What is really happening here? I’ve been struggling to see a message I can take away, much less understand the big picture here. What I’ve come up with is that Joab was plotting to get Absalom and David reunited.
As our last reading concluded, we heard that David longed for Absalom. As a parent, I know what it is to long for your children. Yet, none of my children has killed another, so I can’t truly understand what David would be feeling. One would think that David would be out of his mind angry with Absalom for what he had done to his brother, another son of David’s.
This is how I see it. Absalom fled to his grandfather after he had killed his brother. Had he not, he would likely have been severely punished and even banished from his father’s kingdom. That was a price he was willing to pay to get rid of his brother Amnon, the one who defiled his own sister.
So what was Joab’s reasoning? Maybe he liked Absalom. Maybe Absalom was thought to have a good chance at following David’s footsteps as king. In any event, Absalom had to wait for some sort of movement on David’s part toward reconciliation. He had to be fearful that his siblings would move toward some sort of retaliation.
So, if David was “longing” for Absalom, why does our text end with David never wanting to see Absalom again? Did Joab think that a crafty plan using this wise woman would be helpful? Why did Joab think that David’s response was positive? So many questions!
I think back to some crafty plans I’ve made in my own life. I won’t bore you with the gory (or boring) details. Suffice it to say being crafty can work, but it can also fail miserably. For now, it appears that David will not see the son he is longing for. Even though his mourning has resolved, David cannot bring himself to see the son who caused so much pain. Forgiveness is just too hard.
Joab’s crafty plan did not work. Or did it? David did ask Joab to bring Absalom back, and for that Joab was pleased. David wasn’t fooled by the woman, and I thought that was brilliant. He saw through the craftiness.
Is there a relationship in your life that needs reconciliation? Are you seeing a way (crafty or otherwise) that you can make it happen? Ask God to give you the wisdom and direction.
Let’s pray …
Lord, you are the master planner and have better resolutions and reconciliations in mind than I could ever imagine. Help me to see those relationships that need to be nurtured. Give me the words and help me act in ways that are respectful to build up others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.