2 Samuel 14
-Joab perceived that David’s heart was inclined toward his wayward son, Absalom, who was hiding out in Geshur after the situation of his retribution killing of his step brother, Amnon (see 2 Samuel 13) becomes a major player in the narrative of David’s kingdom in Israel and the fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy (2 Samuel 12:10-11). Joab, David’s military commander, sent a wise woman from Tekoa (directly south of Jerusalem in the Judean hill country, the prophet Amos was from this town, Amos 1:1) with his words into the king’s presence for more discernment on the matter. This woman was instructed to pretend to be a mourner with mourning clothes anointed with oil. She was to go to the king and prostrate herself before him asking for help. When she actually did this, David asked her what her trouble was. She told him that she was a widow. She told him a fabricated story of her two sons who struggled together in the field where one had killed the other since there was no one to separate them. She further explained that her whole family had risen up against her wanting the justice of handing over this one who struck his brother so that they could put him to death for his wrong doing. They also wanted to destroy the heir, which would cut off the family name and lineage from the earth. David told her to go to her house after hearing this story, and that he would give orders concerning this situation. She reassured him that he and his throne were guiltless for this, and that all the iniquity was to be placed squarely on her and her father’s house. Because of this concession, King David said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.” She was still afraid though and responded, “Please let the king remember the LORD your God, so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son.” David reassured her, “As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground (2 Samuel 14:1-11).”
-After hearing what she wanted to hear from the king, she ventured on with her real mission. After getting permission to speak, she stated, “Why have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one. For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him.” She reasoned with the king that she was afraid and sought his protection. She needed comfort, to be heard, and deliverance from the hand of the man who would destroy by her and her son from the inheritance of God. Then, she compared her king to an “angel of God” that discerns good from evil, and she blessed him that the LORD would be with him. Upon hearing these words, David’s spirit was informed. He said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you.” She consented to tell the truth now. So, David asked her straight up if Joab was with her in all of this. She had to acknowledge, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant; in order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth (2 Samuel 14:12-20).”
-David determined to do this thing of bringing back his son now. He commanded Joab to go and get the young man, Absalom, from Geshur. Joab prostrated himself in allegiance to the king and blessed him. He knew he had found favor in the sight of his king. Soon, Absalom would be back in Jerusalem; however, the king would not let his son see his face. Instead, he had him go to his own house and the two remained estranged. The text moves on to tell us that Absalom was the most handsome man in all of Israel at the time. He was highly praised from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. There was no physical defect in him whatsoever. He had enormous weight in his incredible hair. At the end of every year he would have it cut due to its heaviness, which would come out to about 5 pounds in our measurement system. That’s some serious hair dude! The text goes on to inform us that he had three sons and one daughter, whom he named Tamar (probably in honor of his beautiful sister that he adored). This daughter is described as beautiful in appearance as well. Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem in separation from seeing his dad, the king. He finally sent for Joab, which can be inferred for the purpose of regaining access to his father, but Joab would not come to him. He asked again, but again was denied. Therefore, Absalom told his servants to get some vengeance on Joab’s property, which was next to his. They were to set his field, that had barley in it, on fire, which they followed through on. This brought Joab over to Absalom’s house immediately with the question, “Why have your servants set my field (or portion) on fire?” This gave Absalom an opportunity to express himself finally, “Behold, I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there.” ’ Now therefore, let me see the king’s face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death.” Joab complied with Absalom’s request, and the king indeed called for his son. When Absalom came before the king, he prostrated himself on his face to the ground in humility. David restored his son though by bringing him up and kissing him (2 Samuel 14:21-33).
-*Application* It would appear that all was well again in the household of David by the end of this chapter, but as we will soon see, national rebellion was just around the corner (see 2 Samuel 15-18). Family matters are some of the hardest things to decipher and straighten out. There are so many mixed emotions and feelings that can affect discernment and fellowship. Obviously David could have handled this situation better, but he was probably busy with other obligations as king that occupied his time. His family, and soon his nation, suffered because of his failures. Let’s learn from this and resolve to make peace in our families a high priority. Otherwise, we are truly unfit to lead anything (1 Timothy 3:1-5, Titus 1:5-9).
Verse to Memorize: 2 Samuel 14:14, 20