2 Samuel 15

Listen to 2 Samuel 15
1 After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him.
2 He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe.
3 Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it.
4 I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!”
5 When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them.
6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.
7 After four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the LORD and fulfill a vow I made to him.
8 For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the LORD in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.”
9 “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.” So Absalom went to Hebron.
10 But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’”
11 He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions.
12 While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.
13 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!”
14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”
15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.”
16 So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace.
17 The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house
18 to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard.
19 Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile.
20 You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the LORD show you his unfailing love and faithfulness. ”
21 But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the LORD and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.”
22 David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along.
23 Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city.
25 Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the LORD sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again.
26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
27 The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan.
28 I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you.”
29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there.
30 David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill.
31 When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O LORD, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!”
32 When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning.
33 But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden.
34 Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice.
35 Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace,
36 and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.”
37 So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.

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 9

  • [a]. As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads forty years.
  • [b]. As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew lacks in Hebron.
  • [c]. Hebrew the Kerethites and Pelethites.
  • [d]. As in Greek version; Hebrew reads and may unfailing love and faithfulness go with you.
  • [e]. Or Abiathar went up.
  • [f]. Hebrew and his dwelling place.
  • [g]. As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Are you a seer? or Do you see?
  • [h]. Hebrew lacks and Abiathar; compare 15:29 .
  • [i]. Hebrew at the crossing points of the wilderness.

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