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Chinese11/17/2005English
經文:撒母耳記下二十至廿一章
鑰節:「眾人行了王所吩咐的。此後上帝垂聽國民所求的。」(21:14)
提要

        叛徒示巴利用猶大和其他支派在吉甲發生紛爭的時機,又聳動了一次叛變。響應他的主要是他的便雅憫族人,他們想將王位從猶大支派奪回,歸給掃羅的支派,便雅憫。示巴和跟隨他的人往北流竄,可能想沿途號召更多的支持者,在此同時,大衛已經凱旋回京。

        大衛回耶路撒冷後,便將被押沙龍玷污過的十個妃嬪打入冷宮。押沙龍在這些婦女身上犯了多麼大的罪!大衛再也不能親近她們,她們成了寡婦,永遠無法生兒育女,這對當時的婦女而言是最不幸的事。

        大衛派給新元帥亞瑪撒的第一件公差就是召集人馬追趕叛徒示巴。亞瑪撒無法在指定的期限召齊軍隊,可能是因為那些從前在約押手下的人不肯合作。不過,約押在刺殺毫無防備的亞瑪撒之後,就承擔起元帥的職責。

        示巴在亞比拉(靠近以色列北邊與亞蘭交界處)得不到支持,反而葬身該地。亞比拉城有一個聰明的婦人來與約押說理,她說在約押攻城以前,他應先詢問城內的居民是否願意為一位叛徒而戰,或者願意將叛徒交出來而免去戰事(參申20:10~12)。她的確是個聰明的婦人,因為她阻止了一場不必要的流血衝突,同時想出一個和平解決的辦法(參傳9:13~18)。只有那個挑唆叛亂的人不得好死,他像押沙龍一樣,一生都沒有平安。

        廿一章記載了以色列國中的一次饑荒。由於撒母耳記不是按年代記事,因此我們無法確定饑荒和結果造成掃羅家七人被殺的事發生於何時。它可能發生在押沙龍叛變之前,因為掃羅的親戚示每咒詛大衛時,就是他「你這流人血的壞人」(16:5~8)。不過,掃羅家人被處死刑不是大衛所能控制的,那是基遍人的要求,也是出於上帝的報應,因為掃羅過去謀害基遍人(21:7;撒上20:14~17)。

        上帝掌管一切,饑荒也被認為是上帝對罪的審判(結14:21),因此大衛求問上帝為何降下饑荒。很明顯的,掃羅從前殺害基遍人是不合理的。基遍人是亞摩利人的餘民,由於約書亞曾與他們立約,所以他們被准許與以色列人和平共存(書9:3~15)。掃羅破壞了此約,他流了無辜之人的血,犯了謀殺罪。這個例子說明了約的重要性。大衛瞭解這點,也尊重約的神聖性,所以,因為他和約拿單之間的約,他並沒有將約拿單之子米非波設交給基遍人。

        利斯巴忠心的護衛掃羅家被殺的七人的屍身(其中兩位是她的兒子),大衛被她的慈心所感。為了表示他對掃羅家並無敵意,大衛將七位被殺者的屍體,連同掃羅和約拿單的骸骨,隆重的葬在他們家族的墳墓堙]21:13~14)。

        當大衛順服了上帝的話,讓基遍人得以報仇、伸張正義,上帝就應允了大衛的祈求,醫治了那地。從這件事我們曉得,不順服上帝的祈禱是沒有效果的,不過是偽善的行為(21:14)。

禱告

        主,我們知道您堅守您的約。謝謝您藉著耶穌的十架立了新約。求您因著您的恩典和我們對您的順服回應我們的禱告。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read 2 Samuel 20&21
Key Verse:"So they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land."(2 Samuel 21:14)
Overview

        Sheba, a wicked rebel, used the occasion of the strife between Judah and the rest of the tribes at Gilgal (19:15) to call a revolt. The men who rallied to him were likely mainly Benjamites, like himself, who wanted to see the royal line taken from Judah, and brought back to Saul's tribe, Benjamin. Sheba and his followers travelled north, probably in an attempt to gain support for their cause, while David returned victoriously to his capital, Jerusalem.

        As soon as he returned home, David had the unpleasant task of separating his ten concubines who had been violated by Absalom (15:16; 16:21-22). What a crime Absalom committed against these women! David could no longer have them as wives; therefore, they were as widows, never to bear children. This was the worst thing that could happen to a woman in those days.

        The first official task David gave Amasa, his new commander, was to assemble the army to pursue the rebel Sheba. Amasa was not able to complete the job by the appointed time, possibly because of lack of cooperation by those men who had formerly served under Joab. Joab, however, assumed leadership after murdering the unsuspecting Amasa in cold blood, as he had done before to his rival Abner (3:27).

        Sheba did not find the support he desired in the fortified city of Abel in the north near the Syrian border. Rather, he found his end. A wise woman reasoned with Joab that, before he started the seige, he should enquire if the inhabitants were willing to fight for the rebel or peaceably hand him over without his head (compare Deuteronomy 20:10-12). She was indeed a wise woman, for she averted much unnecessary bloodshed and worked toward a peaceable solution (see Ecclesiastes 9:13-18). Only the instigator of the rebellion came to an end without peace, because, like Absalom, he did not sow peace during his life.

        In chapter 21, we have the record of a famine in Israel. Since the book of Samuel was not written chronologically, we are not sure when the famine or the resulting executions of the seven men of Saul's family took place. It may have been before the rebellion led by Absalom, since Shimei, Saul's relative, shouted furious curses at David, calling him a blood-thirsty man (16:5-8). These executions, however, were out of the hands of David; rather they were a retribution of the Lord that was required by the Gibeonites whom Saul had wronged.

        Since God was sovereign and a famine was considered divine punishment for sin (Ezekiel 14:21), David enquired of the Lord as to the reason for it. Apparently, Saul had waged an unnecessary and unlawful war upon the Gibeonites. They were a remnant of the Amorites, allowed to remain at peace within Israel because of the binding covenant Joshua had made between them and Israel (Joshua 9:3-15). Saul broke this covenant; thus, his action against them constituted murder and the shedding of innocent blood, bringing blood-guiltiness upon the land. This is an example of the importance of a binding covenant relationship. David understood and respected this. Therefore, because of the covenant he had with Jonathan, he did not hand over Jonathan's son Mephibosheth (21:7; 1 Samuel 20:14-17).

        David's heart was stirred by the motherly devotion of Rizpah (21:10; 3:7) who faithfully guarded the seven hanged bodies (two were her sons) for several months. To show he had no animosity but rather respect toward the house of Saul, David honourably buried those seven, as well as Saul and Jonathan, in their family plot (21:13-14).

        When His word was obeyed and David allowed the Gibeonites to avenge themselves and see justice, God answered David's supplication that the land be healed. In this we learn that prayer without obedience to God is ineffective and constitutes hypocrisy (see key vese; 21:14).

Prayer

        Lord we recognize that You are a keeper of covenants. Thank You that You have mediated the New Covenant in the cross of Jesus. Grant us, on the basis of Your grace and our obedience to Your covenant, the answer to our prayers.


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