IF YOU MISSED OUR LAST CHAPTER, DAVID'S SON AMNON RAPED HIS STEP-SISTER TAMAR AND (AFTER TWO YEARS OF DAVID DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT) HER BROTHER ABSALOM KILLED HIM FOR IT, BEFORE SKARPERING OFF TO HIS MOTHER'S RELOS. AND DAVID IS ANGRY AT HIM.
OVERTHROW (2 SAM 14-17)
Joab (David’s Military General) knew that David couldn’t stop thinking about his son Absalom, so he sent someone to bring the wise woman from Tekoa to him, and when she arrived Joab told her, “Put on funeral clothes and don’t use any makeup or perfume today. Go to the King and pretend you have spent a long time mourning the death of a loved one.”
Then he told her what to say.
JOAB IS SECRETLY LOYAL TO ABSALOM AND AND TRYING TO GET HIM BACK TO YERUSHALIM, NEARER TO THE THRONE TO PREPARE FOR THE DAY THAT DAVID MUST TURN OVER POWER TO HIS SUCCESSOR. YISHARAL WAS PROBABLY BEHIND ABSALOM NOW WITH AMNON DEAD. THEY WOULD HAVE HEARD WHAT AMNON HAD DONE TO TAMAR, AND PROBABLY ADMIRED ABSALOM's BACK-BONE FOR DOING HIS DUTY AS THE BLOOD-AVENGER.
So the wise woman from Tekoa went to David and, falling on her face she said, “My King, please deliver me!”
“What’s your trouble?”
“My husband is dead, and I’m a widow. I had two sons, but they got into a fight out in a field where there was no one to pull them apart, and one of them killed the other. Now all of my relatives have come to me saying, 'Hand over your son! We’re going to put him to death for killing his brother.' But what they really want is to get rid of him, so they can take over our land. Please don’t let them put out my only flame of hope! There won’t be anyone left on this earth to carry on my husband’s name”. (REMEMBER THE AFTERLIFE BELIEF WHERE THE SONS KEPT THE ESSENCE OF THEIR FATHER ALIVE AFTER HIS DEATH).
“Go on home, and I’ll take care of this matter for you.”
“I hope your decision doesn’t cause any problems for you my King. Please put all the blame on me and my family.”
“No that's fine, but if anyone gives you anymore trouble, bring them to me, and I’ll make sure it never happens again!”
“Please swear by Yahuah your Alahim that no one will be allowed to kill my son in blood avenging!”
“As Yahuah lives, no one will even touch a hair on his head!”
DOES THIS `HYPOTHETICAL' TALE SOUND FAMILIAR? DAVID BASICALLY SENTENCED HIS OWN SON WITHOUT REALISING IT, SAYING “NOT ONE OF YOUR SON’S HAIRS WILL FALL TO THE GROUND” - YET IT WON’T BE LONG BEFORE ABSALOM, THE ONE WHO IS BEING COMPARED TO THIS SURVIVING SON, WILL BE CAUGHT BY HIS HEAD OF LAVISH HAIR IN A TREE AND KILLED. WAS DAVID RIGHT TO OFFER THAT WIDOW MERCY FOR HER SON WHEN THE TORAH DEMANDS BLOOD FOR BLOOD? THE LAW OF MOSES GIVES NO CHOICE BUT THAT A PERSON WHO MURDERS IS TO BE HANDED OVER TO THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM CALLED 'THE CURSE OF THE LAW' AND EXECUTED. THE CIRCUMSTANCE SIMPLY DOESN’T MATTER. SO DAVID WAS WRONG. HE COMMITTED YET ANOTHER TERRIBLE SIN, WHICH OF COURSE WOULD LEAD TO MORE DEATH AND VIOLENCE WITHIN HIS FAMILY, AND IT WOULD PUSH THE NATION OF YISHARAL TOWARDS SLIDING DOWN A SLIPPERY SLOPE INTO YAHUAH’S WRATH.
“My King, may I say something?” the woman said,
"Why don't you handle your own matters as easily as you just did mine? Your own son has left the country, and when you just judged in my favour, it was the same as admitting that you should bring your own son back home. We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground. But Alahim doesn’t take our lives. Instead, He figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away. My King, I came here to tell you about my problem, because I was afraid of what someone might do to me. I decided to come to you, because I thought you could help. In fact, I knew that you would listen and deliver my son and I from those who want to take the land that Alahim gave us. I can rest easy now that you have given your decision. You know the difference between right and wrong just like a messenger from Alahim, and I pray that Yahuah your Alahim will be with you".
“Thankyou ... but now I’m going to ask you a question, and please don’t try to hide the truth!”
“Yes my King.”
“Did my General Joab put you up to all this?”
“My King, I swear by your life that no one can hide the truth from you. Yes, Joab did tell me what to say, but only to show you the other side of this problem. You must be as wise as a Messenger of Alahim to know everything that goes on in this country.”
Then David turned to Joab, “Well it loks like I've already given my decision. Go and bring Absalom back home.”
And Joab bowed down and said,“My King, I thank you for giving your permission and listening to my council. It shows that you approve of me.”
And Joab went to Geshur to get Absalom. But when they arrived back in Yerushalim, David told Joab, “I don’t want to see my son Absalom, so tell him to stay away from me.” And Absalom went to his own house without seeing his father.
EVEN THOUGH DAVID WAS GOING TO ALLOW ABSALOM TO RETURN WITHOUT PROSECUTION FOR AMNON’S MURDER, THERE WOULD STILL BE A CONSEQUENCE: ABSALOM WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO LIVE IN DAVID’S PALACE OR BE IN DAVID’S PRESENCE. THIS WAS AN ANCIENT FORM OF HOUSE-ARREST.
Absalom was a Hunky-Hot Dish !
And no one in all Yisharal was as handsome and well-built as Absalom and from the top of his head to the tip of his toe there was not one blemish. He only got his hair cut once a year, and when the hair was weighed, it came to about five pounds (THAT'S HEAVY!!) Absalom had three sons. He also had a daughter named Tamar, who grew up to be very beautiful too.
WE NOW SEE ABSALOM’S VIOLENT AND NARCISSISTIC NATURE AND WE FIND THAT THE MAIN FEATURE THAT ATTRACTED THE MASSES TO HIM (AND THE ONE THAT HE USED TO HIS ADVANTAGE) WAS HIS HUNKY HOT, HANDSOME APPEARANCE. ABSALOM’S EGO AND SELF-LOVE LED HIM TO ALLOW HIS HAIR TO GROW LONG TO THE POINT THAT HE ONLY CUT IT ONCE A YEAR, AND HE ONLY CUT IT THEN BECAUSE IT WEIGHED HIM DOWN, BEING SO THICK AND HEAVY.
So Absalom lived in Yerushalim for two years without seeing his father. He wanted Joab to talk to David for him, so one day he sent a message asking Joab to come over to his home, but Joab refused. Absalom sent another message, but Joab still refused. Finally, Absalom told his servants, “Joab’s barley field is right next to mine. Go set it on fire!” And they did. So Joab went to Absalom’s house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”
“O' I'VE GOT YOUR ATTENTION NOW HAVE I? YOU MAKING HOUSE CALLS FINALLY? GO AND ASK MY FATHER WHY THE HELL HE TOLD ME TO COME BACK FROM GESHUR IF HE DOESN'T WANT TO SEE ME. I WAS BETTER OFF THERE. I WANT TO SEE MY FATHER NOW! AND IF I’M GUILTY, LET HIM KILL ME.”
So Joab went to David and told him what Absalom had said and David sent for Absalom, who went to his father, bowing very low, and David leaned over and kissed him.
REMEMBER THAT JOAB WAS DAVID’S CHIEF MILITARY COMMANDER AND SECOND-IN-COMMAND OVER ALL YISHARAL, SO IT UNLIKELY THAT DAVID WOULD REFUSE A DIRECT REQUEST BY JOAB FOR ANYTHING. SO DAVID ALLOWS ABSALOM TO COME, WHO SHOWS PROPER HUMILITY AND BOWS BEFORE HIS FATHER, WHEREUPON DAVID KISSES HIM. BUT DON'T THINK THAT THIS WAS THE KISS OF AFFECTION FROM A FATHER THAT'S HAD A CHANGE OF HEART. THIS WAS MERELY A TYPICAL KISS OF COURTESY AS IS CUSTOMARY IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO THIS DAY.
BUT IT DID SERVE TO RELEASE ABSALOM FROM SOMETHING SIMILAR TO HOUSE ARREST, BUT BY NO MEANS WAS A RELATIONSHIP RESTORED. BUT FOR ABSALOM IT WAS ALL HE NEEDED TO SET THE STAGE FOR TREACHERY THAT WOULD CHANGE DAVID’S LIFE FOREVER. DESPITE EVERYTHING THAT HAD GONE ON, AND DESPITE ALL THE HUMAN DECISIONS THAT HAD LED UP TO THIS POINT, YAHUAH’S HAND WAS SQUARELY IN CONTROL OF ALL THAT WOULD LEAD UP TO ABSALOM’S REBELLION, JUST AS DAVID WAS PROMISED: “NOW THEREFORE, THE SWORD WILL NEVER LEAVE YOUR HOUSE, BECAUSE YOU HAVE SHOWN CONTEMPT FOR ME AND TAKEN THE WIFE OF URIYAH THE HITTITE AS YOUR OWN WIFE."
Some time later, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses to pull it, and he had fifty men run in front. He would get up early each morning and wait by the side of the road that led to the city gate, and anyone who had a complaint to bring to King David would have to go that way, so Absalom would ask each of them, “Where are you from?” And if they said, “I’m from a Tribe in the North,” Absalom would say, “You deserve to win your case. It’s too bad the King doesn’t have anyone to hear complaints like yours. I wish someone would make me the judge around here! I would be fair to everyone.”
And whenever anyone would come to Absalom and start bowing down, he would reach out, hug and kiss them. Yes! That’s how he actually treated everyone from Yisharal who came to bring a complaint to the King. He manipulated and stole their hearts, and soon everyone in Yisharal was `drinking the coolade’ preferring Absalom much more than they liked King David.
THE PEOPLE IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES NOT ACCORDING TO A CITY OR VILLAGE, BUT ACCORDING TO A TRIBE, SO ABSALOM PLAYED ON THE CURRENT DYSFUNCTION OF THE COURT SYSTEM, WHICH WAS CHIEF AMONG THE PEOPLE’S COMPLAINTS. PEOPLE JOURNEYED TO YERUSHALIM TO HAVE THEIR CASES HEARD, BUT DAVID HAD BEEN LAZY IN APPOINTING JUDGES TO HEAR THEM. SO THE PEOPLE WERE OFTEN TURNED AWAY FRUSTRATED WITHOUT THEIR CASES EVEN BEING ADDRESSED, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ONE TO DEAL WITH IT. SO ABSALOM ASSURES THE DISGRUNTLED PEOPLE THAT IF HE WERE KING, ALL OF THIS WOULD BE SOLVED SINCE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS TO HIM IS PROPER JUSTICE AND THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE.
ABSALOM WAS CURRENTLY UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR. AFTER YEARS OF PLANNING AND CONNIVING HE WAS FINALLY READY TO TAKE THAT FINAL STEP INTO HIS FATHER’S SHOES AND SO BEGAN ACTING AS THOUGH HE WAS A KING. AND HE DID THAT BY MAKING HIMSELF POPULAR AND HIGHLY VISIBLE TO THE MASSES ... JUST LIKE THE FAKE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS OF TODAY.
Four years later, Absalom said to David, “Please, let me go to Yahuah in Hebron, for I have to keep a promise that I made when I was living with the Arameans in Geshur. I promised that if Yahuah would bring me back to live in Yerushalim, I would worship Him in Hebron.”
REMEMBER DEITIES WERE THOUGHT TO BE TERRITORIAL AND THE CONCEPT THAT A DEITY WAS EVERYWHERE SIMULTANEOUSLY WAS NOT FULLY DEVELOPED YET, EVEN AMONG THE YISHARALITES, SO YAHUAH WAS ONLY WHERE HE HAD SANCTUARIES AND PRIESTS TO SERVE HIM (ONE OF WHICH WAS IN HEBRON).
So David gave his permission, and Absalom went to Hebron, taking two hundred men from Yerushalim with him, but they had no idea what he was going to do. And Absalom offered sacrifices in Hebron and sent someone to Gilo to tell David’s advisor Ahithophel to come.
HEBRON HAD ALOT OF SIGNIFICANCE FOR DAVID’S FAMILY. IT WAS THE CITY WHERE DAVID FIRST BECAME KING, IT WAS WHERE ABSALOM WAS BORN, IT WAS FAR AWAY FROM YERUSHALIM AND OFFERED FORTIFIED FACILITIES, SUCH THAT IF ABSALOM FAILED HE COULD RETREAT THERE. BUT IT WAS ALSO A PLACE ASSOCIATED WITH ABRAHAM AND SO IT CARRIED WITH IT LONG TERM HEBREW TRADITION AND HERITAGE. AN ALTAR TO YAHUAH (THAT ABRAHAM BUILT) STILL REMAINED THERE.
More and more people were joining Absalom and supporting his plot. Meanwhile, Absalom had secretly sent some messengers to the Northern Tribes of Yisharal, telling everyone, “When you hear the sound of the trumpets, you must shout, ‘ABSALOM NOW RULES AS KING IN HEBRON!’”
And a messenger came and told David, “Everyone in Yisharal is now standing with your son Absalom!” David’s officials were in Yerushalim with him, and he told them, “Let’s get out of here! We’ll have to leave soon, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry! If he moves fast, he could catch us while we’re still here. Then he'll kill us and everyone else in the city too.”
The officials said, “Your Majesty, we’ll do whatever you say.”
David left behind ten of his wives to take care of the palace (WOMEN WHOSE HUSBANDS HAD BEEN KILLED IN BATTLE) but the rest of his family and his officials and soldiers went with him, stopping at the last house at the edge of the city. Then David stood there and watched while his regular troops and his bodyguards marched past. The last group was the six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath. And their commander was Ittai.
So David spoke to Ittai and said, “You’re a foreigner from the town of Gath. You don’t have to leave with us. Go back and join the new King! You haven’t been with me a very long time, so why should you have to follow me, when I don’t even know where I’m going? Take your soldiers and go back. I pray that Yahuah’s favour and truth be with you.”
But Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, just as surely as you and Yahuah live, I will go where you go, no matter if it costs me my life.”
“Ok, then come on!” David said. So Ittai and all his men and their families walked on past David.
CHESED (FAVOUR) AND EMETH (TRUTH) AND ALSO SHALOM ARE HEBREW WORDS THAT DESCRIBE A CONDITION OR A STATE OF BEING AND RELATIONSHIP THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM A DIVINE SOURCE.
The people of Yerushalim were crying and moaning as David and everyone with him passed by. He led them across Kidron Valley and along the road toward the desert. Zadok and Abiathar the priests were there along with several men from the Tribe of Levi who were carrying the Ark of the Blood-Covenant. They set the chest down, and left it there until David and his followers had gone out of the city.
DAVID HAD BECOME THE CONSUMMATE POLITICIAN AND PLAYED FAST AND LOOSE WITH THE TORAH COMMANDMENTS AND SO APPARENTLY HE FIGURED THAT IT WOULD BE LESS DIVISIVE AMONG HIS SUBJECTS TO MERELY ADD ZADOK (AS THE PROPER HIGH-PRIEST FROM AARON'S FIRSTBORN) BUT NOT REPLACE ABIATHAR (FROM AARON'S YOUNGER SON ... THE SAME LINE AS ELI ... REMEMBER THE PRIEST-WARS??). SO THE RESULT WAS THAT YISHARAL HAD CO-HIGH PRIESTS AT THIS TIME WHICH KEPT ALL THE TRIBES HAPPY SINCE BOTH WERE LOYAL TO DIFFERENT TRIBES (KING SOLOMON WOULD REMEDY THIS ODD SITUATION A FEW YEARS LATER).
Then David said, "Zadok, take the Ark back to Yerushalim. If Yahuah favours me, He'll bring me back and let me see it and His dwelling place again. But if He says 'I've not delighted in you', then let Him do what's best in His eyes. Zadok, you are a seer and a good judge of things, so return to the city and don’t cause any trouble. Take your son Ahimaaz with you. Abiathar and his son Jonathan will also go back. I’ll wait at the river-crossing in the desert until I hear from you.
So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of the Blood-Covenant back into Yerushalim and stayed there. David went on up the slope of the Mount of Olives. He was barefoot and crying, and he covered his head to show his sorrow. Everyone with him was crying, and they covered their heads too. Then someone told David, “Ahithophel is helping Absalom plot against you!”
And David said, “Please, Yahuah, keep Ahithophel’s plans from working!”And when David reached the top of the Mount of Olives, he met Hushai the Archite at a place of worship. Hushai’s robe was torn, and dust was on his head. David told him, “If you come with me, you might slow us down so go back into the city and tell Absalom, 'Your Majesty, I'm your servant. I will serve you now, just as I served your father in the past'. Hushai, if you do that, you can be a spy and help me ruin Ahithophel’s plans. Zadok and Abiathar the Priests will be there with you, and you can tell them everything you hear in the palace. Then have them send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what you’ve heard”.So David’s advisor Hushai slipped back into Yerushalim, just about the same time that Absalom was coming in.
David had started down the other side of the Mount of Olives, when he was met by Ziba, the chief servant of Mephibosheth. Ziba had two donkeys that were carrying two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred handfuls of raisins, a hundred figs and some wine.
REMEMBER MEPHIBOSHETH, JONATHON'S PARAPLEGIC SON (AND SAUL'S ONLY REMAINING HEIR)? DAVID HAD PLUCKED HIM FROM HIDING OUT IN FEAR IN THE TRANS-JORDAN AND BROUGHT HIM SAFELY TO HIS PALACE, GUARANTEEING HIM SECURITY AND PROSPERITY, SUPPLYING HIS EVERY NEED AND EVEN TURNED OVER SAUL’S CONSIDERABLE ESTATE TO HIM. SO IT WOULD HAVE SEEMED NATURAL FOR MEPHIBOSHETH TO NOW COME TO DAVID IN HIS TIME OF NEED. INSTEAD HERE STANDS ZIBA, SAUL'S 'GENTILE' ESTATE-STEWARD, ARMED WITH A SLANDEROUS STORY ABOUT HIS MASTER MEPHIBOSHETH.
“What’s all this?” David asked.
“The donkeys are for your family to ride. The bread and fruit are for the people to eat, and the wine is for them to drink in the desert when they are tired out.”
“And where is Mephibosheth?” David asked.
“He stayed in Yerushalim, saying 'Finally the House of Yisharal is restoring the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.'”
“Fine then, if that's how he feels after everything I've done for him, then Saul's estates and all that used to belong to Mephibosheth is now yours Ziba.”
“Your Majesty, I'm your humble servant, and hope you will be pleased with me.” Ziba said happily (HE'D LIED ABOUT HIS MASTER MEPHIBOSHETH, WHO WAS ACTUALLY ON HIS WAY TO MEET DAVID, BUT SLOW (BEING LAME) AND ZIBA HAD RUSHED AHEAD TO MEET DAVID WITHOUT HIM).
David was near the town of Bahurim when a man came out and started cursing him. The man was Shimei the son of Gera, and he was one of Saul’s distant relatives. He threw stones at David, at his soldiers, and at everyone else, including the bodyguards who walked on each side of David. Shimei was yelling at David, “GET OUT OF HERE, YOU MURDERER! YOU GOOD-FOR-NOTHING SON OF A BITCH! YAHUAH IS PAYING YOU BACK FOR KILLING SO MANY IN SAUL’S FAMILY. YOU STOLE HIS KINGDOM, BUT NOW YAHUAH HAS GIVEN IT TO YOUR SON ABSALOM. YOU’RE A MURDERER, AND THAT’S WHY YOU’RE REJECTED AND IN BIG TROUBLE!”
Abishai said, “Your Majesty, this man is as useless as a dead dog! He shouldn’t be allowed to curse you like this. Let me go over and chop his head off! That'll shut him up!”
But David replied, “What will I ever do with you and your brother Joab? If Shimei is cursing me because Yahuah has told him to, then who are you to shut him up?”
And David said to Abishai and all his soldiers, “My own son is trying to kill me! Why shouldn’t this man from the Tribe of Benjamin want me dead even more? Let him curse all he wants. Maybe Yahuah did tell him to curse me. But if Yahuah hears these curses and sees the trouble I’m in, maybe He will have pity on me instead”.
And David and the others went on down the road. Shimei went along the hillside by the road, cursing and throwing rocks and dirt at them. When David and those with him came to the Jordan River, they were tired out. But after they rested, they felt much better.
By this time, Absalom, Ahithophel, and the others had reached Yerushalim. David’s friend Hushai came to Absalom and said, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
But Absalom asked Hushai, “Is this how you show loyalty to your friend David? Why didn’t you go with him if you're so loyal?”
“Yahuah and the people of Yisharal have chosen you to be King. I can’t leave. I have to stay and serve the one they’ve chosen. Besides, it seems right for me to serve you, just as I served your father.” Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, “Give us your advice! What should we do?”
“Some of your father’s wives were left here to take care of the palace. You should have sex with them all ...
... Then everyone will find out that you have publicly disgraced your father and you'll be a foul stench in his nostrils. This will make you and your followers even more powerful.”
So Absalom had a tent set up on the flat roof of the palace, and everyone watched as he went into the tent and had sex with his father’s wives.
(Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from Yahuah Himself).
AHITHOPHEL’S PURPOSE IN THIS RATHER BARBARIC ACT WAS FOR ABSALOM TO SO PUBLICALLY INSULT AND MARGINALIZE HIS FATHER THAT THOSE WHO SIDED WITH ABSALOM KNEW THAT NOT THE SLIGHTEST PROSPECT OF RECONCILIATION BETWEEN DAVID AND HIS REBELLIOUS SON EXISTED ANY LONGER. SO THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TO WORRY THAT ABSALOM MIGHT GET COLD FEET ABOUT HIS REBELLION, SEEK FORGIVENESS, AND STAND ASIDE FOR KING DAVID TO RETURN TO POWER BECAUSE IN THAT EVENT IT WOULD MEAN THEIR EXECUTION. NO KING COULD FORGIVE (NOT EVEN HIS OWN SON) FOR SUCH A BLATANT ACT.