King David has gone through so much already by this time, and we continue to find out more and more about him. These two chapters are both gut-wrenching and edge-of-your-seat reading. Won’t you read along with us?
As we blog through the Bible, Tammy, Angela, and I are happy to have you along for the journey. If you’d like to stay up to date via my blog posts, just drop your name into the subscription form below. You’ll get an email for each one.
If you’ve missed the most recent posts, here’s a rundown so far.
- Tammy pulls some excellent points from 2 Samuel Chapters 16 & 17, HERE.
- Angela continues adding to her Blogging Through the Bible Page, HERE, giving you a great one-page reference.
- And you can find my own most recent blog post in this series HERE.
2 Samuel Chapter 18
Wow. What a heart-wrenching chapter to have to read. Thinking of everything David has already lost, notwithstanding his own sin that has brought a lot on his own head too, it’s hard.
We see the King readying himself for battle, not willing to let the hundreds, and the thousands, go out alone. But they called for him to stand down and stay behind because they didn’t want anything to happen to him. They even went so far as to say that he was worth far more than they were.
And so, David stayed behind. But he told those he sent out to act with care with Absalom, for his own sake. Everyone heard it, too, so it wasn’t a secret!
In the Heat of Battle
At one point, Absalom, riding along on his donkey, had his hair entangled in the branches of a tree. The donkey leaves him hanging there, and word gets back to Joab as to the current situation.
Joab retorted to the messenger that he would have paid him well if he had killed Absalom while he hung there. But this man, unnamed in Scripture, says he wouldn’t dare touch David’s son. He remembered the warning and would not be the one to disobey the king.
Joab didn’t seem at all pleased so he went and did the deed himself, stabbing Absalom through the heart and allowing his men to beat him and finish him off. Then they pitched him into a pit in the woods and covered him with stones.
Sending Word to the King
Ahimaaz desperately wanted to run and tell the King what had happened. It seemed to be the most important thing to him, as he kept asking. Joab denied him the right at first but gave the job of letting David know what happened to Ahimaaz’s brother, Cushi.
So, Ahimaaz asked again. Finally, Joab consented. So he did. In fact, he outran his brother and made it to King David first.
The funny thing was, his story changed a bit once he got there. He was all too happy to say the Lord had delivered him from the men that were against him. But then David asked, probably with breathless anticipation, “Is my son ok?”
I’m sure it must have been something in David’s voice, his demeanor, his eyes, I’m sure… that led Ahimaaz to lie. He said he’s seen a great riot, but he didn’t know what it was about. So David told him to stand aside as Cushi arrived.
Cushi started the conversation by telling David he had been avenged of his enemies, and David only had the same question for this messenger.
IS MY SON OK??
Break the News Gently
Is there ever an easy way to tell a man his son is dead? Even when that son is less than perfect, and even when he has been a downright scourge to everyone around him? Is there ever really a “good” way to share the news that is a pleasure to some and sheer agony to others?
When the question came for Cushi, he simply said, “The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.” (2 Samuel 18:32)
King David needed no other words to confirm what he probably had already known when the watchman announced the running messengers in the first place. And so, with Cushi’s message, he began to weep and wail, calling aloud for his dead son and wishing himself dead in his place.
2 Samuel Chapter 19
I did not see anything in these verses to say that David was ever told that it had been Joab that pierced Absalom through the heart. But the message came back to him that the King was weeping and mourning for his son. Suddenly, all the celebration for the victory that had been won was turned to mourning and the people slumped back to their homes as if they were ashamed of that victory.
Joab took the opportunity to have an audience with the king, but he brought no words of sympathy. There was no back-patting from this soldier! No, he went on to boldly tell the king that he had shamed every one of his servants by his weeping and mourning. He reminded him that HIS life, and the lives of his children, wives, and servants, had all been saved that day.
But Joab took it a step further by saying it looked like David would have preferred that all those people die, and Absalom be left alive. He accused David of wishing that were the case instead.
Get Up, David!
Joab urged the king to go, speak to his servants before things got exponentially worse for him. He said it would even be worse than anything since his childhood until this time.
So, David did get up. He started back through the process of “going home” but he wondered why no one had called for him. There was great turmoil between the people of Israel, and the people of Judah. It was so bad that the one was accusing the other of “stealing the king”
And the chapter ends with a note made about how much fiercer the words of those from Judah were, than those from Israel.
What will happen next? Stay tuned to find out!
What must it have been like for David to have to deal with both the sorrow of losing his son, which was also a victory for his kingdom? How could he reconcile his grief for a child, knowing that child meant him harm?
What about David’s own people who had, in the not so recent past, turned against him to follow Absalom? He also had to resolve this, not only within himself, but within his kingdom as well!
Lord Jesus, we all have hard times in life where nothing we do seems right! If we move to the right, some will be happy and some not, and it seems to be the same if we turn to the other side as well. Today, I ask that You would be my Counselor and my Guide. When I turn aside, thinking my actions are justified within myself, let me be a liar, and Your Word true, as you turn me to the path you want me on. I ask that you grant mercy, grace, and favor and lift up a standard against the enemy, in the mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!
Thanks so much for reading along!
Ever In His Service,