2 Samuel 17-18
Chapter 17: Ahithophel’s Counsel is overthrown
Ahithophel goes to Absalom and counsels him on what they should do with King David. He tells Absalom that he needs about 12,000 men to go and come upon David while he is weak, to make him afraid, so that all the people that are with him will flee from his presence. Absalom is intrigued by this and thinks it might work, but decides to call in Hushai as well to hear what counsel he might have. We know of course from previous chapters that Hushai is actually a spy for King David. So Hushai tells Absalom that if they were to come upon David, they would be walking into a massacre. Referring to David and his men as a mother bear in the field that has her cubs taken from her… they are ferocious men! At this point Hushai knows that this is really not the case, but prays that Absalom will take his counsel, because otherwise David will probably die.
So David is alerted of this and has time to flee even further. Hushai, essentially is buying time for David.
Chapter 18: Joab Slays Absalom
David organizes his men, by appointing captains over thousands and hundreds. King David divides his army between three people; Joab, Abishai and Ittai. King David starts to leave with his men, but they plead with him to stay, so that he will be protected and not be captured or killed in battle, because he was very valuable.
So the armies of David go up to battle against Israel, because Israel had turned wicked in following Absalom. It says that when they fought, the “woods” consumed more men then by the sword. Interesting that God was helping in mysterious ways, that it seemed as if the woods were literally gobbling up Absalom’s men. Absalom himself was riding into battle on a mule, when either his hair or his neck was caught in the great oak trees, which caused him to hang from the tree… rejected of both earth and heaven.
Joab is told by a soldier that Absalom is stuck in a tree. Joab asks the soldier why he did not kill him, because if he had the soldier would have received honor, glory and money. But the soldier reminds Joab that David told them to be gentle with his son and show him mercy. But Joab decides that it is in the best interest of King David and all of Israel to show justice and not mercy to Absalom. So Joab doesn’t hesitate in putting three arrows through Absalom. But Absalom was still alive, so Joab commands 10 soldiers to finish the job and throw him into a large pit covered by rocks. It is funny that Absalom raped 10 of his father’s concubines, only to be cornered and killed by 10 of his father’s soldiers. Joab had this done, so no one would dig up his body to memorialize him as a martyr or hero.
Two runners are sent to David, to tell him of the outcome of the battle. The first runner brings good news and the second (slower one) brings the news of his dead son. In fact that is the first thing that David asks, is about Absalom. This is a great example of the love that exists between parent and child and even God the Father and his children. No matter what a child does, the parent will always love them. Absalom did all manner of wickedness, yet he was still concerned about him. The Lord is the same way, he loves us all… no matter what we do. But he does mourn for us when we do evil. Because he wants us all to be happy and not live in wickedness. Because wickedness was never happiness!
David is distraught and mourns, weeps and wails for his dead son… even stating that he wish he could have taken his place.