II Samuel 17:15-18:18 Hushai Warns David, And Absalom’s Defeat And Death.

II Samuel 17:15-18:18 Hushai Warns David, And Absalom’s Defeat And Death.

Through speaking with Zadok and Abiathar the priests, Hushai sought to warn David of Absalom’s intent to assemble his whole army to wage war against him. The plan was that a female servant would carry this news to the priests’ sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, who would then seek out David (vv. 15-17). “Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom.” (v. 18a) However, they hid themselves in a well, and a woman covered it and put grain on top, and then she lied and told the servants that the men had fled across the water brook (vv. 18b-20). In lying this woman bore true witness that these men had done nothing deserving of death. They then went on to warn David, and he and those with him crossed the Jordan (vv. 21-22). When Ahithophel learned that his advice had not been followed, he set his house in order and hung himself (v. 23).

David, on the other hand, continued on, while Absalom crossed over the Jordan also, in pursuit (vv. 24-26). Absalom then did something reminiscent of the advice from Ahithophel, when he slept with his father’s concubines, in that he promoted a man named Amasa, one of David’s nephews, who had sex with Abigail, who “was either David’s sister (1 Chr. 2:15-17) or perhaps his half-sister since she is here described as ‘the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah.’” (NGSB. 451) When David arrived in Mananaim, Shobi and the people of Ammon, helped David and those with him with supplies of food and beds (vv. 27-29). David then numbered those with him and set up leaders of hundreds and thousands, all under the command of his three generals – Joab, Abishai, and Ittai (18:1-2).

David wanted to lead the charge himself, but the people convinced him to stay behind at the gate of the city, he then gave his orders, including one to be gentle with Absalom (vv. 3-5). 20,000 Israelites died that day at the hands of David’s men (vv. 7-8). Then we read that Absalom was caught in a tree and hung there. Joab asked the man who sent the news why he did not slay Absalom, but he said he did not kill him because David had commanded them to deal gently with him (vv. 9-13). Joab then decided to kill Absalom himself, and they buried him in a pit in the woods (vv. 14-17). At that time, and even yet today, men have children to keep their name in remembrance. However, Absalom did not have a son, therefore he set up a pillar “and called it after his own name…Absalom’s Monument.” (v. 18)*

*Apparently his three sons died (14:27).

II Samuel 16:15-17:14 Conflicting Words.

II Samuel 16:15-17:14 Conflicting Words.

When Absalom entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him, Hushai convinced him that he would now be his counsellor. Nevertheless, Absalom turned to Ahithophel for advice. The latter was worldly wise, for his advice to Absalom was to have sex with his father’s concubines, whom David had left to take care of the house. Ahithophel’s reasoning was that this would make him abhorred by his father, but it would strengthen those with him (v. 21). Absalom proceeded to follow this advice, and by pitching his tent on the top of the house, all could see what he was doing (v. 22). We are told that Ahithophel’s advice was regarded by many, including David and Absalom, “as if one had inquired at the oracle of God” (v. 23). In other words they regarded his advice above the law-word of the covenant. The latter strictly forbids a man to have sex with any woman whom his father has had sex with, and it being a capital crime, death was ultimately allowed for as a punishment (Lev. 20:11). Moreover, he advised Absalom that he would pursue David, and when he supposed that the men with him would flee he would kill, that is assassinate, only his father, and so with inheriting the kingdom he would presumably inherit all the people with David (17:1-3). “And the saying pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel” (v. 4).

However, Absalom eventually also turned to Hushai for advice, but sadly not until after he had committed the grievous sin of having sex with his father’s concubines (vv. 5-6). Clearly he did not think this to be as serious, or as a threat to his own person, so he only turned to Hushai when Ahithophel’s advice posed a perceived potential threat to his person. As to war, Hushai sought to thwart Ahithophel’s advice, reminding Absalom that his father was a mighty man of war, that he and the men with him would not be so easily defeated (vv. 7-10). Instead, he advises him to gather all Israel and to lead the battle himself. Hushai appealed to Absalom’s arrogant pride, so that he, and all the men of Israel with him, chose his advice for war over that of Ahithophel. However, this was but the means which the LORD God used for Absalom’s destruction. “For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom” (v. 14). Absalom’s greater war was with God. He had spurned the law-word of the LORD of the covenant, and now cursing would fall upon him and those with him. In his arrogant presumptive pride, Absalom assumed that victory was only a matter of his own strength and man-made wisdom.

II Samuel 16:1-14 Blessing And Rest In The Midst Of Cursing.

II Samuel 16:1-14 Blessing And Rest In The Midst Of Cursing.

Due to his covenantal bond with Jonathan, David had committed to bless his surviving son Mephibosheth, putting Ziba his servant in charge of all that he had inherited from his father (Ch. 9). No doubt to return the favour, Ziba met David with supplies (vv. 1-2). He also learned that Mephibosheth decided to stay in Jerusalem, believing that he would also inherit the kingdom (v. 3). Does this signify and covenantal break with David? David decided that Ziba should keep the supplies for himself, in effect continuing the covenantal bond with Jonathan through Ziba his servant (v. 4). As David and those with him came to Bahurim, a man named Shimei basically said that David had it coming to him for how he was believed to have usurped the reign of Saul (vv. 5-8). Despite the desire of one Abishai to kill Shimei, David strangely accepted his curse as possibly coming from the LORD (vv. 9-10). In any case, he was not going to kill a Benjamite when his own son Absalom was out to kill him (v. 11). However, he did leave the door open that the LORD might in fact bless and not curse him (v. 12). Shimei continued on with his cursing, but David and those with him found rest (vv. 13-14).

II Samuel 15:13-37 David Flees The City, But Leaves Behind Friends.

II Samuel 15:13-37 David Flees The City, But Leaves Behind Friends.

Due to Absalom’s long political scheming, David and those loyal to him are forced to cross the brook Kidron and flee to the wilderness. This was a reversal event of sorts, of the earlier deliverance from the wilderness into the promised land. They were initially accompanied by “Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant” (v. 24), but David sent him and his two sons back to Jerusalem and was willing to let the verdict of the LORD, in word and deed, to determine its and his own future together. Besides, Zadok was not a Seer, one who David could turn to for a word from the LORD (v. 27).

David, barefoot and head bowed, went up the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and when he learned that his long time counsellor Ahithophel was with Absalom, he knew that his only hope was to pray that the LORD would turn his counsel into foolishness (v. 31). Sometimes we need to pray to the LORD asking him to thwart the counsel of those who seek our destruction. David knew that Ahithophel’s counsel was always wise, so in this case the LORD provided a spy in the person of Hushai the Archite, whom David instructed to thwart Ahithophel’s counsel (vv. 32-34). With Zadok and Abiathar, and their two sons, David had friends who Hushai could conspire with and bring him news.

II Samuel 15:1-12 Absalom’s Treason.

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).*


II Samuel 14 The Stage Is Set Again.

II Samuel 14 The Stage Is Set Again.

Since David was still concerned about Absalom, Joab plotted with a so-called “wise woman”.    to have him return. A kind of deceptive parable was used, but David ultimately knew that Joab was behind it all. In any case, David let him return, but he initially did not see David’s face (vv. 1-24). Again we read how Absalom was “praised…for his good looks,” like Saul (v. 25). He had lots of hair that he cut once a year (v. 26), and he had three sons and one daughter, and it should not go unnoticed that his daughter’s name was Tamar. “She was a woman of beautiful appearance” (v. 27). We know that he was previously forced to leave because he avenged his sister Tamar who was violated by Amnon, Absalom’s brother by a different mother, and David’s firstborn (Ch. 13). After two years Absalom still wanted to meet his father, but even Joab refused to make this happen, so Absalom, perhaps bitter because Joab paved for the way for him to return, had one of his barley fields set on fire to light a fire under Joab (vv. 28-32). “So Joab went to the king and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.” (v. 33).

II Samuel 13 Amnon, Jonadab, Tamar, And Absalom.

II Samuel 13 Amnon, Jonadab, Tamar, And Absalom.

While David was in Hebron he had six sons, all by different wives (3:2-5; I Chr. 3:1-4). What follows in this passage is just one of the consequences for him not following the creation ordinance of marriage between one man and one woman. Absalom and his sister Tamar were born of a different mother that Amnon, David’s firstborn. Amnon became sick not just because he couldn’t have sex with her, but he couldn’t have sex with her because she was a virgin and they would be found out (v. 2). David had a nephew named Jonadab, who was Amnon’s friend, who inquired as to why Amnon was so sickly (v. 3). When he learned of why this was so (v. 4), he conconcted a plan to get Tamar to visit Amnon (vv. 5ff.). David told Tamar to go to Amnon, and when Amnon ordered everyone but Tamar out he was taking away Tamar’s option to alert others that she was about to be raped (Dt. 22:24). She even counseled him to talk to David, that he would give her to him (v. 13), but he raped her anyway (v. 14), and then “hated her exceedingly” (v. 15). Amnon had his servant put Tamar away, but she said this would be a worse evil even than rape, for it would take away her presumption of innocence (vv. 16-17).

Tamar could not participate in this lie, so she put ashes on her head, tore her robe of many colours, which was indicative that she was a virgin daughter of the king, and went about crying bitterly (vv. 18-19). Absalom, her blood brother, told her to keep silent, and she “remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house” (v. 20). David became angry, and Absalom hated Amnon so much they never spoke to each other (vv. 21-22). However, Absalom plotted Amnon’s murder (vv. 23ff.), stating to his servants that he took the responsibility for his command to them to kill him (v. 28), and his brothers, “all the king’s sons,” did not prosecute a case, instead they fled (v. 29). However, the news that got to David was that Absalom had killed all his sons (v. 30). This caused David and his servants to tear their clothes and to mourn, but his nephew Jonadab, the author of the original scheme, informed David that it was only Amnon who was killed (vv. 31-32a). “For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar” (v. 32b). Note well, the schemer Jonadab acts like David’s comforter (v. 33).

As the schemer had said, David’s other sons returned to him, and together they wept (vv. 34-36). “Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur” (v. 37), because he was also “the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur” (3:3). In other words, he fled to his mother’s family, Talmai being his maternal grandfather, who when he learned of what had taken place, provided him a place of refuge, and he “was there three years” (v. 38).* “And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead” (v. 39). There are plenty of actors in this horrible drama, but one can see how it all ultimately started with David having many wives, and children by all those wives. The rivalry would manifest itself in the lust of Amnon, no doubt a spoiled firstborn, and in the conniving activity of his nephew Jonadab, which no doubt stems further back to the rivalry that was present between David and his older brothers. “According to the Bible, it was allotted to the half-tribe of Manasseh which settled east of the Jordan river, but its inhabitants, the Geshurites, could not be expelled (Joshua 13:13).” (Wikipedia)

*Joshua 12:5 and 13:11 “seem to make Geshur and Maacath the western boundary of Bashan. If this were so, then these unconquered peoples literally ‘dwelt in the midst of Israel.’” (bibleatlas.org) Golan was the northern most city of refuge in Bashan. “Golan was a city in the territory allotted to Manasseh in Bashan, the most northerly of the three cities of refuge East of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 4:43 Joshua 20:8); assigned with its “suburbs” to the Gershonite Levites (Joshua 21:27 1 Chronicles 6:71). (bibleatlas.org)

II Samuel 12:26-31 The Battle Is Won.

II Samuel 12:26-31 The Battle Is Won.

Joab continued to lead the nation in battle, while the events on the home front unfolded. In sending word that he had taken the Ammonite royal city of Rabbah, we are told that by this he meant that he had taken the city’s water supply (vv. 26-27). He then invites David to join in a mopping up operation, as it wear, so that history might record that he took the city, and it could be named after him. It should not be forgotten that part of the circumstances that led to David’s sin with Bathsheba, in part stemmed from his not doing his job and going to battle with his army (11:1). Now it would appear that Joab wants to both take David away from any further temptation, as well as to honour his position as king (v. 28). David wisely accepts Joab’s advice, and gathers the people to lead the nation to victory over the royal city (v. 29). In this manner David also obtained a crown belonging to the LORD’s enemies and put it on his own head, the anointed of the LORD (v. 30a).

In this we may be justified in seeing something of what has taken place with David’s greater Son, the anointed of the LORD. Unlike David who suffered for his own sin, but was then forgiven, we know that this was possible because his greater Son would come to suffer for the sins of all his own, so that we also might be forgiven and placed in the battle to take the kingdoms of this world and make them his. This is the Great Commission, the fulfillment of Psalms 2, 110, and many other prophetic promises. Also, just as David and the nation reaped the rest of the Ammonite riches, even so the church reaps the world’s riches for her King (v. 30b). In this case David also put the people defeated to work for him and Israel (v. 31a). “So he did to all the cities of the people of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.” (v. 31b) If we take I Chronicles 20:1-2 into account, this appears to be the conclusion to the battle that was involved in the case of Uriah.

II Samuel 12:24 – 25 What Is In A Name – Solomon Jedidiah.

II Samuel 12:24 – 25 What Is In A Name – Solomon Jedidiah.

David comforts Bathsheba, she conceives and they have a son. Solomon’s “name is usually considered to be derived from the Hebrew word for “peace” (cf. 1 Chr. 22:9). Another possibility is that it means “replacement”; the birth of Solomon compensates for the loss of the first child.” (NGSB. 443) We are not told who chose the name, perhaps it was Bathsheba or both her and David. It is also possible it means both – peace now with the LORD, and a replacement for the loss of her firstborn. Names carry great significance in biblical times, and just as the name ‘Solomon’ no doubt reflects the thoughts and feelings of his parents, even so we are also told that the LORD loved the child, therefore he sent word by Nathan that they should also call him Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the LORD” (v. 25). From the perspective of his parents, Solomon represented the peace his parents hoped for in their covenantal bond with the LORD. From the LORD’s perspective, their hope stemmed first and foremost because of the love they found in their relationship with him.

II Samuel 12:15b – 23 Grace, Blessing,  And The Consequences Of David’s Sin.

II Samuel 12:15b – 23 Grace, Blessing,  And The Consequences Of David’s Sin.

When the LORD initially struck the child it was not death but sickness. In David’s mind he sees the possibility of a change on the LORD’s part. After all, the LORD showed mercy and grace to David, the chief sinner, so it leads him to go to fast and pray for the life of the child (v. 16). His servants tried to no avail to get David to rise and eat, so when the child died they feared that he might harm himself (vv. 17-18). However, David could tell that the child had likely died, and simply asked them to confirm it to him (v. 19). David not only made an about face and rose to live, but he spared his servants the difficulty they faced. David was not angry with the LORD,  just the opposite, for “he went into the house of the LORD and worshipped” (v. 20). In response to the bewilderment of his servants at verse 21, he in effect preached to them the gospel, that David was hoping for the grace that forgave him to extend to a reversal of the consequences of his sin (v. 22). David also understood that though he had sinned terribly, first and foremost against the LORD, the covenant that is established forever testifies to the hope of eternal life that he would share with his infant son (v. 23).