Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


Second Samuel

Second Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Chapter Eighteen


"The triumphing of the wicked is short..." - (Job 20:5). So it is proved with David's rebellious son Absalom. Absalom had laid his plans very carefully and carried them out as a man having a seared conscience. He had taken advantage of his father's indisposition and had "stolen the hearts of the people." He desired his father's position and now realized his opportunity to seize the throne. His triumph seemed to be certain, but unbeknownst to him, he was going forth to engage in his final battle.









That David's army had, by this time, been greatly strengthened, is clear from the terms of the verse. In our last class, we discussed whether or not David was "living by faith" when he left the country as quickly as he did. I believe the biblical principle to be: in order to insure success, our responsibility is to employ all lawful and prudent means. Declining to do so is presumption, and not faith.

David efficiently and effectively divides the manpower into three regiments led by some of his successful military leaders. David volunteers to be right on the front line with his troops. It appears that there is something more than bravery involved in his willingness to actively participate. Could it be that David was anxious to be on the spot when the confrontation with his son arrived, so that he could protect Absalom from the fury of his soldiers? The people are very protective of their leader, and insist that he stay "in the rear" where he'll be safe.... "Thou art worth ten thousand of us" (vs. 3); see Song of Solomon 5:10. It is no piece of wisdom to be stiff in our resolutions, but to be willing to listen to reason, even from our inferiors, and to be overruled by their advice, when it appears to be for our own good.

David's top priority is the safety of his son (vss. 5,29,32,33). The command to save Absalom was clear to all, "And all the people heard..." David's conscience burns with guilt, for as the troops leave for battle, he is reminded of that day that he sent Uriah into battle with his death sentence scratched on a note to Joab. Look what has happened since then!

The battle is a bloody one, twenty thousand plus casualties. "The wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured" (vs. 8). No details are given, but we might conjecture that all the innate hazards of jungle warfare, wild beasts, booby traps, pungi pits, quicksand, swamps, vermin and disease, took a heavy toll.



Verse (9) presents Absalom riding upon a mule. The implication is that Absalom expects to return victorious from battle as a conquering king. (1 Ki. 1:33,38; 2 Sam. 14:26).

On the way Absalom gets "hung up." The Anti-Christ is an imitator of Christ. There certainly is much significance in the phrase "taken up between the heaven and the earth." See: (Gal. 3:13; John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32). What a tragic spectacle, Absalom dangling from the boughs of the tree, deserted by his friends, filled with terror, incapable of helping himself, unable to fight or flee.

Joab is given an opportunity to finish the job. A messenger relays the information to his commander at which time he is admonished for not dealing the death blow. Joab takes three darts to the sight of the helpless Absalom and strikes them through his heart. Ten young men take turns at hacking the carcass beyond recognition. Joab willingly defies the orders of his king. David and Joab's relationship had existed on strange terms since the murder of Uriah in (2 Sam. 11). By making Joab the partner and secret agent of his plot concerning Uriah, David sold himself into his hands; in that fatal letter he forfeited his liberty, surrendering it to the unscrupulous Joab. From that point onward, we may discern that Joab usurped by degrees more authority which he had not possessed before.

The carcass is cast into "a great pit" (vs. 17; Rev. 17:8; Acts 1:25) and a great heap of stones is laid upon it, the penalty due a rebellious son, (Deut. 21:18,21).



A number of strange things must be noted at this point concerning the obvious typology represented by the figure of Absalom.

[1]. "reared up for himself a pillar" - see Nebuchadnezzar's image of (Dan. 3:1ff), 60x6 cubits. (Type of Anti-Christ)

[2]. "I have no son to keep my remembrance" - (Isa. 14:9,12,15,22). (Satan)

[3]. "called the pillar after his own name" - (Rev. 13:14,15; 14:9; 19:20; 20:4). (Anti-Christ)

[4]. "Absalom's place" - (Acts 1:25) (Judas)

[5]. Note the numerological significance of the chapter and verse markings... 18:18 or 6,6,6 and 6,6,6 - (Revelation 13:18 --- number of the beast!)



Ahimaaz was the son of Zadok the priest (2 Sam. 15:27), who was deeply devoted to David. He was one of the two men who had endangered their lives in the king's service by bringing him tidings of Absalom's plans (17:17-21). Ahimaaz volunteers to bring the news of the victory to David. Joab gets a bit "twitchy." In the light of what follows it is not easy to determine what it was that influenced Joab to refuse the request of Ahimaaz, for immediately afterwards he bids another man go and tell the king what he had seen, and then when Ahimaaz renewed his request, Joab granted it. It is possible that Joab feared for the life of Ahimaaz and considered he was too valuable a man to be thrown away, for the name of the selected messenger ("Cushi") suggests that he was an Ethiopian, possibly an African servant or slave. Joab knew that David was impulsive and quick-tempered. He remembered the fate of the messenger who bore the tidings of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1:15). Cushi is sent first to bear tidings of Absalom's death, Ahimaaz follows with news of victory. Ahimaaz takes the high road, Cushi, the low, and Ahimaaz arrives at headquarters first.

David's first question, "Is...Absalom safe?" (vs. 29). Ahimaaz knows the answer to the question (vs. 20), but gives a diplomatic answer. Cushi arrives shortly thereafter, the question, "Is Absalom safe?" The answer (vs. 32), "I wish all of your enemies were as your son is today."

Go back for a moment; imagine the aging king and concerned parent anxiously awaiting news from the battlefront. He must have known, deep in his heart, that the providence of God would execute that just punishment which he had been too weak to inflict upon his son; yet, he had hoped that his son would somehow escape Moreover, as he sat there with plenty of time for meditation, he must have reflected upon his own sins, and how they were responsible for this godless conflict. God would have the strife resolved, the guilty party (ies) chastised, and the nation go forth toward its intended purposes. Unfortunately, this day had to come in the life of David. "0 my son Absalom ... would God I had died for thee...." David said in (2 Sam. 12:6), "he shall restore fourfold."

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