Context and Comment:
Today’s reading in Psalm 66 expresses collective praise for God’s deliverance in the past: the Exodus from Egypt and the Conquest of Canaan. It then expresses gratitude for His more recent acts of salvation, the circumstances of which are not made clear. What is clear is that a member of that rescued community fulfills a vow to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, simultaneously reminding his neighbors of what God has done.
2 Samuel 2:12 – 3:39
12 Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 Joab the son of Zeruiah and David’s servants went out, and met them by the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 Abner said to Joab, “Please let the young men arise and play before us!”
Joab said, “Let them arise!” 15
Then they arose and went over by number: twelve for Benjamin and for Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of David’s servants. 16
They each caught his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: therefore that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.* 17
The battle was very severe that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before David’s servants. 18
The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild gazelle. 19
Asahel pursued Abner; and in going he didn’t turn to the right hand or to the left from following Abner. 20
Then Abner looked behind him, and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”
He answered, “It is.”
21 Abner said to him, “Turn away to your right hand or to your left, and grab one of the young men, and take his armor.” But Asahel would not turn away from following him. 22 Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn away from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I look Joab your brother in the face?” 23 However he refused to turn away. Therefore Abner with the back end of the spear struck him in the body, so that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place. As many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. The sun went down when they had come to the hill of Ammah, that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one band, and stood on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Don’t you know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long will it be then, before you ask the people to return from following their brothers?”
Joab said, “As God†
lives, if you had not spoken, surely then in the morning the people would have gone away, and not each followed his brother.” 28
So Joab blew the trumpet; and all the people stood still, and pursued Israel no more, and they fought no more. 29
Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah; and they passed over the Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and came to Mahanaim. 30
Joab returned from following Abner; and when he had gathered all the people together, nineteen men of David’s and Asahel were missing. 31
But David’s servants had struck Benjamin and of Abner’s men so that three hundred sixty men died. 32
They took up Asahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron.
1 Now there was long war between Saul’s house and David’s house. David grew stronger and stronger, but Saul’s house grew weaker and weaker. 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron. His firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
6 While there was war between Saul’s house and David’s house, Abner made himself strong in Saul’s house. 7 Now Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”
8 Then Abner was very angry about Ishbosheth’s words, and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to Saul’s house your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David; and yet you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman! 9 God do so to Abner, and more also, if, as Yahweh has sworn to David, I don’t do even so to him; 10 to transfer the kingdom from Saul’s house, and to set up David’s throne over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.”
11 He could not answer Abner another word, because he was afraid of him.
12 Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, “Whose is the land?” and saying, “Make your alliance with me, and behold, my hand will be with you, to bring all Israel around to you.”
13 He said, “Good. I will make a treaty with you, but one thing I require of you. That is, you will not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.”
14 David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I was given to marry for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.”
15 Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, even from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go! Return!” and he returned. 17 Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, “In times past, you sought for David to be king over you. 18 Now then do it; for Yahweh has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David, I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.’ ”
19 Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and to the whole house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. David made Abner and the men who were with him a feast. 21 Abner said to David, “I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your soul desires.” David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.
22 Behold, David’s servants and Joab came from a raid, and brought in a great plunder with them; but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army who was with him had come, they told Joab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has sent him away, and he has gone in peace.”
24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you. Why is it that you have sent him away, and he is already gone? 25 You know Abner the son of Ner. He came to deceive you, and to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you do.”
26 When Joab had come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David didn’t know it. 27 When Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him quietly, and struck him there in the body, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard it, he said, “I and my kingdom are guiltless before Yahweh forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let it fall on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house. Let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has a discharge, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 31 David said to Joab, and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, and clothe yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn in front of Abner.” King David followed the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at Abner’s grave; and all the people wept. 33 The king lamented for Abner, and said, “Should Abner die as a fool dies? 34 Your hands weren’t bound, and your feet weren’t put into fetters. As a man falls before the children of iniquity, so you fell.”
All the people wept again over him. 35 All the people came to urge David to eat bread while it was yet day; but David swore, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or anything else, until the sun goes down.”
36 All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; as whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to kill Abner the son of Ner. 38 The king said to his servants, “Don’t you know that there a prince and a great man has fallen today in Israel? 39 I am weak today, though anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me. May Yahweh reward the evildoer according to his wickedness.”
29 Levi made a great feast for him in his house. There was a great crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining with them. 30 Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
33 They said to him, “Why do John’s disciples often fast and pray, likewise also the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink?”
34 He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told a parable to them. “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old garment, or else he will tear the new, and also the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 No one puts new wine into old wine skins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wine skins, and both are preserved. 39 No man having drunk old wine immediately desires new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’”
6 Now on the second Sabbath after the first, he was going through the grain fields. His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why do you do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day?”
3 Jesus, answering them, said, “Haven’t you read what David did when he was hungry, he, and those who were with him; 4 how he entered into God’s house, and took and ate the show bread, and gave also to those who were with him, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests alone?” 5 He said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
6 It also happened on another Sabbath that he entered into the synagogue and taught. There was a man there, and his right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against him. 8 But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Rise up, and stand in the middle.” He arose and stood. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you something: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” 10 He looked around at them all, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his hand was restored as sound as the other. 11 But they were filled with rage, and talked with one another about what they might do to Jesus.
For the Chief Musician. A song. A Psalm.
66 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing to the glory of his name!
Offer glory and praise!
3 Tell God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you.
4 All the earth will worship you,
and will sing to you;
they will sing to your name.”
5 Come, and see God’s deeds—
awesome work on behalf of the children of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land.
They went through the river on foot.
There, we rejoiced in him.
7 He rules by his might forever.
His eyes watch the nations.
Don’t let the rebellious rise up against him.
8 Praise our God, you peoples!
Make the sound of his praise heard,
9 who preserves our life among the living,
and doesn’t allow our feet to be moved.
10 For you, God, have tested us.
You have refined us, as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into prison.
You laid a burden on our backs.
12 You allowed men to ride over our heads.
We went through fire and through water,
but you brought us to the place of abundance.
13 I will come into your temple with burnt offerings.
I will pay my vows to you, 14 which my lips promised,
and my mouth spoke, when I was in distress.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fat animals,
with the offering of rams,
I will offer bulls with goats.
16 Come, and hear, all you who fear God.
I will declare what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth.
He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord wouldn’t have listened.
19 But most certainly, God has listened.
He has heard the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer,
nor his loving kindness from me.
24 There is one who scatters, and increases yet more.
There is one who withholds more than is appropriate, but gains poverty.
25 The liberal soul shall be made fat.
He who waters shall be watered also himself.
26 People curse someone who withholds grain,
but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.