2 Samuel 15:13
While fleeing his capital city, David sent some men who were faithful to him back to Jerusalem. He hoped that they would be able to infiltrate Absalom’s inner circle and weaken his rule. Along the way, David and his people passed a household that was from the same tribe as Saul. The man of the house came out and cursed David as they walked past. He threw stones and dirt at them, saying “Get out you man of blood, you scoundrel!” It’s about time someone said it. David’s men wanted to kill the man, but David decided he had bigger problems than some old dude yelling at him to get off of his lawn. Plus, maybe God would look kindly on him for not killing the man. Like how you would reward a child for not being a wailing lunatic in public for once.
Meanwhile, Absalom arrives in Jerusalem. One of the men that David had sent back to infiltrate the new inhabitants of the palace, suggested to Absalom that he should sleep with the concubines that David had left behind in his flight from the city. Because (supposedly) that would prove to the people that David really didn’t like Absalom, which would (again, supposedly) strengthen his position. David must have been really disliked by his people. So, Absalom’s servants pitched a tent on the roof, and Absalom pitched a tent in his pants. No really, he “lay” with David’s concubines where the people of Jerusalem could watch. God did warn David that someone would overthrow him and public humiliate his wives for something they had no part in.
Next, one of Absalom’s advisors suggests that Absalom should send men to attack and kill David. But Absalom doesn’t listen and asks the advice of one of the men that David had sent back to be a plant. The plant tells Absalom that he should not attack David with just his men, because David is a bad ass and will probably win. Instead, says the plant, Absalom should bide his time, collect all of Israel together to form an army and then attack. Absalom listens to the plant, because God wants it that way.
Once Absalom’s advisor realizes that the king has not listened to his advice, he quietly leaves Jerusalem for his own home, puts his affairs in order and hangs himself. Eventually, Absalom gets his army all ready and moves out to attack David and his men. David apparently has a bigger entourage than I thought, because it talks about him putting commanders over his “hundred of thousands” and sending them out to battle Absalom and the Israelite army. I don’t know where he got these people; the man is basically in exile, running for his life. But he has them.
David stays behind but tell his commanders to make sure and treat Absalom kindly and protect him, for David’s sake. Unfortunately, for Absalom, he decides to ride his donkey through a forest and get his head stuck in a branch. He’s just hanging there, like an idiot. Joab, the army’s commander hears about it. He personally puts three javelins through Absalom’s heart and ten of his men added theirs as well. Then they threw him in a pit and piled rocks on top of his body, just to make double, triple sure. Like if you killed Freddie or Jason.
Joab sends a foreigner back to David to break the news. An Israelite wanted the honors, but knowing David’s penchant for killing people with bad news, the foreigner was sent. Strangely, it was unnecessary. David was so upset that he forgot to kill the messenger, instead he ran inside the city he where he holed himself up and wept.
Once Joab got back to where David was staying, he told David to suck it up. David’s men had won him a great battle, but here he was blithering like an idiot. Joab insisted that the men would view it as David’s love for his wanker, father-hating son over the men who had fought bravely in his name. So David quit the waterworks and went to the city wall to greet his men. (David apparently never finds out who killed his son or how he died. I know this because he doesn’t kill Joab.)
Slowly, David earned back the love of the Israelites and returned to his throne at Jerusalem. He puts the concubines that Absalom had slept with in a guarded house, where they died, living as widows. But, for whatever reason, a fight breaks out between the priest tribe, Judah, and the rest of the Israelites over whether or not David belonged more to the one tribe or the whole nation. A Benjamite, Sheba, began a revolt against David, and the Israelites (except the tribe of Judah) left David’s side once again. He must just be an even bigger asshole than this books lets on, seriously….
David sent a servant, Amasa, out to gather the men of Judah to fight Sheba and the rest of the Israelites. When Amasa did not return on time, David’s commander Joab did it instead. While moving the army in Sheba’s direction, they came across Amasa. It doesn’t ever say why Amasa took so long to gather the army, and no one seems bothered to find out. Instead, Joab greets Amasa as a friend, goes to kiss him and plunges a dagger into him instead. It’s quite graphic; his intestines spill out on the ground and he wallows around in his own blood until someone drags him off of the road and covers him up.
Joab and his army moved on toward the city where Sheba and his followers were staying. Joab began to siege the city, but a woman came out and begged that he stop. Joab told the woman that all he really wanted was Sheba. If she would turn over this one man, Joab promised to spare the city. The woman appealed to the people of her city, and they threw Sheba’s head down to Joab from the city walls the next day. Satisfied with their severed head, Joab and his men dispersed.
Then there’s a random breakdown of people in various positions under David. It isn’t interesting except that they have a guy who is actually in charge of “forced labor.” Like, there’s enough of it that they need a a guy to oversee it. So there’s that.
During David’s reign, there were three continuous years of famine. When David asked God, wtf?, God answered that the punishment was on account of Saul. Apparently, Saul killed some people he wasn’t supposed to kill, and even though he was dead, God was still vexed. So David went to the people whom Saul had wronged, the Gibeonites. The people agreed that if David were to bring them seven of Saul’s male descendants to kill, they would make amends.
So David went out and found seven male descendants of Saul’s (mostly the sons of Saul’s daughters). He chose to spare Jonathan’s son as a testament to his oath with Jonathan. David brought Saul’s descendants back to the Gibeonites, and they were promptly killed and left on a hill to be viewed be whomever would want to view some dead kids strewn about. God seems to be pleased with the death of these kids, because the famine ended promptly after that.
Around this time, David also found out where the bones of Saul and Jonathan had been put after their bodies were taken down off of the Philistine wall and buried them properly. Afterward, there were a bunch of wars with the Philistines, just for old time’s sake. A bunch of people died. David almost died, so his men forbade him form fighting with them ever again.
In the midst of David’s not killing any Philistines boredom, he decided to sing a song. It’s really long and pretty much boils down to: I am the greatest, I am the greatest because God is the greatest, God makes me the greatest because I am free from sin, let those not free from sin die violently. Never mind that episode where David had a man killed so that he could steal that man’s wife. Free from sin, people.
After the song, the last words of David are recorded. His last words pretty much mirror the song we just talked about. But David doesn’t die at this point, so I don’t know why his last words are important just yet. Then there are some stories about the men David fought with. They’re just a bunch of guys who killed a lot of people. Three of them, in the middle of battle, risked their lives by running through enemy lines to get water from a well that David wanted. When they successfully brought it back, David decided he couldn’t drink anything for which his men had risked their lives. Asshole.
Aaaaaaaand God’s mad at the Israelites again. No one knows why He is mad, but He decides to “incite” David to have the Israelites men who be eligible to fight in the army counted. So, David sends out his men to do just that. All together, Israel had 130,000 able-bodied men. Once David gets his numbers, he decides that he was very wrong to ask that this be done. I think because David should have trusted God to have multiplied their numbers enough to defeat any enemy. Something like that anyway.
David goes to God and begs forgiveness. God offers him three choices for how he can be punished: 1) God will send three years of famine 2) David will be forced to flee from his enemies for three months or 3) God will send three days of plague. David picks the plague, because he’s an asshole who wants to punish everyone for his crime (that God incited him to and then punished everyone for). Only after 70,000 people died, and the angel of the Lord was destroying Jerusalem, did David decide not to be an asshole. He pleaded with God that God punish him and not his people. Whom he called sheep. So it’s a nice gesture, but he’s still an asshole.
God asks that David build an altar on the spot where the angel of the Lord had stopped when destroying Jerusalem. He burnt some animals up, and God ended the plague. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Next up, 1 Kings. I would give you a teaser, but I have no fucking clue what it’s about. Kings maybe.