2 SAMUEL 2
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[Shmuel Bais 2 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]
1 And it came to pass after this, that David [Dovid] enquired of Yahweh, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? [towns of Yehudah?] And Yahweh said unto him, Go up. And [Dovid] said, Whither [To where] shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron [Chevron]
The way was not quite open though Saul was dead, for Saul had left a son-Ishbosheth whom Abner, Saul's commander-in-chief, proclaimed king in his stead. The course to be pursued must have been a hard problem for David to decide. Should he remain in the enforced exile with the practical freedom and independence of a minor chieftain's life? or should he attempt to return to his country at the peril of his head under Saul's successor?
He asked counsel of the Lord. Here David enjoyed a privilege denied to our day. It may be said we have as much liberty to ask the Lord's direction as David had. Ay, but what about the receiving of an answer? here is where the difference lies.
Saul "enquired of the Lord," but " the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets" (1 Samuel 28:6).
We ask, but we do not receive an answer in the direct and satisfactory way David did.
"David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, 'Go up' (a short reply-two words: but of what value compared with a whole volume of human disquisition). And David said, Whither shall I go up? And He said, Unto Hebron."
Two words again, but what a world of strength and comfort in them to David. Of what unspeakable consequences a single word of recognition and guidance would be to us in our dark and deserted day. Have we no guidance then? Yes, but not of this sort. God has not changed: the testimony remains true that the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and that His ears are open to their cry: that our heavenly Father knoweth what things we have need of, and will direct our steps in the attainment of them in the way best suited to our needs as His children.
But the day of open communication was suspended for a time, when, after the final word by the hand of the Lord Jesus, the apostasy came in like a flood and submerged the light in darkness. It was a day spoken of beforehand, that it would come when there would be a famine, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord," when men should run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord and should not find it (Amos 8:11-12); when there should be "no answer of God" (Micah 3:7).
If it be said that in this God has changed-that whereas He answered before, now He answers not-the objector has only to be reminded that before David was born, there had been a similar period of silence because of Israel's sins. It is testified that in the days of Samuel's childhood,
"The word of the Lord was precious in those days: there was no open vision" (1 Samuel 3:1).
For everything there is a season and a time. There is a time to speak, and there is a time to be silent. This is true of God as well as man. He has spoken much in times past, "at sundry times and divers manners": now He is silent, and His very silence is indicative of His estimate of the state of things at present prevailing on earth. Before sin entered into this world, intercourse with Him, through the medium of His glorious angelic representatives, was a daily occurrence. After sin had entered, Adam was expelled from this privileged relation, and could only approach Him suppliantly through sacrifice before the austere cherubic symbol.
From that day to this is a long stride in the development of godlessness upon earth, and explains the dead silence characteristic of these times of "darkness covering the earth and gross darkness the people." In the day of restoration, the tabernacle of God will be with men, and He shall be their God, and they shall be His people. Joy and honour, and light and gladness will accompany this communion with God.
Meanwhile, it is ours only to pray, and in faith commit our way to Him who seeth in secret; it is not our privilege to receive the direct and explicit guidance that David received in the case before us. It is cruelty to ourselves to imagine what is not. Our wisdom is to recognise the exact measure of our privileges; embrace them and wake up to them in full, but not to assume that we are in David's position and get answers where we get none.
Ways of Providence Ch 16.