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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 15

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-37

2 Samuel 15:7 . After forty years. Some contend that this refers to the time when David was secretly anointed; but as no other record is dated from that time, Josephus seems right in saying “four years” instead of forty. Most critics are agreed that four has been mis-written forty.

2 Samuel 15:25 . Carry back the ark of God. Here is a noble mind, a mind great in adversity, and prudent in all his measures. This sorest stroke that ever befel David called all his powers into action, and enkindled his piety to the purest flame: “I will not fear though ten thousand rise up against me.”

Psalms 3:6. God could not fail to save his servant.

2 Samuel 15:27 . Art not thou a seer? Seeing the mind of God by the Urim and the Thummim. He sent back the aged priest, as able to do more by counsel and by prayer than he could do in the field.

2 Samuel 15:31 . Turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. Prayers of grief and anguish, like those of Hannah, are surely heard in heaven.

2 Samuel 15:33 . Thou shalt be a burden to me. Hushai was now an aged man, and unfit for the campaign; yet his intellectual powers were strong, and his knowledge profound in counsel.


Absalom, on his restoration to the royal favour, as the heir apparent, surrounded his palace with guards, and began to think his father lived too long.

The methods to which he had recourse to seize the throne, were wicked beyond example. He canvassed for the throne under the mask of a wish to be the chancellor. He degraded himself by unsuitable condescensions, for meanness is mostly an attendant on pride. He insulted truth and justice by affirming every cause to be good; and he abused religion by masking treason under the sanctity of paying a vow which had been delayed for six, if not for nine years. When men have attained a certain stage of wickedness, they resemble a carriage in the descent of a hill which has broken the rope, or overpowered the horses: it moves with encreasing velocity, till making a vast leap it is dashed to pieces by its own weight. When God prospers the wicked, it is often with an ultimate view to their greater destruction. Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel, and drew from the court all David’s false or lukewarm friends. He brought many troubles on the best of kings; but he relieved him of a lurking faction, which might have been productive of more fatal mischiefs. It is most to be lamented that he should draw after him so many honest men, who had not the least suspicion of his designs.

In David we have an example of great presence of mind on a terrific occasion. Hearing that the nation in general adhered to his son, he sought safety in flight, and rested his cause with the Lord. When a calamity cannot for the present be avoided, it is no small consolation that providence affords us a retreat till the indignation be overpast.

When the people at large forsook him, the people of God and strangers adhered to his cause. He saw himself surrounded by the priests and the levites, for true religion embraces futurity and has a single eye to the glory of God, and affords therefore the best bonds of friendship in the day of tribulation, and under reverses of providence. The Gittites also who had followed him from Gath, followed him still, because they believed that God had not forsaken his anointed. So when Israel at large set the Saviour at nought, the gentiles adhered to his cause.

But David, on leaving Jerusalem, had a thousand piercing reflections. He knew not whether God would cast him off, but he rested his cause with the disposer of all events, and would not therefore take away the ark. He now recalled all his sins; he walked barefoot, and wept as he went. Nathan’s words returned in all their force: “I will stir up evil against thee in thine own house.” His grievous cruelty to Uriah, and the excess of lenity to both his wicked sons, most afflicted his mind; and therefore, though he adopted prudent measures for the safety of his friends, he seemed almost indifferent what the Lord should do with him. Here piety shone forth as the gold melted and refined in the furnace; for affliction makes manifest the thoughts of the heart.

David had scarcely thus commended his cause to God, before a new wound was inflicted, and a wound in the tenderest part. Ahithophel, his friend and counsellor, he was told, had joined the conspirators; and more is often to be feared from wisdom than from might. But Hushai, another counsellor, presenting himself, David thought proper to employ counsel against counsel. The case being altogether out of the common way, we must be slow to blame the conduct of the king; for God availed himself of Hushai to gain time for David, and undo the rebels. Let us therefore learn to trust in David’s God. If he brings us into straits and difficulties, he will also, in one way or other, bring us out again: and if he shorten our lives by a series of calamities, it shall be for our greater sanctification and eternal glory.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-samuel-15.html. 1835.
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