2Samuel 13-15

Sunday Evening Bible Study

April 21, 2002

Introduction

David has sinned. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then killed her husband Uriah in order to cover it up. But God knew. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David, and David quit trying to cover his sin and instead turned to God to confess his sin. God forgave David, but there would still be consequences to David’s sin. We’re about to start into the section where the consequences begin to come.

As we’ve mentioned before, David already has several wives, now at least eight (Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, and Bathsheba).

Some of the problems we’re going to run into revolve around the fact that many of David’s children are only partially related to each other. They all have David as their father, but they will have different mothers. Sounds a little like today’s “blended family”.

2Samuel 13

:1-14 Amnon rapes Tamar

:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

Absalom‘Abiyshalowm – “my father is peace”. Absalom will be one of the main characters through the next couple of chapters. He is the third son of David. His mother was Maacah, who was a princess, a daughter of the king of Geshur, Talmai. Keep this in mind for later.

I find it interesting that Absalom’s name is so similar to Solomon’s name.

Solomon[email protected] – “peace”

(1 Chr 22:7-9 KJV) And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: {8} But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. {9} Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.

TamarTamar – “palm-tree”. Tamar is called Absalom’s sister because she has the same mother as Absalom.

fairyapheh – fair, beautiful, handsome

Amnon‘Amnown – “faithful”. This is David’s firstborn son. You could call him the “crown prince” of Israel. He is logically the first one in line for the throne. His mother’s name was Ahinoam.

loved‘ahab – to love; human love for another, includes family, and sexual; human appetite for objects such as food, drink, sleep, wisdom; human love for or to God; act of being a friend; God’s love toward man

:2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

vexedyatsar – to bind, be distressed, be in distress, be cramped, be narrow, be scant, be in straits, make narrow, cause distress, besiege; to suffer distress

fell sickchalah – to be or become weak, be or become sick, be or become diseased, be or become grieved, be or become sorry

 (NLT) 2Sa 13:2 Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible that he could ever fulfill his love for her.

:3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtle man.

JonadabYawnadab – “Jehovah is willing”. This would make Jonadab a nephew of David’s and a cousin to Amnon.

subtle chakam – wise, wise (man); skilful (in technical work); shrewd, crafty, cunning, wily, subtle

Jonadab is one smart cookie. The word here is normally used to describe great wisdom, such as Solomon had. But here we see that though Jonadab’s advice is shrewd, it isn’t very ethical.

“Smart” isn’t always “right”.

Lesson

Having good friends

We ought to be careful about what kind of influence our friends have on us. Do they encourage us to follow the Lord, or do they encourage us to follow the flesh?
(1 Cor 15:33 NASB) Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

:4 Why art thou, being the king's son, lean from day to day?

leandal – low, poor, weak, thin, one who is low

:5 And Jonadab said unto him …

Jonadab doesn’t exactly tell Amnon what to do with Tamar once she comes to visit him.

This is not good advice.

Illustration

Good Advice:
The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
Conclusion:
Eat and drink what you like. It’s speaking English that kills you

:6 make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.

cakeslabiybah – cakes, bread

:7 dress him meat.

(NLT) to prepare some food for him.

:11 Come lie with me, my sister.

(NLT) 2Sa 13:11 But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, "Come to bed with me, my darling sister."

:12 do not force me;

do not force‘anah – (Piel) to humble, mishandle, afflict

:12 for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

It could be that she is referring to the fact that it was against the Law of Moses for a brother to marry or be intimate with a sister, even a half-sister.

Le 18:9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

Le 18:11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Le 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

But I wonder if this is what she’s talking about. I wonder if she’s simply talking about the subject of rape or pre-marital sex.

(Deu 22:28-29 KJV) If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; {29} Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled (‘anah, same word) her, he may not put her away all his days.

I think she’s saying that he is acting like a fool by forcing this instead of going through the proper channels, like talking to David first.

:13 speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.

It seems like Tamar is saying that she thinks David might be willing to go against the Law of Moses and give Tamar to Amnon as a wife.

It could be that she is saying this only to try and talk Amnon out of raping her.

:14 being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

forced her‘anah – (Piel) to humble, mishandle, afflict

Lesson

Be careful what you lust for

You might get it. And it might not be what you think.
John Gill: Antiochus, the son of Seleucus lusted for his mother in law Stratonice. To cure him of this lust, his father gave him what he wanted.

Lesson

True Love

The Hebrew language, similar to the English language has a general word for “love” that is used for lots of different things. As we’ve seen, there was nothing “noble” about Amnon’s love for Tamar. We might say he was “in lust” with Tamar, not “in love”.
The best kind of love is God’s love. Paul describes it:
(1 Cor 13:4-8 NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud {5} or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. {6} It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. {7} Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. {8} Love will last forever

Lesson

True love waits

Lust doesn’t.
If a guy is pressuring you to go to bed with him, tell him that if he really loves you, he’ll wait.

:15-20 Tamar mourns

:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly

hatedsane’ – to hate, be hateful

Lesson

Lust is not love

This is very typical of a relationship built on lust. His attraction to her was purely physical, and after he was satisfied, his real feelings about her surface.
A guy who is pressuring a girl into a physical relationship doesn’t love her. He is only thinking of himself.

:16 this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me.

He’s done with her and he wants her out of his sight.

I think that Tamar’s idea is that he ought to pursue the subject of marrying her. I know this is twisted from the very beginning, a man and his sister, but you could make a point that he ought to be marrying her. I think that is what Tamar is thinking.

(Deu 22:28-29 KJV) If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; {29} Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

:18 a garment of divers colours

divers colourspac – flat (of the hand or foot), palm, sole; of the tunic reaching to palms and soles (fig.)

This is the same word used to describe the coat that Jacob gave to Joseph (Gen. 37:3).

(NAS) a long-sleeved garment
(NIV) She was wearing a richly ornamented robe
(NLT) She was wearing a long, beautiful robe

:19 rent her garment of divers colours that was on her

The suggestion has been made that if this was a “long-sleeved robe”, that she tears off her sleeves at this point, showing that she is no longer a virgin.

:20 Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee?

Absalom had apparently heard of Amnon’s request. He now sees Tamar’s torn robe and her tears.

:20 Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house.

She never married.

:21-22 David’s inaction

:21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

David gets angry, but he doesn’t do anything.

When Jacob’s daughter Dinah was raped by Shechem (Gen. 34), Jacob heard about it, but didn’t do anything about it. We are told he just “held his peace” (Gen. 34:5). His sons heard about it, got angry, and ended up wiping out most of the city in revenge for their sister’s rape.

:22 spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon

2Sa 13:22 And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about it, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.

Lesson

Inaction can lead to trouble

I can certainly understand David’s place.
Sometimes you just don’t know how to respond to a situation, and so you don’t do anything.
It could be that David can’t stand to think of what he should be doing.
Le 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Being “cut off” could be taken to mean banishment, or it could be taken to mean death. I imagine that neither of those sound acceptable to David.

It could be that David is thinking of his own life.
He committed adultery and tried to cover it up with murder. And God spared his life. How could he turn around and have his own son put to death?
The problem is that David’s inaction will bring about a simmering bitterness in Absalom, one that will result in murder.

:23-29 Absalom’s plot

:23 And it came to pass after two full years

This is a long grudge in the making.

:23 Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor

We’ve seen this before, that the time for shearing sheep was also a time of celebration and partying.

When David had heard the Nabal was shearing his sheep, he had sent messengers looking for some food for David’s men (1Sam. 25:7).

Baalhazor – about fifteen miles north of Jerusalem. see map

:23 Absalom invited all the king's sons.

Absalom doesn’t just invite Amnon, but all the king’s sons.

:24 let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.

Absalom invites David as well. I wonder if David had gone if things would have still turned out the same.

:25 let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee.

(NLT) "No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you."

:26 Why should he go with thee?

I wonder if David suspects something.

:28 Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine

He’d be less of a problem when he’s drunk.

:28 fear not: have not I commanded you?

Absalom is saying that he will take all the blame for this.

:29 all the king's sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

It could be that the rest of David’s sons are concerned that they would all be killed. It wouldn’t be unusual for the son of a king to kill all his brothers so he could become king.

I think you could make a point that Absalom was really a panda bear

Illustration
A panda walks into a diner, sits down, and orders a sandwich. He eats the sandwich, pulls out a gun, and shoots out the restaurant’s windows. As the panda stands up to go, the owner shouts, “Hey! Where are you going? You just shot out my windows and you didn’t pay for your sandwich!” The panda yells back at the owner, “Hey man, I’m a PANDA! Look it up!” The owner opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for “panda”: “A tree dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”

Lesson

Resolve your conflicts

Don’t let it stew. Make peace.
(Eph 4:26-27 KJV) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: {27} Neither give place to the devil.
Love doesn’t keep track of wrongs, but works towards forgiveness.
(1 Cor 13:5 NLT) …Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

:30-39 David finds out, Absalom flees

:30 Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left.

The news is bad enough as it is. But the story gets stretched.

:32 for Amnon only is dead:

I wonder how Jonadab knows this. I wonder if Jonadab was aware of Absalom’s plans. Somehow, I get the feeling that this Jonadab isn’t a nice person to be around.

:34 But Absalom fled.

Absalom knows he’s in trouble and leaves the country.

:37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur.

Talmai is Absalom’s grandfather, the father of his mother Maacah (2Sam. 3:3).

Geshur – Geshur is near the Sea of Galilee, on the eastern side of the Jordan River, about 70 miles from Jerusalem. see map

:37 And David mourned for his son every day.

Probably meaning that David mourned for Amnon, not Absalom.

:39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Eventually David got over Amnon’s death, but David begins to regret not having lost one son, but two.

David is going to be acting in a disciplinary way towards Absalom, but don’t miss the point that David loves his son. He loves him very much.

Lesson

Sowing and reaping

We are seeing the consequences of David’s sins begin to appear.
David’s sons have learned from their father.
David committed adultery. Amnon raped his sister.
David killed Uriah. Absalom killed Amnon.

2Samuel 14

:1-3 Joab plans

:1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom.

Joab is David’s nephew, and the commander of David’s army. He himself is also a murderer, having been the one who murdered Abner in revenge for his brother Asahel’s death (2Sam. 3:27). He is Absalom’s cousin.

Joab seems to really want to help David. He sees that David is miserable and thinks he has a solution.

:2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman

Tekoah – a city of Judah, about ten miles south of Jerusalem. The birthplace of the prophet Amos. see map

wisechakam – wise, wise (man); skilful (in technical work); shrewd, crafty, cunning, wily, subtle. This is the same word used to describe Jonadab (2Sam. 13:3).

:3 And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him.

As the king, David was the final judge of things in Israel. He regularly had to listen to peoples’ stories and make decisions. We saw back in 2Sam. 12:1-4, when Nathan came to David and told him a story, that Nathan used this to get David to use his own wisdom against himself.

:4-20 The Wise Woman of Tekoa

:6 but the one smote the other, and slew him.

She presents the main situation. One brother has killed another brother during an argument in a field.

:7 And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid …

The lady’s situation presents a problem where the family wants to have the murderer killed. In doing this, the woman’s dead husband would be left without any heir. She would be left without husband or son.

:8 Go to thine house, and I will give charge concerning thee.

“Go home and I’ll take care of it …”

:9 O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father's house: and the king and his throne be guiltless.

(NLT) 2Sa 14:9 "Oh, thank you, my lord," she replied. "And I’ll take the responsibility if you are criticized for helping me like this."

:11 let the king remember the LORD thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more

She is asking David to swear an oath in God’s name that he will protect her son. He does it.

revengers of blood – this would be the other family members who want vengeance on the murderer.

:14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again;

Lesson

Make things right before it’s too late

We are all going to die, and then it will be too late to be reconciled to people.
Don’t let it your pride stand in the way of making things right.

:14 neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.

Her point is basically that David ought to show his own son the same compassion that he has shown towards this woman’s son (if she has one).

:19 And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this?

David knows he’s been had. He figures it must be Joab. I think Joab must be standing in the room with David and the woman.

:21-24 David partially restores Absalom

:21 And the king said unto Joab

David stops talking to the woman and gets to the point with Joab.

:24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face.

David has allowed Absalom to return, but he will not allow Absalom to see David.

We were told earlier that “the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom …” (2Sam. 13:39), so we know David misses Absalom.

But David must not think that it would be proper.

It is possible that David is unsure of restoring Absalom. He had his arm twisted into letting Absalom come back. You could probably make a case the Absalom had only carried out the Law in having Amnon put to death, but you could also probably make a case that Absalom was a murderer.
Either way, David decides that though Absalom can come back, he isn’t restored fully to the king.

:25-27 Absalom’s beauty

:25 there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty

Absalom was a good looking guy. He is a strong, forceful person. He’s popular with the people.

:26 And when he polled his head … he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels

polled – got a hair cut. Once a year.

two hundred shekels – about five pounds. A lot of hair. Absalom was a good-looking, hairy guy. His hair will get him into trouble later.

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

It seems that Absalom names his daughter after his beautiful sister.

It would seem that Absalom’s sons died before he did –

(2 Sam 18:18 KJV) 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.

:28-33 Absalom lights a fire under Joab

:28 So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face.

It’s now been five years since Absalom has seen David.

:29 when he sent again the second time, he would not come.

Joab is Absalom’s cousin. Joab never returned Absalom’s calls. It’s possible that he has begun to feel like David, that he needs to distance himself from Absalom.

:30 Absalom's servants set the field on fire.

This is one way to get somebody to answer your call.

:32 Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.

Absalom doesn’t see what good it has been in coming to Jerusalem. He wishes he’d stayed in Geshur. If David doesn’t like Absalom, then he should kill Absalom.

:33 the king kissed Absalom.

Absalom is restored to David.

 

Lesson

What went wrong?

It’s hard to know just what went wrong with Absalom.
It could be that David made a mistake in restoring Absalom.
Some have suggested that David should have fully restored him sooner.  Bringing him back but not talking with him is a lot like holding a grudge against a person.

Illustration

Holding A Grudge

One day a visitor leaned on the old fence around a farm, while he watched an old farmer plowing with a mule. After a while, the visitor said, “I don’t like to tell you how to run your business, but you would not have to work so hard if you would just say, “gee” and “haw” to that mule instead of just tugging on those lines. The old farmer stopped and pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. Then he said, “Reckon you’re right, but this animal kicked me five years ago and I ain’t spoke to him since.”

Holding grudges can cause us trouble.

2Samuel 15

:1-6 Absalom steals the nation

:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

Remember the order of David’s sons:

(2 Sam 3:2-5 KJV) And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; {3} And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; {4} And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; {5} And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

Amnon is dead.
We don’t know a thing about “Chileab”. Other than the list of David’s sons, we know nothing. Perhaps he died as a child.
Absalom is next in line. I think he could be considered the “crown prince” of Israel.

Now that Absalom has apparently been restored to David’s good graces, he begins to act like a crown prince. He’s now got his own limousine and his own contingent of secret service men.

Lesson

Absalom deserves it

You could make a very convincing case for the fact that Absalom deserves to be king. He is after all, the next in line for the throne.
What is wrong with Absalom actively going after the throne when it’s his in the first place?
The problem lies in how Absalom is going about it.
We aren’t told when David made up his mind who would succeed him on the throne, but later David will tell Bathsheba that he had earlier sworn to her that her son Solomon would be on the throne (1Ki. 1:17,30). We don’t know if that has happened yet within the story of Absalom.
But the real problem is that Absalom doesn’t have any respect for authority.

It’s not Absalom’s place to choose the next king. It’s David’s place.

Even though David was anointed king as a young man, he waited until his time came. He never raised a hand against Saul to overthrow him.

:2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment

The place of judgment was at the city gates. As we’ve seen, people would come from all over to ask David for a decision regarding matters of law. Absalom would get up early in the morning and go sit at David’s desk before David would show up for work in the morning.

:3 See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.

Or, “too bad the court is closed today … you see the king really doesn’t care too much for you …”

:4 I would do him justice!

If Absalom sounds like a man who is running for public office, it’s because he is.

:5 he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

(NLT) 2Sa 15:5 And when people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and embraced them.

He knows how to flatter people and make them feel good.

:6 so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Lesson

Watch out for Absalom

He’s the one who criticizes the boss.
He’s the one pushing his own agenda.
He’s the flatterer.
He’s wrong.

:7-9 Mr. Absalom goes to Hebron

:7 And it came to pass after forty years

This cannot mean that Absalom has been kissing up to people for forty years.

1. It could be that this is a “typo” that has crept into the text. The Syriac and Arabic translations, along with Josephus’ account all say “four” years here. David only reigned in Jerusalem for 33 years (2Sam. 5:5), but added to the seven years in Hebron, he ruled for forty years.

2. It could be that this is happening at the end of David’s reign, which was forty years in total.

:7 which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.

vow – the supposition is that Absalom is going to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. He is saying that he is going to fulfill his end of a deal with God.

Hebron – this was the capitol city of the tribe of Judah. After Saul died, David had become king first in Hebron, where he ruled for 7 years before becoming king over the entire nation (2Sam. 5:5). This is also the city that Absalom was born in. see map

:8 If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.

serve‘abad – to labour, work, do work; to work for another, serve another by labour; to serve as subjects; to serve (God); to serve (with Levitical service)

Lesson

Absalom plays at being spiritual

There are two possibilities here:
1. Absalom truly did make a vow to the Lord while in Geshur. And he might have even made the vow saying, “If I can go back to Jerusalem, then I’ll serve the Lord as king”

It’s possible that Absalom is deceived into thinking that God is on his side.

The problem is that this is not God’s way.

God’s way is to support those in authority over you, not destroy them.

God’s way is to let Him handle the things you don’t agree with.

These are the things that David did when Saul was king. David tried his best to support Saul, until he finally ended up running for his life. David didn’t take things into his own hands and kill Saul, even when the opportunity presented itself to him.

2. Absalom is lying.

I tend to think that this is probably the case.

:10-12 Absalom makes his move

:10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel

Absalom knows what he’s doing. He is going to take over the nation.

:10 As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.

trumpetshowphar – horn, ram’s horn

:11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.

Two hundred men follow Absalom to Hebron, not having a clue what is going to happen.

The idea is to add to the impression of being legitimate. It’s possible that Absalom wants to create in the minds of the people initially that David is actually supporting his son becoming king.

:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices.

Ahithophel‘Achiythophel – “my brother is foolish (folly)”. This is David’s good friend and counsellor, who was also coincidentally the grandfather of Bathsheba (2Sa 11:3, 23:34)

Absalom seems to have an idea that Ahithophel will turn against David. It is possible that Ahithophel has been disgusted with David for his conduct with Bathsheba in committing adultery and murder.

David would write two songs about Ahithophel and his betrayal:

(Psa 55:12-14 KJV) For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: {13} But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. {14} We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
(Psa 41:9 KJV) Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Gilohsee map

:13-18 David flees

:14 Arise, and let us flee

David seems to realize what is going to happen. He’s not going to wait around and see if it comes to pass.

:14 and smite the city with the edge of the sword.

David doesn’t want to see his city destroyed. If he’s going to have to fight, he’d rather fight out on the battlefield and not at home.

:16 the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.

Perhaps David is hoping that it might not be so bad after all. Just in case, he leaves some of his “pseudo-wives” behind to feed the pets and dust the house.

:18 And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.

Cherethites[email protected] – “executioners”. These were a group of foreign mercenary soldiers serving as a bodyguard for king David; also executioners. They are thought to have been Philistines.

Pelethites[email protected] – “couriers”. A collective name for the guardsmen of David, also possibly Philistine mercenaries.

Gittites – inhabitants of “Gath”, one of the Philistine cities. see map

which came after him from Gath – it would seem that these are the same six hundred guys who had followed David as he fled from Saul and had been hiding out in Gath with the Philistines:

1Sa 27:2 And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that [were] with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.

:19-23 Ittai the Warrior

:19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us?

Ittai‘Ittay – “with me”. Ittai seems to be some kind of Philistine commander

:20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday,

Ittai apparently only just recently showed up in Jerusalem. It doesn’t have to take a long time to make good friends.

:20 return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.

David isn’t about to make his friend choose sides and risk his life. He releases him from following him.

:21 whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.

This is commitment to a friend. Absalom was out to get his dad’s position. Ittai was out to serve.

:23 passed over the brook Kidron

Lesson

A good friend will stay when others leave.

(Prov 18:24 NLT) There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
Illustration
An English publication offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of entries received were the following: “One who multiplies joys, divides grief”; “One who understands our silence”; “A volume of sympathy bound in cloth”; and “A watch which beats true for all time and never runs down.” But the entry which won the prize said, “A friend—the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
Illustration
As the Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding along towards the north, they spotted a war party of about 50 Apaches coming at them. They turned south, but another war party appeared. They turned east and met another party of 100 braves. They turned west as their last remaining hope and saw a party of 500. The Lone Ranger turned to his friend and said, “Well, faithful friend, this is the end, there’s not much we can do.” Tonto looked back at the Lone Ranger. “What you mean WE, white man?”

Oops.

We need people in our lives that will stay with us when the chips are down like Ittai stayed with David.
(Eccl 4:9-12 KJV) Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. {10} For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. {11} Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? {12} And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
But even more important, we need to be like Ittai, standing with those who need us.
Don’t leave this morning thinking, “Gee, I sure with I had some friends”. Be a friend. Look for someone like David to walk with.
Illustration
Stu Weber, pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, Oregon, writes,

1967. We were at war with Vietnam. And there I was, at the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was brutal.

I can still hear the raspy voice of the sergeant: “We are here to save your lives. We’re going to see to it that you overcome all your natural fears. We’re going to show you just how much incredible stress the human mind and body can endure. And when we’re finished with you, you will be the U.S. Army’s best!”

Then, before he dismissed the formation, he announced our first assignment. We’d steeled ourselves for something really tough—like running 10 miles in full battle gear or rappelling down a sheer cliff.

Instead, he told us to—find a buddy.

“Find yourself a Ranger buddy,” he growled. “You will stick together. You will never leave each other. You will encourage each other, and, as necessary, you will carry each other.” It was the army’s way of saying, “Difficult assignments require a friend. Together is better.”

- Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

(Heb 10:23-25 KJV) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) {24} And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: {25} Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

:24-29 Zadok the Priest

:24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him

Zadok is one of the two high priests (2Sam. 8:17).

:26 let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.

It might sound as if David is giving up on God, sending the Ark back. But he’s not. He’s really trusting God.

Lesson

Put your troubles in God’s hands

David wrote a Psalm during this time. It shows us where his heart is at:
(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.
As important as friendship is, healthy relationships come from people who are learning to trust and rely on God.

:27 Art not thou a seer?

A “seer” was a prophet. He was a person who “saw” things, who received things from God. David knows that Zadok is a prophet. Zadok hears from God. And David knows that Zadok doesn’t need to be with David in order to hear from God. Zadok just needs to be near to God.

:27 Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.

David will have these boys be messengers between Zadok and himself.

Ahimaaz ‘Achiyma‘ats – “my brother is anger (wrath)”

Jonathan[email protected] – “Jehovah has given”

Abiathar ‘Ebyathar – “my father is great”.  There are two priestly lines at this time, that of Eleazar and Ithamar.  Both have men who are qualified to be high priests.  Zadok is of the line of Eleazar, Abiathar is of the line of Ithamar.

:28 See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.

certifynagad – (Hiphil) to tell, declare; to tell, announce, report; to inform of

David is planning on stopping and camping out near the Jordan River. He is not going to go any farther until he gets word from Zadok of what to do.

Lesson

A good friend will pray for you

Perhaps this might seem a little stretch to see prayer here, but that’s what Zadok will be doing if he’s going to be getting instructions from God for David.
For those of you who are teachers – you need to be praying for the people you are teaching. God has a message for them. He wants to speak through you.
Do you pray with your friends? Good friends will learn to pray with and for each other.

Lesson

A good friend will tell you what God says

A friend will tell you the truth, even if it isn’t something you want to hear.
There will be a word sent to David in the wilderness. It will be a message saying, “Absalom is out to kill you so RUN!” That might not be the message David wanted to hear, but it was the truth.
A friend will tell you to run from danger. A friend will tell you to run from sin.
But this doesn’t mean that a friend will only be focusing on your problems.
A friend will love you like Jesus does.

(John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

How does Jesus love us?

(Rom 8:31-39 KJV) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? {32} He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? {33} Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. {34} Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. {35} Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? {36} As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. {37} Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. {38} For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, {39} Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is madly in love with you. He is on your side. He is not against you. He doesn’t condemn you but justifies you. Nothing can separate you from His love.

:30-31 Ahithophel – the bad friend

:31 Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.

Ahithophel‘Achiythophel – “my brother is foolish (folly)”. This is David’s good friend and counsellor, who was also coincidentally the grandfather of Bathsheba (2Sa 11:3, 23:34)

It is possible that Ahithophel has been disgusted with David for his conduct with Bathsheba in committing adultery and murder.

David would write two songs about Ahithophel and his betrayal:

(Psa 55:12-14 KJV) For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: {13} But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. {14} We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
(Psa 41:9 KJV) Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

It is one of life’s bitterest experiences to have been betrayed by a close friend.

:31 O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.

turn … into foolishnesscakal – (Piel) to make foolish, turn into foolishness

David knows how wise and sharp Ahithophel is. He knows how dangerous it is that he is with Absalom.

David handles the knowledge of Ahithophel’s betrayal by praying.

:32-37 Hushai the Counsellor

:32 Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent

It would seem that God has already begun to answer David’s prayer, by having Hushai show up.

Ahithophel wasn’t David’s only counsellor. Hushai is another of David’s counsellors.

Lesson

Multitude of counsellors

Be careful about depending on just one person for advice.
(Prov 11:14 KJV) Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
David had several counsellors.

Lesson

A friend is sympathetic

There will be people who will be cursing David and making fun of him as he is having a difficult time.
But Hushai is grieved.
Some people will think that David deserves what he’s getting. You could even make a Scriptural point of saying that David is only reaping what he sowed with Bathsheba and Uriah.
But Hushai is grieved.

:34 then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.

After hearing of Ahithophel’s betrayal, praying, and then seeing Hushai, David begins to comes up with a plan. He asks Hushai to stay behind, offer his counsel to Absalom, and hopefully be able to counteract some of the advice of Ahithophel. This is going to save David’s life.

:37 Absalom came into Jerusalem.

The rebellion is at its peak.

Lesson

A good friend is an answer to prayer

A counsellor has answers. Hushai was an answer. David prayed and Hushai showed up. Could you be the answer to someone’s prayer?

Do you need a friend? Jesus is the best friend

He is a Warrior. He will stay with you and fight for you (Ittai)

He is a Priest. He prays for you, and He’ll tell you what God says (Zadok)

He is a Counsellor. He is the answer to your prayer (Hushai)

Jesus said,

(John 15:13 KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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