David Chapter 12
David and the Defeat of Absalom
The Scripture says, "And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king. And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend? And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide. And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father's presence, so will I be in thy presence." (2 Samuel 16:15-19). Hushai was not telling the truth. While the cause was right, the method was wrong. God cannot sanction lying, but yet, the grace of God has, with all of us at one time or the other, overridden the wrong direction and brought it all out to a successful conclusion. However, he could have done so in a much better way had David looked to The Lord exclusively instead of praying and then trying to answer his own prayers (2 Samuel 15:31-37).
The Critical Point
The scene that unfolds presents Hushai, one of David's advisors, and a greatly respected one at that, seeming to defect to Absalom, at least that's what Absalom thinks. The Scripture indication is that Absalom was surprised by Hushai's defection. No doubt, he took this as a sure sign of the success of his rebellion. With Ahithophel and now Hushai on his side and with most of Israel condoning his cause, he didn't see how he could lose. To be sure, that's the way the situation looked. At this point, virtually no one would have given any chance for David succeeding in throwing off this rebellion and retaining his place and position as king. However, as we shall see, that's exactly what happened, simply because such was the will of God. Absalom would have been a tyrant had he been elected and would have wrecked and destroyed Israel. While he may have been without blemish externally and physically, his heart was black with sin.
The Scripture says, "Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father's concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong. So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom" (2 Samuel 16:20-23). Ahithophel telling Absalom to go into his father's concubines fulfilled what The Lord said would happen (2 Samuel 12:11). Ahithophel's counsel was abominable, even though the deed would not be regarded by any of the Israelites as incestuous. The king inherited his predecessor's haram, and Absalom's act was a course in rude assertion that David's rights were at an end and that crowns, lands, and property, even unto his wives, now all belong to the usurper. So, Ahithophel, for his own selfish purposes, led Absalom on to a crime which rendered reconciliation with David impossible and which pledged all conspirators to carry out the matter to the bitter end. It was when walking on this very roof that David had given way to guilty passion, and now it was the scene of his dishonor. The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.
As stated, Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather. Why in the world did he do what he was doing? Why did he have such a hatred for David, who, in fact, had given him everything that he presently had? Considering that this man was perhaps the wisest man in Israel and maybe the world, he should have known better. To every great gift, however, there is a drawback. Ahithophel obviously trusted his own wisdom instead of looking to The Lord for guidance. As wise as he was, he simply was not wise enough, and neither is any other man. Absalom's act at the encouragement of Ahithophel was an outrage, which David could never have pardoned. This is what Ahithophel wanted. Ahithophel planned all of this very well. He was trying to make reconciliation impossible. He knew that if David somehow succeeded in pushing Absalom back and, thereby, regaining the throne, quite possibly the king would forgive his son. However, he knew that he (Ahithophel) would not be forgiven, so he would plan the scenario that would cut off all ties, making it impossible for David to overlook what was about to be done. Upon Ahithophel's advice, Absalom stretched a tent on the top of the palace and went into David's concubines. By this act, he was cutting all ties with his father, making sure that the die was cast. Now, David must die. When Ahithophel gave advice, his word was respected so highly that it was never questioned. The Scripture says, "And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God..." (2 Samuel 16:23). The "oracle of God" referred to the Urim and the Thummim, carried by the High Priest. In other words, his advice and counsel were respected as highly as decisions made as a result of these oracles.
David was relegated to a place of humiliation that few men have known. He accepted it patiently as the chastening of The Lord. David allowed this chastening, designed by The Holy Spirit, to draw him into a closer fellowship with The Lord. His heart was taught that his sorrows, the fruit of his sins, were occasions of spiritual enrichment to him. It was when burdened with these sorrows and conscious of their justice and yet, at the same time, in a heart truly and eternally bound to God, The Holy Spirit inspired David to write the 51st Psalm. These are confessions of sin and integrity, which Christ will cause repentant Israel in the latter day to utter and which He, in sympathy, will utter with them and for them. Thus, at this terrible time, David became a type of the Messiah, suffering with His people, confessing their sins as His own, and bearing his breast to the sword of Jehovah (Zechariah 13:7) as if he were the guilty one. In all this, there is a great encouragement for the child of God. In circumstances, our faith might fail and the heart be discouraged. Chapter 16 of 2 Samuel is a valuable testimony that God does not cast off His people when we sin against Him, that He forgives us when we confess our faults, that He overrules all to enrich our knowledge of Himself, and that He furnishes us with expressions and sentiments proper to restoration of the soul.
The Absalom Spirit and The Spirit of God
"Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only: And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel. Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith. And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom" (2 Samuel 17:1-2, 4-5, 7, 11, 14). The proposal to single out David and murder him "pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel", and yet, Absalom was David's son. As well, all the elders of Israel had received nothing from David but good. How true it is that the heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). The Lord used Hushai to appeal to the pride of Absalom. This upstart did see himself marching at the head thousands of troops with all Israel at his feet. Truly, Ahithophel's counsel had been perfect. David did not yet have time to marshal his forces and, at this stage, was not ready to fight. Ahithophel knew this, but his advice was not taken, which was ordered by The Lord.
Israel and Forgiveness
For approximately the last 35 years, David, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, had led Israel from a motley crew of scattered tribes to where it is now one of the most powerful nations of the world in that day. Its prosperity knew no bounds, and all of its enemies had been defeated. Consequently, Israel, at that time, enjoyed freedom and prosperity and all the blessings of The Lord such as no nation had ever even thought of experiencing. Let me be clear, even abundantly so, all of this was due to the fact that God's man was on the throne and that God's man had been led by The Holy Spirit. In other words, Israel owed all this to David, i.e., the blessings of God upon David. The question becomes, did they know this? Did they not understand the source of all their blessings and prosperity? Every one of these men who were plotting to kill David, be it Ahithophel, David's own son, Absalom, or the elders of Israel, all and without exception had their peace, their prosperity, their place, and their position simply because of David. Yes, admittedly, David had failed the Lord terribly so. He had committed two of the vilest sins that could be committed, but the tragedy is that Israel did not do what The Lord did. Upon proper repentance, characterized by a broken heart, David cried to The Lord and was forgiven, but Israel did not forgive him. They used this occasion to foster and nurture self-interest. All of this means that there were not many in Israel, at that time, who truly knew The Lord. In fact, there have always been two Israels, so to speak. There was the Israel who truly knew The Lord, and that number was always few. There was also the Israel who had the name but little or no desire at all for God. This was not something new, having existed from the very beginning, even until now, for all of mankind.
The Spirit of Deceit
When one sees the situation as it develops here in the 17th Chapter of 2 Samuel, one is observing the absalom spirit. This is the spirit of deceit, self-will, self-righteousness, etc. It is the same evil spirit that crucified Christ. In fact, all that we are seeing here presents a forepicture of what Israel would do to The Lord Jesus Christ about 1,000 years later. Judas would betray Him exactly as Ahithophel betrayed David. In fact, all of the elders of Israel, at least almost all, would demand the death of Christ exactly as they did here with David. Of course, there were many differences. David sinned, while Our Lord never sinned. But yet, all of this is a striking picture of what would happen to Christ about 1,000 years later. It must be understood that religious evil is the worst evil of all. It hinders the work of God more than anything else, exactly as these leaders attempted to do with David and exactly as they did in the time of Christ. It must be remembered that it was not the thieves and the harlots, as wicked as those sins are, who nailed Christ to The Cross but rather the religious leaders of Israel, i.e., the church of that day. That should give us pause for thought. Even though Hushai had not been honest in his presentation, still, The Lord used what he did in order to thwart Absalom's plans. It was advice, incidentally, which was the opposite of Ahithophel. Actually, if Ahithophel's advice had been followed, David would have been defeated. Let us quote it again, "...For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom" (2 Samuel 17:14).
Hushai and Ahithophel
Both Hushai and Ahithophel were advisors to David. The manner in which the Lord used the advice of Hushai to sway Absalom could very well have been in the following manner. Although Ahithophel's advice was the right advice to carry out this evil scheme, still, it did not sit too well with Absalom or the Commander in Chief of the Army. The reason being, Ahithophel was to be placed at the head of the troops, which would have placed both Absalom and Amasa in a secondary position. This, as stated, did not sit well. So, when Hushai gave his advice, he had Absalom leading the army, which appealed to the pride of David's son. However, all of this was planned by The Lord in order to give David time to get his forces together under Joab. Beautifully enough, The Lord would use a young woman (the word "wench", 2 Samuel 17:17, should not have been used) and the two young men, Johnathan and Ahimaaz, in the furtherance of His cause. As stated, this is an encouraging instance of how useful the most insignificant person can be to The Lord of Glory in the interest of His Kingdom. This "handmaid" would hide these two young men from the scouts sent out by Absalom. When the scouts left, Jonathan and Ahimaaz could then take the message to David regarding the advice of Hushai and the warning that they must pass quickly over the Jordan River in order to escape Absalom. The beautiful thing about all of this is how people from all walks of life can be used of The Lord if they will only put themselves in the way and position in which God is working. There is no one who is useless in the Kingdom of God, providing he will flow and function with God.
Why Did Ahithophel Commit Suicide?
"And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father" (2 Samuel 17:23). Some have stated that he realized that, with his advice being thrown aside and that of Hushai accepted, the chances were that Absalom would not succeed. That being the case, Ahithophel could see nothing ahead for himself but execution, so he would solve the problem himself by taking his own life. Quite possibly, that and much more were factors in what he did. However, I think the real problem was as follows: As Judas, who some 1,000 years later would betray Christ, Ahithophel, deep down inside, knew what he had done was wrong --grossly wrong. David had been better to him, no doubt, than any human being with whom he had ever dealt. In fact, as previously stated, David had given him his place and position, had made him wealthy, and had given him an avenue for his great wisdom to be used for the sake of the glory of God. But now, due to his anger regarding his granddaughter, Bathsheba, and his unwillingness to forgive David, he found himself backed into the proverbial corner. His conscience ate at him exactly as it did Judas. At this stage, he should have fallen on his face and begged The Lord to have mercy on his soul. To be sure, exactly as The Lord forgave David, He would, as well, have forgiven Ahithophel. He should then have gone to David and begged mercy and forgiveness, which David, no doubt, would have granted. However, his pride would not allow him to do any of this. Then, a darkness filled his soul and satan pushed even farther. At that stage, he took his own life.
Satan hates everything that's created by God, and man most of all. He even hates those who do his dirty work, exactly as Ahithophel and Judas. Like dupes, they follow him but always to a disastrous conclusion. Let the following be understood, there is no positive side to serving satan. None at all. It is all downward, all in the realm of wreckage, and all that "steals, kills, and destroys"(John 10:10). But yet, most of the world, and for all time, follows the evil one. Why? Deception. Satan is a master at making that which is right seem to be wrong and that which is wrong seem to be right. Despite the crop of wrecked hearts and lives, dispossessed souls, pain and suffering, guilt and all of its condemnation, still, most continue to follow and serve him. Regrettably and sadly, Ahithophel is now in hell and will be there forever and forever, the same as Judas and billions of others (Revelation 20:10, 15).
Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai
"And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim," (2 Samuel 17:27). These three men, "Shobi", "Machir", and "Barzillai", brought a tremendous amount of foodstuff to give to David and his army. At a time like this, for anyone to say "I love you" is a blessing that can only be understood if one has walked where David walked. More than likely, "Barzillai", according to 2 Samuel 19:31-40, spearheaded this effort to help David. Little did he realize that untold millions down through the many centuries would read of this act of kindness and be ever grateful for what he did.
The Record of Kindness Kept by The Holy Spirit
If you, the reader, had lived at that particular time, would you have thrown in your lot with David or Absalom? That's a very good question for all of us to look at and to do so very carefully. When any person comes to Christ, his eternity changes. Now, he belongs to The Lord. Consequently, everything that is done, whether good or bad, has an effect on many things. It is obvious that the news had spread fast concerning the rebellion of Absalom. When David came to this particular area, Barzillai, a very aged but yet a very wise man, knew that David's situation would be perilous. So, he would do what he could, which, to be sure, was substantial, to help "God's anointed". At any rate, David had a lasting gratitude for this man as shown by his care for his sons (1 Kings 2:7). Concerning these things, "The sacred historian was doubtless guided by a principle of selection when he inserted the names of these three men in a Book that is to abide through all time. It was the will of God that reference should be made to their conduct, thus has God expressed approval of their regard of His anointed."
"And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim;" (2 Samuel 18:1,6). 2 Samuel 18:1 says, "And David numbered the people that were with him..." Josephus said that he had 4,000 men. He divided his army, as stated, into three groups. With only 4,000 soldiers facing an army of possibly well over 100,000 men, David had to have supernatural help. Not really good odds, but he had The Lord. Absalom was advancing with an army, which was obviously more numerous than that of David. Believing that David would fight at Mahanaim, Absalom was certain that David could be defeated and might even surrender without a fight. Actually, it seems that Absalom was riding in advance of his army, with them struggling to make their way through the tangled underbrush. The evidence is Absalom's men had lost all order and had "become a scattering," with Absalom, at this juncture, probably trying to find the place to wherethey could be reformed. The Scripture says that the tangled underbrush resulted with the "wood devouring more people that day than the sword devoured" (2 Samuel 18:8). Some of David's men were skilled veterans of war, whereas Absalom's army, although extremely numerous, were still little more than a ragtag mob. Irrespective, it was the will of God for Absalom to lose this conflict and for him, as well, to be killed. When David's skilled generals met this mob, the Scripture defines it accurately saying "...there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men" (2 Samuel 18:7). As well, the 20,000 men refers solely to the army of Absalom.
As Absalom's army began to scatter, routed, with underbrush being heavy, the Scripture says that more men died as a result of the heavy underbrush than died by the sword. This heavy underbrush made them easy pickings, so to speak, for David's men. The sorrow and heartache that all of this caused, especially with the loss of 20,000 husbands, brothers, grandsons, nephews, uncles, etc., presented a heavy burden to bear. The grand excursion did not turn out to be so grand after all. When people get out of the will of God, even as Israel did at that particular time, the end result, whether visible at first or not, will never be anything but catastrophic. Satan loves it when God's people are fighting each other. That is one of his chief coups. This happens when one side or both resort to self-will. Let it ever be understood, the price of self-will is higher than anyone can afford to pay, as here should prove to be obvious.
David's Sin and Absalom's Sin
"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. Then said Joab (to the man who found Absalom), I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent" (2 Samuel 18:9,14, 16-17). Josephus writes that Absalom was entangled by his long hair in the boughs of the tree. His death, therefore, must have been one of prolonged agony until terminated by the lances of his former friend, Joab, and those men with him. What was the difference in David's sin and Absalom's sin? Of course, all sin is heinous in the eyes of God and is actually directed against Him. The difference is the following: David's sin was a sin of passion, with the murder of Uriah aneffort to cover up the sin. Absalom's sin had as its fountain the sin of satan himself in his rebellion against God. In other words, Absalom entered into satan's rebellion. It was a far more heinous sin than his father, David's. However, most of the church world does not see it that way but actually would join Absalom because, outwardly, it looked so right. Furthermore, David repented immediately when his sin was found out because he was a man of God. There is no record that Absalom ever really knew God, and, therefore, there was no repentance.
The Death of Absalom
2 Samuel 18:9-18 portrays the death of this rebel against his father and against the plan of God. The 9th verse says, his head caught hold of the oak. The latter portion of the verse says, "...and the mule that was under him went away" - the mule rode on. It's ironic, this dumb beast, when given the opportunity to leave did so immediately. There is a slight similarity here to the situation of Balaam. Joab took 3 darts, "and thrust them through the heart of Absalom". The 16th verse says that, in order to stop the slaughter, Joab "blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel". The "pillar" of verse 18 and the "heap of stones" of verse 17 mark the aim and the end of ambition. The pillar was surmounted so says the Hebrew by "a hand" indicative of victory, but the grave was heaped with stones, expressing infamy. Absalom, as stated, was probably riding in advance of his army, with them trying to pick their way through the underbrush in order to reach the city of Mahanaim, where David was now located. The evidence is, while looking ahead, he spotted a detachment of David's army, who was awaiting an opportunity to attack the rebels, which they soon would have. Evidently, they did not see Absalom. He probably turned his mule around, but in trying to make his way through the undergrowth, his hair caught, or some say his neck, in the boughs of limbs, with the mule riding out from under him, leaving him hanging. At this juncture, it seems that one of David's men saw him and reported it to Joab. The hardriding general took three darts and thrust them through the heart of Absalom.
Was Joab Correct in Killing Absalom?
David had given instructions that Absalom was not to be harmed, that is, if he could be captured. So, why didn't Joab obey the king's orders? It would seem that they could easily have cut his hair with a sword, thereby freeing him. However, the Hebrew translation, rather, ventures the idea that he was caught by his neck and not by his hair. If so, it could have been possible that they could not extricate him. If that, in fact, was the case, they did him a service by putting a quick end to his life. One thing is certain, it was the will of God for Absalom to die at this juncture. The law of Moses stated that fourfold restitution had to be made if a lamb was stolen (Exodus 22:1). That penalty would be exacted in totality upon David. It is as follows:
The Bitter Wages of Sin
"And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is" (2 Samuel 18:32). Cushi was telling David that Absalom was dead when David asked the question, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" No doubt, the words of Nathan the Prophet hung heavy over him, "...the sword shall never depart from thine house..." (2 Samuel 12:10). When David was given the news that Absalom was dead, and in no uncertain terms, the Hebrew word for "much moved" (2 Samuel 18:33) properly refers to agitation of body. In other words, a violent trembling seized the king. Yes, the hurt at Absalom's death, as any father would know, was absolutely awful, to say the least. However, it was his own conscience which smote him, knowing that he was a great deal to blame. No, David definitely was not responsible for what Absalom did, that particular blame lying fully at the feet of this young man. However, David's sin undoubtedly set in motion a chain of events, which spurred to action the evil that ultimately took its deadly toll.
Joab Reproves David
"And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now. Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent" (2 Samuel 19:1, 5, 7-8). David's actions before his army, who had fought so valiantly to defend the kingdom against the rebellion of Absalom, were little understood by the people. Most of his loyal followers looked at the situation as that of a father who was grief stricken over his son. However, most did not understand the tremendous spiritual implications. Absalom died lost. This was the reason for David's great grief. He partly blamed himself. 2 Samuel 19:2 says, "And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people..." The "mourning" was far more justified than the people even realized. Israel was in a terrible state. The reasons were:
Joab was correct in what he said to David. Even though it was put to the king somewhat harshly, and, yet, perhaps David needed this rude awakening for him to come to his senses, what Joab said was true, that Absalom's success would have been followed by a massacre. That massacre would have included David, all of his sons and daughters, and his wives, along with many of his officers and captains. In fact, everyone who stood with David, at least of any importance, would have been put to the sword. Knowing all of this, Joab was not too much ready to let Absalom live when he found him caught in the limbs of the tree. He did the right thing in taking Absalom's life. Had he let the young man live, David, in all likelihood, would have forgiven him. This could have caused untold problems and difficulties in Israel, which should have been obvious and, no doubt, was.
Did David at This Time Seek The Lord?
So, Joab jarred David as it regarded his morose attitude, proclaiming to him in no uncertain terms as to what he now must do. David now reviewed his troops and praised them for the great victory they had won, which he should have done at the beginning. The advice that Joab gave, however roughly given, had averted grave misfortunes. The last phrase of 2 Samuel 19:8, "for Israel had fled every man to his tent," is interesting indeed. Due to David's strange conduct before Joab's rebuke, it seems the people were in a state of flux. In other words, despite the great victory just recently won, David, by his attitude and actions, was coming very close to losing the kingdom again. As we have previously stated, not one time does it mention that David sought The Lord at this time. Quite possibly he did, but The Holy Spirit is silent regarding this. We do know that David wrote Psalms 41 and 42 at this time. For the writing of these two Psalms to be brought about, The Holy Spirit would have had to move upon him greatly. But yet, even as we shall see, David made too many mistakes at this time showing that he was not being led by The Spirit as he should have been and, in fact, could have been.
The King of Israel
"And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?" (2 Samuel 19:9-10). With the anointing of Absalom, there must also have been a formal renunciation of David's rule, and thus being dethroned, he did not attempt to return until the nation summoned him back. The rebellion had begun at Hebron, which was a large city in Judah, and possibly many of the leading chiefs were deeply implicated in Absalom's proceedings. Probably, they now regretted it but hung back through fear of punishment. They wanted to be sure of David's kindly feelings toward them. 2 Samuel 19:13 states that David appointed Amasa chief of the army in place of Joab, which was a most unwise move. Not one time in this chapter does it say that David inquired of The Lord. Consequently, he was making decisions which were faulty.
Israel Had No King
In truth, at that particular time, Israel had no king. David did not feel, and rightly so, that he had the authority to assume his place and position as king of Israel until he was summoned back by the majority of the nation. In fact, the people had anointed Absalom to be king, which meant that the nation, as a whole, was in favor of this usurper. Just exactly as to what their feelings were presently since Absalom's untimely death, David must investigate, which he did. 2 Samuel 19:9 proclaims the fact that the people knew the good that David had done for the country, in fact, immeasurably good. But now, with Absalom dead, they had no leader. David desired that Judah, his tribe, be the first to welcome him back. To push this tribe toward his wishes, he gave the command of the army to Amasa, thereby taking it from Joab, as stated, a most unwise move. Nevertheless, his action did cause Judah to acquiesce to his desires, thereby summoning him to, once again, take the throne.
The scripture says, "And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame. And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land" (2 Samuel 19:24-26, 29). David condemned Mephibosheth when he should have done him justice. He rewarded Ziba when he should have punished him. Once again, David never consulted The Lord about this matter. Every evidence is Mephibosheth conducted himself during the entire Absalom revolt with dignity and repose, actually standing for David all the way. Evidently, this man's physical lameness was quite extensive, meaning that his mobility was somewhat impaired, consequently, not having anyone to help him. With Ziba having forsaken him, he could little go to be with David. Ziba, his servant, lied about Mephibosheth. He not only claimed that Mephibosheth would not come to be with David but, as well, claimed that the son of Jonathan would now to try to take the kingdom. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Considering the strength of Absalom, at least at that time, even if Mephibosheth had desired to do such a perfidious thing, there was no way it could have been carried out. The truth is such never entered the mind of Mephibosheth. Why Ziba wanted to do this is not obvious. Yes, he desired to ingratiate himself with the king and thought this would accomplish such. But yet, his entire lie was so implausible that David should have seen through the pretense immediately. Worse yet, David did not completely make it right whenever the truth was fully revealed to him. He should not have given Ziba anything. In fact, due to the lie that this man told, he should have been relieved of his position. Again, there is no evidence that David inquired of The Lord in these matters. But yet, it is important enough that The Holy Spirit desired that it be included in the Sacred Text.
The moral of this passage is the Godliness of Mephibosheth. Israel had little regard for theanointed leadership of David, who had brought such blessing to them. Unthankfulness characterized by actions. However, Mephibosheth in the midst of a sea of ingratitude is a shining light of Christlikeness. Mephibosheth said that he had little interest in the land, money, or property. His only concern was "David". How many Christians today are serving The Lord because of what is "in it for them", and how many are serving him because they truly "love Him"?
Death has no terrors for the blood-bought one,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
The boasted victory of the grave is gone,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
Our souls die daily to the world and sin,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
By the Spirit's Power as He dwells within,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
We seek a city far beyond this vale,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
Where joys celestial never, never fail,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
We'll then press forward to the heavenly land,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
Nor mind the troubles met on every hand,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
We'll rise some day just as our Savior rose,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!
Till then shall death be but a calm repose,
O Glory Hallelujah to The Lamb!