April 20th 2 Samuel 14 Joab plots Absalom’s return
1: Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom. 2: And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead: 3: And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth. 4: And when the woman of Tekoah spake to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king. 5: And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and mine husband is dead. 6: And thy handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and slew him. 7: And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth. 8: And the king said unto the woman, Go to thine house, and I will give charge concerning thee. 9: And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father's house: and the king and his throne be guiltless. 10: And the king said, Whosoever saith ought unto thee, bring him to me, and he shall not touch thee any more. 11: Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember the LORD thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth. 12: Then the woman said, Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on. 13: And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king doth speak this thing as one which is faulty, in that the king doth not fetch home again his banished. 14: For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him. 15: Now therefore that I am come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and thy handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his handmaid. 16: For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. 17: Then thine handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD thy God will be with thee. 18: Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak. 19: And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid: 20: To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth. 21: And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again. 22: And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant. 23: So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24: And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.
Absalom returns to Jerusalem
25: But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26: And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight. 27: And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance. 28: So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face. 29: Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. 30: Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire. 31: Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire? 32: And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me. 33: So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.
2 Samuel 15 Absalom prepares for revolt
1: And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2: And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. 3: And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. 4: Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! 5: And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. 6: And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7: And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. 8: For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD. 9: And the king said unto 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 ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. 11: And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. 12: And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counseller, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
David Escapes from Absalom
13: And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. 14: And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. 15: And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. 16: And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house. 17: And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off. 18: And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king. 19: Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. 20: Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee. 21: And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be. 22: And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. 23: And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness. 24: And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. 25: And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation: 26: But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him. 27: The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28: See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me. 29: Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there. 30: And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. 31: And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. 32: And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head: 33: Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me: 34: But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. 35: And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36: Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok's son, and Jonathan Abiathar's son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear. 37: So Hushai David's friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
David has sown the wind now he will reap the whirlwind. In Chapter 14 to 16 we read that David finds all sorts of problems in his kingdom. First his most trusted captain plots to bring back Absalom. Absalom does rerun from exile but then proceeds to claim the throne. And he will take it by force if he has to. David has to escape again but this time from the murderous intent of his own son. Joab saw that David heart went out to Absalom. This means that Absalom was on David’s mind. So he decided that he would conspire to bring him home but not in a bad way, but in a good way. Joab found this clever woman from Tekoah and he coached her to pretend that she had been a long time in mourning. When she came to David he asked her what was the matter. She said l am a widow and l have two sons who have fought and one son killed the other. And the whole family has become against me saying give up your son, but she says he is the only heir. David said go home and l will make a judgment on this matter. She said please stop those who would avenge blood and destroy my son. David replied not one hair will fall from his head. (How appropriate for Absalom) Then she said may l say one more thing? The king is at fault because he has a son that is banished and must be punished yet cannot God find a way to bring him home? Then David said tell me the whole truth of the question l will ask. She said ask. David said didn’t Joab plan all this? And she replied you know everything. She said yes Joab has taught me to say and do all this. But you are wise like the wisdom of an angel of God to know everything in the earth. David spoke to Joab and said bring Absalom home. Joab bowed to David and thanked him. Joab went and brought Absalom home but he was never invited to court, he never saw the kings face. Absalom was the tom cruise of his day. He was very handsome from toes to head. He had no blemish. When he cut his hair once a year it weighted 200 hundred shekels. (2280 grams or 5 lbs) He had three sons and one daughter who he called Tamar. She was very beautiful too. Absalom lived in Jerusalem but never saw David’s face. Absalom wanted to get the attention of Joab so he set his barley field on fire. Joab came to Absalom and asked him why he had done this. Absalom said l have called for you – now if David will not see me then let him kill me. Joab told David what Absalom had said. David called for Absalom and when he came he bowed to the ground and David kissed him. Absalom began by building up a military strength of chariots horse and 50 men to run ahead of him. And Absalom got up early to stand at the city gate (the place of business and civil law). There he interfered in the kings business. Absalom wished to be the judge of all the affairs of state. When ever men came near Absalom kissed them and made them feel important in this way he made himself loved by the people. He stole the hearts of Israel. Absalom asked David to grant him permission to go to Hebron and he left. But Absalom sent spies throughout all Israel saying to the people when you hear the sound of the trumpet then you will know that Absalom is king over all Israel. Absalom reigned as king in Hebron. 200 men went out of Jerusalem and they went out in simplicity - they knew nothing!! They were ignorant men who were duped by Absalom. Absalom asked for Ahithophel who was David’s trusted councillor. The conspiracy against his Father David to steal his kingdom was very strong and the people were going over the Absalom all the time. Then a message came to David that the hearts or rather the minds of Israel were following Absalom. So David said lets run quickly because we must not be attacked by surprise. David had learnt from long years in the wilderness that you cannot be surprised if you are always on the move. David left leaving ten concubines in charge of his house. He went out with only 600 men. Those people who understood wept as they saw David flee from his son. The Levites carried the Ark of the Covenant with them. Then they carried the Ark back to Jerusalem to see if all was well there. David went up to look on Jerusalem and he wept and bared his head and was unshod. Then David was told that Ahithophel was part of Absalom’s conspiracy. So David prayed that his wisdom might be turned into folly. When he came to the top of Olivet he worshipped the LORD. David sent Hushai to listen to what was said in the city. It’s sad that David is on the run again. Yet at least he is seeking the LORD.