David Anointed King in Hebron
Comments for Study 1
2 Samuel 1:1-4:12
Memory Verse: 2:4
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I. David's Lament for Saul and Jonathan (1:1-27)
>1. Read 1:1-10. Compare this report with the record of 1 Samuel 31:1-7.
* 2 Samuel 1:1-10 "After the death of Saul, David returned from defeating the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. On the third day a man arrived from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and with dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor. "Where have you come from?" David asked him. He answered, "I have escaped from the Israelite camp." "What happened?" David asked. "Tell me." He said, "The men fled from the battle. Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead." Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?" "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa," the young man said, "and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and riders almost upon him. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, 'What can I do?' "He asked me, 'Who are you?' "'An Amalekite,' I answered. "Then he said to me, 'Stand over me and kill me! I am in the throes of death, but I'm still alive.' "So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord."
* 1 Samuel 31:1-7 "Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day. When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them."
* "After the death of Saul" -1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book. This event is a continuation of the last chapters of 1 Samuel.
* "Ziklag" -David's home for over a year. Ziklag in Saul and David's time was on the border of Judah and Philistine territory. In Joshua's time it had been conquered by Simeon and was part of the promised land. Simeon must have lost it by David's time to raiding parties.
* "On the third day" -The distance from Mt. Gilboa to Ziklag was around seventy miles (110km). The man would have traveled over twenty miles (30km) a day. David and his men would have been exhausted from their recent battle against the Amalekites who had attacked Ziklag, and busy rebuilding their homes.
* "from Saul's camp" -Saul may have either forced or accepted this Amalekite into his army or perhaps the Amalekite was just a scavenger looking through the dead for goods. Either way it can be assumed he lived in Israel for he knew nothing of David's recent attack against the Amalekites. If Saul had brought him into his army it would have been another indication of Saul's strange behavior because Samuel had rebuked him for not killing all the Amalekites and Saul had insisted he had. (We know that Saul's statement concerning the Amalekites was not true since David was still killing them.)
* "clothes torn and with dust on his head" -A sign of morning and distress in Palestine from ancient times.
* "I took the crown" -Indicating that he may have been a scavenger and even before before the Philistines sought plunder.
* Saul and his three oldest sons (he had four) were killed. 1 Chronicles 10:2 states, "The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua.
>What part of the report was false?
* The Amalekite did not put Saul to the sword. He isn't even mentioned in the passage.
* Saul did not ask him to put him to the sword. Instead, Saul asked his arm bearer.
* The arm bearer did not do what Saul asked so Saul committed suicide.
* The Amalekite really had nothing to do with Saul's end.
* Saul was told to kill the Amalekites by Saul, something he did not completely do. David had been attacking any Amalekite village while in exile, killing all those left he found.
* "Amalekites" -The Amalekites were finally defeated by the Simeons during the reign of King Hezekiah. (1 Chron. 4:41-43)
* "Mount Gilboa" -Mount Gilboa has been identified with modern Jebel Fuqus, on the eastern side of the Plain of Esdraelon. See map link at the top of this study.
* "Then David said" -David knew that Israel and the Philistines were fighting a battle. In those days such battles could take days, weeks, and in some cases months. He would have been surprised that the battle happened so quickly.
>Why do you think the Amalekite lied? (4:10)
* 2 Samuel 4:10 "when a man told me, 'Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news!"
* The Amalekite was an opportunist. He wanted to gain something. He thought that David would be happy to hear that Saul died and would reward him for killing him. He believed this because he thought that David and Saul were bitter enemies. Everyone, even Israel's enemies seemed to know that Saul had been pursuing David. When a kingdom is divided because of poor leadership the enemies try to take advantage of it.
* Today there are those in congregations that claim to be Christian, but are really only opportunists. They look for ways to increase their wealth, political power, and business contacts. They are like Ananias and his wife Sapphira. (Acts 5)
>2. Who were the objects of the mourning? (11-12)
* 2 Samuel 1:11-12 "Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword."
* "David and all the men with him" -The Amalekite must have been surprise to find out David really loved God's people. David had no reason to pretend any more. He did not have reason to stay in Ziklag under the Philistines protection.
* "for Saul" -David had spared Saul's life and honored him after his death. David had set an example to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt. 5:44)
* "mourned" -David's men were the mourners.
* David had a close relationship with his men. He was a great influence on them for they mourned with him.
>The Amalekites thought that he was bring David good news, but he was badly mistaken. What do you learn from David who ordered the Amalekite to be killed?
* 2 Samuel 1:13-16 "David said to the young man who brought him the report, "Where are you from?" "I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite," he answered. David asked him, "Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" Then David called one of his men and said, "Go, strike him down!" So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, "Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, 'I killed the Lord's anointed.'"
* "Why were you not afraid" -An absolute attitude.
* David wasn't seeking praise from men.
* David dealt with this man as an individual and a human being. But when the man said he killed Saul, David dealt with him as a great sinner and an opportunist.
* David put aside his personal feelings about Saul whenever he acted as a leader before the people, such as in this case. He may at one time loved Saul. He always respected the fact that he was God's anointed. Yet David must have been very hurt by Saul. Still, David didn't let that affect his leadership, love, and respect especially at this time.
* "Your blood be on your own head" -This means, "The blood that you have shed is the cause of your own death." Paul said this to the Corinthian Jews who refused to accept that Jesus was the Messiah, the anointed one to the point of opposing the gospel and became abusive. (Acts 18:6)
* "the Lord's anointed" -David respected Saul because the Lord chose him. David knew of Saul's many sins and errors. Yet he love the Lord and accepted the Lord's anointing. David planted a seek of respect for the king no matter what they did. David knew he would be the king now that Saul was gone. Yet he did not rejoice. He mourned and respected Saul.
* "He struck him down" -David was now planting a foundation for his kingdom. That is: righteousness without favoritism and respect God and his appointing. If David would have let the Amalekites actions go without challenge then others would try to do as the Amalekite did.
* David said nothing about the fact that the Amalekite was trying to gain favoritism which was wrong.
* Most likely many in Israel and Judea would wonder how David would react to Saul's death. They might have "held their breath" in anticipation. They didn't know if he would strict revenge for those who chased him with Saul. Through this they could know David did not want Saul and Jonathan to die. Furthermore, David would respect Saul even after death. Those who with Saul must have found solace in that.
>3. Try to identify three different stanzas in the eulogy, according to the subject. (19-20; 21-24; 25-27)
* 2 Samuel 1:17-18 "David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, and ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar)"
* "'Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.'" (19-20)
* "'O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings of grain . For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul--no longer rubbed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied. Saul and Jonathan-- in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold." (21-24)
* "'How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!'" (25-27)
* "Book of Jashar" -The Book of Jashar is also mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 1 Kings 8:53. It was the history of the wars of Israel. Deuteronomy 32:15 indicates "Jeshrun" means "upright one" referring to Israel; "Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior."
>Is there any progression in the lamentation?
* 19-20 -The glory of Israel; the tragedy of the lost glory.
* 21-24 -Saul's family praised. Saul and Jonathan's love.
* 25-27 -Jonathan. David's love for Jonathan.
* Of course in a eulogy one doesn't speak of bad things about the dead. Yet David had more reasons than that. David didn't talk about Saul's bad points. In fact he didn't talk about Saul at all, rather about Saul's shield. In this he talked about Saul's good point. He pointed out that Saul was a good fighter for all Israel. This shows that David was greatly hurt by Saul and yet remained a man of integrity.
* For the sake of Jonathan, David could keep from speaking of the bad things Saul had done.
* Sometimes we need to tell the truth about people, but the way to build up integrity and loyalty is to defend those who are not present.
* Jesus mourned over Jerusalem even though the leaders there were going to kill him.
II. To Hebron (2:1-3:1)
>4. Observe how specifically David inquired of God. (1-4a)
* 2 Samuel 2:1-4 "In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?" he asked. The Lord said, "Go up." David asked, "Where shall I go?" "To Hebron," the Lord answered. So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah."
* "In the course of time" -David did not go right away to claim his throne.
* "David inquired of the Lord" -The priest Abiathar was still with him and still had the ephod. (Ex. 28:30; and 1 Sam. 2:28; 23:2)
* "one of the towns of Judah" -David was still in Ziklag, a town the Simeonites once lived, though now controlled by the Philistines.
* " Hebron"-Hebron was an ancient city in southern Judah, nineteen miles (30km) south-west of Jerusalem, at the junction of all the principal highways of the region. It stood out prominently on the landscape, 3,040 feet above sea level. Josephus speaks of it as being more ancient than the city of Memphis in Egypt. He also says that an old oak tree had been there since the creation of the world. Surrounding the city were olive trees, grapes, springs, and wells, and grazing ground. The cave of Machpelah, later bought by Abram for a tomb for Sarah, was very nearby. It became the burial place not only of Sarah, but of Abram, Isaac Jacob, Rebekah, and Leah.
* "and its cities" -Hebron was the center city of the tribe of Judah.
* "anointed David king over the house of Judah" -Each tribe had its elders. David is being anointed as the leader of one tribe. Since David was of the tribe of Judah and everyone knew by now that Samuel had anointed David, it only seems a logical course that since Saul was dead and his threats now meaningless that they would recognize Samuel's anointing.
>What does this teach about David's faith?
* David's faith was very strong at this time. Times were good for David. He was living in his homeland.
* David believed God would answer him. He prayed.
* David believed that he should ask God for direction. I am inspired to be like David, asking the Lord for direction for my life. Yet, I do not have a priest wearing an ephod. I have something better. I have Jesus, the great high priest who is seated next to the Father constantly interceding on my behalf. Added to that the letter the the Ephesians makes it clear that because I am united with Christ, I am also in the heavenly realms. I have to admit I am but an infant in prayers, saying more than listening.
* David was humble. He did not let being the next king let him forget the Lord.
* He was presumptuous. He didn't take Saul's death as a sign from God that he was now king and so could go in and take command.
* David waited seven years until he was anointed king over both Judah and Israel. He did not set battles to conquer or punish. David's desire was to do God's will and unit all of Israel.
* A good leader does not seek the position. Yet accepts it when it is trust upon him. A poor leader uses all and any means to gain it and then thrusts it on all those he is responsible for.
>5. Observe the three types of kindness mentioned in verses 4b-7.
* 2 Samuel 2:4b-6 "When David was told that it was the men of Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, he sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead to say to them, "The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.'"
* Three kindnesses:
1) David showed kindness to the men of Jabesh Gilead.
2) Jabesh Gilead's people showed kindness of Saul by bravely taking his body down and giving it a proper burial.
3) Saul showed kindness to the men of Jabesh Gilead by saving them from a siege.
* The seed of kindness is sometimes repeated over and over again.
* Jesus taught that we should be kind not only to those who can repay us for the kindness, but to those who have no way of repaying us for it.
>What was David's real reason in sending the message to the men of Jabesh Gilead? (1 Sa. 11:1-11; and 1 Sa. 31:11-13)
* 2 Samuel 2:8-11 "Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri < Or Asher> and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. The length of time David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months."
* 1 Samuel 11:1-11 "Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, "Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you." But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel." The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you." When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, "What is wrong with the people? Why are they weeping?" Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said. When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, "This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel." Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they turned out as one man. When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and the men of Judah thirty thousand. They told the messengers who had come, "Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, 'By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be delivered.'" When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated. They said to the Ammonites, "Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever seems good to you." The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together."
* 1 Samuel 31:11-13 "When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard of what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their valiant men journeyed through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days."
* David wanted to calm the men of Jabesh Gilead. They probably had fer because Saul ws now dead and they had helped him. He calmed their fears.
* David supported the men of Jabesh Gilead because they helping Saul was took bravery and respect. They did a noble thing. In a way David was showing them off so that others in Israel would follow their example.
* If others cannot remember the grace of others how can they remember the grace of God who is unseen.
* Through this act David showed that he was a man of integrity and not narrow minded man. He put away his selfish feelings.
* David is now acting as a leader of God's people.
* If we can't make a someone our friend, we should make them our enemy. Romans 12:18-20 states, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'"
* David's final remark is a veiled invitation to accept him as their new king. They ignored it.
>6. Who made Ish-Bosheth king over all Israel? (8-11)
* 2 Samuel 2:8-11 "Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. The length of time David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months."
* "Meanwhile" -This indicates that after Saul died steps quickly happened to make one of his sons king in his place. The rite of succession such as the gentiles performed was being followed over the anointing of God's servant, Samuel.
* "Ish-Bosheth" -Ish-Bosheth is believed to be Saul's youngest son. Perhaps he didn't fight in the battle that Saul and his three older sons were killed in. However he survived, he is not the only son of Saul alive. His name is listed as "Ishvi" in 1 Samuel 14:49 stating, "Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal." (Abinadab is not listed.) 1 Chronicles 8:33 and 9:39 states that Ish-Bosheth name is "Esh-Baal". These verses say that Saul was the father of Jonathan, Malki-Shua, Abinadab and Esh-Baal. Why is Esh-Baal was not used by the author of Samuel? The NIV Study Bible and Tyndale Old Testament Commentary states, "The name was originally Ish-(or Esh-)Baal but was changed by the author of Samuel to Ish-Bosheth, meaning "man of the shameful thing". Evidently Baal (meaning "lord" or "master") was at this time still used to refer to the Lord. Later this was discontinued because of confusion with the Canaanite god Baal, and the author of Samuel reflects the later sensitivity." Holman Bible Dictionary adds, "The repugnance with which Baal worship was regarded by the faithful in Israel frequently led to the substitution of the word for shame in the place of the name of the Canaanite deity." Interesting how similar today is when Jesus' name is used by nearly every cult stating they have a new unique revelation.
* "had taken" -Abner apparently did not recognize David's anointing. It's easy to conclude that he was using Ish-Bosheth as a way to retain and increase his position of power; the very thing some claim David to do when he asked for his first wife, Saul's daughter, to be brought back to him.
* "Mahanaim" -A safe distance from the Philistines and David to be anointed king. This was also a historical location. Jacob had stopped here when he re-entered the promised land knowing Esau was coming to meet him. At that time Jacob sent his belongs to the south side of the Jabbok River (Mahanaim's location) while he stayed on the north side. At that time Jacob wrestled with God. (Gen. 32:22-32) Mahanaim means "two camps".” Its a city somewhere in the hill country of Gilead on the tribal borders of Gad and eastern Manasseh (Josh. 13:26,30). It was a Levitical city (Josh. 21:38). It served as a refuge twice: in this passage for Ish-Bosheth after Saul's death, and for David when Absalom usurped the throne (2 Sam. 17:24-27). During Solomon's administration, the city served as a district capital (1 Kings 4:14). German archaeologists locate it at tell Heggog, half a mile south of Penuel, while Israelis point to tell edh-Dhabab el Gharbi. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "all Israel" -This marks a formal break between Israel and Judah. Saul's lack of following the Lord's commands through Samuel lead to the eventual split of Judah (the southern tribes) and Israel, aka Ephraim (the northern tribes). Benjamin would eventually side with Judah. David was eventually able to join the two sides. Yet Solomon, David's son, instituted policies that forced a final split when he died.
* "Gilead" -Gilead is also called "Jabesh Gilead." Gilead was in the tribal area of Manasseh. "Jabesh Gilead means 'dry, rugged' or 'dry place of Gilead.' Its a city whose residents, with the exception of four hundred virgins, were put to death by an army of Israelites (Judg. 21:8-12). The four hundred women who were spared became wives for the Benjamites. While certainty is elusive, the area in which Jabesh-Gilead probably was located is east of the Jordan River about twenty miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The story illustrates the drastic steps taken to preserve the unity of the twelve tribes of Israel." (Holman Bible Dictionary) Later they were called people of Gilead.
* "Ashuri" -Textual tradition among the earliest translations is not clear here with some evidence that the tribe of Asher or the city-state of Geshur is meant. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "Jezreel" -One of David's wife, Ahinoam is said to be "of Jezreel" The Bible does not say when they married. Her only son mentioned in Amnon, David's eldest. (2 Sam. 3:2) Israel is said to had camped as the spring of Jezreel in the battle that Saul was killed in. (1 Sam. 29:11) "Jezreel means 'God sows' and refers to a major valley, a northern city, a southern city, and the son of Hosea. The Old Testament uses the name to refer to the entire valley of Jezreel which separates Galilee from Samaria, including the valley of Esdraelon. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "Ephraim" -Ephraim was a tribe of Israel. Ephraim was the second son of Joseph and his Egyptian wife and yet was given the main blessing by Jacob. (Gen. 48) His tribe became one of the largest in Israel and the most influential in northern Israel after the split of Israel. At times the Bible refers to the northern tribes as Ephraim instead of Israel.
* "Benjamin" -Benjamin was a bribe of Israel of which Saul belonged to. Benjamin was the first son of Joseph and his Egyptian wife. Because of him and his brother Joseph received a double portion of the blessing.
>Recall the part he played in 1 Samuel 14:50; 17:55-57; 20:25; and 26:5-16.
* "His wife's name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul's army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul's uncle." (1 Sam. 14:50)
* "As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, 'Abner, whose son is that young man?' Abner replied, 'As surely as you live, O king, I don't know.' 'Find out whose son this young man is.' As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head. He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, (Septuagint; Hebrew wall. Jonathan arose) and Abner sat next to Saul, but David's place was empty." (1 Sam. 17:55-57)
* "He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David's place was empty." (1 Sam. 20:25)
* "Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him. David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, 'Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?' 'I'll go with you,' said Abishai. So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him. Abishai said to David, 'Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won't strike him twice.' But David said to Abishai, 'Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives,' he said, 'the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord's anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let's go.' So David took the spear and water jug near Saul's head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep. Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, 'Aren't you going to answer me, Abner?' Abner replied, 'Who are you who calls to the king?' 'You're a man, aren't you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn't you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men deserve to die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord's anointed. Look around you. Where are the king's spear and water jug that were near his head?'" (1 Sam. 26:5-16)
* Abner, Saul's cousin, was a high general in Saul's army from the beginning of Saul's reign. Abner's power grew after David was forced to leave Saul's house.
* Abner knew all that had gone on and all that was going on in Israel, Saul's house and with David. He knew David well and visa-versa for David was in Saul's house and army for many years. Once, when Saul went out to hunt David down to kill him, David addressed Abner, rebuking him for not protecting Saul.
* Abner was loyal to Saul and he appeared to be so to Saul's son too, though in the end his true colors was seen.
* Verse 3:6 says that Abner was gaining power and even accused of sleeping with Saul's concubine. If true this was a play for power. That was the reason Abner made Saul's son king. He was a political minded man. Though such thinking is not good, it is better than an opportunist.
>7. Tell the results of the various encounters and battles in 2:12-32
* "Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. Joab son of Zeruiah and David's men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side. Then Abner said to Joab, 'Let's have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.' 'All right, let them do it,' Joab said. So they stood up and were counted off--twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent's side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim. (Helkath Hazzurim means "field of daggers" or "field of hostilities.") The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by David's men. The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. Abner looked behind him and asked, 'Is that you, Asahel?' 'It is,' he answered. Then Abner said to him, 'Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.' But Asahel would not stop chasing him. Again Abner warned Asahel, 'Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?' But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel's stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died. But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill. Abner called out to Joab, 'Must the sword devour forever? Don't you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?' Joab answered, 'As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued the pursuit of their brothers until morning. (Or spoken this morning, the men would not have taken up the pursuit of their brothers; or spoken, the men would have given up the pursuit of their brothers by morning) So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore. All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the whole Bithron < Or morning; or ravine; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.> and came to Mahanaim. Then Joab returned from pursuing Abner and assembled all his men. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David's men were found missing. But David's men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. They took Asahel and buried him in his father's tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak." (2:12-32)
* Both sides set up "young men" to fight as a duel because they wanted to test each others strengths and weaknesses. This ended in a "fight to the death" contest and then to a full flown battle. We can assume that David new nothing of the contest between the twenty-four "young men".
* Asahel continued pursuing Abner because he was overconfident in his abilities. Many of Joab's men were dying and he knew what he would gain if he killed Joab.
* Abner didn't want to kill Asahel because he knew he couldn't face Joab if he did. Also he knew the trouble it could cause.
* Abner recognized that nothing would be accomplished if they continued the pursuit.
* Added to this, the Philistines had just won a major victory and established outposts are far as Beth-shan, almost to the Jordan. In effect the Philistines drove a wedge between Judah and the rest of Israel.
* "Gibeon" -An ancient city even in David's day. The site was the location of two deep water systems and was considered a great and royal city. (Joshua 10:2) Its 5.5 miles (9km) north of Jerusalem.
>What does 3:1 tell us about the author's view the hand of God in all this?
* "The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker." (2 Sa. 3:1)
* David grew stronger because it was God's will that David be king. Abner learned that God's will cannot be stopped. We can live in the blessing of knowing that no one can overcome or stop God's will. Add to this that he loves his people and all that he does is good. Exodus 33:19 states the Lord said to Moses, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
III. Abner and Ish-Bosheth (3:2-4:12)
>8. How many wives and sons did David have? (3:2-5)
* 2 Samuel 3:2-5 "Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream the son of David's wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron."
* David here is recorded to have six wives and six sons. Another wife and son was to follow in Jerusalem: Bathsheba and her son Solomon. 2 Samuel 5:13-16 and 1 Chron.3:1-9 records other sons born in Jerusalem.
>Think about the reasons for the failures and bitter disappointment of Amon (13:1-19); Absalom (13:20-18:18); Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5, 2:25).
* David appears to not be a good father. His many sons were not taught about the Lord he loved and the Lord's ways. Added to that their individual mothers would jokey their sons for positions of power and thus against their brothers. David's uncontrolled lust was the seed of division.
* David's many wives and sons by them would end up being much trouble in his life. Jesus taught that originally man and woman were to be married to only one and for life. The Lord tolerated the well rooted cultural practice as well as not over-riding the difficulties and consequences of such sins.
* Matthew 19:3-12 "Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
* Ephesians 6:4 states, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
* Colossians 3:21 states, "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."
* "training" in Ephesians has the meaning of discipline. Discipline does not mean abuse. Discipline goes against the inborn sinful nature but can be taught and maintained in constructive and instructive means.
* "instruction" in Ephesians has the meaning of teaching. Teaching does not mean lecturing. A child can learn in every day life situations.
* "training and instruction of the Lord" is in in Ephesians. Many modern men live under the misconception that their children's education is their wife's responsibility. Here we see that father's are just as responsible, and perhaps more. Teaching does not mean that the father is to have many long chats with their children telling them the way it suppose to be and how they lived as a child. Rather we should seek for little opportunities to teach practically. For example set clear rules (for both parents and children) with punishment and rewards that the parents and child agrees to. Then when the rules are broken the parent can use the opportunity to "surprisingly" teach the meaning of grace by cutting short the punishment one time.
* The experts in education say that there are have four basic learning styles. Everyone favors on of the four, though they may have a mixture of two. They are:
1) Imaginative Learner: able to make use of their life experiences as a foundation for gaining new knowledge. They ask, "Why do I need to know this?"
2) Analytic Learner: very rational and sequential in their thinking, wanting to know what the experts think. They ask, "What do I need to know?"
3) Common Sense Learner: experiment to see if what they have learned really functions. They ask, "How does this work?"
4) Dynamic Learner: comes up with creative, unique applications for what they have learned. They ask, "What can this become?"
* The experts in education also say that there are three basic ways to learn. Everyone favors one of the three, though they may have a mixture of the three. They are:
1) Tactile (Kineshetic): meaning by actually doing with the hands.
2) Sight (Visual): meaning seeing, reading, watching someone, etc.
3) Hearing (Auditory): meaning "listening to someone recite" similar to the most common traditional classroom.
* The above is taken from Learning Styles by Marlene D. LeFever, Published by Church Ministry Resources.
* Proverbs 13:24 "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."
* Proverbs 19:18 "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.'
* Proverbs 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.'
* Proverbs 23:13-14 "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death."
* Proverbs 29:15, 17 "The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother... Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul."
* The rod should never be used when the parent is angry. Sometimes parents need time-outs too.
* A wise parent finds the right way to be a God fearing parent to each child.
>9. Why did Abner decide to join David? (6-11)
* 2 Samuel 3:6-11 "During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul. Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, "Why did you sleep with my father's concubine?" Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said and he answered, "Am I a dog's head--on Judah's side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven't handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman! May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David's throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba." Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him."
* Abner and Ish-Bosheth did not give up fighting for two years. Eventually it was becoming apparent that David would win and was indeed God's anointed king. All knew that David was God's anointed king (3:12), even Ish-Bosheth had to see this. Ish-Bosheth (at Abner's message) sent David his sitter because she was David's first wife and because David demanded it as a condition of surrender. (3:15) Abner had made a peace offering to David and David accepted it.
* "Am I a dog's head--on Judah's side?" -Meaning, "Am I a pawn to David, a contemptible running dog for David?" Abner is implying that Ish-Bosheth owns everything to his loyalty. The passage makes it clear that Abner's assessment was correct. Ish-Bosheth had to know this because sleeping with a concubine was seen as taking a man's house and honor.
* Abner was political minded to the end. He probably realized that Ish-Bosheth's kingdom had no hope because of Ish-Bosheth "youngest son of a bad king" character (meaning not abmitious, weak and lazy; with his hands always looking for the easy way out and handouts). Abner learned through this incident or at least was convinced by it and so he went to David with an idea and the ability to manipulate the political system and ambitions of other men to his advantage. He was stating, "I'm joining David and bringing all Israel with me while I still can."
* "May God deal with Abner" -Abner did not use the covenant name of the God of Israel. He was not a man of faith. Not only that, but he knew that God had anointed David as king and yet did not act on that understanding until he had the political power in Israel to it for his benefit.
* "was afraid of him" -Saul must have been so occupied with David that he didn't teach his son the political world.
>How does he carry out his plan? (12-21)
* 2 Samuel 3:12-21 "Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, "Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you."
13 "Good," said David. "I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me."
14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, "Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins."
15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish.
16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, "Go back home!" So he went back.
17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, "For some time you have wanted to make David your king.
18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, 'By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.'"
19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin wanted to do.
20 When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men.
21 Then Abner said to David, "Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a compact with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires." So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace."
* "all Israel over to you" -Abner's position and political style was the one to be expected from a military general and politically ambitious man who knew he would never have the throne.
* "Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul" -Some claim that Abner rebelled against Ish-Bosheth, a harsh assessment. If so, then why did Ish-Bosheth agree with Abner and sent his sister to David? Those who take this view answer this questions saying Ish-Bosheth did this because he was flattered that both David and Abner needed to get his help to make this happen. In stating this they acknowledge Abner's political skills. Abner was playing into the hand of David and Ish-Bosheth just as much if not more than they were of him.
* "demanding, 'Give me my wife Michal'" -David was testing Ish-Bosheth's will and political pull and at the same time Abner's claims to bring all of Israel to him. If Ish-Bosheth was as weak as Abner implied then Ish-Bosheth would send his sister to David to ensure his future life.
* "For some time you wanted to make David king" -The truth of this desire most likely goes back to the end of Saul's mad reign. They had to feared Saul's reign, constantly threatening to kill people. Everyone seemed to know that a demon bothered him.
* The one thing that Abner, David, and Ish-Bosheth didn't anticipate was Joab.
>What do you learn from David who welcomed Abner?
* David's objective was to join Israel together under one throne, the throne appointed by the Lord. David did not force his throne of Israel. He dealt with Abner to meet his objectives. David had not desire to kill Saul or any of his household.
* We need to know what kind of people we work with in the service of the Lord. We shouldn't set people up for failure. We shouldn't divide the house of God. We shouldn't seek our own political agenda at the expense of others. We should do everything in love and respect.
* The events that lead to David's reign included the "young men" contest to Abner's political play was beyond David's control and ability. God was working behind the scenes.
>10. How does Joab slay Abner? (26-27)
* 2 Samuel 3:26-27 "Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the gateway, as though to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died."
* "to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel" -Abner did not want to kill Asahel and thus had ordered him off. Joab didn't care how it happened, he only wanted to see what he wanted to believe. He was fixed in his believe that Abner was no good and up to no good.
* The sinful man only believes what works into his plans and ideas; he only wants to see what he wants to see, hear what he wants to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 states, "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."
* 2 Samuel 3:22-25 "Just then David's men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace. So Joab went to the king and said, 'What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.'"
* Joab believed a no good man like Abner could only be up to no good. Joab's actions are totally self willed and selfish. This means that he didn't care what decision he made, he'd do it not matter what David thought or what it would do for him. His bent sense of reality made him believe that what he was doing was good. Is betrayal and murder ever good?
* Joab was not an opportunist nor had political ambitions. His fault was letting his feelings cloud his thinking.
* Numbers 35:16-21 records the family feudal system evoked by Joab. At the same time Joab ignored the Lord's call for judges and trials and cities of refuge.
* The kingdom of David had opportunists, political minded, and those with clouded judgment. This is true of any human social group and movement. Even every congregation that is and has ever existed has people like these in it. They are the birds in the mustard seed plant enjoying its shade and eating its seeds.
* David bore all these types of people in his kingdom.
* David is not recorded to give a response to Joab. This may be because he wasn't given a chance to or because he didn't know what to say, or because he was having second thoughts. The first is the most likely.
* Paul makes it clear in his letters that through Christ both Jew and Gentiles are united and brothers. Yet from Paul's days to this very day there have been are still are people who are hindering and even killing people on both sides with the clear intent to separate the two. Why? I believe it is because when the two are physically brought together in the name of Jesus the Messiah the world has been and will be forever changed for the better.
>Observe how David sincerely lamented over Abner's death. (28-34)
* 2 Samuel 3:28-34 "Later, when David heard about this, he said, "I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner.
29 May his blood fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house! May Joab's house never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food."
30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)
31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner." King David himself walked behind the bier.
32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner's tomb. All the people wept also.
33 The king sang this lament for Abner: "Should Abner have died as the lawless die?
34 Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before wicked men." And all the people wept over him again."
* "innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner" -If David didn't say anything about his death people would think that he was behind it.
* "a running sore or leprosy" -Thus unable to worship the Lord and be a member of society.
* "leans on a crutch" -Forced to be a beggar.
>Why did David fail to deal with Joab?
* 2 Samuel 3:35-39 "Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!" All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them. So on that day all the people and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner. Then the king said to his men, "Do you not realize that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!"
* David did punish Joab (making him wear sackcloth and participating humbly in Joab's funeral) but his punishment did not live up to the letter of the law of Moses.
* "a prince" -Not by birth, but by political power.
* "I am weak" -David's hope to join Israel and stop the bloodshed was weakened by Abner's death.
* "everything the king did pleased them" -David's leadership was effective at this point. God's hand was will him in all he did and would continue to do so until he persisted in sinful activities. Acts 13:36 states, "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed."
>11. In what respect was the crime of Baanah and Recab worse that that of the Amalekite? (4:1-8)
* 2 Samuel 4:1-8 "When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed. Now Saul's son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Recab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin--Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin, because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have lived there as aliens to this day. (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.) Now Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Recab and his brother Baanah slipped away. They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah. They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, "Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to take your life. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring."
* "Baanah and Recab" -Baanah and Recab were opportunists of the worse kind. Ish-Bosheth had not committed a crime; he was innocent. Not accepting David's rule was not his idea but Abner's. His only error was listening to Abner and not stepping down to let David be king. Yet these men murdered Ish-Bosheth in his own house, an act of lawlessness and wickedness. (11) The Amalekite did not kill Saul, though he claimed to do so.
* Every wrong act that worked out for David's favor was not the idea of working of David.
>Why did David deal with them so severely? (9-12)
* 2 Samuel 4:9-12 "David answered Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble, when a man told me, 'Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more--when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed--should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!" So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner's tomb at Hebron."
* "hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron" -David used them as examples, hanging them up in a public place.
>12. Summarize some spiritual lessons you learned in chapters 1-4 -David's patience, love, justice, and dependence on God.
* Wait for God's time. Do not do anything without inquiring of the Lord and them wait to see what he does. We live by faith in Jesus and act upon his words by faith. Yet we should never do things that go against his word.
* David loved God and made and kept his promises before God not man (at this point). David lived to unite Israel under God.
* David was surrounded by opportunists and political minded people. Yet he kept his hands clean.
* David's humility in becoming king reflects Jesus' humility. Jesus did not force his kingship on anyone. The common people at times wanted to make him king by force. However, this would have put them and him at odds of the religious leaders and God's plan to save all mankind. So when they tried to make him king by force he slipped away from them. Jesus does not force himself on anyone to this day. Rather, he woes them with love and eternal promises, leaving the choice up to use to wilfully let him lead our life.
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