2 Samuel 18)
1: And David inspected the People that were with him (David was now 56), and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2: And David sent forth a third part of the People under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the People, “I will surely go forth with you myself also.” (David was sound in military action. David liked to attack two fronts and keep the rest for reserves.)
3: But the People answered, “You shall not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now you are worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that you come to us out of the city with succor by prayer and counsel.”
4: And the king said to them, “What seems best to you I will do.” And the king stood by the gate side, and all the People came out by hundreds and by thousands.
5: And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. (This explains v.12. David still had love in his heart for his son even though his son went bad)
P a 6-8. The battle. fought. b 9-15. Absalom. Death. a 16. The battle. Return from. b 17,18. Absalom. Burial.
6: So the People went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim (= the jungle. Cp. Josh.17:15-18);
7: Where the People of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. (David didn't lose that many, it was Absalom's army that was going down the drain)
8: For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. (Absalom knew nothing. Compare with web of life when you get away from God's Word.)
9: And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. (He hung himself with his beautiful hair. The tradition about his "hair" comes from Josephus [VII.10.2])
10: And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak.”
11: And Joab said to the man that told him, “And, behold, you saw him, and why did you not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle.” (a common present, made of silk, linen, or leather, and worked sometimes in gold. Used for fastening up loose garments)
12: And the man said to Joab, “Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai (see v.5), saying, ‘Watch any one who would touch for my sake the young man Absalom.’
13: Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against my own soul: for there is no matter hid from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me.”
14: Then said Joab, “I may not tarry thus with you.” And he took three clubs in his hand (Heb. shêbet, a club with a long spike at the end. Still used in Palestine), and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
15: And ten young men that bare Joab's weapons compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. (David being 57 years old; Absalom,24; Solomon,7. Joab had a quick temper. He's tired of this. Showing mercy on David so he would not have to answer for prior event [i.e. David's sin with Bath-sheba and the order to send Uriah to his death])
16: And Joab blew the trumpet, and the People returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the People.
17: And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood (type of Satan), and laid a very great heap of stones upon him (not a memorial to honor but to warn [Josh.7:26;8:29]): and all Israel fled every one to his tent.
18: Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar (marks ambitious aim, while the heap of stones [v.17] mark's ambition's end), which is in the king's dale: for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance (cp. 14:27. Therefore built before the firstborn; or after his sons [14"27] were dead): and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's monument (about a quarter mile east of Jerusalem, in the valley of Jehoshaphat).
O² Q¹ 18:19-33. Sorrow indulged. Q² 19:1-8. Sorrow restrained.
Q¹ R 19-23. Tidings borne. S 24-. David's seat. R -24-32. Tidings delivered. S 33. David's lamentation.
R c 19. Request (Cushi). d 20. Refusal. e 21. Permission. c 22-. Request (Ahimaaz). d -22. Reluctance. e 23. Permission.
19: Then said Ahimaaz (= brother of anger) the son of Zadok, “Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the Lord has avenged him of his enemies.”
20: And Joab said to him, “You shall not bear tidings this day, but you shall bear tidings another day: but this day you shall bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead.”
21: Then said Joab to Cushi (= black), “Go tell the king what you have seen.” And Cushi bowed himself to Joab, and ran.
22: Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, “But howsoever, let me, I pray you, also run after Cushi.”
And Joab said, “Why will thou run, my son, seeing that you have no tidings ready?”
23: “But howsoever,” said he, “let me run.” And he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
24: And David sat between the two gates (the outer and inner gates of the city wall):
R f -24,25. The first runner. g 26. The second runner. f 27-30. Name of first, Ahimaaz. g 31,32. Name of the second, Cushi.
and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate to the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.
25: And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, “If he be alone (otherwise it would be flight), there is tidings in his mouth.” And he came apace, and drew near.
26: And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called to the gatekeeper (no gates without the "Bawab", or gatekeeper. Cp. 2 Kings 7:17. 1 Chron.9:21), and said, “Behold another man running alone.” And the king said, “He also brings tidings.”
27: And the watchman said, “Me thinks the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man (cp. 1 Kings 1:42), and comes with good tidings.”
28: And Ahimaaz called, and said to the king, “All is well.” And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, which has delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.”
29: And the king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king's servant, even me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it meant.”
30: And the king said to him, “Turn aside, and stand here.” And he turned aside, and stood still.
31: And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, “Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord has avenged you this day of all them that rose up against you.”
32: And the king said to Cushi, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” And Cushi answered, “The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against you to do you hurt, be as that young man is.”
33: And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”