Summary 2 Samuel 14:
Absalom returns to Jerusalem through a plot devised by Joab, who knows how much David misses him. Absalom is handsome. He returns and has three sons and a daughter, but can’t see David. After two years and burning Joab’s fields to get his attention, Absalom is reunited with David.
Summary 2 Samuel 15:1-12:
Absalom began to plot against David by ingratiating himself with the Israelites, offering to be their judge and kissing them. He sent messengers to announce he was king (when he wasn’t). He continued to build his coalition.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 21, Day 3: 2 Samuel 14-15:12:
6) David didn’t punish Amnon for the rape of his sister, Tamar. Absalom then decided to take revenge himself and kill Amnon. He then flees to Geshur and gets ready to stage a coup against David. David did nothing.
7) Absalom is very methodical and patient. He gets the people behind him and slowly builds military strength and support.
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: I deal forthrightly with them. I make decisions to the best of my ability after praying about them and try to alleviate conflicts through talking to the person. I will respond the same in the future.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 21 Day 3: 2 Samuel 14-15:12:
Basically, the whole point of this passage is Absalom is plotting against his father to take over Israel.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 21, Day 3: 2 Samuel 14-15:12:
Commentary 2 Samuel 14:
We know that Joab was fiercely loyal to David, and he may have done this to protect David. Joab figured that it was dangerous to have Absalom stewing away in a distant country and felt that the safest thing to do was to bring about reconciliation between father and son.
Joab decided to soften David’s heart towards Absalom by bringing a widow before him with a similar story of estrangement from her son. We saw this tactic used when Nathan told the story of killing the poor man’s only calf that he loved (2 Samuel 12).
The woman of Tekoa tells a story of one son dead and another son threatened with death.
In ancient Israel those who felt that their local judges didn’t treat them fairly had access to the court of the king himself.
The woman of Tekoa referred to the custom of the avenger of blood. The avenger of blood had the responsibility of avenging the death of a member of the family.
The cities of refuge mentioned in Numbers 35:9-34 were meant to protect someone guilty of manslaughter from being killed by an avenger of blood before the case could be heard properly.
David ignored the cause of justice for the sake of family sympathy and loyalty. In personal relationships, it is a good thing to be generous with forgiveness and mercy when we are wronged. But David had a responsibility as the king and chief judge of Israel, and when he was sorely tempted to neglect that responsibility, he did.
“He guaranteed safety at the expense of justice, and immediately the farsighted woman captured him in her trap.” (Redpath)
How did the woman trick David?
- She was a widow
- She wasn’t from Jerusalem
- She was old
- Her clothes were ratty and of mourning
- It was a case of family estrangement — something David knew all about
The woman of Tekoa spoke boldly to David, confronting his sin of not initiating reconciliation with Absalom. Because he was estranged from David and growing more and more bitter, Absalom was a threat to Israel and David allowed it.
David had some responsibility to initiate reconciliation. As king and chief judge of Israel, he also had a responsibility to both initiate reconciliation and to do it the right way. David will not succeed in this.
“He is willing to pardon the meanest of his subjects the murder of a brother at the instance of a poor widow, and he is not willing to pardon his son, Absalom, whose restoration to favour is the desire of the whole nation.” (Clarke)
God reconciles us by satisfying justice, not by ignoring justice.
FUN FACT: This is one of the best gospel texts in the Old Testament. If we are under the chastening of God, we may feel like banished ones. Yet we can put our place of being His banished ones, belonging to Him and trusting Him to bring us back to Him through his son, Jesus Christ.
David’s lack of parenting shows
David was overindulgent with his sons in the past (as when he got angry but did nothing against Amnon in 2 Samuel 13:21). Now David is too harsh with Absalom, refusing to see him after he had been in exiled in Geshur for three years (2 Samuel 13:38).
When parents don’t discipline properly from the beginning, they tend to overcompensate in the name of “toughness.” The children become wrathful (Ephesians 6:4) and makes the parent-child relationship worse.
He was the third son of David (2 Samuel 3:2-5). The firstborn Amnon was gone, and we hear nothing more of Chileab, the second born. It is likely that Absalom was the crown prince, next in line for the throne.
What did David do wrong in reconciling?
- During these two years, we can imagine that Absalom grew more and more bitter against David. David only offered Absalom partial reconciliation.
- David offered Absalom forgiveness without any repentance or resolution of the wrong. He was the “chief judge” of Israel, and David excused and overlooked Absalom’s obvious crimes.
Commentary 2 Samuel 15:1-12:
Absalom did not want the chariot for speed, but to make an impressive procession for the people.
Ancient kings were more than the heads of government, they were also the “supreme court” of their kingdom. If someone believed that a local court did not give them justice, they then appealed to the court of the king, where the king or a representative of the king heard their case.
Absalom stirred up dissatisfaction with David’s government and campaigned against David by promising to provide justice that David (supposedly) denied the people.
In an obvious display, he wouldn’t let others bow down to him but would lift them up, shake their hand, and embrace them.
Absalom gave off the image he cared.
Absalom’s plot to become king:
- Absalom used images to initiate followings
- Absalom worked hard
- Absalom positioned himself
- Absalom looked for troubled people
- Absalom sympathized with others
- Absalom never attacked David directly
- Absalom promised to be better than David
- David was aging
- David has sinned
- Absalom was younger and more excited
Absalom’s plot thickens
- Absalom committed treason under the guise of worship.
- Absalom counted on Israel seeing his action as succession and not treason.
- Absalom knew he needed others to endorse him. He counted on the silence to be taken as endorsement, which it was
- Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, a defector to his side. This genuinely hurt David as he described his feelings in Psalm 41: Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:9).
- Absalom keeps up his sacrifices for appearance sake
Ahithophel was renowned for his wisdom and wise counsel (2 Samuel 16:23). Ahithophel’s granddaughter was Bathsheba. Perhaps he harbored resentment against David for what happened. (2 Samuel 11:3 and 23:34).
FUN FACT: Go in peace: Ironically, these were David’s last words to Absalom. Upon hearing these, Absalom went to carry on the plot to overthrow him.