Second Samuel 18 Commentary
The story of Absalom ends today, and so ends the mutiny that temporarily dethroned David. The ungodly Absalom dies in battle against his own father. Of course, politicians can learn a lot from his patience, his timing, and his strategies. He took 2 years to plan the murder of his brother Amnon. He took 4 years to plan and execute an uprising that saw his father temporarily vacate the throne.
Others will look back and regret the loss of an intelligent operator. But David has lost a son. Yes, unruly and murderous but still a son.
We really don’t know what to make of Absalom’s life. Happy? Yes. A career of crime and wickedness has come to an end. Absalom is dangerously ambitious. The world is safer without this level of ambition, wickedness, and intelligence. Sad? Yes. A life so full of promise has vanished even before it begins.
These emotions are for mortals; heaven doesn’t have them. Absalom deserves his punishment for dishonoring his father. He cut down the length of his own lifespan by dishonoring his own father. There is a law regarding his behavior and there is strict enforcement for it. We cannot escape. The chapter invites us to reflect on the law of the LORD and how it comes to bear on humans. Whether completely ignored or only partially appreciated, or fully understood and loved, the law has the last laugh. Your word, O LORD, is everlasting; it is firmly fixed in the heavens. Psalms 119 verse 89.
Joab is a ruthless soldier but he is not responsible for Absalom’s death. David has survived the mutiny but it’s not Hushai’s advice that is responsible. All of these things are happening here because the word of the LORD has decided. David is in this place because of chapter 11 of this book. Absalom is here because of Exodus 20 verse 12.
And when the books are opened at the final judgment, a normal moment of entertainment shall convict some because the big book calls it adultery. The admired politics of Absalom may be called by different names in study books but the big book called it sin and Absalom was judged accordingly. It is not what the world calls it that matters, but what the big book calls it.
The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!” Uriah’s father must have wept this way. Uriah’s children probably still wept at each anniversary, year by year. This trouble for David served a purpose by reminding him of the pain of loss suffered by others.
At times the LORD allows trouble on our heads to help us appreciate the trouble others have gone through because of our sins against them. At this point, you are a very good teacher. “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” Psalm 51 verse 13.
It is always a good ending when sinners turn back to the LORD as a consequence of such experiences. I guess that is the reason for these writings.
More resources visit http://www.lovingscripture.com