2 Samuel 23-24

2 Samuel 23-24

Chapter 23: Rulers must be Just

                David speaks (some of) his last words;

                “…He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (2 Samuel 23:3). This is something really important, especially in today’s political scene. Rulers must always fear God, if they do this they will be successful! If not, they will be responsible for their actions.

                The rest of the chapter speaks of how David was not a great ruler, but God will bless them for their everlasting covenant. He also mentions the names of his mighty men and their deeds.

Chapter 24: David Sins; the Lord Sends Pestilence            

                David decides to number Israel and Judah, which combines 1, 300,000 troops! This angers the Lord and he sends a famine that kills 70,000 men! David tells Gad; “…let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14). We learn hear of the importance of being in the hands of God. Sometimes it is not popular to be with God, but whose hands would you rather be in? I think I would rather be in the hands of God and NOT MAN!

                David sees an Angel of the Lord, with whom he had sent. The Angel prepares to deliver more destruction, but David pleads with God and God decides to stop the destruction… because David repented of what he had done.

2 Samuel 21-22

2 Samuel 21-22

Chapter 21: The Lord Sends a Famine

The Lord sends a famine to Israel, while King David reigned, the famine lasted for 3 years. David went to the Lord and inquired of the reasoning behind the famine. The Lord responded by saying that it was because of Saul and what he had done to the Gibeonites. So David goes to them and asks them how he can atone for what Saul had done. They respond by telling him that they want nothing more than the sons of Saul to be hanged unto the Lord. So David sends all of the children of Saul, except Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan who was the son of Saul.

7 of the children of Saul are delivered to the Gibeonites and are hanged on the first day of the barley harvest. Rizpah, who was the mother of two of Saul’s children held a vigil over the dead bodies until it rained. This means that the famine was over and justice had finally been brought to Israel. David finds the bones of Saul and Jonathan and takes them along with the seven to give them a proper burial.

During a battle with the Philistines, David grows weak and is almost killed by one of the descendents of Goliath, but Abishai saves him. David grows older and older, but with the help of his other three servants; Sibbechai, Elhanan, and Jonathan… Israel is able to continue in power! By the hand of David and his servants, they killed Goliath and all his giant offspring.

Chapter 22: The Lord Blesses Those Who Trust Him

David sings praise to the Lord. The entire chapter has a Psalm sort of feel to it, so I will include the verses that I felt most important in my reading.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter unto his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7) – Some people believe that God has abandoned them in their times of trouble. On July 8, 1838, Joseph Smith was in distress. He along with other leaders of the restored church of Jesus Christ , were locked up in prison (for no reason). Joseph Smith was hungry, tired and sick. Not only were Joseph and his leaders suffering in prison, but members of the church all over were being persecuted, raped and murdered! He cried out to the Lord; “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavillion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)

                The Lord responded; “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure well, God shall exhalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8). So what do we learn here? We learn that even in the darkest of hours, the Lord is with us. Often times we do not fully understand the “WHY”, but the Lord does and he needs us to be patient and endure well. Maybe he is training us for something worse, or setting us up for something better. We never know, but if we are loyal to him, we will have the power to triumph over all our foes.

David continues with his Psalm; and says that “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward (deceitful, perverted or crooked) thou wilt she thyself unsavoury.” (2 Samuel 22:27). Essentially if we are good and follow God’s commandments, we will always see the good in God and feel of his love and warmth. But if we are deceitful, perverted or crooked, we will always see God in a different light and we will think of him as bad. Why? Because those who are perverted or crooked, will never feel the warmth and love of God, like those who love God and show their love, by following his commandments!

“It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me” (2 Samuel 22:48). Essentially, we must sometimes give up our hate and just love our enemies and let God deal with their mis-deeds.

Numbers 31-32

Numbers 31-32

Chapter 31: Moses sends 12,000 Warriors

At this point in the story, we have learned that Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses as the new leader for the Israelites. Joshua received the priesthood authority. Moses has another task, before he can be gathered completely to his people.

The Lord commands Moses to take vengeance upon the Midianites. Remember Numbers 25? Where the Midianites seduced the Israelites and caused that some of them worshiped their idol gods? Well Moses sends out 12,000 troops to fight the Midianites. This amounts to 1,000 from each tribe. With this group Moses sends Phinehas (the son of Eleazer) who takes some articles from the tabernacle and some trumpets which he uses for signaling.

The Israelites easily defeat the Midianites, killing every single man and taking the women, children and loot for themselves as plunder. They kill the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Balaam and Reba.

The warriors return with the plunder and everyone except Moses is happy. Moses asks them;  “…Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor…” (Numbers 31:15-16).  Essentially telling them that the women were the ones who caused the Israelites to sin, so they should have been killed too.

Moses commands them to kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man, but save those who had not slept with a man. Anyone who participated in the killing or touched the dead bodies, would have to stay outside of the camp for seven days as part of the cleansing process.

After that, they divide up the spoils between the soldiers and the rest of the Israelites. The Levites are to receive 1 out of every 500 of everything the soldiers receive and 1 out of every 50 items that the rest of the Israelites receive.

The officers of the army report to Moses that they had 0 casualties, they wiped out an entire nation without any loss! They thank the Lord for this victory, by presenting an additional offering of 190 kilograms of gold. OR in today’s standard of Gold to US dollar equals:  $6,118,000!!! That’s right… over 6 MILLION dollars in Gold.

Chapter 32: Conquering of Canaan

The Israelites are about to enter into the Promised Land, what will become “Israel”, the land on the west side of Jordan. Before they cross Jordan, the Reubenites and the Gadites take a look at the surrounding lands on the East side, or the former lands of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Hesbon, Elealeh, Sebam and Beon. The Reubenites and the Gadites see that the land would be good and ask Moses if they can keep these lands instead, because they were favorable in their eyes.

Moses of course gets a little angry, especially since they haven’t made it to the Promised Land that they Lord had planned for them, and they already want something else. Moses speaks to the children of Gad and Reuben, saying: “…Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And therefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?” (Numbers 32:6)

                The Lord has prepared the Promised Land for them and wanting something else, is really not putting their trust in the Lord and this causes him to be angry. The children of Reuben and Gad come back to Moses and tell him that they will go with Israel into the Promised Land.

The Lord even reminds them of why they had traveled in the desert for forty years: “And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed” (Numbers 32:13). Essentially we learn about trials and tribulations…

The Lord gives us Trials that we can be strengthened. By “filtering” out the evil in the children of Israel, the Lord through a 40 year process was able to find the strongest and most faithful of the Israelites to live in the Promised Land. This reminds me of a scripture in (Romans 5: 1-6)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

                We glory in tribulations… knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh receive their inheritances east of Jordan. They covenant to join the other tribes in conquering Canaan.