2Samuel 15

 

2Samuel 15:1–37

Absalom Foments Revolution Against David


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


These exegetical studies are not designed for you to read each and every word. For instance, the Hebrew exegesis is put into greyish tables, so that if you want to skip over them, that is fine. If you question a translation, you can always refer back to the appropriate Hebrew tables to sort it all out.

 

The intent is to make this particular study the most complete and most accurate examination of 2Samuel 15 which is available in writing. The idea is to make every phrase, verse and passage understandable; and to make application of all that is studied.


Outline of Chapter 15:

 

Introduction

 

         vv.     1–6           Absalom Lays the Groundwork for His Populist Revolution

         vv.     7–12         Absalom’s Revolt Begins in Hebron

         vv.    13–17         King David Leaves Jerusalem

         vv.    18–22         King David and His Immigrant Supporters

         vv.    23–29         David Sets up the High Priests to Head His Insurgency Network

         vv.    30–37         God Answers David’s Prayer

 

Addendum


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         The Principals of 2Sam. 15

         Introduction         The Prequel of 2Samuel 15

         Introduction         The Abbreviated David Timeline

         Introduction         Syndein Notes from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s Bible Class

         Introduction         A Synopsis of 2Samuel 15

         Introduction         Alternative Outline from Poole

 

         v.       3              A Summary of the Judicial Problems of the Davidic Court in Jerusalem

         v.       4              True Leadership Versus False Leadership

         v.       5              The Importance of 2Samual 14:33

         v.       6              Guzik on How Absalom Stole the Hearts of the Men of Israel

         v.       8              Why We Know Absalom is Lying

         v.       8              Map of Geshur, Aram

         v.      10              How Can Israel Support Absalom over David?

         v.      10              Guzik on How Israel Became Dissatisfied with David and Allowed Absalom to Steal Their Hearts

         v.      10              How is David a Good King?

         v.      10              How is Absalom Potentially a Lousy King?

         v.      12              The Doctrine of Revolution

         v.      12              The Absalom Revolution

         v.      12              The Citizens of Israel and the Revolution

         v.      13              Clarke’s Reasons Why the People’s Heart was with Absalom

         v.      14              David’s Retreat

         v.      14              God’s Plan for the Believer in National Disaster

         v.      14              Why David Retreats

         v.      14              Map of U.S. bases

         v.      18              Who are the Cherethites and the Pelethites?

         v.      18              2Samuel 15:18c Text from the Greek Septuagint

         v.      18              Side-by-Side Comparison of 2Samuel 15:18

         v.      19              Keil and Delitzsch Obsess over the Lâmed Preposition

         v.      20              2Samuel 15:20b Text from the Greek Septuagint

         v.      20              2Samuel 15:20e Text from the Greek Septuagint

         v.      20              Grace and Truth [= Bible doctrine] in the Bible

         v.      21              Guzik on Ittai’s Testimony of Loyalty

         v.      22              The Geographical Will of God

         v.      23              The Vocabulary of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency

         v.      23              Map of Jerusalem

         v.      23              Map of the Absalom Rebellion

         v.      24              Some Background on Zadok the Priest

         v.      24              The Doctrine of Abiathar—Part I

         v.      24              The Priests, the Ark and the Tabernacle

         v.      26              The Pulpit Commentary on David’s Attitude

         v.      27              Three Hebrew Words Denoting a Prophet

         v.      30              The Pulpit Commentary’s Order of Events

         v.      31              The Pulpit Commentary Lays Out David’s Prayer and How God Will Answer it

         v.      34              Comparing the Greek and Hebrew of 2Samuel 15:34

         v.      34              Commentators Who Don’t Like David’s Covert Warfare

         v.      34              David’s Greatness as a Man and as a King; Attested to by the Word of God

         v.      36              Military Intelligence

         v.      36              Hushai and David

         v.      36              Hushai, the Counterinsurgent

         v.      37              Hushai and Absalom

 

         Addendum          Josephus’ History of this Time

         Addendum          Edersheim Summarizes 2Samuel 15

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of 2Samuel 15

         Addendum          Acknowledgments


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Forward

Doctrines Covered and Alluded to

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms

Introduction

Text

Addendum

www.kukis.org

 

Exegetical Studies in Samuel


Pre-Introduction Links

Doctrines Covered and Alluded To

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To or Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

Ark of the Covenant

Davidic Timeline

The Geographical Will of God

Revolution

Heathenism

Laws of Divine Establishment

The Military

 

Movement of the Ark and the Tabernacle

Polygamy

 


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

2Samuel 8

2Samuel 11

2Samuel 13

2Samuel 14

2Samuel 18

 

1Chron. 6

 


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Psalm 3

Psalm 39

 

 


Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 


Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s great contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. In addition to this, I will use a number of other more traditional technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Definition of Terms

Client Nation

Client-Nation, is a national entity in which a certain number of spiritually mature Christians (the salt of the earth) have formed a pivot sufficient to sustain the nation and through which God specifically protects this nation so that believers can fulfill the divine mandates of evangelism, communication and custodianship of Bible doctrine, providing a haven for Jews, and sending missionaries abroad. The United States is a client-nation to God. A client nation must have freedom: Freedom to seek God, freedom to use one’s own volition and self-determination to succeed or fail, freedom from anarchy and tyranny, freedom for evangelism, freedom for believers to hear Bible teaching without government interference and, therefore, to grow spiritually, and freedom to send missionaries to other nations.

Cosmic system thinking

A person’s viewpoint is confused with the thinking of Satan, who thinks in terms of human viewpoint, lies, and legalism. This is exactly the opposite thinking of the gospel, Bible doctrine, and the laws of divine establishment.

Criminal arrogance

Criminal arrogance seeks to solve problems by violence and/or by criminal actions. The modus operandi of a person in criminal arrogance is criminal behavior. Believers are susceptible to this kind of arrogance just as unbelievers are.

Crusader arrogance

Crusader arrogance is the self-righteousness arrogance that tries to straighten the world from its error and mistakes. A person places his personal standards above the law or any form of establishment or authority. When criminal arrogance interlocks with crusader arrogance, there is terrorism or revolution.

Cycles of Discipline (Stage of National Discipline)

A national entity which is a client nation to God is under both God’s protection and His discipline (much like the individual believer). As a nation moves further and further from God, God may impose disciplinary measures on that nation, which include economic disaster, illness, civil unrest, military defeat, and even invasion which may include a slavery or dispersion of the people. These cycles are found in Lev. 26. Although these warnings are designed for Israel, all client nations to God may face similar downward historical trends.

Doctrinal rationales

You understand, from Bible doctrine, the thinking, character and actions of God, and are able to apply God’s essence and function to your day to day life.

Flying column

A flying column is a force of troops equipped and organized to move swiftly and independently of a principal unit to which it is attached. It is also a very mobile military organization which engages in guerilla tactics.

Laws of Divine Establishment

These are the laws, principles and morality which God has designed to perpetuate every society or government in such a way that freedom to evangelize, freedom to teach doctrine and the freedom to send out missionaries are maximized.

4th and 5th stages of national discipline

The 4th stage of national discipline is when a foreign country comes in and both taxes and rules over the priest nation to God.


The 5th stage of national discipline involves complete loss of personal and national sovereignty, the destruction of the family and the nation. Offerings to God are unacceptable. Nations which have undergone this destruction have experienced slavery, cannibalism, and the assimilation of its surviving citizens into other cultures.

Pivot

Believers with doctrine influence a society. A good example of this is the Roman Empire, which began as being very opposed to Christianity, but which became strongly influenced by Christianity. As the Christian Tertullian observed: "We are but of yesterday, yet we fill your cities, islands, forts, towns, councils, even camps, tribes, decuries, the palace, the senate, the forum; we have left you the temples alone." This was accomplished without an armed insurrection against Rome.


The norms and standards of believers in Jesus Christ began to filter into the society. Abraham and his people represented a positive influence on the surrounding areas; Lot and his family had almost no influence whatsoever.

Priest nation

A priest nation is a nation through whom God works. The Word of God will be preserved in a priest nation (and even written in a priest nation); and evangelization will occur both within that priest nation, and men will be sent out to evangelize (like Jonah).

Rebound (Restoration to fellowship with God)

In the New Testament, this is naming your sins to God, so that you are both restored to temporal fellowship with God and are then filled with the Spirit of God. In the Old Testament, naming your sins to God would result in a restoration of fellowship and, in some cases, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit once again (the Holy Spirit was not given to all Old Testament believers).

Reversionism, reversionistic

The believer reverts back to his sinful habits as an unbeliever with great regularity. This can also refer to a person who is an unbeliever who once embraced divine establishment and now rejects it.

Sexual arrogance; sexual addiction

This is the points where sexual desire overrides all else in a person’s psyche. It overrides reason, compassion, protocol. Just as the drug addict might be willing to do nearly anything for a fix; so the sexually addicted will be willing to do and even risk anything in order to fulfill their lusts. For the sexual addict, the object of his sexual lust is simply an object; his sexual lust does not indicate any sort of love is involved; not even like.

Supergrace believer

This is a term originated by R. B. Thieme, Jr. to indicate that a person is in spiritual maturity.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://rickhughesministries.org/content/Biblical-Terms.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d

http://www.wordoftruthministries.org/termsanddefs.htm

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics.html

http://www.theopedia.com/


——————————


Winston Churchill on clandestine warfare: "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should be attended by a bodyguard of lies." By the time that we complete this chapter, you will understand what Churchill was talking about.


From Lord Wolseley's "Soldier's Pocket-book" Footnote : "As a nation, we are brought up to feel it a disgrace to succeed by falsehood; the word 'spy' conveys in it something as repulsive as slave. We will keep hammering away with the conviction that honesty is the best policy, and that truth always wins in the long run. These pretty little sentences do well enough for a child's copybook, but the man who acts upon them in war had better sheathe his sword for ever."


Sun Tzu, “All war is deception.”


R. B. Thieme, Jr., “Who knew before Sun Tzu?”


2Sam. 15:31b Therefore, David prayed to God, saying, “Frustrate, O Jehovah, the counsel and advice of Ahithophel.”


2Sam. 17:14b For Yehowah had ordained [from eternity past] to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel [through the tactics of clandestine warfare], to the intent that He might bring evil on Absalom.


——————————


An Introduction to 2Samuel 15


I ntroduction: 2Sam. 15 is an incredible chapter of Holy Writ. It covers two primary narratives: Absalom, David’s son, organizes a revolution against David; and David flees Jerusalem, and chooses to oppose the revolution from outside Judah. There are quite a number of topics covered in this chapter, including politics (with very modern-day applications) and the concept of clandestine warfare (also known as, when is it okay for the believer to lie?).


Like every portion of Scripture, this is the Word of God inspired by God the Holy Spirit. God expects us to learn from what is found here. There are things in this chapter found nowhere else in the Word of God. This, and the chapters which immediately follow, give us great insight into covert warfare.


This chapter continues the pressure that God puts upon David, but one could argue that, these are the natural results of what David has himself done. That is, God did not reach into the volition of half of Israel and make them rebel against David. David, by his actions, caused much of that.


We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of 2Samuel 31

Characters

Commentary

Absalom

Absalom is King David’s son and he will rebel against his father in this chapter. He will become the defacto king.

King David

King David is still reaping what he has sown, and he faces an all-out revolution led by his eldest living son. Footnote

Ahithophel

Ahithophel is Bathsheba’s grandfather and, apparently, a brilliant strategist who will side with Absalom in the revolt. 2Sam. 15:12 16:23 Some believe that Ahithophel was the loyal friend who turned against David, mentioned in Psalm 41:9 55:12–14

Ittai the Gittite

Ittai is a leader of the 600 soldiers from Gath who have chosen to follow David. As their leader, Ittai pledges his loyalty and his life to David.

Zadok and Abiathar

The two high priests under David.

Ahimaaz and Jonathan

Two of the sons of the high priests who will act as couriers.

Hushai the Archite

Hushai is an older man, loyal to David, who will act as a mole in Absalom’s inner circle.

There are also the Pelethites and the Cherethites, who are foreign soldiers who act as David’s bodyguards.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


It is important to understand what has gone before.

The Prequel of 2Samuel 15

In the previous chapters of 2Samuel, David has set himself up for a great deal of pressure by God, at times while he is in fellowship and at times when he is not in fellowship. David, when his soldiers were at war, observed from his house rooftop the exquisite Bathsheba bathing and he called for her to be brought to him and he had sex with her (which appears to be rape, although the Bible does not explicitly call it rape). Then David, when he finds that he has impregnated this woman, tries to get her husband to think that he is the father of the child. When this does not work, David has this man killed in battle by Joab, his top general. In this, David has sunk to his lowest point of sexual lust resulting in great personal corruption, and the only way that God would be able to restore David’s soul and his divine viewpoint thinking would be to apply constant pressure upon David for a period of maybe ten years. 2Samuel 11 (HTML) (PDF).


Part of this pressure included one son (Amnon) raping David’s daughter, Tamar, and, when David fails to do anything about this, her brother Absalom steps in and kills Amnon. However, this means that Absalom has to flee David’s jurisdiction, so he leaves Jerusalem and goes to the country of his grandfather, in Geshur, east of the Jordan and north of Jerusalem. 2Samuel 13 (HTML) (PDF).


Joab, who made a mistake to follow David’s orders in the first place, tries to make all of this better by getting David and his son Absalom back in the same room with one another. This involved a rather convoluted plot on Joab’s part, which did work, which did bring Absalom back to Jerusalem, but he lived in Jerusalem for two years without being able to see the face of his father. 2Samuel 14 (HTML) (PDF).


Absalom took the initiative and got Joab to arrange a meeting, but he revealed a criminal soul when he did this, getting Joab’s attention by burning down his field. However, when David and Absalom got into the same room together, many years after Absalom had killed Amnon, all was forgiven. Absalom needed this forgiveness; not because his soul craved his father David’s affection, but because he could not put his plot of revolution into motion as a pariah to the palace. He must be able to come and go as he pleases, be known as the king’s son, and function as a king’s son. This is key. Without David’s approval, Absalom cannot revolt against him.1


However, we are going to find out that Absalom is not a man who likes to wait for anything; nor is he above breaking the law when it suits his purpose. He may look at it from the standpoint of, if breaking a few laws has a good result, then breaking a few laws is legitimate.

The storyline for this narrative goes back to 2Samuel 11, where David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his killing of her husband set David up for all that follows (however, much of Absalom’s character was probably molded prior to this). All of the subsequent chapters lead us to this point in time.

1 I read a number of commentators—maybe as many as 15—and I do not recall anyone apart from R. B. Thieme, Jr. make this point (and he made it rather quickly, almost as an aside). However, 2Sam. 14:33 (Joab went to the king and told him. So David summoned Absalom, who came to the king and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.) is why Absalom will be able to lead a revolt against his father.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This timeline is simply a shortened version of the David Timeline (HTML) (PDF), with a few principle events of David’s life recorded, along with the events of this chapter. Bracketed dates are derived from the Scripture, based upon author’s original premises.

The Abbreviated David Timeline

Fenton-Farrar

(F. L. Smith)

Bible Truth 4U

Reese’s Chronology Bible

Scripture

Narrative

[1085 b.c.]

1040 b.c.

[1055 b.c.]

Ruth 4:22

David is born.

1062 b.c.

 

1029 b.c.

1Sam. 17

David defeats Goliath.

1055 b.c.

(c. 1010 b.c.)

1010 b.c.

1025 b.c.

2Sam. 2:1–4

David becomes king over Judah (the southern kingdom). David is 30. 2Sam. 5:4 David was 30 years old when he began to reign. He reigned 40 years.

1048 b.c.

(c. 1004 b.c.)

1003 b.c.

1018 b.c.

2Sam. 5:1–3

1Chron. 11:1–3

David becomes king over all Israel. He is still ruling from Hebron. David is approximately 37 years old, according to Bible Truth 4U.

1035 b.c.

 

1005 b.c.

c. 1016 b.c. (Klassen)

2Sam. 11:2–25

David’s sin with Bathsheba. He has her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle.

1032 b.c.

990 b.c.

1002 b.c.

2Sam. 13:1–22

David’s son, Amnon, rapes David’s daughter, Tamar.

1030 b.c.

[990–985 b.c.]


1001–999 b.c.998 b.c. (Klassen – date was changed; typo in Reese)

 2Sam. 13:23–39

David’s son Absalom kills Amnon and flees. 2Sam. 13:23 And it happened after 2 full years Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, beside Ephraim. And Absalom invited all the king's sons. 2Sam. 13:38 And Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there 3 years.

1024 b.c.

979–961 b.c. (?)

994–993 b.c.

2Sam. 15

Absalom rebels against David and David goes into exile. 2Sam. 15:6–10 And in this way Absalom did to all Israel that came to the king for judgment. And Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And it happened at the end of 4 years, Absalom said to the king, Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to Jehovah in Hebron. For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Syria, saying, If Jehovah will indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Jehovah. And the king said to him, Go in peace. And he arose and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the ram's horn, then you shall say, Absalom reigns in Hebron!

There is a problem with the material above; none of these sources appear to take into consideration the 4 years Footnote of this chapter, during which Absalom will build up his support among Israeli citizens. F.F. has no interval; Bible Truth has an 18 year interval and Reese has a 2 year interval. Given those problems, let us conclude the following:

David is around 61–62 years of age.

This places him at the beginning of his 4th decade as king. Footnote

If we assume that Absalom is 15 when his sister is raped (they are quite young), he is now still very young, being 23 or 24. Taking the 4 years into account, that brings him to 27 or 28, which is not far from the NIV Study Bible’s approximation of 30 years. Footnote My age approximation for Absalom is based upon an assumption.

Let’s approach Absalom’s age from a different way. He is born to David in Hebron, when David would be 30–37 (see 2Sam. 5:4–5). Absalom is the 3rd son born to him in Hebron, where 6 sons are born to him over a period of 7 years (1Chron. 3:1–4). Since these are by different wives, they could have all been born in the same year; however, David seems to have married Absalom’s mother while he was reigning in Hebron, which marriage probably represented a political alliance. The puts Absalom somewhere between 24 and 32. If Absalom is born in the 3rd year, then he is in his late 20's.

There is nothing magical about these dates or ages. It sometimes helps you to get a grasp of the difference in ages. You know someone in their early 60's. Think of someone that age who is vigorous, intelligent and driven—that would be David. Think of someone else who is in his mid to late 20's, who is spoiled and believes that he is entitled; and he will do anything to steal what he believes is rightfully his (or, let’s say, he is the kind of person who will take shortcuts to get what he wants). That would be Absalom. Imagine now that these are father and son, and you have a rough picture of David and Absalom.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


You may wonder, after the previous chapters, why is David still getting beat up over his sins by God? What has happened throughout this period of a decade is (1) David is reaping what he sowed. The actions of his children were all a matter of his having too many wives and too many families to take care of, and, therefore, his children were raised, for all intents and purposes, by single mothers with financial support from the state. (2) God has to take David to a point where he will not fall into this same gate of sexual arrogance. David had become obsessed with his own personal sexual satisfaction, and it had gotten to a point where, he would literally do anything. It had become an addiction which took over his life. (3) David’s sexual arrogance has affected him in a number of areas. He is off his game judicially: he was too indulgent to the woman from Tekoa and he did not try Amnon or Absalom. He sons should have been dealt with judicially because they broke the law. Being a king’s son does not give anyone the right to break the law.


On the other hand, this appears to be one of the most productive times of David’s writing; he penned 6 or more psalms during this time period (possibly as many as (10), and likely recording the chapters we have been studying.

 

To warm you up to Absalom’s character, Clarke writes (I think he is quoting Calmet?): [Absalom] was a bold, violent, revengeful, haughty, enterprising, magnificent, eloquent, and popular prince; he was also rich, ambitious, and vain of his personal accomplishments: after the death of Amnon, and his reconciliation to his father, he saw no hindrance in his way to the throne. He despised Solomon because of the meanness of his birth, and his tender years. He was himself of the blood royal, not only by his father David, but also by his mother Maacah, daughter to Talmai, king of Geshur: and, doubtless, in his own apprehension, of sufficient age, authority, and wisdom, to sustain the weight of government. There was properly now no competitor in his way: Amnon, David’s first–born, was dead. Of Chileab, his second son by Abigail, we hear nothing; and Absalom was the third: see 2Sam. 3:2–5. He, therefore, seemed to stand nearest to the throne; but his sin was, that he sought it during his father’s life, and endeavored to dethrone him in order to sit in his stead. Footnote


Absalom, David’s son, is not a man who has any patience, and he will do what he believes is right, no matter who thinks differently. He is very much like his father David, but probably unregenerate and without interest in David’s Savior.


Application: We have Supreme Court justices who have, over the past 100 years, far overstepped the bounds of their authority, and have been making law for years now. Their belief is, if what they are ruling on has a right result, in their own estimation, then it does not matter to them how they come to that right result. That is, a particular law may say “X”, but if they believe that “not-X” is the proper outcome, and the righteous outcome, then they will rule “not-X.” Their proper role is to interpret the law in the light of the constitution, which is a relative short document. If a law passed by Congress and signed by the president is contrary to the constitution, they are to strike that law down, no matter how good it seems to them. The idea is—and this, I believe if the Fundamental mistake of Chief Justice John Roberts in this year 2012—no matter how good a law happens to be, there is a much lower threshold required for the passing of a law as opposed to the passing of a constitutional amendment. Therefore, if a law violates the constitution, that law must be struck down, requiring the Congress to re-submit this law under the stricter requirements of being a constitutional amendment, as the only thing which can override a constitutional amendment is a more recent constitutional amendment. All of this takes a great deal of time, and that was the intent of our founding fathers, so that arbitrary laws and philosophical directions are not determined by a set of very transitory leaders, whose rule is overthrown in subsequent elections.


Absalom believed that his approach to governing was superior to his father’s, and he believed that he was right in supplanting his father as ruler of the land. Governing always looks easier from the outside. We saw this from our 2008 election, where our current president, Barack Obama, essentially ran against the actions of policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On at least one occasions, Obama railed against the debt that Bush ran up; and on many occasions, he indicated great personal disdain for our prisoner-of-war camp at Guantanamo Bay (which is perhaps the most pleasant prisoner-of-war camp in the history of the world). When in office, President Obama could not control the debt; in fact, it skyrocketed under his management; and, although he signed orders to close Guantanamo Bay Prison, it remains open in this 4th year of his presidency (I write this in the year of our Lord, 2012). Absalom’s approach will be, he will complain about Israel’s judicial system with his father as a judge of the land. This was a personal issue with Absalom, who was never subjected to a trial (nor was his degenerate brother, Amnon).


We have witnessed this transformation in his personality and direction in life, from being simply a concerned and loving brother, to finally overruling the law of the land by his own hand, believing himself to be right and David to be wrong. Absalom has now reached a point where he believes that it is right over violently overthrow the government of his own father.


Note how different this is from David’s attitude toward Saul, the king of Israel. David had two chances to kill Saul (1Sam. 24 26). Saul was at his mercy, David’s own men encouraged him to kill Saul, and yet he did not. Saul was the Lord’s anointed and David was not going to lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed. David did not have this overpowering lust to be king and to have authority over all Israel. So his judgment was not clouded at that point in time. David was willing to be on God’s timetable.


By rebelling against his father, Absalom fulfills the prophecy of 2Sam. 12:11a Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house.” Actually, Absalom continues this evil, which was begun by Amnon.


In this chapter, Absalom is going to first attack David where he believes his father to be weakest: in his judicial decisions. David should have ruled in favor of the execution of Amnon, and he did not (which was a serious breech of David’s judicial responsibility). Even though David is wrong, that does not give Absalom the right to supercede David’s judgment.


Application: It is my own belief that Chief Justice John Roberts chose to uphold the Affordable Healthcare Law simply so that his court would not strike down a law based on a 5–4 ruling. However, even though I believe that he came to the wrong conclusion in this case, this does not mean I have any rights to try to remove Justice Roberts from the bench through illegal means. Along the same lines, there are a lot of Congressmen and our current President (I write this in 2012) that I think are making a mess of our country, but it is not my prerogative (or anyone else’s) to illegally remove them from office. This includes anything from voter fraud to assassination (which could include inaccurate character assassination). Wrong as these leaders may be, we must operate within our system of government to correct the problem, no matter how serious we perceive that problem to be.


Syndein has some brief introductory notes to Bob Thieme’s many lessons on this chapter of 2Samuel.

Syndein Notes from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s Bible Class

At the end of Chapter 14, we see David's timing is again off. He should have forgiven Absalom if he was going to pardon him. But after two years, RBT says the time was not right for him to allow Absalom back in the palace when in bitterness, Absalom was plotting revolution and was just using David.

An addendum needs to be added to this. The key was not that David did not fully forgive Absalom, but that David did not deal with Absalom in justice. There were several outcomes from 2Sam. 14 which would have involved the application of justice by David. David would have had to have gone back to the original crime committed by Amnon and work forward from there to Absalom’s crime, and this should have been done in an open court. Then David would have needed to pronounce a just verdict upon Absalom, even if it were a pardon, given the circumstances.

There is an important parallel to our lives here on this earth. We want God to deal with us in justice. We do not want God to abandon His justice in order to save us—otherwise, God is not God. We are not saved on the basis of God’s sentimental nature—God is not sentimental. Because, with sentimentality comes its counterpart, which is familial anger. As a person with an old sin nature, I sin. I do not want God viewing me sentimentally one day, and then after a great failure in my spiritual life, destroying my life. We are saved on the basis of justice, because Jesus Christ died for our sins. We are not saved because we lead some better-than-mediocre life after believing in Jesus. I can trust in my salvation, not because I am some great Christian, but because Jesus paid for my sins. I can trust in my salvation because God, in His justice, judged His Son in my stead.

In the David series, RBT says there are three basic groups in a revolutionary situation: 1) The core conspirators, 2) the masses/hoi polloi, and 3) the biblical conservatives opposing the revolution. The core conspirators start out with the arrogant crusaders. In all reality, a revolution is the quintessence of human arrogance. The arrogant crusaders believe that they have a cause that warrants a rejection of God's laws for establishment (ends justifies the means). People with criminal arrogance step forward and provide the brutality needed to get the revolution going. The common folk (the hoi polloi), are duped into following the leaders based on the leaders charisma, personality, or some other superficial characteristic of the group. The biblical conservatives understand God's laws concerning respect for authority - they must be destroyed by the conspirators for the revolution to take place. Technically, a 'revolution' is the overthrow of legitimate authority by pseudo-authority with no respect for God's laws of authority. For example, the so called 'American Revolution' was NOT a revolution but instead of 'fight for freedom'. Without representation in the government, the colonies were not under God's laws for a established nation under Him. The colonists fought for their right to have a say in their own governments which is proper under God's laws for establishment.

Vocabulary of Revolutions: 1) A plot is the plan of the revolution. 2) The means for carrying out the plot of a revolution is called 'intrigue'. 3) The foot solders of the core group RBT calls couriers. A 'courier' is one who carries a message or is an administrator. Here we have the beginning of the core conspiracy. These men are impressed by Absalom's looks and personality and intelligence and his apparent authority. They will give him their loyalty. So, this is an example of how 'loyalty' can be evil - loyalty to pseudo-authority is evil. 4) 'Cadre' is the word for those who rally around someone, regardless of how arrogant and anti-establishment that person is.

From: http://syndein.com/ii_samuel_15.html accessed September 9, 2012. There has been some modification made to these notes.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Here is a complete synopsis of 2Sam. 15:

A Synopsis of 2Samuel 15

Although David finally forgave Absalom, it was all based upon emotion (2Sam. 14:33). Absalom began to live the part of a king-in-waiting, hiring an entourage and a stretch limousine (2Sam. 15:1). He also began to speak to people who came into Jerusalem to get court cases settled. He sympathized with those who were unhappy, for whatever reason, and always agreed with them (vv. 2–4). That way, when they returned home, they always had something good to say about the king’s son, Absalom. When Absalom spoke to people, he treated them as an equal or as an intimate friend, so that the people of Israel really got to like him (vv. 5–6). He ran a political campaign not unlike those that we see today.

After spending four years speaking to individuals and selling himself as a man of the people, Absalom made his big move, going down to Hebron—but he told his father David that he was going to Hebron to fulfill a religious vow (2Sam. 15:7–11). He did a couple of things on this trip: he organized men to go all over Israel, so that, when given the signal, they would cry out, “Absalom is king in Hebron.” (v. 10). He also got 200 men—probably of David’s closest confidants—to go with him to Hebron, so that David thought that Absalom had won them over; however, they were unaware of Absalom’s plot (v. 11). Absalom also managed to get as his chief administrator and advisor, Ahithophel, who was a brilliant man, and was potentially the key to Absalom’s success (v. 12).

Eventually, someone told David about all of this (2Sam. 15:13), so David decided to leave Jerusalem, in part, to protect the people of Jerusalem from bloodshed (vv. 14–17). Of his personal relations, David left behind 10 of his mistresses to keep the palace (v. 16).

David has quite a number of foreigners who joined him (vv. 19–20), and, although David tries to talk at least one of them out of following him, they are steadfast in their loyalty to him. 2Sam. 15:17–22

The two high priests had joined David, bringing with them the Ark of God. However, David sent them back, setting them up as an intelligence cell within Jerusalem. They were to use their sons as couriers. 2Sam. 15:24–29

When David finds out that Ahithophel has allied himself with Absalom, David quickly prays that his counsel be nullified (2Sam. 15:31). Within an hour of making this prayer, God answers David in the form of Hushai the Archite, who is apparently an older man with strong loyalties to David. David will send him back to Jerusalem to act as his mole in the Absalom organization. 2Sam. 15:31–37

2Sam. 15 is Absalom fomenting rebellion against his father David.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Most of the outlines for this chapter are fairly similar.

Alternative Outline from Poole

Scripture

Text/Commentary

2Sam. 15:1–6

Absalom steals the hearts of Israel

2Sam. 15:7–12

Under pretense of a vow obtains leave to go to Hebron: there with Ahithophel’s aid he conspires to be king

2Sam. 15:13–37

David flees from Jerusalem with all his men; and leaves ten of his concubines, .

From Matthew Poole, English Annotations on the Holy Bible; Ⓟ1685; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 15:1 (Edited).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Many believers are quite confused about warfare and what is allowed and what is not. Some believers understand that, killing in war is not just allowed, but expected of us when we are at war. In fact, the Christian ought to be the greatest killing machine in his unit.


However, another sticky theological point is spying; what can spies do? What can they say? Can a spy who is a believer lie to someone? This chapter and the 2Sam. 17 will answer these questions in the affirmative. Spying is a legitimate tactic in warfare, and lying as a spy is completely legitimate. Although these things can be reasonably confirmed in Joshua, when Rahab the prostitute allies herself with Joshua, this is even more clear in 2Sam. 15 and 17.


And, even though David ruled over Israel as a king, and Absalom attempted to depose him yet as a king, there are still many applications to our politics today. Since I write this in 2012, the applications within will often be from the past decade or so; but many times, the principles found in the Bible are timeless, and can be adjusted and applied to nearly any time period.


This is fallow ground that lay unplowed for centuries until R. B. Thieme, Jr. exegeted it in the 1970's and 1980's. Several pastors who have come out of his church have also taught it. Insofar as I know, this is the first time that this chapter is laid out clearly in great detail in written form.


As in all previous chapters of Samuel, the greater part of this exegesis was done independently of notes from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s Bible classes. However, they were consulted in the end, just in case an important principles were left out. In other words, these are not Bob Thieme’s notes written out.


As a personal testimony, I cannot tell you just how wonderful it is to sit down with the Word of God and to dissect it. Every chapter seems to become more vibrant and alive to me, with greater and greater applications to real life. I only hope I can convey a portion of what a joy it is to me to be given the grace to examine these things as you see here.


——————————


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Absalom Lays the Groundwork for His Populist Revolution


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is from after then and so he makes for himself Absalom a chariot and horses and fifty a man running to his faces.

2Samuel

15:1

And so it is after this [lit., thus] that Absalom acquires for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men running before him.

And it happens after all of this that Absalom acquired a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts, using the Douay-Rheims translation Footnote ; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament. Although I usually quote the Complete Apostles’ Bible here, I have begun to make changes in the translation when their translation conflicts with the Greek and note what those changes are.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

Latin Vulgate                          Now after these things Absalom made himself chariots, and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so he is from after then and so he makes for himself Absalom a chariot and horses and fifty a man running to his faces.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    AND after this, Absalom prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Septuagint (Greek)                And it came to pass after this that Absalom prepared for himself chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

Brenton’s Septuagint             And it came to pass after this that Abessalom prepared for himself chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

 

Significant differences:           Chariot is in the singular in the Hebrew; and apparently in the plural in the other languages (confirmed as plural in the Greek). The differences at the beginning of this verse and at the end are simply legitimate ways to translate the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Absalom plots rebellion

Some time later, Absalom got a chariot and horses for his own use, along with fifty men to run ahead of him.

Contemporary English V.       Some time later, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses to pull it, and he had fifty men run in front.

Easy English (Pocock)           Absalom makes a secret plan against King David

After this, Absalom got a *chariot and some horses. He also got 50 men who ran ahead of him.

Easy-to-Read Version            After this, Absalom got a chariot [A small wagon used in war.] and horses for himself. He had 50 men run in front of him {while he drove the chariot}.

Good News Bible (TEV)         After this, Absalom provided a chariot and horses for himself, and an escort of fifty men.

The Message                         As time went on, Absalom took to riding in a horse-drawn chariot, with fifty men running in front of him.

New Century Version             Absalom Plans to Take David's Kingdom

After this, Absalom got a chariot and horses for himself and fifty men to run before him.

New Life Bible                                                    Absalom Becomes Friends With Men Of Israel

After this, Absalom got a warwagon and horses, and fifty men to run in front of him.

New Living Translation           Absalom's Rebellion

After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well, thereafter, AbSalom obtained some chariots and horsemen, and he recruited fifty men to run in front of him.

God’s Word                         Soon after this, Absalom acquired a chariot, horses, and 50 men to run ahead of him.

New American Bible              Absalom's Ambition.

After this, Absalom provided himself with chariots, horses, and a retinue of fifty. 1Sam. 8:11 1Kings 1:5.

NIRV                                      Absalom Makes Secret Plans Against David

Some time later, Absalom got a chariot and horses for himself. He also got 50 men to run in front of him.

New Jerusalem Bible             After this, Absalom procured a chariot and horses, with fifty men to run ahead of him.

New Simplified Bible              Absalom provided a chariot and horses for himself. He had an escort of fifty men to run ahead of him.

Revised English Bible            After this Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and fifty outrunners.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      So afterwards, Absalom was making a chariot with horses for fifty men to run in front of him.

Bible in Basic English             Now after this, Absalom got for himself a carriage and horses, and fifty runners to go before him.

Judaica Press Complete T.    And it came to pass after this, that Absalom made for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men were running before him.

NET Bible®                             Absalom Leads an Insurrection against David

Some time later Absalom managed to acquire [Heb "acquired for himself."] a chariot and horses, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard [Heb "to run ahead of him."]. When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.

NIV – UK                                Absalom's conspiracy

In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And it comes to pass afterwards, that Absalom prepares for himself a chariot, and horses, and fifty men are running before him;...

English Standard Version      After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

exeGeses companion Bible   THE CONSPIRACY OF ABI SHALOM

And so be it, afterward,

Abi Shalom works him chariots and horses

and fifty men to run at his face:...

The Geneva Bible                  And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to [Which were as a guard to set forth his estate.] run before him.

Hebrew Names Version         It happened after this, that Avshalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

LTHB                                     And it happened afterward that Absalom prepared a chariot for himself, and horses, and fifty men running before him.

New King James Version       Absalom's Treason

After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

Syndein/Thieme                     {Verses 1-12: Conspiracy of Absalom}

{Verses 1-4: Absalom Undermines David's Authority}

And it came to pass after this {after David's public display of 'forgiving' Absalom - people take it as David's 'approval' of Absalom making him the 'heir apparent' - so Absalom can use 'pseudo- authority' to overthrow true authority}, that Absalom prepared him 'a chariot of state' and horses . . . {merkabah - special chariot here capitalizing on David's public act of forgiveness - giving impression that Absalom is heir apparent} and fifty men 'acting as couriers' {idiom: literally: 'to run before him'}. {carrying the message of the blooming revolution}.

World English Bible                It happened after this, that Absalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass afterwards, that Absalom prepares for himself a chariot, and horses, and fifty men are running before him.

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom begins the act the part of a king, to his own way of thinking, by getting a chariot, horses and 50 men to run before him.


2Samuel 15:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). It may be more idiomatically rendered subsequently, afterwards, later on, in the course of time, after which. Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

mêʾachar (מֵאַחַר) [pronounced may-ah-KHAHR]

from, from after, from (being) after, from behind, from following after

compounded prepositions

Strong’s #4480 BDB #577 and Strong’s #310 BDB #29

This is especially used when one leaves what one has been following.

kên (כֵּן) [pronounced kane]

so, therefore, thus; then, afterwards; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

All of the BDB meanings are listed here: 1) so, therefore, thus (adverb); 1a) thus, so; 1b) just so; 1c) therefore; 1d) so ... as (paired with adverb); 1e) then; 1f) forasmuch as (in phrase); 1g) (with preposition); 1g1) therefore, this being so (specific); 1g2) hitherto; 1g3) therefore, on this ground (general); 1g4) afterwards; 1g5) in such case; 2) right, just, honest, true, veritable (adjective); 2a) right, just, honest; 2b) correct; 2c) true, veritable; 2d) true!, right!, correct! (in assent).


Translation: And so it is after this [lit., thus]... In the preface, the exact details of what has occurred has already been discussed. However, Absalom, the king’s son, has developed somewhat of a criminal streak. He has decided that, if he has a plan, that he is going to carry it out, whether it is legitimate or not. So, he has lived in Jerusalem for two years now, without his father prosecuting him for killing his half-brother Amnon, and he and his father David have met and come together as father and son, where all is forgiven, but where there has been no actual application of justice.


We do not know how much time has passed; we do not know exactly what responsibilities that Absalom has; and we do not know what sort of access he has to cash as one of the king’s many sons. However, he is the king’s #1 son at this point, and a man who seems to be very much like his father, at least in the most superficial ways.



2Samuel 15:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

The full set of Qal meanings from BDB: to do, work, make, produce; to do; to work; to deal (with); to act, act with effect, effect; to produce; to prepare; to make (an offering); to attend to, put in order; to observe, celebrate; to acquire (property); to appoint, ordain, institute; to bring about; to use; to spend, pass.

All of the BDB Qal meanings for this word are: 1a1) to do, work, make, produce; 1a1a) to do; 1a1b) to work; 1a1c) to deal (with); 1a1d) to act, act with effect, effect; 1a2) to make; 1a2a) to make; 1a2b) to produce; 1a2c) to prepare; 1a2d) to make (an offering); 1a2e) to attend to, put in order; 1a2f) to observe, celebrate; 1a2g) to acquire (property); 1a2h) to appoint, ordain, institute; 1a2i) to bring about; 1a2j) to use; 1a2k) to spend, pass.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

An alternate form of this word is ʾAbeshâlôwm (אַבְשָלוֹם) [pronounced ahbe-shaw-LOHM].

merekâbâh (מֶרְכָּבָה) [pronounced mere-kawb-VAW]

chariot, war chariot

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #4818 BDB #939

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

çûwç (סוּס) [pronounced soos]

horse, chariot horse; swallow, swift

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5483 BDB #692


2sam_15.gif

Translation: ...that Absalom acquires for himself a chariot and horses... Absalom is David’s third son (2Sam. 3:2–3), who appears to be the most politically motivated of all David’s sons. He wants power and he wants it now, as this chapter will make clear. When speaking of him personally, the Bible emphasizes his flawless physical appearance (2Sam. 14:25). Nowhere does the Bible speak of his fine character or of his devotion to the God of Israel.


Absalom has observed his father and he has observed his grandfather, so he does the things which make him appear to be a ruler of men.


When Barack Obama first won his party’s nomination and later the presidency, all along the way, he did things to make himself seem as though he was a president. On the podium in front of him, he had an official sign saying, “Office of the President Elect.” Now there is no such office as the “office of President Elect.” But it looked official and made it seem as though he is an important government official of sorts. He was attempting to act the part of a president, back in November 2008 before he took office, the idea being, he could do official stuff as president elect, despite the fact that this was considered by some to be illegal. Footnote


This is what Absalom is doing. He is making himself out to appear to be a king. He is making it seem as though he is royalty, that he is the natural successor to David, and that, perhaps, he is sort of the unofficial king. He occupied the “Office of the King-in-Waiting.” Or, if you would rather, “The Crown Prince” (a title we are more familiar with).

 

Barnes confirms this: [Absalom does this] to make himself look grand and respectable among the people; perhaps he got these from his grandfather at Geshur in Syria. Footnote


First thing that he needed was a chariot. The verb says that Absalom made a chariot, and that is a possibility. After all, we do not know what sort of skills Absalom acquired over the years. He did not seem to be a lazy layabout like his half-brother Amnon, but he seemed as though he was more the sort of guy who wanted to appear to be king because he wanted to be king, not because he was the king.


The verb suggests that it is possible that Absalom made this chariot. However, the verb can also mean to acquire, and Absalom also acquired horses, apparently to power the chariot. Interestingly enough, Moses warned against a king acquiring too many horses (Deut. 17:16). The idea was, a king should not use his office in order to simply collect wealth (which is one of Solomon’s great failings Footnote ). Samuel warned against the same thing in 1Sam. 8:11 (“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.”). Part of the reason for such a warning is, the king of Israel was a kind of Christ, and God wanted our Lord to be seen not only as king, but as a meek and humble man, as Jesus gave up His place as God to dwell among us (John 1:1–3, 14 Philip. 2:8).


This is the first instance that we are aware of, where a member of royalty put on such a show.


2Samuel 15:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chămishîym (חָמִשִים) [pronounced khuh-mih-SHEEM]

fifty

plural numeral

Strong’s #2572 BDB #332

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

rûts (רוּץ) [pronounced roots]

to run, to hasten to; to move quickly [and with purpose]; to rush upon [in a hostile manner]

Qal active participle

Strong’s #7323 BDB #930

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before him, before his face, in his presence, in his sight, in front of him.


Translation: ...and fifty men running before him. Here is the place which caused me to wonder about Absalom’s cash flow, because he apparently hires 50 men to run in front of him, so that, everywhere he goes, in this chariot, Absalom appears to be royalty, with a staff of 50 men at his beck and call at any instant. These men also functioned as his bodyguards, because the most important thing to Absalom, besides looking like a king, was his own personal safety.


It is possible that these men look at being with Absalom as being on the inside track. That is, when Absalom takes over the kingship, then these men will all get federal jobs. So, they might be working for slave wages or for nothing. The idea is, their investment in time will pay off in the long run. Footnote


And it happens after all of this that Absalom acquired a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. Prior to his meeting, Absalom could not have done this. As a man cut off from King David, Absalom could not act like the king’s son; or like a king-in-waiting. The final scene of 2Sam. 14 is key to what Absalom is able to do right here. David kissed him and forgave him in open court, so to speak. Absalom is no longer the king’s estranged son, but the son that the king loves. Therefore, Absalom can get a chariot and horses and 50 men. David himself sees Absalom as probably the next king, so all of this entourage stuff is fine to him, the indulgent father. More will be said about this once we get to v. 5.


And it happens after all of this that Absalom acquired a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. Such an entourage for kings and political leaders were common in ancient history as well as modern history. Nero the Roman emperor never went on a journey with less than a thousand calashes or chariots, and a great number of men that ran before him. Footnote When Adonijah wants to assume David’s kingship when David is an old man, he will do much the same thing (1Kings 1:5).


Samuel, Paul, and Elijah, among many others, traveled by foot, often with just the barest of necessities.


Application: This does not mean that a believer cannot enjoy some opulence to some degree; nor does it mean that a believer must always travel 3rd class. There are many pastors like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren who are well-known, and I assume travel with a small entourage, if for nothing else but protection. I don’t know this about these men, but if they traveled with bodyguards, or in first-class seating, that would be no reason to disparage them. All believers have various duties and various stations in life; and they must do what is appropriate to their own notoriety.


However, what Absalom is doing here is putting on a show. He is making it seem as if he is the heir apparent, when he is not. Furthermore, as we will continue to observe, Absalom has absolutely no spiritual dynamics. It is possible that he is not even a believer in Yehowah Elohim.


Application: If you are the average believer with an average salary, do not disparage or covet the possessions or manner in which another believer travels. It is not up to you to judge them. It is not up to you to determine whether their level of opulence is acceptable to God. I don’t care if they have a diamond ring on every finger and drive the most expensive car on this planet. Before their own master, God, they stand or fall. If you work up some mental attitude sins over it, then you need to confess those sins and move right along. It does not matter if you live in a cardboard box and they live in the biggest mansion in their state; what they make and what they do with their money is a matter of their own personal freedom. If they are out of bounds, God is fully capable of dealing with that. However, it is NEVER your job to pass judgment on another believer (unless that is your responsibility in your vocation or in some other legitimate manner of evaluating a person, e.g., on a job, mortgage, loan or rental application). To be more specific, if you are a mortgage officer and Rick Warren is applying for a loan, you evaluate him as you would anyone else. You do not deny him a loan because you think he is too rich already; nor do you give him a loan simply because he is a Christian. In a private bank, and if you have the authority to do so, and you want to take his status as a believer into account, that is fine; but his credit record ought to back it up. However, if you are a believer without that sort of connection to Warren, then it is none of your business how he lives, how much money he makes, what he eats, etc. He lives his life before God; and you should respect that.


Remember that several believers in the Bible were wealthy: Abraham, David and Solomon immediately come to mind. God did not come to them, like some phony liberal, and tell them to sell all they had and give that money to the poor. At no time did God tell them that they had too much money and they needed to redistribute it. So, similarly, it is none of your business what some other believer makes or how he spends his money. Before his own master, he stands or falls (Rom. 14:4).


Application: This is a tangent from the previous application, but not covered enough in most churches: as a believer in Jesus Christ, you ought to have the best damn credit you can have. If you have an unpaid bill, you should not be out buying new stuff without dealing with that bill first. As a believer in Jesus Christ, your credit should be impeccable, even if you owe someone money that you don’t like. You still fulfill your monetary obligations.


Our verse reads: And it happens after all of this that Absalom acquired a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. David let Absalom off the hook and he did not deal with his criminal case in a court of law, as he should have. However, Absalom is now clearly an adult, and, therefore, whether his upbringing was good or bad, he now stands on his own two feet. What he reveals in this chapter, beginning with this first verse, is a stunning lack of character, and this observation will continue through this and chapter 17, where he will die as a failure. What David did, on several occasions, was completely wrong. What Absalom should endeavor to do is to learn from what David did wrong.


Application: We have many people who influence us in our lives. Since I was a teacher, I thought about many good and bad teachers that I had in my past. I did my best to emulate what I believed to be the good points of the many great teachers I had, and to do the opposite of what my bad teachers did. When it comes to morality and character, we will observe the same things in our lives; and we need to be able to learn from both our good and bad influences.


Absalom had David, and David had many great qualities and many faults, and Absalom, as his son, probably knew most of them. What David did right, Absalom should have emulated and what David did wrong, Absalom should have avoided.


Application: Once we are adults, this is all on our shoulders. We do not get to blame our past and the lousy people in our past for the lousy things that we do.


And it happens after all of this that Absalom acquired a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. What does the Bible say about this approach? Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, "Come up here," than to be put lower in the presence of a noble (Prov. 25:6–7a). Or, Let another man praise you, and not your mouth; a stranger, and not your lips (Prov. 27:2). Absalom is trying to pretend that he holds some kind of office, but he doesn’t; and he will act as though he is going to make great and wonderful changes in the system, which he does not have the first clue as to what he is going to do. What did Jesus say? A modest approach is the order of the day: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding, do not recline in the chief seat, lest a more honorable man than you may be invited by him. And he who invited you and him shall come and say to you, Give place to this man; and then you begin with shame to take the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may say to you, Friend, go up higher. Then glory shall be to you before those reclining with you. For whoever exalts himself shall be abased, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:8–11). Or, as Peter wrote: For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they lure through the lusts of the flesh, by unbridled lust, the ones who were escaping from those who live in error; promising them liberty, they themselves are the slaves of corruption. For by whom anyone has been overcome, even to this one he has been enslaved (2Peter 2:18–19). As you will see in the next few verses, this describes Absalom to a t; he is just the person that these verses are saying, don’t be like that.


One of the things which I have pondered, to which the Bible does not directly speak is, what did David think about this? No doubt, David knows about and has probably seen Absalom moving about town, looking important, with his great entourage. My educated guess is, at the very worst, David was amused. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility that David thought that this was good training or a good approach to being king. Given David’s indulgence toward his own children, it is even possible that David admired Absalom’s initiative, even though this was empty, meaningless initiative. Since Absalom is his kid, David may not be looking carefully and thinking this over, wondering, “Just what is he trying to accomplish?” I think, maybe David was amused; but that he did not realize at all what Absalom was up to. If Absalom became king, he would be leading hundreds of men; so beginning with 50 men was a good start; so David might have thought (recall that David tended to be very indulgent to his sons). That Absalom might use this to try to displace him, probably never cross David’s mind.


——————————


And so has risen early Absalom and has taken a stand upon a road of the gate and so is all the man who is to him a dispute to come unto the king for the judgment. And so calls Absalom to him and so he says, “Where from this one a city you?” And so he says, “From one of tribes of Israel, your servant.”

2Samuel

15:2

Furthermore, Absalom used to rise up early and remain by the road of the gate and [speak to] any man who had a legal dispute to bring to the king for a judgment. And Absalom called out to him and said, “Which city are you from?” And he would answer [lit., and so he says], “Your servant [is] from one of the tribes of Israel.”

Furthermore, Absalom made a habit of rising up early and waiting by the road into the city to speak to any man who had a legal dispute to bring before the king for a resolution. And Absalom would then call out to him, saying, “Which city are you from?” And he would answer, “You servants is from one of the tribes of Israel.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And Absalom rising up early stood by the entrance of the gate, and when any man had business to come to the king’s judgment, Absalom called him to him, and said: Of what city are you? He answered, and said: Your servant is of such tribe of Israel.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so has risen early Absalom and has taken a stand upon a road of the gate and so is all the man who is to him a dispute to come unto the king for the judgment. And so calls Absalom to him and so he says, “Where from this one a city you?” And so he says, “From one of tribes of Israel, your servant.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Absalom rose up early and stood beside the king's gate; and it was so that when any man had a case to be tried before the king, then Absalom called him to him, and said, Of what city are you? And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Absalom rose early, and stood by the side of the way of the gate. And it came to pass that every man who had a cause came to the king for judgment. And Absalom cried to him, and said to him, Of what city are you? And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

 

Significant differences:           The English translation of the Syriac has the king’s gate rather than the way (road) of the gate. The English translation of the Latin has business rather than dispute.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       He would get up early each morning and wait by the side of the road that led to the city gate. Anyone who had a complaint to bring to King David would have to go that way, and Absalom would ask each of them, "Where are you from?" If they said, "I'm from a tribe in the north,"...

Easy English                          Absalom used to get up early. He stood by the road that went to the gate of the city. If a person had a problem, that person sometimes went to the king. The king would be the judge. When someone went past Absalom he would say to them, `Which town do you come from?' The man would answer, `Your servant is from one of the *tribes of *Israel.'

Easy-to-Read Version            Absalom got up early and stood near the gate [This was where people came to do all of their business. This was also where many court cases were held.]. Absalom watched for any person with problems who was going to King David for judgment. Then Absalom would talk to that person. Absalom would say, “What city are you from?” The man would answer, “I am from such and such family group in Israel.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         He would get up early and go and stand by the road at the city gate. Whenever someone came there with a dispute that he wanted the king to settle, Absalom would call him over and ask him where he was from. And after the man had told him what tribe he was from,...

The Message                         Early each morning he would take up his post beside the road at the city gate. When anyone showed up with a case to bring to the king for a decision, Absalom would call him over and say, "Where do you hail from?" And the answer would come, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."

New Berkeley Version           Moreover, Absalom would get up early and stand by the entrance to the gate, [Where judicial cases were decided (Deut. 21:19 22:15)] and whenever a man had a suit to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call out to him, “From what city are you?” He would answer, “Your servant is from such and such of the tribes of Israel.”

New Century Version             Absalom would get up early and stand near the city gate.[a] Anyone who had a problem for the king to settle would come here. When someone came, Absalom would call out and say, "What city are you from?"

The person would answer, "I'm from one of the tribes of Israel."...

New Life Bible                        He used to get up early and stand beside the way to the gate. When any man had a problem to be decided upon by the king, Absalom would call to him and say, "What city are you from?" And he would answer, "Your servant is from one of the families of Israel."...


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then he would get up early each morning and station himself along the street by the city gate. And whenever he saw someone who was coming to try a case before the king, he would call to him and ask, 'What city are you coming from?' And if he replied, 'Your servant is from one of the tribes of IsraEl,...

Christian Community Bible     Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the gateway. Whenever a man with a grievance came before the king’s tribunal, Absalom would call to him and say, “From which city are you?” Should he say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe in Israel,”...

God’s Word                         Absalom used to get up early and stand by the road leading to the city gate. When anyone had a case to be tried by King David, Absalom would ask, "Which city are you from?" After the person had told him which tribe in Israel he was from,...

New American Bible              Moreover, Absalom used to rise early and stand alongside the road leading to the gate. If someone had a lawsuit to be decided by the king, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what city are you?" And when he replied, "Your servant is of such and such a tribe of Israel,"...

NIRV                                      He would get up early. He would stand by the side of the road that led to the city gate. Sometimes a person would come with a case for the king to decide.

Then Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?"

He would answer, "I'm from one of the tribes of Israel."

New Jerusalem Bible             He would get up early and stand beside the road leading to the city gate; and whenever a man with some lawsuit had to come before the king's tribunal, Absalom would call out to him and ask, 'Which town are you from?' If he answered, 'Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel,'...

Revised English Bible            He made it a practice to rise early and stand by the road leading through the city gate, and would hail everyone who had a case to bring before the king for judgement and ask him which town he came from. When he answered, ‘I come, sir, from such and such a tribe of Israel,’...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Absalom arose and stood with a hand over the gate in the way. Any man that had an argument and was coming to the king for a verdict, Absalom called to him, saying, "Where is your city?" He said, "Your servant is from one of the staffs of Israel."

Bible in Basic English             And Absalom got up early, morning after morning, and took his place at the side of the public meeting-place: and when any man had a cause which had to come to the king to be judged, then Absalom, crying out to him, said, What is your town? and he would say, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and early in the mornings Absalom placed himself at the side of the street of the High Court and when any man had a law suit came to the king for a decision, Absalom would invited him to himself, and ask, “From village do you come?”

When he would answer, “Your servant is from one of the Tribes of Israel.”

HCSB                                     He would get up early and stand beside the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone had a grievance to bring before the king for settlement, Absalom called out to him and asked, "What city are you from?" If he replied, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel,"...

Judaica Press Complete T.    And Absalom would rise up, and stand beside the path of the gate; and it was when any man that would have a suit due to come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him and he said: "From what city are you?" and he said: "Of one of the tribes of Israel is your servant.

New Advent Bible                  And Absalom rising up early stood by the entrance of the gate, and when any man had business to come to the king's judgment, Absalom called him to him, and said: Of what city are you? He answered, and said: Your servant is of such tribe of Israel.

NET Bible®                             Now Absalom used to get up early and stand beside the road that led to the city gate. Whenever anyone came by who had a complaint to bring to the king for arbitration, Absalom would call out to him, "What city are you from?" The person would answer, "I, your servant [Heb "your servant." So also in vv. 8, 15, 21.], am from one of the tribes of Israel."

NIV – UK                                He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, `What town are you from?' He would answer, `Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

English Standard Version      And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what city are you?" And when he said, "Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,"...

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and Abi Shalom starts early

and stands at the hand by the way of the portal:

and so be it,

any man who has a controversy

comes to the sovereign for judgment;

and Abi Shalom calls to him and says,

Of what city are you?

And he says,

Your servant is of one of the scions of Yisra El.

New RSV                               Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, "What city are you from?" And he would say, "Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel."

Syndein                                  Now Absalom would rise up 'early in the morning', and stand by the side of the 'castle gate road' so that when anyone had a grievance/complaint and came to the king for 'a judicial decision'/judgment, then Absalom called out to him, and said, "Of what city are . . . you?" {the delay gives 'special attention' to the malcontent} And he would reply, "Your loyal subject is . . . {would name his tribe - this is a 'content quotation'} 'of one of the tribes of Israel'. {Jewish narrative does not give us every one of these discussions in detail - each man would name his own tribe - of Dan, of Judah, of Ruben, etc.} {Note: The picture here is now Absalom is permitted to be at the castle. He is standing by the road that leads to the King's Court room. As malcontents come to ask for justice, he uses his great looks, personality, and authority, to woe the malcontents to being loyal to him instead of David. For revolution to succeed, the law of the land must be disrespected. Second, a malcontent is always impressed when someone in apparent authority gives him 'special attention' - it appeals to their arrogance.}.

Third Millennium Bible            And Absalom rose up early and stood beside the way of the gate; and it was so that, when any man who 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."

Updated Bible Version 2.11   And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that, when any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, Of what city are you? And he said, Your slave is of one of the tribes of Israel.

World English Bible                Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, Of what city are you? He said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

Young’s Updated LT             And Absalom has risen early, and stood by the side of the way of the gate, and it comes to pass, every man who has a pleading to come unto the king for judgment, that Absalom calls unto him, and says, “Of what city are you?” and he says, “Of one of the tribes of Israel is your servant.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom regularly went to the road at the gate into Jerusalem, and he would speak to people who had a court case before his father David. Absalom would inquire as to which city he came from and engage these men in conversations.


2Samuel 15:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâkam ( ָכַםש) [pronounced shaw-KAHM]

to start, to rise, to rise early, to make an early start; morning (in the Hiphil infinitive absolute)

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #7925 BDB #1014

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿâmad (עָמַד) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

dereke (דֶּרֶך׃) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, path; journey, course; direction, towards; manner, habit, way [of life]; of moral character

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1870 BDB #202

shaʿar (שַעַר) [pronounced SHAH-ģahr]

gate [control of city can be implied]; area inside front gate; entrance

masculine singular noun with the definite article; pausal form

Strong’s #8179 BDB #1044


Translation: Furthermore, Absalom used to rise up early and remain by the road of the gate... Rather than two imperfect verbs held together by two wâw consecutives, we have two perfect verbs held together by two wâw consecutives. This apparently is something which Absalom did regularly. He would get up early and go stand by the gate of the city. The city gate is generally where most legal and commercial transactions took place; Footnote and this was often the place of the king’s court. People would come and have their cases heard by the city gate, so they would have to pass by Absalom.


We learn several things here. First of all, Absalom apparently does not have a job, but he has money. Or, if the king has given him responsibilities, Absalom has farmed out that work to others to deal with. He has delegated these responsibilities.


However, Absalom does not mind work. He is not a layabout like Amnon was; he gets up early and, apparently, daily, to do this. Absalom apparently has worked out a long-range plan in his mind, and that plan involves ingratiating himself to the public. We know that Absalom is capable of grand, long-term schemes; and he plays his cards close to the vest. He it is also a man who can manipulate others. He managed to get his father to send Amnon up to a bbq with Absalom, giving Absalom the perfect opportunity to murder his half-brother Amnon. So, what Absalom is doing here is right up his alley.


Although we are not told this specifically, v. 1 suggests that Absalom is taking a stand by the gate with his entire entourage of chariot, horses and 50 men. It is not so powerful if some guy with nothing to do is out there standing by the city gates, after you have had a case in court, starts engaging you in conversation. However, when the king son begins to talk to you, and he is in full entourage mode, surrounded by underlings, minions and acolytes, it is rather impressive. A man would walk by, Absalom would call to him, and the man would be thinking, “You, the king’s son; you want to talk to me?”


2Samuel 15:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural) with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Literally, this means who is to him; but together, these words mean who has...

rîyb (רִיב) [pronounced reebv]

strife, dispute, controversy, legal contention, forensic cause; an argument used in a public discussion or debate

masculine singular noun

Strong's #7379 BDB #936

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter, to advance

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîshepâţ (מִשְפָּט) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, a judgement of the court

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048


Translation: ...and [speak to] any man who had a legal dispute to bring to the king for a judgment. At the city gate, court cases are tried; one might say it is an open court. It was common for public meetings and court cases to all take place in an open air forum right by the city gate. Psychologically, it was a good thing, because it made the king appear busy, and people coming in and out of the city gate saw the king at work solving disputes and making judgments.

 

From an 1871 commentary: This dissatisfaction was artfully fomented by Senator Obama, who addressed himself to the various suitors; and after briefly hearing their tale, he gratified everyone with a favorable opinion of his case...[he] had an air of extraordinary generosity and disinterestedness, which, together with his fawning arts in lavishing civilities on all, made him a popular favorite.

According to Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, these cases were heard in the mornings only: Public business in the East is always transacted early in the morning--the kings sitting an hour or more to hear causes or receive petitions, in a court held anciently, and in many places still, in the open air at the city gateway; so that, as those whose circumstances led them to wait on King David required to be in attendance on his morning levees, Absalom had to rise up early and stand beside the way of the gate. Through the growing infirmities of age, or the occupation of his government with foreign wars, many private causes had long lain undecided, and a deep feeling of discontent prevailed among the people. This dissatisfaction was artfully fomented by Absalom, who addressed himself to the various suitors; and after briefly hearing their tale, he gratified everyone with a favorable opinion of his case. Studiously concealing his ambitious designs, he expressed a wish to be invested with official power, only that he might accelerate the course of justice and advance the public interests. His professions had an air of extraordinary generosity and disinterestedness, which, together with his fawning arts in lavishing civilities on all, made him a popular favorite. Thus, by forcing a contrast between his own display of public spirit and the dilatory proceedings of the court, he created a growing disgust with his father's government, as weak, careless, or corrupt, and seduced the affections of the multitude, who neither penetrated the motive nor foresaw the tendency of his conduct. Footnote


I write these words in 2012, when the election of 2008 was still firmly in memory. This was nearly exactly the campaign of Barack Obama: This dissatisfaction was artfully fomented by Senator Obama, who addressed himself to the various suitors; and after briefly hearing their tale, he gratified everyone with a favorable opinion of his case...[he] had an air of extraordinary generosity and disinterestedness, which, together with his fawning arts in lavishing civilities on all, made him a popular favorite. Thus, by forcing a contrast between his own display of public spirit and the dilatory proceedings of the court, he created a growing disgust with the Bush administration's government, as weak, careless, or corrupt, and seduced the affections of the multitude, who neither penetrated the motive nor foresaw the tendency of his conduct. Footnote This is a commentary written circa 1871. Do you see how up-to-date the Bible is? The Bible is not some old dusty book written by a bunch of old guys who have no idea what life is like today. This is the book of our time and the book of the future.


Now, obviously, I make application to recent American politics because that is what I know; however, any Bible teacher who knows and understands these various chapters can find illustrations from their own politics, no matter what the country, no matter what the era.


Here is what we have so far: Furthermore, Absalom used to rise up early and remain by the road of the gate and [speak to] any man who had a legal dispute to bring to the king for a judgment. In every court case, just about, there is a winner and a loser. Absalom is there, his minions are there (probably in the spectators for each case), and judgment is pronounced. Often, once a judgment has been rendered, one of the people walks out of the court displeased. It is easy for one of these minions to signal which party is least happy with the verdict.


2Samuel 15:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon; to call, to name [when followed by a lâmed]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: And Absalom called to him... So, Absalom is not talking to every single person who comes into court. But, either he is given a signal or he can read people, and he calls out to those who do not appear to be pleased with the final decision. Now, with 50 men under him, Absalom does not have to be there right in the court to know what is going on. He needs to know one thing: is Charlie Brown, who just came out of the court yard (so to speak), upset with King David?


Here is the idea: Absalom sees David as being weak when it comes to making court judgments, because David did not call for the execution of Amnon. So, in Absalom’s mind, David is unable to be objective (and, with regards to David’s sons, David is unable to be objective).


I have been to court many, many times, and on one of those occasions, I had a judge who was not the least bit objective, and his lack of objectivity stood out like a sore thumb (he was later removed as a judge). Most of the other judges that I have seen in action seemed to be reasonable and objective.


So Absalom is watching these people just coming out of court (from an open air court). He knows how they feel about this verdict, and so he calls out to them. He is simply going to chat with them, as equals, as friends, as citizens of Israel who are concerned about the same things.


2Samuel 15:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾêy (אֵי) [pronounced āy]

where

adverb; with a suffix, the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #335 BDB #32

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (זֶה) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular construct

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

These four particles together apparently mean where [are] you from? When adding in the word city, this means, what city are you from?


Translation: ...and said, “Which city are you from?” Absalom doesn’t talk to them immediately about the verdict; he gets to know them. He asks them a personal question or two. They have a conversation. He is warm and engaging. People like this young man Absalom. “He looks important and royal; and yet, he is talking to me.” So the passers-by are pleased to talk to someone. There is Absalom, the son of the king, standing in his chariot, poised to ride out, with 50 soldiers standing in front of him, at attention. And yet, he talks to the common man, and talks about normal things.


If you have ever been to court and have lost, there is nothing you would rather do than vent. Now, if you can vent to the son of the judge, that is even better. “Do you know what your low-life father decided? He was just wrong.”


2Samuel 15:2e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

ʾechâd (אֶחָד) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; each, every; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular; anyone

numeral adjective construct form

Strong's #259 BDB #25

shêbeţ (שֵבֶט) [pronounced SHAYB-vet]

rod, staff, club, scepter and figuratively for a tribe, subdivision of a tribe or family and for a ruler (scepter-bearer), governor

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #7626 BDB #986

Yiserâʾêl (יִשְׂרַאֵל) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975

ʿebed (עֶבֶד) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713


Translation: And he would answer [lit., and so he says], “Your servant [is] from one of the tribes of Israel.” So these men, unhappy with the results of their court case, would begin engaging in a conversation with Absalom.


Now, remember: this man has a family. He has a wife, he was brothers, he has children, he has a mother and a father, and he has co-workers. Most of them know about him going to court and wonder about the disposition of his case. The whole idea is, Charlie Brown is going to come home and say, “I am so upset with King David; I was right in my case, but he ruled against me anyway. In fact, even his son, Absalom, agreed with me.”


“You spoke to the king’s son?”


“Yes. In fact, he is a very nice fellow; and, although he appeared to be ready to go off somewhere, he took the time to talk to me. And he agrees with me! He thought his father’s ruling was wrong.”


So, you take each of these men, and multiply them by 10 or by 100; and that is how many people know about his court case and about his conversation with Absalom. How many court cases are tried each day? Maybe 5–10 and possibly more, if the cases are simple.


Bear in mind, for the past 10 years, there have been rumors flying all over about David and Bathsheba, and about her husband who was mysteriously killed in the war. These people also know about Amnon raping his half-sister and how David was unable to take action against Amnon; and Absalom had to step in and take care of him. So, there is talk flying all over the country about the royal family, and about what is going on.


We have the same thing today. People can tell you about various television shows and who is in them and what their social lives are like, and what movies they are also in. Well, there was one set of celebrities in David’s day and time: that was David and the royal family. They were the reality stars of their day; and people talked about David, and his wives, and his affair with Bathsheba.


What you need to understand here is, even though David was one of the greatest kings in human history, and even though most of his decisions and rulings were good, he made some grand mistakes, and people knew about these mistakes. In fact, many people hated David (as we will see in the next chapter).


Application: One of the things which was difficult for me to grasp at first was the concept of morality and kings. On many occasions, even in the New Testament, God dealt with immoral kings. I often wondered, “If they are halfway decent kings, why is God concerned about a second marriage or some random affair?” But when a king is immoral, and the people know it, they react in two possible ways: (1) they resent the king and revolution is fomented, which means a lack of stability in the region; or (2) the people simply copy the bad behavior of the king and also engage in immorality themselves. We have the most recent example of President Bill Clinton who had an affair with a young intern in the White House, and this changed the attitudes of at least a generation of young people about sex relations.


Application: Let’s say that the people in life you admire all work hard, are genuinely humble, and have strong close relationships with their spouses; then you see that as what is good and right and the norm for living. However, if the people that you admire do drugs, coast on their celebrityship, cheat on their wives (or husbands), are in and out of relationships, and have children scattered all over, then you have a completely different set of values. The values of the people that you admire have an effect upon your values; what they do actually impacts you and your thinking.


——————————


And so says to him, Absalom, “Look, your words good and just, and hearing none to you from with the king.”

2Samuel

15:3

Then Absalom said to him, “Look, your matter [is] good and just [and straightforward]. [There is] none to hear you directly from the king.”

Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, it is clear that your claim is valid and just, but there is no one designated by the king to properly listen to you.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And Absalom answered him: “Your words seem to me good and just. But there is no man appointed by the king to hear you.”

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says to him, Absalom, “Look, your words good and just, and hearing none to you from with the king.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Absalom said to him, I see your arguments are good and just; but there is no man deputed by the king to hear you.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Absalom said to him, See, your affairs are right and clear, yet you have no one appointed of the king to hear you.

 

Significant differences:           The words arguments and affairs are reasonable translations from the Hebrew. The final phrase (in the Latin, Syriac and Greek) appears to be a reasonable understanding of what is said in the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           ...then Absalom would say to him, "No doubt your claims are correct and valid, but the king won't listen to you.

Contemporary English V.       Absalom would say, "You deserve to win your case. It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear complaints like yours.

Easy English                          Then Absalom would say to him, `Your situation is right. But the king does not have an assistant who can listen to you.'

Easy-to-Read Version            Then Absalom would say to this man, “Look, you are right, but King David won’t listen to you.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         Absalom would say, "Look, the law is on your side, but there is no representative of the king to hear your case."

The Message                         Then Absalom would say, "Look, you've got a strong case; but the king isn't going to listen to you."

New Century Version             Then Absalom would say, "Look, your claims are right, but the king has no one to listen to you."

New Life Bible                        Then Absalom would say to him, "Your side of the problem is good and right. But there is no man to listen to you for the king."

New Living Translation           Then Absalom would say, "You've really got a strong case here! It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear it.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          ...he would say, 'Look, you have a good case, but no one from the king will listen to it.

Beck’s American Translation “see,” Absalom would say to him, “your claims are good and right, but the king hasn’t appointed anyone to her you.”

God’s Word                         Absalom would say, "Your case is good and proper, but the king hasn't appointed anyone to hear it."

NIRV                                      Absalom would say, "Look, your claims are based on the law. So you have every right to make them. But the king doesn't have anyone here who can listen to your case."

New Jerusalem Bible             ...then Absalom would say, 'Look, your case is sound and just, but not one of the king's deputies will listen to you.'

New Simplified Bible              Absalom would say: »My friend, the law is on your side. However, there is no representative of the king to hear your case.«

Revised English Bible            ...Absalom would say to him, ‘I can see that you have a very good case, but you will get no hearing from the king.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Absalom said to him, "See, your words are good and honest, but the king will not hear you."

Bible in Basic English             And Absalom would say to him, See, your cause is true and right; but no man has been named by the king to give you a hearing.

Complete Jewish Bible           Avshalom would say to him, "Look, your cause is good and just; but the king hasn't deputized anyone to hear your case."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look! Your case is good and right; but there is no one appointed by the king to hear it for you.”

HCSB                                     Absalom said to him, "Look, your claims are good and right, but the king does not have anyone to listen to you."

New Advent Bible                  And Absalom answered him: Your words seem to me good and just. But there is no man appointed by the king to hear you. And Absalom said:...

NET Bible®                             Absalom would then say to him, "Look, your claims are legitimate and appropriate [Heb "good and straight."]. But there is no representative of the king who will listen to you."

NIV – UK                                Then Absalom would say to him, `Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Absalom would say to him, Your claims are good and right, but there is no man appointed as the king's agent to hear you.

English Standard Version      Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you."

exeGeses companion Bible   And Abi Shalom says to him,

See, your words are good and straight;

but there is no man of the sovereign to hear you.

LTHB                                     And Absalom said to him, Behold, your matters are good and right. And there is no listener to you from the king.

NASB                                     Then Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims [Lit words] are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king."

Syndein                                  Furthermore Absalom would say to him, "Look, your grievances are valid and legitimate . . . but 'you have no one authorized by the king' {Idiom: literally 'there is no man for you'} to 'judge the case' {implying the judicial system is wrong - and attacking the laws of establishment such as law enforcement, military, marriage, judicial system - a tool of revolutionists is to take a perceived error and exploit it to overthrow the existing government}. {Insinuates Only Arrogant Absalom is Qualified to Obtain Justice for the People}.

World English Bible                Absalom said to him, Behold, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputized of the king to hear you.

Young’s Updated LT             And Absalom says unto him, “See, your matters are good and straightforward—and there is none hearkening to you from the king.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom agrees with the merits of the case, but suggests that the king doesn’t properly assign out responsibilities to hear these cases.


2Samuel 15:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5


Translation: Then Absalom said to him,... We are given the gist of one particular conversation, but this took place many times on many days. We do not know how long that Absalom did this. But he talked to enough people to help foster a revolt against his father.


Furthermore, what we have here is probably a sample of the sort of thing that Absalom would say. He is a smart young man, and he could tailor his message to whomever he spoke.


2Samuel 15:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

râʾâh (רָאָה) [pronounced raw-AWH]

look, see, behold, view, see here, listen up

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

debârîym (דְּבָרִים) [pronounced dawb-vawr-EEM]

words, sayings, doctrines, commands; things, matters, reports

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

ţôwb (טוֹב) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine plural adjective which can act like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nakoach (נָכֹחַ) [pronounced naw-KOH-ahkh]

straight, right, straightness; upright, just; straightforward; to be in front of

masculine plural adjective/substantive;

Strong’s #5228 & #5229 BDB #647


Translation:...“Look, your matter [is] good and just [and straightforward]. At some point, Absalom listened to the case that Charlie Brown brought before the court, and he agrees with Charlie Brown. “It is obvious; your court case is very straightforward. You have a good case and you are right in your claims.” The guy could be the biggest idiot in Israel, but if Absalom could agree with him, he would. Absalom is only looking to ingratiate himself to each man who has a case.


This is something that Absalom probably said on many occasions. When he spoke to any man coming out of court, if things did not go his way, no matter what the reason, Absalom listens to his case and agrees that it is a good one. If you are trying to gain favor, you do not listen to a case and then suggest, “Okay, I hear what you’re telling me, but your case is a loser from the word go.”


Absalom was not really interested in the case, nor did he have any interest in investigating the validity of each man’s claims. He is simply playing on the frustrations of those who have brought their dispute to Jerusalem. He wants each of these men, who are a little turned off by the system at this time already, to look upon Absalom as a friend that he could count on.


2Samuel 15:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâmaʿ (שָמַע) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

hearing, listening; one who listens [hears]; one paying attention; to listening [and agreeing]

Qal active participle

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

ʾêyn (אֵין) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; [there is] no [none, not one, no one, not]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object)

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Together, min ʾêth mean from proximity with, from with, from close proximity to, to proceed from someone. A good up-to-date rendering might be directly from. The idea is, the person that these prepositions refer to is supposed to directly be involved in the action or in whatever is being requested.

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: [There is] none to hear you directly from the king.” On some days, the king would be judging these cases, and, apparently, on other days, he would appoint someone to decide these matters. It is very likely that someone listened to Charlie Brown’s claims and ruled against him. Charlie Brown did not just show up, and there was no one to judge his case. This is an important function of the king.


There are other possibilities. The docket is too full and Charlie Brown’s case is unsubstantial or there is not enough time to get to it. Or, it is heard, and the judge throws his case out, based upon Charlie Brown’s testimony alone (which ought to be done in more cases in the United States). Or, for whatever reason, the case is not heard; perhaps the judge did not show up on this day.


What we have here is a particular instance, which no doubt occurred from time to time. But this was not Absalom’s only rap. This is simply an example of what Absalom would say. Then Absalom said to him, “Look, your matter [is] good and just [and straightforward]. [There is] none to hear you directly from the king.” In this case, the plaintive’s case was not heard. Judge did not show up; the docket was too full; or his case was thrown out on summary judgment.

 

Keil and Delitzsch point out: Of course the king himself could not give a hearing to every complainant, and make a personal investigation of his cause; nor could his judges procure justice for every complainant, however justly they might act, though it is possible that they may not always have performed their duty conscientiously. Footnote

 

The Pulpit commentary suggests what they believe to be the case: Probably all causes between citizens were tried by it, just as causes in the country were tried by the mishpachah; (see note on 2Sam. 14:7) but with an appeal in weighty matters to the king. It is a mistake to suppose that David altogether neglected his judicial functions. On the contrary, the woman of Tekoah obtained an audience, as a matter of course; and Absalom would not have risen up thus early unless David had also taken his seat in the early morning on the royal divan to administer justice. It was the suitors on their way to the king whom Absalom accosted, and made believe that he would be more assiduous in his duties than his father, and that he would have decided every suit in favour of the person to whom he was talking, whereas really one side alone can gain the cause. Still, we may well believe that, guilty himself of adultery and murder, and with his two eider sons stained with such terrible crimes, David"s administration of justice had become half hearted. And thus his sin again found him out, and brought stern punishment. For Absalom used this weakness against his father, and, intercepting the suitors on their way, would ask their city and tribe, and listen to their complaint, and assure them of the goodness of their cause, and lament that, as the king could not hear all causes easily himself, he did not appoint others to aid him in his duties. It was delay and procrastination of which Absalom complained; and as many of the litigants had probably come day after day, and not succeeded in getting a hearing, they were already in ill humour and prepared to find fault. Now, as David possessed great powers of organization, we may well believe that he would have taken measures for the adequate administration of law had it not been for the moral malady which enfeebled his will. In the appointment of Jehoshaphat and Seraiah (2Sam. 8:16–17) he had made a beginning, but soon his hands grew feeble, and he did no more. Footnote


So, because of the previous chapter, we do know for a fact that David sat as judge on some court hearings, and that he listened patiently and with interest, and made valid rulings. However, as we also saw in the previous chapter and in the one before that, sitting as the judge over the supreme court of the land was not David’s forte. He could not rule properly if a case was too close to him (e.g, it involved any of his sons) and he was too easily influenced by women (2Sam. 14). David no doubt should not have been trying all of the cases which came before him. In fact, like Moses (Ex. 18:14–26), he should have delegated this particular duty to other people.


It is possible—in fact, it is implied here—that David was not doing enough by way of stocking the courts with judges to hear the cases which came to Jerusalem. We do not know if this was a weakness in David’s government in general, or if this was a more recent problem which had come to pass. We do know a couple of things: David had an eye for the ladies, and when his soldiers were out of town, David apparently made use of this time (2Sam. 11). We also know that, when it came time to judge Amnon, David was unwilling to do that (he did get mad, but he never took it any further than that—2Sam. 12:21).


Application: When you are in a position of power, you need to know what your weaknesses are, and you need to put someone in your place to shore up your lack of knowledge or ability in that area.


Application: In many cases, a president has little foreign diplomacy experience, and he is to be negotiating with men who, in many cases, have been ruling for 20 or more years, and therefore, have some knowledge of how to manipulate other leaders. A president, therefore, needs to have foreign advisors and a Secretary of State who has real understanding of the geo-politics that our nation faces. A president needs to have a few, easily discernable foreign-policy principles, and he needs to find people who know enough to carry out these principles.


Although we have covered these problems, let’s just summarize them quickly.

A Summary of the Judicial Problems of the Davidic Court in Jerusalem

1.      David did personally hear cases, but it is clear that he was swayed by helpless females. 2Sam. 14:1–20

2.      David was unwilling to prosecute his own sons, when they should have been prosecuted. Emotion is no substitute when action is required. 2Sam. 13:21

3.      Some people were turned away from the Jerusalem court. 2Sam. 15:2–4

         1)      We have already speculated that David did not appoint enough judges, that cases got thrown out of court on a preliminary hearing (which is not a bad thing), or that the docket was too full from time to time.

         2)      Keil and Delitzsch suggested the following: Of course the king himself could not give a hearing to every complainant, and make a personal investigation of his cause; nor could his judges procure justice for every complainant, however justly they might act, though it is possible that they may not always have performed their duty conscientiously.1

         3)      Is it possible that, once Amnon had raped his half-sister, that David avoided the court system for awhile? Amnon should have bene prosecuted, and David never did this.

4.      Whatever the other problems were, Absalom was clearly able to exploit them to his own benefit. 2Sam. 15:2–6

5.      It is likely that Absalom used other approaches in dealing with people who had complaints, and that we are viewing one particular example here.

What we find here is not necessarily typical of the Davidic administration. 2Sam. 8:15 tells us that: David reigned over all Israel, and David executed justice and righteousness to all his people. When a government has both provided protection for its people from outside forces and has administered justice and righteousness to its people inside the country, that government is doing what it ought to be doing.

Application: In any election, when it comes to removing one administration and replacing it with another, you must consider, is the present administration keeping you protected from outside forces and is there a good and honest judicial system functioning in the United States (not perfect, mind you, but good and just). Anything over and above that is gravy.

1 Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament; from e-Sword; 2Sam. 15:1–3.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Absalom is carefully blaming the “system” by emphasizing to these “victims” that he would be doing a better job. He is careful not to attack his father personally and outright.


By the way, David was capable of farming out responsibilities. Joab was his commanding general in charge of all warfare, below David. Joab was his man in the field at all times. It was not that David was unable to do this; but David was older, getting past his prime, and he had other responsibilities.


We are not given any specifics on David’s judicial appointments, apart from the complaint made here. Did he appoint inferior judges? Did they not show up? Did he not hire enough judges to hear the cases which came in? What we do know is, there are times when a case was not heard or fully heard; that David did sit in on court cases, and that David was clearly influenced by women who were plaintiffs or defendants. He seemed less likely to do follow-up or investigations of cases involving women complainants.


This verse reads: Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, it is clear that your claim is valid and just, but there is no one designated by the king to properly listen to you.” There are a number of things at work here. Probably, some cases were not heard; some cases might be thrown out when the preliminary statement of the complainant is given; some cases may not get on the docket in time or there is not enough time to get to them. And, of course, there is always the loser in every case.


What is implied here, but not stated outright, is, the person who heard the case did not get it. He was not qualified to hear Charlie Brown’s case. His care was straightforward and should have obviously been decided and Charlie’s favor, but it was not. Therefore, the person at the bench was not really qualified. Absalom has to be careful about what he says. He cannot just come out and say, “The judge is crooked. He got paid off.” Or, “The judge is a drunk and he just came off the 3 month bender.” Or, “King David is too lazy to come to court today, so he just sent some unqualified flunky to sit in for him.” There is a certain decorum here, and Absalom cannot be seen to be seditious.


What we have here is just one example of one judicial problem. There were no doubt many. I have been in court, and, although I have found most judges to be honest, forthright, and desirous to follow the law; I have seen others who have not been fair-minded or unbiased. This was a wonderful time in Israel; and they had a great judicial system. However, that does not mean that it was not flawed; that does not mean that there were no mistakes that were made. And, even in a nearly flawless system, one half of a lawsuit is going to be unhappy with the result.


Absalom preyed upon any weakness that he could see, real or believed by the person to whom he spoke.


When we hear exactly what we want to hear—particularly from a politician—then we need to remember David’s own words from Psalm 12:2 People speak lies to one another. They speak with flattering lips and with double-heart (i.e., They say one thing but mean another). (NSB). Or Psalm 36:3–4 The words of his mouth are troubling and deceitful; he has ceased to act wisely and do what is right. He plots trouble before he falls asleep; he makes himself look good when he really isn’t; he does not reject evil [human viewpoint thinking]. Jer. 9:8 Their tongue is a murderous arrow; it speaks deceitfully; with his mouth each speaks peace and friendship to his neighbor, but in his heart he plans an ambush for him.


Application: Do not listen to people’s words simply because they sound good or even if they sound sincere. You need to evaluate their actions as well. This should be the order of the day when listening to a politician. In the time that I write this, there has rarely been a better example of this than our current President Barack Obama. Part of the reason that his transgressions have been so egregious is that, we have more access to the things that he has said than any other president in previous history. He has said many things, particularly in the 2008 election, which swayed huge numbers of people, because he looked and sounded good. However, 10 or more years previous to this, we did not have easy access to promises made by presidents. There was no YouTube; there was no alternative media. If the press did not want to recall what Bill Clinton promised as a candidate, then we never heard it after the campaign. However, if the press wanted to remind us of what President George H. W. Bush promised in his campaign (“Read my lips: no new taxes”), then we saw it over and over again. We are in a position, post the year of our Lord 2000, to compare what a politician says with what he does.


Vv. 2–3: Furthermore, Absalom made a habit of rising up early and waiting by the road into the city to speak to any man who had a legal dispute to bring before the king for a resolution. And Absalom would then call out to him, saying, “Which city are you from?” And he would answer, “You servants is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, it is clear that your claim is valid and just, but there is no one designated by the king to properly listen to you.” There is another unstated narrative behind all of what Absalom is saying. Absalom’s own sister, Tamar, had been raped by their ne’er-do-well half-brother Amnon. Absalom and Tamar did not get the justice that they ought to have gotten (2Sam. 14:1–21). Absalom eventually had Amnon killed, and this was no doubt on the minds of many citizens in Israel. Absalom was the kind of man who saw that a job got done. He was the kind of man who would see justice done, no matter what the cost. Absalom is not going to be there bragging, on “the steps of the courthouse,” Footnote how he killed his half-brother Amnon. But, this would be on the minds of many of the men who spoke with him. Absalom was a doer. He didn’t just talk a good game; he followed through.


——————————


And so says Absalom, “Who places me judging in the land? And upon me comes every man who is to him a dispute and a judgment, and I have brought him justice.”

2Samuel

15:4

Then Absalom would say, “Who will [or, O that one might] appoint me a judge in the land? Then comes any man to me who has a dispute or a judicial decision and I will give him justice [or, I will vindicate him].”

Then Absalom would then say, “O that I would be appointed as a judge in the land! Then any man could come to me with a dispute or an appeal and I would see to it that he received a just outcome.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And Absalom said: O that they would make me judge over the land, that all that have business might come to me, that I might do them justice. “And Absalom said:” is actually a part of v. 3 in the Latin.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says Absalom, “Who places me judging in the land? And upon me comes every man who is to him a dispute and a judgment, and I have brought him justice.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made a judge in the land, that every man who has a lawsuit or a cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!

Septuagint (Greek)                And Absalom said, O that one would make me a judge in the land; then every man who had a dispute or a cause would come to me, and I would judge him!

 

Significant differences:           In the first part of Absalom’s quotation, it appears that the words he used could be so translated into English (see the Hebrew exegesis below).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           If only I were made a judge in the land," Absalom would continue, "then anyone with a lawsuit could come to me, and I would give them justice."

Contemporary English V.       I wish someone would make me the judge around here! I would be fair to everyone."

Easy English                          Then Absalom would say, `I wish that someone would appoint me as the judge of this nation. Then everyone who has problems could come to me. I would make sure that each person gets a fair judgement.'

Easy-to-Read Version            Absalom would also say, “Oh, I wish someone would make me a judge in this country! Then I could help every man who comes to me with a problem. I would help him get a fair solution to his problem.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         And he would add, "How I wish I were a judge! Then anyone who had a dispute or a claim could come to me, and I would give him justice."

The Message                         Then he'd say, "Why doesn't someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and I'd settle things fair and square."

New Century Version             Absalom would also say, "I wish someone would make me judge in this land! Then people with problems could come to me, and I could help them get justice."

New Life Bible                        And Absalom would say, "If only I were chosen to be the one to be judge in the land! Then every man who has a problem could come to me. And I would do for him what is right and fair."

New Living Translation           I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!"


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          So, why doesn't he appoint me as the judge of the land and let me handle the disputes and cases, for I will give you justice.’

God’s Word                         He would add, "I wish someone would make me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a case to be tried could come to me, and I would make sure that he got justice."

New American Bible              And he would continue: "If only I could be appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a lawsuit to be decided might come to me and I would render him justice."

NIRV                                      Absalom would continue, "I wish I were appointed judge in the land! Then anyone who has a case or a claim could come to me. I would make sure he is treated fairly."

New Jerusalem Bible             Absalom would say, 'Oh, who will appoint me judge in the land? Then anyone with a lawsuit or a plea could come to me and I should see he had justice!'

Revised English Bible            He would add, ‘If only I were appointed judge in the land, it would be my business to see that everyone with a lawsuit or claim got justice from me.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Absalom said, "Who set me as judge in the land? Any man having an argument comes over to me for righteous verdicts!"

Bible in Basic English             And more than this, Absalom said, If only I was made judge in the land, so that every man who has any cause or question might come to me, and I would give a right decision for him!

Complete Jewish Bible           Then Avshalom would continue, "Now if I were made judge in the land, anyone with a suit or other cause could come to me, and I would see that he gets justice!"

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Next he would exclaim, “If I were appointed as a judge in the country, and any man came to me who had a wrong, I would decide and rectify it for you!”

HCSB                                     He added, "If only someone would appoint me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a grievance or dispute could come to me, and I would make sure he received justice."

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               And Absalom went on, “If only I were appointed judge in the land and everyone with a legal dispute came before me, I would see that he got his rights.”

NET Bible®                             Absalom would then say, "If only they would make me [Heb "Who will make me?"] a judge in the land! Then everyone who had a judicial complaint [Heb "a complaint and a judgment." The expression is a hendiadys] could come to me and I would make sure he receives a just settlement."

NIV, ©2011                             And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice."

The Scriptures 1998              And Ab?shalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any complaint or case would come to me, and I shall let right be done to him.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And Absalom said, `Who does make me a judge in the land, that unto me does come every man who has a plea and judgment? --then I have declared him righteous.

Darby Translation                  And Absalom said, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who has any controversy and cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!

English Standard Version      Then Absalom would say, "Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice."

exeGeses companion Bible   And Abi Shalom says,

Who set me judge in the land,

that every man who has any plea or judgment

comes to me to justify him?.

LTHB                                     And Absalom said, Who shall make me a judge in the land, that every man who has a dispute, I will then declare him right, even with justice?

Syndein                                  Then Absalom would add, "Who will appoint me a judge in the land, {Absalom's arrogance and self-centeredness exposed} that every man which has any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would see to he, that he receives justice!.

World English Bible                Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!

Young’s Updated LT             And Absalom says, “Who does make me a judge in the land, that unto me does come every man who has a plea and judgment? —then I have declared him righteous.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom claims that if he were judge in Israel, he would see to it that everyone got a fair shake.


2Samuel 15:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

mîy (מִי) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; whose, whomever; what; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

Under some circumstances, the mîy pronominal interrogative can express a wish or a desire, as in 2Sam. 15:4 or 23:15. Footnote

sîym (שִׂים) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (שׂוּם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set; to make; to appoint

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

shâphaţ (שָפַט) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

judging, governing; a judge, governor

Qal active participle

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: Then Absalom would say, “Who will [or, O that one might] appoint me a judge in the land? Now, you will note that Absalom does not call for this discontented person to support him in a revolution. He simply seems to be musing to himself. Now, in the previous verse, Absalom said to him; but in this verse, there is no to him. The idea is, Absalom would engage them in some conversation, usually about their dispute, but then Absalom would kind of look out in the distance and say, “Who will appoint me as a judge?” Or, “O that I would be a judge in Israel.” Or words to that effect. As if, this is what God has called him to do.


Now, bear in mind, it does not appear that Absalom actually has a public office or a responsibility. He looks quite kingly, with his great entourage, but that is all for show. However, the people who talk to him don’t know that. They don’t look up at him and say, “You phoney so-and-so.” Absalom looks like he’s important; he looks like he is somebody. He looks successful and powerful. That is what he wants. However, he is apparently just a man living off the taxpayer dole. If David has given him any responsibility, he has sloughed that off on someone else. People are supposed to look at him and think that he is really something, but he’s not. He’s really not much different than today’s “welfare mom;” except that he gets a much higher pay to do nothing. He apparently has some kind of an expense account which allows him to buy frivolous things, such as a chariot and horses, and to hire men.


And this man, who has just been able to blow off a little steam because of his own court case to the king’s son, who is surrounded by this great entourage, and he thinks of Absalom in a very favorable way. He also thinks, “If only Absalom had been my judge. He obviously understands the case and would render the correct decision.”


2Samuel 15:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

We would have expected to see the lâmed preposition here, which would mean to me; but that is not what we have.

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter, to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The combination of is and to me can be rendered to have.

rîyb (רִיב) [pronounced reebv]

strife, dispute, controversy, legal contention, forensic cause; an argument used in a public discussion or debate

masculine singular noun

Strong's #7379 BDB #936

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and; even; in particular, namely; when, since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mîshepâţ (מִשְפָּט) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, a judgement of the court

masculine singular noun

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048


Translation: Then comes any man to me who has a dispute or a judicial decision... We do not have the normal Hebrew word for to here. The preposition found here usually means upon, over, above; and the idea is, any man comes to Absalom and he shifts his burden upon Absalom. He bring his case and places it upon Absalom. So, even though a strict translation sounds goofy (And upon me comes every man who is to him a dispute and a judgment); the idea conveyed here is, a man comes to Absalom with a burden, a burden that he can lay upon Absalom’s shoulders. So, even though Absalom talks about justice, he really means that he, as the government, will take upon himself that man’s burden. Now, have you ever heard a politician who talks about justice, but, what he essentially means is, government will take your burden on its shoulders? Essentially, that is what Absalom was offering.


So far, this is what we have: one might] appoint me a judge in the land? Then comes any man to me who has a dispute or a judicial decision... There are two kinds of cases discussed here. The first is a dispute or a legal controversy. However, the second appears to be a judgment which has already been reached. So, in another court or another forum, a judgment has been reached, but it is the wrong judgment. Then any man can bring that verdict to Absalom to be reexamined. In other words, Absalom is suggesting that appeals be brought to him as well.

 

Barnes on what we have so far: To flatter each man by pronouncing a favorable verdict in his case, to excite a sense of grievance and discontent by censuring the king for remissness in trying the causes brought before him by his subjects, and to suggest a sure and easy remedy for all such grievances, namely, to make Absalom king; all this, coupled with great affability and courtesy, which his personal beauty and high rank made all the more effective, were the arts by which Absalom worked his way into favor with the people, who were light and fickle as himself. Footnote


2Samuel 15:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

tsâdaq (צָדַק) [pronounced tsaw-DAHK]

to do or bring to justice (in administrating the law); to declare righteous [just, innocent]; to justify; to vindicate the cause [of someone]; to make [someone] righteous (just); to turn to (toward) righteousness and integrity

1st person singular, Hiphil perfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6663 BDB #842


Translation: ...and I will give him justice [or, I will vindicate him].” Absalom, at this point, has the confidence and the ear of the disgruntled citizen, and Absalom assures him that, if any man brought him a case, he would vindicate him; he would see that he receive a proper judicial verdict. And this man leaves thinking, “If only Absalom had been my judge.” And he will go home and he will tell all of his friends and neighbors and family about his time in court, how he got screwed over by the system, but that there is the king’s son, Absalom. A very important man, but a man who took time out of his busy schedule to hear the facts of his case and to unofficially adjudicate this case correctly and in his favor. “If only Absalom were my judge,” the man would tell his friends and relatives.

 

Poole’s comment: I should refuse no man, and decline no pains to do any man good. So he pretends to a very public spirit. Footnote


Now, in case you did not know, there are several political campaigns in the Bible. There is another one in Judges 9. So there is no misunderstanding, it does not matter that these are kingships and we live in a democracy; no one can become king without being a leader and having popular support.


The entire verse reads: Then Absalom would say, “Who will [or, O that one might] appoint me a judge in the land? Then comes any man to me who has a dispute or a judicial decision and I will give him justice [or, I will vindicate him].” Absalom indicates that providing justice for all—that is what he was called to do. That is his specialty. He is a man of the people and a man of justice.


Note that even Absalom’s language is careful. He does not tell these people, “You need to revolt against David and proclaim me as your king.” He can’t do that. He can’t say what he wants or what he will do. He has to couch everything in terms of what sounds good to the average person. Does that sound somewhat modern to you? Do you know any politician like that? Or, should I ask, do you know any politician who is not like that?


As David wrote in Psalm 55:21 His buttery words are smooth, but war is in his heart. His words are softer than oil, but they are drawn swords. Or we read in Prov. 26:25–28 When he speaks graciously, don't believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred is concealed by deception, his evil will be revealed in the assembly. The one who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever rolls a stone--it will come back on him. A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth causes ruin. (Both HCSB)


Application: This is not all that deep: just because someone says they are your friend or looking out for you or on your side, does not mean that they are. Just because they say they are for the poor or the downtrodden, does not mean that they will always look our for the poor and the downtrodden. In fact, for some politicians, it is better for them to have poor and downtrodden in large numbers that will vote for them. It does them no good to take a poor and downtrodden person and move them up into the middle or upper class. They might lose a vote if that happens. In any case, politicians as often as possible try to make it seem if they are on the side of the electorate when they are not.

 

V. 4 reads: Then Absalom would then say, “O that I would be appointed as a judge in the land! Then any man could come to me with a dispute or an appeal and I would see to it that he received a just outcome.” The NIV Study Bible comments: Absalom presents himself as the solution to the people’s legal grievances. In the case of Amnon, he had taken matters into his own hands because of his father’s laxity. He has found, h believes, the weakness of his father’s reign, and he capitalizes on it with political astuteness. Footnote


Here is what we have so far in vv. 2–4: Furthermore, Absalom used to rise up early and remain by the road of the gate and [speak to] any man who had a legal dispute to bring to the king for a judgment. And Absalom called out to him and said, “Which city are you from?” And he would answer [lit., and so he says], “Your servant [is] from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom said to him, “Look, your matter [is] good and just [and straightforward]. [There is] none to hear you directly from the king.” Then Absalom would say, “Who will [or, O that one might] appoint me a judge in the land? Then comes any man to me who has a dispute or a judicial decision and I will give him justice [or, I will vindicate him].” David had a failing in some specific instances of judgment: he did not prosecute Amnon and he did not try his son Absalom in court for the murder of Amnon (he should have dealt with his sons in justice and not in sentimentality). However, that does not mean that David’s courts were unjust or unresponsive. Remember the woman from Tekoa received a trial by King David. Here, in this context, Absalom is rising up early in order to speak to these various litigants. If David is not holding court or if these people are being turned away in droves, then why is it that they show up day after day after day? If David’s court was inefficient, unjust or shut down, then, after awhile, no more people would be coming to him for judgment.


We know that Absalom is doing all of this for himself. He has no concern for other people. He is not a man of the people. Recall that, when he could not get Joab’s attention, he just burned his field down (2Sam. 14:29–30). Absalom would resort to criminal activity whenever he needed to. Then ends justified to means, in Absalom’s mind. Joab was the man who sponsored Absalom’s return to Israel, and Absalom, in a petulant self-centered fit, destroyed Joab’s property. So we know that justice is not at the top of Absalom’s list when it comes to anything.


Application: When a politician wants your support, he will make a variety of promises to you as to what he will provide. What characterized the Democratic approach to the 2008 elections is their parade of victims. One right after another of people who have been victimized by the system, whose life is difficult. The implication was, elect the Democrats, and these people (along with those with similar problems) will have their problems solved by the government. Your healthcare costs too much? Government will lower the cost and give you free healthcare if necessary (as if government has lowered the cost of anything). You want to go to school? Government will pay for it. Funds will be provided. You need daycare while you are at work. “Look to the government; we will take care of you.” The 2012 election was even more ridiculous. If you are going to a school that costs in excess of $30,000 a year, then there was even the promise to force them to pay for your birth control.


So, making a person feel as though they have been victimized by one political party, and promising that they, of the other party, will fix that—that’s nothing new. This narrative takes place 4000 years ago, and that is exactly what Absalom is doing. Eccles. 1:9–11 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Can one say about anything, "Look, this is new"? It has already existed in the ages before us. There is no memory of those who came before; and of those who will come after there will also be no memory among those who follow them. Of, as was later expressed by George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it," Or, as George Bernard Shaw said, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”


King David and son Absalom both represent two kinds of leadership: David is a true leader, who articulates a vision and a direction, and leads his people in that direction (although, he would listen to others). Absalom’s vision for the future is Absalom as king—that is the sum total of his vision for Israel’s future.

True Leadership Versus False Leadership

1.      A false leader tells you what you want to hear. A true leader tells you what you need to hear.

2.      A false leader will flatter the public; a true leader will make clear his goals and objectives.

3.      So far, Absalom has intimated that he would make things better; but you will notice, he always agreed with those whom he spoke to and he never laid out a clear set of principles for people to accept or reject. It is as if he was offering “hope and change” as his fundamental principles, which is meaningless.

4.      A false leader does everything he can to obscure his goals and objectives; a true leader—particularly in a democracy—will state his true goals and objectives and attempt to sell them based upon principle.

5.      Ronald Reagan was continually spouting overarching principles which most Americans agree with. Therefore, among conservatives, you will see him quoted often (as well as our founding fathers). On Facebook, for instance, I can see posted by one person or another, a Reagan quote almost daily. Similarly, I will see quotations from various founding fathers almost daily posted on one wall or another. These quotes express establishment truth; and people post them because they see Reagan and the founding fathers as being true leaders.

6.      Absalom has been informally listening to these court cases and agreeing with all of them. They got screwed and it was the fault of the Davidic courts.

7.      We had this in the 2008 election, where Democrats had their parade of victims—anyone who had a difficult time in 2008 and prior, and then proclaiming it was George W. Bush’s fault.

8.      Their candidate, Barack Obama, had a similar approach. When running in the primary, he presented himself as being solidly to the left. In the general election, almost overnight, he began to present himself as a very moderate candidate. He presented the Barack Obama most acceptable to his audience at that time.

9.      You cannot simultaneously agree with a crowd and lead that crowd. You cannot simply listen to public opinion in order to lead that same public. Sometimes public opinion is wrong, and you have to shape public opinion.

10.    A man who caters to you is not a leader.

11.    In our democracy, when you have a set of principles that you believe are correct, but the public is against you, you attempt to sell the public on these principles. You explain your principles and you lay out careful justification for them. George W. Bush should have done this when he was trying to push through Social Security reform or looking into the practices of FNMA and FHLMC. Even though he was correct on both principles, he made little or no attempt to inform and sway the public.

         1)      As an aside, liberals often push back against George Bush for his desire to privatize Social Security, saying, "And look what would have happened to everyone's money had they put it in the market. It would have lost nearly half its value." This is because there was a dramatic crash in the stock market at the end of Bush's term. Two points need to be made: (1) This crash came about because of horrible practices in FNMA and FHLMC, which, in part, tanked the market; and (2) social security investors would still have some money. The money that you pay into social security is not put into some kind of lockbox somewhere and saved for you when you reach age 65—there is no lockbox; there is no government savings account with your name on it. Congress spends every dime that you send them, no matter what they claim it is for, and then some. Every dime you have put into social security has already been spent. It is gone. All of it. Your social security depends upon the next few generations agreeing that social security is a good thing and that they should continue to pay into it.

12.    A true leader can function among those he agrees with and disagrees with. Ronald Reagan worked often with the other side and hammered out deals. When Bill Clinton was faced with a Congress of the other party, he worked with them and hammered out deals (although it was difficult to ascertain what he really believed in). Our current president, Barack Obama, almost never contacts members of the opposing party, and has even called them in essentially to lecture them. Early on in his presidency, when working with conservatives with whom he disagreed, essentially said, “I won and you lost;” on at least two occasions.

13.    When the blind leads the blind, they both fall into the ditch. Luke 6:39

14.    A true leader espouses principles of divine establishment; a false leader, when quoting the Bible, will nearly always take a quote out of its context or give it a meaning different than what is found in Scripture. “I am my brother’s keeper” as Barack Obama has quoted on several occasions, actually refers to the fact that we ought to be willing to help those who are around us. He uses this quote to suggest that the rich should be paying more in taxes. He has not helped out his own half-brother.

15.    A true leader has specific ideas and principles, which, in a democracy, is a part of his platform. A false leader in a democracy will attempt to obscure his ideas and principles, or water them down to make the palatable to the hoi polloi.

16.    Socialists are naturally dishonest. Whatever the public is subjected to because of their politicizes, they will not subject themselves to. Lenin and Stalin do not see themselves as equal to the rabble.

17.    In the United States, a true president is simultaneously a leader and a man who is a servant of the people. Jesus illustrated that He Himself was a servant -leader in Matt. 20:25–28 John 13:6–17.

18.    A person who simply wants to boss everyone around is not a leader. A person who is not willing to debate the arguments of the past is not a leader. Paul describes the attitude that we ought to have: Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others. Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality. Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, [even His] death on a cross (Philip. 2:3–8; God’s Word™ mostly).

19.    Absalom is selling himself as king of Israel based upon two things: his good looks and his ability to connect well with people, neither of which is meaningful as good leadership qualities. One thing I have noticed, particularly in the past decade or so is, both Democratic and Republican candidates are looking more and more attractive (I am referring not only to the president, but to governors, those in high office below the governor; and members of Congress—I write this in 2012 when this is particularly true of the Republican party).

20.    

If the people are arrogant, then they will follow an arrogant man who is not truly a leader. Absalom’s entire platform in his reign as king over Israel, albeit short, will simply be to get rid of his father.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


——————————


And he was in coming a man to bow down to him, and he stretched out his hand, and he takes a hold to him, and he kisses to him.

2Samuel

15:5

And it was when a man came to bow down to him, that Absalom [lit., he] would reach out his hand [to lift them up], or he would embrace him, or he would kiss him.

And it was whenever a man came to bow before Absalom that he would, instead, reach out his hand or he would embrace him or he would kiss him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          Moreover when any man came to him to salute him, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And he was in coming a man to bow down to him, and he stretched out his hand, and he takes a hold to him, and he kisses to him.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And whenever a man arose to do him obeisance, he held him by his hand and kissed him.

Septuagint (Greek)                And it came to pass that when a man came near to bow down to him, that he stretched out his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him.

 

Significant differences:           The first verbs in the Greek and Syriac are not exactly what is found in the Hebrew, but they are close in meaning. The Syriac leaves out the phrase that follows Absalom stretching out his hand. That is a key phrase, because it suggests that Absalom does not just shake his hand, but he is reaching down to pull the man up.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Whenever anyone came near to Absalom, bowing low out of respect, he would reach his hand out, grab them, and kiss them.

Contemporary English V.       Whenever anyone would come to Absalom and start bowing down, he would reach out and hug and kiss them.

Easy English                          People went to bend down in front of Absalom, in order to show him honour. But Absalom reached out his hand to each person and held him. Then Absalom kissed the person.

Easy-to-Read Version            And if a person came to Absalom and started to bow down to him, Absalom would {treat him like a close friend}—Absalom would reach out and touch that person and kiss him.

Good News Bible (TEV)         When the man would approach Absalom to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him.

The Message                         Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he'd shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important.

New Berkeley Version           Furthermore, whenever a man approached to prostrate himself before him, he would extend his hand, lift him up, and kiss him.

New Century Version             People would come near Absalom to bow to him. When they did, Absalom would reach out his hand and take hold of them and kiss them.

New Life Bible                        When a man came near to put his face to the ground in front of him, Absalom would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.

New Living Translation           When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And whenever some man would come and bow before him, he would reach out and grab him, then kiss him.

New American Bible              Whenever a man approached him to show homage, he would extend his hand, hold him, and kiss him.

New Jerusalem Bible             And whenever anyone came up to him to prostrate himself, he would stretch out his hand, draw him to him and kiss him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      As a man was bowing near to him, he sent his hand to fortify him, and kissed him.

Bible in Basic English             And if any man came near to give him honour, he took him by the hand and gave him a kiss.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 And when a person approached to bow to him, he would stretch out his hand, and seize his, and salute him,...

Judaica Press Complete T.    And it would be, when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, that he put forth his hand and took hold of him, and kissed him.

New Advent Bible                  Moreover when any man came to him to salute him, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

NET Bible®                             When someone approached to bow before him, Absalom [Heb "he"; the referent (Absalom) has been specified in the translation for clarity.] would extend his hand and embrace him and kiss him.

New Heart English Bible        It was so, that when any man came near to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him.

NIV, ©2011                             Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And it has come to pass, in the drawing nearing of any one to bow himself to him, that he has put forth his hand, and laid hold on him, and given a kiss to him;"...

English Standard Version      And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.

exeGeses companion Bible   And so be it,

when any man approaches to prostrate to him,

he sends his hand and holds him and kisses him:...

Syndein                                  {Absalom's Condescension/Politicking}

Now it came to pass, when anyone approached to 'salute'/'do obeisance'/greet him, he {Absalom} put extend his hand, and take hold of him, and 'kiss him'/'give him the customary warm greeting of the day'. {Note: The Principal is the bible must be interpreted in conjunction with the time in which it was written. The normal greeting in this culture (and still in the Middle East today) was for men to kiss when they greeted each other. Oriental cultures tend to bow respectfully. Westerners shake hands. It is all the same thing.}.

World English Bible                It was so, that when any man came near to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him.

Young’s Updated LT             And it has come to pass, in the drawing nearing of any one to bow himself to him, that he has put forth his hand, and laid hold on him, and given a kiss to him.

 

The gist of this verse:          It appears that Absalom would not allow men to do obeisance to him, but to lift the man up to his level, as if to say, “We are all equal in this land.”


2Samuel 15:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). It may be more idiomatically rendered subsequently, afterwards, later on, in the course of time, after which. Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qârab (קָרַב) [pronounced kaw-RABV]

to come near, to approach, to draw near

Qal infinitive construct

Strong #7126 BDB #897

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâchah (שָחַה) [pronounced shaw-KHAW]

to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to do obeisance to; to honor [with prayers]; to do homage to, to submit to

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #7812 BDB #1005

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.


Translation: And it was when a man came to bow down to him,... Absalom became well known. He traveled with this entourage. People would come to meet him. It was protocol to bow down before royalty, and therefore, bow down they did. But Absalom is going to do something which is going to make him seem like a different kind of royal personage.


2Samuel 15:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâlach (שָלַח) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out, to reach out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

yâd (יָד) [pronounced yawd]

hand; figuratively for strength, power, control

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388


Translation: ...that Absalom [lit., he] would reach out his hand [to lift them up],... However, Absalom did not want them to feel as though they needed to bow before him. He would reach out to them. We might think of this as a handshake, although that is not necessarily what is going on. What Absalom was doing was reaching out to lift them up to his level. There was no upper class in his country; Absalom was equal to the people whom he wanted to rule over.


Try to see this in your mind’s eye. A “subject” comes along, sees Absalom, and then bows down low before him. So, he is on the ground, either on his knees and bowing or sprawled out before Absalom, and Absalom reaches out his hand, presumably to lift him up.


We do not know when handshaking began, but some of the “origin” stories begin in medieval times, which is 2000 years after this period of time. However, there are statues and steles with handshaking occurring that go back to the 4th century b.c. For all we know, we might even be in on the first handshaking to occur in human history right in this passage.


2Samuel 15:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and; even; in particular, namely; when, since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

châzaq (חָזַק) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to take hold [of something], to grab, to hold fast, to gain [take] possession of; to strengthen, to make strong, to support; to repair; to display strength [power]; to prevail [upon]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The lâmed preposition here acts very much like the sign of a direct object.


Translation: ...or he would embrace him,... He might embrace the person who has come to him. Have you seen politicians do this? Many times. We do not know if Absalom does the lifting up and then the embracing, or, sometimes he does one, but not the other. But, again, the concept of equality is radiated. The embrace tells the man, “We’re equal, my brother; I am not higher than you as royalty.”


So that there is no misunderstanding, Absalom does not see himself equal to any of these people. This is salesmanship, not leadership. This is a ruse to win their favor.


Recall that Satan attempted to sell the woman on equality as well. “If you eat the fruit, you will know what God knows.”


2Samuel 15:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and; even; in particular, namely; when, since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâshaq (נָשַק) [pronounced naw-SHAHK]

to kiss, to touch, to have close contact with

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #5401 BDB #676

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The lâmed preposition here acts very much like the sign of a direct object.


Translation: ...or he would kiss him. And, in those days, you kissed your parents and close friends and relatives; and that is what Absalom would do with “his potential subjects.” A little gross to me, but that was the culture of the day. Again, Absalom is conveying the idea of equality.


It is here where the less literal translations are helpful. When I was first saved, I believe that the most literal, most careful word-for-word translation was always the best. I have since changed my mind about this. Here, we can read what the more lax translations have done, and we get a better idea what is going on, despite the cultural differences.

 

Easy English                          People went to bend down in front of Absalom, in order to show him honour. But Absalom reached out his hand to each person and held him. Then Absalom kissed the person.

Easy-to-Read Version            And if a person came to Absalom and started to bow down to him, Absalom would {treat him like a close friend}—Absalom would reach out and touch that person and kiss him.

Good News Bible (TEV)         When the man would approach Absalom to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him.

The Message                         Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he'd shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important.

New Living Translation           When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them.


In the translations above, it is clear that many of these words are not found in the Hebrew. However, this gives us a better idea about what is going on. Absalom is conveying the idea, “We are all equal here, brother; I am no better than you are. We are all comrades here.” Now, this is not what Absalom believes. This is what he does in order to manipulate the masses.


So, people who met Absalom would come back and tell their friends and family, “Let me tell you, this Absalom fellow, he’s approachable. He’s just a regular guy.” Others would say, “You know, he’s the kind of guy you could have a beer with.”


This is a point that needs to be driven home, because there are no written commentaries that I am aware of which make this connection. Footnote

The Importance of 2Samual 14:33

1.      2Sam. 14:33 reads: Joab went to the king and told him. So David summoned Absalom, who came to the king and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.

2.      Prior to this, Absalom was estranged from King David. David allowed Absalom back into Jerusalem, but he would not see him. David would not forgive him; David would not bring him into court for a final adjudication; David just made it known that Absalom was not to come to the palace. This went on for 2 years. Absalom live in Jerusalem, but he could not come and see the king. 2Sam. 14:28

3.      We know that Absalom is a clever man of plots; for two years he hatched a plot to kill his half-brother Amnon and carried it out with the unwitting help of his father. 2Sam. 13:24–33

4.      So, Absalom, who is far less sentimental than his father, thought about his place in Jerusalem, and decided that he could become king as a young man, and so he hatched a plot to bring that to pass.

5.      He has to have a free hand to bring this plot to fruition. He could not do this as the estranged son of David. He needed access to castle Zion; he needed to be able to talk freely to the people of Israel as they walked in and out of the courtroom (it was an open courtroom at the gate of the city). And Absalom needed an entourage to make himself appear to be a king. He could not do this as David’s estranged son; that would arouse suspicions.

6.      As David’s favored son, he could begin acting like the king’s son; like a king-in-waiting. David, the overindulgent father, would notice this, but not think much about it.

7.      So, once Absalom recognized that he needed to be close to his father David, he needed to see his father.

8.      Absalom had one ally inside Castle Zion and that was Joab. When Joab refused to answer his messages, Absalom took what appears to be a petulant act. However, given what Absalom needed from Joab and then David, this was not an act of angry frustration, but an act calculated to get him into the palace with his father David.

9.      Once Absalom was in the palace with David, he, with very little effort, was able to play his father. Absalom figured he could show up, do obeisance, and his father David would be unable to help himself. He would have to accept Absalom back as his beloved son.

10.    In other words, Absalom was not thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead; he was thinking 5 or 6 steps ahead. Whatever you may think of Absalom personally, do not underestimate his intelligence or his forethought.

So there is no misunderstanding, Absalom is not the prodigal son here. The prodigal son came back in true humility, willing and able to work as a servant for his father. Absalom just faked it. He would not be cleaning out horse or mule barns; he would not be drawing water or emptying out waste containers. Absalom was not willing to do servile work; he needed his father’s approval and affection in order to proceed.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Quite obviously, Absalom does not have anywhere near the same affection for David as David has for him. David is just a means to an end, and he no doubt anticipates killing his father in battle. This is what is in Absalom’s soul right here, right now; and when his father kissed him.


One could make the case that Absalom is a victim of injustice, and that David did not deal with him properly. This was taught in the previous chapter. The key was not a “full forgiveness” but a just verdict rendered in an open court by David. But, regardless of David’s shortcomings and failure as a father, Absalom is now an adult. Therefore, Absalom is responsible for his own decisions.


Application: You may have had the worst home life and the lousiest parents in the human race. And many people are willing to give you slack because of this maybe up to age 16. However, there is a point at which you need to assume responsibility for your own life, no matter what has happened to you. Absalom is, without a doubt, an adult, and the decisions that he makes will bring him to his own violent death. Once you are an adult, you have to grow up, lousy parental guidance or not.


Application: Everyone has setbacks in their life; everyone has faced injustice; everyone has had a bad break. What can God do about it? He can mix all things together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).


Let me suggest a rather odd parallel here: Satan, when he is let out of his bondage after the earth has been enjoying 1000 years of perfect environment, will come to the people of the world and offer them a better deal, if they would just revolt against Jesus Christ, who will be ruling the world on David’s throne from Jerusalem. There will be perfect environment at this time (Isa. 11:1–13). And still, Satan will come in and sway the people of the earth to turn against God and to revolt against Him in the Gog/Magog revolution (Rev. 19:11–16). People, even under perfect environment, can be led astray.


——————————


And so does Abraham as the word the this to all Israel who came for judgment unto the king. And so steals Absalom a heart of men of Israel.

2Samuel

15:6

So, according to this manner, Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment. Therefore, Absalom deceived the hearts of the men of Israel.

As so described, Absalom interacted with all Israel who came to the king for judgment. In this way, Absalom deceived the men of Israel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And this he did to all Israel that came for judgment, to be heard by the king, and he enticed the hearts of the men of Israel.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so does Abraham as the word the this to all Israel who came for judgment unto the king. And so steals Absalom a heart of men of Israel.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And in this manner did Absalom to all the Israelites who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Absalom did after this manner to all Israel that came to the king for judgment; and Absalom gained the hearts of the men of Israel.

 

Significant differences:           The English translation from the Syriac has Israelites rather than all Israel. Although the final verbs noted above are slightly different, they are not that different.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           This is how Absalom treated every Israelite who came to the king seeking justice. This is how Absalom stole the hearts of the Israelites.

Contemporary English V.       That's how he treated everyone from Israel who brought a complaint to the king. Soon everyone in Israel liked Absalom better than they liked David.

Easy-to-Read Version            Absalom did that to all the Israelites who came to King David for judgment. In this way, Absalom won the hearts of all the people of Israel.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Absalom did this with every Israelite who came to the king for judgment, and so he won their loyalty.

The Message                         Absalom did this to everyone who came to do business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.

New Berkeley Version           Absalom acted like this for all the Israelites who were coming to the king for judgment, and so he stole away the loyalty of the men of Israel.

New Century Version             Absalom did this to all the *Israelites who came to the king for a decision. It was as if Absalom stole the people of *Israel. They loved him and they became loyal to him.

New Life Bible                        He acted this way toward all those of Israel who came with a problem for the king to judge. So Absalom became friends with the men of Israe.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well, AbSalom was doing this to everyone from IsraEl who came to the king for a judgment, and he was winning the hearts of the men of IsraEl.

Christian Community Bible     Absalom did this to all Israelites who came to the tribunal of the king, winning their hearts for himself.

God’s Word                         This is what he did for all Israelites who came to the king to have him try their case. So Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

New American Bible              By behaving in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king for judgment, Absalom was stealing the heart of Israel.

NIRV                                      Absalom did that to all of the people of Israel who came to the king with their cases or claims. That's why the hearts of the people were turned toward him.

New Jerusalem Bible             Absalom acted like this with every Israelite who appealed to the king's tribunal, and so Absalom won the Israelites' hearts.

New Simplified Bible              Absalom did this with every Israelite who came to the king for judgment. That way he won their loyalty.

Revised English Bible            By behaving like this to every Israelite who sought justice from the king, Absalom stole the affections of the people.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Absalom did this word for anyone in Israel that came to the king for verdicts. Absalom stole the heart of the men of Israel.

Bible in Basic English             And this Absalom did to everyone in Israel who came to the king to have his cause judged: so Absalom, like a thief, took away the hearts of the men of Israel.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and by this means, Absalom made himself popular to all Israel who came for justice to the king. Thus Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

HCSB                                     Absalom did this to all the Israelites who came to the king for a settlement. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

New Advent Bible                  And this he did to all Israel that came for judgment, to be heard by the king, and he enticed the hearts of the men of Israel.

NET Bible®                             Absalom acted this way toward everyone in Israel who came to the king for justice. In this way Absalom won the loyalty [Heb "stole the heart."] of the citizens [Heb "the men."] of Israel.

New Heart English Bible        Absalom did this sort of thing to all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

NIV – UK                                Absalom behaved in this way towards all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

The Scriptures 1998              And Ab?shalom did this to all Yisraʼĕl who came to the sovereign for right-ruling. And Ab?shalom stole the hearts of the men of Yisraʼĕl.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Green’s Literal Translation    And Absalom acted this way to all Israel who came in to the king for judgment. And Absalom stole the heart of the men of Israel.

LTHB                                     And Absalom acted this way to all Israel who came in to the king for judgment. And Absalom stole the heart of the men of Israel.

Syndein                                  Consequently, Absalom behaved in the manner, to all Israel who came to the king for justice and so Absalom stole the hearts/'right lobes' of the men of Israel. {Note: Apparently the judicial system at this point was overwork and possibly even unjust. Incompetency in the government and the building of a huge incompetent bureaucracy is a government asking for revolution.}.

World English Bible                In this manner Absalom did to all Israel who came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Young’s Updated LT             And Absalom does according to this thing to all Israel who come in for judgment unto the king, and Absalom steals the hearts of the men of Israel.

 

The gist of this verse:          By these simple acts, Absalom got many people to think that he was really a great guy and potentially a great leader.


2Samuel 15:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

The full set of Qal meanings from BDB: to do, work, make, produce; to do; to work; to deal (with); to act, act with effect, effect; to produce; to prepare; to make (an offering); to attend to, put in order; to observe, celebrate; to acquire (property); to appoint, ordain, institute; to bring about; to use; to spend, pass.

All of the BDB Qal meanings for this word are: 1a1) to do, work, make, produce; 1a1a) to do; 1a1b) to work; 1a1c) to deal (with); 1a1d) to act, act with effect, effect; 1a2) to make; 1a2a) to make; 1a2b) to produce; 1a2c) to prepare; 1a2d) to make (an offering); 1a2e) to attend to, put in order; 1a2f) to observe, celebrate; 1a2g) to acquire (property); 1a2h) to appoint, ordain, institute; 1a2i) to bring about; 1a2j) to use; 1a2k) to spend, pass.

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, just as; according to, after; about, approximately; combined with an infinitive, it can also take on the meaning as, often, when, as soon as

preposition of comparison, resemblance or approximation

No Strong’s # BDB #453

dâbâr (דָּבָר) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command; business, occupation; case; something; manner

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

zeh (זֶה) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

Together, dâbâr zeh mean this thing, this matter, this command.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâʾêl (יִשְׂרַאֵל) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975


Translation: So, according to this manner, Absalom dealt with all Israel... Absalom found this to be a profitable place to speak to fellow Israelites. It was a fertile field in which to find supporters. They walked out of court mad, wanting to vent; and they spoke to Absalom. This made them feel a bit better. They believe he is a regular guy and he is a guy who cares. He is right there, right where they face a court that is stacked against them, and he cares.


The implication is, there was a problem in the courts; a backlog, and it is possible that not all men got a fair hearing for their grievances. However, as noted before, in any court case, all you need to do is just talk to the loser, and they’ll be glad to tell you how they feel, and happy to hear that you agree with them.


Application: Have you ever voted for a politician because you believe that he cares for you and is concerned about your problems? Absalom appeared to care about those who walked out of the court.


2Samuel 15:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter, to advance

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîshepâţ (מִשְפָּט) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, a judgement of the court

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: ...who came to the king for judgment. The people that Absalom focused on were those who had to go to court. In many cases, this means they travels 20 or 40 or even 60 miles; and then, once they arrive, they lose their court case, or they are not given a hearing, for whatever reason. So these are people who are upset.


So Absalom spoke with the malcontents; he shot the breeze with them. He treated them as equals; and he sympathized with their problems and agreed with their grievances. In this way, those who spoke to Absalom walked away impressed by him.


Now, recall that Absalom was a handsome young man; and he was apparently very personable when he chose to be. He knew how to work a room, as it were. So these people that he met and spoke with, went back home, and they told all of their friends and family what a nice young man Absalom is, and how he would make a great judge, or maybe king.


2Samuel 15:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

gânab (גָּנַב) [pronounced gaw-NAHBV]

to steal [away]; to deceive

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #1589 BDB #170

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

lêb (לֵב) [pronounced laybv]

heart, inner man, mind, will, thinking; midst

masculine singular construct

Strong's #3820 BDB #524

ʾănâshîym (אֲנָשִים) [pronounced uh-NAW-sheem]; also spelled ʾîyshîym (אִישִים) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yiserâʾêl (יִשְׂרַאֵל) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975


Translation: Therefore, Absalom deceived the hearts of the men of Israel. The verb here can mean to steal, to deceive. Absalom deceived the thinking of all those who talked with him. They left the court yard believing Absalom to be a kind man, a real guy, someone who was not so hoity-toity, and a guy you could have a beer with. In this way, he deceived the thinking of the people. Absalom wanted power and he wanted it now. He did not care how he got it. The people who spoke to him were deceived; and he did not earn their loyalty, he stole it.

 

Clarke writes: His manner of doing this is circumstantially related above. He was thoroughly versed in the arts of the demagogue; and the common people, the vile mass, heard him gladly. He used the patriot’s arguments, and was every thing of the kind, as far as promise could go. He found fault with men in power; and he only wanted their place, like all other pretended patriots, that he might act as they did, or worse. Footnote

 

Or, as Poole put it: [Absalom] secretly and subtlety undermined his father, and robbed his father of the good opinions and affections of his people, that he might gain them to himself, by such insinuations into their affections, by his plausible and over-civil carriage. Footnote

 

And J. Vernon McGee said: Absalom is a true politician, isn’t he? That is the way man men get elected to office today. They have no qualifications other than they fact that they are good at handshaking and back slapping. Footnote


Guzik sums this up quite well.

Guzik on How Absalom Stole the Hearts of the Men of Israel

       He carefully cultivated an exciting, enticing image (chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him)

       He worked hard (Absalom would rise early)

       He knew where to position himself (beside the way to the gate)

       He looked for troubled people (anyone who had a lawsuit)

       He reached out to troubled people (Absalom would call to him)

       He took a personal interest in the troubled person (What city are you from?)

       He sympathized with the person (your case is good and right)

       He never attacked David directly (no deputy of the king to hear you)

       He left the troubled person more troubled (no deputy of the king to hear you)

       Without directly attacking David, Absalom promised to do better (Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice)

Let me append this with two verses: Rom. 16:18 For such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 2Peter 2:3 In their greed [for power, in Absalom’s case] they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced [by God] long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep. (Both HCSB)

From: David Guzik’s Commentary on the Old Testament; courtesy of e-sword; ©2006;  2Sam. 15:1–37.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


I want you to think back about David and his rising to the throne. As long as Saul was alive, Saul was king, and David always showed him proper deference (with one exception on one occasion). David had two chances where he could have killed Saul, and it would have been so easy for him to rationalize such an act (as Saul was forever chasing him and trying to kill him). It would have been so easy for David to say, “The Lord has delivered Saul to me; blessed be the name of the Lord.” And then plunge his sword into Saul’s belly. But David did not do that. He would not lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed.


But Absalom? That is a whole different story. If Absalom had a chance to kill his father, he would have done it in an instant. There would be no thought to God; no thought to what is right or wrong; there is just power, and it is there for him to take, so he would take it.


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Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Absalom's Revolt Begins in Hebron


And so he is from an end of forty [probably four] a year and so says Absalom unto the king, “Let me go, please, and so I complete my vow which I vowed to Yehowah in Hebron.

2Samuel

15:7

And it is after [lit., from] the end of four years that Absalom said to the king, “Let me go, please, so that I can complete in Hebron my vow that I vowed to Yehowah.

And after four years passed, Absalom said to the king, “Please allow me to go to Hebron, so that I can complete my vow that I vowed to the Lord.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And after forty years, Absalom said to king David: Let me go, and pay my vows which I have vowed to the Lord in Hebron.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so he is from an end of forty [probably four] a year and so says Absalom unto the king, “Let me go, please, and so I complete my vow which I vowed to Yehowah in Hebron.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And it came to pass after four years Absalom said to the king, Let me go and fulfil my vow which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron;...

Septuagint (Greek)                And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said to his father, I will go now, and pay my vows, which I vowed to the Lord in Hebron.

Brenton’s Septuagint             And it came to pass after forty years, that Abessalom said to his father, I will go now, and pay my vows, which I vowed to the Lord in Chebron.

 

Significant differences:           Both the Syriac and, apparently, one version of the LXX, have four years rather than forty. Most ancient versions understand that Absalom is making a request. In the English translation from the Greek, it appears as if Absalom is simply informing his father of what he is going to do. We have pay my vows rather than complete my vows in the English translation from the Greek and Latin.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Four years later, Absalom said to David, "Please, let me go to Hebron. I have to keep a promise that I made to the LORD,...

Easy-to-Read Version            After four years [Some ancient writings say "40 years."], Absalom said to King David, “Please let me go to complete my special promise that I made to the Lord at Hebron.

Good News Bible (TEV)         After four years Absalom said to King David, "Sir, let me go to Hebron and keep a promise I made to the LORD.

The Message                         After four years of this, Absalom spoke to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to pay a vow that I made to GOD.

New Century Version             After four years Absalom said to King David, "Please let me go to Hebron. I want to carry out my promise that I made to the Lord...

New Living Translation           After four years [As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads forty years.], Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

God’s Word                         Four years later Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron and keep the vow I made to the LORD.

New American Bible              Conspiracy in Hebron.

After a period of four years, Absalom said to the king: "Please let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.

New Simplified Bible              After four years Absalom said to King David: »My lord let me go to Hebron and keep a promise I made to Jehovah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      It was in the end of forty years: Absalom said to the king, "Please, I go to repay my vow which I vowed to Yahweh in Hebron.

Bible in Basic English             Now at the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, Let me go to Hebron and give effect to the oath which I made to the Lord:...

HCSB                                     When four years had passed, Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go to Hebron to fulfill a vow I made to the Lord.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               After a period of forty [Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac read “four.”] years had gone by, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow that I made to the Lord.

Judaica Press Complete T.    And it came to pass at the end of forty years; and Absalom said to the king; "Allow me to go, I beg you, and pay my vow which I have vowed to the Lord in Hebron.

NET Bible®                             After four years Absalom said to the king, "Let me go and repay my vow that I made to the LORD while I was in Hebron. The MT has here “forty,” but this is presumably a scribal error for “four.” The context will not tolerate a period of forty years prior to the rebellion of Absalom. The Lucianic Greek recension (τέσσαρα ἔτη, tessara ete), the Syriac Peshitta (’arba’ sanin), and Vulgate (post quattuor autem annos) in fact have the expected reading “four years.” Most English translations follow the versions in reading “four” here, although some (e.g. KJV, ASV, NASB, NKJV), following the MT, read “forty.”

NIV – UK                                At the end of four [Some Septuagint manuscripts, Syriac and Josephus; Hebrew forty] years, Absalom said to the king, `Let me go to Hebron and fulfil a vow I made to the Lord.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And after [four] years, Absalom said to the king, I pray you, let me go to Hebron [his birthplace] and pay my vow to the Lord.

English Standard Version      And at the end of four [Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew forty] years Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron.

exeGeses companion Bible   And so be it, at the end of forty years,

Abi Shalom says to the sovereign,

I pray you, that I may go,

and shalam the vow I vowed to Yah Veh in Hebron:...

Fred Miller’s Revised KJV     And it was at the end four years, (Heb. Forty years) that Absalom said to the king, I beseech you, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron.

The Geneva Bible                  And it came to pass after forty years [Counting from the time that the Israelites had asked a king of Samuel.], 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.

New King James Version       Now it came to pass after forty [Septuagint manuscripts, Syriac, and Josephus read four.] years that Absalom said to the king, "Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord.

Syndein                                  {vv.  7-8 Absalom Deceives His Father to Start Revolution}

Now it came to pass after four years {introduces new subject}, that Absalom spoke to the king {David}, " 'Please sir'/'I pray you', let me go to Hebron and fulfill my vow,.

World English Bible                It happened at the end of forty years, that Absalom said to the king, please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to Yahweh, in Hebron.

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass, at the end of forty years, that Absalom says unto the king, “Let me go, I pray you, and I complete my vow, that I vowed to Jehovah in Hebron.

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom asks the king if he can take off to Hebron to fulfill a vow that he had made earlier.


2Samuel 15:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). It may be more idiomatically rendered subsequently, afterwards, later on, in the course of time, after which. Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

qêts (ץ̤ק) [pronounced kayts]

end [usually of time]; end [of space]

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7093 BDB #893

ʾarebâʿîym (אַרְבָעִים) [pronounced are-BAW-ĢEEM]

forty

undeclinable plural noun

Strong’s #705 BDB #917

The masculine and feminine forms of four are shown below. The key here are the consonants, and not the vowels. The vowel points were added to Old Testament Scripture after the fact.

ʾarebaʿ (אַרְבַּע) [pronounced ahre-BAHĢ]

four

masculine singular noun; numeral

Strong’s #702 BDB #916

ʾarebâʿâh (אַרְבַּעָה) [pronounced ahre-baw-ĢAW]

four

feminine singular noun; numeral

Strong’s #702 BDB #916

There are certainly problems with the word here being forty and not four. Josephus and the Syriac version and, apparently, some versions of the LXX, have four. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, this word cannot be read, so my copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls has a footnote which reads: 4QSamc and 4QSama presumably had “four,” just as the LXXL, the Syriac, and Josephus have. “Forty” is found in the MT and LXXB. Footnote Most of the available texts made from the Greek are based up LXXB (which would suggest that it is the most accurate or the best available manuscript).

shânâh (שָנָה) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: And it is after [lit., from] the end of four years... There are a lot of problems with this verse. If you will notice in the Hebrew exegesis above, the Hebrew actually has forty, and a few translations have four. Forty years does not make sense. However, this would have been an unusual error for a copyist to make. He would have had to have added two letters, ים, for this to end up being a forty. Now, all it takes is for this to happen one time and for this to end up being the manuscript which is used in the future. Let me add that, of the books of the Bible, Samuel is known for having an abundance of errors.

 

Tyler Cronk (apparently a theological student): The original Masoretic texts that exist have the most errors, omissions, and transmission errors than any other book in the Bible.5 The texts themselves are in bad shape and unintelligible in many areas. Footnote


First of all, 40 years makes very little sense, as David will rule for 40 years, and Absalom was born near the beginning of David’s reign. One commentator tried to measure 40 years from some oddball, unnamed date, but that would make little sense in a narrative. Although one commentator explains this as forty years since Saul; there are other measurements of time as related to David and Absalom which have already been used (2Sam. 13:22, 38 14:28), so we know the time frame of what has gone down between David and Absalom; it is well laid out. So, inserting a forty here with reference to some weird time frame would simply not fit with what has gone before.


Another researcher Footnote has put together manuscripts with 40 days instead of 40 years (4 days, in the Hebrew, is very close to 40). Now, this is certainly possible, and allows for Absalom to speak to perhaps 300 or more people concerned about their court cases. However, taking 4 years to build up a following seems more reasonable to me (Absalom had a large following very early on—2Sam. 17:1). Footnote


Our only explanation is, this is an error in copying, and a serious one. We have had, so far, 3 or 4 serious errors in the book of Samuel. This error would throw all of the other numbers out of whack.


Now, quite likely, this was noticed by some copyists and translators. There are one set of manuscripts of the Septuagint (the early Greek translation of the Bible) and the much later translation into the Syriac (at least, our copies of the Syriac are not very ancient). We do not know if they worked from manuscripts that had the word four in them or if they just knew it could not be forty. I think the latter is the most likely case.


This is an odd error, but it is an error which accomplishes nothing. That is, there is no theological constituency out there who has this or that doctrine explained by having the word forty here. So, there would be no reason for someone to intentionally change this into forty. The only explanation is, for whatever reason, a copyist wrote forty instead of four.


Given what Absalom is doing—slowly appealing to the people of Israel to look upon him as the next king—a 4 year period of time seems quite reasonable.


Furthermore we are given a glimpse of what Absalom did to prepare for this revolution. There must have been preparations more extensive than what we have read. We are given a few highlights, so that we understand both Absalom’s purpose and his ruthlessness.


Now, having been a math teacher, I do get into the numbers angle now and again. We looked at the Abbreviated Davidic Timeline, and came up with the follow conclusions: David is around 61–62 years of age. This places him at the beginning of his 4th decade as king. Footnote If we assume that Absalom is 15 when his sister is raped (they are quite young), he is now still very young, being 23 or 24. Taking the 4 years into account, that brings him to 27 or 28, which is not far from the NIV Study Bible’s approximation of 30 years. Footnote My age approximation for Absalom is based upon an assumption. If we assume that Absalom is 15 when his sister is raped (they are quite young), he is now still very young, being 23 or 24. Taking the 4 years into account, that brings him to 27 or 28, which is not far from the NIV Study Bible’s approximation of 30 years. Footnote My age approximation for Absalom is based upon an assumption. The only problem with the references that I used is, none of them seem to take these 4 years into account. Footnote


2Samuel 15:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: ...that Absalom said to the king,... So a period of time goes by. Absalom here is speaking to the king, so it indicates that he was able to approach the king now and to talk about whatever. We have no idea what King David thought about Absalom’s entourage, and he may not have realized that Absalom was fomenting revolution all these past 4 years. His conversation, when taken superficially, looks innocent enough. One might even understand that Absalom, who would someday be king, was getting to know the judicial system and talking to the plaintiffs and defendants in order to understand the process better.


With his own children, David was always overindulgent and he never gave them the close scrutiny that they should have gotten.


2Samuel 15:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake (הָלַךְ) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Qal imperfect; voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The hê at the end of a 1st person verb is called a cohortative hê. We often add a word like let, may, might, ought, should.

nâʾ (נָא) [pronounced naw]

now; please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

a primitive particle of incitement and entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

Nâʾ is used for a submissive and modest request. It is used to express a wish (Job 32:21: “Oh, that I may not respect any man’s person”); to incite or to urge (Jer. 5:24); it is depreciatory when affixed to the 2nd person with a particle of negation (do not, I implore you—see Gen. 33:10 19:18); with the it expresses a wish or request (Psalm 124 129:1 SOS 7:9), a challenge (Jer. 17:15), asking leave (Gen. 18:4), and depreciation with a negation (Gen. 18:32). In many of these examples, we would express this with the addition of the word let.


Translation:...“Let me go, please,... Clearly, Absalom could not just come and go as he pleased, but this does not mean that he came to David every time he wanted to move to the left or to the right. Going out of town would be something that would require the king’s permission.


It ought to be noted that there are men watching Absalom (see 2Sam. 15:13). Footnote Maybe they were assigned by David and maybe they have done this on their own initiative, but men loyal to David know what Absalom is up to, and they have, no doubt, been giving reports to David. Now, unless David has specifically said from the throne, “Listen, guys, I know you mean well, but I don’t want to hear this any more;” he is getting periodic reports on Absalom. However, David is who he is, an overindulgent father, and, no doubt, has made excuses for Absalom for much of this time. “He has an entourage? Look, he’s a young kid who wants to be king. He is interviewing people near the courthouse? Footnote Maybe that is what he is interested in.” And we have noted that Absalom has been very careful about what he has said and done, acting very circumspectly.


David would have done better to be more suspicious and less trusting. Absalom had approached him before about a bbq at his ranch, which request ended in the murder of Amnon (2Sam. 13:24–27).


2Samuel 15:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlêm (  ׂשָלֵם) [pronounced shaw-LAHM

to make secure, to keep safe; to complete (finish); to make good; to restore, to requite, to recompense (pay)

1st person singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #7999 BDB #1022

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

nêder (נֵדֶר) [pronounced NAY-der]

a vow, a promise, a personal guarantee, the giving of one’s word of assurance, a commitment

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5088 BDB #623

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

nâdar (נָדַר) [pronounced naw-DAHR]

to vow, to make a promise, to make a commitment, to give a word of assurance concerning a matter, to give one’s personal and honorable guarantee, to make a solemn oath or pledge to do or not to do a thing

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #5087 BDB #623

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Cheberôwn (חֶבְרוֹן) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: ...so that I can complete in Hebron my vow that I vowed to Yehowah. David appeared to exercise some supervision over Absalom, but it was limited. At this point in time, David seems to be as oblivious to Absalom’s plans as he was when Absalom determined to kill Amnon. David is just not thinking that something like this could be taking place.


What Absalom says here is slightly problematic, but it can be explained. Absalom made this vow when in Geshur. However, he will complete the vow in Hebron. So, in Hebron essentially is connected to completing the vow and not really to I vowed. I moved that phrase to where it ought to be, but it may even suggest that Absalom is a little nervous before his father. I fudged a bit on the translation for the looser translation and came up with: And after four years passed, Absalom said to the king, “Please allow me to go to Hebron, so that I can complete my vow that I vowed to the Lord. Hebron is where Absalom wants to go; he did not make a vow in Hebron because Hebron is south of Jerusalem, and, for several years, he was north of Jerusalem.


Hebron was the capitol of the southern kingdom when David first took control of the southern kingdom, and Absalom was born there (2Sam. 5:4–5 1Chron. 3:1–2). Therefore, as Barnes Footnote suggests, there will be some malcontents living there who wish that the capitol city was still Hebron, and some of Absalom’s boyhood friends would live there, who might be natural allies to him. Footnote But, mostly Absalom is going there to more easily organize an army which could war against David; which is something that he could not have done in Jerusalem.


Despite whatever warnings David may have heard, the idea that his son had made a vow and was going to Hebron to fulfill that vow was a great thing, in David’s eyes. Maybe his boy was growing up and beginning to recognize that which is spiritual. Absalom seems to know David’s blind sides: his sons and spiritual things. Here, Absalom combines them both, and David goes along with it.


What Absalom is saying will be explained more fully in the next verse.


——————————


For a vow vowed your servant in my living in Geshur in Aram, to say, ‘If returning, returns me Yehowah [to] Jerusalem, and I have served Yehowah.’ ”

2Samuel

15:8

For your servant vowed a vow when living in Geshur, in Aram (Syria), saying, ‘If indeed Yehowah returns me [to] Jerusalem, then I will serve Yehowah.’ ”

For your servant made a vow while living in Geshur in Aram, saying, “If Jehovah indeed returns me to Jerusalem, then I will serve Him by completing this vow.’ ”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          For your servant made a vow, when he was in Gessur of Syria, saying: If the Lord shall bring me again into Jerusalem, I will offer sacrifice to the Lord.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        For a vow vowed your servant in my living in Geshur in Aram, to say, ‘If returning, returns me Yehowah [to] Jerusalem, and I have served Yehowah.’ ”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    For your servant made a vow while I abode at Geshur and in Aram, saying. If the LORD will bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.

Septuagint (Greek)                For your servant vowed a vow when I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord should indeed restore me to Jerusalem, then will I serve the Lord.

 

Significant differences:           The final verb means to serve rather than to offer a sacrifice.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       ...when I was living with the Arameans in Geshur. I promised that if the LORD would bring me back to live in Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron."

Easy-to-Read Version            I made that promise while I was still living in Geshur, Aram. I said, ‘If the Lord brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’”

Good News Bible (TEV)         While I was living in Geshur in Syria, I promised the LORD that if he would take me back to Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron."

The Message                         Your servant made a vow when I was living in Geshur in Aram saying, 'If GOD will bring me back to Jerusalem, I'll serve him with my life.'"

New Berkeley Version           For your servant made a vow while I was living at Geshur in Syria, ‘If the Lord will restore, will surely restore me to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’ ” A hypocritical lie.

New Living Translation           For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron [As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew lacks in Hebron.] if he would bring me back to Jerusalem."


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

Christian Community Bible     For while I lived at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If Yahweh will really bring me back to Jerusalem, I shall go there to worship him!”

God’s Word                         I made a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram. I said, 'If the LORD will bring me back to Jerusalem, I will serve the LORD.'"

New American Bible              For while living in Geshur in Aram, your servant made this vow: `If the LORD ever brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship him in Hebron.'" 2 Sm 3:3; 13:37.

NIRV                                      When I was living at Geshur in Aram, I made a promise. I said, `If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I'll go to Hebron and worship him there.'"

New Jerusalem Bible             ...for, when I was in Geshur, in Aram, your servant made this vow, "If Yahweh brings me back to Jerusalem, I shall pay my devotions to Yahweh in Hebron." '

New Simplified Bible              »When I lived at Geshur in Syria (Aram), I promised Jehovah that if he would take me back to Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron.«


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             For while I was living in Geshur in Aram, your servant made an oath, saying, If ever the Lord lets me come back to Jerusalem, I will give him worship in Hebron.

Complete Jewish Bible           Your servant made a vow while I was staying at G'shur in Aram to the effect that if ADONAI would bring me back to Yerushalayim, then I would serve ADONAI."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 For your servant vowed a vow while I resided in Gheshur, in the land of Edom, saying, “If the Ever-living will restore me to Jerusalem I will serve the Ever-living.”

HCSB                                     For your servant made a vow when I lived in Geshur of Aram, saying: If the LORD really brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron."

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               For your servant made a vow when I lived in Geshur of Aram: If the Lord ever brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord.” Some Septuagint manuscripts add “in Hebron.”

NET Bible®                             For I made this vow [Heb "for your servant vowed a vow." The formal court style of referring to one's self in third person ("your servant") has been translated here as first person for clarity.] when I was living in Geshur in Aram: 'If the LORD really does allow me to return to Jerusalem, I will serve the LORD.' "

NIV – UK                                While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: "If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron [Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew does not have in Hebron.]." '


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                For your servant vowed while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, If the Lord will bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord [by offering a sacrifice].

Concordant Literal Version    ...for a vow has your servant vowed in my dwelling in Geshur, in Aram, saying, If Yahweh does certainly bring me back to Jerusalem, then I have served Yahweh.

Context Group Version          For your slave vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If YHWH shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve YHWH.

English Standard Version      For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, 'If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to [Or will serve] the LORD.'"

exeGeses companion Bible   ...for your servant vowed a vow

while I settled at Geshur in Aram, saying,

If in returning, Yah Veh returns me to Yeru Shalem,

then I serve Yah Veh.

The Geneva Bible                  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 [By offering a peace-offering, which was lawful to do in any place.].

Syndein                                  ...for your servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, thinking, "If Jehovah/God restores me and brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will worship Jehovah/God {in Hebron}." {Absalom is lying about the vow to God - Absalom never had a change of heart this is the sin of lying + arrogance = evil . . . and revolution} {Note: The KJV says 40 years, but RBT says 4 is the correct number in the Hebrew.} {Note: Absalom needs to get outside of Jerusalem to start the revolution, but still stay close to Jerusalem so he can gather his forces and quickly capture Jerusalem. So it took 2 years to get Absalom pardoned (and he formed the hard core conspirators) and back in Jerusalem. Now after 4 more years the seeds of Revolution had taken root (the general public malcontents mislead to be for Absalom and against David). Coming up, we will see that Ahithophel - the grandfather of Bathsheba - is the real brains behind the revolution. Hebron was the first capital of Israel and the citizens were dissatisfied that David moved the capital to Jerusalem. It was a perfect location to brew revolution. Hebron is also only 20 miles from the Southern boarder if the revolution fails and Absalom needs to flee.}.

World English Bible                For your servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If Yahweh shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh.

Young’s Updated LT             ...for a vow has your servant vowed in my dwelling in Geshur, in Aram, saying, If Jehovah does certainly bring me back to Jerusalem, then I have served Jehovah.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom claims that he made a vow when in Geshur that he would serve the Lord if He brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.


2Samuel 15:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

nêder (נֵדֶר) [pronounced NAY-der]

a vow, a promise, a personal guarantee, the giving of one’s word of assurance, a commitment

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5088 BDB #623

nâdar (נָדַר) [pronounced naw-DAHR]

to vow, to make a promise, to make a commitment, to give a word of assurance concerning a matter, to give one’s personal and honorable guarantee, to make a solemn oath or pledge to do or not to do a thing

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #5087 BDB #623

ʿebed (עֶבֶד) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâshab (יָשַב) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

Qal infinitive construct with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Geshûwr (גְּשוּר) [pronounced gesh-OOR]

to join; a bridge, a land of bridges and is transliterated Geshur

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1650 BDB #178

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʾĂrâm (אֲרָם) [pronounced uh-RAWM]

the highland, high region; exalted; and is transliterated Aram; sometimes rendered Syria, Mesopotamia

proper noun, singular

Strong’s #758 BDB #74


Translation: For your servant vowed a vow when living in Geshur, in Aram (Syria),... Absalom is quite adept at lying to David, and he lies to David here. He claims that, while living in Geshur (remaining outside of Israel, because he orchestrated and ordered the killing of his half-brother, Amnon), he made a vow to God.


If David is not suspicious of Absalom, we ought to be.

Why We Know Absalom is Lying

1.      Absalom making such a vow is not recorded in Scripture.

2.      Absalom fulfilling such a vow is not recorded in Scripture, except for a slight mention in v. 12, which would have been in conjunction with his conspiracy.

3.      The text tells us that 4 years have gone by; so, if Absalom made a vow to God if God brought him back to Jerusalem, why is he just getting around to fulfilling this vow now? Wouldn’t that have been at the top of his list of things to do.

4.      Absalom simply needs a reason to go to Hebron so that he can more easily organize his rebellion against David. This organizing is recorded in vv. 10–12 of this chapter.

5.      Therefore, what Absalom does is simply to function as cover for his organizing a rebellion.

6.      Absalom shows little interest in God, and, insofar as I can recall, this is the only place Absalom speaks of God—and here, he uses God as a cover for his revolution.

7.      Absalom cannot simply leave town without this arousing suspicions in his father; therefore, in making such a move, he needs to go to his father first. Saying that this is all about a religious vow is just the right thing to blind-side his father David. Absalom is a master manipulator, and he knows this will cause David to agree to him going to Hebron, if it is for religious reasons.

8.      There is nothing in Hebron which is particularly related to the worship of Yehowah. The Ark is in Jerusalem and the Tabernacle is in Gibeon. 2Sam. 6–7 1Chron. 15:1–3, 12 16:1, 37 1Chron. 15:26 1Kings 3:4 1Chron. 16:39 21:29 2Chron. 1:3

9.      The last time that Absalom came to David to ask about going out of town, he used that excuse to lure Amnon up to a BBQ at his ranch to kill him. 2Sam. 13:24–27

Absalom is able to do two things well: lie and manipulate others. Put those together, and you have a con man, which is what Absalom is.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

2sam_151.gif

Map of Geshur, Aram: Footnote Now, one commentator Footnote makes a big deal about how this cannot be Geshur of Aram (Syria). However, this is a portion of a map from around this same time period. The borders of countries changes from time to time, and, during other eras, Syria was pretty much due north of Israel. Here, there territory is northeast of Israel, which Geshur being at its southwest corner.


Now, as an aside, you may ask, “Why use a source who messes up something like this?” Whereas all Bible commentators certainly do not have equal value, every commentator has made a mistake at some point in time. After referring to commentators over and over, it becomes obvious that some are almost nearly always mistaken while others have very little to say that is helpful.


2Samuel 15:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾîm (אִם) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

yâshab (יָשַב) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

The infinitive absolute can act as a noun, a verb or an adverb. It takes the part of a noun, but with another verb (which may or may not be in the same stem), and it intensifies the verb’s meaning, where it functions either as a complement of affirmation, and therefore translated surely or indeed; or it may act as a complement of condition, and therefore be translated at all, freely or indeed. Footnote The primary use of the infinitive absolute when found before its verb is to strengthen or emphasize. Its use does not simply intensify the meaning of a verb, as would a Piel, but applies an intensification to the entire phrase. Therefore, the infinitive absolute strengthens the note of certain in affirmations and in promises or threats, and of contrast in adversative or concessionary statements, while it reinforces any sense of supposition or doubt or volition present in conditional clauses or questions or wishes. For this reason, it is a characteristic of grammar generally not found in the narrative. This would be used in speech and in letters in order to make a point. The use of the English adverbs indeed, surely, of course, even, really, at all or by the addition of the modals should, could, must, may might catch the nuance, but actually are often unnecessarily strong. Footnote

E-sword lists this as the Qal imperfect of the next verb, which would be unusual. We normally do not have two verbs together unless one is a Qal infinitive absolute and the other one an imperfect. There does appear to be a problem with the reading of this verb, in any case, there being a qere and a kethiv reading.

Most logically, this would simply be an infinitive absolute of the following verb, followed by the Hiphil imperfect of that same verb.

shûwb (שוּב) [pronounced shoobv]

to cause to return, to bring, to be caused to turn back mentally, reminisce, to return something, to restore, to bring back, to send back, to regain, to recover, to make restitution, reconsider, think again, to be caused to return

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

Yerûwshâlayim (יְרוּשָלַיִם) [pronounced yʾroo-shaw-LAH-yim]

possibly means founded upon peace or city of the Jebusites (or both); it is transliterated Jerusalem

proper singular noun, location

Strong’s #3389 BDB #436


Translation: ...saying, ‘If indeed Yehowah returns me [to] Jerusalem,... The text here is all messed up, because both of the readings here are problematic. The Qal infinitive absolute of yâshab appears to be a mix up of the verb which ought to be here, and the verb when it was previously used in this verse. It is rare to have two imperfect verbs following one another in quick succession with no intervening words, but it is very common for a verb to be found with is infinitive absolute, which intensifies the meaning of that verb (I used the word indeed).


You may wonder why, in these two errors of this chapter, having 40 instead of 4 and here having the wrong verb in this verse should have been fixed. This is not what scribes did. Errors occurred, and sometimes they would make a notation off on the side, “Hey, I think that this ought to be _____ instead.” But, what they would not do is fix the text, even when it seemed obvious that it needed fixing. So, what we have, more often than not, are clear errors which begin in one text and continue with that text and all of those copied from it. The scribes would copy exactly what was in front of them, messtup or not. They would leave it to others to fix, explain or whatever in the future.


So, what I believe should have been here is the infinitive absolute of shûwb followed by the Hiphil imperfect of the same, as that is what we would expect to find here.


So, Absalom is saying that he made a vow to God, if God brought him back to Jerusalem.


Bear in mind that all of this is bullcrap; Absalom made no such vow. He needs to leave Jerusalem; he needs to leave with his entourage, and he needs the king’s permission to do so. Absalom knows that David is a religious man, so he figures the best thing to offer up in a religious excuse. Absalom simply knows how to work his father, just as he can work individuals who come out of a courthouse. Absalom is adept at being manipulative.


2Samuel 15:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿâbad (עָבַד) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...then I will serve Yehowah.’ ” Serving Jehovah does not mean that Absalom is going to become some sort of very religious type of guy like a monk; it simply means that he is going to fulfill the requirements of his vow. Therefore, he would go to Hebron in order to do this.


He does not seem to give a reason why it is Hebron that he would go to. Logically, if Absalom knew anything, he would have said, “I’m going to Gibeon” because that is where the Tabernacle was at this time. See the Movement of the Ark and the Tabernacle (HTML) (PDF). Or, he would have worshiped in Jerusalem, because that is where the Ark of God was. I do not know that there was any spiritual significance in going to Hebron.


V. 8 reads: For your servant made a vow while living in Geshur in Aram, saying, “If Jehovah indeed returns me to Jerusalem, then I will serve Him by completing this vow.’ ” This is phoney pious language, as well as a phoney excuse. Absalom knew how to read David and he knew what to say in order to manipulate him, and these were the magic words.


——————————


And so says to him the king, “Go in peace.” And so he rises up and so he goes Hebron-ward.

2Samuel

15:9

So the king said to him, “Go in peace [and prosperity].” Therefore, Absalom [lit., he] rose up and went to Hebron.

So the king said to him, “Go in peace and prosperity.” Therefore, Absalom got up and went to Hebron.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And king David said to him: Go in peace. And he arose, and went to Hebron.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says to him the king, “Go in peace.” And so he rises up and so he goes Hebron-ward.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the king said to him, Go in peace. So he arose and went to Hebron.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the king said to him, Go in peace. And he arose and went to Hebron.

 

Significant differences:           The name David appears to be inserted into the Latin text.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           "Go in peace," the king said. So Absalom left and went to Hebron.

Contemporary English V.       David gave his permission, and Absalom went to Hebron.

Easy-to-Read Version            King David said, “Go in peace.”

The Message                         The king said, "Go with my blessing." And he got up and set off for Hebron.

New Berkeley Version           The king gave him permission, “God in peace.” So he left and went to Hebron.

New Living Translation           "All right," the king told him. "Go and fulfill your vow."

So Absalom went to Hebron.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

God’s Word                         "Go in peace," the king told him. So he went to Hebron.

New American Bible              The king said to him, "Go in peace," and he went off to Hebron.

New Jerusalem Bible             The king said to him, 'Go in peace.' So he set off and went to Hebron.

Today’s NIV                          The king answered, ‘You may go’; so he set off and went to Hebron.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And the king said to him, Go in peace. So he got up and went to Hebron.

Complete Jewish Bible           The king said to him, "Go in peace."So he set out and went to Hevron.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 So the king replied, “God in peace!”

He therefore arose and went.

NET Bible®                             The king replied to him, "Go in peace." So Absalom [Heb "he"; the referent (Absalom) has been specified in the translation for clarity] got up and went to Hebron.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Emphasized Bible                  And the king said unto him—Go and prosper! So he arose and went to Hebron.

English Standard Version      The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron.

exeGeses companion Bible   And the sovereign says to him, Go in shalom.

And he rises and goes to Hebron:...

Syndein                                  {Criminal Manipulation}

And the king replied to him, "Go in peace/prosperity." So he {Absalom} got up {quwm - indicates 'action under motivation' - so he stated one motivation but he had another motivation}, and went to Hebron..

Young’s Updated LT             And the king says to him, “Go in peace;” and he rises and goes to Hebron.

 

The gist of this verse:          King David allows Absalom to go to Hebron.


2Samuel 15:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

hâlake (הָלַךְ) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shâlôwm (שָלוֹם) or shâlôm (שָלֹם) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, health and welfare, peace, prosperity, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022


Translation: So the king said to him, “Go in peace [and prosperity].” There does not appear to be any healthy suspicion in what David says here. He simply tells Absalom to go in peace.


Think about this for a moment. Absalom has been in Jerusalem for 4 years now; and now, he is getting around to fulfilling some vow he made perhaps 5 years ago? Really? David should have been extremely suspicious about this request.


You will notice that, again, like the last chapter, we do not have David’s name, but the title, the king instead. David, at this point, ought to be thinking like a king, and not like a father.


So the king said to Absalom, “Go in peace [and prosperity].” These will be the last words that David ever says to Absalom.


2Samuel 15:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwm (קוּם) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake (הָלַךְ) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

Cheberôwn (חֶבְרוֹן) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location with the locative hê

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: Therefore, Absalom [lit., he] rose up and went to Hebron. This is what Absalom wanted, so he got up and went to Hebron. The verb qûwm (קוּם) [pronounced koom] literally means to stand up, to get up; but this does not mean that Absalom was sitting or laying on the ground before David. This word is often used before a person going off to do what he intends to do.


——————————


And so sends Absalom spies in all tribes of Israel, to say, “In your hearing a sound of the trumpet, and you have said, ‘Reigned Absalom in Hebron.’ ”

2Samuel

15:10

He [lit., Absalom] also sent revolutionaries throughout all the tribes of Israel, telling [them] [lit., to say], “When you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you will say, ‘Absalom reigns at Hebron.’ ”

He then sent revolutionaries throughout all the tribes of Israel, telling them, “When you hear the sound of the trumpet, then cry out, ‘Absalom reigns as king at Hebron.’ ”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And Absalom sent spies into all the tribes of Israel, saying: As soon as you shall hear the sound of the trumpet, say ye: Absalom reigns in Hebron.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so sends Absalom spies in all tribes of Israel, to say, “In your hearing a sound of the trumpet, and you have said, ‘Reigned Absalom in Hebron.’ ”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, Absalom reigns in Hebron.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, When you hear the sound of the trumpet, then shall you say, Absalom has become king in Hebron.

 

Significant differences:           The differences are quite slight.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           But Absalom sent secret agents throughout the tribes of Israel with this message: "When you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, `Absalom has become king in Hebron!'"

Contemporary English V.       He took two hundred men from Jerusalem with him, but they had no idea what he was going to do. Absalom offered sacrifices in Hebron and sent someone to Gilo to tell David's advisor Ahithophel to come. More and more people were joining Absalom and supporting his plot. Meanwhile, Absalom had secretly sent some messengers to the northern tribes of Israel. The messengers told everyone, "When you hear the sound of the trumpets, you must shout, 'Absalom now rules as king in Hebron!' "

Easy English                          Then Absalom secretly sent men to all the *tribes of *Israel with a message. The men said, `When you hear the *trumpets you must say, "Absalom is the king in Hebron." '

Easy-to-Read Version            But Absalom sent spies through all the family groups of Israel. These spies told the people, “When you hear the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom has become the king at Hebron!’”

Good News Bible (TEV)         But he sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel to say, "When you hear the sound of trumpets, shout, 'Absalom has become king at Hebron!' "

The Message                         Then Absalom sent undercover agents to all the tribes of Israel with the message, "When you hear the blast of the ram's horn trumpet, that's your signal: Shout, 'Absalom is king in Hebron!'"

New Life Bible                        But Absalom sent men to go in secret through all the families of Israel. He said to them, "As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, then say, 'Absalom is king at Hebron.' "

New Living Translation           But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. "As soon as you hear the ram's horn," his message read, "you are to say, `Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.'"


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Now, AbSalom had sent spies among all the tribes of IsraEl, who were told, 'When you hear the sound of trumpets blowing, you must shout: AbSalom is now reigning as king in HebRon.'

Beck’s American Translation But secretly Absalom sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel, saying: “When you hear the sound of the horn, say, ‘Absalom is now king in Hebron.’ ”

Christian Community Bible     Absalom sent spies through - out the tribes of Israel with this instruction, “As soon as you hear the trumpet sound, proclaim: ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!”

NIRV                                      Then Absalom sent messengers secretly to all of the tribes of Israel. They said, "Listen for the sound of trumpets. As soon as you hear them, say, `Absalom has become king in Hebron.'"

New Jerusalem Bible             Absalom sent couriers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, 'When you hear the trumpet sound, you are to say, "Absalom is king at Hebron!" '


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      But Absalom sent spies in all the staffs of Israel, saying, "When you hear the voice of the shofar, you say, 'Absalom reigns in Hebron!"

Bible in Basic English             But Absalom at the same time sent watchers through all the tribes of Israel to say, At the sound of the horn you are to say, Absalom is king in Hebron.

Complete Jewish Bible           But Avshalom sent spies through all the tribes of Isra'el to say, "The moment you hear the sound of the shofar, then start proclaiming, 'Avshalom is king in Hevron.'"

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Absalom then sent secret agents to all the Tribes of Israel to say, “When you hear the sound of the trumpet, then exclaim, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!”

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               But Absalom sent agents to all the tribes of Israel to say, “When you hear the blast of the horn, announce that Absalom has become king in Hebron.”

NET Bible®                             Then Absalom sent spies through all the tribes of Israel who said, "When you hear the sound of the horn, you may assume [Heb "say."] that Absalom rules in Hebron."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    ...and Absalom sends spies through all the tribes of Israel, saying, `At your hearing the voice of the trumpet, then you have said, Absalom has reigned in Hebron.

Darby Translation                  And Absalom sent emissaries into all the tribes of Israel, saying, When ye hear the sound of the trumpet, ye shall say, Absalom reigns in Hebron.

English Standard Version      But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, 'Absalom is king at Hebron!'"

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and Abi Shalom sends spies

throughout all the scions of Yisra El, saying,

As soon as you hear the voice of the shophar,

say, Abi Shalom reigns in Hebron.

Green’s Literal Translation    And Absalom sent spies among all the tribes of Israel, saying, When you hear the sound of the ram's horn, then you shall say, Absalom is king in Hebron.

LTHB                                     And Absalom sent spies among all the tribes of Israel, saying, When you hear the sound of the ram's horn, then you shall say, Absalom is king in Hebron.

Syndein                                   {Hebron Strategy for Revolution}

Meanwhile Absalom sent slanderers/propagandists {ragal - hiphil stem} throughout all the tribes of Israel, commanding, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you will shout, 'Absalom is king in Hebron'." {Note: To start a revolution slander must start it. But unless the people are in arrogance, the slander will not be believed. People must accept the lie as truth, for the revolution to occur. Legitimate systems of establishment are the victims of the slander - here David and his legal system.}.

World English Bible                But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, Absalom is king in Hebron.

Young’s Updated LT             And Absalom sends spies through all the tribes of Israel, saying, “At your hearing the voice of the trumpet, then you have said, Absalom has reigned in Hebron.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom sends out messengers to all the tribes of Israel, so that where a trumpet was sounded, they will call out, “Absalom reigns in Hebron.”


2Samuel 15:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (שָלַח) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out, to reach out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5

râgal (רָגַל) [pronounced raw-GAHL]

spies, explorers; those who move about by foot; secret messengers; slanderers

masculine plural, Piel participle

Strong’s #7270 BDB #920

A more modern take on this word might be propagandists, revolutionaries, political operatives.

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

shêbeţ (שֵבֶט) [pronounced SHAYB-vet]

rod, staff, club, scepter and figuratively for a tribe, subdivision of a tribe or family and for a ruler (scepter-bearer), governor

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #7626 BDB #986

Yiserâʾêl (יִשְׂרַאֵל) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975


Translation: He [lit., Absalom] also sent revolutionaries throughout all the tribes of Israel,... The common translation for the masculine plural Piel participle of râgal (רָגַל) [pronounced raw-GAHL] is, spies, explorers. This is a fairly commonly used word in the Old Testament, being found 24 times (Gen. 42:9, 11 Joshua 6:23 Judges 18:2, 14). However, these men are not primarily sent out by Absalom to gather information. We might call them political operatives. They have a very specific responsibility, which is described below.


2Samuel 15:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shâmaʿ (שָמַע) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

Qal infinitive construct with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix