty and could speak? Is there any mention of punishment for sin beyond death?

Actually what we do have here is a simple telling of some important facts: The concept of a God-given law, the temptation to believe a lie and disobey the law, the disobedience, the consequence of death. This same sequence is described throughout the Bible and James states it very succinctly in chapter 1 verses 14-15:

"but each is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death."

This history is the first in the Old Testament of a long line of incidents of failure by mankind to obey their creator. It is the first in the long line of believing a lie instead of the truth. It is also the first of the promises of God for a solution to this situation.

The promise is given that there would come a time when although, the seed of the snake would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, the seed of the woman would crush the head of the seed of the snake.To whom is this referring? Who is the seed of the woman? Who is the offspring of the snake? When will this be?


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