2Samuel 16-18

Sunday Evening Bible Study

April 28, 2002


David had become king of Israel. He expanded the borders of the kingdom far beyond anything ever held, taking the full extent of the land that God had promised for Israel. It was at this high point in his life that David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba. She was not only the wife of a friend named Uriah, but she was also the granddaughter of another good friend and counselor, Ahithophel. David had tried to cover the affair by having Uriah killed and then marrying Bathsheba, but God knew all about David’s sin. God confronted David through the prophet Nathan and warned that his sin would result in much trouble for his family.

When David’s oldest son Amnon raped one of David’s daughters, Tamar, it was Tamar’s full brother, Absalom who took revenge on Amnon and killed him and fled. When David had Absalom eventually restored to his place of prominence, Absalom began to undermine David’s rule and steal the hearts of the people. Eventually the time came when Absalom pulled the switch and declared himself king.

Absalom is out to destroy his father. David is in the process of evacuating his people from Jerusalem, running for his life.

2Samuel 16

:1-4 Ziba tells a story

:1 Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him

Ziba – when David had wanted to show kindness to his pal Jonathan’s descendants, he came across this man Ziba who had been a servant of King Saul. Ziba told David about Mephibosheth, who was a cripple. David ended up giving all of Saul’s property to Mephibosheth, and put the servant Ziba in charge of taking care of everything (2Sam. 9).

Ziba now meets David with this large gift.

:3 To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.

Ziba claims that Mephibosheth thinks that he is going to become king through all this national turmoil.

Here is David, running for his life from his own son, when it seems that to add insult to injury, this guy Mephibosheth is turning on David to make things worse.

:4 thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth

David orders that all of Mephibosheth’s possessions now belong to Ziba.

The problem with this is that when David gets back to Jerusalem, he’s going to hear a different story, completely different.

He’s going to find out from Mephibosheth that Ziba had been a sneak and had abandoned him while Ziba was trying to kiss up to David. (2Sam. 19:24-30)


You may not know the whole story

(Prov 18:13 KJV) He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
I think it’s a very dangerous thing to try and attempt marriage counseling when you are only hearing one side of the story. I’ve had the nicest people sitting in front of me telling me this horrendous story about their spouse and tend to believe every word I hear. But when I hear the spouse’s side, I often feel like I’ve been a fool.
Betty, the town gossip and self-appointed supervisor of the town’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business.
Several local residents were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. However, she made a mistake when she recently accused Ted, a local man, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked outside the town’s only bar one afternoon.
Ted, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away without saying a word. Later that evening, he parked his pickup truck in front of her house and left it there all night.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

Sometimes people are going to lie to our face. With Ziba and Mephibosheth, both stories can’t be true. One of them must be lying. But which one? We think that Mephibosheth was telling the truth, but we aren’t exactly sure.
In a way, I don’t blame David. He doesn’t have time to check out Ziba’s story. He’s running for his life. Sometimes we’re going to make mistakes.

:5-14 Shimei curses

:5 king David came to Bahurim …a man … whose name was Shimei

BahurimBachuriym – “young men’s village”. A town just outside of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho. see map

ShimeiShim‘iy – “renowned”

Shimei is “of the family of the house of Saul

It seems that he would have a descendant who would be famous one day.

(Est 2:5 KJV) Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;

:6 And he cast stones at David

Here’s this one angry man standing there throwing stones at David, while David’s men are trying to protect David.


Don’t take advantage of people who are suffering

Shimei is one of those people who will kick you when you’re down.
Like vultures, they can smell death. When you’re in trouble you’ll find that there will people who will be extra mean to you.
We’ll see Shimei meet David later when he returns after having defeated Absalom. Shimei will fall at David’s feet and beg for mercy.

:7 Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:

(2 Sam 16:7 NLT) "Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!" he shouted at David.

:8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul

It could be that Shimei is blaming David for Saul’s death. It could be that he is blaming David for the death of Ishbosheth, who ruled briefly after Saul. But David wasn’t responsible for any of these things.

What’s tough is that there could be a case of saying that David’s troubles were brought on because of a kind of judgment from God. But it was because of his sin with Bathsheba.

(2 Sam 12:10-11 KJV) Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. {11} Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

:9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah

Abishai is one of David’s leaders. He is the son of David’s sister Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, and the nephew of David.

:10 so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David.

(2 Sam 16:10 NASB) If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, 'Curse David,' then who shall say, 'Why have you done so?'"


Willing to accept the curse

I think that David has a commendable heart here. I know some people think he should have taken Abishai’s offer. But David remembers his sin. He remembers what God said would happen as a result of his sin. And he’s willing to accept it.
At this point in David’s life, he isn’t sure what God is doing. If God is wanting to punish David, he doesn’t want to reject it.
Later on, when David has been through this tough season, and he has a better handle on what had happened, he will give instruction to his son Solomon:
(1 Ki 2:9 NIV) But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood."

:12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.


Trusting in the Lord

David is putting his life in God’s hand.
He feels that if God wants to, God can turn a curse into a blessing.
There’s a saying, “Man’s extremities are God’s opportunities.”
David is at another of these low points in his life. All he has left is to trust the Lord. The numbers against him are overwhelming. His only hope is for God to deliver him.
(Psa 3 KJV) A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. {2} Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. {3} But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. {4} I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. {5} I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. {6} I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. {7} Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. {8} Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

:15-19 Hushai joins Absalom

:16 Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king

Remember that Hushai has been asked by David to stay behind and try to keep Absalom from listening to everything that Ahithophel says.

:17 And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend?

I wonder why we don’t have a record of this conversation happening between Absalom and Ahithophel?

Actually, it happened a little differently with Ahithophel. Absalom had called for Ahithophel. He apparently had this idea that he would be able to count on Ahithophel to join his rebellion.

(2 Sam 15:12 KJV) And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Hushai is questioned because he came to Absalom instead of Absalom asking for him.

:19 should I not serve in the presence of his son?

Hushai just claims to be a patriotic Israelite, serving whoever would be king.

:20-23 Ahithophel’s first counsel

:20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel

Contrast Absalom with his father David.

What does David do when he needs direction?

When David first became king over the entire nation of Israel, he was immediately attacked by the Philistines. David asked for advice.
(2 Sam 5:19 KJV) And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
David has “counsellors”. He has friends. But David had a reputation for asking God for directions.

:21 Go in unto thy father's concubines

David had left ten of his concubines behind to take care of the palace.

If Absalom sleeps with his father’s concubines, two things will happen.

First, it will be a way of saying that he is taking his father’s place. It was not unusual for a conquering king to take over his predecessor’s harem.

Second, this is going to make David hate his son.

There will be no question about whether or not Absalom could be reconciled with his father.
They’re burning their bridges. It will force everyone to make a definite choice either for Absalom or David.

:22 Absalom went in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.

This would be a fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy:

(2 Sam 12:10-12 KJV) Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. {11} Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. {12} For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Did Ahithophel know of this prophecy? We don’t know.


The consequences of sin

What Absalom is doing is absolutely horrible. Absalom is responsible for his own sin.
Yet what he is doing is also tied to David’s sin. David sowed sin with Bathsheba, and Absalom is reaping sin with David’s concubines.
Our sin affects other people.
I might think that I am the only person hurt by my own sin, but that’s not true. Others are affected. People I sin against are hurt. People who watch me and learn from me are affected.

:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God

inquiredsha’al – to ask (as a favour), borrow; to enquire, enquire of; to enquire of, consult (of deity, oracle); to seek

oracledabar – speech, word, speaking, thing

(NLT) For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.


Great advice isn’t always God’s advice

Be careful about taking a person’s advice without question. Be careful about making a person’s advice to be at the same place as if God has spoken.
When Pigs Fly
One sunny day, a man was walking down the street when a truck came flying by and hit a bump in the road. As the truck sped away a crate fell off. Excitedly the man ran over to see what was in the crate. The man open the crate and was stunned to see a pig. The man didn’t know what to do so he asked a police officer for some advise. The officer suggested that the man take the pig to the local zoo. A few days later while the police officer was directing traffic, he noticed this same man driving by in a car. The officer motioned to the man so he could find out if everything when well with his advice. The officer walked up to the car and was stunned to see sitting next to the man... the pig! The pig was sitting upright, with his seat belt on, wearing a baseball cap. In between them sat a six pack of soda and some popcorn. “Good afternoon officer!” the man said. The pig looked over and gave a couple polite snorts. The stunned officer asked the man, “I thought I told you to bring that pig to the zoo!” The man replied, “Oh, I did, and we had so much fun today we’re going to the ballgame!!”
It may be that Ahithophel was indeed a very wise man.
But that doesn’t mean that everything he speaks will be good.
We need to always test the things we listen to.
The Bereans listened to what Paul had to say, and then checked it with the Scriptures.

(Acts 17:11 KJV) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Paul says that we are to “test” the prophets.

(1 Cor 14:29 NLT) Let two or three prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said.

You need to test the things that I say.

2Samuel 17

:1-14 Hushai thwarts Ahithophel

:2 I will smite the king only:

Ahithophel actually has an incredibly accurate grasp on the situation. David and his people are tired. They are vulnerable. This would have been a great time to attack

I get the feeling that Ahithophel is out to get David. It seems it’s personal to Ahithophel. It seems that he wants to be the one who gets the credit for killing David.

:3 And I will bring back all the people unto thee

(NLT) and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only this man’s life that you seek. Then all the people will remain unharmed and peaceful."

:5 Call now Hushai the Archite also

Note that Ahithophel seems to be hanging out with Absalom, but Hushai has to be called.

I wonder why Hushai wasn’t asked in regards to the concubine thing. Perhaps he was asked, but decided that it wasn’t time for him to contradict Ahithophel.

:8 thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.

David won’t be so easy to find.

:9 There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.

(2 Sam 17:9 NLT) And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and everyone will start shouting that your men are being slaughtered.

:11 that thou go to battle in thine own person.

In reality, Ahithophel has the proper approach. The issue isn’t really about one army beating another army. The real issue is which man will be left alive – David or Absalom? David’s people will realize this and won’t allow David to go into the battle.

Hushai is appealing to Absalom’s pride. He’s giving Absalom a chance to be the hero. He’s giving Absalom a chance to lead the huge army. He’s also exposing Absalom to getting killed.

:14 the LORD had appointed to defeat …Ahithophel


Answered prayer

This was part of the answer to David’s prayer.
(2 Sam 15:31 KJV) And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
The first thing that God did to answer David’s prayer was to bring Hushai to David (2Sam. 15:32).
The next thing that God does to answer David’s prayer is to use Hushai’s counsel and stop Ahithophel.
Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.
It may be that God would use an “non-supernatural” means like Hushai’s counsel, but God is still at work.

:15-22 Hushai warns David

:15 Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests

Zadok and Abiathar were the two high priests. They had been asked by David to stay behind in Jerusalem and relay any messages from the Lord or from Hushai to David through their sons, who would act as messengers.

:16 Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness

If David stays where he was planning on staying, he would be vulnerable to a plan like Ahithophel’s.

:17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by Enrogel…a wench went and told them

Jonathan and Ahimaaz – the sons of Zadok and Abiathar, messengers for David.

Enrogel‘Eyn Rogel – “fount of the fuller”; a place near Jerusalem on the border between Judah and Benjamin and from which the permanent source of the pool of Siloam comes. Just outside of Jerusalem.

Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying just outside of town to avoid being detained by Absalom’s people.

a wenchshiphchah – maid, maid-servant, slavegirl. The gal delivers the message to the boys.

:18 came to a man's house in Bahurim

BahurimBachuriym – “young men’s village”. A town just outside of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho. see map

This was the village where David had met Shimei (2Sam. 16:5). The boys hide in a well, probably an empty cistern.

:22 they passed over Jordan:

Jordan – they probably crossed at the fords near Jericho. see map

:23-27 Ahithophel’s death, Absalom pursues David

:23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed …hanged himself

his city – Ahithophel was from the city of Giloh (2Sam. 15:12). see map

This sounds a little like a spoiled-brat who doesn’t get his way. It doesn’t sound too wise. But there may be more to it than we first think.

Josephus (Antiquities, 7:9:8) gives us a little different slant on things:

But Ahithophel, on rejection of his advice, got upon his ass and rode away to his own country, Gilon; and, calling his family together, he told them distinctly what advice he had given Absalom; and since he had not been persuaded by it, he said he would evidently perish, and this in no long time, and that David would overcome him, and return to his kingdom again; so he said it was better that he should take his own life away with freedom and magnanimity, than expose himself to be punished by David, in opposition to whom he had acted entirely for Absalom. When he had discoursed thus to them, he went into the inmost room of his house, and hanged himself; and thus was the death of Ahithophel, who was self-condemned;
The idea is that Ahithophel knew that Absalom would be defeated by following Hushai’s advice, and so he thought it would be better to take his own life than to face David after he defeats Absalom.


Suicide is not wise

Ahithophel may have been one of the wisest men ever, but this was nothing but foolishness.
When a person commits suicide, they are taking the easy way out. They are leaving all their problems behind to be taken care of by their loved ones. They leave behind people who will feel overwhelmed with grief and guilt, wondering, “If I had only said this or done that …”
Ahithophel is only thinking of himself. Suicide is extreme selfishness.

:24 David came to Mahanaim.

MahanaimMachanayim – “two camps”. This was a large, well-protected city on the eastern side of the Jordan. see map

:25 And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host …

Amasa‘Amasa’ – “burden”

This sounds pretty complicated, but it seems that Abigail is the sister to Zeruiah, Joab’s mother, who was also David’s sister. Abigail was Amasa’s mom.

This would make Amasa a nephew to David, just like Joab. He is also a cousin to Joab, the commander of David’s army.

instead of Joab – Joab has gone with David. Even though Joab was the one responsible for encouraging David to restore Absalom, he doesn’t rebel with Absalom, he stays loyal to David.

:26 So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.

Gilead – a general term used to describe the area in the northern part of Israel, on the eastern side of the Jordan. see map

:27 Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim,

David is met in Mahanaim by three friends.

ShobiShobiy – “glorious”

Nahash was the Ammonite king who challenged the city of Jabeshgilead and brought about Saul’s first opportunity to prove himself as king (1Sam. 11).

Hanun was also a son of Nahash (2Sam. 10), and when he first became king of Ammon, he humiliated David’s servants and caused a war between Israel and Ammon.

Rabbah – Capitol city of the Ammonites, whom David defeated at the time of the affair with Bathsheba. see map

MachirMakiyr – “sold”

Machir was the man who had been taking care of Jonathan’s lame son, Mephibosheth. When David had wanted to show kindness to Jonathan’s children, he found out that Mephibosheth was being taken care of by Machir.

(2 Sam 9:3-4 KJV) And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. {4} And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.

Now Machir offers to take care of David.

LodebarLo’ [email protected] – “not a pasture” see map

BarzillaiBarzillay – “my iron”. He is a very old man, 80 years old (2Sam. 19:32), probably one of the leaders of Gilead.

Rogelim[email protected] – “place of fullers”. For some reason I keep thinking this was a place where bald guys went, but that’s Rogaine. J see map

:28-29 Brought beds, and basins …


Help those in trouble

You could make a point that David deserves what happened to him.
Shimei threw stones and yelled curses.
These guys brought help.

2Samuel 18

:1 set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

It sounds like more and more people are coming to join David. When he left Jerusalem, it seemed that perhaps six hundred or more were with him. But don’t get too excited. Josephus tells us that David had about 4,000 followers at this time (Antiquities, 7:10:1)

:2 a third part of the people under …Joab … Abishai … Ittai

David organizes the army he has and puts it under the control of these three faithful friends.

Joab and Abishai are David’s nephews.

Ittai is David’s friend from Gath, the warrior (2Sam. 15:19)

:3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth …

They know that if David is lost, then everything is lost. It would be better to lose half the army than to lose David.

:5 Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom

David gives a public order to his three captains. They are not to harm Absalom. The entire army is aware of this order. Even though David’s own life is being threatened by Absalom, he can’t get over the fact that Absalom is his son.

:6 the battle was in the wood of Ephraim;

wood of Ephraim – or, “forest of Ephraim”. This is a wooded area north of the river Jabbok. see map

It seems that Absalom’s army was trying to cut off David’s army by attacking them from the north of Mahanaim.

Josephus records that the main battle took place on a plain and that as Joab began winning the battle, Absalom’s men fled into the forest in retreat.

:7 a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.

Very interesting if Josephus is correct and David only had four thousand men. Yet David’s men were the old grizzled veterans who knew how to fight.

:8 the wood devoured more people that day than the sword

When Absalom’s men fled, they were at a disadvantage for fleeing into the forest.

:9 his head caught hold of the oak

Absalom was fleeing with the rest of his army.

Remember Absalom’s great head of hair? He cut his hair once a year (2Sam. 14:6), and it weighed six pounds. It seems that it became a liability to him.

Josephus records (Antiquities 7:10:2):

He was himself also afraid lest his enemies should seize on him, so he got upon the king’s mule and fled; but as he was carried with violence, and noise, and a great motion, as being himself light, he entangled his hair greatly in the large boughs of a knotty tree that spread a great way, and there he hung, after a surprising manner; and as for the beast it went on farther, and that swiftly, as if his master had been still upon his back; but he hanging in the air upon the boughs, was taken by his enemies.


Get a hair cut before going to battle

:11 why didst thou not smite him there to the ground?

Joab can’t understand why this man didn’t kill Absalom.

:13 for there is no matter hid from the king

The man knows his king. He knows that if he killed Absalom, he’d probably be killed by David.

:14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom

(2 Sam 18:14 NLT) "Enough of this nonsense," Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom's heart as he dangled from the oak still alive.

:15 And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom

I wonder if they think that if ten men kill Absalom, that David might not kill them?

:16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel

Joab stops his army from pursuing the remainder of the army of Israel, the real battle is over. Joab doesn’t want any further complications. He doesn’t want to cause the nation to resent David.


Know when to stop

It’s not always appropriate to keep fighting.
It's Been A Long Day!

A knight and his men return to their castle after a long hard day of fighting. “How are we faring?” asks the king. “Sire,” replies the knight, “I have been robbing and pillaging on your behalf all day, burning the towns of your enemies in the west.” “What?!?” shrieks the king. “I don’t have any enemies to the west!” “Oh,” says the knight. “Well, you do now.”

There are times when we can find ourselves in “battle-like” confrontations.
Sometimes as we’re sharing our faith, we can find ourselves in an argument rather than a discussion.
There is wisdom in knowing when to stop fighting.
Don’t forget what you’re really trying to accomplish. It’s not about wiping the person out, it’s about leading them to Jesus.

:17 laid a very great heap of stones upon him:

Throwing stones on a grave was a sign of great contempt.

:17 all Israel fled every one to his tent.

Absalom’s army scatters. The battle is over.

:18 Absalom’s ambition

:18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place.

We read earlier that Absalom had three sons and a daughter:

(2 Sam 14:27 KJV) And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.

What happened? Perhaps his sons had all died.
Josephus records (Antiquities 7:10:3),
Now Absalom had erected for himself a marble pillar in the king’s dale, two furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom’s Hand, saying, that if his children were killed, his name would remain by that pillar;

In other words, he made the pillar just in case his kids died.

We know that at least one of his children must have survived.

Solomon’s son Rehoboam would marry a daughter of Absalom:

(2 Chr 11:20-22 KJV) And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith. {21} And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.) {22} And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.

pillar – Josephus says it was made of marble.


Ambition can be deadly

He made a monument to himself. He was concerned about leaving his mark on the world.
I think that Absalom’s ambition was part of what drove him to overthrow his father and make himself king.
Ambition for the right things can be good. Ambition for self is deadly.


Beware of monuments

Absalom wanted to be remembered with a monument. He wanted to be remembered in stone. And he was. But I wonder if he wasn’t more remembered for the heap of stones tossed on his grave than for his monument.
Our goal should not be to have people remember us. Our goal should be for people to remember Jesus. It’s my desire that the ministries at our church be done in a way where the result isn’t remembering an awesome person, but that people were drawn to Jesus.

:19-33 Message for David

:19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok

This is the same young man who had relayed the message to David from Hushai earlier (2Sam. 17:17)

:20 this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead.

I wonder if Joab is thinking about all the times in the past when someone has given David bad news, and David has had the person killed.

When the Amalekite told David of Saul’s death, he had him killed for claiming to have slain Saul. (2Sam. 1:15)

When Baanah and Rechab came to tell David that they had killed Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, David had them put to death (2Sam. 4:9-12)

Perhaps Joab doesn’t want to take this chance with Ahimaaz.

:21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen

CushiKuwshiy – Ethiopian – “their blackness”. NAS, NIV “the Cushite”.

:22 seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?

(NIV) You don't have any news that will bring you a reward."

Joab is trying to keep Ahimaaz from running. There will be no reward for this message.

:23 howsoever, said he, let me run … and overran Cushi.

Ahimaaz keeps pestering Joab until Joab lets him run.

Ahimaaz apparently knew a shortcut across the plain and he out runs the Cushite.

:25 the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth.

A man running by himself would be a messenger.

:26 called unto the porter

porter – gatekeeper

:27 the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz

He must have had a distinct running style.

:27 the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.

David and Joab might have an agreement. If Joab sends certain messengers, it means good news. It could be that David simply understands the way Joab thinks, that Joab isn’t going to risk sending a good man to tell David bad news. David might kill the messenger.

:29 I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.

It seems that Ahimaaz is lying. Joab already had mentioned to Ahimaaz that Absalom was dead. (2Sam. 18:20).

Josephus makes it sound as if Ahimaaz knew, but he promised Joab that he would only tell David about the victory, and so he makes it sound as if he just doesn’t know (Antiquities 7:10:5)


Messenger without a message

Ahimaaz just wants to run. But he’s not just a “runner”. He’s a “messenger”.
Whether he knows what the message is supposed to be or not, it really doesn’t matter. The fact is, he’s a messenger without the right message.
A messenger is of no value without a message.
(Rom 10:8-17 KJV) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; {9} That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. {10} For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. {11} For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. {12} For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. {13} For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. {14} How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? {15} And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! {16} But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? {17} So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We are messengers. We have a message.

:32 The enemies of my lord the king …be as that young man is.

Translation: The kid is dead.

:33 would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

This is going to greatly disturb Joab when he hears how David is reacting. Joab and all the army will feel frustrated that they have defended David’s life, and he is unappreciative. But David is also a father. It doesn’t matter what Absalom was doing, David loved his son.

I can’t help but see a slight picture of the Father’s love for us in David’s actions.