DAVID NEARS the end of his life as our chronological study of the Old Testament continues. We read a number of psalms of repentance and thanksgiving, and recount the list of David’s mighty men of valor — and speculate on one of those odd bits of scripture referring to the “ariels” (rendered “lionlike men” in the KJV) of Moab slain by Benaiah the son of Jehoiada (2 Samuel 23:20).
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THE REBELLION of Absalom has been quashed but a new one rises up in its place: As David returns to Jerusalem accompanied by members of his tribe, the Judahites, the northern tribes arrive along the way and confront the men of Judah. This leads to the short-lived rebellion of Sheba the son of Bichri, which highlights the ongoing tension between Judah and the northern tribes and foreshadows the eventual division of the kingdom in the days of Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
OUR OLD Testament study this week moves to a new phase of David’s life as he is declared king of Judah. The rest of the tribes, however, elect to follow Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth (called Eshbaal, or “man of Ba’al”, in 1 Chronicles 8:33), who decided that Saul’s headquarters at Gibeah was just a little too close to the territory of Judah, David’s tribe.