Samuel Chapter 15
Memory verses for this week:
Prov 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to
the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
Absalom Begins His Rebellion
Sam 15:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him
chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
Sam 15:2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the
gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came
to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of
what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes
Sam 15:3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and
right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
Sam 15:4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the
land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto
me, and I would do him justice!
Sam 15:5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do
him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
Sam 15:6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to
the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of
Though Absalom was not on the best of terms with his father, he
began to make himself very visible before the nation.
gathered to himself pomp and circumstance. He would make himself
visible early in the morning to appear diligent. As citizens
came to Jerusalem to have the king adjudicate a dispute, Absalom
would seek to intercept them and offer his services. He
implied that the king was too busy or was uninterested and that he
would help them. It is clear from the context to follow that
Absalom was actively seeking to deflect loyalty from the king to
verse 4, this disloyal son of David made clear to any who would
listen that he aspired to be a judge in the land. If he were in
leadership, he would see that justice was done. Not only was he
ambitious, but he also was actively undermining his father’s
leadership. Absalom was clearly “politicking” among the nation.
a kingdom, he could not run for office. Therefore, he deviously and
unrighteously sought to undermine the king, his own father, in the
hope that he might someday take over.
II. Absalom's Conspiracy
Sam 15:7 And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said
unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have
vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.
Sam 15:8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in
Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem,
then I will serve the LORD.
Sam 15:9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and
went to Hebron.
Sam 15:10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of
Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye
shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
Sam 15:11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem,
that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew
not any thing.
Sam 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's
counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered
sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased
continually with Absalom.
Absalom came to the king with a request to go to Hebron to fulfill a
vow. However, as the story will continue to unfold, this was but a
forty years likely refers to the fortieth birthday of Absalom.
Absalom portrayed himself as pious, claiming he had made a vow to
serve God while in Geshur if the Lord allowed him to return to
Jerusalem. Absalom requested permission to leave. The king
consented saying ”Go in peace.” Absalom arose, and went to Hebron
which is a town located to the south of Jerusalem in the Judean
lack of integrity in Absalom is evident beginning in verse 10. His
plan was to overthrow his father the king. His treachery was
thorough. He had sent word throughout Israel indicating that he
planned to lead his revolt from Hebron. The reference to the
“sound of the trumpet” was the major means of signaling of that
day. Absalom’s craftiness was also apparent. He invited
two-hundred men to go with him to Hebron. Though these men
knew nothing of his plot, their presence with him gave the
appearance of strength for those who were sympathetic to his
revolt. Absalom sought to enlist one of his father’s chief
advisors in Ahithophel. Absalom evidently knew that Ahithophel
was not altogether loyal to David. The reason is of note.
Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba and undoubtedly knew the
whole story of what David had done to Uriah. See II Samuel 11:3 and
2 Sam 11:3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one
said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of
Uriah the Hittite?
2 Sam 23:22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had
the name among three mighty men.
2 Sam 23:23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained
not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
2 Sam 23:24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty;
Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
such a notable name as Ahithophel on his side, Absalom added
credibility to his revolt. The scripture declares “the
conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with
III. David Leaves Jerusalem
Sam 15:13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts
of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
Sam 15:14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him
at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape
from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly,
and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the
Sam 15:15 And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy
servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
Sam 15:16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him.
And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the
Sam 15:17 And the king went forth, and all the people after him,
and tarried in a place that was far off.
Sam 15:18 And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the
Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six
hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the
word translated tarried (dme amad) also has the sense
to ‘stand’ which likely is the case. The thought is how that David
stood or was headed toward a distant destination. The Cherethites,
Pelethites, and Gittites were the mercenary palace guard which David
had hired. Their loyalty was through their paycheck and not
subject to the winds of politics which were swirling about
Jerusalem. They all were Philistines by nationality.
David and the six-hundred men of his palace guard prepared to depart
from Jerusalem. David headed east toward a distant destination.
Sam 15:19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest
thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for
thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
Sam 15:20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make
thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou,
and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
Sam 15:21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth,
and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the
king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy
Sam 15:22 And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the
Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that
were with him.
Sam 15:23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the
people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook
Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the
Sam 15:24 And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him,
bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of
God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out
of the city.
Record is made of the meeting of David and Ittai.
Ittai evidently was the
commander of David’s palace guard. He was a Gittite or from Gath.
He was not an Israelite. David counseled him to stay in Jerusalem
and join himself to Absalom the newly self-proclaimed king. It
seems that Ittai had just returned with his men from an
expedition. David urged that rather than face the ardors of
becoming fugitives that they acquiesce to Absalom. He put his
blessing upon such a decision. Though the king’s arrogant
ambitious son was not loyal to the king, Ittai was. He pledged his
allegiance to David wherever he might be and in whatever
circumstance occurred. David accepted Ittai’s allegiance and
loyalty and directed him to pass over on the journey with him.
Ittai brought his forces and their families with them.
In verse 23, we find David with his entourage of family, loyal
supporters, and his palace guard beginning their flight at the brook
brook Kidron was located in the steep valley just to the east of
Jerusalem which separated the city from the Mount of Olives. It was
more or less the city limits of Jerusalem in that day. It is
clear in this verse that the priesthood and Levites cast their lot
with David. They prepared the ark of the covenant for travel and
proceeded to bare it upon their shoulders to travel with David.
As the procession of David’s supporters began to move out, the
Levites paused and set the ark down while Abiathar and Zadok, both
priests, went ahead to consult with David.
IV. David Sends Back the Ark
Sam 15:25 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God
into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he
will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation:
Sam 15:26 But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold,
here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
Sam 15:27 The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a
seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you,
Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
Sam 15:28 See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until
there come word from you to certify me.
Sam 15:29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again
to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
Sam 15:30 And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept
as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and
all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and
they went up, weeping as they went up.
David urged Zadok and the priests and Levites to take the Ark back
to Jerusalem to its proper place.
As far as David was
concerned, if the Lord viewed him favorably, He would bring David
back to Jerusalem and the ark. David’s thought is that if God was
pleased with him, then He would do to him as He saw fit. David
told Zadok that he was like a prophet (seer) and could wisely
discern. He directed the priests and Levites to return to the
city. He would seek refuge in the wilderness until such time as
Zadok sent word it was safe to return.
Verse 30 records their flight as they got underway, the full force
of what was happening began to descend upon David.
What a pitiful
procession that must have been. The king of Israel with his loyal
supporters were forced to flee up the slopes of the Mount of Olives
immediately to the east of the city. They all were weeping with
their heads covered. The covering of the head was a middle-eastern
symbol of mourning. David moreover went barefoot, further showing
his humiliation. As they went, more bad news arrived.
Ahithophel had been one of David’s chief advisors. Its now known he
too had turned against his king.
David could therefore
only pray to God and ask that God would see to it that the counsel
of Ahithophel would be turned to foolishness. As events would come
to pass, that is exactly what happened.
2 Sam 17:14
And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai
the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD
had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the
intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.
2 Sam 17:23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not
followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his
house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged
himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
The third installment of David’s bitter harvest was arriving. He had
sown to the flesh in the matter of Bathsheba. Now he was of the
flesh reaping corruption.
Tamar, his daughter, had
been violated. Amnon, his son, had been murdered for his crime.
And now, Absalom had forced him off his own throne. The bitter
harvest of sin always comes. It is always later. And, it always is
more than was originally sown. David was now reaping more of
that bitter harvest.
V. David Prays Against Ahithophel's Counsel
Sam 15:31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the
conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn
the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
Sam 15:32 And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top
of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite
came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:
Sam 15:33 Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then
thou shalt be a burden unto me:
Sam 15:34 But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I
will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant
hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me
defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
Sam 15:35 And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the
priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt
hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and
Abiathar the priests.
Sam 15:36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz
Zadok's son, and Jonathan Abiathar's son; and by them ye shall send
unto me every thing that ye can hear.
Sam 15:37 So Hushai David's friend came into the city, and Absalom
came into Jerusalem.
As David and his procession reached the top of the Mount of Olives
overlooking the city of Jerusalem below and to the west, another
loyal follower of David, Hushai caught up to him in obvious
He came to follow after
David. In verse 33, David had other plans for Hushai. Hushai
evidently was up in years. He would be just another dependent of
whom David would have to take care. Though David had his tail
between his legs, he still had the savvy as an old warrior. David
directed him to return and feign himself loyal to Absalom that he
might neutralize the counsel and advice of Ahithophel.
knew both men to be sharp. In having Hushai in Jerusalem, he could
count upon him to thwart Ahithophel’s advice which David
knew would be sound. Furthermore, David informed Hushai that he
would have allies in the priesthood and Levites. As he gathered
information at Absalom’s court, he could relay that to Zadok and
Abiathar, the priests, who in turn would send it on to David through
their sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathon. Of note is that Hushai is called
David’s friend. That certainly would prove so in the days to
come. Moreover, at that same approximate time, Absalom entered
Jerusalem. It is clear that David had not left any too soon. His
rebellious son entered the capital city without any opposition.
Conclusion: He who steals ones heart away from another by means of
innuendos is the vilest of robbers and especially when professed
devotion to God is used as a pretext to carry out the design.
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