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And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside and stood still.
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.
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.
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
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
David experienced the happy effects of his faith and piety; for it pleased God to encourage many faithful subjects and brave soldiers to espouse his cause, and they resorted to him from all quarters, so that in a few days he had a powerful army to resist Absalom and his rebellious followers. Provisions also were brought to him in abundance, by persons of the greatest distinction throughout all the regions round about.
Shobi was that son of Nahash who is supposed to have been made viceroy of Rabbah by David. Machir was the person who had maintained Mephibosheth; he seems to have been a man of a most benevolent disposition, ready at all times to succour men in distress. Barzillai was a worthy man, who also knew the best use to which riches can be applied.
As Absalom was bent on his impious and rebellious scheme of establishing himself on the throne by the murder of his venerable parent, David was under a necessity
of using means for his own security: he could not sacrifice his friends to the impetuous rage of a head-strong young man; neither could he, consistently with honour and religion, desert the throne to which he had been raised by the immediate appointment of God, and the universal consent of the people. He was the LORD's anointed, and as such he bore the sword of justice, with which it was his duty to chastise sedition and rebellion, even in the person of his own son. His forces are supposed to have amounted to 4000 men. Unwilling to spill the blood of his subjects, or draw his sword against a rebellious son, David yielded to the intreaties of his servants, and did not go forth with his troops. There is no doubt but that the pious king seized this opportunity of entreating the LORD to complete his deliverance, for his psms abound with sentiments adapted to such an occasion.
The excessive tenderness which David expressed for Absalom shews his character in a most amiable light; he was willing to impute his rashness to youth and inexperience, therefore he intreated his generals and captains to spare Absalom for his sake, hoping that he would reform.
Notwithstanding the superiority of the rebel army, and the restraint which David's kind commands, in favour of Absalom, had laid upon his party, this wicked son could not escape the punishment due to such unparalleled crimes; the justice of GoD overtook him; and his hair, which had been his ornament and pride, became instrumental to his destruction: he was consigned of God to that very punishment to which the law condemned traitors and parricides, viz. hanging on a tree.
Joab was of a very impetuous temper, and knowing the good consequences that were likely to ensue, notwithstanding the king's commands to the contrary, he determined
determined to pierce the rebellious heart of this unnatural son; and the soldiers finding that Absalom was dead, shewed their detestation of his crime, by throwing stones on his carcase.
While the two armies were engaged, the poor king sat in the gate, equally dreading a victory or defeat: at length Ahimaaz and Cushi were discerned by the watchman. David flattered himself that their intelligence was of the most pleasing kind, and we find Ahimaaz evaded the telling him immediately of the death of Absalom; but when Cushi arrived, David's fears were confirmed. His lamentation needs no comment. It is impossible for any words to be more expressive of the grief of a tender parent, for the untimely death of a wicked son, who was cut off in the midst of his sinful course. Who can read it without feeling a sympathetic concern for the sorrows of this truly affectionate father, and a detestation of the crimes of the son? May the fate of Absalom be a warning to all disobedient youths, who with unfeeling ingratitude rend the hearts of those that have a right to their kindest attention; for they may regard it as a certainty, that God will punish them for such unnatural wickedness, in an exemplary manner.
JOAB REPROVETH THE KING.
DAVID CEASETH TO MOURN FOR ABSALOM.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. xix.
AND it was told Joab, Behold the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.
And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.
And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons, and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives: In that thou lovest thine enemies and hatest thy friends; for thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes, nor servants; for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.
Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night; and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.
Then the king rose, and sat in the gate: and they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate: and all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.
And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines, and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.
And Absalom whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle: now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back? And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back VOL. II. F
to his house? (seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.) EsYe are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king? And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? Gop do so to me and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.na elli vui us
And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou and all thy servants. ...So the king returned, and came to Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Joab, knowing that if David abandoned himself to sorrow, and the ardour of the people was suffered to abate, many bad consequences might ensue, resolved. to expostulate with him: had he done this with tenderness and delicacy, he would have acted a prudent and a friendly part; but Joab had a heart steeled to all the delicate feelings of humanity, he therefore could make no allowance for one whose mind was habituated to the tenderest sensibility. Nothing could be more insolent than Joab's address to his sovereign; however it was not a time for David to express displeasure, and he immediately acquiesced with his desire.
David had many friends amongst the tribes of Israel, who, as soon as they heard that Absalom was dead, endeavoured to persuade the rest to return to their duty; which they did with as much zeal as they had but a short time before rushed into rebellion; their only contention now was, which tribe should most signalize their loyalty and