Read – 2 Samuel 4
Focus on verse 9-11
When dishonorable people rule the land — scoundrels will flourish and multiply. It takes strong, consistent honorable leadership to turn such a situation around. This principle can be seen replayed over and over in human history. When righteous leaders rule honorably, the scoundrels go into hiding. When a scoundrel rises to power, they come crawling out of their hiding places to terrorize the land.
It would appear that the climate of honor under the rule of Saul was not highest given that Rechab and Baanah were apparently leaders (albeit leaders of raiding bands) but who were supposedly loyal to Ish-bosheth. It didn’t seem to take long for them to betray that loyalty when they began to imagine that it would give them an opportunity to win the favor of David.
David answered Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble, when a man told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!” (v. 9-11)
Here is an example of another two scoundrels who fatally misread how David would respond to their attempt at helping him out by killing Ish-bosheth. They had served Saul when he was king, and had they found David sleeping somewhere years earlier, when Saul was hunting for him, they likely would have murdered David, and very likely would have been rewarded by Saul. It is then not surprising that they were expecting to be honored for killing David’s enemy, however, David was not like Saul in this regard. David was not at all pleased with the dishonorable way they had murdered Ish-bosheth in his own home.
There seems to be a stark contrast between the ways of David, and the ways of Saul, just as there is great contrast between darkness and light, righteousness and unrighteousness. Those who operate according to the rules of this present world, have a difficult time understanding the rules of the kingdom of God.
One of the ways David began turning the kingdom back to God and His principles was by giving no tolerance to dishonorable and deceitful behavior. At least in the beginning—later in his life, it seems a subtle complacency in his personal life provides the opportunity that leads David to get himself involved in some dishonorable and deceitful behavior that has a residual effect on his kingdom, and particularly on his own family, but that is a story for another day.