Absalom wins over the heart of the nation. He ousts David. David flees Jerusalem. UPDATED.
VERSE 1. After this, Absalom prepared a chariot and horses for himself, and fifty men to run before him.
fifty men to run before him. Absalom is making this a grand event. A spectacle to behold.
VERSE 2. Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate. When any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, “What city are you from?” He said, “Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.”
stood beside the way of the gate. The city gate is where the wise men of the city gathered and talked.
VERSE 3. Absalom said to him, “Behold, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputized by the king to hear you.”
no man deputized by the king. What Absalom is saying is probably true. But his saying it makes David look bad.
That serves Absalom’s goal. He is trying to destroy the reputation of David.
This is what politicians do all the time. They say things that might be true, at least partially. But their saying it makes their opponent look bad.
VERSE 4. Absalom said moreover, “Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!”
Oh that I were made judge. Absalom does not go ask the king to make him a judge. Rather, he complains to everybody about this.
This too serves Absalom’s goal. He is trying to destroy the reputation of David.
VERSE 5. It was so, that when any man came near to bow down to him, he stretched out his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him.
he stretched out his hand. Absalom is winning over the hearts of the people, one at a time.
VERSE 6. Absalom did this sort of thing to all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Previously, David refused to prosecute a known rapist. Instead, David sided with the rapist and refused to defend the victim.
David handled that situation terribly. He deserved to be ousted. Now Absalom is going to make that happen.
This is a tragedy. But David brought it upon himself and his nation. Had David prosecuted the rapist, we believe the tragedy of this chapter would not have happened.
VERSE 7. At the end of forty years, Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron.
let me go and pay my vow. This is not what Absalom intends to do.
VERSE 8. For your servant vowed a vow while I stayed at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the LORD shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.’ ”
VERSE 9. The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose, and went to Hebron.
VERSE 10. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the shofar, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’ ”
Absalom sent spies. Notice the plural. Absalom has many people who are loyal to him. Obviously not all people are fans of David.
Maybe people were seeing the mounting corruption of David’s empire.
throughout all the tribes. So many, in fact, that they could infiltrate all the tribes.
VERSE 11. Two hundred men went with Absalom out of Jerusalem, who were invited, and went in their simplicity; and they didn’t know anything.
Two hundred men. These men are loyal to Absalom. But he has withheld his real agenda from them.
VERSE 12. Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. The conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
the people increased continually with Absalom. Absalom continues to gain loyal followers.
Apparently David is doing nothing to keep people loyal to himself. Plus the mounting corruption of his leadership is probably alienating people.
VERSE 13. A messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.”
VERSE 14. David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise! Let’s flee; or else none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry to depart, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil on us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
Arise! Let’s flee. David finally wakes up. He sees that he is about to be overthrown.
VERSE 15. The king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.”
VERSE 16. The king went out, and all his household after him. The king left ten women, who were concubines, to keep the house.
The king left ten women … to keep the house. David flees for his life. But he makes these women stay. He put them in harm’s way.
David is willing to risk their lives. But not his own. At this point in his life, David is a coward.
And deeply selfish.
Beth Merhak. The Hebrew words are “en oiko to makran.” It means “a place (house) that was far off.
It might be a nickname for the outermost houses of the city.
VERSE 18. All his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
VERSE 19. Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Return, and stay with the king; for you are a foreigner, and also an exile. Return to your own place.
Ittai the Gittite. A Gittite is a person from Gath, also known as Gath of the Philistines. It is one of the main five Philistine cities.
In other words, Ittai the Gittite was a Gentile convert.
The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 20. Whereas you came but yesterday, should I today make you go up and down with us, since I go where I may? Return, and take back your brothers. Mercy and truth be with you.”
VERSE 21. Ittai answered the king, and said, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king is, whether for death or for life, your servant will be there also.”
VERSE 22. David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones who were with him.
VERSE 23. All the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over. The king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
VERSE 24. Behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down God’s ark; and Abiathar went up, until all the people finished passing out of the city.
VERSE 25. The king said to Zadok, “Carry God’s ark back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation;
VERSE 26. but if he says, ‘I have no delight in you;’ behold, here I am. Let him do to me as seems good to him.”
VERSE 27. The king said also to Zadok the priest, “Aren’t you a seer? Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
VERSE 28. Behold, I will stay at the fords of the wilderness, until word comes from you to inform me.”
VERSE 29. Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried God’s ark to Jerusalem again; and they stayed there.
VERSE 30. David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered, and went barefoot. All the people who were with him each covered his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
wept as he went up. David is feeling sorry for himself. Very sorry.
However, the person he should be feeling sorry for is the woman who was raped. Not himself.
After all this time, David has never stood up for her. He only sees himself as the victim. And he sees the rapist as the victim.
VERSE 31. Someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” David said, “LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”
VERSE 32. When David had come to the top, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his tunic torn, and earth on his head.
VERSE 33. David said to him, “If you pass on with me, then you will be a burden to me;
VERSE 34. but if you return to the city, and tell Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king. As I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant; then will you defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel.’
VERSE 35. Don’t you have Zadok and Abiathar the priests there with you? Therefore whatever you hear out of the king’s house, tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
VERSE 36. Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son. Send to me everything that you shall hear by them.”
VERSE 37. So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city; and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.