2 Samuel 17:1-19:43 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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David Returns to Jerusalem
Comments for Study 8

2 Samuel 17:1-19:43
Memory Verse: 4


I. Bad Advice, Good Advice (17:1-29)

>1. Who was Ahithophel? (16:23)

* 2 Samuel 16:23 "Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel's advice."

* "like that of one who inquires of God" -In other words like a prophet. Many considered Ahithophel's advice as valid as a prophets word. This does not say that he was a prophet or that he even inquired of God.

>What was Absalom's plan? (15:10)

* 2 Samuel 15:10 "Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.'"

* Irving L. Jensen wrote, "Of all the sons spoken of in the Bible, none was more devoid of natural affection or less sensible to filial duty than his handsome, fascinating prince of Israel. Of Absalom, Matthew Henry writes, 'In his body there was no blemish, but in his mind nothing but wounds and bruises.'" (A Self-Study Guide)

* Irving L. Jensen continues, "No sooner was Absalom restored to his former position of favor than he began to plot to get the throne. The first thing he did was to make himself conspicuous by appearing in pomp (15:1). Imagine many in Israel looking upon this handsome young prince with his attendants in glittering uniform and his prancing horses, saying, 'This is the kind of a king we should have now that we have become such a great nation, a king that looks the part, not an old man like David riding on a mule, unpretentious, old-fashioned, and far too religious.'" (A Self-Study Guide)

>What did Ahithophel advise Absalom? (1-4)

* 2 Samuel 17:1-4 "Ahithophel said to Absalom, "I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed." This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel."

* "set out tonight in pursuit of David" -David had left Jerusalem quickly, taking no provisions. Women, children, and entire families were with David. Most in Israel had abandoned David. He had little support and was weighed down with helpless innocent children. The advice, though ruthless would have worked.

* "I would strike down only the king" -David's followers were only with him because they loved him. They were not ambition for themselves. Sparing the children and wives would have seemed like compassion to all of Israel. With this Absalom would have won the hearts and confidence of his followers.

* "all the people with him will flee" -Ahithophel's advice envisioned a cheap and easy victory that would not leave the nation weakened. It considered the loyalty of those with David to be unimportant.

* Absalom liked the plan. It required quick action, with no time for rest, grander, and ceremony in order to work.

* "all the elders of Israel" -The elders proved fickle. They were fooled by the ways of the rest of the nations. God's chosen nation was not to be like the rest of nations, so said the Lord. However, Israel's elders did not understand or accept. They chose style and appearance over substance and faith. Consider modern congregations, the elders and the pastors. Do you know of any pastor whose appearance is not like a sports hero, movie star, or politician? Would any elder board chose a man that looked like Abraham Lincoln when he became U.S. president? Would they chose Jesus who "grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2) Jesus told the last congregation in Revelation's letters to the churches, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Rev. 3:15-20)

>2. How did Hushai help David? (5-13)

* 2 Samuel 17:7-13 "Hushai replied to Absalom, "The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time. You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops. Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first, whoever hears about it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.' Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave. So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba--as numerous as the sand on the seashore--be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle. Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley until not even a piece of it can be found."

* "is not good this time" -He's saying Ahithophel is not perfect all the time.

* "You know your father and his men" -Hushai's advice subtly capitalizes on Absalom's uncertainty, his fear and egotism. Those like Absalom are often eaten up by their own propaganda.

* "they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs" -Hushai knew (as I believe all those close to David knew) that David's success was because the Lord was on David's side and this only because David had aligned himself with the Lord's plan for Israel. () Yet, Hushai knew Absalom would not accept or care about that. So he made it look like David and his fighting men had won all those victories because they were the best and most savage fighters.

* "he is hidden in a cave" -David often had to do this to avoid Saul. At that time David was hiding in a cave because there was no other place to go to escape Saul. Hushai was saying that David hid in caves because it was a good strategy, especially for an uncultured man like his father was. Absalom thought himself a civilized modern king, unlike he saw his father.

* "as numerous as the sand on the seashore--be gathered to you" -This would take a long time, giving David time to get ready for battle. Absalom was fooled into believing the size of the army wins the battle.

* "with you yourself leading them into battle" -Absalom saw himself as a hero to Israel. He pictured grandeur and hero worship. Absalom's ego blinded him to the fact that he would be the target for David's men, just as Ahithophel had said that David should be the lone target.

* "dew on the ground" -The words used also envisions swarms of locusts (Ex. 10:14) or flies and bees settling down (Isa 7:18-19)

>Who was he? (15:34)

* 2 Samuel 15:34 "But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; I was your father's servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,' then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel's advice."

* "Hushai" -David stationed a long time friend to spoil Ahithophel's advice.

>Why did Absalom take his advice? (14)

* 2 Samuel 17:14 "Absalom and all the men of Israel said, 'The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.' For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom."

* "the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel" -So true, but perceived in the wrong way by men of wrong faith. Truth can be so easily twisted in the mind when in reality it will never bend.

* "in order to bring disaster on Absalom" -Absalom and the elders of Israel believed God was on their side. They tried dragging the Lord into their plan, when it is man's place to submit himself to the Lord's plans.

* Absalom saw his father as a brute and brow beater.

* Absalom had no stomach for war.

* Absalom was controlled by his fears and prejudice.

* Absalom had pretend faith in God. He believed like so many has and still believe that God blesses our plans. However, God has his set plans and those who submit to that plan are blessed. (Acts 1:7-8) Just as Israel had to chose between blessing and curse before they entered the promised land, so we need to decide too. (Josh. 8:30-33)

>Who co-worked with him? (15-16)

* 2 Samuel 17:15-16 "Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, 'Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so and so. Now send a message immediately and tell David, 'Do not spend the night at the fords in the desert; cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him will be swallowed up.'"

* "the priests" -The chain of information had been set up well. David must have had set up lines of information at the start of his kingdom, which he could them confirm where still in tacked and modify when he was forced to leave Jerusalem.

* "cross over" -David was to put distance between his fighting men and his enemy just in case Absalom changed his mind.

>Why would people risk their lives? (17-22)

* 2 Samuel 17:17-22 "Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel. A servant girl was to go and inform them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they could not risk being seen entering the city. But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So the two of them left quickly and went to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it. His wife took a covering and spread it out over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it. No one knew anything about it. When Absalom's men came to the woman at the house, they asked, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman answered them, "They crossed over the brook." The men searched but found no one, so they returned to Jerusalem. After the men had gone, the two climbed out of the well and went to inform King David. They said to him, "Set out and cross the river at once; Ahithophel has advised such and such against you." So David and all the people with him set out and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan."

* "En Rogel" -A spring in the Kidron Valley just outside of Jerusalem's walls.

* "a servant girl" -She would attract no attention because they did this all the time.

* They loved David, not his power and wealth and were willing.

* True loyalty is found even if the subject of the loyalty has nothing to gain and everything to lose.

* In this world the Lord's people have everything to lose and nothing to gain. However, there is a reward in the next age to those who are loyal to him in this age.

* Trials test loyalties like fire refines silver and gold. (Ps. 66:10; Isa. 48:10; Jer. 9:7; Dan. 11:35; Zech. 13:9) Abraham's loyalty was tested when the Lord ordered him to sacrifice his son. Adam and Eve's loyalty was tested by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All will be tested, yet not more than is common to man, and the Lord always makes a way out so that we may be proven. Why are we tested? We are not tested because the Lord needs to know whether we are loyal, but we need to understand and be proven as worthy of the call and reward awaiting us. 1 Peter 1:6-7 states, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

>Why did Ahithophel commit suicide? (23)

* 2 Samuel 17:23 "When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb."

* "his advice had not been followed" -Ahithophel realized that he had put his hopes in a man who turned out to be a fool. Ahithophel had assumed that his advice would be followed no matter what and he knew that his advice would work. What he did not see was they he had sided with a man who was not in line with the will of the Lord.

* "his hometown" -Giloh was his hometown.

* Ahithophel hope in the future was lost because all he saw of the future was in this world. Those whose hope is in the kingdom of God will never commit suicide.

* No matter how wise and intelligent a person is, if they are not in the Lord's will their advice is but passing wind and dirty rags. Isaiah 64:5-8 states, "You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."

* "put his house in order" -Ahithophel is meticulous to the end.

* "hanged himself" -One of the few people mentioned to do so in the Bible. Judas Iscariot (Iscariot means "bandit" with the root word coming from a type of assassin's small sword.) had committed suicide for similar reasons.

>3. Who was Amasa?

* 2 Samuel 17:24-26 "David went to Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Jether, an Israelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab. The Israelites and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead."

* "Mahanaim" -Mahanaim was also a historical location. Jacob had stopped here when he re-entered the promised land knowing Esau was coming to meet him. At that time Jacob sent his belongs to the south side of the Jabbok River (Mahanaim's location) while he stayed on the north side. At that time Jacob wrestled with God. (Gen. 32:22-32) Mahanaim means, “two camps.” Its a city somewhere in the hill country of Gilead on the tribal borders of Gad and eastern Manasseh (Josh. 13:26,30). It was a Levitical city (Josh. 21:38). It served as a refuge twice: for Ish-Bosheth after Saul's death, and for David. During Solomon's administration, the city served as a district capital (1 Kings 4:14). German archaeologists locate it at tell Heggog, half a mile south of Penuel, while Israelis point to tell edh-Dhabab el Gharbi. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "Amasa" -Amasa was Joab's first cousin and nephew to David for Abigail and Zeruiah's were his half-sisters (Jesse was not their father, Nahash was). (1 Chron. 2:17)

* "Gilead" -Gilead is now rugged open lands (but once had trees 18:8) that occupies the mountain slopes and tableland east of the Jordan, north-east of the Dead Sea. Gilead is bisected by the Jabbok River; in Old Testament times the kingdom of Ammon occupied its eastern fringe. It was often contested by other nations (Amos 1:3). Gilead extends about 50 miles from southern Heshbon not quite to the Yarmuk River in the north. Its east-west extent is about twenty miles (32km).

>Who encouraged David? (27-29)

* 2 Samuel 17:27-29 "When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, "The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert."

* Tyndale Old Testament Commentary states, "In one long sentence, these verses reveal the practical concern of three leaders in the region for David and his company. Shoi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites must have been more like his loyal father than the ruthless Hanun, who succeeded to the Ammonite throne (10:1-4); Machir has been mentioned as host to Mephibosheth before David invited him to Jerusalem (9:4); and Barzillai was an old man, the head of an important family in Gilead, who was loyal to David (19:31-40). These three men of substance brought produce from their land, together with beds, basins, and earthen vessels, saying, "The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness." Such generous and thoughtful gifts represented a concern for the king which was so deep that it had to express itself in tangible, practical help."

>What can we learn about the Lord who provides for his people? (Matt. 6:31-34)

* Matthew 6:31-34 "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

* Even if the Lord's people will not help fellow believers, the Lord will use even an unbeliever to help his chosen ones.

* In a recent Bible study a man stated that even unbelievers can do kind and good acts. This is only partially true. All must recognize that any good and kind deed that anyone does is only done because God initiates it and thus we are only the means he accomplishes the good. John 3:20-21 states, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." Anyone who takes credit for doing good does not recognize God. For since all glory is due God, then God is the source of all that is good and right; loving and true. (1 John 4:7) David received help from foreigners because the Lord could not find an Israelite who would help him. In the same way, if we do not preach the gospel even though he had called us and forgiven us, the Lord Jesus will find someone else who will share the good news. Jesus said, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." (Luke 3:8)

* Absalom's rebellion, the forcing out of Jerusalem the Anointed One, foreshadows the Messiah's first coming. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, publicly announcing his kingship just as David rode on a donkey. However, the religious leaders rejected Jesus because they wanted the throne to themselves. They are like Absalom, the son who tried to seek the throne for themselves just as Jesus taught in The Parable of the Tenants. (Mark 12:1-12) So Jesus left Jerusalem and ascended into heaven on the Mount of Olives just as David ascended the Mount of Olives when he left Jerusalem. David did not want to battle his son, just as Jesus did not want to battle his son, Judah and Israel. David's humility is as the humility of his Lord Jesus' humility. Absalom represents outward appearance over the true inner qualities of a king. In the next chapters we'll see that David waited to return to Jerusalem as king of Judah and Israel until they ask for him to return as their king. Right now Jesus is waiting for this too. Like David sent out messages of love and forgiveness after Absalom's defeat, so Jesus is right now sending out his gospel message to both Jews (Judah) and Gentiles (Israel). Those who accept his invitation he welcomes into his kingdom, a kingdom yet to come. When all of Judah eventually invites Jesus to come to Jerusalem to be their King he will return a second time, just as David did. Until then we need to fight the good fight, taking off our personal Absalom and putting on Christ. (Eph. 4:22-24, Col. 3:5-10)

II. Absalom's Death (18:1-33)

Death of Absalom

* See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right depicting the death of Abssalom, David's son. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

>4. How did David prepare for inevitable war? (1-2)

* 2 Samuel 18:1-2 "David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. David sent the troops out--a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, "I myself will surely march out with you."

* "mustered the men who were with him" -David counted, reviewed and arranged his army.

* "appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds" -A kingdom engaged in combat with the enemy must be organized. Being in a spiritual battle, Jesus the Great Shepherd (Matt. 2:6; Mark 6:34, 14:27; John 10:11, 14, 16; Heb. 13:20; and 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4) organizes his kingdom in this age. Every congregation has appointed shepherds (pastors, overseers, deacons). (Ex. 18:25; Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; and 1 Tim. 3; and 1 Peter 5:2) Though not all shepherds remain true to the Great Shepherd. (John 10:12-13) Jude 1:12-13 warns, "These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm--shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted--twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever."

* "a third" -Dividing the troupes into divisions is common, just as there are many denominations today.

* "under Ittai the Gittite" -A man from Gath is a Gittite, a Gentile and former enemy. He was one of the three commanders in David's army. At least a third of David's army was made of Gentiles.

>How did the troops show their love for David?

* 2 Samuel 18:3 "But the men said, "You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city."

* "they won't care about us" -They knew as Ahithophel did that the commanders were the objective. So strike the leader and the war is over for this was a battle for leadership of the kingdom.

* "you are worth ten thousand of us" -A phrase meant to say "all of us".

* In addition to the reason given, David was also very old and not in condition to fight.

* The loved David and David loved them.

>How does David's leadership style reflect Jesus'?

* David's leadership was full of love and compassion. His followers loved him and served his kingdom no matter the personal cost.

* Jesus calls us and appoints us in his service. (John 15;16) We follow him in love.

* David loved his enemy and did not even consider him an enemy. He was willing to forgive his son, even after all he did.

* David protected all that were with him; whole families were with him.

* David and two of his generals were related to Absalom and Absalom's general. The battle was a family feud, not started by David.

>5. What special request did David make of his commanders? (4-5)

* 2 Samuel 18:4-5 "The king answered, "I will do whatever seems best to you." So the king stood beside the gate while all the men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands. The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders."

* "I will do whatever seems best to you" -David was not a egomaniac. He did not use his position over those who wanted him king. Jesus told his disciples, "Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28)

* "stood beside the gate" -David waited for news of the battle. He did not sit by the gate because he was anxious for his son.

* "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake" -David loved Absalom, his son in spite of all the wrong he had done, including killing his elder brother and heir apparent.

>How were the trees the God's hands? (6-8)

* 2 Samuel 18:6-8 "The army marched into the field to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There the army of Israel was defeated by David's men, and the casualties that day were great--twenty thousand men. The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword."

* "the forest of Ephraim" -The tribe of Ephraim's land allotment was west of the Jordan, not east where the battle was. So the battle started east of the Jordan, and when Israel fled David's men, the battle traveled west to Ephraim allotment. Yet this is also prophetic. Ephraim was the half Egyptian son of Joseph. (Gen. 48:5, 20) His descendants eventually controlled northern Israel after the nation split after Solomon died. Ephraim has been equated with the Gentile nations (Deut. 33:17; Josh. 16:10, 17:17-18; Judges 1:29; Isa. 7:8-9, 17, 11:10-16), especially because they were scattered into the Gentile nations when Assyria conquered them. (Jer. 31:1-22) In fulfillment of this prophecy the spiritual battle today is fought amongst Ephraim of the Gentiles. (Isa. 9:1, 42:6, 49:6; Matt. 4;15; Luke 21:24; Acts. 9:15, 10:45, 13:46-48, 28:26-28)

* "Israel was defeated" -Absalom's army.

* "the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword" -The Lord fought for David by using the trees as his army.

>How did Absalom meet his death? (9-10, 14-17)

* 2 Samuel 18:9-10 "Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. When one of the men saw this, he told Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree."

* 2 Samuel 18:14-15 "Joab said, "I'm not going to wait like this for you." So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom's heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him."

* "Absalom happened to meet David's men" -It seems Absalom was avoiding the battle. He just "happened" to get involved in the battle.

* "He was riding his mule" -His chariot was really no good in the hills and forests of Israel.

* "Absalom's head got caught in the tree" -Absalom's vanity is in his hair. (14:26)

* Joab had earlier reunited David and Absalom. Now Joab killed Absalom.

* Deuteronomy 21:20-21 "They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid."

>What had Absalom's selfish ambition left him with? (18)

* 2 Samuel 18:18 "During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King's Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, "I have no son to carry on the memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day."

* Absalom had wanted the kingdom. Now he didn't even have a son to carry on his name. Somehow, when he was alive Absalom's three sons must have died (14:27) and name would not be carried on. His name was important to him.

* "the King's Valley" -Saul and David were the first and second kings and David was not dead yet. So the King's Valley is believed to be near Jerusalem and contained pre-Israel kings. (Gen. 14:17)

>6. What kind of man was Joab? (11-13)

* 2 Samuel 18:11-13 "Joab said to the man who had told him this, "What! You saw him? Why didn't you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels of silver and a warrior's belt." But the man replied, "Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lift my hand against the king's son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.' And if I had put my life in jeopardy--and nothing is hidden from the king--you would have kept your distance from me."

* Joab accepted David as king and followed him, fighting battles with and for him. He knew the king wanted Absalom to be spared. So Joab tried to get someone else to kill Absalom. He was ruthless and shifty. He was a loyal fighter, but in the end did things his way. He had similar desires as David, but he was willing to disobey his king when the two differed in opinion.

* We should not be like Joab. How many Christians know that Jesus is Lord and yet do not do everything he tells us to do, or do it in their way instead of Jesus' way? Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." He also said, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord; and do not do what I say?" James 2:18-19 states, "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." Jesus tells us that we should love one another, serve one another, and remain in his love.

>How were the two messengers different?

* 2 Samuel 18:19-23 "Now Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, 'Let me run and take the news to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.' 'You are not the one to take the news today,' Joab told him. 'You may take the news another time, but you must not do so today, because the king's son is dead.' Then Joab said to a Cushite, 'Go, tell the king what you have seen.' The Cushite bowed down before Joab and ran off. Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, 'Come what may, please let me run behind the Cushite.' But Joab replied, 'My son, why do you want to go? You don't have any news that will bring you a reward.' He said, 'Come what may, I want to run.' So Joab said, 'Run!' Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite."

* One would deliver the message because it was his duty. The other would deliver the message to get favor.

* "Ahimaaz son of Zadok" -He was the son of one of the priests serving and loyal to David. He was first sent to tell David of Absalom's war plans. Now he wanted to be sent to tell David of the outcome of the battle.

* "a Cushite" -Joab knew that the news coming from a Gentile would be better than from the son of a priest.

* "will bring you a reward" -Ahimaz delivered the message because he wanted a monetary reward, not because it was in service of the king. Philippians 1:15-17 records Paul saying, "It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains."

>What shows David's optimism?

* 2 Samuel 18:24-27 "While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, the watchman went up to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked out, he saw a man running alone. The watchman called out to the king and reported it. The king said, "If he is alone, he must have good news." And the man came closer and closer. Then the watchman saw another man running, and he called down to the gatekeeper, "Look, another man running alone!" The king said, "He must be bringing good news, too." The watchman said, "It seems to me that the first one runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok." "He's a good man," the king said. "He comes with good news."

* "he must have good news" -If they were losing the enemies would be marching toward David. Several men would arrive ahead of the advancing enemy trying to escape them. If one come then that runner would be sent for the battle would be going away from David.

>How was he in error? (33)

* 2 Samuel 18:33 "The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"

* David assumed that his commanders would obey his request to spare Absalom. He was wrong.

* "He went up to the room over the gateway and wept" -The guards room where no one would see him weep.

>7. Why would the first messenger lie?

* 2 Samuel 18:28-30 "Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well!" He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, "Praise be to the Lord your God! He has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king." The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king's servant and me, your servant, but I don't know what it was. The king said, "Stand aside and wait here." So he stepped aside and stood there."

* Joab had warned the first messenger that David wouldn't receive the message well. Now he seems to see in fear for Absalom in David's face. He decides to delay telling David about Absalom.

>Why did the second messenger tell about Absalom?

* 2 Samuel 18:31-32 "Then the Cushite arrived and said, "My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has delivered you today from all who rose up against you." The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" The Cushite replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man."

* "Cushite" -An Egyptian. Cush is listed in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10:6-8 and repeated in 1 Chron. 1:8-10)

* A foreigner would not understand David's love for his son. His understanding would be based on Egyptian ways.

>What kind of messengers are we to be? (Rev. 2:12-13; Acts 26:15-16)

* Revelation 2:12-13 "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives."

* Acts 26:15-16 ""Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you."

* Jesus has given us the good news of his kingdom to preach to others. Some will accept it; others will reject it. We are to be faithful to the message, even at personal cost.

III. David Returns to Jerusalem (19:1-43)

David Mourning the Death of Absalom

* See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right depicting the death of Abssalom, David's son. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

>8. How did David response affect the men who served under him?

* 2 Samuel 19:1-4 "Joab was told, "The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom." And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, "The king is grieving for his son." The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. The king covered his face and cried aloud, "O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!"

* They were ashamed that Absalom's death had caused David to weep.

* Joab was the cause of the sorrow. The army would not have been sad if Joab had followed his king's words.

* The army had fought for David and unlike battle against foreign enemies, there would be no plunder, nothing for the army to gain. All they could hope for was the appreciation from the king.

* David's personal concerns were at this time and at Saul and Jonathan's death more important to him than national concern and emergency.

>Why and how did Joab rebuke him?

* 2 Samuel 19:5-7 "Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don't go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now."

* Joab never admitted his disobedience.

* Joab accused David for humiliating his men.

* David did not respect his king's wishes and now his king's honor.

* Joab and David's heart were not one. Joab was a man who fought on the right side for all the wrong reasons and in all the wrong ways. He always saw himself as right; even more so then David.

* "You love those..." -Matthew 5:43-45a "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." Luke 6:27-28 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:35-36 "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

>Why did David follow his advice? (8a)

* 2 Samuel 19:8a "So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, "The king is sitting in the gateway," they all came before him."

* "they all came to him" -They wanted to hear his, "Good job" speech.

>Why do we all need someone like Joab now and then?

* Joab is a contradictory character. Both good and bad can be seen in his actions. I have pointed out both in these commentaries. Peter is just like Joab. In fact, if we are honest, we are like Joab too.

* What would have happened with David's loyal men if Joab didn't rebuke David? Most likely they would have lost their heart for him. The next time an emergency would come, they wouldn't be inclined to fight for him.

* Sinful man is often so wrapped up in himself that he doesn't see what he is doing to others, even those who love him.

>9. What was the problem with the Israelites who did not side with David? (8b-10)

* 2 Samuel 19:8b-10 Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes. Throughout the tribes of Israel, the people were all arguing with each other, saying, "The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country because of Absalom; and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?"

* David did not return to Jerusalem right away after the battle. He waited for Israel and Judah to invite him back.

* Israel began to realize that they were foolish for following Absalom and rejecting David.

* Israel didn't know what to do mainly because they needed to humble themselves and admit they were wrong in rejecting David. In order for Israel and Judah to receive their king they were going to have to call for him to come back to them, forgiving them for their rejection.

* Jesus will not come again until his chosen nation does as Israel did with David.

>Which tribe went to meet David first? (11-15)

* 2 Samuel 19:11-14 "King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: "Ask the elders of Judah, 'Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace, since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters? You are my brothers, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?' And say to Amasa, 'Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab.'" He won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man. They sent word to the king, "Return, you and all your men."

* David initiated the rebore with Judah first. He wanted to show them that he forgave them and wanted to be their king. He would not take retribution if they asked him to be king again.

* David knew what Joab did and removed him for disobeying his command.

* David was placing a man from Judah to be the new commander in his army. Through this he was showing them his good intentions.

* Today Jesus is waiting for Judah to tell him to return as their king.

* Malachi 3:6-7a "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty."

>10. List how everyone responded to David's return and how David responded to them. (16-39)

* 2 Samuel 19:16-23 "Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul's household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. They crossed at the ford to take the king's household over and to do whatever he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king and said to him, "May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first of the whole house of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king." Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the LORD's anointed. David replied, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? This day you have become my adversaries! Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Do I not know that today I am king over Israel?" So the king said to Shimei, "You shall not die." And the king promised him on oath."

* 2 Samuel 19:24-30 "Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his moustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely. When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, "Why didn't you go with me, Mephibosheth?" He said, "My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, 'I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.' But Ziba my servant betrayed me. And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like an angel of God; so do whatever pleases you. All my grandfather's descendants deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place among those who sat at your table. So what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king?" The king said to him, "Why say more? I order you and Ziba to divide the fields." Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him take everything, now that my lord the king has arrived home safely."

* 2 Samuel 19:31-38 "Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there. Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. The king said to Barzillai, "Cross over with me and stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you." But Barzillai answered the king, "How many more years will I live, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is good and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of men and women singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever pleases you." The king said, "Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever pleases you. And anything you desire from me I will do for you."

* 2 Samuel 19:39 "So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai returned to his home."

* Now that David was returning three responses came from three different men.

>How might this be prophetic of Jesus' return? (Luke 21:34-36; Rom. 14:9-12; Mark 8:38)

* Luke 21:34-36 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

* Romans 14:9-12 "For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God."

* Mark 8:38 "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

* When Jesus comes again we will all have to stand before him in his Bema seat and give an account for our actions in this life. I wrote about this extensively in The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires. What will be brought out in the open and how will you fare before the returning king?

>What event cause a division between Israel and Judah?

* 2 Samuel 19:40-43 "When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel had taken the king over. Soon all the men of Israel were coming to the king and saying to him, "Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal the king away and bring him and his household across the Jordan, together with all his men?" All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "We did this because the king is closely related to us. Why are you angry about it? Have we eaten any of the king's provisions? Have we taken anything for ourselves?" Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king; and besides, we have a greater claim on David than you have. So why do you treat us with contempt? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the men of Judah responded even more harshly than the men of Israel."

* Israel and Judah both wanted to gain favor in David's kingdom.

>11. How is this division being played out today?

* Today there are some Gentiles who claim Jesus (Greek for Yeshau) and some Jews who claim Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) as their own special Lord.

* Romans 10:12-13 "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

* Colossians 3:11 "Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."

* 1 Corinthians 1:10 "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."

* Being in the kingdom of Jesus is not a matter of clothes, food, hair style, music type, worship service, way of speaking, days of feasting, celebration and communion, or any human cultural thing. Yet, so many have believed that they are, not understanding that Christ is not a matter of culture and human traditions.

* Ephesians 4:4-6 "There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."


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