II Samuel 15:1-12 Absalom’s Treason.
The practice, since the formation of the nation, was that the gate to city was the place where judicial cases would be dealt with, and the royal city became a supreme court of sorts, much like how Moses only dealt with cases that could not be resolved in the lower courts, as it were. This may have been one, if not the chief reason why Absalom wanted to return to Jerusalem. He had his own contingent of fifty men, with horses and chariots (v. 1), and he would rise early to go stand beside the gate. “So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision,” Absalom would be the one who greeted them, and he would ingratiate himself to them, telling them that their case was good and right, but there was no deputy of the king to hear it. He also told them that if he were such a judge that he would deliver justice for them.
“So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (v. 6). “After 40 years” (a generational change), Absalom asked and got permission from David to go Hebron, supposedly to fulfill a vow if he returned to Jerusalem (v. 7). Well, Jerusalem may have been the royal city, but Hebron was the place of covenant renewal and succession, so he staged a coup (vv. 8-9). The people that he had ingratiated himself to for 40 years were told that, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!’” (v. 10). We also read that 200 men were invited from Jerusalem who were not aware of the coup plan, but eventually the momentum grew strong for Absalom’s conspiracy. He also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor,” as one who offered sacrifices (vv. 11-12).*