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II Samuel Chapter 15

Memory verses for this week:  Prov 12:22  Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.


I.              Absalom Begins His Rebellion

2 Sam 15:1  And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

2 Sam 15:2  And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

2 Sam 15:3  And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.

2 Sam 15:4  Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!

2 Sam 15:5  And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

2 Sam 15:6  And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Though Absalom was not on the best of terms with his father, he began to make himself very visible before the nation.    He gathered to himself pomp and circumstance.   He would make himself visible early in the morning to appear diligent.   As citizens came to Jerusalem to have the king adjudicate a dispute, Absalom would seek to intercept them and offer his services.     He implied that the king was too busy or was uninterested and that he would help them.    It is clear from the context to follow that Absalom was actively seeking to deflect loyalty from the king to himself.  

In verse 4, this disloyal son of David made clear to any who would listen that he aspired to be a judge in the land.   If he were in leadership, he would see that justice was done.   Not only was he ambitious, but he also was actively undermining his father’s leadership.  Absalom was clearly “politicking” among the nation.

 In a kingdom, he could not run for office. Therefore, he deviously and unrighteously sought to undermine the king, his own father, in the hope that he might someday take over.

II.  Absalom's Conspiracy

2 Sam 15:7  And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.

2 Sam 15:8  For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.

2 Sam 15:9  And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.

2 Sam 15:10  But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.

2 Sam 15:11  And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.

2 Sam 15:12  And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Absalom came to the king with a request to go to Hebron to fulfill a vow. However, as the story will continue to unfold, this was but a ruse.  The forty years likely refers to the fortieth birthday of Absalom.   Absalom portrayed himself as pious, claiming he had made a vow to serve God while    in Geshur if the Lord allowed him to return to Jerusalem.   Absalom requested permission to leave.  The king consented saying ”Go in peace.”  Absalom arose, and  went to Hebron which is a town located to the south of Jerusalem in the Judean highlands.  

The lack of integrity in Absalom is evident beginning in verse 10.   His plan was to overthrow his father the king.   His treachery was thorough. He had sent word throughout Israel indicating that he planned to lead his revolt from Hebron.   The reference to the “sound of the trumpet” was the major means of signaling of that day.   Absalom’s craftiness was also apparent. He invited two-hundred men to go with him to Hebron.   Though these men knew nothing of his plot, their presence with him gave the appearance of strength for those who were sympathetic to his revolt.   Absalom sought to enlist one of his father’s chief advisors in Ahithophel.   Absalom evidently knew that Ahithophel was not altogether loyal to David.   The reason is of note. Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba and undoubtedly knew the whole story of what David had done to Uriah. See II Samuel 11:3 and 23:34.

2 Sam 11:3  And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?


2 Sam 23:22  These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.

2 Sam 23:23  He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.

2 Sam 23:24  Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 

With such a notable name as Ahithophel on his side, Absalom added credibility to his revolt.   The scripture declares “the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.”    

III.  David Leaves Jerusalem

2 Sam 15:13  And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.

2 Sam 15:14  And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.

2 Sam 15:15  And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.

2 Sam 15:16  And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.

2 Sam 15:17  And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.

2 Sam 15:18  And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king. 

The word translated tarried (dme amad) also has the sense to ‘stand’ which likely is the case.   The thought is how that David stood or was headed toward a distant destination.   The Cherethites, Pelethites, and Gittites were the mercenary palace guard which David had hired.   Their loyalty was through their paycheck and not subject to the winds of politics which were swirling about Jerusalem.  They all were Philistines by nationality.  

David and the six-hundred men of his palace guard prepared to depart from Jerusalem.   David headed east toward a distant destination.  

2 Sam 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.

2 Sam 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.

2 Sam 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.

2 Sam 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.

2 Sam 15:23  And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

2 Sam 15:24  And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.

 Record is made of the meeting of David and Ittai.   Ittai evidently was the commander of David’s palace guard.   He was a Gittite or from Gath. He was not an Israelite.   David counseled him to stay in Jerusalem and join himself to Absalom the newly self-proclaimed king.    It seems that Ittai had just returned with his men from an expedition.   David urged that rather than face the ardors of becoming fugitives that they acquiesce to Absalom.   He put his blessing upon such a decision.   Though the king’s arrogant ambitious son was not loyal to the king, Ittai was.  He pledged his allegiance to David wherever he might be and in whatever circumstance occurred.    David accepted Ittai’s allegiance and loyalty and directed him to pass over on the journey with him.   Ittai brought his forces and their families with them.

 In verse 23, we find David with his entourage of family, loyal supporters, and his palace guard beginning their flight at the brook Kidron.   The brook Kidron was located in the steep valley just to the east of Jerusalem which separated the city from the Mount of Olives.  It was more or less the city limits of Jerusalem in that day.     It is clear in this verse that the priesthood and Levites cast their lot with David.   They prepared the ark of the covenant for travel and proceeded to bare it upon their shoulders to travel with David.    As the procession of David’s supporters began to move out, the Levites paused and set the ark down while Abiathar and Zadok, both priests, went ahead to consult with David.


IV.  David Sends Back the Ark 

2 Sam 15:25  And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation:

2 Sam 15:26  But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.

2 Sam 15:27  The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.

2 Sam 15:28  See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.

2 Sam 15:29  Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.

2 Sam 15:30  And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.


David urged Zadok and the priests and Levites to take the Ark back to Jerusalem to its proper place.   As far as David was concerned, if the Lord viewed him favorably, He would bring David back to Jerusalem and the ark.    David’s thought is that if God was pleased with him, then He would do to him as He saw fit.   David told Zadok that he was like a prophet (seer) and could wisely discern.   He directed the priests and Levites to return to the city.  He would seek refuge in the wilderness until such time as Zadok sent word it was safe to return.  

Verse 30 records their flight as they got underway, the full force of what was happening began to descend upon David.   What a pitiful procession that must have been.    The king of Israel with his loyal supporters were forced to flee up the slopes of the Mount of Olives immediately to the east of the city.    They all were weeping with their heads covered.   The covering of the head was a middle-eastern symbol of mourning.   David moreover went barefoot, further showing his humiliation.   As they went, more bad news arrived.  

Ahithophel had been one of David’s chief advisors. Its now known he too had turned against his king.    David could therefore only pray to God and ask that God would see to it that the counsel of Ahithophel would be turned to foolishness.   As events would come to pass, that is exactly what happened.  

2 Sam 17:14  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 Sam 17:23  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. 

The third installment of David’s bitter harvest was arriving. He had sown to the flesh in the matter of Bathsheba. Now he was of the flesh reaping corruption.    Tamar, his daughter, had been violated.   Amnon, his son, had been murdered for his crime.   And now, Absalom had forced him off his own throne.   The bitter harvest of sin always comes. It is always later. And, it always is more than    was originally sown.   David was now reaping more of that bitter harvest.


V.  David Prays Against Ahithophel's Counsel

2 Sam 15:31  And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.

2 Sam 15:32  And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:

2 Sam 15:33  Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:

2 Sam 15:34  But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.

2 Sam 15:35  And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.

2 Sam 15:36  Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok's son, and Jonathan Abiathar's son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.

2 Sam 15:37  So Hushai David's friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

 As David and his procession reached the top of the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Jerusalem below and to the west, another loyal follower of David, Hushai caught up to him in obvious contrition.   He came to follow after David.     In verse 33, David had other plans for Hushai.    Hushai evidently was up in years.   He would be just another dependent of whom David would have to take care.   Though David had his tail between his legs, he still had the savvy as an old warrior.   David directed him to return and feign himself loyal to Absalom that he might neutralize the counsel and advice of Ahithophel.  

David knew both men to be sharp. In having Hushai in Jerusalem, he could count         upon him to thwart Ahithophel’s advice which David knew would be sound.    Furthermore, David informed Hushai that he would have allies in the priesthood and Levites.   As he gathered information at Absalom’s court, he could relay that to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, who in turn would send it on to David through their sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathon.   Of note is that Hushai is called David’s friend. That certainly would prove so in the days to come. Moreover, at that same approximate time, Absalom entered Jerusalem.   It is clear that David had not left any too soon. His rebellious son entered the capital city without any opposition.

Conclusion: He who steals ones heart away from another by means of innuendos is the vilest of robbers and especially when professed devotion to God is used as a pretext to carry out the design.  


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 Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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