2 Samuel 19:1-8 Get a Grip
Absalom is dead and David is devastated by it. He is weeping in an upper room as his men slink back inside the city. Joab confronts him and tells him to get a grip.
David has been exiled from his throne by his son Absalom. He escapes with a number of people and Absalom chases him across Israel. When he is finally far away from Jerusalem, Absalom musters Israel to fight him. David tells his captains to deal gently with Absalom before they leave for battle. The men of David’s army had heard his instructions. But when Absalom was finally within their grasp Joab ran him through with javelins and killed him.
Runners were dispatched to bring David the news. When he heard that Absalom was dead he withdrew and wept for him. This is not the behavior of a king who has just won the battle for his throne. Joab will not let this behavior continue. Let’s join our story and see how Joab deals with this.
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Joab is observing as his men gather the spoil from the battle. As these men were their brother, Israelites, care is being taken with the bodies. Ahimaaz returns to Joab’s side. His face is fallen and he is moving slower than Joab has ever seen him move.
“Did you greet the king” asks Joab.
“And what was his response?”
“As soon as he heard of the death of Absalom, he withdrew from both the Cushite runner and me. He went to the room above the gate and shut the door. But as he withdrew we could hear him crying out for his son. He lamented and even stated he wished he had died in his son’s place. His cries are so great that he can be heard beyond the door.”
“I told you there would be no reward in bringing him this news.”
“I remember. But…” Ahimaaz struggles to find words to express his grief and dismay.
“I will deal with it myself. Help the others.”
Ahimaaz joined in with stripping the bodies and readying them for burial. They would not be left for scavengers to ravage. It would be a mass burial but it was better than nothing from their brothers.
The task took the rest of the day. Bodies that had fallen in dangerous places were left where they were. It was not worth risking another life. When all had been accomplished the soldiers made their way back to the city.
The news of David’s reaction had circulated through the troops throughout the day. No one was looking forward to facing the king. There was no celebrating as they marched back to the city. No singing songs or sharing stories. They came back somber as men who had been defeated or ran from the battle instead of victors. They literally slunk into the city.
Joab was seething as he watched his men’s behavior. “This should be a day of rejoicing” he thinks to himself. Worst still, as they near the city gate David’s cries can be heard faintly coming from a room up above. This set Joab’s teeth on edge.
As soon as Joab cleared the gate he went straight to the room where David was. He didn’t bother to knock or wait to be acknowledged. He began speaking straight away. His voice was not pleasant and his face showed every bit of disgust he felt. “You have today covered with shame the faces of all you servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now” (verses 5b-7).
David stumbled back from where he had been standing and wound up sitting on a stool. Joab’s words struck him soundly and he had no answer for them. Joab spoke the truth. David was ashamed of his behavior. He loved his son Absalom but his people needed his love right now. Absalom was beyond help but his men weren’t.
After a few moments David nodded his head, got up and washed his face, and made his way back down to the gate where he took up his place again.
Joab followed David down the steps and watched as he took his seat. Joab stayed near in case the king needed additional ‘redirecting’ and watched as the people took notice of the king. In no time at all the people began gathering together and came before him. They congratulated him on defeating his enemy. They thanked him for his protection. And they wished him a long life. These were the words they had intended to share with him all along.
David greeted his people warmly and returned their affection with blessings from the Lord. All was as it should be, for now.
(to be continued)
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David’s behavior was beyond belief to his men. I understand his love for his child but his child was IN THE WRONG at this point. I have a feeling that David’s attitude towards his children led directly to Absalom’s behavior. David didn’t discipline his children and that was a BIG part of Absalom’s attitude.
I wonder how different things would have been if David had been a more involved parent. Absalom’s activities with David’s concubines fulfilled one of the punishments God gave David for is sin with Bathsheba. NOT that God orchestrated the rapes but that He knew Absalom’s character.
Father God, help me be a good parent to my children and a good grandmother to my grandchildren. Help me be a good pet owner too. Remind me always to temper discipline with love. And especially to show recognition for right acts.
Thank You Father that You love me enough to discipline me. It’s not always easy but it is best. Help me grow in Your word and in Your ways.