2Samuel 18

 

2Samuel 18:1–33

Absalom is Killed in the War


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 18 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.

 

Besides teaching you the doctrinal principles related to this chapter, this commentary is also to help bring this narrative to life, so that you can understand the various characters, their motivations, and the choices that they make. Ideally, you will be able to visualize the peoples and armies as they move across the landscape of the Land of Promise.


Outline of Chapter 18:

 

Introduction

 

         vv.     1–5           David Mobilizes His Troops for War, but Remains Behind

         vv.     6–8           The Battle Between the Army of David and the Army of Absalom

         vv.     9–15         Absalom is Discovered and Killed

         vv.    16–18         The Two Monuments to Absalom

         vv.    19–27         The Race of the Two Runners

         vv.    28–32         The Two Reports

         v.       33            David’s Great Sorrow for Absalom

 

Addendum


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         The Principals of 2Samuel 18

         Introduction         The Prequel of 2Samuel 18

         Introduction         The Abbreviated Davidic Timeline

         Introduction         Matthew Henry Outlines 2Samuel 18

         Introduction         A Synopsis of 2Samuel 18

         Introduction         An Adversity Scale of Values

         Introduction         God and Counterinsurgency

         Introduction         Arrogance and Revolution

 

         v.       1              Map of Mahanaim

         v.       1              Modern Military Hierarchy

         v.       3              The Doctrine of One Day at a Time

         v.       5              The Doctrine of Negative Emotion

         v.       5              David Goes Astray

         v.       5              David’s Misguided Order

         v.       6              Tale of the Tape

         v.       6              The Rebellion of Absalom (map)

         v.       8              The Easy English Bible Summation (so far)

         v.       9              The American English Bible on “The Heavens and the Earth”

         v.       9              Absalom Hanging on the Oak Tree (graphic)

         v.      14              Nearly Every Translation of 2Samuel 18:14 is Wrong

         v.      14              General Joab Disobeys King David

         v.      14              Absalom: Not Quite a Parallel to Jesus on the Cross

         v.      14              Attacking Certain Religious Christians or Denominations

         v.      14              Clarke: “Justice for Abraham is Long Overdue”

         v.      14              Was Joab Unable to Kill Absalom?

         v.      15              Comparing North and South Korea

         v.      15              Institutions Matter: Real Per Capita GDP in North and South Korea

         v.      16              Joab’s Restraint

         v.      17              Legitimate Authority and the Potter’s Wheel

         v.      17              Categories of Humility

         v.      17              Fleeing Back Home

         v.      18              The Location of Absalom’s Monument

         v.      18              Where is Absalom Buried?

         v.      18              Enforced Humility

         v.      18              Monuments

         v.      18              Gen. Douglas MacArthur Dedication of MacArthur Park

         v.      18              Gen. Douglas MacArthur describing the legions of uniformed American Patriots

         v.      18              Stages of Humility

         v.      29              Is Ahimaaz Lying to David?

         v.      31              Authority Orientation in Life

         v.      32              What We Get from the Competing Runners’ Narrative

         v.      33              Matthew Henry on David’s 5 Mistakes

         v.      33              The Pulpit Commentary on David’s Grief

         v.      33              The Father-Son Relationship in Scripture

         v.      33              Some of the Great Lamentations in Scripture

 

         Addendum          What We Learn from 2Samuel 18

         Addendum          Josephus’ History of this Time Period

         Addendum          Edersheim Summarizes 2Samuel 18

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of 2Samuel 18


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Beginning of Document

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolution

 


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

 

1Chron. 11

 

 


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Psalm 2

 

 

 


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 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.

Emotional Arrogance

Emotional arrogance is where you allow your emotions to dominate your life, and you will set aside truth (in any of the 3 categories) in order to satiate your own emotions.

Enforced Humility

Enforced humility emphasizes the function of the particular authority within the societal organization. This one causes people some problems because here is where the teeth of authority begin to be felt. Because mankind is inherently sinful, when God delegated responsibility and authority in the realm of Divine Establishment, he also had to include the means to compel obedience.

Genuine Humility

Genuine humility denotes the positive response to authority by the one under authority. Whereas in Enforced Humility we looked at humility from the standpoint of the one in authority, we now look at humility from the standpoint of the one under authority. If a person is properly oriented to authority, and has cultivated the habit of humility, his expression of humility will be genuine-not forced.

Interlocking Systems of Arrogance

The interlocking systems of arrogance refers to many clusters of sins which have a tendency to interlock with one another. That is, a believer who goes into interlocking systems of arrogance through one gate (or entrance), is likely to interlock with another cluster of sins if he remains out of fellowship. We have simple examples of this in life. A person might begin to smoke marijuana, which is illegal. Some time later, he may take other drugs (this is why marijuana is often called a gateway drug). He may also become involved in anti-authority actions, extreme liberal philosophy and politics, and break more and greater laws. He may involve himself with a woman with the same weaknesses, and they become involved in sexual arrogance together (his norms and standards being wiped out by his changing mores). He enters in the gate of smoking marijuana which makes him vulnerable to a number of other clusters of sins.

Laws of Divine Establishment

These are natural laws which apply to people and nations, which cause a nation to be preserved and a people to be perpetuated. These laws are designed for believers and unbelievers alike.

Organizational Humility

Organizational humility focuses on the social structure inside which humility is fostered and developed. All human societies have social structures. No matter how different the cultures are, they are all divided into social structures that exist on different levels.

Phase II

Phase I is salvation; phase II is the believer’s life in time, and phase III is eternity (all believers spend eternity with God).

Rationale

The plan of God rationale, the rebound rationale

This is where you gather a few doctrines which give you confidence in God, God’s plan, and what is gong on around you. Because these rationales are in your soul, you are able to withstand certain pressures. For instance, the plan of God rationale means, all that is in your life is a part of the plan of God. Now, obviously, when you sin, you take yourself out of God’s will, and that is a separate consideration; but when you are filled with the Spirit and advancing spiritually each day through the intake of Bible doctrine, then you are able to evaluate difficulties in your life as being a part of the plan of God. Since these things are a part of the plan of God, then God has given you the wherewithal to endure these difficulties.


The rebound rationale means that, no matter what sin you have committed, you name that sin to God, and you are completely and totally forgiven in time for committing that sin. Therefore, you re-enter the plan of God. Because of the rebound rationale, you do not go back to past sins from 5 or 10 years ago and lament these great sins.

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).

Shock troops

Shock troops are a group of soldiers trained specially for carrying out a sudden assault.

Type

A type is a person, a thing or an act which looks forward to Jesus or to Jesus on the cross. For instance, Isaac’s birth was the type; our Lord’s birth was the antitype, which was the fulfillment of the type.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://gracebiblechurchwichita.org/?page_id=1556

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

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/


——————————


An Introduction to 2Samuel 18


I ntroduction: 2Sam. 18 is a necessary chapter, in order to reveal what happens to the rebellion of Absalom, but it is also an odd chapter insofar as what is found in this chapter. 3 verses only are dedicated to the actual battle. Much more time is given to Absalom’s predicament of being hung in a tree, along with the predicament of the soldier who finds him, but refuses to kill Absalom, because of the order of the king. Another oddity in this chapter is, there is a great deal of time given to a narrative about the person who would deliver a message to the king about the victory and about Absalom. So, this chapter is quite necessary in order to tie together some loose ends; but it is odd in terms of what seems to be emphasized and remembered.


As you may recall, Absalom has rebelled against his father David, and has forced David out of Jerusalem. David did set up a spy network, so that he was able to keep track of what was occurring in Jerusalem. He also had a mole at the highest level in Absalom’s cabinet, so David was lightyear’s head of Absalom when it came to intelligence gathering.


Because of gathering this intelligence, David knew to take his troops across the River Jordan and it appears that he set up headquarters in Mahanaim, but that would not be the place from where he would lead his troops into battle against Absalom.


Hushai, David’s man on the inside, convinced Absalom to gather troops from all over Israel and to personally lead these men into battle against David. This seemed like an excellent idea to a non-military man like Absalom, not realizing that (1) this gave David more time to regroup, prepare, and develop a strategy; and (2) a larger army is not always a better army. Ahithophel suggested that Absalom allow him to take shock troops and to quickly go on the offensive against David (Ahithophel was going to take a substantial army into battle, which might not quite fit the definition of shock troops). In any case, it is very likely that this approach would have worked. However, this approach would not have glorified Absalom, which was the plans fault, insofar as Absalom was concerned.


In the chapter before us, David reviews and organizes his troops, and is about to go out to war with them, when he is encouraged to remain behind at Mahanaim. His 3 generals would be able to defeat Absalom’s army. So David remained behind, the people who supported him went to war against Absalom’s army, and David’s army prevailed, in part, because of the terrain which David’s army chose to fight in.


Absalom, who is really unfamiliar with war, insofar as we know, gets his head caught up in the branches of a tree, because of all his hair, and he cannot free himself—while his mule trots off leaving him there hanging. He is discovered by member’s of Joab’s brigade. Although the man who discovers him refuses to kill Absalom (because of David’s explicit orders), Joab tries to kill Absalom, and then puts ten of his armor bearers on that job.


After Absalom is killed, Joab allows his army to retreat without taking retribution against them.


What follows is an odd portion of the narrative where Ahimaaz, one of David’s couriers, wants to tell David of their victory. Joab chooses another man to do this, but Ahimaaz is so insistent that Joab allows him to go to deliver the news as well. Interestingly enough, Ahimaaz does not tell David all that happened; but the other runner does.


In the end, David grieves greatly over the loss of his son Absalom.


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

The Principals of 2Samuel 18

Characters

Biographical Material

David

King David of Israel has been temporarily pushed out of power by his son Absalom. He has led his military supporters across the River Jordan into eastern Israel. David will not go with his soldiers to war, but he will wait in the city of Mahanaim for word about the war. When he finds out that his son has been killed, he will grieve dramatically.

Absalom

Absalom is David’s wayward son who had revolted against David and forced him out of Jerusalem. Absalom is leading a very large army out of Israel to pursue David and his smaller army, as per the advice of Hushai in the previous chapter.

Joab

Joab is David’s primary general, and he will see to it that Absalom is killed in battle. Instead of pursuing Absalom’s followers, he will allow them to return to their own homes.

Abishai and Ittai the Gittite

These are David’s other two generals, both of whom play an important part in the battle, but they are only mentioned in the narrative.

Ahimaaz

After David’s army defeats Absalom’s army (and kills Absalom), Ahimaaz ben Zadok wants to deliver this message of victory to David. Although Joab decides to send someone else, he allow Ahimaaz to deliver the message as well.

The Cushite runner

Joab chooses a Cushite runner to deliver the message that Absalom’s army has been defeated. He is also willing to tell David that Absalom is dead, something which Ahimaaz is unable to do.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


It is important to understand what has gone before.

The Prequel of 2Samuel 18

All of this started with David chasing skirt perhaps a decade ago in Jerusalem when his soldiers were in the field at war. He had gone way to far by committing adultery with a married woman, and then he had her husband killed.


The prophet Nathan came to David, and got David to come to the point of realizing that what he did was so very wrong. Once David recognized his own sin, then God put David under a great deal of discipline and pressure, designed to bring him out of this state of sexual arrogance (which had interlocked with criminal arrogance).


The child that came out of that illicit union died. The great pressure that David found himself under were the natural results of his failure as a parent, and his sexual arrogance in collecting wives and mistresses. His sons, which were, for all intents and purposes, wards of the state, grew up without a father to guide them, as a true father would have done. David could not give them all his time, so they grew up the best they could, being raised by their mothers.


His son Absalom eventually rebelled against him, setting into motion a play to take David’s power from him. He drove David out of Jerusalem. David left quickly with a scratch army and, before he had crossed over the River Jordan, David had set up a system of spies and an intelligence network, so that he could determine which military moves to make.


Absalom associated himself with Ahithophel, who was a brilliant tactician, and Ahithophel gave Absalom a plan which would have probably succeeded. However, this plan did not appeal to Absalom’s arrogance. Ahithophel was going to gather up some shock troops and go right after David, right then and there. He would return to Jerusalem after defeating David in battle. Ahithophel would have been the star of this plan and not Absalom. So when Hushai, David’s mole, presented a plan to Absalom, Absalom liked that plan because Absalom was the star of that plan. Absalom had more hands on in Hushai’s plan than in Ahithophel’s plan, which was another reason why Absalom liked it. Some people like to manage everything, which pretty much describes Absalom. Absalom, pretty much on his own, set himself up as the new king of Israel—he did this by himself, never having done it before, and right under the nose of his overindulgent father. Therefore, Absalom believed that he had things worked out, as long as he was in charge. When Hushai said, “You need to gather all the people of Israel and lead them into battle yourself;” Absalom thought that was a good idea. He had never done this before, but that’s okay, because he had never decided to become king before, and he did pretty well with that. So Absalom is blindly arrogant. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know; he does not recognize an upper limit to his abilities.


When it came to the difference between himself and his son Absalom, his son was the newest model. He was younger and better looking, more progressive and more relatable. Although there was no indication whatsoever that Absalom had the ability to actually lead his country Israel, apart from being David’s son, he received a fairly significant backing from the people, many of whom were unhappy with David’s skirt chasing and killing (information which sure got out into the public by this time).


So, this brings us to this chapter, where David is east of the River Jordan, and Absalom has gathered an opposition army from all over Israel. Absalom knows that he must defeat David’s army and kill David. David, apparently, cannot take himself to the point where he recognizes this himself. David apparently believes that he can defeat Absalom’s army and somehow coexist with his son, as will become clear at the end of this chapter.

 


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.

1034 b.c.

 

1004 b.c.

c.1016 b.c. (Klassen)

2Sam. 11:26–12:23

Psalm 32 51

David marries Bathsheba. David is rebuked by Nathan. David calls for God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

 

1000 b.c.

1003 b.c.

c. 1015 b.c. (Klassen)

2Sam. 12:24–25

Birth of Solomon. David is approximately 40 years old (BT4U).

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.

1025 b.c.

[985–983 b.c.]

996 b.c.

995 b.c.

(Klassen)

2Sam. 14

Joab tries to reunite David and Absalom.

1024 b.c.

979–961 b.c. (?)

994–993 b.c.

2Sam. 15

Absalom rebels against David and David goes into exile.

 

 

 

2Sam. 16:1–14

David’s relationship with the two factions of Israel.

1023 b.c.

 

 

2Sam. 16:15–17:23

David gains the upper hand over Absalom by means of intrigue and deception.

1023 b.c.

 

992 b.c.

2Sam. 17:24–18:18

David’s army defeats Absalom’s army in battle and Absalom is subsequently killed. Absalom is approximately 30 years old (Reese). According to Reese, David would be 63 years old and according to Fenton-Farrar, he would be 62 years old.

1023 b.c.

 

 

2Sam. 18:19–19:8

David reacts to Absalom’s death.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The outlines for this chapter are not too different from one another.

Matthew Henry Outlines 2Samuel 18

This chapter puts a period to Absalom's rebellion and life, and so makes way for David to his throne again, whither the next chapter brings him back in peace and triumph. We have here,

1.      David's preparations to engage the rebels (2Sam. 18:1–5).

2.      The total defeat of Absalom's party and their dispersion (2Sam. 18:6–8).

3.      The death of Absalom, and his burial (2Sam. 18:9–18).

4.      The bringing of the tidings to David, who tarried at Mahanaim (2Sam. 18:19–32).

5.      His bitter lamentation for Absalom (2Sam. 18:33).

From Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 18 chapter notes.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Clarke gives a good synopsis of this chapter.

A Synopsis of 2Samuel 18

David reviews and arranges the people, and gives the command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, 2Sam. 18:1, 2Sam. 18:2.

On his expressing a desire to accompany them to the battle, they will not permit him, 2Sam. 18:3.

He reviews them as they go out of the city, and gives commandment to the captains to save Absalom, 2Sam. 18:4–5.

They join battle with Absalom and his army, who are discomfited with the loss of twenty thousand men, 2Sam. 18:6–8.

Absalom, fleeing away, is caught by his head in an oak; Joab finds him, and transfixes him with three darts, 2Sam. 18:9–15.

The servants of David are recalled, and Absalom buried, 2Sam. 18:16–18.

Ahimaaz and the Cushite bring the tidings to David, who is greatly distressed at hearing of the death of Absalom, and makes bitter lamentation for him, 2Sam. 18:19–33.

Taken from Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 18 chapter comments.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Absalom has challenged David’s authority; in fact, in doing so, he has challenged God’s authority with regards to Israel.

 

The Pulpit Commentary on David’s actions to put down Absalom’s rebellion: Our entire life is a continuous duty. Obligations attend us every day. Right action means fulfilment of purposes, obeying laws, harmony with moral necessity. The pressure is incessant, and ordinarily is, for the Christian, a not unwelcome yoke. But now and then duty is in forms requiring all the resources of a strong will, and in a direction against some of the most cherished feelings of the heart. David was bound to care for the kingdom over which he had been appointed by God. The validity of his anointing was still unrevoked by him who ordained it. It was, therefore, due to himself, his kingdom, and his God that he should take means to put down the usurpation of his own son. Paternal feeling might be pained, but the obligation was imperative. Footnote


Some of these points were taken from or inspired by R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s 1972 David series, lesson #631_0460.

An Adversity Scale of Values

1.      David’s son, Absalom, was an insurgent. He was the titular head of the revolutionary movement. He successfully removed his father David from power, albeit temporarily.

2.      David is fighting a war of counterinsurgency. He is the establishment king with the right to the throne. Even when out of Jerusalem, David is called the king over and over again by God the Holy Spirit in previous chapters of 2Samuel.

3.      David and the men who support him have to be focused on destroying the enemy’s talent, intelligence, leadership, thinking and planning. Joab seems to understand that a fully successful counterinsurgency will involve the death of Absalom; David is unable to accept that.

4.      David and Joab went from a position of power and prosperity, to great adversity; and therefore, they need to have a dual set of values for that adversity. David could value and enjoy his great DVD collection when in prosperity; he had to leave it behind when under adversity. In prosperity, a believer may have a surfeit of material things which he enjoys; but these things must be forgotten, written off, abandoned or ignored under adversity (depending upon the level of adversity).

5.      Under adversity; it is not what you have that counts but it is what you think that counts. You must lay aside all that you possess and set aside whatever rank or recognition that you have attained. These things are not important under adversity.

6.      Going from prosperity to adversity requires a believer to be flexible and objective. David was flexible (he left Jerusalem immediate); he was not objective. He could not deal with the idea of killing his own son.

7.      In this chapter, we are going to deal with some very complex issues: David will issue an order to all of those under him—an order to not harm Absalom. However, the only way that this revolution can end is for Absalom to die. A field soldier will refuse to disobey David; but Joab will disobey David and begin the killing of Absalom.

8.      The believer must be able to shift gears into an adversity scale of values when facing sudden adversity. In order for the believer to be able to shift gears and get into the adversity mode; he must have the plan of God rationale, rebound rationale, etc. in his soul, to draw upon quickly. Such a believer must be able to make instant application of the pertinent doctrines when under adversity.

9.      God’s plan is not changed by disaster. Our plans and our values must change under great adversity, but all of this is according to God’s plan.

10.    Changing circumstances do not change blessing from God. Philip. 4:11–13 I'm not saying this because I'm in any need. I've learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I've learned the secret of how to live when I'm full or when I'm hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ Who keeps on pouring the power into me. (God’s Word™, mostly) Your happiness does not depend upon material blessing, promotion, having success in life or finding your right woman. Happiness and contentment is a state of mind.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Some of these points were taken from or inspired by R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s 1972 David series, lesson #631_0460.

God and Counterinsurgency

1.      God uses the weapons of revolution against revolutionaries: lying, deceit, counter-violence. David has drawn Absalom to the battlefield of his choice, a battlefield designed for a small army rather than for a large one; and David’s men are better trained and have a better mental attitude with which to oppose Absalom and his army.

2.      Revolution is filled with lies—you will recall how Absalom again and again has mislead the people. He traveled with an entourage to make himself look important. He sympathized with the litigants in court cases he could care less about. He lured some of David’s supporters down to Hebron, to make it seem as if they were supporters of Absalom. So David employed Hushai the Archite as a mole in Absalom’s organization; and because Absalom liked Hushai’s advice, Absalom’s army will be destroyed in battle against David’s army. The revolutionary lies of Absalom are defeated by the counterrevolutionary lies of David’s organization.

3.      The revolution was initially successful because much of Israel rejected truth in all 3 categories: divine establishment truth; the gospel truth and the truth of Bible doctrine.

4.      Absalom used violence against David and was willing to kill his own father; violence would be used against Absalom and he would be destroyed by it.

5.      God allows and even condones counterinsurgency tactics in order to defeat a revolution against an established government. Therefore, God allowed and condoned the deception of Hushai the Archite.

6.      The goal of counterinsurgency is to penetrate the highest echelon of enemy command and to plant disinformation, by using blackmail, flattery, deception and violence.

7.      Absalom was filled with arrogance when he opposed David. He was the natural heir to David’s throne, and all he needed to do was bide his time. He was not willing to do that. He wanted David’s power and he wanted it now.

8.      However, Absalom’s arrogance would not overcome David. Jesus Christ controls history, and God uses man’s wrath to praise Him (Psalm 76:10). Even though David suffered from an arrogance hangover concerning his son, when he was told to stay behind while the rest of Israel fought, he was willing to do this.

9.      James 4:6 God makes war against the arrogant abut he gives grace to the grace oriented.

The laws of divine establishment (HTML) (PDF).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Some of these points were taken from or inspired by R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s 1972 David series, lesson #631_0460.

Arrogance and Revolution

1.      People get the leader that they deserve. We recently had a spate of revolutions in the Middle East; however, the only change in government which was initially positive is that which was imposed by the United States, to some degree, from the outside, in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In the other countries, their revolutions are not resulting in a Jeffersonian democracy nor can they. They are the same people that they were before the revolution.

2.      Because Jesus Christ controls history, God allowed David to be restored to power and for Absalom to be destroyed in battle. There were still enough people in Israel who were willing to embrace establishment leadership, regardless of the personal failings of King David.

3.      In a revolution, the people’s choice is not God’s choice.

4.      Absalom had potential as a leader, although his arrogance neutralized this leadership ability. He had one of the greatest military mind working for him in Ahithophel. However, Absalom’s arrogance destroyed whatever ability and potential that he had.

5.      Hushai infiltrated the highest echelon of the enemy forces through flattery. Absalom believed that Hushai would reject David and embrace him.

6.      Good decisions result in increased options and greater freedom; bad decisions limit your options and they reduce your own freedom. Absalom through a series of bad and arrogant decisions will end up hanging by his hippy hair caught up in the branches of a tree.

7.      The combination of crusader arrogance and criminal arrogance results in revolution. The crusaders set the stage for revolution and support the revolutionary leaders. The revolutionary leaders want power, so they will do whatever is necessary to take that power. Both groups might use the same tactics, but the crusaders believe that they are instituting a new and better way; and the criminals are simply seizing power, using whatever rhetoric and tactics get them that power. The reign of terror reveals the incompetency of the revolution to provide a decent environment in which to live.

8.      Revolution allows a cover for those who want to take revenge on their enemies. They use the coup d'etat in order to get their revenge.

9.      Those suffering from revolutionary arrogance rejected the greatest reign of Israel and revolted against David’s reign.

10.    Revolutionary arrogance rejects the laws of divine establishment. Arrogance is stronger than environment, as David’s leadership provided a good environment. David himself had some soul kinks, but the nation of Israel was still great under him. Therefore, arrogance is stronger than great environment.

When it comes to this revolution, there are many moving parts. Absalom sinks deeper and deeper into arrogance while David begins to find his way out, although he does suffer a bit of an arrogance hangover at the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next.

There are also the people of Israel to consider. Some were carried away emotionally by Absalom, as the king who was new and shiny and cool and a man of the people. God had to allow for many of them to be killed off; and this occurs in a revolution.

As an aside, I am often amused by people who scoff at the Bible and denigrate God because He requires, from time to time, the destruction of a people. These same people would support a revolutionary movement; these same people who scoff at God would think nothing of innocent people being slaughtered in a revolution, as long as those people are conservatives. But they are somehow offended when God, Who is omniscient, Who has all of the facts, chooses for a population to be destroyed or decimated.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Application: The taking of power through violence and revolution testifies to man’s inability to enjoy or appreciate divine establishment authority and good government. Believers who understand establishment principles appreciate the police officer, the fire department, etc. On the other hand, if you want to resent a mayor or a governor etc., that can be legitimate. David had personal failings; but his government was establishment oriented. Overthrowing David did not just remove David, but it removed all that he put into place. Do not throw out the baby with the bath water.


Application: We have establishment government in the United States, where we still settle things with debates and votes. Obviously there is a lot of misinformation, a lot of propaganda and a dishonest media (most media today are advocacy groups); but with doctrine in your soul and a modicum of information, you can make the right choices. For instance, the nuclear family is a principle of divine establishment. When one political party is in favor of everything but; and the other political party recognizes the importance of the family unit, it is easy to make a choice in the voting booth. However, when violence is used to accomplish this or that end, then we become involved in arrogance, as a country. God never condones a violent overthrow of the government; God never condones revolution; God never condones intimidation. As R. B. Thieme, Jr. pointed out, “We still have freedom to comment negatively about our government. Most of us make money. That is freedom; that is establishment. We can call 911 and get a police out to our homes. God gave us the laws of divine establishment to perpetuate man.” Footnote


Application: At present (I write this in 2013), we have the worst president in my lifetime with the worst vice president probably ever next in line for the presidency. He has increased his power and has ignored the laws that he does not want to enforce. This is the greatest arrogance that I have ever seen in a president in my lifetime. And yet, there should be no call of revolution among conservative Americans. We function in a democracy. Now, I fully understand that, there is probably some election fraud which has gone on. However, this is no reason to revolt; this is no reason to take up arms to “take back our nation.” If 40–48% of our nation either supports or is fooled by liberalism, then that is problematic for the United States on many levels; but, it is not enough reason to start a revolution.


Application: During the time that I write this (2013), evangelism is taking place, Bible teaching is taking place; there are no laws against either. Our streets are, for the most part, safe (the exception is, of course, many large cities where liberals have had a foothold for a long period of time). Revolution means chaos and sometimes for an extended period of time. We are seeing this in Egypt and Libya, both countries which were ruled by despots previously; but are now are in national turmoil. Christians have fled many countries in the middle east during this Arab Spring because their lives were in danger. Satan used the chaos to attack Christians and their churches.

Application: Look, I realize that the left turn which our country has taken is quite disconcerting. I recognize that there are so many serious problems throughout our nation, including the ever-increasing class of dependents (those who would rather collect payments from the government than work) and the politically adept homosexual movement, who have been successfully pushing their agenda for decades now. These things must come to pass; these things must occur. Our nation is under disciple. However, always keep in mind, are you able to safely and easily attend Bible class? (This question is poised to those who lived near a doctrinal church) If our churches are not being shut down, then we are fine. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle. There will always be the strong forces of Satan in a nation built upon the principles of God. There will always be the attacks of Satan in the nation where there is Bible teaching and evangelism taking place. Our solution is never political and our solution is never revolution.


According to Reese, David would be 63 years old and according to Fenton-Farrar, he would be 62 years old.


——————————

2_samuel_mahanaim.jpg

It appears that David and his men are stopped at Mahanaim, and that is where David will reorganize his troops and that is where David will remain when his army goes to war against Absalom. When David left Jerusalem, he first organized and reviewed his troops in 2Sam. 15:17–18, 23 (As the king and his troops were leaving the city on foot, they stopped at the last house. All his mercenaries passed by him; all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, Ittai, and all 600 men who had followed him from Gath were marching past the king. The whole country was crying loudly as all the troops were passing by. The king was crossing the Kidron Valley, and all the people were moving down the road toward the desert. God’s Word™). Since then, David has moved northeast to Mahanaim, and it is likely that thousands of men have jointed him to do battle against Absalom.


This is the city where David stopped with his army, and there were outpourings of logistical support from all over Israel. David had already come to Mahanaim by the time Absalom and all the men of Israel with him crossed the Jordan River. When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi, son of Nahash from Rabbah in Ammon, and Machir, son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai from Rogelim in Gilead brought supplies and food for David and his troops (2Sam. 17:24, 27–28a; God’s Word™). See also 2Sam. 19:32. This location fits with the rest of the narrative.


This is a map of Mahanaim, taken from bible-history.com. The city is noted in red on the map, is on the correct side of the Jordan, and it is therefore assumed to be near the forests of Ephraim (2Sam. 18:6).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


David Mobilizes His Troops for War, but Remains Behind


Kukis slavishly literal:

 

Kukis moderately literal:

And so numbers David the people who [are] with him; and so he sets over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.

2Samuel

18:1

David numbered the soldiers who [were] with him, and he placed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

Kukis not so literal:

David determined the size of his army and placed lieutenant colonels over groups of a thousand and captains over groups of a hundred.


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.


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And David, having reviewed his people, appointed over them captains of thousands and of hundreds.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so numbers David the people who [are] with him; and so he sets over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    AND David numbered the people who were with him, and set over them commanders of thousands and captains of hundreds.

Septuagint (Greek)                And David numbered the people with him, and set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.

 

Significant differences:           The Latin appears to be lacking the use of the word captains twice, and it is only found once in their English translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       David divided his soldiers into groups of a hundred and groups of a thousand. Then he chose officers to be in command of each group.

Easy English                          David's men defeat and kill Absalom

David counted the soldiers who were with him. He appointed men to command groups of 1000 soldiers. He also appointed other men to command groups of 100 soldiers.

Good News Bible (TEV)         King David brought all his men together, divided them into units of a thousand and of a hundred, and placed officers in command of them.

The Message                         David organized his forces. He appointed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.

New Berkeley Version           David proceeded to organize the forces that were with him nd appointed over them commanders of units of a thousand and a hundred.

New Living Translation           Absalom's Defeat and Death

David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains [Hebrew appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.] to lead them.

The Voice                               Then David gathered the soldiers who were with them and divided them into units of a thousand and a hundred. He appointed leaders over each unit.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then David counted his men to see how many were with him, and he assigned generals and officers over them and sent them out [to battle].... A portion of v. 2 is included here for context.

God’s Word                         David called together the troops that were with him. He appointed commanders in charge of regiments and battalions.

New American Bible (R.E.)    Preparation for Battle.

After mustering the troops he had with him, David placed officers in command of units of a thousand and units of a hundred.

NIRV                                      Absalom Dies

David brought together the men who were with him. He appointed commanders of thousands over some of them. He appointed commanders of hundreds over the others.

New Jerusalem Bible             David reviewed the troops who were with him and appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds to lead them.

New Simplified Bible              David called the troops that were with him. He appointed commanders in charge of regiments and battalions.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      David counted the people with him, and set leaders of thousands and leaders of hundreds over them.

The Expanded Bible              David ·counted [mustered; reviewed] his men and placed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 So they met in the pastures, where David and the force with him had halted, and he appointed colonels of regiments and captains of companies over them. This appears to take a few phrases from 2Sam. 17.

HCSB                                     David reviewed his troops and appointed commanders of hundreds and of thousands over them.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       And now David passed the men who were with him under review, appointing commanders and captains over them;...

NET Bible®                             The Death of Absalom

David assembled the army that was with him. He appointed leaders of thousands and leaders of hundreds. 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                                David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           David took a census of the people who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and of hundreds.

exeGeses companion Bible   DAVID LINES UP FOR WAR

And David musters the people with him

and sets governors of thousands

and governors of hundreds over them:.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Dovid mustered HaAm that were with him, and set sarei alafim, and sarei me'ot over them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Darby Translation                  And David marshalled the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

English Standard Version      Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.

The Geneva Bible                  And David numbered [For certain of the Reubenites, Gadites, and of the half tribe could not bear the insolence of the son against the father, and therefore joined with David] the people that [were] with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

New King James Version       Absalom's Defeat and Death

And David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

Syndein/Thieme                     {David Organizes the Establishment Army}

Then David mustered/mobilized {paqad} the army/people who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands {thousands would relate to general officers to command divisions or brigades} and commanders over hundreds {hundreds would relate to field grade officers to command battalions}. {Note: RBT says the book of 'Numbers' should be called 'Mobilization' or the book of 'universal military training. Paqad which is usually translated 'numbered' actually means to mobilize the army. David's pre-revolution army has been badly split up. He needs to reorganize it and appoint officers.}.

World English Bible                David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

Young’s Updated LT             And David inspects the people who are with him, and sets over them heads of thousands and heads of hundreds.

 

The gist of this verse:          David began to organize his troops into military units.


2Samuel 18:1a

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

pâqad (פָּקַד) [pronounced paw-KAHD]

to go to a person, to visit, to have personal contact with, to sort out, to visit a person, to commit, to charge to the care of, to fall upon, to attack, to number, to take a census

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6485 BDB #823

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong's #834 BDB #81

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

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

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: David numbered the soldiers who [were] with him,... David knows that he is about to go to war with Absalom. He does not have all of the details, although he certainly has an efficience and effective G2 squad watching Absalom’s every move.


What a head commander must do is know his resources inside and out.

 

The Pulpit Commentary: The verb “numbered” really means that he organized his army, and arranged it in companies and divisions. As Absalom gathered all Israel to him, there would be some delay; and David, like a wise general, made use of it for training the brave but undisciplined men who had joined him, chiefly from Gilead. Besides these, he had with him numerous veterans, whose skill and experience would be invaluable in such service. The result was that when the rebels came to close quarters, they had a vast body of men, but David a disciplined force, which, under skillful generalship, scattered Absalom’s raw levies with ease. Footnote


As you will recall, David has cross over the River Jordan with all of his troops, and Absalom was slowed down somewhat, as he was going to follow the plan of Hushai, which would take longer (he has to assemble more troops). There have been several groups of people who have located David and have provided food for him and for his troops. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that many men from that side of the Jordan have joined David’s army; and some have also come over from the western side of the Jordan as well to support David. This is a logical deduction, but it is not directly found in the text. However, when David marched out of Jerusalem, you will recall that he reviewed his troops then before moving out. If he is reviewing his troops again, that suggests that he has had additions or reductions to his fighting force. The former makes the most sense. It would take time for the news to spread, and for people to realize where David can be found.


In the previous chapter, it was observed that David, as a type of Christ, can be found by those who support him; he is not so easily found by Absalom or his troops. In the same way, Jesus can be found by anyone who desires a relationship with God; however, those who have no interest in a relationship with God cannot expect for God to search them out and offer Himself to them as Jesus.


2Samuel 18:1b

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

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

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

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

preposition of relative proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

sar (שַׂר) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

ʾălâpihîym (אֲלָפִים) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

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

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sar (שַׂר) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

mêʾôwth (מֵאוֹת) [pronounced may-OHTH]

hundreds

feminine plural noun; numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547


Translation: ...and he placed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. We do not know exactly who came out with David. Some groups were named earlier; and, at this point, we know that he has a fairly large army, which includes people who have voluntarily joined him over the past week or so.


Since David places captains over groups of 1000, and that word is in the plural, that suggests that we have probably 3000–10,000 or more troops. R. B. Thieme, Jr. supposes that there are 30,000 in David’s army. Footnote Elsewhere, Bob supposes that there might be 60,000, broken down into 3 corps. Footnote A grouping of 1000 is known as a battalion, usually headed by a lieutenant colonel.


These are broken down further into groups of 100, and that is often classified as a company, led by a captain or a major. Although armies can be broken down into smaller units, David is going to let Absalom come to him, and respond offensively with large groups of men. Smaller units would be used in amorphous warfare. David has intentionally moved his men away from Jerusalem in order to reduce civilian casualties, and to keep this as his army against Absalom’s. Therefore, smaller units are not needed.


This is just so you can see how an army is broken down.

Modern Military Hierarchy

Name

Strength

Commander/Leader

corps

40,000–80,000

lieutenant general, 3 star general

division

10,000-30,000

major general, divisional general or two-star general

brigade

3,000-5,000

brigadier general, brigade general, or one-star general (sometimes colonel)

regiment or group

1,500-3,000

colonel

infantry battalion, U.S. Cavalry squadron, Commonwealth armoured regiment or Argentine Army regiment/artillery group/battalion

300-1,300

lieutenant colonel

infantry company, artillery battery, U.S. Cavalry troop, or Commonwealth armour or combat engineering squadron

80-225

chief warrant officer, captain or major

platoon or Commonwealth troop

26-55

warrant officer, first or second lieutenant

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_organization accessed July 13, 2013.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Josephus suggests Footnote that the total number in David’s army is only 4000. If David here is said to be dividing his army into groups of 1000, and then later has Joab, Abishai and Ittai each in control of a third of his army, that suggests that (1) David has about 3000 men or (2) David has a large enough army so that a third of it consists of several brigades (a brigade is 3000–5000 men) and Joab is in charge of one of those brigades.


Later, one will say either that they have an army of 10,000 (which would make sense) or that David is worth 10,000 of his men. 10,000 is a nice round number to make a point like that, but it also suggests that David’s army is 10,000 men or larger. Putting these two things together, and recognizing that Absalom has the larger army, David probably has a force of over 10,000 to 20,000 men. Absalom’s army is probably 10x that amount. Footnote Although there are more military types in Israel, it is unlikely that they can be easily mustered for a civil war.


David determined the size of his army and placed lieutenant colonels over groups of a thousand and captains over groups of a hundred. David is beginning to grow spiritually, and he trusts God. This does not mean that he finds a park bench somewhere and parks his butt and lets God destroy the enemy. There are times that will happen. However, unless God specifically gives David orders, then David is to evaluate the situation that he is in and to act appropriately. If he intends to be king again, then he will have to defeat Absalom in battle. If he intends to put down the Absalom rebellion for good, then he will have to put Absalom down. Joab, David’s lead general, understands this; David does not.


Application: Contemporary Christians often do not have a clue as to what they ought to do with their lives. They are told to have faith in God in all things; but then, if they do anything, then are they expressing faithlessness? This may seem absurd to some, but for some believers, they really struggle with this concept. If you are an adult, then you ought to be working at a job. If you do not have a job, but you realize that you need one, you do not find the nearest park bench and sit down and wait for God to drop a job into your lap. You go out and apply at one place, then at another, and apply and interview, apply and interview until you have secured a job. If you apply at one place and you think you like that company, then you go back a week later (or a month later) and you inquire again. If they require specialized training, then you get that specialized training.


Application: In many ways, I adapted quite easily to being a teacher. I needed very little guidance from the teachers for whom I taught; nor did I need much from the instructor who oversaw my work. They had to work a great deal with the other two student teachers with whom I trained—one was too lax and the other was too stern. However, that did not mean that I did not need any guidance, any oversight, etc. All of that was necessary, and like all new teachers, I needed advice and guidance, despite adapting to it quite naturally. It would have been pure arrogance for me to think that, because I was a Christian, I could do not wrong and make no mistakes and that I would be hired right out of college (I was not). Eventually, in order to teach, I had to move to another state. All of this was in God’s plan; and it involved doing a lot more than finding a park bench to sit on and using faith until a job was dropped into my lap. Getting off my duff and moving to Texas for a job was God’s plan for my life.


Application: In case there is any confusion about this, man was designed to work (and women of course); and if you are not working, then you are likely outside of God’s plan.


Back to David and what we get from this: faith in God does not mean inaction on your part. God designed us to function like rational beings, and to make rational decisions. David determined the size of his army and placed lieutenant colonels over groups of a thousand and captains over groups of a hundred. David moved out of Jerusalem with some of his supporters, and now he begins to organize his troops. Even though he has faith in God and even though God is on his side and not on Absalom’s, this does not preclude him from making normal, rational decisions.

 

The Pulpit Commentary on why David moving out of Jerusalem was a rational decision: The hasty flight of David from Jerusalem was not the result of cowardice, but of prudence and of spiritual penetration. He thought it possible that a movement which had won over so able a man as Ahithophel, and which had developed so secretly, might issue in a sudden rising which would involve the city in bloodshed. Moreover, with the keen spiritual insight which ever characterized him, he could not but see in this rebellion the chastising hand before which it became him in his lifelong penitence, mingled with sincere trust, to bow. Footnote


Application: It is a rare situation where faith will cause you to act against normal, rational thought. Footnote In fact, it is often enthusiastic but completely goofy Christians who cause unbelievers to question the validity of faith in Jesus Christ. They know almost nothing and they often act as if they know nothing. A new believer is often much better off keeping his faith a secret and learning what he has just done first. Recall that Jesus instructed His disciples, “Be wise as snakes and as harmless as doves.”


——————————


And so sends forth David the people, the third in a hand of Joab and the third in a hand of Abishai ben Zeruiah brother of Joab and the third in a hand of Ittai the Gittite. And so says the king unto the people, “Going out I will go out, also me, with you [all].”

2Samuel

18:2

David then deployed his army [lit., the people], a third in the hand of Joab, a third in the hand of Abishai ben Zeruiah (Joab’s brother) and a third in the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, “I will certainly go out with you [lit., “Going out, I will go out with you—even me.”].”

David then deployed the people into three companies—one under Joab, one under Abishai, his brother, and one under Ittai the Gittite. David also said to the people, “I will also go out with you to battle.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abisai the son of Sarvia Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ethai, who was of Geth: and the king said to the people: I also will go forth with you.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so sends forth David the people, the third in a hand of Joab and the third in a hand of Abishai ben Zeruiah brother of Joab and the third in a hand of Ittai the Gittite. And so says the king unto the people, “Going out I will go out, also me, with you [all].”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And David placed a third part of the people under the command of Joab, and a third part under the command of Abishai the son of Zoriah, Joabs brother, and a third part under the command of Ittai the Gittite.

Septuagint (Greek)                And David sent the people away, a third part under the hand of Joab, a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And David said to the people, I also will surely go out with you.

 

Significant differences:           The Syriac does not appear to have David sending his troops out. Also, in the Syriac, David is not saying that he will be going out with his troops.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           David sent out the army-a third under Joab's command, a third under the command of Abishai, Zeruiah's son, and a third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, "I will march out with you myself."

Contemporary English V.       He sent out one-third of his army under the command of Joab, another third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, and the rest under the command of Ittai from Gath. He told the soldiers, "I'm going into battle with you."

Easy-to-Read Version            {David separated the people into three groups.} And then David sent the people out. Joab led one third of the people. Joab’s brother, Abishai son of Zeruiah led another third of the people. And Ittai from Gath led the last third of the people.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Then he sent them out in three groups, with Joab and Joab's brother Abishai and Ittai from Gath, each in command of a group. And the king said to his men, "I will go with you myself."

The Message                         Then David deployed his troops, a third under Joab, a third under Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king then announced, "I'm marching with you."

New Berkeley Version           He had the army advance, one third under the command of Joab, another third under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and the final third under the command of Ittai of Gath. But when the king informed his men, “I am surely going out with you myself,” the people insisted, “You shall not go out! For if we are put to flight, they will not be concerned about us; even if half of us die, our fate will not matter. But you are worth ten thousand of us. So now, it will be better for you to be in position to send us support from the city.” V. 3 is included for context.

New Life Bible                        And he sent the people out. One third of them was under the rule of Joab. One third was under the rule of Zeruiah's son Abishai, Joab's brother. And one third was under the rule of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, "I myself will go out with you also.”

The Voice                               He divided his army into three groups. A third of them were commanded by Joab, a third by Abishai (Zeruiah's son, Joab's brother), and the final third by Ittai the Gittite.

David (to his soldiers): I will go out to fight with you.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          ...and sent them out [to battle]. a third under the direction of JoAb, a third under the direction of AbiShai (the son of ZeruJah, JoAb's brother), and a third under the direction of ItTai the Gethite. Then David said to the people: 'Now, I'll be leading you.'

New Advent (Knox) Bible       ...one third he entrusted to Joab, one third to Joab's brother Abisai, and the remainder to Ethai of Geth. He himself, he told his men, would go into battle with them,...

New American Bible (R.E.)    David then divided the troops three ways, a third under Joab, a third under Abishai, son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, "I intend to go out with you myself."

NIRV                                      Then David sent the troops out in three companies. One company was under the command of Joab. Another was under Joab's brother Abishai, the son of Zeruiah. The last was under Ittai, the Gittite. The king told the troops, "You can be sure that I myself will march out with you."

New Jerusalem Bible             David divided the army into three groups, one under the command of Joab, another under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, and the third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. David then said to the troops, 'I shall take the field in person with you.'

New Simplified Bible              David assigned a third of the troops under Joab’s command. He put another third under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah. Then he placed the last third under Ittai from Gath. »I am going into battle with you,« the king said to the troops.

Today’s NIV                          David sent out his troops, a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, "I myself will surely march out with you."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      David sent a third of the people in the hand of Joab, and a third in the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third in the hand of Ittai from Gath. The king said to the people, "I will also ||proceed|| with you.".

Bible in Basic English             And David sent the people out, a third of them under the orders of Joab, and a third under the orders of Abishai, son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, And I myself will certainly go out with you.

The Expanded Bible              He sent the troops out in three groups. Joab commanded one-third of the men. Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah commanded another third. And Ittai from Gath commanded the last third. King David said to them, "I will also go with you.".

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Afterward David arranged the forces, one third under J’oab, and one third under Abishai, and one third under Athai the gardener.

(b.c. 1023) Defeat and Death of Absalom

And the king said to the forces, “I also will march with you.”

HCSB                                     He then sent out the troops, one third under Joab, one third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one third under Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, "I will also march out with you."

NET Bible®                             David then sent out the army - a third under the leadership of Joab, a third under the leadership of Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under the leadership of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, "I too will indeed march out with you."


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Then David dispatched the people, a third of them under the command of Yo'av, a third under Avishai the son of Tz'ruyah, Yo'av's brother, and a third under Ittai the Gitti; and the king said to the people, "I will also go out with you, myself."

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and David sends

a third of the people under the hand of Yah Ab

and a third under the hand of Abi Shai

the son of Seruyah the brother of Yah Ab

and a third under the hand of Ittay the Gittiy.

And the sovereign says to the people,

In going, I - I also go with you.

Hebrew Names Version         David sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Yo'av, and a third part under the hand of Avishai the son of Tzeru'yah, Yo'av's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               David sent out the troops [Some Septuagint manuscripts read “divided the troops into three.”], one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one-third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And David said to the troops, “I myself will march out with you.”

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Dovid sent forth a third part of the people under the yad Yoav, and a third part under the yad Avishai Ben Tzeruyah (Yoav's brother), and a third part under the yad Ittai the Gitti. And HaMelech said unto HaAm, I will surely go forth with you myself also.

The Scriptures 1998              And Dawi sent out one third of the people under the hand of Yoʼa, and one third under the hand of Aishai son of Tseruyah, Yoʼaʼs brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the sovereign said to the people, “I shall certainly go out with you too.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    ...and David sends the third of the people by the hand of Joab, and the third by the hand of Abishai, son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, and the third by the hand of Ittai the Gittite, and the king said unto the people, `I certainly go out--I also--with you.

Context Group Version          And David divided the people in three [ parts ], a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, I will surely go out with you { pl } myself also.

English Standard Version      And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, "I myself will also go out with you."

NASB                                     David sent the people out, one third under the command [Lit hand] of Joab, one third under the command [Lit hand] of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command [Lit hand] of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, "I myself will surely go out with you also."

New RSV                               And David divided the army into three groups [Gk: Heb sent forth the army]: one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one-third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the men, `I myself will also go out with you.'

Syndein/Thieme                     And David placed 'the 1st corps'/'a third part' of the army/people under the command/hand of Joab, and 'the 2nd corps'/'a third part' under the command/hand of Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, {Zeruiah was David's sister and Joab and Abishai are two of her three sons that were great generals of David's army (the third son was dead by this time)} and 'the 3rd corps'/'a third part' under the command/hand of Ittai the Gittite. Afterward, the king 'announced a general order' to the army/people, "Even I myself will definitely march out with you." {yatsa' yatsa' - doubling is very strong in the Hebrew - idiom meaning he will personally take the overall command the 3 corps}.

World English Bible                David sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.

Young’s Updated LT             And David sends the third of the people by the hand of Joab, and the third by the hand of Abishai, son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, and the third by the hand of Ittai the Gittite, and the king says unto the people, “I certainly go out—I also—with you.”

 

The gist of this verse:          David further divided up his army into 3 divisions, under Joab, Abishai and Ittai. He also informed his men that he would go to war with them.


2Samuel 18:2a

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

shâlach (שָלַח) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send off, to send away, to dismiss, to give over, to cast out, to let go, to set free, to shoot forth [branches], to shoot [an arrow]

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: David then deployed his army [lit., the people],... War between David and Absalom was about to begin. Between the previous chapter and now, Absalom has taken his men in pursuit of David. They are now in Ephraim, so this means that David went back across the Jordan, so that he is back on the west side of the river.


David must reorganize his army. First of all, he has not been the acting head of the entire army for several years now. Secondly, there are fewer men, and not every man from every division is with him. Therefore, they need to be organized again. David organized them for a march out of Jerusalem, but now, there is a need to organize his army once again.


2Samuel 18:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

shelishîym (ִיםשְלִש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (יָד) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered by the hand of; in [under] the power [control] of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

Yôwʾâb (יוֹאָב) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222


Translation: ...a third in the hand of Joab,... It is not clear whether Joab is over a brigade of 1000 men or whether he is in command of several brigades. However, a third of the total number of soldiers are under Joab’s command. Joab, on the field, is David’s number-one man. He has replaced David as the great general of Israel.


What seems logical is, David has 3 systems of authority: the captain over 100 men; the lieutenant colonel over 1000 men, and then generals over a third of the army (probably 3000–10,000 men). Obviously, David is over all of the men.


Joab is David’s nephew and he has been David’s right-hand man for a long time. David has placed Joab in charge of his military on many occasions, and Joab has performed admirably in that position.


2Samuel 18:2c

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; as well as

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelishîym (ִיםשְלִש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (יָד) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered by the hand of; in [under] the power [control] of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

ʾĂbîyshay (אֲבִישַי) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Tserûwyâh (צְרוּיָה) [pronounced tzeroo-YAW]

transliterated Zeruiah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6870 BDB #863

ʾâch (אָח) [pronounced awhk]

brother, half-brother; kinsman or close relative; one who resembles

masculine singular construct

Strong's #251 BDB #26

Yôwʾâb (יוֹאָב) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222


Translation: ...a third in the hand of Abishai ben Zeruiah (Joab’s brother)... Joab had two brothers. One was killed back in the early part of 2Samuel, but the other is still alive: Abishai. He is a great man, but he again is in the shadow of his brother Joab, suggesting that Joab is a greater soldier. This is because Joab is named first and Abishai is named second and also he is identified in terms of Joab.


Both Joab and Abishai, David’s nephews, were commanders in David’s army (2Sam. 8:16 10:10–14 12:26).


2Samuel 18:2d

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; as well as

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelishîym (ִיםשְלִש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (יָד) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered by the hand of; in [under] the power [control] of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

ʾIttay (אִתַּי) [pronounced iht-TAH-ee]

with me; transliterated Ithai, Ittai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #863 BDB #87

Alternate spelling: ʾĪthay (אִתַי) [pronounced ee-THAH-ee].

Gittîy (גִּתִּי) [pronounced git-TEE]

inhabitant of Gath and possibly wine press; and transliterated Gittite

gentilic singular adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #1663 BDB #388


Translation: ...and a third in the hand of Ittai the Gittite. You will recall that, when first leaving Jerusalem, David spoke directly to Ittai and told him, “You do not need to travel with me. You can stay behind with King Absalom, and I will not hold it against you.” (2Sam. 15:19–22). But Ittai was loyal to David. Therefore, he is in charge of a third division.


This is what we have so far: David determined the size of his army and placed lieutenant colonels over groups of a thousand and captains over groups of a hundred. David then deployed the people into three companies—one under Joab, one under Abishai, his brother, and one under Ittai the Gittite. An army must be organized; an army requires a system of authority which all of the men understand. Each many in the army must understand the chain of command. We will not see any of that with Absalom’s army. This does not mean than no organization was attempted, but David and Joab are soldiers; Absalom is not. David and Joab understand what needs to be done with the men; Absalom does not. Later on, in this chapter, we will find Absalom meandering about on his mule without an armor bearers around, and with apparently little ability to navigate the forest in which he finds himself.


The strategy and tactics involved in battle is helpful when you have 3 brigades which can be guided on the battlefield, each with a specific purpose. This was common among the Israelites and the Philistines as well (Judges 7:16 9:43 1Sam. 11:11 13:17 2Kings 11:5–6). How exactly these brigades were used will be suggested when we get to v. 7.


How an army is divided plays a large part on how that army is deployed. You may recall that when Joab was trapped between a holding force and an aggressive force in 2Sam. 10, he divided his own army into two parts, one part to move against the two forces against him, as well as being ready to back up the other. It was a risky move, but one that paid off, and one that changed world history.


David determined the size of his army and placed lieutenant colonels over groups of a thousand and captains over groups of a hundred. David then deployed the people into three companies—one under Joab, one under Abishai, his brother, and one under Ittai the Gittite. What has undoubtedly occurred, even though there is no mention of this in the narrative is, men have come from all over Israel to support David. You will recall at the close of the previous chapter, we have men bringing supplies to David, because men need to be fed. If 3 different men from 3 very different places have enough sense to recognize that David needs logistical support, then it is equally logical that groups of men from all over would recognize that, in these circumstances, David needs an army. So it is likely that, even though David left with only a few troops when marching out of Jerusalem, since then, thousands of men have joined him. This explains why David organizes his troops in 2Sam. 15:13–23 as well as in this passage.


The principle is this: those who needed to find David were able to find him. Those who did not need to find him were unable to find him (Absalom’s army would not face off David’s army until Joab decided to let that happen). There is an analogy here. Just as those who needed to find David could find him, the same is true of Jesus Christ. The person who needs to find Jesus will find Him, no matter where that person is, someone will get the gospel to him.


2Samuel 18:2e

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; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

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

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: The king said to the people,... David may or may not be speaking to all of those under his command. Even if he is, there are those close to him who can give him feedback on his decision.


David is called the king here, again because this is how God the Holy Spirit sees him. Absalom is not called the king, for the most part. God promotes us; we do not promote ourselves. You may recall a couple chapters back, after Absalom had pulled off his rebellion, the text referred to David again and again as the king. Quite obviously, this is the Holy Spirit editorializing. This is the Holy Spirit telling us that, in the eyes of God, David is the king. In the eyes of man, Absalom is the temporary king.


2Samuel 18:2f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go [come] out, to go [come] forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

A Qal infinitive absolute is a verb which can act like noun, a verb or an adverb. Generally it takes the place of a noun and serves to intensify meanings. When it is found before the finite verb of the same root, it emphasizes the certainty or the decisiveness of the verbal idea of the root. Footnote When used as a complement of affirmation, it may be rendered surely, indeed, definitely; and when it is a complement of improbability and condition, we render it at all, freely, indeed. The Qal infinitive absolute can also serve as an adverbial complement; or, as a verb, it can replace finite verbs, imperatives, participles, and the infinitive constructs. Footnote

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go [come] out, to go [come] forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

gam (גַם) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, as well; even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

ʾânîy (אָנִי) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

ʿîm (עִם) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: ...“I will certainly go out with you [lit., “Going out, I will go out with you—even me.”].” David recognizes that all of these people are here because of him, so he says that he will go out to war with them. You may find this announcement a bit odd, but David makes this announcement because he has not gone out with his army for a very long time (see 2Sam. 11:1). Therefore, this is an important announcement.


Gill reasonably suggests Footnote that David might be doing this so that he can intercede for Absalom when necessary. This is probably a portion of David’s agenda; but it would be torture for him to remain in Mahanaim while the fighting is going on, and just sitting there waiting for news.


This portion of v. 2 either ought to be a separate verse or be placed with v. 3a below.


——————————


And so say the people, “You will not go out, for if fleeing we flee, they will not set unto us a heart. And if die our half, they will not set unto us a heart, for now, according to us, ten a thousand. And now good that you are to us from a city for help.”

2Samuel

18:3

The people then said, “You will not go out [with us into battle], for if we indeed retreat, they will not consider us [lit., place [their] heart to us]. And if half of us die, they will not consider us, for now we [are] approximately ten-thousand [strong] [or possibly, ...for you (are) about (equal to) 10,000 (of us)]. Therefore, [it is better] that you are for us to help from [this] city.”

However, the people protested, saying, “You should not go out with us into battle, for if we indeed retreat, Absalom’s army will not care. If half of us die in battle, they will not care, for you are equal to ten-thousand of us. Therefore, it is better that you help us from this city.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Dead Sea Scrolls                   [But] the army [said], “You will [no]t go out. [For if we must retreat, they will not care about us. Not if half of us were to die would they c]are [Singular 4QSama. Plural MT.] about [4QSama and MT use different words.] us. [You are worth ten thousand of us. So at present, it is better that] you be [ready to help] us [from the city].” We do not have a full manuscript of 2Samuel in the Dead Sea Scrolls; we only have bits and pieces which are readable. What is in brackets here is not readable.

Latin Vulgate                          And the people answered: You will not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not much mind us: or if half of us should fall, they will not greatly care: for you alone are accounted for ten thousand: it is better therefore that you should be in the city to succour us.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so say the people, “You will not go out, for if fleeing we flee, they will not set unto us a heart. And if die our half, they will not set unto us a heart, for now, according to us, ten a thousand. And now good that you are to us from a city for help.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the king said to the people, If we surely should flee, the enemy will not care about us; now therefore ten thousand men are enough for us; for it is better for us to receive help from the cities.

Septuagint (Greek)                And they said, You shall not go out; for if we should indeed flee, they will not care for us; and if half of us should die, they will not mind us; for you are as ten thousand of us; and now it is well that you shall be to us an aid to help us in the city.

 

Significant differences:           The English translation of the Syriac is quite different from the Masoretic text; it should be the people speaking to the king. The other problem, which will be discussed below in the exegesis, is whether the people are saying that they are 10,000 strong or that David is equal in value to 10,000 of them (the latter reading is found in the Latin and the Greek).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           But the troops replied, "No! You must not march out! If we flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It is much better if you support us from the city."

Contemporary English V.       But the soldiers said, "No, don't go into battle with us! It won't matter to our enemies if they make us all run away, or even if they kill half of us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better for you to stay in town and send help if we need it."

Easy English                          But they said to David, `You must not come with us. If we have to run away in the battle, Absalom's men will not care. They will not care even if half of us die. But you are worth 10 000 of us. It will be better for you to stay in the city. You can help us from the city.'

Easy-to-Read Version            But the people said, “No! You must not go with us. Why? Because if we run away in the battle, Absalom’s men will not care. Even if half of us are killed, Absalom’s men will not care. But you are worth 10,000 of us! It is better for you to stay in the city. Then, if we need help, you can help us.”

The Message                         They said, "No, you mustn't march with us. If we're forced to retreat, the enemy won't give it a second thought. And if half of us die, they won't do so either. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It will be better for us if you stay in the city and help from there."

New Century Version             But the men said, "You must not go with us! If we run away in the battle, Absalom's men won't care. Even if half of us are killed, Absalom's men won't care. But you're worth ten thousand of us! You can help us most by staying in the city."

New Living Translation           But his men objected strongly. "You must not go," they urged. "If we have to turn and run-and even if half of us die-it will make no difference to Absalom's troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us [As in two Hebrew manuscripts and some Greek and Latin manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts read Now there are 10,000 like us.], and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it."

The Voice                               Soldiers: 3 No, you should remain in Mahanaim. If we flee, the people here will not be concerned about us; or if half of us die, they will not care. But they care about you. You're worth 10,000 of us. It's better that you stay here and help us from the city.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          But they said: 'You can't come; for, if [AbSalom's people] kill half of us, losing you would be like losing ten thousand men. So, it's best for you stay in the city to direct us.'

Christian Community Bible     But the men replied, “You shall not go out. They could not care less if we flee or if half of us die. But you are worth ten thousand of us and it is better if you are able to send us assistance from the city.”

God’s Word                         "You're not going with us," the troops said. "If we flee, they won't care about us, and if half of us die, they won't care either. But you're worth 10,000 of us. It's better for you to be ready to send us help from the city."

New Advent (Knox) Bible       ...but they would not have it. It makes no great matter to the enemy, they said, whether we are routed: even if half of us should fall, they would set little store by it; thy life is more to them than the lives of ten thousand others. Better that thou shouldst remain in the city and garrison it for us.

New American Bible              But they replied: "You must not come out with us. For if we should flee, we shall not count; even if half of us should die, we shall not count. You are equal to ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that we have you to help us from the city."

New American Bible (R.E.)    But they replied: "You must not come out with us. For if we flee, no one will care; even if half of us die, no one will care. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that we have you to help us from the city."

NIRV                                      But the men said, "You must not march out. If we are forced to run away, our enemies won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care. But you are worth 10,000 of us. So it would be better for you to stay here in the city. Then you can send us help if we need it."

New Jerusalem Bible             But the troops replied, 'You are not to take the field. No one will bother about us if we run away, they will not even bother about us if half of us are killed, but you are ten thousand times more valuable. So it is better if you stay inside the town, in case we need reinforcements.'

New Simplified Bible              »You must not go with us,« they answered. »It will not make any difference to the enemy if the rest of us turn and run. It will not matter even if half of us are killed. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It will be better if you stay here in the city and send us help.«

Revised English Bible            But they said, ‘No, you must not; if we take to flight, no one will care, nor will they even if half of us are killed; but you are worth ten thousand of us, and it would be better now for you to remain in the town in support.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      But the people said, "Do not proceed! For if we ||flee||, they will not set their heart at us. If half of us die, they will not set their heart at us. Now with ten thousand similar to us, it is better now for you to help us from the city."

Bible in Basic English             But the people said, It is better for you not to go out: for if we are put to flight, they will not give a thought to us, and if death overtakes half of us, it will be nothing to them: but you are of more value than ten thousand of us: so it is better for you to be ready to come to our help from this town.

The Expanded Bible              But the men said, "You must not go ·with us [out]! If we ·run away in the battle [flee], Absalom's men won't care. Even if half of us are killed, Absalom's men won't care. But you're worth ten thousand of us! ·You can help us most by staying in the city [It is better that you support us from the city]."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 But the army said, “You shall not go; for if we are defeated, they will not set their heart upon us; and if they kill half of us, they will not set their heart upon us; for you are worth ten thousand of us, so it is better you should help by directing us from the city.”

HCSB                                     "You must not go!" the people pleaded. "If we have to flee, they will not pay any attention to us. Even if half of us die, they will not pay any attention to us because you are worth 10,000 of us. Therefore, it is better if you support us from the city."

NET Bible®                             But the soldiers replied [Heb "the people said."], "You should not do this [Heb "march out."]! For if we should have to make a rapid retreat, they won't be too concerned about us [Heb "they will not place to us heart."]. Even if half of us should die, they won't be too concerned about us. But you [The translation follows the Septuagint (LXX) (except for the Lucianic recension), Symmachus, and Vulgate in reading אָתָּה ('atta, "you") rather than Masoretic Text (MT) עָתָּה ('atta, "now").] are like ten thousand of us! So it is better if you remain in the city for support."

NIV – UK                                But the men said, `You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care; but you are worth ten thousand of us [Two Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts care; for now there are ten thousand like us]. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.'


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           But the people replied, "Don't go out; because if we flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; so it is better now that you stay in the city and be ready if we need help."

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               But the troops replied, “No! For if some of us flee, the rest will not be concerned about us; even if half of us should die, the others will not be concerned about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us [So two Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, and Vulgate. Most manuscripts and the editions read “Now there are ten thousand like us.”]. Therefore, it is better for you to support us from the town.”

Orthodox Jewish Bible           But HaAm answered, Thou shalt not go forth; for if we flee away, they will not set their lev on us; neither if half of us die, will they set their lev on us; but now thou art worth ten thousand of us; therefore, now it is better that thou support us from the Ir [i.e., Machanayim].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And the people say, `You do not go out, for if we utterly flee, they do not set [their] heart upon us; and if half of us die, they do not set [their] heart unto us--for now like us [are] ten thousand; and now, better that you be to us from the city for an helper.’

English Standard Version      But the men said, "You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city."

The updated Geneva Bible    But the people answered, You will not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now [you are] worth ten thousand of us [Signifying that a good governor is so dear to his people that they would rather lose their lives than have anything happen to him.]: therefore now [it is] better that you succour us out of the city.

Green’s Literal Translation    And the people said, You shall not go out, for if we flee they will not set their heart on us even if half of us die; for now you are like ten thousand to us. And now it is good that you be a helper for us from the city.

Modern KJV                           But the people answered, You shall not go forth. For if we run away, they will not set their heart on us, even if half of us die. For now you are worth ten thousand of us. And now it is better that you remain to help us from the city.

New King James Version       But the people answered, "You shall not go out! For if we flee away, they will not care about us; nor if half of us die, will they care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us now. For you are now more help to us in the city."

Syndein/Thieme                     But the army/people answered, "You {David} will not march out with us. {Note: They know that David's military brains are the most important thing he can offer. They need to know he is in a secure place, leading the overall battle.} Because if we are forced to retreat, they {the officer's corps} will not take cognizance of our situation. {idiom: 'they will not put us to heart'} Furthermore, if half of us should die, they {our officers} will take cognizance of the casualties. {idiom: 'they will not put us to heart'} Because you, compared with us, are worth ten thousand. Now therefore it is better that you support us from the city with the reserves. {Note: David's men are indicating defeatism. They do not know their officers and in arrogance, they expect defeat and most of them will die, and they want David in the rear to take care of the remnant. They are telling David how to run the war. This officer corps of David will prove to be so great that Israel will be protected for the next 50 years.}.

World English Bible                But the people said, You shall not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you are ready to help us out of the city.

Young’s Updated LT             And the people say, “You will not go out, for if we utterly flee, they do not set their heart upon us; and if half of us die, they do not set their heart unto us—for now like us are ten thousand; and now, better that you be to us from the city for an helper.”

 

The gist of this verse:          The people insist that David not go out with them, as he is worth 10,000 of them.


2Samuel 18:3a

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; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go [come] out, to go [come] forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422


Translation: The people then said, “You will not go out [with us into battle],... We do not know exactly the way this meeting is set up. It appears as if David is speaking before his entire army. However, it is possibly that he is speaking to his generals, lieutenant colonels and captains. And if David is addressing all of his men, his top men would be those who could discuss matters with him. One or more of these spoke up, saying, “You will not go out to war with us.” When it says the people said, this does not mean that all of the people spoke at once and in unison. What this suggests is, this idea has already been discussed, and this sentiment is in accordance with the people in general. So Joab or Abishai might be saying this, but this reflects the thinking of their men.


Then they explain why.


2Samuel 18:3b

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

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

nûwç (נוּס) [pronounced noose]

to flee, to flee from, to escape, to depart, to retreat, to hasten quickly [away]

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong's #5127 BDB #630

nûwç (נוּס) [pronounced noose]

to flee, to flee from, to escape, to depart, to retreat, to hasten quickly [away]

1st person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5127 BDB #630

A Qal infinitive absolute is a verb which can act like noun, a verb or an adverb. Generally it takes the place of a noun and serves to intensify meanings. When it is found before the finite verb of the same root, it emphasizes the certainty or the decisiveness of the verbal idea of the root. Footnote When used as a complement of affirmation, it may be rendered surely, indeed, definitely; and when it is a complement of improbability and condition, we render it at all, freely, indeed. The Qal infinitive absolute can also serve as an adverbial complement; or, as a verb, it can replace finite verbs, imperatives, participles, and the infinitive constructs. Footnote

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

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

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

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

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) with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

lêb (לֵב) [pronounced laybv]

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

masculine singular noun

Strong's #3820 BDB #524


Translation: ...for if we indeed retreat, they will not consider us [lit., place [their] heart to us]. ... It will not matter to Absalom’s army if these men retreat. This is not a concern to them. It is Absalom’s army which will have no consideration or thought for David’s army. It does not matter to them if they live or die. The idea is, if they are beaten back, and if they do retreat, Absalom’s army will just come after them and kill them en masse. There is a certain blood-lust in war, and sometimes when an army begins to kill, it just keeps on killing.


2Samuel 18:3c

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; as well as

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

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

mûwth (מוּת) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

chătsîy (חֲצִי) [pronounced khuh-TSEE]

half, middle

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #2677 BDB #345

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

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

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

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

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) with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

lêb (לֵב) [pronounced laybv]

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

masculine singular noun

Strong's #3820 BDB #524


Translation: ...And if half of us die, they will not consider us,... They will not give a thought if they kill half of David’s army. This is all a means to an end. What they want is David. If Absalom’s army needs to kill half of David’s army, this is of no concern to them.


This is in contrast with Joab, who will allow Absalom’s army to retreat unabated after Absalom is killed. Joab is not out for blood; Joab does care about the people of Israel, even though he is at war with them.


2Samuel 18:3d

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

ʿattâh (עַתָּה) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

Clarke: The particle יתה attah, now, is doubtless a mistake for the pronoun אתה attah, you; and so it appears to have been read by the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Chaldee, and by two of Kennicott’s and De Rossi’s manuscripts. Footnote Clarke (or the person who transcribed Clarke’s work into e-sword) has made a mistake with the Hebrew here (see the notes below or the Hebrew word above), but he does list which ancient translations are essentially in agreement with him.

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, just as; according to, after; about, approximately

preposition of comparison, resemblance or approximation; with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #453

The kaph preposition can be used of time, and translated about, at; as, when, at the time of. Footnote

ʿasârâh (עַשָׂרָה) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

ʾeleph (אֶלֶף) [pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, family, (500?); military unit

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

The NET Bible’s translation: But the soldiers replied, "You should not do this! For if we should have to make a rapid retreat, they won't be too concerned about us. Even if half of us should die, they won't be too concerned about us. But you are like ten thousand of us! So it is better if you remain in the city for support." The NET Bible’s note on this: The translation follows the Septuagint (LXX) (except for the Lucianic recension), Symmachus, and Vulgate in reading אָתָּה ('atta, "you") rather than Masoretic Text (MT) עָתָּה ('atta, "now"). Footnote

JPS (Tanakh—1985) has the footnote: Footnote So two Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, and Vulgate. Most manuscripts and the editions read “Now there are ten thousand like us.” They also reference 1Kings 1:18, where there is a similar alternate reading (a confounding of you and now).


Translation: ...for now we [are] approximately ten-thousand [strong] [or possibly, ...for you (are) about (equal to) 10,000 (of us)]. Although there are some translations that throw an if in there, one interpretation is that, this simply tells us how many have come along with David. There are probably 9 brigades, and Joab, Abiathar and Ittai each have 3 brigades under them.


However, if you will notice the final note made in the Hebrew exegesis, that there may be a slight difference in one Hebrew word, which changes a great deal. Saying that they are 10,000 strong does not really fit into the context of this conversation. However, if they say that David should not go with them and that he is equal to about 10,000 troops, that makes more sense. That fits into what is being said, and many of the English translations have gone with that interpretation (Green’s Literal Translation, the NKJV, R. B. Thieme, Jr., the WEB, etc.).


Both approaches still require some additional words to smooth things out; but the alternate reading appears to be more suited ot the context. Let me suggest that some of the words or letters were dropped out, and then later, someone tried to fix the text with that one minor change. Just a theory. In any case, it makes complete sense for the people under David to recognize that it is his life or death that is key in this revolution. If he is killed, they have no reason to continue fighting. However, at the same time, Absalom’s army may choose to continue fighting, just to kill any sort of opposition. Remember, they do not care about those who have followed David—they have no concern for them whatsoever.


So far, vv. 1–3d reads: David determined the size of his army and placed lieutenant colonels over groups of a thousand and captains over groups of a hundred. David then deployed the people into three companies—one under Joab, one under Abishai, his brother, and one under Ittai the Gittite. David also said to the people, “I will also go out with you to battle.” However, the people protested, saying, “You should not go out with us into battle, for if we indeed retreat, Absalom’s army will not care. If half of us die in battle, they will not care, for you are equal to ten-thousand of us.” So David has organized his army into various units, and he has installed officers over these units, and presumably a battleground has been chosen (where they will fight will be very advantageous to David’s army). However, the war here is actually between David and Absalom. When one of them is killed, that will end the war (not necessarily the killing, but the actual war).


2Samuel 18:3e

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; as well as

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿattâh (עַתָּה) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ʿattâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore, now then. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

ţôwb (טוֹב) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine singular adjective which can act like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

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

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

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

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿâzar (עָזַר) [pronounced ģaw-ZAHR]

to help, to aid

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #5826 BDB #740

The lâmed with an infinitive construct generally expresses purpose or result, although it can have three other common uses with the infinitive: (1) It can have a gerundial or adverbial sense to explain the circumstances of a previous action; (2) it can act as a periphrastic future in nominal clauses; and, (3) it can behave as a gerund, in the sense of is to be, must be, ought to be. Footnote (4) Lâmed with the infinitive can connote shall or must. Footnote


Translation: Therefore, [it is better] that you are for us to help from [this] city.” David and his troops are apparently in a city, based upon this and the next verse. Furthermore, as we have studied, this city appears to be Mahanaim.


The army will go out of the city. Now, how can David help from the city? He might be coordinating their supplies; he might be receiving information from the front lines and advising. However, David can rest assured that things will be handled well, as he has 3 great generals over his troops.


V. 3: However, the people protested, saying, “You should not go out with us into battle, for if we indeed retreat, Absalom’s army will not care. If half of us die in battle, they will not care, for you are equal to ten-thousand of us. Therefore, it is better that you help us from this city.” David’s leaders are acting rationally. They are concerned with what is best for victory. Therefore, while they are at war, David will be at Mahanaim waiting for news of the war. He might be coordinating supplies and gathering men to help his people retreat, if necessary.


There is a parallel which is being set up here. Previously, what got David into this mess in the first place was, when his soldiers would go out to war, he would chase skirt throughout Jerusalem, embarrassing himself and the God he believed in. So again, his soldiers are out to war, but David will be left behind. He might organize a citizen’s brigade from Mahanaim; but mostly what David is going to do is think. He has the time to think right now. However, as we will find out, David does not think any of this through. It will be Joab who finally has to brace him in the next chapter, and to set David straight. However, David is given the opportunity here to put things together; to think about himself, God, his actions and the Absalom revolution.


Application: I have seen instances in many lives where a person is given a great deal of time during which to think. An extended illness or accident; a set of circumstances which takes them off their job. They have real time to contemplate their lives and their existence, and to take stock of their lives and their decisions. And, what I have also observed, in most of these cases, these people squander this time of reflection. There are times when you seem to be rushing about to do things and, out of nowhere, there is this extended period of great calm—if God gives you time like that, then use it. Double up on your Bible study; devote more time to prayer. This doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to watch 3 seasons of Downton Abbey, because God does not require you to read your Bible or study 24 hours a day or even 12 hours a day. But when given the time, honor God with more time than you have been giving Him before. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians: Use your time well, for these are evil days (Eph. 5:16; CJB).


Given this information, that David has some time to consider his life and what is going on, while his soldiers risk their lives for him and his kingship, it would be important to touch on this doctrine:

The Doctrine of One Day at a Time

1.      The believer oriented to grace regards every day alike. Rom. 14:5–6

2.      This does not mean that we do exactly the same thing every day. On some days, we work; on the weekends (for most of us), we are off. So, quite obviously, we do not do exactly the same thing on a workday and on a weekend. However, every day ought to be spent in the Spirit and, on every day, you ought to take in the Word of God, whether the doors of your church are open or not.

3.      Rom. 14:5–8 One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. Whoever observes the day, observes it to the Lord. Whoever eats, eats to the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is to the Lord that he does not eat, yet he thanks God. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (HCSB) Our lives are intertwined with the plan of God. Therefore, whatever day it is, it is the Lord’s and we are to be thankful for that day, and live that day so that it glorifies God.

4.      Living every day alike is related to God and our spiritual life. This does not mean that we do not celebrate birthdays or Christmas or Thanksgiving. Can you imagine a Christian telling his family, “I cannot attend the family Thanksgiving dinner; I am a Christian and must live every day alike.” That is not a Christian testimony; that is just dumb.

5.      The believer uses every day to glorify the Lord. Every day is a day of different circumstances and a different configuration.

6.      Living every day alike is certainly not a matter of doing everything at the same time. Schedules are good, traditions are good, and organization is good. However, so is flexibility. You may live a life where dinner is at 6 pm sharp every evening; and that Bible study is at 7 pm sharp. In other homes, this may not be the case. You may have a more fluid or disorganized schedule. For me, I found that my schedule and day could vary dramatically, and have chosen to spend my early mornings before everyone else taking in the Word of God and studying the Word of God.

7.      Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:15–17; WEB). Every day is a gracious gift form the Lord to be purchase for the Lord. The context of Eph. 5:16 tells us that we can buy this time by being filled with the Spirit. When you are filled with the Spirit, that time has been purchased. You might even be able to log time sleeping.

8.      God’s grace is given to us a day at a time. Yehowah’s grace is not consumed, because His compassion never fails. His gracious acts are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lev. 3:22–23). Part of our life each day ought to be recognizing God’s place in that God; and God’s faithfulness to us each and every day. We need to recognize this for periods of stability and periods of great instability.

9.      The only time we possess to glorify God on the earth is the number of days given to us in phase II (phase II is life here on earth for the believer). James. 4:13–15

10.    God provides the capital to make each day count for grace. James 4:6

11.    Every day is a special day in phase II; no one day is more holy than another. There is no authorization in the Word of God to make Sunday a special day. However, because we have that day off, it is often best for us to have 2 or 3 lessons in the Word of God. Therefore, 2 or 3 services at a local church is reasonable. The observation of the Sabbath in the Old Testament was to teach people grace. They worked all the rest of the week.

12.    Each day the believer is to avoid mental attitude sins which produce self-induced misery.

13.    Psalm 103 God only has one chance to show us grace in suffering, which He can only do in time. There is no suffering in eternity (Rev. 21:4).

14.    This is how purchasing a day works: God gives us time on this earth; when we use that time wisely (by being filled with the Holy Spirit and by knowing Bible doctrine), the result is the creation of divine good. Divine good is rewarded in time and in eternity. Therefore, when you purchase this time by being filled with the Holy Spirit, you are also laying aside gold, silver and precious stones in heaven (1Cor. 3:9–12, 14). Those who try to do this in some other way will be producing wood, hay and stubble, to be burned in the judgment (1Cor. 3:13–15).

This has come, in large part, from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s 1969 Basic Bible Doctrine Series, lesson #23. It was also taught in his 1961 Basic Series, lesson #28. These points have been edited and appended.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


From my notes, R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s translation of vv. 1–3: Then David reviewed [mobilized, mustered] his troops and appointed commanders of hundreds and of thousands over them. He then sent out the troops [David then organized his soldiers as follows:], one third under Joab [the first corps under the command of Joab], one third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one third under Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, "I will also march out with you." [And I myself will assume command over the entire army] "You must not go!" the people [= the army] pleaded. "If we have to flee [If we are forced to retreat], they [David’s officers] will not pay any attention to us [they will not take us to heart; they will not concentrate (or take cognizance) on our situation]. Even if half of us die, they will not pay any attention to us because you are worth 10,000 of us. Therefore, it is better if you support us from the city [as a reserve force]."


David has a special circumstance here, where he is not required to do anything but wait and think. This allows him the opportunity to consider his mistakes and the justice of God. He needs to think through this thing with Absalom; but David does not use this time wisely. He will spend much of his time sitting in the gate of the city waiting for news of the battle.


——————————


And so says unto them the king, “That [which] is good in your eyes I will do.” And so stands the king unto a hand of the gate and the people have gone out to hundreds and to thousands.

2Samuel

18:4

The king then replied, “Whatever [seems] good in your eyes, [that] I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate while all the people have gone out by hundreds and by thousands.

The king then replied, “I will agree to what you have said.” Therefore, the king stood at the side of the gate watching the people go out marching in formation by hundreds and by thousands.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And the king said to them: What seemeth good to you, that will I do. And the king stood by the gate: and all the people went forth by their troops, by hundreds and by thousands.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says unto them the king, “That [which] is good in your eyes I will do.” And so stands the king unto a hand of the gate and the people have gone out to hundreds and to thousands.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the servants of David said to him, We will go forth quickly to fight against them. And the king said to them, Whatever seems good to you, do it. Then the king stood by the side of the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the king said to them, Whatever seems good in your eyes I will do. And the king stood by the side of the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.

 

Significant differences:           The first sentence of the Syriac is not found in the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       David said, "All right, if you think I should." Then in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, he said, "Joab! Abishai! Ittai! For my sake, be sure that Absalom comes back unharmed." David stood beside the town gate as his army marched past in groups of a hundred and in groups of a thousand. The war with Israel took place in Ephraim Forest. The CEV is combining several verses here.

New Berkeley Version           The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” Then the king took his post beside the gate while all the troops marched out by hundreds and by thousands.”

New Living Translation           "If you think that's the best plan, I'll do it," the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands.

The Voice                               David: 4 All right. I'll do what you think is best.

David is torn between his duties as king and his duties as father. When his own son attempts to overthrow him, he is forced to flee his kingdom and is subjected to ridicule and contempt. Absalom sleeps with all the royal concubines, a deadly insult, and it looks as though David will be overthrown just as Saul was before him. Even now with Absalom leading an outright rebellion, dishonoring his father, and seeking his death, David seeks to spare his son.

So David stood beside the gate while his soldiers marched out to fight against Absalom, organized into fighting units by the hundreds and by the thousands.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And the king said: 'I'll do whatever you wish.'

So, the king stood at the city gate as his army passed by in companies and divisions.

God’s Word                         "I'll do what you think best," the king responded. So the king stood by the gate while all the troops marched out by battalions and regiments.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       So the king told them he would abide by their judgement, and he stood watching at the gate while they marched out company by company, in their hundreds and thousands.

NIRV                                      The king said, "I'll do what you think is best."

So the king stood beside the city gate. The whole army marched out in companies of hundreds and companies of thousands.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      The king said to them, "What is-good in your eye, I will do." The king stood by the hand of the gate and all the people proceeded by hundreds and by thousands.

Bible in Basic English             And the king said to them, I will do whatever seems best to you. So the king took his place by the door of the town, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.

The Expanded Bible              The king said to his people, "I will do what ·you think is best [Lis good in your sight/eyes]." So the king stood at the side of the gate as the army went out in groups of a hundred and a thousand.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 The king consequently replied, “Whatever is good in your opinion I will do.” Therefore the king stood at the side of the gate, and all the force went out by companies and regiments.

NET Bible®                             Then the king said to them, "I will do whatever seems best to you."

So the king stayed beside the city gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands.

NIV – UK                                The king answered, `I will do whatever seems best to you.'

So the king stood beside the gate while all his men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   And the sovereign says to them,

Whatever well-pleases your eyes, I work.

And the sovereign stands by the portal handle

and all the people go by hundreds and by thousands.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And HaMelech said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do. And HaMelech stood by the side of the sha'ar, and kol haAm came out by hundreds and by thousands.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Syndein/Thieme                     And the king replied unto them {David acquiesces}, "Whatever seems best 'to you'/'in your eyes', I will do. Therefore the king stood beside the gate {on a reviewing stand}, while the army marched out by battalions/hundreds and by divisions/thousands.

World English Bible                The king said to them, What seems you best I will do. The king stood by the gate-side, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.

Young’s Updated LT             And the king says unto them, “That which is good in your eyes I do;” and the king stands at the side of the gate, and all the people have gone out by hundreds and by thousands.

 

The gist of this verse:          The king agrees to remain behind, and his troops march out to battle before him.


2Samuel 18:4a

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; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

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) with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

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

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong's #834 BDB #81

The relative pronoun ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER] can also be used as the subject of a verb, as well as the direct object of a verb. Footnote It can be translated who, whoever, whomever, whom, [one] which, [one] whom; whatever. Similarly, but rarely, this relative pronoun can be used as the defining adjunct for a 1st or 2nd person pronoun: I who, you who.

yâţab (יָטַב) [pronounced yaw-TABV]

to be good [well, commendable, pleasing]; to do good [well, commendably], to make glad, to make a thing good

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3190 BDB #405

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʿêynayim (עֵינַיִם) [pronounced ģay-nah-YIM]

eyes, two eyes, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes; face, appearance, form; surface

feminine dual noun with the 2nd person plural suffix

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

This phrase is literally in your eyes, but it can be translated in your opinion, in your estimation, to your way of thinking, as you see [it]. The dual and plural forms of this word appear to be identical. Possibly, this could also mean, as you please, as you want, as you desire, whatever you think is right.

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

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

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793


Translation: The king then replied, “Whatever [seems] good in your eyes, [that] I will do.” Notice this complete humility demonstrated by David. He does not have to have the last word, even though he is king. He doesn’t have to take the thing told to him and give it a spin or a slight change, so that it seems as though it needed to come from him. He considers what was said, he agrees that this is for the best, and he goes along with it.


David was nearly always a humble person (that is, he was grace oriented). He understood the plan of God and his place in it; and even as the king over his people, he performed this as a function of his life (just as I would, as a teacher, perform the duties of a teacher in the classroom). David’s high authority did not make him arrogant (he got there on his own). That David is recovering is seen in many of the good decisions that he makes (not all of his decisions are good, by the way). Here, he is willing to hang back and let Joab and the others lead his men into battle. An egomaniac has to be out in front, guiding everything, micro-managing everything. David, on the good advice of his men, does not require this in his own life.


Already in this chapter, I have been harsh on David, and pointing out some of his shortcomings, even before they have occurred in this chapter. However, his ability to stand back, in accordance with the wishes of his people, is admirable. This, in fact, is in great contrast with Absalom. You may recalled that Ahithophel had an outstanding plan which he presented to Absalom; a plan that would have very likely resulted in David’s death. But Absalom rejected this plan for Hushai’s plan because Hushai’s plan was centered about Absalom being victorious over David; Ahithophel’s plan had Ahithophel, as a representative of Absalom, being victorious over David. Absalom is very self-centered; Absalom thinks only of himself. If something elevates him, he likes it; if something appears to diminish him, he does not like that.


If victory for David is achieved, it will be because of Joab, Abishai and Ittai. David is okay with this. He listened to the reasons for such an approach, understood these reasons, and agreed. He is not concerned about getting the credit or not; he is not concerned about being exalted or not. My point is, despite David’s weakness regarding Absalom, he is a far more humble man than Absalom is.


If David is alive, Absalom has a problem; if David is dead, then there is no problem for Absalom. Absalom has no real opposition except for his father David. So, the foremost thing in his mind is, “Kill David.” That is what must be done in order for Absalom to have complete control of Israel. Absalom’s arrogance made him want to be in on it.


2Samuel 18:4b

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

ʿâmad (עָמַד) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

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

yâd (יָד) [pronounced yawd]

hand; strength, power (figuratively); side (of land), part, portion (metaphorically) (figuratively); (various special, technical senses); sign, monument; part, fractional part, share; time, repetition; axle-trees, axle; stays, support (for laver); tenons (in tabernacle); a phallus, a hand (meaning unsure); wrists

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

shaʿar (שַעַר) [pronounced SHAH-ģahr]

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

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #8179 BDB #1044


Translation: So the king stood at the side of the gate... No doubt, David desired, with every fiber of his being, to be out there, with his faithful men, guiding them, giving orders, best penetrating the armed forces of Absalom. However, instead, it was for him to stay behind. Furthermore, he certainly would have preferred to have been there to act as a protector for Absalom. However, David fully understands that, if he is killed in battle, then these men are risking their lives for nothing.


This is a much more difficult decision to make if you are grace oriented, as David is. David is not overly concerned about his own life. He is not psycho with a death wish; but he does not fear death as most men. He understands that he will be with God at death. So David remains behind, not because he fears death, but because his soldiers are correct—if he is front and center and killed, then his men are fighting for no reason.


We guard our presidents carefully much for the same reason. It is not that a president is any better than you or I; nor will he occupy a better place in heaven (if that is where he ends up). But, as our leader, for our national stability, the president’s life must be preserved. The preservation of his life is related directly to the stability of our nation.


The mark of a good leader is, he can recognize good advice, no matter who is comes from. Some of the best advice I received came from a friend of mine who was in reversionism, but starting to come back from it. He was reading through some of these exegetical studies and was complaining about the Hebrew being strewn throughout the exegesis. At that time, I would mention one or two or more words in a verse, and give their spelling and meaning, and discuss that. For him, having this stuff thrown into the middle of the explanation was problematic, particularly since I did it often. After thinking about this, I separated out the Hebrew into the grayed tables you see above and below. That way, most of the Hebrew discussion can be easily skipped over. At the same time, when I translate a verse, and someone says, “Now, how the hell did he come up with that translation? That’s not what my Bible says.” The grey Hebrew exegesis tables contain all of the information necessary to justify the translation. If there is some kind of dispute about the reading, that is usually included as well. It would have been quite easy for me to look at this guy and say, “Look, I know what I am doing. You have been so far out of God’s will that you don’t have a clue. But thanks anyway for your advice.” It was good advice and it revolutionized the exegesis of each verse—in a good way, I believe.


Application: Let’s take this to a different realm: music. I heard an interview with an artist the other day (was it Barry Manilow?), and he writes his own music, but he has no clue whether this song is good, or great, or lame. There was someone else attached to him—I don’t recall if it was his record producer, his manager, or the head of his music label, but that person could hear the song and say, “That’s good; that will break big.” So the artist, the man who writes and often performs these songs, is willing to listen to someone else—someone without a tenth of his talent—and take is good advice. Footnote We all have different parts to play, and we all rank differently when it comes to having authority.


This is quite important because, when all of this is said and done, David’s army will defeat Absalom’s army, and yet David will be in a funk because his son was killed in the battle. David ought to be rejoicing with his soldiers; and he ought to be giving out medals to his bravest men; but he is, instead, grieving over his worthless son. Joab will have to step in and straighten David out. David, in this area where he was most blind, must be able to hear Joab and to recognize the truth of what he says.


David and his troops are in a walled city, and here, he stands by the gate as his army exits the city.


2Samuel 18:4e

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, while; since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with; also, in addition to, at the same time

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

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

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go [come] out, to go [come] forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mêʾôwth (מֵאוֹת) [pronounced may-OHTH]

hundreds

feminine plural noun; numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

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

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾălâpihîym (אֲלָפִים) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48


Translation: ...while all the people have gone out by hundreds and by thousands. David’s army is organized. They did not just leave this city as a mob, going wherever. They marched out, and they were in formation. They had authorities over them, and they respected these authorities. There were generals over groups of 3000 or so. Those brigades were broken down into battalions, each battalion under the command of a lieutenant colonel, each battalion was further broken down in companies of 100 men each, all under a captain or a major. My point here is, this was not a mob; these were not people who acted as a law unto themselves; this was not some rabble who were out to kill their opposition. These were organized military units with a clear line of authority over them; and each did as directed by their superiors. They marched out of this city in formation. They understood authority; they understood discipline; and they understood that a revolution must be stopped.


In case you missed it, the Doctrine of Revolution (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


——————————


And so orders the king Joab and Abishai and Ittai, to say, “To gently for me to the youth to Absalom.” And all the people heard to order, the king, all the commanders upon a word of Absalom.

2Samuel

18:5

The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai, saying, “[Treat] the youth, Absalom, gently for me.” And all of the people heard the king give [this] order to all the commanders for the sake of Absalom.

As they were leaving, the king gave specific orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Treat this young man, Absalom, gently, for my sake.” And all the people heard the king give this order to his commanders on behalf of Absalom.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Dead Sea Scrolls                   [The king gave orders t]o Joab, [Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently, for my sake, with the young man Absalom.” And ever]y[one] heard [4QSama and MT use different forms.] [the king give all the captains orders concerning Absalom].

Latin Vulgate                          And the king commanded Joab, and Abisai, and Ethai, saying: Save me the boy Absalom. And all the people heard the king giving charge to all the princes concerning Absalom.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so orders the king Joab and Abishai and Ittai, to say, “To gently for me to the youth to Absalom.” And all the people heard to order, the king, all the commanders upon a word of Absalom.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Capture for me the young man Absalom alive. And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all commanders concerning Absalom.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Spare the young man Absalom for my sake. And all the people heard the king charging all the commanders concerning Absalom.

 

Significant differences:           The underlined verbs are quite different from the adverb which David uses in the Hebrew. However, the verbs used in the other ancient translations give the gist of what David is saying to Joab.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake, protect my boy Absalom." All the troops heard what the king ordered regarding Absalom to all the commanders.

Easy English                          The king ordered Joab, Abishai and Ittai, `Be gentle with the young man Absalom. I care about him.' All the soldiers heard David's orders about Absalom, which David gave to each leader.

Easy-to-Read Version            The king gave a command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai. He said, “Do this for me: Be gentle with young Absalom!”

Good News Bible (TEV)         He gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake don't harm the young man Absalom." And all the troops heard David give this command to his officers.

The Voice                               Then David instructed his generals Joab, Abishai, and Ittai.

David: For my sake, be merciful to the young man Absalom.

Now everyone had heard about David's instructions to the commanders concerning Absalom.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And the king gave orders to JoAb, AbiShai, and ItTai, saying, 'Spare the young man AbSalom for me!' And all the people heard what the king said to them about AbSalom.

 

hristian Community Bible       The king ordered Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Don’t hurt the young man Absalom for my sake.” All the army heard the king giving orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       One charge the king laid upon Joab and Abisai and Ethai alike, Spare me my son Absalom; and this charge about Absalom was so given to each of them that the men in the ranks could hear it.

New American Bible (R.E.)    But the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "Be gentle with young Absalom for my sake." All the soldiers heard as the king gave commands to the various leaders with regard to Absalom.

NIRV                                      The king gave an order to Joab, Abishai and Ittai. He commanded them, "Be gentle with the young man Absalom. Do it for me." All of the troops heard the king give the commanders that order about Absalom.

New Simplified Bible              The king ordered Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: »Treat the young man Absalom gently for my sake.« All the troops heard him give the commanders this order regarding Absalom.

Today’s NIV                          The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      The king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Quiet the lad Absalom." All the people heard the king command all the leaders the word over Absalom.

Bible in Basic English             And the king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Because of me, be gentle to the young man Absalom. And this order about Absalom was given in the hearing of all the people.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 But the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Athai, saing,—“Spare the lad Absalom for me!” And the army heard the king’s orders about Absalom, to all the officers.

NET Bible®                             The king gave this order to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake deal gently with the young man Absalom." Now the entire army was listening when the king gave all the leaders this order concerning Absalom.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           The king gave orders to Yo'av, Avishai and Ittai, "For my sake, deal gently with young Avshalom."All the people were listening when the king gave all the commanders this order concerning Avshalom.

exeGeses companion Bible   And the sovereign

misvahs Yah Ab and Abi Shai and Ittay, saying,

For my sake, be gentle to the lad Abi Shalom.

And all the people hear the sovereign

misvah the word to all the governors

concerning Abi Shalom:...

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “Deal gently with my boy Absalom, for my sake.” All the troops heard the king give the order about Absalom to all the officers.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And HaMelech commanded Yoav and Avishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the na'ar, even with Avshalom. And kol HaAm heard when HaMelech gave all the sarim charge concerning Avshalom.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    ...and the king charges Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, `Gently--for me, for the youth, for Absalom;' and all the people heard in the king's charging all the heads concerning Absalom.

English Standard Version      And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom.

Green’s Literal Translation    And the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, For my sake deal gently with the young man, with Absalom. And all the people heard as the king commanded the commanders concerning Absalom.

Syndein/Thieme                     {Officer's Call - David's last General Order - Into Emotional Arrogance for David}

And the king 'issued a general order'/commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal with the young man Absalom . . . gently . . . 'for my sake'." Furthermore, the entire army heard when the king issued orders to the corps commanders concerning Absalom. {Note: David must have had a strong speaking voice. He boomed out this command and the word got around to everyone.}.

World English Bible                The king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. All the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

Young’s Updated LT             And the king charges Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Gently—for me, for the youth, for Absalom.” And all the people heard in the king’s charging all the heads concerning Absalom.

 

The gist of this verse:          David orders his generals to treat Absalom gently, and he does this so that the people hear this command as well.


2Samuel 18:5a

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

tsâvâh (צָוָה) [pronounced tsaw-VAW]

to commission, to mandate, to appoint; to ordain; to lay charge upon, to give charge to, charge, command, order; to instruct [as in, giving an order]

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong's #6680 BDB #845

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yôwʾâb (יוֹאָב) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222

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

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾĂbîyshay (אֲבִישַי) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

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

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾIttay (אִתַּי) [pronounced iht-TAH-ee]

with me; transliterated Ithai, Ittai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #863 BDB #87


Translation: The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai,... David could not help himself with respect to Absalom. Even at this point, he has not fully come to grips with the viciousness of his own son, Absalom, who would kill him without a second thought. The king give orders to his commanders, and he gives these orders loudly. He wants all of those in his army to hear these orders.


2Samuel 18:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

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; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

The lâmed with an infinitive construct generally expresses purpose or result, although it can have three other common uses with the infinitive: (1) It can have a gerundial or adverbial sense to explain the circumstances of a previous action; (2) it can act as a periphrastic future in nominal clauses; and, (3) it can behave as a gerund, in the sense of is to be, must be, ought to be. Footnote (4) Lâmed with the infinitive can connote shall or must. Footnote

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾaţ (אַט) [pronounced at]

softly, gently; softly; flowing

adverb/substantive

Strong’s #328 BDB #31

However, as combined with a lâmed preposition, this can mean a gentle sound, a murmur, a whisper.

According to Barnes, the verbal cognate (if this is taken as one word) means to wrap around, to muffle, to cover, to conceal, and, therefore, to make secret.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

naʿar (נַעַר) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man; personal attendant; slave-boy

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

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: ...saying, “[Treat] the youth, Absalom, gently for me.” There is an interesting repetition of the lâmed preposition; it is found in this portion of v. 5 four times, which is a lot. In fact, before every word, there is a lâmed preposition, indicating somewhat of a soothing tone—pretty much the last thing men need to hear before going to war. “Now listen, men, I want you to treat the enemy nicely. I want you to be kind and gentle to him.” David is not saying this, but he might as well be. His enemy is Absalom. All of the people know this. His commanders know this. But David cannot see Absalom for who he is. Many people have a child, and once that child gets into his teens or into his 20's, he is nothing like that gentle, playful, precocious little man that you knew at age 3 or 5 or 8. To David, Absalom is whatever age that David has fond memories of. If the last time Absalom was this fun little man was age 10, then that is how David sees him. David cannot see him as the grasping, conniving vicious man that he is. Absalom is a power-hungry despot and he will do anything to take power from his father, including killing his father in order to gain this power. Absalom would not let anything stand in his way. Kill Joab, the one man in David’s administration who has given him a fair shake, again and again? Absalom would kill Joab in a heartbeat. What Absalom sees is power, and he wants to take that power. With every fibre of his being, Absalom wants to rule of Israel, and he will not allow sentimentality or any emotion to stand in his way. It is highly unlikely that Absalom has strong emotional feelings about David or Joab.


David, on the other hand, tell his generals, “Be kind to Absalom; treat him gently. Do not allow any harm to come to him.” David is not ignorant of Absalom’s designs. Recall 2Sam. 16:11a And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Behold, my own son seeks my life.” David said this when excusing the behavior of a loudmouthed Benjamite. So, it is not as if David does not understand or cannot come to grips with Absalom’s intent.


Some of these points were inspired by or taken from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s 1972 David Series, Lesson #631_0467.

The Doctrine of Negative Emotion

1.      Every person has emotion; we all react in a variety of ways to different things, and sometimes this reaction involves emotion.

2.      Believers and mature people are never to allow their lives to be run by emotion.

         1)      This is the key to liberalism; nearly everything is emotional. People are emotionally involved, emotionally keyed in, emotionally stimulated, and they therefore respoind to what liberalism is selling.

         2)      Those who have a differing opinion are treated as evil or as having selfish motivation. If you do not understand this, bring up Dick Cheney’s name or Sarah Palin’s name amongst a group of liberals, and Cheney will be spoken of as evil incarnate and Palin will be made fun of for not being very smart (often by people who are less intelligent than she is).

         3)      For many liberals any attempt to cut back on any liberal program, like food stamps (actually, a food stamp card) is starving hungry children, and the thought of doing this makes them sad or angry; and often self-righteous.

         4)      From what I have personally observed, there is a great deal of self-righteousness which is closely related to most liberals. They are right and they have a kind heart, because they do not want these children to go hungry; and the conservative who suggests reducing the food stamp program is mean and wants children to go hungry.

3.      Some people (the liberal example above works here) allow negative emotion to replace divine truth in all 3 categories:

         1)      Instead of establishment thinking, they favor liberal ideology.

         2)      Instead of salvation, some are offended that the Bible says that Jesus is the only way; they want people who follow Confucius, Mohammed, and Gandhi to all be accepted by God; emotionally, they cannot accept the idea that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; and that no man can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

         3)      Instead of Bible doctrine, they go in for emotionalism in Christianity; they experiment with tongues; they allow music to stimulate their emotions; but they reject careful teaching of the Word of God.

4.      In contrast to negative emotions, good emotions are the result of being subordinate to thought.

5.      Any emotion that is considered to be superior to thinking or to truth or to reason is negative emotion and such a person might be involved in negative arrogance. The tongues movement is emotional arrogance, where negative emotion dominates the soul. How they feel about speaking in tongues is far more important than what the Bible says. They will twist any set of Scriptures to allow themselves the chance to speak in tongues.

6.      When emotion dominates the soul, thinking is suppressed. Instead of thinking and reasoning guiding the soul, the soul is dominated by emotion.

7.      After a period of time when emotions dominate the soul to the exclusion of any form of thinking, that individual becomes divorced from reality and generally is pulled into the arrogance complex.

8.      David’s failure in this chapter and the next is sentimentality over Absalom. He will be so emotional over Absalom that he cannot think straight.

9.      When the believer or unbeliever becomes entangles in the interlocking systems of arrogance, they become vulnerable to flattery, fear, irresponsibility, and sociopathic behavior. Essentially, any of the other gates of the interlocking systems of arrogance can pull them in.

10.    Humility is that state of the soul where the individual is related to reality through thinking, rather than through emotion. This does not mean that you cannot be moved by your emotion or that you must respond to all things with emotion; but you must be able to think in order to act.

         1)      Again, liberals make a wonderful illustration here. If they cannot see something with their own eyes, then they are not likely to be moved. For instance, no one could watch an abortion without having some emotional response; and the more human the child looks when he is wrenched out of the womb, the greater the emotional response.

         2)      Therefore, in order to preserve the liberal stance on abortion, liberals are against ultrasound photos being shown to the expectant mother. They do not want that person to see a baby with fingers and toes. They do not want to be the expectant mother, contemplating abortion, and look at a little face with little fingers and toes.

         3)      So liberals support on-demand abortion, for whatever reason; and are absolutely against any view of the baby, because that would illicit an emotional response.

11.    In order for a person to use the faith rest drill, they must be able to think. They must be able to concentrate on a promise or upon a principle, and then apply that to their personal situation. This cannot be done if a person is angry, upset, jealous, in great fear, etc. These various emotions will short-circuit the thinking of such a person. In order to use the various rationales, the believer must be oriented to reality.

David has a variety of facts at his disposal; he understands that Absalom seeks to kill him. He was one of Israel’s greatest generals. However, because David is thinking with his emotion, he asks for Absalom to be treated gently.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


vv. 4–5b read: However, the people protested, saying, “You should not go out with us into battle, for if we indeed retreat, Absalom’s army will not care. If half of us die in battle, they will not care, for you are equal to ten-thousand of us. Therefore, it is better that you help us from this city.” As they were leaving, the king gave specific orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Treat this young man, Absalom, gently, for my sake.” In emotional arrogance, David cannot seem to assemble all of the facts to develop a coherent plan. There is the possibility that David’s top generals got together and discussed this very fact, and that this was one reason David was asked to remain behind. They cannot say this to his face. Joab cannot say, “Listen, David, you are too emotional about your son, and you would jeopardize the mission in order to see him live.” The reason that was given for David remaining behind is reasonable; but this unspoken fact is even a greater reason that David should not go with them. In fact, from here and halfway into the next chapter, David will react emotionally to all that is going on, and finally, Joab will have to straighten him out in 2Sam. 19:4–7 (Joab is one of the very few who could get away with doing this).


R. B. Thieme, Jr. gave the best explanation for David’s psyche throughout these past 10 or so years of David’s life—he was in the interlocking systems of arrogance, the place in the believer’s life where he becomes vulnerable to a number of different forms of arrogance. David entered the interlocking systems of arrogance through sexual arrogance, where he placed his sexual desires above all else. This particular gate quickly interlocked with criminal arrogance and with emotional arrogance, which is where David appears to be trapped right now.


Emotional arrogance is where you allow your emotions to dominate your life, and you will set aside truth (in any of the 3 categories) in order to satiate your own emotions. David can only think of his son Absalom in emotional terms, and therefore cannot come to grips with the reality of what is going on right at this moment with Absalom.


There is a problem with David, and leaving him behind in Mahanaim is probably the best thing for Israel.

David Goes Astray

1.      David has been in a slow recovery from the arrogance complex. This is because once one enters the arrogance complex, it is easy to become involved in other forms of arrogance.

2.      David entered the arrogance complex by the sexual arrogance gate; however, he quickly interlocked with the criminal arrogance gate and the emotional arrogance gate.

3.      David, in his recovery, has made some excellent decisions: he left Jerusalem, taking his supporters with him; he did not kill Shimei ben Gera, even though he would have been an easy target. David set up a spy network in Jerusalem, and he moved to a place from which he can fight and be victorious over Absalom. So David is recovering and David is thinking straight—in some areas.

4.      Although David has made some excellent decisions up to this point, when he considers Absalom and what is about to happen, David falls apart. He cannot think logically. His emotions rule his decision-making process.

5.      Therefore, David asks his 3 generals to deal gently with Absalom, indicating that he wanted Absalom preserved.

6.      David is unable to see that he is part the point of no return with Absalom. There is Absalom or there is David; but, because of this revolution, these two men can no longer co-exist.

7.      Apart from emotional arrogance, David could recognize this face; but his emotion is stronger than his thinking, with regards to Absalom his son.

8.      Although these reasons are not cited by Joab or anyone else, this is probably the real reason why David is asked to remain behind in Mahanaim.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


vv. 4–5b read: However, the people protested, saying, “You should not go out with us into battle, for if we indeed retreat, Absalom’s army will not care. If half of us die in battle, they will not care, for you are equal to ten-thousand of us. Therefore, it is better that you help us from this city.” As they were leaving, the king gave specific orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Treat this young man, Absalom, gently, for my sake.”

David’s Misguided Order

1.      Absalom is the leader of the revolution. All of this happened because of what Absalom has done. Absalom would have been the next in line to become king; no violence and no revolution was necessary.

2.      However, David cannot seem to wrap his mind around the fact that Absalom needs to be judged; and as the leader of the revolution, Absalom needs to be killed. As long as he remains alive, there will be those who support him. Killing Absalom is not revenge, it is justice.

3.      David, asking for Absalom to be spared, is condoning revolution and evil.

4.      David’s order reveals that his soul is still trapped in emotional arrogance. This will be the final gate from which he extricates himself.

5.      The Bible records David’s failures so that we do not replicate them in our own lives.

6.      The problem with David and Absalom is, David has never demanded righteousness of this son; he has never treated his son in justice; he has only been emotional in his dealings with Absalom. So asking for Absalom to be spared indicates that David continues to operate from his emotions regarding Absalom.

7.      This revolution will continue as long as Absalom is alive; he will always have supporters. There are always those who like the new candidate, the young candidate, the cool candidate.

8.      Probably many of Absalom’s supporters do not realize that he takes absolute control after he kills his father David. They are supporting more than just a new king; they are also supporting the death of David, whether they realize this or not.

9.      The plan of God eventually demands the killing of Absalom. There is no order or stability in Israel as long as Absalom is in the wind.

10.    The important details of life—evangelization and the teaching of God’s Word—are accomplished most effectively in a stable environment. So even a bad government is better than no government.

11.    In a revolution, everyone’s attention is on who takes power, and not Who God is.

12.    In an application to today, nation U.S.A. may be beginning to rot from the inside out, and we may end up seeing a series of Democratic presidents and Congresses as a result (I write this in 2013). These elections may be won fair and square and there may be some chicanery involved. However, whoever our leaders are, we support those leaders. Believers are not to become involved in a revolutionary movement against their own country. Unlike the times of David, once an election is over, it is over.

13.    However, in David’s time, if both men remain alive at the same time, there will always be a possible revolution. So one of the men has to die.

14.    God the Holy Spirit has clearly stated on several occasions that David is the king, even when he was on the run.

15.    Therefore, Absalom will have to die. David is unable to face this inevitability straight on.

Some of these points come from or are inspired by notes from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s 1972 David series, lesson #631_0468.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


2Samuel 18:5c

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; as well as

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

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

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

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

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

tsâvâh (צָוָה) [pronounced tsaw-VAW]

to commission, to mandate, to appoint; to ordain; to lay charge upon, to give charge to, charge, command, order; to instruct [as in, giving an order]

Piel infinitive construct

Strong's #6680 BDB #845

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

sar (שַׂר) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

dâbâr (דָּבָר) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

Together, ʿal dâbâr (דָּבָר עַל) [pronounced ģahl-dawb-VAWR] mean because of, because of [that], for the sake of, for the cause of [that].

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: And all of the people heard the king give [this] order to all the commanders for the sake of Absalom. Unfortunately, most of David’s army hears what he says. David speaks this order loudly, and, no doubt, each man tells his neighbor what David said.


More than likely, each commander passes in review, and stops and salutes David, and David salutes him back, and then David delivers that order, loudly, so that the 3000 or 4000 men in that brigade (or division if there are more) can hear his command.


This is going to be tough. Joab is tough—he will take out Absalom if necessary. In fact, he knows that he must kill Absalom. Joab knows Absalom for who he is; he knows the lust for power that Absalom has, and that Absalom is not going to let it rest.


Joab is the example of great humility in the life of David—he was always David’s #2 man, and he would remain David’s #2 man—and, at no time, does Joab say in his soul, “I can do a better job than David does. Let me take the reigns of power.” Instead, Joab allows God to work His will; Joab allows events to transpire without having a need to seize the power when he sees his chance.


How do we know this? For all intents and purposes, much of this army is as loyal to Joab as it is to David. Footnote Many of these men have had Joab as their commanding officer for a decade or more. So, what could Joab do? He could say, “David, you need to get out there, on your horse, and ride with your head held high and lead us into battle;” thinking, all the while, “...and get your damn fool head cut off.” But Joab does not say that. Joab urges David to remain in this city, safe from the war, so that, no matter what happens on the battlefield, David remains alive. Joab is more than willing to take his own life into his own hands; but he is not willing to take that chance with his king. This is great humility. Joab’s made a few mistakes along the way—no one lives a life devoid of mistakes—but when it counts, Joab is a stand-up guy, and man of true humility.


There are other circumstances which confirm Joab’s lack of arrogance. When he was about to take Rabbah, the capitol city of Ammon, he called in David to lead the men, so that David received the credit in the eyes of these men, and the people of Israel understood that David led this final assault as well (2Sam. 12:26–31). When #2 man like Joab can see an obvious opening to being #1, and yet he never takes it, that is greatness and humility.


And this does not mean that Joab and David always see eye-to-eye; nor does it mean that Joab can easily persuade the king. You may recall that Joab hired an actress to speak to David in court in order to bring Joab back to Jerusalem. Joab could not have done what this woman did with a simple argument. Right now, Joab and David disagree greatly about the disposition of Absalom. If Joab finds Absalom, he will kill him—end of revolution. But David here is ordering Joab to treat Absalom gently.


V. 5 reads: As they were leaving, the king gave specific orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Treat this young man, Absalom, gently, for my sake.” And all the people heard the king give this order to his commanders on behalf of Absalom. This is the problem. David loves his son emotionally, to the point where he cannot apply the concept of righteousness and justice to him. Absalom is a revolutionary and he has organized an army against David. Many people will die because of Absalom’s rebellion. This cannot be ignored; it cannot be smoothed over. Righteousness and justice cannot be abandoned simply because of love. Absalom must face the final judgment; he cannot be pardoned by David if there is to be justice in Israel.


This is the final bit of arrogance that David is holding onto—the arrogance of emotion. He feels so strongly about his son that he cannot view him objectively. Joab knows that Absalom’s crimes cannot be overlooked; David is unable to get to that point yet.


Let’s take this to the parallel of God’s essence. We have heard so many times that God is love, and this is absolutely true; but God is also righteousness and justice. God is perfect righteousness, and therefore, cannot associate with unrighteousness or with relative righteousness. What fellowship has light with darkness? How can righteousness and lawlessness be associated? (2Cor. 6:14). Righteousness can only judge unrighteousness. We are saved, not because of any good thing that we have done, but because God’s Son died for our sins and took upon Himself the penalty for sin that we deserved (Titus 3:5 1Peter 3:18). Our relationship with God must stand upon His righteousness and justice. If not that, then there is no relationship between God and us.


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Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The Battle Between the Army of David and the Army of Absalom


And so go out the people [into] the field to meet Israel; and is the battle in a forest of Ephraim.

2Samuel

18:6

The people the went out [toward] the open area to meet Israel. The battle would be in the forests of Ephraim.

David’s army went out toward the open area to meet Israel; the battle would take place in the forests of Ephraim.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          So the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so go out the people [into] the field to meet Israel; and is the battle in a forest of Ephraim.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    So the people went out into the field against Israel...

Septuagint (Greek)                And all the people went out into the woods against Israel; and the battle was in the woods of Ephraim.

 

Significant differences:           The Syriac is missing a phrase.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           So the troops marched into the field to meet the Israelites. The battle was fought in the Ephraim forest.

Easy English                          David's army went out into the open country to fight the army of *Israel. They fought in the forest of Ephraim.

Easy-to-Read Version            David’s army went out into the field against Absalom’s Israelites. They fought in the forest of Ephraim.

Good News Bible (TEV)         David's army went out into the countryside and fought the Israelites in Ephraim Forest.

The Message                         The army took the field to meet Israel. It turned out that the battle was joined in the Forest of Ephraim.

New Berkeley Version           The troops took to the field to engage Israel, and the battle was joined in the woods of Ephraim.

New Life Bible                        Then the people went out into the field to fight against Israel. The battle was fought among the trees of Ephraim.

New Living Translation           So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David's men. A portion of v. 7 is included for context.

The Voice                               Then the army went out to fight against Israel, and the battle was fought in the wooded areas of Ephraim.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well, they marched to a forest that was directly opposite [the army of] IsraEl, and the battle started there in the Woods of Ephraim.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       So his army took the field against Israel; it was in the forest of Ephraim that battle was joined.

New American Bible (R.E.)    Defeat of Absalom's Forces.

David's army then took the field against Israel, and a battle was fought in the forest near Mahanaim.

NIRV                                      David's army marched into the field to fight against Israel. The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.

Revised English Bible            The army took the field against the Israelites, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephron.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      The people proceeded to the field to greet Israel. The war was in the forest of Ephraim...

Bible in Basic English             So the people went out into the field against Israel, and the fight took place in the woods of Ephraim.

The Expanded Bible              David's army went out into the field against ·Absalom's Israelites [Israel], and they fought in the forest of Ephraim.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Thus the force went into the field to meet Israel, and the battle occurred in the forest of Ephraim.

HCSB                                     Then David's forces marched into the field to engage Israel in battle, which took place in the forest of Ephraim.

NIV – UK                                David's army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           So the people went out into the field against Isra'el; the battle took place in the forest of Efrayim.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and the people go to the field to meet Yisra El:

and the war is in the forest of Ephrayim;...

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               The troops marched out into the open to confront the Israelites [The usual term in this narrative for the supporters of Absalom.], and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim [Some Septuagint manuscripts read “Mahanaim”; compared 2Sam. 17:24.].

Orthodox Jewish Bible           HaAm went into the sadeh against Yisroel; the milchamah was in ya'ar (forest) of Ephrayim;...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And the people goes out into the field to meet Israel, and the battle is in a forest of Ephraim;...

The Geneva Bible                  So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim. So called, because the Ephraimites (as some say) fed their cattle beyond Jordan in this wood.

New RSV                               So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim.

Syndein/Thieme                     {Verses 6-8: Battle of the Forest of Ephraim}

So the {establishment} army marched out/advanced to oppose Israel {revolutionary forces} into the field. And the battle occurred {was fought} in the forest/'forested terrain' of Ephraim. {Note: Joab selected the battlefield. The one who selects the battlefield normally wins. And, Joab selected a battlefield that was rugged terrain where the individual characteristics of the soldier will win out over sheer numbers.}.

Webster’s Bible Translation  So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim;...

World English Bible                So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim.

Young’s Updated LT             And the people go out into the field to meet Israel, and the battle is in a forest of Ephraim.

 

The gist of this verse:          The two armies meet in the forest of Ephraim.


2Samuel 18:6a

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

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go [come] out, to go [come] forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

sâdeh (שָׂדֶה) [pronounced saw-DEH]

field, land, country, open field, open country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7704 BDB #961

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to encounter, to befall, to meet; to assemble [for the purpose of encountering God or exegeting His Word]; to come, to assemble

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7122 & #7125 BDB #896

The lâmed with an infinitive construct generally expresses purpose or result, although it can have three other common uses with the infinitive: (1) It can have a gerundial or adverbial sense to explain the circumstances of a previous action; (2) it can act as a periphrastic future in nominal clauses; and, (3) it can behave as a gerund, in the sense of is to be, must be, ought to be. Footnote (4) Lâmed with the infinitive can connote shall or must. Footnote

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

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975


Translation: The people the went out [toward] the open area to meet Israel. The people refer to David’s supporters; Israel refers to those who support Absalom.


Their going out to the open field or to the open area was to move away from the city to allow the armies to fight it out. David did not want to subject women and children to the harshness of warfare. This is one of the reasons that he left Jerusalem in the first place.


We have 2 very different armies


When I was much younger, I was a boxing fan, and often the two boxers would be set up side-by-side with a list of their comparative sizes and record. This was often called Tale of the Tape.

Tale of the Tape

Category

David’s Army and David

Absalom’s Army and Absalom

Size

Probably 6,000 to 60,000 strong. R. B. Thieme, Jr. estimates 30,000 versus 250,000. Footnote

Absalom has collected an army from all over Israel, so he probably has 100,000 or more. His army may be 10x the size of David’s army.

Experience

Mostly experienced soldiers.

A mixture of experience and inexperienced soldiers; many reservists have been called up.

Skill

Very skilled and organized.

Moderately skilled; and not well-organized, given that Absalom is their general.

Leadership

Joab, Abishai and Ittai—3 great leaders. They have also shown themselves to be authority orientated.

Absalom is the only leader of note (it does not appear that Hushai went with him; and Ahithophel hanged himself); and Absalom has perhaps no military experience at all.

Organization

David twice organized his troops; he interacted with his top generals prior to the first battle. A supply line had been set up and his army was fed and supported.

We do not know much about Absalom. Nothing is said about the organization of his army or of its logistical support. Since Absalom had never led an army before, it is likely that he had no idea what to do in this regard.

Spiritual power

David and many of those under him believe in the power of the God of their armies.

Absalom has never mentioned God; and there is no one named in his army who seems to have a strong dependence upon God.

Establishment orientation

David is establishment oriented.

Absalom is anti-establishment, and he is sneaky. His drumming up of support was very dishonest.

Personal perception of leaders

David has agreed to wait in Mahanaim during this battle, so he had no need to be seen as the conquering hero.

In going with Hushai’s idea, Absalom understood only two things: he would be glorified as the general of his army and his army would greatly outnumber David’s army.

Motivation of the leadership

David looks to glorify God and to do His will.

Absalom seeks personal power and glorification.

Motivation of the army

To protect and retain the life which they have enjoyed. R. B. Thieme, Jr. said Footnote that one of the greatest motivations in war is fighting for the love of a woman and to preserve her freedom.

To support a leader and a plan which they have never seen put into place before. They are not fighting for freedom; they are fighting for change. This is very much like the hope and change candidate of the 2008 election in the United States.

Battleground

Chosen by David or Joab. Heavily forested area which favors small hand-to-hand combat and smaller military groupings.

Lured into this particular battleground. The worst battleground for a large army.

Some of these differences will become more clear as we continue through this narrative. For instance, at the end of this battle, Absalom’s soldiers will be retreating, and Absalom will be left by himself riding a mule, not sure what to do next. This shows a lack of organization and a lack of courage on the part of his soldiers.

To Absalom, size was everything. He knew nothing about warfare, which was why his leading these men into battle was such a mistake.

 

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


2Samuel 18:6b

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; as well as

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 feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

milechâmâh (מִלְחָמָה) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war, fight, fighting; victory; fortune of war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yaʿar (יַעַר) [pronounced YAH-ģahr]

wood, forest, thicket; a beehive; an excess of honey; a thicket of trees

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #3293 and #3264 (plural form) BDB #420

ʾEpherayim (אֶפְרַיִם) [pronounced ef-RAH-yim]

to bear fruit, to be fruitful; double ash heap transliterated Ephraim

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #669 BDB #68

Some LXX manuscripts read Mahanaim here. For some reason, the REB has Nephron here.


Translation: The battle would be in the forests of Ephraim. Now, you will recall that David left Jerusalem on the northeast quadrant, going up the Mount of Olives, and then heading over to the River Jordan, where he would cross over at the word of the sons of the two priests (2Sam. 17:21–22). However, Ephraim is on the other side of the River Jordan, opposite to where David probably went originally (2Sam. 17:24).


R. B. Thieme, Jr. says that the Ephraimites took their cattle and sheep to the other side of the Jordan to graze, and that became known as the forests of Ephraim.


There was a war between the Ephraimites and the Gileadites, both of whom are on opposites sides of the Jordan River from one another. This is recorded in Judges 12:4–6 Jephthah then mustered all the men of Gilead and made war on Ephraim, and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim -- since the latter used to say, 'You are only fugitives from Ephraim, you Gileadites in the heart of Ephraim and Manasseh.' Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, 'Let me cross,' the men of Gilead would ask, 'Are you an Ephraimite?' If he said, 'No,' they then said, 'Very well, say Shibboleth.' If anyone said, "Sibboleth", because he could not pronounce it, then they would seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell on this occasion. (NJB) Gilead here is victorious. Did they somehow choose to name that area across the Jordan River from Ephraim, the forests of Ephraim?

 

Barnes writes: It seems certain that the scene of this battle was on the east of Jordan. It seems therefore inevitable to conclude that some portion of the thick wood of oaks and terebinths which still runs down to the Jordan on the east side was for some reason called “the wood of Ephraim,” either because it was a continuation on the east side of the great Ephraimitic forests on the west, or because of some transaction there in which Ephraim had taken part, such as the slaughter of the Midianites (Judges 7:24–25), or their own slaughter (Judges 12:6). Footnote After all, there is a Kansas City in Kansas; but there is also a Kansas City in Missouri.


rebellion-of-absalom-map-2sam-15-19-1200x1748x300.jpg

The other option is that David’s army went back across the river to fight with Absalom. That would mean that Absalom originally came over the river, in pursuit of David, and then went back across the river again. This makes less sense, as it appears that the river can be crossed near the opening to the Dead Sea, but not much is found in the Bible about crossing the Jordan anywhere else.


The Rebellion of Absalom (map) from Jesus Walks. The only thing which is somewhat difficult here is the location of the forests of Ephraim.


In any case, the battlefield that they choose is going to be a thick forest, where the advantage of having a large army is neutralized by having a battlefield which encourages small forays here and there, and allows the men of the smaller army to, whenever necessary, to suddenly disappear into the forest once again.


Furthermore, as we will discover, it will appear as if the forest allies itself with David’s troops, as it will take the lives of the soldiers in Absalom’s rebellion in greater numbers than will the battle itself.


It will become clear that the battlefield chosen was not an open flat plain, but a very rugged terrain with a great many trees, bushes, hills, etc. The foliage is quite thick here, so that you might be 20 ft. away from the enemy and not be able to see him. This is very difficult terrain for a large army to do battle on, as it is more difficult to move them about as needed as a large unit. However, David’s army is smaller, and therefore more adept at fighting in this environment. Furthermore, David’s army has been broken down into smaller units—companies under the leadership of a captain—so that these smaller units may strike, move, strike, disappear. We are not given a great many details of this battle, but enough to know that David’s army was very well-disciplined and organized, and that it appears as if they lured Absalom’s much larger, much less-disciplined army into this forest.


Here we learn one more thing about Hushai’s advice. Footnote If Absalom has to take the time to gather an army from all over Israel, then this gives David more time to plan out the battle and, in particular, to choose the place of battle. This is key to the victory. If Ahithophel went after David immediately with his shock troops, Footnote David would have had no chance to organize and no chance to lure Absalom’s army into a particular battlefield. Absalom’s army is the aggressive army, so they will pursue David’s army to wherever it is. Therefore, because of the extra time Hushai’s advice entailed, David’s army is able to choose the battlefield, because they choose where to stand and fight. David’s army has been given the chance to increase in size, to organize, to choose the battlefield, and to become ready for Absalom’s army.


——————————


And so were struck there the people of Israel to faces of servants of David. And so is there the slaughter great in the day the that twenty a thousand.

2Samuel

18:7

The people of Israel were struck down there before the servants of David. The slaughter was great that day—20,000 [men died].

The people of Israel were struck down before the army of David. It was a great slaughter, where 20,000 men died.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And the people of Israel were defeated there by David's army, and a great slaughter was made that day of twenty thousand men.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so were struck there the people of Israel to faces of servants of David. And so is there the slaughter great in the day the that twenty a thousand.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And there was a battle, and the people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter on that day of twenty thousand men.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the people of Israel fell down there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter in that day, even twenty thousand men.

 

Significant differences:           Nothing significant.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           The army of Israel was defeated there by David's soldiers. A great slaughter of twenty thousand men took place that day.

Contemporary English V.       Battles were being fought all over the forest, and David's soldiers were winning. Twenty thousand soldiers were killed that day, and more of them died from the dangers of the forest than from the fighting itself.

Easy English                          And David's army defeated the army of *Israel. 20 000 men died that day.

The Message                         The army of Israel was beaten badly there that day by David's men, a terrific slaughter--twenty thousand men!

New Berkeley Version           At that place the forces of Israel were overthrown before the servants of David and the slaughter there that day was heavy, amounting to twenty thousand men.

New Century Version             There David's army defeated the Israelites. Many died that day-twenty thousand men.

New Living Translation           There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives.

The Voice                               David's forces won a great victory against Absalom's men, and 20,000 men were killed in the battle that day.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          But the army of IsraEl didn't fare well against the followers of David, for they lost twenty thousand of their men.

God’s Word                         There David's men defeated Israel's army, and the massacre was sizable that day-20,000 men.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       And the Israelites were routed by David's men, with great loss; twenty thousand men fell that day,...

New American Bible (R.E.)    The forces of Israel were defeated by David's servants, and the casualties there that day were heavy-twenty thousand men.

NIRV                                      There David's men won the battle over Israel's army. A huge number of men were wounded or killed that day. The total number was 20,000.

New Jerusalem Bible             There, the army of Israel was beaten by David's retainers; it was a great defeat that day, with twenty thousand casualties.

New Simplified Bible              Battles were fought all over the forest. David’s soldiers were winning. Twenty thousand soldiers were killed that day.

Revised English Bible            There the Israelites were routed before the onslaught of David’s men, and the loss of life was great, for twenty thousand fell.

Today’s NIV                          There Israel's troops were routed by David's men, and the casualties that day were great--twenty thousand men.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      ...and there the people of Israel plagued in front of the servants of David. There that day 20,000 had a great plague.

Bible in Basic English             And the people of Israel were overcome there by the servants of David, and there was a great destruction that day, and twenty thousand men were put to the sword.

The Expanded Bible              There David's army defeated the Israelites. ·Many died [LThe slaughter was/casualties were great] that day-twenty thousand men.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ....where the army of Israel was routed before the generals of David; and in the great rout of that day twenty thousand perished,..

HCSB                                     The people of Israel were defeated by David's soldiers, and the slaughter there was vast that day--20,000 casualties.

NET Bible®                             The army of Israel was defeated there by David's men [Heb "servants" (also in v. 9).]. The slaughter there was great that day - 20,000 soldiers were killed.

NIV – UK                                There Israel's troops were routed by David's men, and the casualties that day were great - twenty thousand men.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           The people of Isra'el were defeated there by David's servants; there was a terrible slaughter that day of 20,000 men.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...where the people of Yisra El are smitten

at the face of the servants of David;

and that day

there is a great plague of twenty thousand:...

 

PS (Tanakh—1985)                 The Israelite troops were routed by David’s followers, and a great slaughter took place there that day—twenty thousand men.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           Where Am Yisroel were slain before the avadim of Dovid, and there was there a magefah gedolah that day of esrim elef.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                [Absalom's] men of Israel were defeated by the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter that day of 20,000 men.

Darby Translation                  And the people of Israel were routed before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day: twenty thousand men.

English Standard Version      And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men.

Green’s Literal Translation    And the people of Israel were stricken before David's servants. And there was a great destruction on that day of twenty thousand.

NASB                                     The people of Israel were defeated [Lit smitten] there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men.

New King James Version       The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of twenty thousand took place there that day.

Syndein/Thieme                     Therefore the army/people of Israel {revolutionary army} were defeated by the soldiers of David, and there the casualties that day were great . . . twenty thousand men. {Note: Joab apparently sent one corps into an open meadow where the Amasa's forces could see them. Amasa had dispersed his army and Joab now concentrated his. So, Amasa's men were marching in column to attack and Joab's 2 corps in hiding hit them in line and routed them. Because of the rugged terrain causalities were heavy. RBT says that the men who died were most likely the hard core revolutionists and that was their punishment. The other 230,000 or so men in the revolutionary army will be pardoned by David. So, in panic many ran off cliffs, fell into marshes/ quicksand, and finally wild animals could have taken some.}.

World English Bible                The people of Israel were struck there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men.

Young’s Updated LT             And struck there are the people of Israel before the servants of David, and the striking down there is great on that day—twenty thousand.

 

The gist of this verse:          20,000 men belonging to Absalom’s army were struck down in this battle.


2Samuel 18:7a

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

nâgaph (נָגַף) [pronounced naw-GAHF]

to be struck down, to be smitten, to be hit; [possibly] beaten, wounded

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong's #5062 BDB #619

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun in the construct state

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

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

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975

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 construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (לְפָּנִים) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

ʿebed (עֶבֶד) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant; underling; subject

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: The people of Israel were struck down there before the servants of David. David’s army was quite proficient at killing the solders of Absalom (who are called the people of Israel here). David’s men were better trained, better deployed, and better motivated. It is possible that they had surprise and a choice of the terrain here as well.


It is logical for David to divide up the army into 3 brigades. Two can be used to maneuver, and the third can be kept in reserve. In a battle, you do not necessarily put all of your troops out there en masse from the very start. Joab‘s brigade might hit Absalom’s forces head-on. Abishai’s brigade might do a flanking movement. Ittai’s might move to the other side, but not attack and allow the retreating soldiers to come to them. Finally, this might be done in such a way that the heavy forest is directly behind Absalom’s army.


Absalom can have a much larger army, but because of the terrain, there are limitations on the area over which his troops meet up with Joab’s troops. On a large battlefield, Absalom’s army could overrun David’s army; but where the battlefront is limited by the terrain, Absalom cannot exploit the size of his army. David’s smaller army can move more quickly and outmaneuver Absalom’s army. Furthermore, Absalom does not know how to lead an army; he does not understand strategy and tactics. So, not only is he sucked into a battlefield which robs him of the advantage of numbers, but he does not know how to get out of it; he does not know what to do next. He just expects his larger army to take out David’s smaller army.


We will discover Absalom later wandering about, apparently separated from his troops, not leading in any possible way.


2Samuel 18:7b

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

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

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

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

maggêphâh (מַגֵּפָה) [pronounced mahg-gay-FAW]

a blow, a slaughter, plague, pestilence

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4046 BDB #620

gâdôwl (גָּדוֹל) [pronounced gaw-DOHL]

large, great or mighty [in power, nobility, wealth; in number, or magnitude and extent], loud, older, important, distinguished; vast, unyielding, immutable, significant, astonishing

feminine singular adjective

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (יוֹם) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hûwʾ (הוּא) [pronounced hoo]

that; this; same

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun with a definite article

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

ʿeserîym (עֶשְׂרִים) [pronounced ģese-REEM]

twenty

plural numeral adjective

Strong’s #6242 BDB #797

ʾeleph (אֶלֶף) [pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, family, (500?); military unit

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48


Translation: The slaughter was great that day—20,000 [men died]. There were about 10,000 soldiers fighting for David, so, on average, each of them killed two men. The 20,000 here like refers only to those of Absalom’s army, and these are likely at the hands of David’s soldiers (although it is possible these numbers include those killed by the Forest of Ephraim, as in v. 8).

 

Matthew Henry: [God judged these criminal revolutionaries] justly for their treason against their lawful prince, their uneasiness under so good a government, and their base ingratitude to so good a governor; and they found what it was to take up arms for a usurper, who with his kisses and caresses had wheedled them into their own ruin. Now where are the rewards, the preferments, the golden days, they promised themselves from him? Now they see what it is to take counsel against the Lord and His Anointed, and to think of breaking his bands asunder. Footnote This is indicative of any time that man places himself in opposition to the Lord. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Yehowah, and against His Anointed (Psalm 2:2). Such men say, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:3).


This is how men revolt against God; in this instance, the are revolting against God’s anointed. This might be a good place to examine Psalm 2 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Bear in mind what is going on here—this is a revolution and there are a great many people who support Absalom. Revolution is evil and God will see that many of the revolutionaries die here. Revolutionaries are a cancer to a society, and God will remove them in some instances, thus fulfilling Prov. 11:21, which states: Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered. (ESV) The revolutionaries which God strikes down here are the worst of the worst; they support Absalom and they will go to war against the establishment king, David, in order to install Absalom as king over all Israel. See the Doctrine of Revolution (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Application: It is not enough for liberals to get their own way; they must be able to impose it upon people who disagree with them as well. Absalom is not content with ruling in Jerusalem; he must kill his father and clearly subjugate all of Israel to his personal whims. He will not allow for a divided kingdom or for there to be any opposition remaining. This is one of the reasons Absalom must die.


——————————


And so is there the battle being scattered upon faces of all the earth; and so multiplies a forest to eat in the people from which ate the sword in the day the that.

2Samuel

18:8

The battle was scattered there upon all the earth; and the forest multiplied the devouring among the people in that day more than the sword devoured.

The battle spread out over that land, so that the forest devoured more people in that day than the sword did.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Latin Vulgate                          And the battle there was scattered over the face of all the country, and there were many more of the people whom the forest consumed, than whom the sword devoured that day.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so is there the battle being scattered upon faces of all the earth; and so multiplies a forest to eat in the people from which ate the sword in the day the that.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    For there was a great battle which spread over the face of the country; and the wild beasts of the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the battle there was scattered over the face of all the land. And the woods consumed more of the people than the sword consumed in that day.

 

Significant differences:           The Syriac has Absalom’s soldiers being devoured by the beasts of the forest.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Easy English                          The battle spread over a large area. More people died in the forest than in the battle.

Easy-to-Read Version            The battle spread through all the country. But that day more men died in the forest than by the sword.

The Message                         There was fighting helter-skelter all over the place--the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword!

New Berkeley Version           The battle, moreover, spread over the face of the whole country there, and the wooded terrain that day caused more destruction among the people than did the sword.

New Life Bible                        The battle was spread over the whole country. Dangers from the trees destroyed more people that day than the sword.

New Living Translation           The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword.

The Voice                               The battle spread all across the landscape, and more of his opponents were lost to the forest than to the sword.

David takes the fight into a forested area rather than staying out in the open field. Since his army is more experienced in fighting in such terrain, there is an opportunity for a smaller force to defeat a larger one. Absalom's men (and Absalom himself, as illustrated in the following verses) die as a result of not knowing how to fight in the forest and avoid its pitfalls.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          However, the war raged on throughout the land. And the thick forest killed as many men as were killed with swords that day.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       ...and more of them perished in the woods than in the fighting itself, so scattered was their flight over all the country-side.

New American Bible              The battle spread out over that entire region, and the thickets consumed more combatants that day than did the sword.

New American Bible (R.E.)    The battle spread out over that entire region, and the forest consumed more combatants that day than did the sword.

NIRV                                      The fighting spread out over the whole countryside. But more men were killed in the forest that day than out in the open.

New Jerusalem Bible             The fighting spread throughout the region and that day the forest claimed more victims than the sword.

New Simplified Bible              More soldiers died from the dangers of the forest than from the fighting.

Revised English Bible            The fighting spread over the whole countryside, and the forest took toll of more people that day than the sword.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And the fighting went on over all the face of the country: and the woods were responsible for more deaths than the sword.

The Expanded Bible              The battle spread through all the ·country [countryside], but that day more men ·died [Lwere devoured/swallowed up] in the forest than ·in the fighting [Lby the sword].

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...for the battle was spread over all the district, and more of the people were destroyed in the forest than what the sword destroyed at the moment.

HCSB                                     The battle spread over the entire region, and that day the forest claimed more people than the sword.

NET Bible®                             The battle there was spread out over the whole area, and the forest consumed more soldiers than the sword devoured that day.

NIV – UK                                The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           For the battle there was spread all over the countryside; the forest devoured more people that day than did the sword.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...for the war scatters over the face of all the land:

and that day

the forest abounds and consumes more people

than the sword consumes.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           For the milchamah was there scattered over the face of kol ha'aretz; and the ya'ar devoured more people that day than the cherev devoured.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    ...and the battle is there scattered over the face of all the land, and the forest multiplies to devour among the people more than those whom the sword has devoured in that day.

New RSV                               The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

Syndein/Thieme                     For the battle was there was 'scattered in fright' over the 'entire terrain'/'face of all the country'. {the revolutionary troops were routed and ran in fear} And the forest devoured more people/'revolutionary troops' that day than the sword consumed. {Note: The people in front were frightened and they panicked. Many were killed in combat, but more were killed because of panic and the difficulty of the mountainous and wooded terrain.}.

Third Millennium Bible            For the battle there was scattered over the face of all the country; and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

World English Bible                For the battle was there spread over the surface of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

Young’s Updated LT             And the battle is there scattered over the face of all the land, and the forest multiplies to devour among the people more than those whom the sword has devoured in that day.

 

The gist of this verse:          More men were killed by the terrain of the forest than by the actual battle.


2Samuel 18:8a

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 feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

milechâmâh (מִלְחָמָה) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war, fight, fighting; victory; fortune of war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

pûwts (פּוּץ) [pronounced poots]

dispersed, scattered, being scattered; being broken into pieces

feminine singular, Niphal participle

Strong’s #6327 BDB #806

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

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

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ʿâl and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking.

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

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: The battle was scattered there upon all the earth;... The war did not go as Absalom expected. He had a much larger army than David did, so he expected to overpower David’s troops. In a flat, open area, man against man, this might have been the case. However, they were in the forest of Ephraim, scattered all over, so it was not just several men against one. War is rarely based upon one factor. Here terrain, training, organization and surprise were all on David’s side; and these factors far outweighed Absalom’s numerical superiority.


The word to scatter is the Niphal participle of pûwts (פּוּץ) [pronounced poots], and it means dispersed, scattered, being scattered; being broken into pieces. Strong’s #6327 BDB #806. So the battle was broken down into many pieces—a few fighting here, a few fighting there, and scattered throughout this thick forested area. This is ideal for a smaller army—particularly one which is so well organized that it can be broken down into much smaller fighting units (recall how David had organized his army with men over units of 100). It appears that Absalom’s entire battle strategy was, “There’s the enemy; charge!”


2Samuel 18:8b

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

râbâh (רָבָה) [pronounced rawb-VAWH]

to make [do] much; to multiply, to increase; to give much; to lay much; to have much; to make great; many [as a Hiphil infinitive construct]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #7235 BDB #915

yaʿar (יַעַר) [pronounced YAH-ģahr]

wood, forest, thicket; a beehive; an excess of honey; a thicket of trees

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3293 and #3264 (plural form) BDB #420

Clarke: the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, state that they were devoured by wild beasts in the wood. Footnote

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾâkal (אָכַל) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

The lâmed with an infinitive construct generally expresses purpose or result, although it can have three other common uses with the infinitive: (1) It can have a gerundial or adverbial sense to explain the circumstances of a previous action; (2) it can act as a periphrastic future in nominal clauses; and, (3) it can behave as a gerund, in the sense of is to be, must be, ought to be. Footnote (4) Lâmed with the infinitive can connote shall or must. Footnote

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʿam (עַם) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: ...and the forest multiplied the devouring among the people... It appears as if the forest itself was devouring the men who were at war there. Although the verb here commonly means to eat, it can also mean to devour, to consume, to destroy. So the forest itself was working against the people of Israel. This is because God was against these revolutionists, and God was going to destroy some of them as well.


2Samuel 18:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

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

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, the min preposition and the relative pronoun can mean from where; more than.

ʾâkal (אָכַל) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

chereb (חֶרֶב) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

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

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (יוֹם) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hûwʾ (הוּא) [pronounced hoo]

that; this; same

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun with a definite article

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214


Translation: ...in that day more than the sword devoured. In fact, so many died at the hands of the forest, that there were more men killed by the forest than by hand-to-hand combat.

 

Gill: The ranks of Absalom's soldiers were broken, and they were thrown into the utmost confusion, and ran about here and there all over the field or plain in which the battle was fought, and into the neighbouring wood. Footnote


There are some mechanics of Scripture which are not fully made clear to us. God often sends out angels to do His work, and it is possible that is what happened here. How exactly these forests killed the people of Israel, we do not know exactly—nor can we say without reservation that avenging angels of God were killing these revolutionaries. However, there are men that God needed to remove from society, and they were either taken out by the sword, or by misfortune as they tromped through the thick woods. According to Clarke, Footnote the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic translations have Absalom’s solders being devoured by wild animals in the thick forest. This is not out of the question, whether this is a part of the original Hebrew or not. Satan appeared to speak through a serpent in the Garden of Eden, so it would not be too far out there to suggest that angels used animals to kill some of Absalom’s soldiers.


Based upon other Scriptures, we know that there are lions and bears in Palestine. We may reasonably assume there are poisonous snakes there as well. There are pits and precipices, forested areas so thick as to stop a person in their tracks, if not entangle them as if by a spider’s web. When running in a heavy forest, a person can trip or become disoriented—and who knows what they may fall upon. Poole suggests Footnote that some soldiers could have been impacted by hunger, thirst and weariness as well. For whatever reason, the soldiers who supported Absalom appear to be the ones who are discombobulated by the forest, whereas the soldiers under Joab’s command seem to be organized and oriented to their environment.


We will only be given on case history of the forest working against David’s enemies, and that is Absalom riding along on his mule, and branches catch him on the head and pull him off. He was probably a good rider of mules, but it is unlikely that he rode much in heavily forested areas, and these branches took Absalom by surprise. This may be an example of how angels used the forest against Absalom. They may well have guided his donkey to suddenly take Absalom under a low-hanging branch. Based upon Gen. 3 and Num. 22, angels can have interactions with animals which are outside of that which is normal for man.


Along with Absalom, there were many incidents where men were killed simply by running through this forest. It was as if God was working against them (which He was).


There also seems to be an authority orientation among David’s soldiers, as well as great organization, despite the environs. This will be made clear in the verses which follow. One of David’s soldiers will refuse to kill Absalom because of David’s order (that is authority orientation). However, he seems to have little trouble finding Joab and Joab seems to have little trouble finding his way to Absalom. All of this suggests excellent organizational skills in David’s army.


On the other hand, Absalom is going to find himself riding around on a mule, ostensibly on his own. His soldiers will be running in all directions to the point where they are dying in the forest due to a variety of forest-related accidents. That suggests a total lack of organization as well as no careful line of authority.


Taking the example of Absalom, we may suppose that there are allies of Absalom running through the forest, and some are tripped, some are trapped here or there, some fall into holes. These are revolutionists, but this does not make them great soldiers or even good soldiers. A revolutionist is different from an establishment army type, inasmuch as, the establishment-type knows exactly what he is fighting for—he is fighting for his land, his wife and his children (Neh. 4:14). The revolutionist is fighting for something which does not yet exist and may not exist. He is fighting for some kind of ideal which does not exist nor can this ideal be guaranteed.


Furthermore, a soldier is professionally trained; a revolutionary may or may not have training; and a revolutionary must be reached emotionally in order for them to be a part of the revolution. A well-trained soldier dispatches his enemies unemotionally.


Application: Anyone can look at any country and find flaws throughout. However, that does not mean that a revolution will solve any of those flaws. Quite obviously, when you plunge your country into war, no matter what happens, life is going to be much more difficult on the other side of that war. And the revolutionist trusts leaders who are no less corrupt and no less power-hungry than the men they claim they will replace.


Application: The only time that a country might be better off after a revolution is when the revolutionary forces are killed or thoroughly neutralized.


Application: In Egypt, over the past few years (I write this in 2013), there was the famous facebook revolution, where people decided that their long-time dictator, Mubarak, was just not a very nice person, and now they could tweet this to everyone that they knew; and they could arrange meetings and demonstrations. Although many Americans saw this, at first, as a great triumph for democracy, once Mubarak had been ousted from office, a new power arose—that of the evil Muslim brotherhood. They hung back during the actual revolution, but in the election, they became more and more visible, and Egypt, being an Islamic country, voted for the Muslim brotherhood. In a nation with dozens, if not hundreds of factions, there was no requirement of 51% of the people to stand behind a Muslim candidate.


Application: This candidate won, and then began to push through Islamic reforms, making him a pariah among the people of Egypt. They persecuted Christians, Christian neighborhoods, and all but destroyed the tourist industry for a nation that was heavily dependent upon tourists. At the time that I write this, the Muslim leader has been forced out, but he has not been replaced—and the words I hear more often than any others are failed state. Egypt could become one of the largest countries in the world to become a failed state—and all of this because they had a revolution. My point here is, a revolution does not insure a better government. In fact, most of the time, you can expect a more oppressive regime to seize power.


Application: As has been discussed in previous chapters, there are the idealists, who are manipulated into beginning the revolution; and the hard-core revolutionaries, who, if the revolution is won, then seize power, being even more extreme than the power they replaced. This is exactly what occurred in Egypt. There were the idealists, the facebook revolutionaries; but then, the Muslim Brotherhood seized power (even though they got power legitimately, they are an illegitimate force in Egypt).


Application: The War for American Independence (mistakenly called the American Revolutionary War) was fighting for their homes, their wives and their children. They were fighting for what they had, which the British were trying to take away from them. They were not trying to overthrow the British; they were not trying to kill George III and replace him with someone else. They were fighting for their personal sovereignty, much of which they already had a taste of. There was no nirvana promised by a few revolutionaries—there was simply the life which they already knew and loved that they fought for.


Application: This does not mean that the American War for Independence was lacking in sin or lacking in men who desired power and control. However, there was a reasonable consensus among the Americans who favored throwing off the shackles of English rule to not allow the federal government to grow to a point where it was needlessly oppressive (as it is today).


Application: I have started to go pretty far afield here, but let me strongly note that I am not suggesting or endorsing any sort of revolution in the United States today. We get the government we deserve and we get the leaders that we deserve. We certainly have a country which is rotting from the inside out; people who are willing to take government handouts in exchange for not working and voting Democrat. However, a revolution does not solve that problem—Bible doctrine in the souls of believers and establishment values solves that problem.


Bear in mind that the vocabulary of this Bible and its expository section is designed to be simple. Although they do not specify a grade level, there is a slide show that give the general idea behind the Easy English Bible (it will open up PowerPoint or Presentations on your computer).

The Easy English Bible Summation (so far)

More men had probably joined David's army. He organised them so that they were ready for the battle with Absalom. David's army was much smaller than Absalom's army. But David's men were good soldiers. And they had three strong leaders. David wanted to lead his army himself. But his men did not want to risk David's life. Two men, David and Absalom, were claiming to be king of *Israel. But only one man could be king. David's army could defeat Absalom's army in this battle. But, if David died, then Absalom would be the king. So, David had to stay in the city, where he was safe.


The gate of the city was an important place. David watched his army go to the battle. And he waited there until he heard news from the battle. Absalom had taken the *kingdom of *Israel from David. So, Absalom was David's enemy. But Absalom was also David's son. David wanted his army to win the battle. But he did not want them to hurt his son. Everyone heard what David said about this.


David's small army defeated Absalom's huge army. But many men died. In those days, there was a forest on the east side of the River Jordan. It was easy to fight in a clear area. But it was difficult to fight in a forest. Trees grow close together in a forest. So, it is usually quite dark. Also, there are very few clear paths. Nobody could take food or drink to the soldiers in the forest. They would have lost their way. Some men may have fallen down holes in the ground. And wild animals may have attacked other men. Each soldier had to fight on his own or in a small group. They could not protect each other. Absalom had more men, but David's men were more skilled in those surroundings.

From http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/2samuel-lbw.htm accessed July 19, 2013.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Vv. 7–8 read: The people of Israel were struck down before the army of David. It was a great slaughter, where 20,000 men died. The battle spread out over that land, so that the forest devoured more people in that day than the sword did. The Bible at times requires us to dig carefully for some of the details which are not explicit. We have a very large (but probably untrained) army led by Absalom, pursuing David’s army. They are led into a thick forest where the battle takes place. This thick forest favors a more mobile, better organized army, and David’s army was quite successful in beating down their opponents. And those that David’s army did not kill, many died in those forests, running into trees, into branches, falling into holes, etc.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Absalom is Discovered and Killed


And so meets Absalom to faces of servants of David and Absalom was riding upon the mule. And so goes the mule under thick branches of the oak the great and so is held fast his head in the oak. And so he was delivered up between the [two] heavens and between the earth and the mule which [was] under him passed on.

2Samuel

18:9

Absalom [unexpectedly] met up face to face with David’s servants while Absalom was riding upon his mule [lit., the mule]. The mule went under the thick branches of the great oak so that his head was held fast by the oak [branches]. Consequently, he was delivered up [to them, hanging] between heaven and earth while the mule which [was] under him kept going.

Absalom unexpectedly met up with some of David’s servants while Absalom was riding his mule. The mule went under some thick branches of a great oak tree so that Absalom’s head was caught up in the branches of the oak. Consequently, he was delivered up there to his enemies by God, suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule under him kept on going.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Dead Sea Scrolls                   [Absalom happened on some of David’s troops. As] he [4QSama LXXL. Absalom MT LXXB] [rode his mule, the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, and his head got caught in the] oak and he hung [4QSama. Was stuck MT] [between the sky and the ground, while the mule under him continued on].

Latin Vulgate                          And it happened that Absalom met the servants of David, riding on a mule: and as the mule went under a thick and large oak, his head stuck in the oak: and while he hung between the heaven and the earth, the mule on which he rode passed on.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so meets Absalom to faces of servants of David and Absalom was riding upon the mule. And so goes the mule under thick branches of the oak the great and so is held fast his head in the oak. And so he was delivered up between the [two] heavens and between the earth and the mule which [was] under him passed on.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And it happened that Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom was riding upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and Absalom’s head caught fast in the great oak, and he was hanging between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Absalom went to meet the servants of David. And Absalom was mounted on his mule, and the mule came under the thick boughs of a great oak; and his head was entangled in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth; and the mule passed on from under him.

 

Significant differences:           The Syriac seems to have the verb to be at the beginning of this verse. There seems to be some disagreement on the 2nd to the last verb (bold in the MT above), the MT having the Hophal of to give. To hang is found in the 4QSama.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Absalom came upon some of David's men. Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the tangled branches of a large oak tree. Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair while the mule under him kept on going.

Contemporary English V.       Absalom was riding his mule under a huge tree when his head caught in the branches. The mule ran off and left Absalom hanging in midair. Some of David's soldiers happened by,...

Easy English                          Then Absalom suddenly met some of David's soldiers. Absalom was riding his royal *mule. The *mule went under the thick branches of a large oak (a type of tree). The branches went into Absalom's hair and they stayed there. His *mule ran away. So Absalom was hanging in the air.

Easy-to-Read Version            It happened that Absalom met David’s officers. Absalom jumped on his mule and tried to escape. The mule went under the branches of a large oak tree. The branches were thick, and Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. His mule ran out from under him, so Absalom was hanging above the ground [Literally, "between heaven and earth."].

Good News Bible (TEV)         Suddenly Absalom met some of David's men. Absalom was riding a mule, and as it went under a large oak tree, Absalom's head got caught in the branches. The mule ran on and Absalom was left hanging in midair.

The Message                         Absalom ran into David's men, but was out in front of them riding his mule, when the mule ran under the branches of a huge oak tree. Absalom's head was caught in the oak and he was left dangling between heaven and earth, the mule running right out from under him.

New Berkeley Version           Now Absalom was confronted unexpectedly by the servants of David. He had been riding his mule; but the mule had passed under a network of branches of a large tree, so that his head was caught in the tree and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule on which he had been mounted trotted on. His luxurious locks were caught in its branches, or his head caught in a fork of the tree

New Century Version             Absalom Dies

Then Absalom happened to meet David's troops. As Absalom was riding his mule, it went under the thick branches of a large oak tree. Absalom's head got caught in the tree, and his mule ran out from under him. So Absalom was left hanging above the ground.

New Life Bible                        Absalom met the servants of David. He was going on his horse, and the horse went under the many branches of a large oak tree. Absalom's hair caught in the branches of the oak. He was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the horse under him kept going.

New Living Translation           During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David's men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair [Hebrew his head.] got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air.

The Voice                               Absalom himself encountered David's forces, and as he was riding away on his mule, the animal took him into the thick overhanging branches of a huge oak tree. There his hair was caught, and he dangled between the sky and earth as his mule fled from underneath him.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then David's men caught up with AbSalom, who was riding his mule. And as the mule took off into a dense thicket, his head got caught in the branches of an oak tree, and he hung there between the sky and the ground, because the mule took off and left him hanging there.

Christian Community Bible     Absalom was riding a mule and happened to meet the guards of David. As the mule passed under the thick branches of a big oak tree, his head was caught in the oak tree and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule he was riding went its way.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       Some of David's men encountered Absalom himself, riding on a mule; and away the mule went, under the tangled branches of a great oak, which caught him by the head and kept him hanging there between earth and sky, while the beast that carried him pressed on.

New American Bible              Absalom happened to get in front of some of David’s men. Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the tangled branches of a large tree, and his head was caught in the tree, and so he was suspended [Greek; suspended; omitted in Hebrew] between heaven and earth when the mule that was under him ran away.

New American Bible (R.E.)    Death of Absalom.

Absalom unexpectedly came up against David's servants. He was mounted on a mule, and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large oak tree, his hair caught fast in the tree. He hung between heaven and earth while the mule under him kept going.

NIRV                                      Absalom happened to come across some of David's men. He was riding his mule. The mule went under the thick branches of a large oak tree. Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in the air. The mule he was riding kept on going.

New Jerusalem Bible             Absalom happened to run into some of David's guards. Absalom was riding his mule and the mule passed under the thick branches of a great oak. Absalom's head got caught in the oak and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule he was riding went on.

New Simplified Bible              Absalom happened to come face to face with some of David’s men. He was riding on a mule. The mule went under the tangled branches of a large tree. Absalom’s head became caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair when the mule under him ran away.

Revised English Bible            Some of David’s men caught sight of Absalom; he was riding his mule and, as it passed beneath a large oak, his head was caught in its boughs; he was left in mid-air, while the mule went on from under him.

Today’s NIV                          Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Absalom visited in front of the servants of David: Absalom rode over a mule, and the mule came tangled under a great terebinth-tree. The terebinth-tree fortified on his head, giving him between the heaven and the land. The mule under him passed on.

Bible in Basic English             And Absalom came across some of David's men. And Absalom was seated on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great tree, and his head became fixed in the tree and he was lifted up between earth and heaven, and the beast under him went on.

The Expanded Bible              Absalom Dies

Then Absalom happened to ·meet [run into; come upon] David's ·troops [Lservants]. As Absalom was riding his mule, it went under the thick branches of a large oak tree. Absalom's head got caught in the tree, and his mule ran out from under him. So Absalom was left hanging ·above the ground [Lbetween heaven and earth].

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Absalom also fled before the servants of David. Absalom was mounted on a mule, and the mule ran under the boughs of a great oak-tree, and his head was caught in the oak, so he hung between the sky and the earth. But the mule that was under him passed on.

NET Bible®                             Then Absalom happened to come across David's men. Now as Absalom was riding on his [Heb "the."] mule, it [Heb "the donkey."] went under the branches of a large oak tree. His head got caught in the oak and he was suspended in midair [Heb "between the sky and the ground."], while the mule he had been riding kept going.

New Heart English Bible        Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the sky and earth; and the mule that was under him went on.

NIV – UK                                Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in mid-air, while the mule he was riding kept on going.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Avshalom happened to meet some of David's servants. Avshalom was riding his mule, and as the mule walked under the thick branches of a big terebinth tree, his head got caught in the terebinth, so that he was left hanging between earth and sky, as the mule went on from under him.

exeGeses companion Bible   THE DEATH OF ABI SHALOM

And Abi Shalom faces the servants of David:

and Abi Shalom rides on a mule;

and the mule goes under the thicket of a great oak;

and the oak holds his head

given between the heavens and between the earth;

and the mule under him passes on.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Absalom encountered some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding on a mule, and as the mule passed under the tangled branches of a great terebinth, his hair got caught in the terebinth; he was held [Meaning of Hebrew uncertain. Ancient versions and 4QSama read “was left hanging.”] between heaven and earth as the mule under him kept going.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Avshalom met the avadim of Dovid. And Avshalom rode upon a pered (mule), and the pered went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his rosh (head) caught hold of elah (tree, oak), and he was suspended between HaShomayim and ha'aretz; the pered under him went on.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Then Absalom [unavoidably] met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and Absalom's head caught fast [in a fork] of the oak; and the mule under him ran away, leaving him hanging between the heavens and the earth.

Concordant Literal Version    And Absalom meets before the servants of David, and Absalom is riding on the mule, and the mule comes in under an entangled bough of the great oak, and his head takes hold on the oak, and he is placed between the heavens and the earth, and the mule that [is] under him has passed on.

A Conservative Version         And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David. And Absalom was riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak. And he was taken up between sky and earth, and the mule that was under him.

Darby Translation                  And Absalom found himself in the presence of David's servants. And Absalom was riding upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of the great terebinth, and his head caught in the terebinth, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

English Standard Version      And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

Green’s Literal Translation    And Absalom came before David's servants. And Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule came in under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught hold in the oak, and he was lifted up between the heavens and the earth. And the mule under him passed on.

NASB                                     Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging [Lit placed] between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going.

New RSV                               Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging [Gk Syr Tg: Heb was put] between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

Syndein/Thieme                     And Absalom {happened to} meet the soldiers of David. And Absalom fled {in panic} on a {royal} mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak tree, and his '{long hair on his} head' got caught in the {branches of the} oak tree, {Absalom only went to a barber once a year and his hair here is very long RBT says that long hair is usually the sign of a lack of respect for authority} with the result that he was suspended between heaven and the earth {he was hanging by his hair caught in the branch of a tree} while the mule he was riding 'kept on going'/'road away without him'. {Note: A good military tactic is to send out a reconnaissance patrol behind enemy lines to locate their reserve troops. Apparently, Joab sent out such a patrol and they encountered Absalom who felt save enough to be riding alone and riding without a helmet.}.

Third Millennium Bible            And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak; and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth, and the mule that was under him went away.

World English Bible                Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the sky and earth; and the mule that was under him went on.

Young’s Updated LT             And Absalom meets before the servants of David, and Absalom is riding on the mule, and the mule comes in under an entangled bough of the great oak, and his head takes hold on the oak, and he is placed between the heavens and the earth, and the mule that is under him has passed on.

 

The gist of this verse:          Absalom, while on a mule, has his head caught up in some thick branches of a tree, just as he encounters David’s guard. He remains suspended there as his mule rides off.


2Samuel 18:9a

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

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to meet; to meet unexpectedly; to have been met, to have encountered

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #7122 & #7125 BDB #896

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

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (לְפָּנִים) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

ʿebed (עֶבֶד) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant; underling; subject

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: Absalom [unexpectedly] met up face to face with David’s servants... The verb used here is generally understood to be in the passive, but there is also the idea here of this meeting being unexpected. Absalom has not really been in an all-out war before, and, as we have seen, he tends not to get his own hands dirty (he had his servants kill his half-brother Amnon). So he was not looking for a confrontation. He might have been a bit confused by the horror and chaos of warfare. However, all of a sudden, there is Absalom and there are some of David’s soldiers. Footnote


My guess is, Absalom’s soldiers were getting beat, they retreated, and Absalom was essentially just left there, to fend for himself. He was probably trying to escape himself. However, how do you escape from a forest that is working against you and you are so completely turned around anyway because of the war?


R. B. Thieme, Jr. suggests Footnote that Joab has sent out a reconnaissance patrol behind enemy lines to locate their reserve troops (or to determine the position taken by the enemy). Joab’s patrol apparently encountered Absalom who felt save enough to be riding alone and riding without a helmet. My guess is, not having been in a war before, and not having his troops really organized, Absalom ending up alone riding his mule more as a result of the chaos of war, and the lack of training of his own troops, who should have had a perimeter guard around him. For whatever reason—the reality of the battle moved to close to Absalom—he appears to be off on his own, on a mule, trying to be inconspicuous.


What appears to be the case is, Absalom sees the soldiers, but they do not see him at first. He may have the idea to surreptitiously ride out of there.


2Samuel 18:9b

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, while; since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with; also, in addition to, at the same time