2 Samuel 3; 2 Samuel 4; 2 Samuel 5; Luke 14:25-35

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2 Samuel 3

1 As the war between the royal families of Saul and David dragged on, David's family became stronger and stronger, and Saul's family became weaker and weaker.
2 Sons were born to David while he was in Hebron. His first son was Amnon, [born] to Ahinoam from Jezreel.
3 The second was Chileab, [born] to Abigail (who had been Nabal's wife) from Carmel. The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah (the daughter of King Talmai) from Geshur.
4 The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital.
5 The sixth was Ithream, [born] to David's wife Eglah. These sons were born to David while he was in Hebron.
6 During the war between the families of Saul and David, Abner strengthened his position in Saul's royal family.
7 Saul had a concubine named Rizpah (Aiah's daughter). Ishbosheth asked Abner, "Why did you have sex with my father's concubine?"
8 Ishbosheth's question made Abner very angry. "Have I been behaving like some Judean dog?" he asked. "Until now I've been faithful to your father Saul's family, to his relatives and friends, and I haven't handed you over to David. But now you charge me with a crime because of this woman.
9 May God strike me dead unless I do for David what the LORD had promised him with an oath:
10 'I, the LORD, will transfer the kingship from Saul's family and establish David's throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.'"
11 Ishbosheth couldn't respond to a single word, because he was afraid of Abner.
12 Then Abner sent messengers to David to speak on his behalf. "Who owns this country?" he asked. "Make an agreement with me," he said. "I'll support you and bring all Israel to you."
13 "Good!" David answered. "I'll make an agreement with you. But there's one condition: You can't come to see me unless you bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come."
14 Then David sent messengers to Saul's son Ishbosheth to say, "Give me my wife Michal. I made a payment of 100 Philistine foreskins for her."
15 So Ishbosheth sent men to take her from her husband Paltiel, son of Laish.
16 Her husband went with her and cried over her all the way to Bahurim. "Go home," Abner told him. So he went home.
17 Meanwhile, Abner sent the following message to the leaders of Israel: "For some time now you've wanted to make David your king.
18 Do it now, because the LORD said about David: 'I will save my people Israel from the Philistines and all their other enemies through my servant David.'"
19 Abner also spoke specifically to the people of Benjamin. Then Abner went directly to David in Hebron to tell him everything Israel and the entire tribe of Benjamin had approved.
20 So Abner came with 20 men to David in Hebron, and David had a feast for Abner and his men.
21 Abner told David, "I must go now so that I can gather all Israel for you, Your Majesty. They will make a treaty with you, and you will rule everything your heart desires." Then David dismissed Abner, who left peacefully.
22 Just then David's men and Joab were coming home from a raid with a lot of goods. Abner had been dismissed, so he was no longer with David in Hebron.
23 When Joab came back with the whole army, he was told, "Ner's son Abner came to the king, but David dismissed him, and Abner left peacefully."
24 Then Joab went to the king and asked, "What have you done? Abner came to see you. Why did you dismiss him and let him get away?
25 Certainly you must know that Ner's son Abner came to deceive you, to find out about your movements and learn everything you're doing!"
26 After leaving David, Joab sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the cistern of Sirah without David knowing about it.
27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gateway as if to talk to him privately. There he stabbed Abner in the belly. Abner died because he spilled the blood of Joab's brother Asahel.
28 Later when David heard about it, he said, "As far as the LORD is concerned, my kingdom and I are forever innocent of spilling the blood of Ner's son Abner.
29 May the blame fall on the head of Joab and all of his family. May there always be members of Joab's family who have oozing sores and skin diseases, who can only work a spindle, who die in battle, and who never have any food."
30 (Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)
31 David told Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn for Abner." King David followed the open casket.
32 They buried Abner in Hebron. The king cried loudly at Abner's grave, and all the people cried.
33 The king sang a funeral song for Abner: Should Abner die like a godless fool?
34 Your hands were not tied. Your feet were not chained. You fell as one falls in front of wicked men. And all the people continued to cry for him.
35 That entire day all the people tried to get David to eat some food. But David had taken an oath: "May God strike me dead if I taste any food or anything else before the sun goes down."
36 Then all the people understood and approved of this, as all the people approved of everything the king did.
37 That day all the people of Israel knew the king wasn't responsible for killing Ner's son Abner.
38 The king said to his officers, "Don't you know that today a leader, a great man, has fallen in Israel?
39 Today I'm weak, though I'm the anointed king. These men, Zeruiah's sons, are too cruel for me. May the LORD repay this evildoer as his evil deeds deserve."

2 Samuel 4

1 When Saul's son Ishbosheth heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost his courage, and all Israel was alarmed.
2 Saul's son had two men who were captains of raiding parties. One was named Baanah, and the other was named Rechab. They were the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth from the tribe of Benjamin. (Beeroth was considered a part of Benjamin,
3 even though the people of Beeroth had fled to Gittaim. They still live there today.
4 In addition, Saul's son Jonathan had a son who was crippled. When the boy was five years old, the news about [the death of] Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled [to Gittaim]. She was in a hurry when she left, and he fell [from her arms] and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
5 Rechab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth, came to Ishbosheth's home at the hottest time of the day. Ishbosheth was taking his midday nap
6 when they came into the house as though they were going to get some flour. Instead, they stabbed him in the belly. Then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped.
7 (They had come into the house while Ishbosheth was sleeping on his bed in his bedroom. They stabbed him, killed him, and cut off his head.) They took his head and traveled all night along the road to the plains.
8 They brought Ishbosheth's head to David at Hebron. "Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of your enemy Saul who tried to kill you," they told the king. "Today the LORD has given Your Royal Majesty revenge on Saul and his descendants."
9 David responded to Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth,
10 "I once seized a man who told me that Saul had died. He thought he was bringing good news. I killed him in Ziklag to reward him for his news.
11 How much more [should I reward] wicked men who kill an innocent man on his own bed in his home? The LORD has rescued me from every trouble. I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives, I'll now seek revenge for his murder and rid the land of you."
12 So David gave an order to his young men, who executed Rechab and Baanah, cut off their hands and feet, and hung their dead bodies by the pond in Hebron. Then they took Ishbosheth's head and buried it in Abner's tomb in Hebron.

2 Samuel 5

1 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. "We are your own flesh and blood," they said.
2 "Even in the past when Saul ruled us, you were the one who led Israel in battle. The LORD has said to you, 'You will be shepherd of my people Israel, the leader of Israel.'"
3 All the leaders of Israel had come to Hebron. King David made an agreement with them at Hebron in front of the LORD. So they anointed David king of Israel.
4 David was 30 years old when he became king, and he ruled for 40 years.
5 In Hebron he ruled Judah for seven years and six months. In Jerusalem he ruled for 33 years over all Israel and Judah.
6 The king and his men went to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived in that region. The Jebusites told David, "You will never get in here. Even the blind and the lame could turn you away" (meaning that David could never get in there).
7 But David captured the fortress Zion (that is, the City of David).
8 That day David said, "Whoever wants to defeat the Jebusites must reach the lame and the blind who hate me by using the water shaft." So there is a saying, "The blind and the lame will not get into the palace."
9 David lived in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built the city [of Jerusalem] around it from the Millo to the palace.
10 David continued to grow more powerful because the LORD God of Armies was with him.
11 Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedarwood, carpenters, and stonemasons. They built a palace for David.
12 So David realized that the LORD had established him as king of Israel and made his kingship famous for the sake of Israel, the LORD's people.
13 David married more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he had come there from Hebron, and he fathered more sons and daughters.
14 These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon,
15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia,
16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, all of them came to attack David. But David heard about it and went to the fortress.
18 The Philistines had come and overrun the valley of Rephaim.
19 David asked the LORD, "Should I attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The LORD answered David, "Attack! I will certainly hand the Philistines over to you."
20 So David went to Baal Perazim and defeated the Philistines there. He said, "The LORD has overwhelmed my enemies in front of me like an overwhelming flood." That is why that place is called Baal Perazim [The Lord Overwhelms].
21 The Philistines left their idols there, so David and his men carried the idols away.
22 The Philistines again attacked and overran the valley of Rephaim.
23 David asked the LORD, and he answered, "Don't attack now, but circle around behind them, and come at them in front of the balsam trees.
24 When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, act immediately because the LORD has gone ahead of you to defeat the Philistine army."
25 David did as the LORD ordered him and defeated the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.

Luke 14:25-35

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned to them and said,
26 "If people come to me and are not ready to abandon their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as their own lives, they cannot be my disciples.
27 So those who do not carry their crosses and follow me cannot be my disciples.
28 "Suppose you want to build a tower. You would first sit down and figure out what it costs. Then you would see if you have enough money to finish it.
29 Otherwise, if you lay a foundation and can't finish the building, everyone who watches will make fun of you.
30 They'll say, 'This person started to build but couldn't finish the job.'
31 "Or suppose a king is going to war against another king. He would first sit down and think things through. Can he and his 10,000 soldiers fight against a king with 20,000 soldiers?
32 If he can't, he'll send ambassadors to ask for terms of peace while the other king is still far away.
33 In the same way, none of you can be my disciples unless you give up everything.
34 "Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, how will you restore its flavor?
35 It's not any good for the ground or for the manure pile. People throw it away. "Let the person who has ears listen!"