| II Samuel 18
Sadly, civil war is brewing in Israel, and the last chapter - II Samuel 17 brought us Absalom chasing after his father king David in order to kill him. David had fled to the eastern side of the of the Jordan River, and, had even crossed over to the eastern side of the Mount of Olives; however, first he came back onto the western side of the Mount of Olives, and now has been counseled to even return to the western side of the Jordan River in an effort to keep his whereabouts unknown to Absalom.
This chapter will see the demise of Absalom, of which we lightly touched upon about back in II Samuel 14 when we read of his becoming tangled in the branches of a tree. So, without further ado, let's get right to it, II Samuel 18:
2:1-24:25 KING DAVID. (Division)
5:1-24:25 The Kingdom. United.
5:1-24:25 KINGDOM UNITED. (Introversion with Alternations.)
10:6-20:22 Wars and events:
17:24-18:5 REBELLION QUELLED. (Introversion.)
17:24-18:5 Mahanaim. David. Preparation.
17:24-18:5 MAHANAIM. DAVID. PREPARATION. (Alternation.)
18:1-5 Camp of David.
II Samuel 18:1 And David numbered the People that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. -> No time better than prior to going into battle to know your strength in numbers. It's always good to know beforehand how strong you are, and here, that is exactly what David is doing. Josephus-Flavius in his works: Antiquities of the Jews - Book 7, Chapter 10, 1, states that David had with him at this point, about 4,000 soldiers.
Dr. Bullinger points out in his notes in his Companion Bible, that, David is approximately 56 years old at this time, which, he also pointed out back at the beginning of chapter II Samuel 15, this means all these events have happened within the same year. So, David is now mustering his troops, because, as we know this isn't his first war, and, being the good military commander that he is, he's taking stock of his fighting force.
II Samuel 18:2 And David sent forth a third part of the People under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai (near; or, with the LORD) the Gittite. And the king said unto the People, “I will surely go forth with you myself also.” -> Joab and his younger brother Abishai are David's nephews, and, they have been in charge of his army from the days when he was on the run from king Saul. They are both battle-tested warriors, and excellent military strategists. We first met Ittai back in II Samuel 15 when David began his flight from Jerusalem, let's review: II Samuel 15:19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, “Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. -> David tells Ittai - who is a native of Gath, making him therefore, a Philistine; but, he is also a member of David's army - that he means no disrespect, but, he is a sojourner in Israel; therefore, he should stay in Jerusalem and not get involved in Israel's business. When Absalom arrives in Jerusalem, he will not bother or harass him, and, whoever YHVH decides will be the king, he (David) or Absalom, will likely allow him to stay in Jerusalem. [15:20] Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.” -> David continues speaking with Ittai, telling him, that, since he had only been in sojourning with Israel for a short time, so long as he stays in Jerusalem, Father will Bless him and those with him, and extend unto them not only His unmerited favor, lovingkindness and grace; but also that He would deal with them in faithfulness. If you'll recall, I pointed out that the Septuagint and Syriac read: "YHVH will deal with thee in lovingkindness and faithfulness." Meaning no disrespect to David or the position he holds as king of Israel, Ittai will kindly decline his offer to stay behind with his family, and, instead, continue on with David. Seeing this, David will honor and reward his faithfulness. [15:21] And Ittai answered the king, and said, “As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.” -> Powerful words and true faithfulness indeed on Ittai's part. He not only told David that he'll continue on with thee king wherever YHVH sends him; but, should it come to them having to meet their demise, then he'll still stand by David's side. To give of yourself, even to your own death, this is loyalty you just about cannot find anymore; even David's own flesh and blood isn't this loyal to him. There is simply no price that you can give to loyalty, for it comes from the heart and mind of a person. Loyalty gives both love and understanding. [15:22] And David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. -> David happily welcomed Ittai into his fold, and told him that he could indeed travel with them. We're about to see the reward that David will bestow on Ittai for his faithfulness, as he will allow him to head-up one of the three Company's which will face-off against Absalom and the army he sends against David.
David tells his troops that he will not send them into battle along, that, he be going with them - in other words, David will lead from the front, not the rear - a superb commander. However, neither his Generals, nor his troops will agree to or allow this, as, they don't want to lose such a good king.
Ittai=The native of Gath, a Philistine in the army of King David. He appears only during the revolution of Absalom. We first discern him on the morning of David's flight. The king urges him to return II Samuel 15:18-19. Compare I Samuel 23:13; 27:2; 30:9-10,19-20. But Ittai is firm; he is the king's slave, and wherever his master goes he will go. Accordingly he is allowed by David to proceed. When the army was numbered and organized by David at Mahanaim, Ittai again appears, now in command of a third part of the force II Samuel 18:2,5,12..
II Samuel 18:3 But the People answered, “Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.” -> Thou shalt not go forth=It wasn't that the People of Israel didn't want David going into battle with them, they knew how good a military commander he truly was; but, they also knew, that, should get put on the run from Absalom's army; or, should Absalom's army start killing them, then, David also might get killed, and then there would be no one to succeed him, who would care after them the way he had.
Succour=Succour means - help; or, aid. The scholars differ on the actual meaning of what is being said by David's men here, some think David's men wanted him to stay there in Mahanaim and pray for them as they engaged Absalom's army, in other words, they were asking David to Pray to Father and ask Him to intercede on their behalf; some scholars believe that maybe they were wanting him to keep a few reserve troops back with him for his own protection, but, also, that maybe, should Joab, Abishai and Ittai start to take some serious hits to their troops, then David would still have some auxiliary forces available to him, that, he then could join-up with them - think of the old western movies where the cavalry comes charging in "to save the day." I tend to agree concerning at least, the Prayer portion, as, this is important even in our lives today, for, when the challenges and troubled times come into our lives, that is the time to seek Father in Prayer and give all our troubles over to the Him. Ask Him to direct your life and make those hard times possible to get over and through. Keep your spiritual eyes and ears open to the direction that the Holy Spirit gives.
II Samuel 18:4 And the king said unto them, “What seemeth you best I will do.” And the king stood by the gate side, and all the People came out by hundreds and by thousands. -> What seemeth you best I will do=David agreed to stay in Mahanaim and Pray for his troops while they went to confront and engage the enemy, of course, sadly, that enemy happens to be David's son Absalom, and also, their fellow Israelites.
By hundreds and by thousands=We can see in this, that the People loved David, as they rally to his side in support of his cause as the king of Israel. You can almost see David standing at the gate of the city as his troops are marching out to war, his heart filled with conflicting emotions - pride at such a strong fighting force, sorrow at the thought that some might not return home, and envy at being left behind.
II Samuel 18:5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” And all the People heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. -> Deal gently...with Absalom=Though he is trying to kill him, Absalom is still David's son, and, David, who has already lost at least two sons--one right after his birth, who had been conceived in adultery, and then Amnon who raped his half-sister - Tamar--would prefer to not lose another.
David's tenderheartedness toward his son is a huge mistake, as, by his doing this, he is hand-cuffing his troops. David knows better than to put restraints on his troops before going into battle. Sadly, I think this country forgot this lesson, which we had learned the hard way in both Korea and Vietnam.
Remember brethren, I've been saying quite frequently that David is our "type" for our Lord Jesus, and I had also mentioned that presently, Absalom is our "type" for our adversary - satan, and, when it is time that we do battle with satan, we better not make the same mistake that David is making here in refraining himself and his troops in their combating the enemy. Why? Because, I guarantee you that our enemy will not hold anything back and will be more than happy to clean-the-clock of one of Father's Elect. Never go for the tail of the serpent brethren, always go for the head as we're told Christ will do in the first prophesy of Christ's coming in Father's Word - Genesis 3:15.
All the People heard=This, then, explains the reply to Joab coming up in verse v18:12, by the unnamed man, who finds Absalom hanging in the tree, when Joab asked him why he didn't kill him. He knew that, had he killed Absalom, not only would David have been angry, he would also have been the one who would have to answer to the king as to why he disobeyed the king's order.
18:6-18 The battle.
18:6-8 The battle. Fought.
II Samuel 18:6 So the People went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; -> Civil War in Israel has begun. Several times in the past in Father's Word has Father said that He doesn't like civil war, and truly He doesn't, though, to keep the nation from turning away from following Him, sometimes it has to be. We are seeing that today here in the USA, during the Presidential Election of 2012, at the Democratic Convention, three - 3 - times, not once; but, three times, did the people at the convention demand that the Democratic Party turn away from Father and not mention His name. It just shows though that His Word always comes to pass exactly as he said it would, for, He said in the last days of this Generation - the Generation of the Fig Tree, that the apostasy would be upon us, and we for sure are entering into the apostasy.
Wood of Ephraim=We can read of who had this land for a possession from Joshua 17: Joshua 17:14 And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, “Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great People, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?” -> Children of Joseph=This is the Tribe of Manasseh and not the tribe of Ephraim who is doing this whining to Joshua. Notice that since he also is descended from this Tribe, he’ll have no problem reprimanding and admonishing them for this whining about Father not giving them enough land for their inheritance. Seeing I am a great People=A little too big for their britches, and full of themselves, I think. [17:15] And Joshua answered them, “If thou be a great People, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.” -> Joshua tells them that, if, you’re so big and strong, then go and get yourself some more of land from the rephaim – the giants. In other words, fulfill what YHVH told us to do and destroy the inhabitants of the land who had been mating with the fallen angels; then, you can take their land for a possession. [17:16] And the children of Joseph said, “The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Beth-shean (house of rest; or, house of ease) and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel (YAH will sow).” -> Oh, now they aren’t quite so full of themselves and are showing some cowardice; saying, that, the Canaanites have chariots which will defeat us. Beth-shean=A city which belonged to Manasseh I Chronicles 7:29, though within the limits of Issachar Joshua 17:11 and therefore on the west of Jordan. The place is still known as Beisan. It lies in the Ghor or Jordan valley, about twelve miles south of the Sea of Galilee and four miles west of the Jordan.. Valley of Jezreel=A city situated in the plain of the same name between Gilboa and Little Hermon, now generally called Esdraelon. It appears in Joshua 19:18 but its historical importance dates from the reign of Ahab, B.C. 918-897, who chose it for his chief residence. The situation of the modern village of Zerin still remains to show the fitness of his choice. Int he neighborhood, or within the town probably, were a temple and grove of Eastward, with an establishment of 400 priests supported by Jezebel I Kings 16:33 and II Kings 10:11. The palace of Ahab I Kings 21:1 and 18:46, probably containing his "ivory house" I Kings 22:39, was on the eastern side of the city, forming part of the city wall. We can compare this with I Kings 21:1 and II Kings 9:25,30,33. Whether the vineyard of Naboth was here or at Samaria is a doubtful question. Still in the same eastern direction are two springs, one 12 minutes from the town, the other 20 minutes. The latter, probably from both its size and its situation, was known as "the spring of Jezreel." With the fall of the house of Ahab the glory of Jezreel departed.. [17:17] And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, “Thou art a great People, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: -> Now Joshua addresses both Tribes of Joseph, telling them, that they are correct in that they are a large people and therefore they are deserving of a larger allotment of land. [17:18] But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.” -> Joshua continues by telling them, that, with their large numbers, then can and will defeat the inhabitants – the giants, even though they have their chariots. Basically, he is telling them, that, which YHVH on their side, those chariots are as nothing – don’t they remember what Father did with pharaoh and his chariots as they were chasing Moses and their forefathers out of the land of Egypt?
II Samuel 18:7 Where the People of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. -> Remember, David is Father's anointed and therefore He has His hand in this very first battle, and how did that turn out? Absalom and the Israelite Army lost, and in losing, they lost 20,000 men - as the verse says, "a great slaughter that day."
II Samuel 18:8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. -> The wood devoured more people=Some scholars believe that this "wood" contained bogs and swamps and thick trees and brush, and in only some of that do I concur, for, as we'll see, Absalom will get his hair tangled in some branches in a tree; however, as I said, Father had His hand in this, and it is not different from the way He had His hand in the victory with David and the Israelites in II Samuel 5:17-27 when the wind was in the trees, remember that? Let's re-read it: II Samuel 5:17 But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold. -> And went down to the hold=This verse as we read it here in II Samuel 5:17 doesn't make sense being placed here in Father's Word. What I mean is this - I, like several other notable scholars of Father's Word and even I Chronicles 14:8 supports, that this event as described here, actually took place prior to David coming to Jebus and defeating the Jebusites, and then moving his belongings into the fortified citadel. With that being said, I repeat, David defeated the Jebusites and then moved his residence into the fortified citadel within the walled city of Jerusalem, so, it would not make sense for him to now leave the citadel or Jerusalem in order to go down to a strong hold, or, cave--as it was called previously in another Chapter, I Samuel 22:1, where it was Adullam--and hide. Also, the Philistines see David's strength increasing, and it would only make sense that they attack him in order to try and defeat the arch enemy before he becomes too strong. Now, let's bring in I Chronicles 14:8 to read it as viewed from Father's point-of-view: I Chronicles 14:8 And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David. And David heard of it, and went out against them. -> Notice he didn’t run away and hide in some cave, he went out and fought against them. [5:18] The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. -> The rapha from whom the rephaim are descendants were of the nephilim or the fallen angels, in other words, they were the giants. The Philistines also were widely mixed in with the fallen angels - hence Goliath, Og and others. Dr. Bullinger did several extensive studies on this subject in his Companion Bible, Appendix 23 and 25. These were the ones who did not come to earth born of woman, but came to earth and bred with the daughters of men as can be read of in Genesis 6. It was the reason Father sent the flood during Noah’s days, in order to wipe out their and human woman offspring – the gibbor, or, giants. [5:19] And David enquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand?” And the LORD said unto David, “Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.” -> David inquires of Father through Abiathar the High Priest who, inquires through the use of the Urim and Thummim. Father replies, giving David full assurance that, "yes, He will give David and the Israelites the victory over the Philistines. I'll tell you brethren, there aren't any better assurances than when Father gives you an assurance as He just gave David. Here are another couple of good lessons for us to apply in our own lives: Whenever an enemy appears to be too strong for us, and they appear to be “giants” and too much for us to handle; then, that is the time to seek our direction from Father above. David went and inquired of Father, seeking direction and guidance for what he should do in this case. The two things that David wanted to know was: first, should I go to war with these Philistines; and secondly, are you going to deliver them into my hands. Father gave David His full assurance that the victory was going to be his. Another part of the lesson to be learned here was that too many times today, man wants to charge headlong into their battles of life without first consulting with Father, and then when things don’t turn out the way they thought they should have, they accuse Father for their stupid mistakes and blunders. They may have the best of intentions; however, if start-out without first asking Father's blessings on the matter, then, don't blame Him when things go bad. I Chronicles 14 gives us an accounting of these battles with the Philistines from Father's perspective, so, let's turn there and read of this victory that David and the Israelites will have over their arch enemy: I Chronicles 14:10 And David enquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand?” And the LORD said unto him, “Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand." -> Did you notice the difference in Who David inquired of between II Samuel 5:19 and here in I Chronicles 14:10? In Samuel David inquired of YHVH; however, here in Chronicles it is ELOHIM. In Samuel it is YHVH'S faithfulness to David; while here, it is ELOHIM'S power as Creator of all things. Both pleas are complementary to, and, with one another, and we can compare them in this narrative: Here in Chronicles it's ELOHIM six times, and YHVH once; whereas, in Samuel it is YHVH six times, and not ELOHIM once. [14:11] So they came up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, “God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters:” therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim. -> Broken in=Here in Chronicles the verse merely states that Father through David is getting the victory over His (his) enemies; however, in Samuel we find that the verse states that Father "broke forth" which Dr. Bullinger calls an anthropopatheia - meaning that Father not only had the victory; but, that He also had great distain and contempt for the Philistines. Baal-perazim=This can be translated "Lord of the divisions" or "Lord of the breaches." In other words: Father caused a division or breach in the camp of the Philistines to where they could not come against David – think of when the Egyptians were chasing the Israelites as they were fleeing Egypt and what happened when they came to the Red Sea, Father through Moses parted the Sea so that His people could walk across on dry ground; however, when the Egyptians tried to follow, then the sea came crashing down upon them. Here, Father sent division amongst the Philistines; thereby causing confusion in their camp. [14:12] And when they had left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire. -> As David and the Israelites started to get the victory on the Philistines, they realized just like they did back in I Samuel 4:7, that YHVH had come into their camp; therefore, they fled as fast as their feet could carry them, let's turn back to there and re-read what they said at that time: I Samuel 4:7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, "God is come into the camp." And they said, "Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. [4:8] Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. -> They knew, just like all the other nations around them, that it was YHVH Who gave the Israelites the victory. Another thing to pay attention to in this statement that the Philistines left their idols and false gods and David and his men burning and destroying them, is, that, this is what every Christian should also do to those things which go contrary to YHVH and His Word; but, in order to do this, you have to know Father's Word. All things which go against Father's Word should be put away or destroyed - including false teachings and traditions of man. [14:13] And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley. -> This didn't occur immediately after their defeat, it most likely happened quite a bit of time afterwards. In other words, they had to re-group, maybe even made themselves some new idols and gods first, before coming back up against Israel. [14:14] Therefore David enquired again of God; and God said unto him, “Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. -> David enquired again of God=Again we see the difference between David and Saul. Every time David is faced with a major decision, he turns to and inquires of Father, Saul on the other hand, almost every time had to be prompted by Samuel or someone else to seek Father's guidance and counsel. And God said unto him, "Go not up again"=This is why it is so important that at the juncture of every decision, David and we, should seek Father's direction. Notice here, this time Father instructed David to not go up, for, as we'll see, Father has a different plan this time on how to defeat the Philistines. And come upon them over against the mulberry tree=In I Samuel 5:23 this reads: "but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees." So what Father was instructing David to do was, to circle around the Philistines and then wait on Him, as, He'll first cause a diversion for David, and while that is then taking place and the Philistines attention is drawn elsewhere, then, can David and his Army move upon the Philistines and have the victory. Father is not adverse to nor against using a little covert activity. [14:15] And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines.” -> God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines=Who is going to fight the battle here? Father is! What He told David was that when David heard the sound in the tree tops, it meant that His Army - The Army of ELOHIM was moving in for the kill of the Philistines. Remember earlier, I pointed out that Dr. Bullinger said Father had contempt and distain for the Philistines? Well, here is the result of that condescension, He is having His Army go before David, and when David hears ELOHIM'S Army move, then, David is to have his army quickly strike the Philistines. This reminds me of a future event to David, and a historical event to us. Elisha, in II Kings 6 is with his servant who had risen early and noticed that he and Elisha and the entire city they were in, were encompassed by an host of Syrians including horses and chariots. Elisha's servant was sore afraid, and Elisha told him to fear not, for, more were with them than with the Syrians, he then prayed that Father open his servant's eyes in order that he might see Father's Army surrounding the enemy. [14:16] David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer. -> David was obedient and therefore got the victory over Israel's arch enemy. What was the result of these victories? Father—as Paul tells us in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.—never changes. Just as He fought battles in David's day, He will also go before us to fight our battles in our lives today. However, when we make our requests known to Father, there are conditions which must be met and followed. You might call them "ifs," for, these conditions are all found within His Word, and when we do meet those conditions, we can expect Father to keep his promises to us. So, what happened in this war with the Philistines was that Father’s Army did the work, while David and his army received all the credit. [14:17] And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations. -> Who brought the fear upon the Philistines? Father did! [5:20] And David came to Baal-perazim (possessor of breaches), and David smote them there, and said, “The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal-perazim. -> Baal-Perazim=Baal having rents, bursts, or destructions, the scene of a victory gained by David over the Philistines here in II Samuel 5:20 also in I Chronicles 14:11. Called Mount Perazim in Isaiah 28:21. At this time it was near the valley of Rephaim, west of Jerusalem, today it is identified with the modern Jebel Aly.. [5:21] And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them. -> As we saw in I Chronicles 14 the Philistines heard that ELOHIM was there fighting for Israel and they therefore dropped everything and fled. David then burned and destroyed their false gods and idols. [5:22] And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. -> They always go back to the "land of the giants" for refuge, it's also where they put their trust, in satan's plans and tactics. [5:23] And when David enquired of the LORD, He said, “Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. -> Father told David to have his men circle around behind the Philistines, and He would lead the charge. [5:24] And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. [5:25] And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba (a hillock; or, a hill) until thou come to Gazer (gezer) (a precipice). -> Geba=A city of Benjamin, with "suburbs," allotted to the priests in Joshua 21:17 also found in I Chronicles 6:60. It is named amongst the first group of the Benjamite towns --apparently those lying near to and along the north boundary Joshua 18:24 where the name is given as Gaba. During the wars of the earlier part of the reign of Saul, Geba was held as a garrison by the Philistines I Samuel 13:3, but they were ejected by Jonathan. It is now the modern village of Jeba , which stands picturesquely on the top of its steep terraced hill, six miles north of Jerusalem, on the very edge of the great Wady Suweinit , looking northward to the opposite village of ancient Michmash, which also retains its old name of Mukhmas.. Gazer=An ancient city of Canaan, whose king, Hiram or Elam, coming to the assistance of Lachish, was killed with all his people by Joshua Joshua 10:33 and 12:12. It formed one of the landmarks on the north boundary of Ephraim, between the lower Beth-horon and the Mediterranean Joshua 16:3, the western limit of the tribe I Chronicles 7:28. It was allotted with its suburbs to the Kohathite Levites Joshua 21:21 and I Chronicles 6:67, but the original inhabitants were not dispossessed Judges 1:29, and even down to the reign of Solomon the Canaanites were still dwelling there, and paying tribute to Israel I Kings 9:16. It was burned by Pharaoh in Solomon's time I Kings 9:15-17, and given to Solomon's Egyptian wife, and rebuilt by him..
18:9-15 Absalom. Death.
II Samuel 18:9 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. -> And=Notice all the "and(s)" in this verse, meaning much more is transpiring than is being said.
And his head caught hold of the oak=We learned back in I Samuel 14:25-26 that Absalom was very handsome and had a thick mane of hair which weighed approximately 4 pounds when he cut it at the end of the calendar year; now, we see that his thick mane has gotten him into trouble, in that it has now become tangled in the branches of an oak tree, and, he'll be helpless to do anything, but dangle from that tree, until Joab comes along and kills him. I Guess it had been better for him had he: (1) not been so tall a man; and (2) not engaged this war until he had gotten a hair-cut first.
Think of the precarious nature of Absalom's situation, here he is hanging from this tree, still alive; but, unable to do anything about his predicament, except hang there defenseless. Had he listened to Ahithophel instead of Hushai, he'd still be safe and sound back in Jerusalem, while Ahithophel would be out here in the wood hunting down David. But, of course, that would also then take Father out of the equation, and we cannot do that, for this is His victory over one who though to dethrone His anointed, just as it is His plan that at the end of this Age of Flesh, satan will come pretending and claiming to be christ, and will deceive many; then, and, only then, will the True Bride-Groom arrive to take His Bride, and at His arrival will we all be changed from our flesh body's, back into our spiritual body's - our natural body.
II Samuel 18:10 And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak.” -> One of David's men happened upon Absalom, who, then quickly goes and finds his General Joab and tells him of his find.
II Samuel 18:11 And Joab said unto the man that told him, “And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle.” -> Upon hearing of Absalom being defenseless and dangling in a tree, Joab immediately asks the man if he killed Absalom when he found him. This man, being no fool, remembers, and tells Joab he remembers, hearing the king say in the ears of his entire army, to deal gently; or, not to kill Absalom.
Joab doesn't care what his uncle - the king, said. The next thing he tells the man, is, that, he'd have given the man a certain amount of money and an armour girdle, had he finished Absalom off while he was hanging there.
Girdle=A common present for the time, made of silk, linen, or leather, and also sometimes worked in gold, which was used as a piece of armour and also for fastening up loose garments.
II Samuel 18:12 And the man said unto Joab, “Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.’ -> Again, being nobody's fool, the man replies that, even had Joab offered him one hundred times the amount he offered him, he still wouldn't have gone against the king's decree.
What a horrendously difficult quandary for a military leader to put one of his troops in. Here he is telling his subordinate that he would have rewarded the man for killing the king's son - the heir apparent to the throne, when he and the man both know that they both heard the king say that no one better touch, hurt or kill my son.
II Samuel 18:13 Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.” -> The man continues, staying on his course of thought, that, he indeed killed Absalom, who knows what who would have said - except, it was "I" who disobeyed your command king. No, the man did the correct thing when he found Absalom hanging there by his hair, and touched him not; but instead, ran and found his General to tell him of his find. This man knew that there were people who were loyal to the king, and, as such, any secret as to who killed the king's son could not and would not be kept a secret for very long at all. Therefore what good is ten, or, a thousand pieces of silver if the king orders your head to be cut off?
II Samuel 18:14 Then said Joab, “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. -> Joab tells the man that he's through talking with him concerning the ordeal, that, it's now out of his hand, and he then turns and thrusts Absalom through with three darts, or, long clubs with spikes on the end. Joab is a seasoned warrior and he ran Absalom through with these darts; but, as we'll see in the next verse, he hadn't killed when he did so.
18:16 The battle. Return from.
II Samuel 18:15 And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. -> Armour=Under normal circumstances, "armour" is just that - body protection; but, here, it is used of weapons. So, what this is saying, is, that, Joab had ten young men who carried all his weapons, leaving him free from having to carry them, in order that he could, quickly, if need be, engage in combat. They set the General's weapons down and joined him in slaying Absalom, so as to not let their General take a fall alone.
David as this stage, is, now, 57, Absalom is 24 and no-more, and his younger Solomon - the next king of Israel, is 7.
II Samuel 18:16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the People returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the People. -> After killing Absalom, Joab had his trumpet bearer sound the signal for his troops to stop their pursuit of Absalom's army and return to their camp. The Civil War is now ended.
18:17-18 Absalom. Burial.
II Samuel 18:17 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. -> A very great heap of stones=Not a memorial to honor; but, a heap of stones to warn, such as Joshua did with Achan in Joshua 7 and to the king of Ai in Joshua 9.
Cast him into a great pit=Seeing's how Absalom is our type for our adversary satan and we know that at the end of this Age, after he has deceived to vast majority of the people who have not yet returned Home to Father, our Lord Jesus, then returns, and, as we can read and learn from Revelation 20, satan is then cast into the great abyss for the majority of the 1,000 Millennium, of which he is only let loose at the end to again deceive who he can and then he and they are cast into the Lake of Fire - and are no more.
II Samuel 18:18 (Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance:” and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place.) -> I have no son=First off, notice parenthesis in this verse, meaning it was added in, almost as an afterthought. Now, we read and learned back in II Samuel 14:27 that Absalom indeed did have a son, not only one; but, three sons and his daughter Tamar, whom he named after his sister. So, the reasoning for the statement "I have no son" varies from scholar to scholar, with some saying the statement was made when Absalom had the pillar built and erected before he had any sons, some say it was built and erected after his sons maybe were killed, and some say that maybe he had it done with the thought that "should my sons die." Either way, all three of his sons died before they were old enough to have children of their own.
Absalom's place=Absalom had his pillar carved and then later placed it in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which was approximately 1 mile east of Jerusalem, many of us can more readily identify this valley by its other name - the Kidron Valley. Not the ending for his life he had intended or imagined - he obviously had far greater designs for himself and his place in history. Anyway, this is where he had planned for his burial; but, as we just read, his burial place was far from this monument, in under a pile of stones instead.
18:19-19:8 Mahanaim. David. Report to.
18:19-19:8 MAHANAIM. REPORT. (Division.)
18:19-33 Sorrow indulged.
18:19-33 SORROW INDULGED. (Alternation.)
18:19-23 Tidings borne.
18:19-23 TIDINGS BORNE. (Extended Alternation.)
18:19 Request (Cushi).
II Samuel 18:19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, “Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies.” -> After all David's army returned to camp, Ahimaaz then asked Joab if it could be he who could go to Mahanaim and tell David of the good news concerning Absalom's death and the end of the revolt.
Avenged of his enemies=The main enemy here in this instance was David's own son Absalom, of course, he also drew many with him when he sent out his spies to declare that he now was the reigning king in Jerusalem. Don't forget though brethren as to why all this came about - it all started with and because of David's adulterous affair with Bath-sheba and then the murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite. Because of those two events, and David's reluctance to punish Amnon for the rape of his daughter - Amnon's own sister, Absalom had to step in and carry-out Father's law, and slay his own step-brother, again David here too was at fault as, instead of looking at what Absalom did as being correct - which it was - David instead looked at Absalom as being in the wrong, and considered what he did as murder and he more or less, punished Absalom. But this too was part of Father's prophesied punishment on David for his adulterous affair and then Uriah's murder.
II Samuel 18:20 And Joab said unto him, “Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead.” -> Tidings=There are several different words in Father's Word in the original manuscripts for this word "tidings," one means - an announcement, one means - a news report, and as is the case here, it's meant to bring forth good or glad news. So, with that being said, there then can be several different ways to looking at this verse: either, what Ahimaaz is asking and Joab is denying, is for Ahimaaz to go and report the good news of the civil War being ended and of Absalom's death, of which David wouldn't consider Absalom's death being good news, so he isn't allowing him to go; or, that, Joab didn't want Ahimaaz the High Priest's son telling David, that, he wanted Cushi to tell David the way Joab wanted it told him. I think Joab feared Ahimaaz would "rat him out" and he therefore wanted it explained to where it was told David that Absalom died by accident, while at the same time letting him know that the rebellion has been put down. We'll see this is pretty much the case as we read further along in this chapter. I think that Joab knowing that David would not consider Absalom's death good news - especially since he issued the order to "deal gently for my sake with the young man," he, would however, like to hear that the Civil War is over, but, not both bits of news on the same day.
II Samuel 18:21 Then said Joab to Cushi, “Go tell the king what thou hast seen.” And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran. -> Cushi=As we investigate this name "Cushi" we find in the Strong's Concordance, it is Hebrew word number H3569 and is derived from H3568 which has two separate and distinct origins: (1) a descendant of Cush, who was a son of Ham - Noah's son, and (2) Ethiopia. This Cushi is only mentioned here in the chapter, therefore, I do not believe he is descended from Cush; but, is a foreigner or sojourner, therefore Joab is using this foreigner to tell David the bad news of his son's death and will, as we'll read in a minute, Ahimaaz to then bring David "good tidings" of the Civil War being ended.
18:22 Request (Ahimaaz).
II Samuel 18:22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, “But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi.” And Joab said, “Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?” -> So after Joab sent Cushi to tell David the news, Ahimaaz again comes to him seeking permission to go to David and bring him news of the war being ended. Again, Joab asks him why he thinks he needs to go, as Cushi has already gone with the news?
II Samuel 18:23 “But howsoever,” said he, “let me run.” And he said unto him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi. -> Ahimaaz presses on and finally Joab relents and tells him he may indeed go back to David. Ahimaaz either was an extremely fast runner, or, he knew a shortcut, either way, as we'll see, he gets to Mahanaim much faster than Cushi.
19:24 David’s seat.
18:24-32 Tidings delivered.
18:24-32 TIDINGS DELIVERED. (Alternation.)
18:24-25 The first runner.
II Samuel 18:24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone. -> Back in Mahanaim, which is now were we are, David is sitting in the area between the outer and inner city gate waiting to hear any news from the battlefront, when the watchmen announces that he sees someone running toward Mahanaim. It appears to be a man, and, he appears to be alone. Of course, the man he sees, is, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son.
II Samuel 18:25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, “If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth.” And he came apace, and drew near. -> After the watchman told David that a runner or, messenger was coming to them with news, David then replies that if the man is by himself, then, he most likely is bringing good news concerning the happenings on the front. Most likely, David's thought process is that, had it been many men running, that would most likely mean either his men were getting bested by the Army of Israel, and therefore, fleeing the battlefield, or, maybe his men had already been defeated and the Israelite Army was now coming to capture or kill him.
18:26 The second runner.
II Samuel 18:26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, “Behold another man running alone.” And the king said, “He also bringeth tidings.” -> David no sooner finishes telling the watchman that if it's one runner, then he is most likely bringing good news, when, the watchman then calls down to the gate, or, door keeper that he sees another man running toward them. David, again, figuring that if the runner is singular, in other words, not part of a large group of runners, then, he too must be bringing good news, and most likely, it's the same news, only two different messengers are bringing it.
18:27-30 Name of first, Ahimaaz.
II Samuel 18:27 And the watchman said, “Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.” -> Me thinketh=Obviously, Ahimaaz was well known, and, obviously also, Ahimaaz was known for being a fast runner and people had watched him run before; because, that watchman rightfully identified him as being the first, or, closest of the two runners.
David yet again is thinking that since it is the priest - Ahimaaz, who is bringing good news concerning the battlefront, the Civil War must now be over.
II Samuel 18:28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, “All is well.” And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, “Blessed be the LORD thy God, Which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.” -> All is well=This is a word most everybody is familiar with - "shalom." That is all Ahimaaz can utter before collapsing at the king's feet, then, once he gets his breath back, he continues by telling David "blessed be YHVH for bringing about the defeat of Absalom and his army. Some codices, notably, three early printed editions change, or, reverse the order of the phrase, making it read - "YHVH thy God be blessed."
II Samuel 18:29 And the king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king's servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.” -> After Ahimaaz finishes telling David that the war is ended, David then asks the question most pressing on his mind - "is Absalom, my son, still living and unharmed?" Notice David's concern isn't for Israel - for hearing that the Israelite Army lost 20,000 soldiers that day, and of course we don't know how many of David's soldiers were killed and he doesn't ask about them; but, for his rebellious son, the very one who is trying to kill and over-throw him. Ahimaaz, replies that when Joab sent he and Cushi--who is still on the way--there was a commotion, but, he really couldn't tell the king what that commotion was. Notice in this statement by Ahimaaz, that, though he pressed Joab hard to allow him to come and tell David of what happened; now, he is backing off or, backing down from wanting to be the one who tells David that his boy is dead. Why this change? because, Ahimaaz was observant and he paid attention to David's first words and concern - "Is the young man Absalom safe?" He now knew that Joab was correct, that David would not be pleased to hear of Absalom's passing, so, he held his tongue and side-stepped the question.
II Samuel 18:30 And the king said unto him, “Turn aside, and stand here.” And he turned aside, and stood still. -> David doesn't dismiss Ahimaaz, he instead tells him to stay there; but, to stand to the side to wait with him until Cushi arrives with what news he has of the battlefront.
18:31-32 Name of second, Cushi.
II Samuel 18:31 And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, “Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.” -> Cushi arrives and the first thing out of his mouth is "tidings" or, good news king. YHVH has avenged you of "all them" or, those who rose up against you, of course we know that this "all them" includes Absalom, David is about to find this out as well.
II Samuel 18:32 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.” -> After Cushi finishes telling David that "all them" have been defeated, David presses Cushi, the same as he pressed Ahimaaz - "tell me, is my son Absalom still alive and unharmed?" Cushi gives the king a non-direct answer - "all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is"=In other words, he and many of those that were with him in his rebellion are dead.
19:33 David’s lamentation.
II Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” -> David weeps for his son; but, no mention is made of his weeping for the sons of Israel who also lost their lives. This was truly one of David's weakest moments in his life, he had thousands of men risk their lives for the sake of protecting him from his son, yet, all David's thoughts are not with the dead that gave their life to protect his, but for this no-good, worthless, lying son who even lay his concubines. Father gave David the victory when the odds were all stacked against him. David commanded his men, "Don't touch my son," yet, in the end, it was an oak tree that hung Absalom. When Absalom was riding his ass trying to hi-tail wood, his hair tangled in the branches of that tree, and the ass kept right on going, while Absalom dangled there by his hair.
If a leader - be that leader a General or a king, desires to be respected by his troops, they do not cry for the enemy as David did here for his son – how fitting though, that just the other day, as I was driving on the interstate, I saw a stickered decal on the back of a Semi-Tractor Trailer which read to the effect: “We support our Troops all the time and everywhere they go; we give NO QUARTER to the enemy no how, no way.” Father's nature and human nature are not the same, for human nature is the law of survival. David at this time was a leader who was caught up in his own troubles and simply was not facing reality. His emotions were running high, and deep down he knew that it was because of his own sin that Father allowed all these things to happen to those members of his own family. David's daughter was raped by his son, and that son was rightfully killed by another of David’s sons – Tamar’s brother. Trouble even came when David's sister's sister in law was raped by Amasa, the foreigner who took command of Absalom's army. A revolt within his own household, and even ten of his wives were seduced by Absalom his son. Remember that God told him through Nathan the prophet that it would all come to pass, and David watched as these prophesies took place before his eyes.
The short-lived sin of pleasure with Bathsheba cost David a lot, and now it has devastated his entire family. Even with Absalom playing the role of king, David still loved Absalom, and now it is all over. David has lived through it all. The son didn't suffer because of the father's sin, for Absalom had enough sin to get himself exactly what he deserved. The point is; that, Father pulled His protective hand off of David's family when he murdered Uriah, and He allowed David to pass judgment on himself. It is a sobering thing, to have God pull His protective hand off your family, whether it was in David's time, or in our generation today.