0 David runs away from his son Absalom (2 Sam 14-15)

Episode 125: David runs away from his son Absalom

2 Samuel 14-15

The woman of Tekoah

14 1 Joab could see that David was upset about Absalom.

2-3 So he fetched a wise woman from Tekoah. He told her to pretend to have been mourning for a long time. Then he sent her to David and told her what to say.

Tekoa before David, by Caspar Luiken

4-7 So the woman visited King David, and said,

I’m a widow with two sons. One of my sons killed the other. And my whole family has demanded that I deliver my son to them, so they can kill him for killing his brother.

8-10 David said,

Go home. I'll take care of it for you. Whoever said this won't bother you anymore. Your son will be safe.

12 Then she said, "May I say something more."

David said, "Sure, go ahead."

13 The woman said,

Why are you doing this very same thing yourself, by not restoring your son who has been banished?

18 David asked her, "Did Joab put you up to this?"

19 The woman said, "Yes, he put the words in my mouth."

Absalom comes home to Jerusalem

21 David said to Joab, "Go get Absalom."

22 Joab fell on his face.

23 Then he got up and fetched Absalom.

24 David said to Joab,

Let Absalom stay in his own house. I don't want to see his face.

25 Absalom was the best-looking man in Israel. He didn't have a blemish on his whole body.

26 When he cut his hair (he had to cut it every year because his hair became so heavy), his hair weighed more than 200 shekels.

Absalom by James Tissot

28 Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem. During that time he never saw his father’s face.

29 He twice sent Joab to talk to him. But David wouldn't come to see him.

30 Absalom said to his servants, "Go set Joab's barley field on fire."

So his servants did that.

31 Joab said to Absalom, "Why did you set my field on fire?"

32 He answered,

Because I sent you to my father to ask him to come see me.

Let me see the king's face. If I did anything wrong, he can kill me.

33 So Joab went to David and told him what Absalom said.

And David let Absalom come to see him.

Absalom came to the king and bowed his face to the ground. Then David kissed him.

Absalom conspires against David

15 1 After this, Absalom prepared a chariot, fifty horses, and fifty men to run before him.

2 Every day Absalom stood by the gate of Jerusalem and said to people coming to do business with the king,

3 You have a good case, but you won't be treated fairly.

4 But if I were king, I'd treat you right.

5 When they bowed to him, he grabbed them and kissed them. 6 And by doing things like that, he stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.

7 After forty years, Absalom said to David,

Let me return to Hebron to pay my vow to God. 8 I promised God that if he brought me back to Jerusalem, I'd serve him.

9 David said, "Okay. Go in peace."

So Absalom went to Hebron.

10 Meanwhile, Absalom sent spies throughout Israel who told everyone,

When you hear a trumpet, you'll know that Absalom is king in Hebron.

12 Absalom enlisted David's counselor, Ahithophel, in his conspiracy against his father. And the conspiracy grew stronger.

David runs away (leaving his concubines to keep house)

13 Then a messenger came to David and said, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom."

14 David said, "Let's run away before his kills us all!"

16 So David left Jerusalem, but he left behind his ten concubines to fend for themselves (and keep house).

17 Everyone else, except the concubines, left with David to a place that was far away.

24 Zadok and the Levites were also with David, carrying the ark of the covenant.

25 David said to Zadok,

Go back to Jerusalem. If I please God, he'll bring me back there, too.

29 So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark back to Jerusalem.

31 One of the men told David that Ahithophel had joined Absalom's conspiracy.

David said, "Please God, make Ahithophel's advice foolish."

32 Then Hushai came, with his coat torn and with dirt on his head.

33-35 David said to Hushai,

Return to Jerusalem and become Absalom's servant.

When you become his servant, tell Zadok and Abiathar whatever you hear.

37 So Hushai returned to Jerusalem and became David's spy.

A few more words about this episode

Absalom's hair weighed more than 200 shekels (14:26)

Each year, when Absalom's hair was cut, the weight of the cut hair was 200 shekels, which would be about 2 kilograms.
Absalom's hair was heavy upon him

After forty years (15:7)
After forty years! Some translations say "four years" - probably to remove the obvious absurdity.
David's counselor, Ahithophel (15:12)
This is the first mention of Ahithophel in the Bible. He was David's counselor but left him for Absalom.
Wikipedia: Ahithophel
Then Hushai came (15:32)
This is the first time Hushai is mentioned in the Bible. He will be one of David's spies on Absalom's conspiracy.
Wikipedia: Hushai
Zadok and Abiathar (15:33)
Zadok and Abiathar were priests. This is also the first time that Zadok is mentioned in the Bible. Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech and was the only priest to escape Saul's massacre of Nob. (1 Samuel 22:6-23, Episode 112)
Wikipedia: Zadok, Abiathar
No comments yet

Copyright © 1999-2024
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

Send comments to Steve Wells
at swwells(at)gmail.com