2 Samuel 15

Absalom's Conspiracy

1 Now it came about after * this that 1Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men as runners before him.
2 Absalom used to rise early and 2stand beside * the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what * city are you?" And he would say, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."
3 Then Absalom would say to him, "See, 3your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part * of the king."
4 Moreover, Absalom would say, "4Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would give him justice."
5 And when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and 5kiss him.
6 In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; 6so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 Now it came about at the end of forty years that Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to the LORD, in 7Hebron.
8 "For your servant 8vowed a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, saying, '9If the LORD shall indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.' "
9 The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron.
10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, '10Absalom is king in Hebron.' "
11 Then two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, 11who were invited and 12went innocently, and they did not know anything *.
12 And Absalom sent for 13Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city 14Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for 15the people increased continually with Absalom.

David Flees Jerusalem

13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, "16The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom."
14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "17Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword."
15 Then the king's servants said to the king, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever * my lord the king chooses."
16 So the king went out and all his household with him. But 18the king left ten concubines to keep the house.
17 The king went out and all the people with him, and they stopped at the last house.
18 Now all his servants passed on beside * him, 19all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, 20six hundred men who had come with him from Gath, passed on before the king.
19 Then the king said to 21Ittai the Gittite, "Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place.
20 "You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, while 22I go where * I will? Return and take back your brothers; 23mercy and truth be with you."
21 But Ittai answered the king and said, "As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely * 24wherever * * my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be."
22 Therefore David said to Ittai, "Go and pass over." So Ittai the Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones who were with him.
23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people passed over. The king also passed over 25the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward * 26the way of the wilderness.
24 Now behold, 27Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him 28carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and 29Abiathar came up until all the people had finished passing from the city.
25 The king said to Zadok, "Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the LORD, then 30He will bring me back again and show me both it and 31His habitation.
26 "But if He should say thus, '32I have no delight in you,' behold, here I am, 33let Him do to me as seems good to Him."
27 The king said also to Zadok the priest, "Are you not 34a seer? Return to the city in peace and your 35two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28 "See, I am going to wait 36at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me."
29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.
30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and 37his head was covered and he walked 38barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went.
31 Now someone told David, saying, "39Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, I pray, 40make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness."
32 It happened as David was coming to the summit, where * God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the 41Archite met him with his coat torn and dust on his head.
33 David said to him, "If you pass over with me, then you will be 42a burden to me.
34 "But if you return to the city, and 43say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,' then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me.
35 "Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So it shall be that 44whatever * * you hear from the king's house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 "Behold 45their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son and Jonathan, Abiathar's son; and 46by them you shall send me everything that you hear."
37 So Hushai, 47David's friend, came into the city, and 48Absalom came into Jerusalem.

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.

Cross References 48

  • 1. 1 Kings 1:5
  • 2. Ruth 4:1; 2 Samuel 19:8
  • 3. Proverbs 12:2
  • 4. Judges 9:29
  • 5. 2 Samuel 14:33; 2 Samuel 20:9
  • 6. Romans 16:18
  • 7. 2 Samuel 3:2, 3
  • 8. 2 Samuel 13:37, 38
  • 9. Genesis 28:20, 21
  • 10. 1 Kings 1:34; 2 Kings 9:13
  • 11. 1 Samuel 9:13
  • 12. 1 Samuel 22:15
  • 13. 2 Samuel 15:31
  • 14. Joshua 15:51
  • 15. Psalms 3:1
  • 16. Judges 9:3; 2 Samuel 15:6
  • 17. 2 Samuel 12:11; Ps 3: title
  • 18. 2 Samuel 16:21, 22
  • 19. 2 Samuel 8:18
  • 20. 1 Samuel 23:13; 1 Samuel 25:13; 1 Samuel 30:1, 9
  • 21. 2 Samuel 18:2
  • 22. 1 Samuel 23:13
  • 23. 2 Samuel 2:6
  • 24. Ruth 1:16, 17; Proverbs 17:17
  • 25. 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 29:16
  • 26. 2 Samuel 15:28; 2 Samuel 16:2
  • 27. 2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 20:25
  • 28. Numbers 4:15; 1 Samuel 4:4, 5
  • 29. 1 Samuel 22:20
  • 30. Psalms 43:3
  • 31. Exodus 15:13; Jeremiah 25:30
  • 32. 2 Samuel 11:27; 1 Chronicles 21:7
  • 33. 1 Samuel 3:18
  • 34. 1 Samuel 9:6-9
  • 35. 2 Samuel 17:17
  • 36. Joshua 5:10; 2 Samuel 17:16
  • 37. Esther 6:12; Ezekiel 24:17, 23
  • 38. Isaiah 20:2-4
  • 39. 2 Samuel 15:12
  • 40. 2 Samuel 16:23; 2 Samuel 17:14, 23
  • 41. Joshua 16:2
  • 42. 2 Samuel 19:35
  • 43. 2 Samuel 16:19
  • 44. 2 Samuel 17:15, 16
  • 45. 2 Samuel 15:27
  • 46. 2 Samuel 17:17
  • 47. 2 Samuel 16:16; 1 Chronicles 27:33
  • 48. 2 Samuel 16:15

Footnotes 11

Chapter Summary


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

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