“Now David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in seclusion and supported them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.” 2 Samuel 20:3
I love King David. He was the man the Bible called “a man after God’s own heart” but that’s not why I love him. I love him because like most of us, his life took many twists and turns, highs and lows. He could worship God in total abandon, yet yield to dark temptations. Sounds like someone I know very well – me! David understood from personal experience about repentance, grace, love and forgiveness. He understood mercy.
The history of King David recorded in 2 Samuel tells us about his son Absalom’s decision to take the kingdom away from him. Instead of defending the throne, David packed up his wives, his other children, and his army and went on the run. He left behind ten women, his concubines, to keep the house. Nathan the prophet had told David that division would come in his own house, and what he’d done in secret, would be done to him in public. Absalom pitched a tent on the roof and took the ten concubines of his father so the people could see he’d taken his father’s wives and the kingdom.
When David returned after the death of his son, what was to happen to these women? Concubines were wives but they did not have the rights of a wife, they were really slaves. They were more easily dismissed than a wife, they had little legal protection.
Jewish writers tell us that the widowed queens of Hebrew monarchs were not allowed to marry again but were obliged to pass the rest of their lives in strict seclusion. This is what David chose. They were not divorced, they were guiltless; but they were no longer publicly recognized as his wives. He sequestered them away where they were out of public view, where they could live in quiet privacy as Absalom’s widows. And he continued to provide for them the rest of their lives. That’s mercy.
When we’ve been abused or wronged by someone or the world in general, we can call on God’s mercy to sequester us in His love. He’ll provide us with His lavish love. We’re not to be isolated, we need the right people around us; but we can be protected further abuse or from judgment.
David wrote the 31st Psalm. Verses 7-8 says, “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy and steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction, You have taken note of my life’s distresses, And You have not given me into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a broad place.” (The Amplified Bible)
“I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy”. David understood the mercy of God because he’d benefited from it over and over. “You have seen my affliction…you have taken note”. God not only sees when we’re abused, He’s taking notes! Beloved, God will not let your abuser go unpunished. But you He will set in a broad place because you are seated with Jesus, your life is hidden with Christ in God.
“…let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.” Psalm 5:11 (The Amplified Bible)
God’s mercy and love are a covering over us. We can shout for joy and rejoice even in our hard places. We are covered with His love. We are covered by mercy.
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Scripture used but not noted: 2 Samuel 15:13-16; 2 Samuel 12:10-12; 2 Samuel 16:20-23; Ex 21:7-11: Colossians 3:3.