Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

Sheba’s revolution

2 Samuel 20:1

After Absalom’s revolution, Judah’s leaders at last invited David back to Jerusalem, to become Israel’s king again. However, even before David reached Jerusalem, another very serious trouble began.

The men from northern Israel complained that Judah’s men were taking David away from them. David was the king of all Israel, they said. There were ten tribes (family groups) in northern Israel, but Judah was only one tribe. So, they considered it wrong that Judah’s men wanted to take David back to Jerusalem (19:41-43). This caused serious arguments. (Jerusalem is at the border of the land that God gave to Judah’s people.)

Then a man called Sheba tried to take advantage of the situation. He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, which is not actually one of the northern tribes. However, he believed that he could unite the northern tribes to oppose David. He sounded a trumpet, a loud musical instrument, to attract attention. That was also the signal for an army to gather. So the men from Israel turned away from David to listen to Sheba.

Sheba gave a powerful speech. The men from northern Israel had claimed ten shares in David’s rule, because there were ten tribes (19:43). Sheba told them that they should want no part of David’s rule. In Sheba’s opinion, David was a foreign king from Judah, who was trying to control them. David came from Judah and he belonged to Judah alone. That was what Sheba argued.

So, Sheba told the men from northern Israel to leave David. Instead, they should return home and prepare to fight against David for their freedom.

Next part: Sheba gains control over northern Israel (2 Samuel 20:2)


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