David’s disobedience. David broke three of the Ten Commandments in his relationship with Bathsheba. He broke the tenth commandment by coveting another man’s wife, then the seventh commandment by committing adultery. He broke the sixth commandment by arranging the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah.
Sexual activity while on military duty was expressly forbidden by law in ancient Israel. It brought about ritual impurity and therefore forced a soldier to undergo purification rituals. This would prevent him from performing his military duty.
Hamstringing horses (8:4) was a practice used by victorious armies to ensure that their enemy’s horses could not be used in battle again. It involved severing the leg tendon on the horse so that it could not gallop. Though it was a cruel act, many of the horses could still be used for farming.
Building a house for gods was a common thing for a king or leader to do in the ancient Near East. David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord (7:6–7) may have been influenced by this tradition. Ultimately, however, the temple was built only because the Lord directed that David’s son Solomon “shall build […]
Dancing was a vital part of both worship and celebration (6:14). The Hebrew word for dance can mean to twist or whirl about in circular movements or to leap or skip. Performed by both males and females, it was quite similar to traditional dancing in some parts of the world today.
Millo means “fill” in Hebrew. The Millo (5:9) was a series of terraces built so that houses and other structures could rest on flat areas of land. A retaining wall would first be built and then workers would “fill” dirt in behind it, piling it up until it formed a raised terrace.
Hanging by the neck was never used as a form of execution in ancient Israel. However, the hanging of a person’s body after execution was a common practice (4:12). This was done to cast shame on the criminal and to warn others not to commit similar crimes.
Dogs are mentioned 40 times in Scripture, and few of the references are positive. Dogs were viewed as unclean animals because they were scavengers, not pets. To compare someone to a dog was a great insult (3:8).
The pool of Gibeon (2:13) was probably a huge round cistern cut into limestone rock. Since the water was about 80 feet (24 m) below ground, nearly 30 feet (9 m) of stairs were carved into the side of the shaft. These stairs led to a tunnel about 40 feet (12 m) long. At the […]
Laments were a common way of showing grief and mourning for the dead. They could poetically capture a person’s feelings toward the departed.