When Ishbaal (or Ish-bosheth), the son of Saul, heard that Abner had been killed, he mourned him. Then, two mean, Baanah and Rechab, went and killed Ishbaal and brought his head to David expecting David’s happiness since Saul and all his posterity had been killed. However, just as David was angry at the man who claimed to have killed Saul, he was also angry at Baanah and Rechab and had them killed. He then buried Ishbaal’s head with Abner.
Depending on the translation of the Bible, there seems to be discrepancies in names and events. According to the “New American Bible”, Saul’s son is called Ishbaal. However, the “English Standard Version” calls him Ish-bosheth. Furthermore, the wording between these two texts differ slightly concerning who buried Ishbaal’s head and how he was killed. Although the differences are minor, it leads me to wonder what else has been lost, changed, or misinterpreted in translation.
The people of Israel came to David and anointed him King of Israel. David then captured Zion from the Jebusites, which became the City of David. He also said that the blind and the lame were not to enter the palace since they fought against him. While in Jerusalem, David took more wives and concubines and had more children, including Solomon. When the Philistines heard that David was king of Israel, they went to attack him. However, the Lord was with David, and so David defeated the Philistines each time they attacked.
There’s a lot going on in this chapter. It seems unreasonable to put a blanket ban on people who are blind and lame based on the fact that the blind and lame Jebusites were David’s enemies. However, it could be that the ban is just on the blind and lame Jebusites, although that is not made clear. Once again David makes a mockery of modern-day marriage ideals. The idea that marriage is a union between “one” man and “one” woman is obviously not an Old Testament idea. Also, we see that the Lord is protecting his chosen ones at the cost of the Philistines.
David and thirty thousand men went to get the ark of God. During transportation, Ussah touched the ark to balance it as it was falling off an ox. God struck him dead for touching the ark and so David became angry at the Lord and did not bring the ark into the City of David. However, when David saw that the ark of God was bringing blessings, he brought the ark to his home and blessed Israel. As he entered the city, David was dancing for the Lord and Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s wife, became angry with him because he was exposing himself to slave girls. Michal chastised David for doing this, but David did not care. It was then said that Michal died childless. After that, David spoke to Nathan, a prophet, and said he wanted to build a house for the Lord. However, the Lord visited Nathan and told him of the blessings He would give David’s offspring and said He did not need a house. Nathan then reported his vision to David. So David went to the Lord to give him thanks and praise.
It’s nice to see that David is morally outraged by God striking down a man who was innocently trying to protect the ark. However, David’s righteous indignation for another doesn’t seem to surpass his desire for blessings. I don’t completely understand why Michal is angry with David. It could be that she thinks as a king he should not stoop to a common level. I find it odd that the chapter ends with the fact that Michal died childless. Perhaps this is meant as God’s punishment for her chastisement of David. This is the first time Nathan the prophet is mentioned and I’m curious about his background. David also has a son named Nathan, but it is not the same person.
These are my thoughts on 2 Samuel 4-7.