Why was Zadok’s son so eager to give King David the news, and then not tell him about his son’s fate? If you’ve ever lost a child or known someone who has, you know the agony of loss. It’s like the order of things, the circle of life, if you will, are all messed up. Who in their right mind would want to deliver that news?
As it turns out, even bold Joab knew the news would be devastating to the king. That’s why he called up an Ethiopian to bring the news to spare any harm of the king’s wrath, to his own men. The outsider did not have the same fear or dread that held Ahimaaz back from revealing Absalom’s death.
It had to happen. David was the king ordained by God. Absalom was just an imposter. Despite David’s request to “deal gently,” I’m afraid Absalom’s final moments were a bit gruesome. Who actually killed Absalom, is a bit convoluted in the passage. Was it Joab or the ten armor bearers?
No matter, now Joab has the difficult task of telling the king. How do you break that news whether it was by your own hand or at the hand of your men? The fact that father and son were at odds in this way is a little out of the ordinary in the first place.
King David is portrayed in several different ways in this text. As king and as a father, we see David in a bit of torment. Yet, he doesn’t let this stop him. He only asks, “deal gently with young Absalom.” David doesn’t use the word “son,” perhaps because it hurts too much to know his own son has turned away from him.
When his predecessor, Saul, learned that his own son, Jonathan had turned against him, he went bezerk. David does not lose his composure or ability to lead. In fact, he is seen as “too valuable” to go to war against Absalom.
We get a glimpse of how the two sides are getting ready for battle. Absalom is mobilizing his troops and David and his men are being cared for and supported by non-Israelites! What a difference!
Absalom puts Joab’s cousin, Amasa, in charge as commander. That must have been quite an honor for Amasa. It’s not mentioned, but I can’t help but wonder if there was any tension for Amasa knowing his cousin was loyal to King David? Again unspoken, but how was young Absalom feeling in this moment?
David has a strong network keeping him safe. Yet, the one who is truly in charge is God.
It’s like that for us, too. We have family and friends cheering us on, keeping our best interests in mind. Even more important, God is present, hovering and protecting. His protection can often involve a learning experience.
What do you think of David’s daringly effective intelligence network? Brilliant together, yet each has a job to do–a bit of espionage in this story of David and Absalom’s dispute. I’m not sure David is as upset with Absalom as it appears Absalom is with his father. What brought that on, do you suppose? Could it be that David ignored the situation when Amnon raped Absalom’s sister?