2 Samuel 15:1-12

Absalom’s Conspiracy

1 In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.
2 He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.”
4 And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”
5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.
6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7 At the end of four[a] years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.
8 While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron.[b] ’ ”
9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’ ”
11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter.
12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.

2 Samuel 15:1-12 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 15

This chapter relates how that Absalom by various artful methods stole away the hearts of the people of Israel, 2Sa 15:1-6; that pretending a vow he had made, he got leave of the king to go to Hebron to perform it, 2Sa 15:7-9; where he formed a considerable conspiracy, 2Sa 15:10-12; of which David having information, thought it advisable to depart from Jerusalem, both for his own safety, and the good of the city, which he did with his family, and guards, and much people, 2Sa 15:13-18; though he would have persuaded Ittai the Gittite to have returned, but could not prevail upon him, 2Sa 15:19-23; however, he sent back the priests and the Levites with the ark, lest any harm should come to that, 2Sa 15:24-29; and as he and the people went up the mount of Olives weeping, it was told him that Ahithophel was among the conspirators, on which he put up a prayer that his counsel might be infatuated, 2Sa 15:30,31; and Hushai the Archite coming to him at that juncture, he sent him back to Jerusalem to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, and to send him word by the priests what he should hear there from time to time, 2Sa 15:32-37.

2 Samuel 15:1-12 In-Context

1 In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.
2 He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.”
4 And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”
5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.
6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7 At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.
8 While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron. ’ ”
9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’ ”
11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter.
12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.
13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.”
15 The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.”
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace.

Cross References 13

  • 1. S 2 Samuel 12:11
  • 2. S 1 Samuel 8:11; 1 Kings 1:5
  • 3. S Genesis 23:10; 2 Samuel 19:8
  • 4. Proverbs 12:2
  • 5. Judges 9:29
  • 6. Romans 16:18
  • 7. S 2 Samuel 3:3; 2 Samuel 13:37-38
  • 8. S Genesis 28:20
  • 9. 1 Kings 1:34,39; 2 Kings 9:13
  • 10. ver 31,34; 2 Samuel 16:15,23; 2 Samuel 17:14; 2 Samuel 23:34; 1 Chronicles 27:33
  • 11. Job 19:14; Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:13; Jeremiah 9:4
  • 12. Joshua 15:51
  • 13. Psalms 3:1

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Some Septuagint manuscripts, Syriac and Josephus; Hebrew "forty"
  • [b]. Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew does not have "in Hebron."
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.