Studying the Historical Books


After completing our 3 1/2-year cycle of readings in the Torah, we’ve decided to continue with the historical books that follow, beginning with Joshua. We’ll read first about the conquest of the Canaanite tribes, then examine the disappointing time of the Judges – punctuated by the exploits of Gideon and Samson – and the turmoil that led up to the anointing of Saul as King.

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March 19, 2023 – 2 Samuel 17 – The Opposing Counsels of Ahithophel and Hushai

Absalom discards Ahithophel’s counsel in favor of the plan of Hushai. David’s spies are almost caught, but saved by a quick-thinking woman. Ahithophel, like Judas, commits suicide as the armies of David and Absalom face off east of the Jordan River in Gilead.

Notes on 2 Samuel 17:1-29

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March 12, 2023 – 2 Samuel 16 – David Flees Jerusalem

David’s flight from the city of Jerusalem gives an opportunity to see who his real friends are. His weak position gives other enemies opportunity to direct their resentments at him. Old grievances come to the surface, and true loyalties are confirmed.

Notes on 2 Samuel 16:1-23

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March 4, 2023 – Celebrate Purim!

Purim is observed a month before Passover, and the focus is simply reading the Book of Esther. This feast is probably the original “morality play” with audience participation. A mysterious part of the Purim feast is the rabbinical command to drink enough wine so that you can’t distinguish between “Yay, Mordechai!” and “Boo, Haman!” – and the fact that God is never mentioned.

Notes on Purim

… Even More Notes on Purim

The Connection Between Purim and Yom Kippur

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February 26, 2023 – 2 Samuel 15 – Absalom’s Conspiracy

Absalom works to garner support by being a populist “man of the people.” He launches his rebellion from Hebron, causing David to flee from Jerusalem. King David then finds out who his real friends are.

Notes on 2 Samuel 15:1-37

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February 19, 2023 – 2 Samuel 14 – Absalom Returns from Exile

Joab, King David’s general and advisor, sets up a ruse to play on David’s emotions and persuade him to bring his son Absalom back from exile. David finally agrees, but Absalom is still not reconciled, which nurtures a spirit of rebellion within him.

Notes on 2 Samuel 14:1-33

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February 12, 2023 – 2 Samuel 13 – Amnon rapes Tamar

Nathan’s prophecy of judgment on David’s house continues as David’s son Amnon rapes his sister Tamar, which enrages her other brother Absalom and plants a seed of revenge and rebellion.

Notes on 2 Samuel 13:1-39

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February 5, 2023 – 2 Samuel 12 – Nathan Confronts David

The prophet Nathan tells David a parable that is really an allegory for David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. David confesses and repents of his sin, and Psalm 51 describes the depth of his repentance. God forgives him, but the consequences of his actions bring tragedy to his house immediately and on into the future.

Notes for 2 Samuel 12:1-31 and Psalm 51

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