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,
I. David's preparations to engage the rebels,
2 Samuel 18:1-5.
II. The total defeat of Absalom's party and their dispersion,
2 Samuel 18:6-8.
III. The death of Absalom, and his burial,
2 Samuel 18:9-18.
IV. The bringing of the tidings to David, who tarried at Mahanaim,
2 Samuel 18:19-32.
V. His bitter lamentation for Absalom,
2 Samuel 18:33.
Preparations for Battle.
B. C. 1023.
1 And David numbered the people that were with him, and set
captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2 And David sent forth a third part of the people 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 unto the people, I will
surely go forth with you myself also.
3 But the people answered, Thou shalt 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 thou art worth ten thousand of
us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the
4 And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do.
And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out
by hundreds and by thousands.
5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying,
Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with
Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the
captains charge concerning Absalom.
6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the
battle was in the wood of Ephraim;
7 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of
David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty
8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the
country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the
Which way David raised an army here, and what reinforcements were sent
him, we are not told; many, it is likely, from all the coasts of
Israel, at least from the neighbouring tribes, came in to his
assistance, so that, by degrees, he was able to make head against
Absalom, as Ahithophel foresaw. Now here we have,
I. His army numbered and marshalled,
2 Samuel 18:1,2.
He had, no doubt, committed his cause to God by prayer, for that was
his relief in all his afflictions; and then he took an account of his
forces. Josephus says they were, in all, but about 4000. These he
divided into regiments and companies, to each of which he appointed
proper officers, and then disposed them, as is usual, into the right
wing, the left wing, and the centre, two of which he committed to his
two old experienced generals, Joab and Abishai, and the third to his
new friend Ittai. Good order and good conduct may sometimes be as
serviceable in an army as great numbers. Wisdom teaches us to make the
best of the strength we have, and let it reach to the utmost.
II. Himself over-persuaded not to go in person to the battle. He was
Absalom's false friend that persuaded him to go, and served his pride
more than his prudence; David's true friends would not let him go,
remembering what they had been told of Ahithophel's design to smite
the king only. David showed his affection to them by being willing
to venture with them
(2 Samuel 18:2),
and they showed theirs to him by opposing it. We must never reckon it
an affront to be gain-said for our good, and by those that therein
consult our interest.
1. They would by no means have him to expose himself, for (say they)
thou art worth 10,000 of us. Thus ought princes to be
valued by their subjects, who, for their safety, must be willing to
2. They would not so far gratify the enemy, who would rejoice more in
his fall than in the defeat of the whole army.
3. He might be more serviceable to them by tarrying in the city, with
a reserve of his forces there, whence he might send them recruits.
That may be a post of real service which yet is not a post of danger.
The king acquiesced in their reasons, and changed his purpose
(2 Samuel 18:4):
What seemeth to you best I will do. It is no piece of wisdom to
be stiff in our resolutions, but to be willing to hear reason, even
from our inferiors, and to be overruled by their advice when it appears
to be for our own good. Whether the people's prudence had an eye to it
or no, God's providence wisely ordered it, that David should not be in
the field of battle; for then his tenderness would certainly have
interposed to save the life of Absalom, whom God had determined to
III. The charge he gave concerning Absalom,
2 Samuel 18:5.
When the army was drawn out, rank and file, Josephus says, he
encouraged them, and prayed for them, but withal bade them all take
heed of doing Absalom any hurt. How does he render good for evil!
Absalom would have David only smitten. David would have Absalom only
spared. What foils are these to each other! Never was unnatural hatred
to a father more strong than in Absalom; nor was ever natural affection
to a child more strong than in David. Each did his utmost, and showed
what man is capable of doing, how bad it is possible for a child to be
to the best of fathers and how good it is possible for a father to be
to the worst of children; as if it were designed to be a resemblance of
man's wickedness towards God and God's mercy towards man, of which it
is hard to say which is more amazing. "Deal gently," says David,
"by all means, with the young man, even with Absalom, for my
sake; he is a young man, rash and heady, and his age must excuse
him; he is mine, whom I love; if you love me, be not severe with him."
This charge supposes David's strong expectation of success. Having a
good cause and a good God, he doubts not but Absalom would lie at their
mercy, and therefore bids them deal gently with him, spare his life and
reserve him for his judgment.
Bishop Hall thus descants on this: "What means this ill-placed love?
This unjust mercy? Deal gently with a traitor? Of all traitors, with a
son? Of all sons, with an Absalom? That graceless darling of so good a
father? And all this, for thy sake, whose crown, whose blood, he hunts
after? For whose sake must he be pursued, if forborne for thine? Must
the cause of the quarrel be the motive of mercy? Even in the holiest
parents, nature may be guilty of an injurious tenderness, of a bloody
indulgence. But was not this done in type of that immeasurable mercy of
the true King and Redeemer of Israel, who prayed for his persecutors,
for his murderers, Father, forgive them? Deal gently with them for
my sake." When God sends and affliction to correct his children, it
is with this charge, "Deal gently with them for my sake;" for he knows
IV. A complete victory gained over Absalom's forces. The battle was
fought in the wood of Ephraim
(2 Samuel 18:6),
so called from some memorable action of the Ephraimites there, though
it lay in the tribe of Gad. David thought fit to meet the enemy with
his forces at some distance, before they came up to Mahanaim, lest he
should bring that city into trouble which had so kindly sheltered him.
The cause shall be decided by a pitched battle. Josephus represents the
fight as very obstinate, but the rebels were at length totally routed
and 20,000 of them slain,
2 Samuel 18:7.
Now they smarted 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. And that they might see that God
fought against them,
1. They are conquered by a few, an army, in all probability, much
inferior to theirs in number.
2. By that flight with which they hoped to save themselves they
destroyed themselves. The wood, which they sought to for
shelter, devoured more than the sword, that they might see how,
when they thought themselves safe from David's men, and said, Surely
the bitterness of death is past, yet the justice of God pursued
them and suffered them not to live. What refuge can rebels find from
divine vengeance? The pits and bogs, the stumps and thickets, and, as
the Chaldee paraphrase understands it, the wild beasts of the wood,
were probably the death of multitudes of the dispersed distracted
Israelites, besides the 20,000 that were slain with the sword. God
herein fought for David, and yet fought against him; for all these that
were slain were his own subjects, and the common interest of his
kingdom was weakened by the slaughter. The Romans allowed no triumph
for a victory in a civil war.
The Death of Absalom.
B. C. 1023.
9 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
10 And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold,
I saw Absalom hanged in an oak.
11 And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou
sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the
ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and
12 And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a
thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put
forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the
king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none
touch the young man Absalom.
13 Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own
life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself
wouldest have set thyself against me.
14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took
three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of
Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
15 And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed about
and smote Absalom, and slew him.
16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from
pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people.
17 And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the
wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all
Israel fled every one to his tent.
18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for
himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I
have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the
pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day,
Here is Absalom quite at a loss, at his wit's end first, and then at
his life's end. He that began the fight, big with the expectation of
triumphing over David himself, with whom, if he had had him in his
power, he would not have dealt gently, is now in the greatest
consternation, when he meets the servants of David,
2 Samuel 18:9.
Though they were forbidden to meddle with him, he durst not look them
in the face; but, finding they were near him, he clapped spurs to his
mule and made the best of his way, through thick and thin, and so rode
headlong upon his own destruction. Thus he that fleeth from the fear
shall fall into the pit, and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be
taken in the snare,
David is inclined to spare him, but divine justice passes sentence upon
him as a traitor, and sees it executed--that he hang by the neck, be
caught alive, be embowelled, and his body dispose of disgracefully.
I. He is hanged by the neck. Riding furiously, neck or nothing,
under the thick boughs of a great oak which hung low and had
never been cropped, either the twisted branches, or some one forked
bough of the oak, caught hold of his head, either by his neck, or, as
some think, by his long hair, which had been so much his pride, and was
now justly made a halter for him, and there he hung, so astonished that
he could not use his hands to help himself or so entangled that his
hands could not help him, but the more he struggled the more he was
embarrassed. This set him up for a fair mark to the servants of David,
and he had the terror and shame of seeing himself thus exposed, while
he could do nothing for his own relief, neither fight nor fly. Observe
1. That his mule went away from under him, as if glad to
get clear of such a burden, and resign it to the ignominious tree. Thus
the whole creation groans under the burden of man's corruption, but
shall shortly be delivered from its load,
2. The he hung between heaven and earth, as unworthy of either,
as abandoned of both; earth would not keep him, heaven would not take
him, hell therefore opens her mouth to receive him.
3. That this was a very surprising unusual thing. It was fit that it
should be so, his crime being so monstrous: if, in his flight, his mule
had thrown him, and left him half-dead upon the ground, till the
servants of David had come up and dispatched him, the same thing would
have been done as effectually; but that would have been too common a
fate for so uncommon a criminal. God will here, as in the case of those
other rebels, Dathan and Abiram, create a new thing, that it may
be understood how much this man has provoked the Lord,
Absalom is here hung up, in terrorem--to frighten children from
disobedience to their parents. See
II. He is caught alive by one of the servants of David, who goes
directly and tells Joab in what posture he found that archrebel,
2 Samuel 18:10.
Thus was he set up for a spectacle, as well as a mark, that the
righteous might see him and laugh at him
while he had this further vexation in his breast, that of all the
friends he had courted and confided in, and thought he had sure in his
interest, though he hung long enough to have been relieved, yet he had
none at hand to disentangle him. Joab chides the man for not
(2 Samuel 18:11),
telling him, if he had given that bold stroke, he would have rewarded
him with ten half-crowns and a girdle, that is, a captain's commission,
which perhaps was signified by the delivery of a belt or girdle; see
But the man, though zealous enough against Absalom, justified himself
in not doing it: "Dispatch him!" says he, "not for all the world: it
would have cost my head: and thou thyself wast witness to the king's
charge concerning him
(2 Samuel 18:12),
and, for all thy talk, wouldst have been my prosecutor if I had done
2 Samuel 18:13.
Those that love the treason hate the traitor. Joab could not deny this,
nor blame the man for his caution, and therefore makes him no answer,
but breaks off the discourse, under colour of haste
(2 Samuel 18:14):
I may not tarry thus with thee. Superiors should consider a
reproof before they give it, lest they be ashamed of it afterwards, and
find themselves unable to make it good.
III. He is (as I may say) embowelled and quartered, as traitors are, so
pitifully mangled is he as he hangs there, and receives his death in
such a manner as to see all its terrors and feel all its pain.
1. Joab throws three darts into his body, which put him, no doubt, to
exquisite torment, while he is yet alive in the midst of the
2 Samuel 18:14.
I know not whether Joab can be justified in this direct disobedience to
the command of his sovereign; was this to deal gently with the young
man? Would David have suffered him to do it if he had been upon the
spot? Yet this may be said for him, that, while he broke the order of a
too indulgent father, he did real service both to his king and country,
and would have endangered welfare of both if he had not done it.
Salus populi suprema lex--The safety of the people is the supreme
2. Joab's young men, ten of them, smite him, before he is dispatched,
2 Samuel 18:15.
They surrounded him, made a ring about him in triumph, and then
smote him and slew him. So let all they enemies perish, O
Lord! Joab hereupon sounds a retreat,
2 Samuel 18:16.
The danger is over, now that Absalom is slain; the people will soon
return to their allegiance to David, and therefore no more blood shall
be spilt; no prisoners are taken, to be tried as traitors and made
examples; let every man return to his tent; they are all the king's
subjects, all his good subjects again.
IV. His body is disposed of disgracefully
(2 Samuel 18:17,18):
They cast it into a great pit in the wood; they would not bring
it to his father (for that circumstance would but have added to his
grief), nor would they preserve it to be buried, according to his
order, but threw it into the next pit with indignation. Now where is
the beauty he had been so proud of and for which he had been so much
admired? Where are his aspiring projects, and the castles he had built
in the air? His thoughts perish, and he with them. And, to signify how
heavy his iniquity lay upon his bones, as the prophet speaks
they raised a great heap of stones upon him, to be a monument of
his villany, and to signify that he ought to have been stoned as a
Travelers say that the place is taken note of to this day, and that it
is common for passengers to throw a stone to this heap, with words to
this purport: Cursed be the memory of rebellious Absalom, and cursed
for ever be all wicked children that rise up in rebellion against their
parents. To aggravate the ignominy of Absalom's burial, the
historian takes notice of a pillar he had erected in the valley of
Kidron, near Jerusalem, to be a monument for himself, and keep his name
(2 Samuel 18:18),
at the foot of which, it is probable, he designed to be buried. What
foolish insignificant projects do proud men fill their heads with! And
what care do many people take about the disposal of their bodies, when
they are dead, that have no care at all what shall become of their
precious souls! Absalom had three sons
(2 Samuel 14:27),
but, it seems, now he had none; God had taken them away by death; and
justly is a rebellious son written childless. To make up the want, he
erects this pillar for a memorial; yet in this also Providence crosses
him, and a rude heap of stones shall be his monument, instead of this
marble pillar. Thus those that exalt themselves shall be abased.
His care was to have his name kept in remembrance, and it is so, to his
everlasting dishonour. He could not be content in the obscurity of the
rest of David's sons, of whom nothing is recorded but their names, but
would be famous, and is therefore justly made for ever infamous. The
pillar shall bear his name, but not to his credit; it was designed for
Absalom's glory, but proved Absalom's folly.
David's Grief for Absalom.
B. C. 1023.
19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear
the king tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his
20 And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this
day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou
shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead.
21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast
seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran.
22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But
howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab
said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no
23 But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him,
Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went
up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his
eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.
25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king
said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he
came apace, and drew near.
26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman
called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running
alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings.
27 And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the
foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the
king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.
28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And
he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and
said, Blessed be the LORD thy God, which hath delivered up the
men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.
29 And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And
Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's servant, and me thy
servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.
30 And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here.
And he turned aside, and stood still.
31 And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord
the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them
that rose up against thee.
32 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe?
And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that
rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.
33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over
the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son
Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O
Absalom, my son, my son!
Absalom's business is done; and we are now told,
I. How David was informed of it. He staid behind at the city of
Mahanaim, some miles from the wood where the battle was, and in the
utmost border of the land. Absalom's scattered forces all made homeward
toward Jordan, which was the contrary way from Mahanaim, so that his
watchmen could not perceive how the battle went, till an express came
on purpose to bring advice of the issue, which the king sat in the gate
expecting to hear,
2 Samuel 18:24.
1. Cushi was the man Joab ordered to carry the tidings
(2 Samuel 18:21),
an Ethiopian, so his name signifies, and some think that he was
so by birth, a black that waited on Joab, probably one of the ten that
had helped to dispatch Absalom
(2 Samuel 18:15)
as some think, though it was dangerous for one of those to bring the
news to David, lest his fate should be the same with theirs that
reported to him Saul's death, and Ish-bosheth's.
2. Ahimaaz, the young priest (one of those who brought David
intelligence of Absalom's motions,
2 Samuel 17:17),
was very forward to be the messenger of these tidings, so transported
was he with joy that this cloud was blown over; let him go and tell the
king that the Lord hath avenged him of his enemies,
2 Samuel 18:19.
This he desired, not so much in hope of a reward (he was above that) as
that he might have the pleasure and satisfaction of bringing the king,
whom he loved, this good news. Joab knew David better than Ahimaaz did,
and that the tidings of Absalom's death, which must conclude the story,
would spoil the acceptableness of all the rest; and he loves Ahimaaz
too well to let him be the messenger of those tidings
(2 Samuel 18:20);
they are fitter to be brought by a footman than by a priest. However,
when Cushi was gone, Ahimaaz begged hard for leave to run after him,
and with great importunity obtained it,
2 Samuel 18:22,23.
One would wonder why he should be so fond of this office, when another
was employed in it.
(1.) Perhaps it was to show his swiftness; observing how heavily Cushi
ran, and that he took the worse way, though the nearest, he had a mind
to show how fast he could run, and that he could go the furthest way
about and yet beat Cushi. No great praise for a priest to be swift of
foot, yet perhaps Ahimaaz was proud of it.
(2.) Perhaps it was in prudence and tenderness to the king that he
desired it. He knew he could get before Cushi, and therefore was
willing to prepare the king, by a vague and general report, for the
plain truth which Cushi was ordered to tell him. If bad news must come,
it is best that it come gradually, and will be the better borne.
3. They are both discovered by the watchman on the gate of Mahanaim,
(2 Samuel 18:24),
for, though Cushi had the lead, Ahimaaz soon outran him; but presently
after Cushi appeared,
2 Samuel 18:26.
(1.) When the king hears of one running alone he concludes he is an
(2 Samuel 18:25):
If he be alone, there are tidings in his mouth; for if they had
been beaten, and were flying back from the enemy, there would have been
(2.) When he hears it is Ahimaaz he concludes he brings good news,
2 Samuel 18:27.
Ahimaaz, it seems, was so famous for running that he was known by it at
a distance, and so eminently good that it is taken for granted, if he
be the messenger, the news must needs be good: He is a good man,
zealously affected to the king's interest, and would not bring bad
news. It is pity but the good tidings of the gospel should always be
brought by good men; and how welcome should the messengers be to us for
their message sake!
4. Ahimaaz is very forward to proclaim the victory
(2 Samuel 18:28),
cries at a distance, "Peace, there is peace;" peace after war, which is
doubly welcome. "All is well, my lord O king! the danger is
over, and we may return, when the king pleases, to Jerusalem." And,
when he comes near, he tells him the news more particularly. "They are
all cut off that lifted up their hands against the king;" and,
as became a priest, while he gives the king the joy of it, he gives God
the glory of it, the God of peace and war, the God of salvation and
victory: "Blessed be the Lord thy God, that has done this for
thee, as thy God, pursuant to the promises made to uphold thy throne,"
2 Samuel 7:16.
When he said this, he fell down upon his face, not only in
reverence to the king, but in humble adoration of God, whose name he
praised for this success. By directing David thus to give God thanks
for his victory, he prepared him for the approaching news of its allay.
The more our hearts are fixed and enlarged in thanksgiving to God for
our mercies the better disposed we shall be to bear with patience the
afflictions mixed with them. Poor David is so much a father that he
forgets he is a king, and therefore cannot rejoice in the news of a
victory, till he know whether the young man Absalom be safe, for
whom his heart seems to tremble, almost as Eli's, in a similar case,
for the ark of God. Ahimaaz soon discerned, what Joab intimated to him,
that the death of the king's son would make the tidings of the day very
unwelcome, and therefore in his report left that matter doubtful; and,
though he gave occasion to suspect how it was, yet, that the
thunderclap might not come too suddenly upon the poor perplexed king,
he refers him to the next messenger, whom they saw coming, for a more
particular account of it. "When Joab sent the king's servant (namely,
Cushi) and me thy servant, to bring the news, I saw a great
tumult, occasioned by something extraordinary, as you will hear by
and by; but I have nothing to say about it. I have delivered that which
was my message. Cushi is better able to inform you than I am. I will
not be the messenger of evil tidings; nor will I pretend to know that
which I cannot give a perfect account of." He is therefore told to
stand by till Cushi come
(2 Samuel 18:30),
and now, we may suppose, he gives the king a more particular account of
the victory, which was the thing he came to bring the news of.
5. Cushi, the slow post, proves the sure one, and besides the
confirmation of the news of the victory which Ahimaaz had
brought--The Lord has avenged thee of all those that rose up against
(2 Samuel 18:31)--he
satisfied the king's enquiry concerning Absalom,
2 Samuel 18:32.
Is he safe? says David. "Yes," says Cushi, "he is safe in his
grave;" but he tells the news so discreetly that, how unwelcome soever
the message is, the messenger can have no blame. He did not tell him
plainly that Absalom was hanged, and run through and buried under a
heap of stones; but only that his fate was what he desired might be the
fate of all that were traitors against the king, his crown and dignity:
"The enemies of my lord the king, whoever they are, and all
that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is; I
need wish them no worse."
II. How David received the intelligence. He forgets all the joy of his
deliverance, and is quite overwhelmed with the sorrowful tidings of
2 Samuel 18:33.
As soon as he perceived by Cushi's reply that Absalom was dead, he
asked no more questions, but fell into a passion of weeping, retired
from company, and abandoned himself to sorrow; as he was going up to
his chamber he was overheard to say "O my son Absalom! my son, my
son Absalom! alas for thee! I lament thee. How hast thou fallen!
Would God I had died for thee, and that thou hadst remained
alive this day" (so the Chaldee adds) "O Absalom! my son, my
son!" I wish I could see reason to think that this arose from a
concern about Absalom's everlasting state, and that the reason why he
wished he had died for him was because he had good hopes of his
own salvation, and of Absalom's repentance if he had lived. It rather
seems to have been spoken inconsiderately, and in a passion, and it was
his infirmity. He is to be blamed,
1. For showing so great a fondness for a graceless son only because he
was handsome and witty, while he was justly abandoned both of God and
2. For quarrelling, not only with divine providence, in the disposals
of which he ought silently to have acquiesced, but with divine justice,
the judgments of which he ought to have adored and subscribed to. See
how Bildad argues
If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away
in their transgression, thou shouldst submit, for doth God
pervert judgment? See
3. For opposing the justice of the nation, which, as king, he was
entrusted with the administration of, and which, with other public
interests, he ought to have preferred before nay natural affection.
4. For despising the mercy of his deliverance, and the deliverance of
his family and kingdom, from Absalom's wicked designs, as if this were
no mercy, nor worth giving thanks for, because it cost the life of
5. For indulging in a strong passion, and speaking unadvisedly with his
lips. He now forgot his own reasonings upon the death of another child
(Can I bring him back again?) and his own resolution to keep
his mouth as with a bridle when his heart was hot within
him, as well as his own practice at other times, when he quieted
himself as a child that was weaned from his mother. The best men
are not always in an equally good frame. What we over-loved we are apt
to over-grieve for: in each affection, therefore, it is wisdom to have
rule over our own spirits and to keep a strict guard upon ourselves
when that is removed from us which was very dear to us. Losers think
they may have leave to speak; but little said is soon amended. The
penitent patient sufferer sitteth alone and keepeth silence
or rather, with Job, says, Blessed be the name of the
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for '2 Samuel' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".