V. 1, Now Joab.. With Amnon dead, Absalom in next in line for the throne.
Joab had killed Abner and he now probably saw in Absalom his chance to avoid the Law's requirement of his death for his killing Joab. If he could get Absalom back into the good grace of the king, then when Absalom became king, he would be spared. Absalom had fled for his life, and now Joab seems to think that the king's heart is softening toward Absalom.
Notice that there is absolutely no remorse or repentance on Absalom's pare. In fact, on down in 32, Absalom goes as far as to accuse David; he blames David for his having to flee to Gershur. Instead of being thankful for his life being spared, he is arrogant against David, feeling he has been wronged in having to flee. The only way he had been wronged is that he was not put to death for his murder.
Notice, no matter how much the criminal is coddled, he demands more.
David did wrong in not perusing after him and dealing with him as the murder that he was, but the weakness was only catching up with David. David did not judge Joab when he killed Abner to further his own ends. David killed Uriah to further his own ends, and here also David did not judge Amnon for rape.
Notice that difficult situations cannot be avoid without them coming worse.
At least I must say for Absalom's defense: he was the only one of the 3 (Joab-Abner, David-Uriah, Amnon-Tamar) who had a 1/2 way legal right to do what he did. Absalom killed Amnon for Amnon's wickedness, and Absalom seemingly had public opinion on his side. (v. 14)
David's problem in this area of his own household got him into a world of problems (ch. 15), and was the thing that led to Absalom's rebellion, 15:4.
Notice that our weakness will find us out. That little area we overlook as unimportant will not be overlooked by others or by God.
I almost hate to draw this comparison here, but I will anyway. Joab means Jah is father. Absalom (father of peace) was as rebellious as he could be with no sign of repentance at all. He had fled from King David and had no intentions of coming back if he had to admit wrong in order to return.
Joab (Jah is father) initiated the Mediation. Joab reconciled Absalom the rebel back to the king when Absalom really had no desire to humble himself before the king.
Notice in this that we see ourselves as rebels against the Heavenly Father with no intentions of humbling ourselves, yet we were reconciled back to the King by the Mediator, Jesus Christ. God the Father took the form of flesh that He might reconcile the rebellious world back to Himself. I was happy in my lost condition in the land of "Geshur," and had no intention of humbling myself when the Lord "worked out a deal with the Father and came looking for me to bring me back home." I did not deserve it and I didn't go looking; He came looking for me.
I have been reconciled back to the Father through no effort of my own. My Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, did it all. All I must do is answer the call and come back. The deal has been worked out and settled. I must step out on faith that all has been taken care of.
How can I come back to the city and fact the King?
Because of my good works, NO! All of my good works are, in the Father's eyes, as wicked as was Absalom's rebellion, but I will come into the city and talk face to face to the King on the throne because of the work of the Mediator, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
Absalom didn't come back or see the king because he was a good boy; he was still a rebel to the core and so are we. He saw the King because Joab worked out a deal. We will see the King in His beauty because our Mediator worked out a deal, also.
We'll only stand before the King in this life or the next because of the deal worked out between the Father and the Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ and for No other reason.
We are rebels even now, but God is working in us and the Mediator of the new covenant enables us to stand before king boldly making our requests.
Praise the Lord, it doesn't depend on us, but on Him. It is by the grace of God alone and nothing else, that we can stand before the King.
Vs. 2-17, the woman and her story.
1) There is always someone around ready to feign themselves to be something they are not. Young people need to learn this soon. Note that v. 2, Joab sent for this woman. This was not just any woman; this was one who was wise in her deceit. There is always some one who can outsmart the smart.
2) Joab knew what to do and how to build up David in order to accomplish his goal, v. 4. I think it is significant that we are not told this woman's name. The blame lies with Joab.
3) v. 5, people know how to become something they are not. They know how to present themselves so that they can gain their desires. This woman was an excellent liar and only the word of God would have seen through her.
4) Neither Joab nor the woman had any compulsion against lying to the king. Joab knew David well, perhaps too well. Observe: people know our weaknesses and unscrupulous people who desire their own welfare will use them against us.
5) V. 8, what the woman ask of the king was a discission which was the responsibility of the elders of the city closest to the scene of the crime. The purpose of that would be that the elders would know the circumstances surrounding the situation. If there was previous hatred, the n the boy was guilty of murder; if not, he was spared his life.
1 Kg 3:16ff, when Solomon was asked to render judgment, he had before him both the accused and the accuser as well as the object of the argument. He heard both sides of the story; David only heard one side and made no effort to examine both sides. He took the word of one person, and did not even see the accused.
6) V. 11, David did not have the authority to override the law of God and deliver the boy from the avenger of blood. The only ones who had this authority were the elders of the city of refuge. And then if they found the boy innocent, he had to remain in the city until the death of the high priest.
David rendered injustice here because he did not abide by the law of God, and he gets caught in his own trap.
Joab was his enemy here, and because David departed from the
law of God, he is victim of his enemy. If David had abided by
the law of God, he would have been wiser than his enemy and avoided
the pit which Joab dug for him.
The man who wrote Ps 119 tells us many times over how he was delivered out of the snare, trap and pit which the wicked set before him. How was he delivered? By following the law of God at every turn of the road. If David had followed the law here, he would not have been snared by the evil purpose of Joab.
David should have insisted on that either the witnesses appear before him along with the contested boy, or he should have sent the woman to the elders of the closest city of refuge to the supposed killing. David didn't and Absalom is again spared his just due.
Because the woman had neither the accusers or the accused with her, David should have realized that something was wrong, but he was blinded by his own compromise concerning his children.
7) V. 13, the woman points out to David that he is promising safety to her supposed child who committed a murder, while he is not providing safety for his own child who committed a murder.
David was being inconsistent and he was being trapped by his own words. David is setting one standard for her and another for his own family.
8) v. 14, This woman, at Joab's instruction, reminds David of the brevity of human life, and of the mercy of God. God, in His mercy, does not respect persons, but provides all the means of restoration to himself. ...unlike David who only provided mercy and restoration for the widow's son, but not his own, Absalom.
Strange how quick people are to quote the Bible to accomplish their evil desires. She did not tell David that God did not respect persons when she was trying to get David to make and exception to the law of God for her one purpose.
The wicked are ready, willing and able to justify their cause with the law of God, but they sure don't want their evil desires hindered by the same law.
V. 15, she refers back to her own situation of the family demanding the blood of her only son. She says that their demand made her afraid, so she said to herself that she would take her cause to the king.
V. 16, she sure uses the name of God freely.
9. It sounds like the woman is saying that the deed has already been done, so why punish the person who did it. This sounds like those who are against capital punishment today. The death of the killer will not bring the life of the victim back; therefore, it is useless to put the criminal to death.
God requires it, and to fail brings God's wrath.
10. v. 17, she knows how to lay it on thick. David clearly violated the law of God in sparing her son like he did, but she brags on him as being like an angel of God. When the law of the Lord is compromised for the favor of someone, we are as god himself in their eyes. But if we refuse to compromise the law of God, we are considered the devil himself.
Our best bet is not to compromise the law of God no matter what. But many preachers and civil leaders compromise because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. The results will come back upon them as the kingdom falls to the rebel who escaped the justice of the law thorough the soft headed response of those in authority.
11) v. 18, David knew where it came from. V. 19, the woman brags on David again and uplifts Joab. David should have said, "I was wrong, now here is what must be done." But he is trapped by the words of his mouth, and his pride prevents his escape.
12) v. 20, it is unbelievable how bold this woman is. Joab knew what he was doing when he sent and fetched this woman, v. 2. Joab set a trap for David. He was smart enough to find this woman who could execute his plans, flatter the king to no end, and David falls into the trap. Joab knew the weak spot, and strikes David a mortal blow: Absalom is allowed back into the country without having to answer for what he did.
He overthrows the government in a matter of time. The ones who are effectively overthrowing this government under which we live are the ones who have not had to face up to personal responsibility for their deeds in the past.
September 6, 1992
2 Sam 21--
Vs 21-24, Absalom is brought back.
V. 21, David keeps his word, although he should not have. Now, if we give our word to our own hurt, we are to keep it. An example would be that if we say we will do something and find that it is going to cost us more than we had planned in time and/or money, we are to go ahead and do it.
But if we find that we have given our word about something that is contrary to the word of God, we must confess the sin and refuse to do it. But David violated the law with the woman when he did not check the facts of her story, and now he continues his violation.
I have found that more often than not, if I accept something without checking the facts, I get in trouble. We must check facts. If after we check the facts or more facts are made known to us, and we see that we were wrong in what we said, we must back down and make the thing right. It is just as much a sin to keep our word over something that is contrary to the Word of God as it is a sin to not keep our word over something that is proper according to the word of God.
David should have said here, "No way will that boy return without facing a just hearing according to the law."
I might mention about the woman's tale. She said her son was an only son, which greatly played on David's sympathy. Absalom was not an only son. The woman threw David a line, and he swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
V. 22, Joab was determined to get Absalom back into the land and lets on like this was the desire of his heart. No doubt it was the desire of his heart: it was a corrupt desire from his corrupt heart. This verse indicates that Joab had been trying for some time to get the king to let Absalom return, and David would not let him come back.
V. 23, Joab personally fetches Absalom back to Israel.
V. 24, David knew it was wrong, so he refused to see Absalom's face. Absalom went to his own house. David neither welcomed Absalom back, nor did David make Absalom accountable for his evil deed. David compromised and went neither way. The results were very bitter.
I absolutely hate to confront situations which I know are going to be disagreeable. I would far rather do what David did here and not face up to them. And when I ignore them, the same thing happens: they get out of hand, they grow out of control and the results are very bitter.
Vs. 25-27 gives us some personal notes about Absalom.
V. 25. In all Israel there was none so handsome as Absalom. He had what every one seems to want, and the chemical companies are making a fortune from the desire: no bodily blemish in him at all.
V. 26. tells us of the growth of his hair. A strong growth of hair was a sign of great manly power, and here it is used as proof of Absalom's great beauty. It says there that the only reason he cut his hair was because of its weight. It weighed 200 shekels, which would be around 6 pounds, but the text also says that this is after the kind's weight, not after the temple weight. So we do not know how much his hair weighed.
We do know that it was very impressive to the people of Israel or the Lord would not have recorded it.
V. 27. Absalom had three children during this two years from the time he returned and when he saw his dad. Two of them were boys, evidently twins. The third was a very beautiful girl. The two boys died because Absalom left no sons; therefore, he erected a pillar to preserve his name, 18:18.
1) Absalom's beauty was an outward beauty which got everyone's attention and attracted people to him. His relationship with the Lord was as black and ugly as anything could be.
2) Tradition says that he sprinkled his hair with gold dust which would help account for the high weight when he cut it.
3) He named his daughter Tamar: he was a wicked boy, but he loved his sister. He killed his brother over her and named his only child for her.
4) He built a pillar to his name. We might say that there are a great many pillars being erected to the vanity of wicked people today, both professed Christians and pagans. I think that Falwell's college is along this line. Someone told me that he had removed all theology courses because of his need of state funds to remain the size that he is.
5) Absalom's problem was pride. And his problem can be traced to his dad because his dad refused to make him submit to proper authority. The very thing which his father refused to confront in Absalom, confronts him: Absalom's pride overthrew the throne.
Vs. 28-33. Absalom demands to see the king.
Absalom desires to see the king, so he sends for Joab so Joab could go to the king for him. He sent for Joab twice and twice Joab ignores Absalom's demand.
In the next chapter we see why Absalom wanted to see the king. He wanted to be publically restored into the good graces of the king so he could be out and around to win the hearts of the people to himself. He had to profess great love and loyalty for the king before he could do his dirty work. He knew that he had to be preceived as being in total support of the king before he could gain the confidence of the people.
Joab refused to come to Absalom, so Absalom had his servants set Joab's field on fire. He knew that this would get a rise out of Joab and force him to come see him. And it did.
V. 32, the insolence of this man is amazing. David's refusal to make the matter whole one way or another (complete forgiveness or complete justice) was worse than doing nothing at all.
V. 33, Joab takes Absalom's message to the king, and the king welcomes Absalom back. The kissing was a sign of restoration to the favor of the king (Ps 2:12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all thaw that put their trust in him. Folks had better make peace with the Son of God while there is still the opportunity. Some day, maybe soon, it will be too late. And I am not talking about the rapture either. Death or judgement may be just around the corner.)
But nothing is said here about forgiveness or repentance when Absalom meets the king which makes matters even worse. Things must be settled or the "talking things out" is useless.
1) This boy had enough pride for the whole kingdom. There would have been better ways and just as effective, to get Joab's attention. If nothing else, he could have gone to see Joab. But Joab had it coming. He was the one who tricked the king into letting Absalom come back.
The mad dog we feed will bight the hand that feeds it. People who are in rebellion against the Lord cannot be helped; we see this from the welfare system of our day. They now demand as a right what at one time was a benefit of grace from the government. In fact, if they do not get their demands, they will also burn the neighbors fields; only now it is not fields, it is cities.
A) Of course, an application is, "What does it take for the Lord to get our attention?" He knows what will do the job. I know Christians who have had their "fields burned," and they still won't answer the call . I also know the few who have answered the call, and today they praise the Lord for the burned fields.
2) Absalom blamed others for his own sins.
A) He blamed Joab for not being able to see the king, so he set Joab's field on fire and demanded that Joab work it out.
B) He blamed the king for unjustly persecuting him.
3) There was iniquity in Absalom: he killed, murdered his brother. The king should have required the blood of the hands of Absalom, but he didn't. Now David's kingdom is guilty of the shed blood of Amnon, and God is going to require it of David. (2 Kings.)
An illustration here:
Some years ago, the "Nuclear Freeze" crowd gathered in Chicago on the 39 anniversary of the bombing of Japan. They united together in their blame of the US for dropping the nuclear bomb on Japan. The news reporter interviewed a WW II veteran who had the best answer: "The US would not have used it if Japan had not bombed Pearl Harbor."
The protestors make it sound like the US was at fault for having and using the weapons when they are only responding. It was Japan's fault for what they did to cause the war.
Absalom fled because he was a murderer, not because the king was persecuting him, so he has no right to blame the king.
4) because David did not deal with Amnon's rape, it led to
Amnon's murder by Absalom. Again, evidently David could not bring
himself to deal with Amnon because of the situation with Bathsheba.
But, David had been forgiven, so he should have been able to take
it under control. David's inability to deal with his own emotions
catch up with him.
5) David wrongly restores Absalom
David allowed personal feelings to override what the word
of God required. He paid many times over for this, and we can
also rest assured that when we allow personal feelings and opinions
to override the world of God, we will also have the same problem.
If anyone should have been able to be an exception, David, the
man after God's own heart, should have been. David had the promise
of the Messiah, but that did not make him immune to the law of
6) Finally, we live in a society that specializes in placing the blame for its problems elsewhere. We spend vast sums of money paying "counselors" to place the blame for our faults everywhere but where the fault lies, ourselves. RJR has a book out called, "The Politics of Guilt and Pity" which deals with the modern use of guilt and pity by the wicked to accomplish what they want.
Man is not made to carry guilt. Christ came to pay man's sin dept and settle the guilt question forever. The person who is walking contrary to the word of God will have guilt and fare game for anyone who knows how to use it for their own gain. But we have Christ; there is no need to bound by guilt.