This chapter shows us Solomon’s faults, which were his eventual downfall. David did not have Solomon’s wisdom but Solomon did not have David’s heart for God, which is why King David is considered the standard by which all the future kings of Israel and Judah are judged, not Solomon.
We have this idea that God in the Torah is different from Yeshua in the New Testament but this is not true. God doesn’t change and neither does human nature. God has the same toolkit to deal with defiant and unrepentant hearts now that He did when He confronted King David’s defiant census. Have our hearts and ears become hardened because of our false impression of Yeshua’s character?
The Torah says that a census can not count people, only the coins they give (Ex. 30:12). David knew this, and Yoab (Joab) did too. Why did David proceed after Yoab calls him out on this? What does it have to do with the strange land purchase in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)?
The names and biographies of David’s 37 “mighty men” are recounted here. These men are not listed in chronological order of their service to King David. They are listed in a particular order to relay a very profound message about the life’s mission of the Messiah. The Messiah’s story is hiding in plain sight.
Parallel passage: 1st Chron. 11:10-47
David had 37 “mighty men” (gibborim, Strong’s lexicon No. H1368) during his reign and their difficult to pronounce and unfashionable names are easy to glaze over as we speed read through God’s word, but there’s a lot of information in here. Our English translations transliterate these names the best they can.
These men were very talented killers, and they were good at their job. They did not fear the enemy, they didn’t fear death, they didn’t even fear David. They feared and trusted in God alone. They are like David and there was a reason they gravitated towards David.
Shadows in the names of David’s ‘mighty men’
The first three mentioned are the most renowned of David’s mighty men. The other men in this list are compared to the first three. You read the phrase “(he) did not attain to the first three” a couple of times. Remember that the number 3 has Messianic significance.
We read here that there were 37 great fighting men, but there are 36 names. Whose name is missing? The glaring omission is the name of Yoab (Joab), the Commander of David’s army. If Yoab was the compiler of the list, he may have purposefully left his own name off the list for the sake of modesty.
Let’s go over the names, some of them are easily translatable. Some have a more difficult meaning but once you put them together, the story that emerges closely chronicles what the tell us about Yeshua’s arrest, suffering, death and resurrection as well as
David’s top three ‘mighty men’
These first three men are (2nd Sam. 23:8–12) given as examples of those who “stood between life and death” and should have died, yet lived. They were expert fighting men facing off against experience fighting men. All the other men in the list are compared to these first three men. That is how important these men were to David. These three men are men who fought against such over-whelming odds that they should have died and did not. They stood between life and death and lived. They faced experienced killers and prevailed.
- Yosheb-baShebet (Josheb-basshebeth), a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains.
- He was called Adino the Eznite, he killed 800 men at one time.
- In other words, Yosheb-baShebet is his title.
- The name Yosheb-baShebet means “the one who sat in the assembly, a sagacious man” chief of the captains
- His other name Adino the Eznite means “Bond to the Wooden One”
Together, these three men snuck into the Philistine camp to bring back water from the well of Bethlehem for David.
They went through death to get water from Bethlehem and brought it back to their king. The king takes the water and pours it out on the ground to God. David understood that these men risked their lives to bring back that water for him. Just as a person is not to drink blood, David felt he could not drink this water and instead pour it out on the ground like blood. (Lev. 17:13-16) This is a shadow of Messiah’s death on the cross as water and blood poured out of His side and spilled on the ground.
Abishai and Benaiah
The next two men mentioned are:
- Abishai, the brother (ach, Strong’s H251) of Joab, the son of Zeruiah (2nd Sam. 23:18–19).
- Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel (2nd Sam. 23:20–23).
Their names have a messianic significance as well.
Abishai brother of Joab of Zeruiah’s name means, “Father’s gift relative of one Fathered by Yahua,” Wounded a chief of three he awoke his lance over three hundred and pierced his place among three. Yeshua the Messiah is the one who was uniquely fathered by God. Yeshua was the “wounded cheif of three” meaning the over two men crucified with Him. The Roman centurion stabbed with a lance and He established His place as being the greatest of the three who were killed that day. This phrase has even more meaning but when you combine it with Benaniah’s name, its Messianic significance becomes obvious.
Benaniah’s name means, “ YHWH (the LORD) has built a son that YHWH knows” He was a “forceful man out of those God has gathered abundantly to strike two lionlike men from their father. He went down to strike a lion to sever a pit (death) in time of whiteness.” The Messianic reference is that the son of God kills two sons of the “father of lies”: death and the grave.
The next verse mentions that Benaniah killed a “spectacular” Egyptian with the Egyptian’s own weapon. Yeshua killed death with death. This verse can be described as “ YHWH has built a son that YHWH knows a position of three powerful warriors.
Shadows of Yeshua’s suffering and death
- Asahel related to Joab is “God has made a relative fathered by YHWH.
- Elhanan of Dodo, was a “Gracious son of Love of Bethlehem”
- Shammath the Harodite “Hear and shudder in fear”
- Ekika the Harodiate, “God of rejection—Shudder and fear”
- Helez the Paltite: “One who was stripped and delivered”
- Ira, son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: “Awake the son of falsehood with a trumpet”
- How did Yeshua “wake up” haSatan with a trumpet?
At this point, the meanings of their names and titles change in tone and the shadows become a little more difficult, but gives us a story of Yeshua’s suffering and death.
- Abieszer the Anethothite, “Father of help/answer” Yeshua kept asked God to help Him and answer Him. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Ps. 22, Matthew 27:45-46)
- Mebunnai the Hushathite, “built in haste”
- Zalmon the Ahohite, “shady/covered brotherhood” Yeshua covered His brothers (mankind)
- Mahri the Netophathite “haste the oozing” Yeshua asked God to make the affliction go as quickly as possible.
- Heleb, son of Baanah, a Nethophathite, “fatness (best) the son in affliction of oozing”
- Hittai, son of Bibai of Gineah of Benhamin, “Near is the son of contention of the hill, the son of the right hand.”
- Benaiah the Pirathonite: “ YHWH has built a chieftan”
- Hiddai of Brooks of Gaash: “[Rejoicing/Glory of Yahua or white/brightness] out of quaking”
- Abialbon the Arbathite “father of strength of House of desert” or House of Judah. The land of Judah was a desert.
- Azmaveth the Barhumite “strong one of death, a young man”
Shadows of Yeshua’s second coming
Now the tone changes again. These go from Yeshua’s suffering to His death, resurrection to and second coming.
- Eliahba the Shaalbonite “My God will hide in foxholes”
- Son of Jashen, Jonathan: “Sleep Yahua’s given one”
- Shammah the Hararite “Hear in the mountains”
- Ahaim, son of Sharar the Hararite “Uncle (my mother’s brother) of hostile mountains”
- Eliphelet son of Abasbai from Maachath “My God of deliverance, the [light that’s sought/searched out] who was pierced”
- Eliam, son of Atithophel from Gilon, “God of the people, son of brothers folly are brought open”
- Herzrai from Carmel: “Encloser, fruitful”
- Paarai from Arbi “Yawning ambush”
- Igal son of Nathan from Zobah: “Avenger given a place or a station”
- Bani from Gad: “Built a crowd to attack”
- Selek from Ammon: “split a tribe”
- Naharai from Beeroth, armor bearer to Joab of Zeuah: “Sleeping wells (dead) bear the armor of the one YHWH fathered, the wounded one.”
- Irah from Ithra: “Wakefulness the excess (remnant)”
- Garab from Ithra: “Scabby/itchy excess/remnant”
- Uriah the Hittite: “Flame/light of YHWH, a terror”
Reader: Dave DeFever. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.
This passage (2nd Sam. 22:1-23:7) is very similar to Psalm 18, and it’s the only psalm of David quoted in 2nd Samuel.
Why is this psalm duplicated in this section? It seems misplaced at first, but the first sentence gives a clue (2nd Sam. 22:1).
This chapter is about Saul. Saul was not David’s enemy, but David was Saul’s enemy. That is why David did not kill Saul, even when he had the chance to do so. As far as David was concerned, Saul was his father in law and God’s anointed king. David actually killed those who gloated about killing Saul.
Although there are many similarities between this text and Psalm 18, there are actually 75 mostly minor differences between the two. Most of the differences are of what you might call “direct association.” This text is written as David directly talking to God, while Psalm 18 is written as the reader talking to God with David’s words.
Psalm 18 is probably an edited version of 2nd Samuel 22 text to be used as a praise song to encourage those who have overcome some difficulty in life. This text in 2nd Samuel 22 is more autobiographical and unique to David’s heart.
David calls this text “my words,” which in the Hebrew is דִּבְרֵי divrei (Strong’s lexicon No. H1697). This is not solely an autobiographical text; it is also a prophetic text. This was written at the end of his life: after Saul, after the Philistines, after the giants and even after his own sons who had conspired against him.
David’s life was a Messianic teaching tool. Just as David was freed from his enemies when he died, Messiah was freed from His enemy at His death, because Satan no longer had any control or influence over them. We, too, were set free from Satan with Yeshua’s death (Romans 3), but we are also freed from our enemies at the time of our own death when we no longer are affected by Satan’s influence in any way.
There are some allusions to the exodus from Egypt in this text but that is not what David is talking about.
In 2nd Samuel 1–21 David, the warrior king, the “bloody man” is shown as a precursor to Messiah’s first coming. We see the suffering king who ultimately dies.
After 2nd Samuel 22, David’s life is no longer a parallel to the Messiah’s. From this point on, Solomon is the Messianic figure. Solomon’s life was a life of wisdom and peace, ruling over his subjects and even bringing foreigners under his kingship without war.
However, when Messiah came to Earth as the son of the virgin Miriam (Mary). Yeshua was not a “bloody man.” He told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world and He had no army. Yeshua was a rabbi, a wise, peaceful teacher, like Solomon.
When Messiah comes the second time, He is to be the conquering bloody man. It seems that God is mingling Messiah’s two comings in the lives of these two ancestors of Messiah and even switching the order.
It’s because David and Solomon are both charismatic individuals who point to one person. The Messiah’s life and death are too important and too big to be embodied in just one individual.
Some sages saw these two messianic roles and referred to a suffering, peaceful Mashiach ben Yosef (Messiah son of Joseph) and a conquering, ruling, glorious Mashiach ben David (Messiah son of David). People in Yerushalayim at the time of Yeshua’s death at Passover called Him “son of David” when He triumphantly entered the city on a donkey (Matt. 21:9).
In David’s life, we see that few people really had fear of the Lord. David was one of the few people who had fear of the Lord. The people feared David’s sword and the sword of his strong men more than then they feared God.
When Solomon was king, he never was tested as a warrior. He never had to earn respect through battle. He was able to gain the fear and respect of the people through his wisdom, which was granted directly from God.
We expect the Messiah to be more wise and peaceful than Solomon and more bloody and warrior-like than David.
David points out that he is not the righteous ruler that he wanted to be, but God has promised that the righteous ruler who will ultimately overcome the godless will be a man in his family line. Messiah Yeshua is the descendant of David Who will ultimately remove all the godless people from the Earth.
Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.
The stated cause of the drought-caused three-year famine was David’s failure to deal with the wrongs done to Gibeonites by the late ruler Saul.
Other texts: Joshua 11; Numbers 35; Romans 3
There is a scribal error in some translations of 2nd Sam. 21:8. Following the main body of Hebrew texts (Masoretic) and the Septuagint, some English texts say the five grandsons were from Michal, the younger daughter of Saul. This is not the case, based on a parallel account from 2nd Sam. 18:19. These five grandsons of Saul were the sons of Saul’s older daughter Merab. The other two descendants of Saul who were killed were the sons of Riza, Saul’s concubine.
Saul’s slaughter of the Gibeonites is not recorded specifically in earlier texts, so there’s a question about when this slaughter occurred and when David addressed the issue. Jewish tradition says this conversation between David and the Gibeonites occurred about 30 years after he was king of Israel.
The only recorded slaughter under Saul’s reign was the massacre of the priests in the town of Nob who had given David food, drink and Goliath’s sword. Doeg, an Edomite, told Saul about this benevolence. Saul ordered his men to execute these priests for helping David. After they refused, Doeg did it.
Were the Gibeonites there too? If so, who killed them, Doeg or the Israelite soldiers?
If you go back into the history of the Gibeonites, who were a clan of the Hivites, you find that their ancestors had deceived Yehoshua (Joshua) into sparing them (Joshua 9–11). Yehoshua did spare them, but they were relegated to serving in the temple as water carriers and wood cutters. It’s reasonable that there would have been a sizable community of Gibeonties in or near Nob too.
David took direct responsibility for this slaughter when the high priest’s son survived the slaughter of Nob. David put upon himself the duty of dealing with the consequences of the slaughter, even though Saul, the man who was actually guilty of it, died without paying the ultimate price for it.
When David asked the Gibeonites what they want, they said two things:
- They can’t — and won’t — take any money because Torah forbids cash reimbursement for murder.
- They also said that Saul, the man, who committed the crime, is no longer among the living of Israel to pay for the crime with his life.
Only taking a life could atone for taking another person’s life. The Gibeonites then ask for the lives of seven male descendants of Saul. Even though, strictly speaking, this punishment is outside of the Torah, a penalty had to be paid according to the Torah. God had brought a famine on the land of Israel for three years due to this egregious unpunished crime. Innocent blood eventually paid for this crime.
The Gibeonites killed these men and hung them in Saul’s hometown around the time of the barley harvest which is when Passover comes.
Some interpreters believe the bodies were left hanging until the next natural rainy period, the “latter rain” in the fall, which would have been about seven months after Passover. If the bodies had hung there for that length of time, that would be very clearly against Torah, which requires hanging bodies to be removed at sunset.
However, since God brought the drought, God could have quickly restored the rain to acknowledge David’s atonement for the blood of the innocent Gibeonites who were slaughtered by Saul all those many years before.
Rizpah had been the concubine of Saul, and she stayed by the bodies as they hung. David responded to her loyalty by bringing the bones of the seven sons as well as those of Saul and Yonatan (Jonathan) to the family graveyard of Kish, the family patriarch. Thus, they would be reunited.
This chapter also records the death of five Philistine “giants,” including Goliath (2nd Sam. 21:18–22). The deaths of the giants are not listed in chronological order, which is not important. Some were killed when David was an old man. However, David killed Goliath he was a young man. One of the giants is described as a “brother” of Goliath, but we don’t know whether the other giants were of Goliath’s family line or not.
This chapter contains a number of details that uncannily parallel the life of Yeshua.
- Three years of famine — lack of water. (Gibeonites’ job was to bring water to the temple. This is God’s sense of irony/humor at work.) Yeshua was dead for three days.
- Seven men died. This is the death in the account that links with the number three to suggest this is a messianic prophecy.
- The innocent seven sons took upon themselves the sin of others, their father Saul. David took the massacre at Nob upon himself.
- The men, all descendants of the king, were hanged on a tree. Yeshua was hung on a tree.
- Rizpah is in sackcloth and mourning her two sons. Rachel had two sons and mourned for them, as in the prophecy connected to Herod the Great’s massacre of the children in Bethlehem.
- Rizpah mourned her sons in a similar way — chasing off the birds of carrion from the dead bodies — as Abraham did from the sacrifices.
- Rain came down as a result of the seven sons’ punishment for their father’s crime. Water poured from Yeshua’s side when He was stabbed with a spear. This suggests “living water” — the Spirit of God — descends when the Innocent was punished for those of the guilty world who wanted God’s mercy.
- Gibeonites (“gentiles” to Israel but allowed to remain in the Land by Yehoshua) were killed as a result of their service with the priesthood. The king’s son died as a consequence. The Messiah was turned over to the gentiles (Romans) by the priests.
Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.
The gore in this chapter is there for a purpose, part of the big messianic prophecy in 2nd Samuel 15–20. There are multiple stories in this chapter that are worthy of attention and note. This chapter has lots of parallelism and chiastic structure. For example, the actions of Yoab (Joab) mirror those of the high priest and of Yehudah Ish-Kariot (Judas Iscariot) in his betrayal of Yeshua (Jesus).
The story of Absolom’s rebellion starts with a blow of shofar. Sheva’s rebellion begins in a similar manner. Who is Sheva and what was he doing?
Sheva was a member of the tribe of Benjamin. David had just returned over the Jordan immediately after their victory over Absolom. David returned as king, and the tribes were bickering over which tribe should be first. The 10 northern tribes had been fighting against Judah, because those tribes opened themselves to David’s return. Yet Judah took the right to bring him back in triumph. David allowed this insult and slight to stand. To the 10 northern tribes, David didn’t really care about them; he only cared about Judah’s acceptance.
This insult or slight to the 10 Northern Tribes was so hurtful, that Sheva said that since David was rejecting them, they would reject David as king. The 10 tribes agreed to abandon David at this point. Sheva does not declare himself King, he simply proclaims that the 10 tribes have no part to David. He tells them to abandon their head. The people agreed with him due to David and Judah’s slight of them and left him alone to be returned to Jerusalem with only the tribe of Judah.
Why didn’t David immediately put Sheva to death himself? David had already promised not to put anyone to death that day because it was supposed to be a celebration of his triumph. David was not pursue Sheva, he continues on his way to Jerusalem.
The first matter of business David deals with when he returns to Jerusalem is to deal with the 10 concubines he left behind. They had been raped by Absolom. David decides not to take them back as concubines. He dooms them to a “living widowhood.” He provides for them physically with food, clothing and housing but never to “know them” again. This is an extra-Torah edict as there is no law in Torah to prevent a man from knowing his wife after she had been raped.
Next, we see David give Amasa a job to do, to gather some fighting men from Judah and asked Amasa to return within 3 days. Amasa could only gather men from Judah because the northern tribes had already abandoned David. Amasa delayed and there were grave consequences for that delay. These three days are a Messianic reference. Amasa is a form of Messiah in this story, even though he was not a particularly good and righteous man. Joab did not like the fact that Amasa was promoted over him.
David speaks with Abishai, Joab’s younger brother. Why was Joab replaced by Amasa? Because Joab killed Absolom. That was Joab’s punishment for defying King David’s order. David tells Abishai to gather Joab’s men and go after Sheva.
The Cherethites and the Pelethites were not a separate race of people. Those names in Hebrew suggest they were archers and slingers, or those proficient with slingshot.
Joab is wearing a special kind of garment, a special kind of armor. This is a special chest covering, just as the high priest wears a special chest covering when dealing with the disposal of ashes after a whole burnt offering is spent up.
When Joab greets Amasa, he greets him with deceit, pretending to greet him in peace but runs him through with a small sword, and assassinates Amasa and makes Amasa a curse among the men. It only takes one thrust, no bones broken and a gradual, painful death.
Joab’s deceit reminds us of Judas who came to Yeshua and betrayed Him with a kiss, just as Judas Iscariot did. Joab is killing the man who was just put over him just as the Priests conspired to kill Yeshua, the Messiah, who God put over them, as Yeshua had the superior right of priesthood through Meleckzedek over the Aaronic priesthood. In other words, Joab plays the dual role of high priest and Judas in this story.
Joab sets himself up as judge and executioner over Amasa.
While Amasa was still dying, Joab says, “If you’re for David, follow me.” The people were reluctant to follow the assassin Joab. They are not sure what to do. One of Joab’s men move the body and symbolically buries it, the men all stopped and paused to acknowledge the dead then moved to their task. The High Priests, also paused their Passover duties to notice Yeshua on the cross to make sure He was really going to die. Yeshua was similarly discarded after death: hastily, yet those who witnessed His death paused.
The first place they go is to a town called Abel Beth-maacah. He sets up the siege ramps and threatens to wipe the entire town off the face of the earth. The city’s literal name is the “house of piercing” or “house of depression.” The Berites were among the men Joab brought to attack this city. They were a well fed people, Just as David promised to keep his “living widows” comfortable and well-fed.
A woman of the town comes to Joab, a “mother of Israel” and calls him out on his designs to slaughter the entire town. He tells the woman he only wants the death of Sheva. The woman goes back to the leadership of the town and they kill Sheva and throw his head over the wall to Joab on the other side of the wall. That appeases Joab. Joab blows a shofar and he goes home. This “mother of Israel” plays a similar role to Pontius Pilate. The woman had no problem with Sheva yet because Joab asks for his head, she complies with Joab’s request and has Sheva assassinated.
There is a lot of messianic imagery in this chapter, if you can look beyond the gore. God repeats lessons through thematic ties. We don’t notice some of these lessons right away but most of these underlying lessons lead us to the Messiah.
Chiastic structures in 2nd Samuel 20
(2nd Sam. 20:1) Sheba, the son of Bichri… and he blew a trumpet, … every man to his tents,
(2nd Sam. 20:2) So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: [Note: Rejected their head/king]
(2nd Sam. 20:3) And David came to his house at Jerusalem …; 10 women … fed them, living in widowhood.
Assemble me the men of Judah
(2nd Sam. 20:6) Abishai … and pursue after him (Sheba),
(2nd Sam. 20:7) Joab’s men …, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
(2nd Sam. 20:8) Joab’s garment [Note: A priest’s “armor”] that he had put on was girded unto him,
… a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath [i.e., covered] thereof
(2nd Sam. 20:9) And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.
(2nd Sam. 20:10) But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand:
so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, [Note: No armor]
So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
(2nd Sam. 20:11) … He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab.
(2nd Sam. 20:12) And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway.
And when the man saw that all the people stood still,
he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him,
when he saw that every one that came by him stood still.
(2nd Sam. 20:13) When he [Amasa] was removed out of the highway,
all the people went on after Joab,
to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
(2nd Sam. 20:14) … he went through all the tribes of Israel … Abel, and to Beth Ma’achah [“House of Depression”] … Berites [“fat ones”]:
…men gathered together
(2nd Sam. 20:16-21) wise woman … far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
(2nd Sam. 20:22) … And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab.
And he blew a trumpet, … every man to his tent.
Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.