Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 14-15
Because today’s Scripture reading entails two long chapters, I will limit the devotional to an overview of 2 Samuel 14-15.
The saga and division between David, the king of Israel, and his third-born son, Absalom, continued in 2 Samuel 14. After murdering his brother Amnon, Absalom sought refuge in Geshur, his mother’s birthplace. Sadly, three years of exile passed, and David did not seek justice for his son, Amnon, nor restore his fellowship with Absalom (2 Samuel 13:38-39).
2 Samuel 14
Joab’s Plot to bring Absalom to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:1-20)
Joab, one of David’s trusted counselors and a mighty warrior, understood David’s longing for Absalom (2 Samuel 13:39). Joab set in motion the circumstances that moved the king to invite his son to return to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:1). 2 Samuel 14:2-17 recorded the details of Joab’s plan, and how he recruited a woman to convey a parable to the king. Feigning as a mourner, the woman spun a tale of two sons, lamenting that one son had killed the other.
The woman’s tale moved David’s heart, and the king determined to show grace and spare her son from death, the penalty that the law demanded (2 Samuel 14:10-11). However, soon after he passed judgment and gave his verdict, David realized the woman’s story paralleled his own life and failure to show grace and restore Absalom (2 Samuel 14:12-17). David saw through the tale and supposed Joab had brought about his verdict for the king to forgive his murderous son (2 Samuel 14:18-20).
David’s Command for Absalom’s Return (2 Samuel 14:21-24)
David then directed Joab to go to Geshur and invite Absalom to return to Jerusalem, yet with the provision, his son would not be welcomed in the king’s court (2 Samuel 14:21-24). Ever soft in dealing with the sins of his household, David’s failure to confront Absalom and his refusal to receive him provoked a resentment that would not be appeased in his son’s heart.
Absalom’s Persona and Reconciliation to the King (2 Samuel 14:25-33)
David failed to comprehend Absalom’s heart was against him. Therefore, the king allowed his son’s movements to go unchecked. Physically handsome Absalom used his freedom to earn the people’s affection (2 Samuel 14:25). Celebrated for the thickness of his long, flowing hair, Absalom and his family came to be much praised in Israel (2 Samuel 14:26-28).
Two years passed, and the king never summoned his son to stand before him. When his appeals to Joab to intervene with his father failed (2 Samuel 14:28-29), Absalom ordered his fields to be set ablaze (2 Samuel 14:30-32). Thus, Joab was forced to petition the king to give Absalom, his son, an audience (2 Samuel 14:33).
2 Samuel 15
Absalom’s Plot to Earn the People’s Affection (2 Samuel 15:1-7)
Though received by his father, Absalom’s bitterness and rebellious heart were unsatisfied. Giving himself the visage of a powerful oriental king (2 Samuel 15:1), the son of David plotted to weaken his father and deflect the people’s affections to himself (2 Samuel 15:2-6). David followed a familiar pattern of weakness and did nothing and allowed “Absalom [to steal] the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6).
2 Samuel 15:7 reads, “It came to pass after forty years,” but scholars cannot account for that number of years nor the beginning of those years. Certainly, forty years had not passed since Absalom’s return to Jerusalem, and I will leave that date as one only known to God.
Absalom’s Insurrection and David’s Flight (2 Samuel 15:7-30)
Enough men of Israel followed Absalom’s rebellion that David was forced to flee the city with his loyal servants and his family (except ten concubines who remained in the palace, 2 Samuel 15:16). Accompanying the king were his mercenary bodyguards, who were introduced in 2 Samuel 8:16-18.
When David saw the Ark of God that the priests carried, he instructed it to be returned to its place in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:24-29). His command expressed his faith and confidence that he would one day return to his throne (2 Samuel 15:25). Ascending the Mount of Olives, David looked back on the city of Jerusalem, and he and all those with him wept and mourned what had befallen the king and the city (2 Samuel 15:30).
Absalom’s Co-conspirator and David’s Spy (2 Samuel 15:31-37)
David then learned that Ahithophel, the grandfather of Bathsheba, had joined Absalom in the insurrection. The king, therefore, prayed, “O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness” (2 Samuel 15:31). Soon after, David was joined by a loyal friend and servant, Hushai the Archite, whom the king commanded to return to Jerusalem, join himself to Absalom, and thwart the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:32-34). At the risk of his life, Hushai obeyed the king’s command and returned to Absalom’s court as a spy (2 Samuel 15:35-37).
Closing thoughts –
Our study of this tragic time in David’s life will continue tomorrow. Once again, we have been reminded of the terrible toll of David’s sins and the consequences of his failure as a father and king to address and judge the sins of his son and others.
Galatians 6:7 – 7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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