Study Guide

2 Samuel Compassion and Forgiveness

Compassion and Forgiveness

Wait. A book featuring war, rape, incest, adultery, and espionage has compassion and forgiveness?

Yep. And if we may say so, they're very refreshing. Moments of niceness are like a brief break from all the awful shenanigans surrounding them. They also highlight the many facets of David's character. He's capable of ordering an Amalekite to die for helping Saul commit assisted suicide, but also of later forgiving the member of Saul's family who hurled curses and stones at him. While some characters aren't quite so merciful, David, on the other hand, doesn't have just one attitude towards forgiveness—he's capable of it at certain moments, and incapable of it at others. Part of the puzzle lies in figuring out what changes make him tend to choose it… or lose it.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. Why does David forgive a bunch of people on the way back from the war with Absalom? Has the conflict changed him? Does he become more compassionate over time… or not?
  2. Why does Joab listen to Abner's plea for mercy the first time, but then pursue revenge anyway? How have his thought processes changed? Is forgiveness ever inappropriate?
  3. What do you think about Saul's family members? Do they seem to be worthy targets of forgiveness? Do they get the forgiveness and treatment they deserve?
  4. What do you think about the wise woman of Tekoa's argument? Does the fact that we're all going to die mean that we should be more forgiving?

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