2 Samuel 15

Absalom's Revolt

1 After this, Absalom got himself a chariot, horses, and 50 men to run before him.[a]
2 He would get up early and stand beside the road leading to the city gate.[b] Whenever anyone had a grievance to bring before the king for settlement, Absalom called out to him and asked, "What city are you from?" If he replied, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel,"
3 Absalom said to him, "Look, your claims are good and right, but the king does not have anyone to listen to you."
4 He added, "If only someone would appoint me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a grievance or dispute could come to me, and I would make sure he received justice."
5 When a person approached to bow down to him, Absalom reached out his hand, took hold of him, and kissed him.
6 Absalom did this to all the Israelites who came to the king for a settlement. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 When four[c] years had passed, Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go to Hebron to fulfill a vow I made to the Lord.
8 For your servant made a vow when I lived in Geshur of Aram,[d] saying: If the Lord really brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron."[e]
9 "Go in peace," the king said to him. So he went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent messengers throughout the tribes of Israel with this message: "When you hear the sound of the ram's horn, you are to say, 'Absalom has become king in Hebron!' "[f]
11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom. They had been invited and were going innocently, for they knew nothing about the whole matter.
12 While he was offering the sacrifices, Absalom sent for David's adviser Ahithophel the Gilonite, from his city of Giloh. So the conspiracy grew strong, and the people supporting Absalom continued to increase.
13 Then an informer came to David and reported, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom."
14 David said to all the servants with him in Jerusalem, "Get up. We have to flee, or we will not escape from Absalom![g] Leave quickly, or he will overtake us, heap disaster on us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword."
15 The king's servants said to him, "Whatever my lord the king decides, we are your servants."
16 Then the king set out, and his entire household followed him. But he left behind 10 concubines to take care of the palace.
17 So the king set out, and all the people followed him. They stopped at the last house
18 while all his servants marched past him. Then all the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and the Gittites-600 men who came with him from Gath[h]-marched past the king.
19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite,[i] "Why are you also going with us? Go back and stay with the king since you're both a foreigner and an exile from your homeland.
20 Besides, you only arrived yesterday; should I make you wander around with us today while I go wherever I can? Go back and take your brothers with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness."
21 But in response, Ittai vowed to the king, "As surely as the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king is, whether it means life or death, your servant will be there!"
22 "March on," David replied to Ittai. So Ittai the Gittite marched past with all his men and the children who were with him.
23 Everyone in the countryside was weeping loudly while all the people were marching past. As the king was crossing the Kidron Valley, all the people were marching past on the road that leads to the desert.
24 Zadok was also there, and all the Levites with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set the ark of God down, and Abiathar offered [sacrifices][j] until the people had finished marching past.
25 Then the king instructed Zadok, "Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the Lord's eyes, He will bring me back and allow me to see both it and its dwelling place.
26 However, if He should say, 'I do not delight in you,' then here I am-He can do with me whatever pleases Him."[k]
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Look,[l] return to the city in peace and your two sons with you: your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan.
28 Remember, I'll wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me."
29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 David was climbing the slope of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he ascended. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot.[m] Each of the people with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they ascended.
31 Then someone reported to David: "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." "Lord," David pleaded, "please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!"
32 When David came to the summit where he used to worship God, there to meet him was Hushai the Archite[n] with his robe torn and dust on his head.
33 David said to him, "If you go away with me, you'll be a burden to me,
34 but if you return to the city and tell Absalom, 'I will be your servant, my king! Previously, I was your father's servant, but now I will be your servant,' then you can counteract Ahithophel's counsel for me.
35 Won't Zadok and Abiathar the priests be there with you? Report everything you hear from the king's palace to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 Take note: their two sons, Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan, are there with them. Send me everything you hear through them."
37 So Hushai, David's personal adviser, entered Jerusalem just as Absalom was entering the city.

2 Samuel 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

Absalom's ambition. (1-6) His conspiracy. (7-12) David leaves Jerusalem. (13-23) David sends back the ark. (24-30) He prays against Ahithophel's counsel. (31-37)

Verses 1-6 David allows Absalom's pomp. Those parents know not what they do, who indulge a proud humour in their children: many young people are ruined by pride. And those commonly are most eager for authority who least understand its duties.

Verses 7-12 See how willing tender parents are to believe the best concerning their children. But how easy and how wicked is it, for children to take advantage of good parents, and to deceive them with the show of religion! The principal men of Jerusalem joined Absalom's feast upon his sacrifice. Pious persons are glad to see others appear religious, and this gives occasion for deceptions. The policy of wicked men, and the subtlety of Satan, are exerted to draw good persons to countenance base designs.

Verses 13-23 David determined to quit Jerusalem. He took this resolve, as a penitent submitting to the rod. Before unrighteous Absalom he could justify himself, and stand out; but before the righteous God he must condemn himself, and yield to his judgments. Thus he accepts the punishment of his sin. And good men, when they themselves suffer, are anxious that others should not be led to suffer with them. He compelled none; those whose hearts were with Absalom, to Absalom let them go, and so shall their doom be. Thus Christ enlists none but willing followers. David cannot bear to think that Ittai, a stranger and an exile, a proselyte and a new convert, who ought to be encouraged and made easy, should meet with hard usage. But such value has Ittai for David's wisdom and goodness, that he will not leave him. He is a friend indeed, who loves at all times, and will adhere to us in adversity. Let us cleave to the Son of David, with full purpose of heart, and neither life nor death shall separate us from his love.

Verses 24-30 David is very careful for the safety of the ark. It is right to be more concerned for the church's prosperity than our own; to prefer the success of the gospel above our own wealth, credit, ease, and safety. Observe with what satisfaction and submission David speaks of the Divine disposal. It is our interest, as well as our duty, cheerfully to acquiesce in the will of God, whatever befalls us. Let us see God's hand in all events; and that we may not be afraid of what shall be, let us see all events in God's hand. David's sin was ever before him, ( Psalms 51:3 ) ; but never so plain, nor ever appearing so black as now. He never wept thus when Saul hunted him, but a wounded conscience makes troubles lie heavy, ( Psalms 38:4 ) .

Verses 31-37 David prays not against Ahithophel's person, but against his counsel. He prayed this, in firm belief that God has all hearts in his hand, and tongues also. But we must second our prayers with endeavours, and David did so, else we tempt God. But we do not find wisdom and simplicity so united in any mere man, that we can perceive nothing which needs forgiveness. Yet, when the Son of David was treated with all possible treachery and cruelty, his wisdom, meekness, candour, and patience, were perfect. Him let us follow, cleave to, and serve, in life and in death.

Footnotes 14

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries