Making an escape is not new for David. However, taking a whole household and then some takes a lot more planning and strategy. I can just picture the procession. It would have been impressive to be sure. No panic, only calculated strategy.
David seems to be calmly handling this situation. His faith is strong, and we hear him surrender to God. While he wants to be able to return to Jerusalem, he defers that to God. Not sounding fearful of death, David goes on to say, “But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
Abner is getting a lot of attention from King David. But is he the hero of this story? It certainly can’t be Joab, the one who killed Abner. In fact, Joab is having to mourn the loss of a man he caused to die. How odd that must be! David is setting a good example as king.
David needed a strong public response to the killing of this Israelite warrior. He did this to establish his innocence and pay tribute. David couldn’t afford to lose credibility with other leaders of the north. He summons the whole “government” to mourn, including Joab. What humiliation!
I’m always impressed by someone that takes initiative. Having worked in an office setting for most of my career as a paralegal, I saw lots of people who just took up space. They showed up for work, did the bare minimum, and then went home. I could never do that. I was too highly driven to be the best I could be.
In our passage we see Jonathan, Saul’s son, taking some serious initiative. His father and the Israelite army had been reduced in size and were in hiding from the Philistines. How long were they going to play that “game?” Jonathan decides “one day” that he had had enough. He was going to do something different. He was clearly thinking outside the box of what was expected and how he was being led.
I wondered where they’d been all this time. Not really! I didn’t even know they were missing. That is, this was news to me that the tribe of Dan had never made it to the coast to claim their land. The tribe of Dan would have been given land to the West of Ephraim, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The lands of Judah and Benjamin also shared a border to the Southeast.
We do hear again of the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol. These towns were in the same vicinity where the events of Samson’s life took place. I understand they are found in Judah. To be in Ephraim, to meet with the Levite in Micah’s house, they had traveled north a ways.
I love starting to read a new book. Especially in the Old Testament, it’s helpful for me to put what I’m reading into context so I can understand God’s story even better. Judges picks up right where Joshua leaves off in the lives of the Israelites. Joshua’s strong leadership will be remembered, but memories will soon fade. We’ll see how the Israelites have a hard time staying true to their God in the absence of strong spiritual leadership. Unfortunately, there was no obvious successor, like Joshua had been following the days of Moses.
We’ll see a definite pattern emerge that will play over and over during the years of the Judges. You might even say this type of behavior continues in some fashion even today. We’ll meet new Bible heroes up close, seeing how God chooses some with questionable qualifications! God sees the heart and always knows what he is doing.