The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Samuel

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2 Samuel 15

2Sa 15:1

2Sa 15: Poss background: was David very ill at this time (cp Psa 41:3,5,8; 55:4; Psa 38; Psa 39)?

CHARIOT AND HORSES... FIFTY MEN: An entourage appropriate to a king!

2Sa 15:4

Beware of pride and political ambition: 'I could do BETTER!' "How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame [dishonor my Glorious One]? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods [lies]?" (Psa 4:2).

2Sa 15:6

HE STOLE THE HEARTS...: "He made them disaffected toward his father, David, and robbed him of their loyalty. It is always wrong to steal a man's possessions, but worse to rob him of his right to be loved" (LR).

2Sa 15:7

FOUR YEARS: Not forty, as KJV. Prob four years after Absalom's return from exile.

AND FULFILL A VOW I MADE TO THE LORD: Wickedness and rebellion under the guise of religion.

2Sa 15:12

AHITHOPHEL: Already a traitor, or so it seems. He was already waiting at Giloh -- near Hebron -- and he came without question. (Note David's laments re Ahithophel: Psa 41; 55.) Poss reason: Bathsheba was Ahithophel's granddaughter (cp 2Sa 11:3 with 2Sa 23:34). Ahithophel's advice: 2Sa 16:21r. Obviously Ahithophel's enmity extended to Bathsheba and her children, for bringing disgrace on the family (BS 9:56,57).

AND SO THE CONSPIRACY GAINED STRENGTH: "O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!" (Psa 3:1). Why? (1) Saul's partisans still remained; (2) the affair of Bathsheba; (3) Joab's crimes; and (4) David's illness, and seeming lack of authority.

2Sa 15:14

David leaves to muster forces, to draw clear lines of division between the two camps, to allow others to join him, to make his position firm in the countryside.

Typ Christ, who withdraws and waits 2,000 years to see who are his true followers.

2Sa 15:16

TEN CONCUBINES TO TAKE CARE OF THE PALACE: Cp 10 virgins to keep watch for the bridegroom's return: Mat 25:1-13. But they do not (or cannot?) wait faithfully for their "husband" to return: 2Sa 16:21,22.

2Sa 15:17

David's flight: see Psa 3; 42/43; 63.

SOME DISTANCE AWAY: On the far outskirts of Jerusalem.

2Sa 15:18

PELETHITES: Prob sons of Peleth, of Judah (1Ch 2:33). They were of general family of Jerahmeelites (1Ch 2:25), who settled on extreme southwest border of Judah (1Sa 27:10). Here, they would be neighbors of the Philistine Cherethites (Zep 2:5; 1Sa 30:14) -- poss the link by which they came to join themselves to Judah and David (BS 10:23).

2Sa 15:19

ITTAI: Who later became a leader of a third of David's army (2Sa 18:2). A Gentile, of Gath, more loyal than David's own son!

2Sa 15:20

YOU CAME ONLY YESTERDAY: Prob a hyperbole: to suggest that Ittai was not a "Hebrew" of long standing.

'Do not become involved in our internal disputes.'

2Sa 15:21

"There is Ruth-like quality [Rth 1:16,17] in this asseveration [serious statement] and there is almost an echo of it in the words of Jesus when he says: 'Where I am, there shall also my servant be' (John 12:26). For all of us, in our coming to Christ, the words of David have a special relevance: 'Thou art a stranger and also an exile: whereas thou camest but yesterday...' Sure we were, outside the commonwealth of Israel, having no hope and without God in the world. And we heard the call of the King. Our hearts took fast hold of the things concerning him and the kingdom, and we forsook our former allegiance. So now, 'in death or life,' in 'what place my Lord the king shall be' we follow, that in the end we might be with him for ever" (TMD 163).

"The most notable of the 600-plus men of Gath was a man named Ittai who with his companions fled with David when Absalom rebelled. Ittai's words to David are quite extraordinary and again reveal how much Ruth's conversion meant to David. Indeed one is inclined to contemplate whether Ruth had still been alive in the early years of David's life and had been involved in his upbringing. David quite evidently had told Ittai of Ruth's words to her mother in law because Ittai's words seem to allude to them. When David suggested that Ittai should return from following him when he fled from Absalom, Ittai 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' " (KC).

So Ittai is really saying, "If David's ancestress, a Moabite, can pledge such allegiance -- loving and absolute -- to the God of Israel and His people, then so can I... even though a Gittite!" And then, even we Aussies and Americans can say: "If Ruth, and Ittai, could say such things -- and do them... then so can I!"

One final lesson: How low David must have been feeling, in fleeing his own city and giving up his throne, upon which Yahweh had placed him! So here we have a newcomer -- one not so long before a "godless" Gittite, a brute beast, so to speak (vv 19,20) -- not only coming with David, but encouraging him with these words... which (in their "Ruth" form) David must have quoted to him!

So the lesson is for all of us: It's good to share our bright and precious hope with others, because -- when we need it most -- one of them might just give it back to us!

2Sa 15:23

THE KING ALSO CROSSED THE KIDRON VALLEY: "David passed that gloomy brook when flying with his mourning company from his traitor son. The man after God's own heart was not exempt from trouble, nay, his life was full of it. He was both the Lord's Anointed, and the Lord's Afflicted. Why then should we expect to escape? At sorrow's gates the noblest of our race have waited with ashes on their heads; wherefore then should we complain as though some strange thing had happened unto us? The King of kings himself was not favoured with a more cheerful or royal road. He passed over the filthy ditch of Kidron, through which the filth of Jerusalem flowed. God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. It is a great joy to believe that Jesus has been tempted in all points like as we are. What is our Kidron this morning? Is it a faithless friend, a sad bereavement, a slanderous reproach, a dark foreboding? The King has passed over all these. Is it bodily pain, poverty, persecution, or contempt? Over each of these Kidrons the King has gone before us. 'In all our afflictions He was afflicted' [Isa 63:9]. The idea of strangeness in our trials must be banished at once and for ever, for he who is the Head of all saints, knows by experience the grief which we think so peculiar" (CHS).

2Sa 15:25

TAKE THE ARK OF GOD BACK INTO THE CITY: God and His ark were to dwell only in Jerusalem (Psa 132:14).

IF I FIND FAVOR IN THE LORD'S EYES: "Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD" (Psa 4:6).

2Sa 15:28

THE FORDS IN THE DESERT: The plain of Jericho, by the ford of Jordan.

2Sa 15:30

BUT DAVID CONTINUED UP THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, WEEPING AS HE WENT: This is to be contrasted with the incident in the gospels: "When [Jesus] came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen" (Luk 19:37).

And then... compared with another incident not much later: "When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it" (John 18:1).

HIS HEAD WAS COVERED: Like a leper: Lev 13:45. Was he ill (vv 5,6)?

2Sa 15:31

O LORD, TURN AHITHOPHEL'S COUNSEL INTO FOOLISHNESS: That is, He made Ahithophel's counsel APPEAR to be foolish -- so that Absalom would not follow it (2Sa 17:14).

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