Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of May 17, 2015
2 Samuel 19:9-20:26
After the defeat and death of Absalom, David “won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man” (2 Sam. 19:14). He forgave repentant Shimei for cursing him. He was reconciled to Mephibosheth whom he learned had been slandered by Ziba. “All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel” (v. 40) accompanied him back across the Jordan River.
However, “a troublemaker named Sheba...a Benjamite” (20:1) stirred up the Israelites to follow him instead of David. Sheba’s effort to gather followers took him far north in Israel to Abel Beth Maacah, just west of Dan. Troops under Joab besieged that city until a wise woman of the city bargained with Joab to spare the city in exchange for the head of Sheba. She said, “We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?” (v. 19) When Joab agreed to spare the city for the head of Sheba, “they cut off the head of Sheba...and threw it to Joab” (v. 22), who then returned to Jerusalem.
The land of Israel in David’s time seemed to be populated with women characterized by wisdom and courage to turn potentially tragic situations into peaceful solutions. Abigail, the wife of Nabal, turned David from taking vengeance on her foolish husband (1 Sam. 25:14-35). The wise woman of Tekoa convinced David to take steps toward reconciliation with Absalom (2 Sam. 14:2-20). The wise woman of Abel Beth Maacah took the initiative to negotiate with Joab to spare her entire city (20:16-22).
Consider this: Similar women have played an important role in New Testament times and during the history of the Christian church ever since. Let’s give thanks to God for the wise and godly women through whom He has worked to bring physical and spiritual peace in the world.