2 Samuel 4

Talks for Growing Christians

The Murder of Ishbosheth

2 Samuel 4

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Lesson Number 4

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God will not break His own moral laws to accomplish His purposes.
  2. Capital punishment is not murder.

Practical Application

  1. Let your judgment be public.


  1. Review some of the highlights we have seen in David’s life of faith thus far.
  2. Review some of the low points in David’s life of faith thus far.
  3. What lie did Rechab and Baanah tell King David? How do we know this was a lie?
  4. How do people today act like Rechab and Baanah?
  5. What is the biblical basis of the death penalty for murder?
  6. Why did David have the executed rebels hung up in public?


  1. David showed his strong and courageous faith when he fought Goliath. He would not lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed, although King Saul was trying to kill him. And he sought the Lord’s guidance about what he should do following the death of Saul.
  2. He turned to the Philistines for security from Saul, rather than turning to the Lord. He made a deal with Abner, which he certainly knew would involve the murder of Ishbosheth. He also disobeyed God’s law by having several wives and concubines.
  3. They claimed that the Lord had led them to murder Ishbosheth, their king. God does not commit murder, in violation of His own moral law, to accomplish His purposes.
  4. Some people try to blame God for their sins and sinful choices, or at least excuse themselves for this wrongdoing, because they say God is able to pick up the pieces and still accomplish His purpose.
  5. The death penalty is a requirement for murder under the Mosaic Law. It was first mandated in the Noahic covenant that God made with all mankind in Genesis 9:6.
  6. This was to make sure that everyone knew that judgment had taken place. This public display was a warning and vivid reminder to the people that law breakers would be judged in David’s kingdom.


  1. 1. Discuss: God can work through all the mistakes and evil of mankind to accomplish His purposes. But this does not mean that God is the cause of the mistakes and evil. Refer to Acts 2:22-23.
  2. 2. Capital punishment continues to be a hot topic in modern society. Is the death penalty a low view of life or the highest view of life? What arguments would you use in support of the death penalty for murder?


  1. Making judgment public is a wise principle for the government and for church discipline. It serves as a warning to others and keeps false rumors from circulating about what judgment is being carried out.

Key Verses

  • “They came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head.” 2 Samuel 4:7
  • “How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?” 2 Samuel 4:11

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