A wise woman confronts David. David sends Joab to get Absalom. Absalom returns to Jerusalem. UPDATED.
Joab the son of Zeruiah. He was a tactician.
the king’s heart was toward Absalom. That is, David longed for his son Absalom.
In the previous chapter, Amnon had committed the heinous crime of raping his sister Tamar. And when David heard of it, he refused to prosecute the crime. So Absalom stepped in and did what was required.
David became angry and wanted to kill Absalom. So Absalom had to flee for his life.
VERSE 2. Joab sent to Tekoa, and brought a wise woman from there, and said to her, “Please act like a mourner, and put on mourning clothing, please, and don’t anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has mourned a long time for the dead.
Joab sent to Tekoa. Tekoa was seven miles south of Bethlehem. It is the future home of the Prophet Amos:
2 Samuel 14:2. Joab sent to Tekoa, and brought a wise woman from there, and said to her, “Please act like a mourner, and put on mourning clothing, please, and don’t anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has mourned a long time for the dead.
Jeremiah 6:1. Flee for safety, you children of Benjamin, out of the middle of Jerusalem! Blow the shofar in Tekoa and raise up a signal on Beth Haccherem, for evil looks out from the north with a great destruction.
Amos 1:1. The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
a wise woman. This wise woman from Tekoa will persuade David to let Absalom return home.
VERSE 3. Go in to the king, and speak like this to him.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.
VERSE 4. When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, showed respect, and said, “Help, O king!”
VERSE 5. The king said to her, “What ails you?” She answered, “Truly I am a widow, and my husband is dead.
VERSE 6. Your servant had two sons, and they both fought together in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other, and killed him.
VERSE 7. Behold, the whole family has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed, and so destroy the heir also.’ Thus they would quench my coal which is left, and would leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the surface of the earth.”
VERSE 8. The king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give a command concerning you.”
VERSE 9. The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, O king, may the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house; and may the king and his throne be guiltless.”
VERSE 10. The king said, “Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he will not bother you any more.”
VERSE 11. Then she said, “Please let the king remember the LORD your God, that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son.” He said, “As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the earth.”
Numbers 35:19. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when the avenger comes upon the murderer, the avenger shall put the murderer to death. (NIV translation)
VERSE 12. Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, “Say on.”
VERSE 13. The woman said, “Why then have you devised 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 home again his banished one.
Why then have you devised such a thing. This wise woman very directly confronts the king.
In our day we have a faulty image of David and Absalom. We see David as an ideal king and man of God. We see Absalom as a disloyal troublemaker.
However, from the moment David refused to prosecute his son Amnon for raping his sister Tamar, the tables reversed.
Absalom was not a prodigal son. Rather, David was a prodigal father. And a prodigal king. He is no longer worthy of his office as king.
the king does not bring home again his banished one. She is speaking of Absalom.
VERSE 14. For we must die, and are like water spilled on the ground, which can’t be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him.
VERSE 15. Now therefore seeing that I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid. Your servant said, ‘I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant.’
VERSE 16. For the king will hear, to deliver his servant out of the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.
VERSE 17. Then your servant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king bring rest; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad. May the LORD, your God, be with you.’ ”
VERSE 18. Then the king answered the woman, “Please don’t hide anything from me that I ask you.” The woman said, “Let my lord the king now speak.”
VERSE 19. The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken; for your servant Joab urged me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your servant.
Is the hand of Joab with you. David is not concerned for Tamar. Nor is he concerned for Absalom.
Rather, David is lost in conspiracy theories. He squanders his time wondering who sent this woman to him. He cannot recognize the issues at stake.
David’s priorities are still way off base. He is still derelict in his duties as father and as king.
VERSE 20. Your servant Joab has done this thing to change the face of the matter. My lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.”
VERSE 21. The king said to Joab, “Behold now, I have done this thing. Go therefore, and bring the young man Absalom back.”
VERSE 22. Joab fell to the ground on his face, showed respect, and blessed the king. Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.”
VERSE 23. So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
VERSE 24. The king said, “Let him return to his own house, but let him not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house, and didn’t see the king’s face.
let him not see my face. David has not “forgiven” Absalom.
Even though Absalom did was a righteous thing, in those Old Testament days, concerning the heinous crime of rape, David only cares about Amnon the rapist.
David reminds us of Catholic bishops who, when informed that their priests have sexually abused children, only care about the priest and refuse to prosecute the crime.
VERSE 25. Now in all Israel there was no one 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 defect in him.
VERSE 26. When he cut the hair of his head (now it was at every year’s end that he cut it; because it was heavy on him, therefore he cut it); he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king’s weight.
two hundred shekels. A shekel is about 0.35 ounces. So 200 shekels is about 4.4 pounds.
VERSE 27. Three sons were born to Absalom, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar. She was a woman with a beautiful face.
one daughter, whose name was Tamar. Absalom named his own daughter in honor of his sister Tamar.
VERSE 28. Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, and he didn’t see the king’s face.
VERSE 29. Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. Then he sent again a second time, but he would not come.
VERSE 30. Therefore he said to his servants, “Behold, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
Go and set it on fire. One of David’s children is beginning to act out.
This situation is David’s fault. His lack of moral leadership brought it upon himself and the people in his life. Until David resolves his moral rectitude, the rebellion will only fester and become worse.
VERSE 31. Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?”
VERSE 32. Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent to 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 to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king’s face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him kill me.” ’ ”
VERSE 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.
the king kissed Absalom. This touching moment is 100% insincere. Absalom is only in Jerusalem because Joab and the wise woman tricked David into allowing it.
And now, Absalom is in the presence of the king only because Absalom had set Joab’s barley field on fire.
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