2 Samuel 4-7 The Message Bible

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The Assassination of Ish-bosheth

4 1  Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth, heard that Abner had died in Hebron. His heart sank. The whole country was shaken. 2  Ish-Bosheth had two men who were captains of raiding bands - one was named Baanah, the other Recab. They were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, a Benjaminite. (The people of Beeroth had been assigned to Benjamin 3  ever since they escaped to Gittaim. They still live there as resident aliens.) 4  It so happened that Saul's son, Jonathan, had a son who was maimed in both feet. When he was five years old, the report on Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and ran, but in her hurry to get away she fell, and the boy was maimed. His name was Mephibosheth. 5  One day Baanah and Recab, the two sons of Rimmon, headed out for the house of Ish-Bosheth. They arrived at the hottest time of the day, just as he was taking his afternoon nap. 6  They entered the house on a ruse, pretending official business. The maid guarding the bedroom had fallen asleep, so Recab and Baanah slipped by her 7  and entered the room where Ish-Bosheth was asleep on his bed. They killed him and then cut off his head, carrying it off as a trophy. They traveled all night long, taking the route through the Arabah Valley. 8  They presented the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron, telling the king, "Here's the head of Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, your enemy. He was out to kill you, but God has given vengeance to my master, the king - vengeance this very day on Saul and his children!"

9  David answered the brothers Recab and Baanah, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as God lives - the One who got me out of every trouble I've ever been in 10  - when the messenger told me, 'Good news! Saul is dead!' supposing I'd be delighted, I arrested him and killed him on the spot in Ziklag. That's what he got for his so-called good news! 11  And now you show up - evil men who killed an innocent man in cold blood, a man asleep in his own house! Don't think I won't find you guilty of murder and rid the country of you!" 12  David then issued orders to his soldiers. They killed the two - chopped off their hands and feet, and hung the corpses at the pool in Hebron. But Ish-Bosheth's head they took and buried in Abner's tomb in Hebron.

David Made King over Israel

5 1  Before long all the tribes of Israel approached David in Hebron and said, "Look at us - your own flesh and blood! 2  In time past when Saul was our king, you're the one who really ran the country. Even then God said to you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel and you'll be the prince.'" 3  All the leaders of Israel met with King David at Hebron, and the king made a treaty with them in the presence of God. And so they anointed David king over Israel. 4  David was thirty years old when he became king, and ruled for forty years. 5  In Hebron he ruled Judah for seven and a half years. In Jerusalem he ruled all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.

David Captures Zion

6  David and his men immediately set out for Jerusalem to take on the Jebusites, who lived in that country. But they said, "You might as well go home! Even the blind and the lame could keep you out. You can't get in here!" They had convinced themselves that David couldn't break through. 7  But David went right ahead and captured the fortress of Zion, known ever since as the City of David. 8  That day David said, "To get the best of these Jebusites, one must target the water system, not to mention this so-called lame and blind bunch that David hates." (In fact, he was so sick and tired of it, people coined the expression, "No lame and blind allowed in the palace.") 9  David made the fortress city his home and named it "City of David." He developed the city from the outside terraces inward. 10  David proceeded with a longer stride, a larger embrace since the God-of-the-Angel-Armies was with him.

Hiram's Recognition of David

11  It was at this time that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, along with timbers of cedar. He also sent carpenters and masons to build a house for David. 12  David took this as a sign that God had confirmed him as king of Israel, giving his kingship world prominence for the sake of Israel, his people.

David's Children Born at Jerusalem

13  David took on more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he left Hebron. And more sons and daughters were born to him. 14  These are the names of those born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15  Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16  Elishama, Eliada, Eliphelet.

David Defeats the Philistines

17  When the Philistines got word that David had been made king over all Israel, they came on the hunt for him. David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18  When the Philistines arrived, they deployed their forces in Raphaim Valley. 19  Then David prayed to God: "Shall I go up and fight the Philistines? Will you help me beat them?" 20  "Go up," God replied. "Count on me. I'll help you beat them." 21  The retreating Philistines dumped their idols, and David and his soldiers took them away. 22  Later there was a repeat performance. The Philistines came up again and deployed their troops in the Rephaim Valley. 23  David again prayed to God. 24  When you hear the sound of shuffling in the trees, get ready to move out. It's a signal that God is going ahead of you to smash the Philistine camp." 25  David did exactly what God told him. He routed the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

David Goes to Bring the Ark

6 1  David mustered the pick of the troops of Israel - thirty divisions of them. 2  Together with his soldiers, David headed for Baalah to recover the Chest of God, which was called by the Name God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who was enthroned over the pair of angels on the Chest. 3  They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab's house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab's sons, were driving the new cart 4  loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. 5  David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.

6  When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and grabbed the Chest of God. 7  God blazed in anger against Uzzah and struck him hard because he had profaned the Chest. Uzzah died on the spot, right alongside the Chest. 8  Then David got angry because of God's deadly outburst against Uzzah. That place is still called Perez Uzzah (The-Explosion-Against-Uzzah). 9  David became fearful of God that day and said, "This Chest is too hot to handle. How can I ever get it back to the City of David?" 10  He refused to take the Chest of God a step farther. Instead, David removed it off the road and to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11  The Chest of God stayed at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. And God prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household.

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

12  It was reported to King David that God had prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household because of the Chest of God. So David thought, "I'll get that blessing for myself," and went and brought up the Chest of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David, celebrating 13  extravagantly all the way, with frequent sacrifices of choice bulls. 14  David, ceremonially dressed in priest's linen, danced with great abandon before God. 15  The whole country was with him as he accompanied the Chest of God with shouts and trumpet blasts. 16  But as the Chest of God came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn. 17  They brought the Chest of God and set it in the middle of the tent pavilion that David had pitched for it. Then and there David worshiped, offering burnt offerings and peace offerings. 18  When David had completed the sacrifices of burnt and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies 19  and handed out to each person in the crowd, men and women alike, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. Then everyone went home.

20  David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul's daughter, came out to greet him: "How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today - exposing himself to the eyes of the servants' maids like some burlesque street dancer!" 21  David replied to Michal, "In God's presence I'll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God's people, over Israel. Oh yes, I'll dance to God's glory 22  - more recklessly even than this. And as far as I'm concerned . . . I'll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you're so worried about, I'll be honored no end." 23  Michal, Saul's daughter, was barren the rest of her life.

God's Covenant with David

7 1  Before long, the king made himself at home and God gave him peace from all his enemies. 2  Then one day King David said to Nathan the prophet, "Look at this: Here I am, comfortable in a luxurious house of cedar, and the Chest of God sits in a plain tent." 3  Nathan told the king, "Whatever is on your heart, go and do it. God is with you."

4  But that night, the word of God came to Nathan saying, 5  "Go and tell my servant David: This is God's word on the matter: You're going to build a 'house' for me to live in? 6  Why, I haven't lived in a 'house' from the time I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt till now. All that time I've moved about with nothing but a tent. 7  And in all my travels with Israel, did I ever say to any of the leaders I commanded to shepherd Israel, 'Why haven't you built me a house of cedar?' 8  "So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging along after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. 9  I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you. Now I'm making you famous, to be ranked with the great names on earth. 10  And I'm going to set aside a place for my people Israel and plant them there so they'll have their own home and not be knocked around any more. Nor will evil men afflict you as they always have, 11  even during the days I set judges over my people Israel. Finally, I'm going to give you peace from all your enemies. 12  When your life is complete and you're buried with your ancestors, then I'll raise up your child, your own flesh and blood, to succeed you, and I'll firmly establish his rule. 13  He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom's rule permanently. 14  I'll be a father to him, and he'll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I'll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. 15  But I'll never remove my gracious love from him, as I removed it from Saul, who preceded you and whom I most certainly did remove. 16  Your family and your kingdom are permanently secured. I'm keeping my eye on them! And your royal throne will always be there, rock solid." 17  Nathan gave David a complete and accurate account of everything he heard and saw in the vision.

18  King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: "Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? 19  But that's nothing compared to what's coming, for you've also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! 20  What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. 21  You've done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are - out of your very heart! - but you've let me in on it. 22  "This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we've heard with our own ears. 23  And who is like your people, like Israel, a nation unique in the earth, whom God set out to redeem for himself (and became most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt? 24  You established for yourself a people - your very own Israel! - your people permanently. And you, God, became their God. 25  "So now, great God, this word that you have spoken to me and my family, guarantee it permanently! Do exactly what you've promised! 26  Then your reputation will flourish always as people exclaim, 'The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is God over Israel!' And the house of your servant David will remain sure and solid in your watchful presence. 27  For you, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel's God, told me plainly, 'I will build you a house.' That's how I was able to find the courage to pray this prayer to you. 28  "And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, 29  please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You've already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!"

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