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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 14

Verse 1

ABSALOM’S RETURN AND RESTORATION TO FAVOUR, 2 Samuel 14:1-33.

1. Joab… perceived He was always artful, shrewd, foreseeing, and laying plans for the future. From what he knew of the king’s heart he had reason to think that Absalom might be the next king of Israel, and then how important to himself that Absalom feel indebted to him for his restoration from exile.

Toward Absalom Not against him, as several interpreters explain the sense, for that would contradict 2 Samuel 13:39, and render inexplicable the later conduct of the king towards Absalom. 2 Samuel 18:5; 2Sa 18:12 ; 2 Samuel 18:33. Besides, if Joab had known that the king was bitterly hostile to Absalom, we cannot see his object in interceding for him. When Absalom was engaged in the war of rebellion against David it was by Joab’s hand that he was slain. 2 Samuel 18:14.

Verse 2

2. Tekoah Twelve miles south of Jerusalem. Its ruins are still to be seen, and bear the name Tekua. “It lies on an elevated hill, not steep, but broad on the top, and covered with ruins to the extent of four or five acres. These consist chiefly in the foundations of houses built of squared stones, some of which are bevelled.… There are many cisterns excavated in the rocks, and not far off is a living spring, from which our Arabs brought us fine water.” Robinson.

A wise woman As her skilful appeals to David, and her language, so exquisite in beauty and pathos, abundantly show. Anoint not thyself So as to appear shabbily, and not as one that has just put away mourning. Comp. 2 Samuel 12:20.

Verse 7

7. Quench my coal Extinguish the last living ember that gives light and joy to my house. A beautiful image to indicate the extinction of descendants. As a live coal hid in the ashes is the means of kindling future fires and light, so a widow’s only son is her only means of perpetuating her husband’s name.

Verse 11

11. Let the king remember the Lord thy God She wishes to bind him by a solemn oath, and by this language indicates that desire.

Verse 13

13. His banished The exiled Absalom. Here the woman skilfully insinuates her ulterior object in this visit to the king. In this he sees the hand of Joab. 2 Samuel 14:19.

Verse 14

14. As water spilt upon the ground “What could be better calculated to gain the attention of a poet like David than the beautiful images which she employs, and which are fully equal to any that he himself ever uttered; and if we, with our comparatively dull intellects, are impressed at once by the exquisite beauty and pathos of this expression, how keenly must it have been appreciated by him the great master of solemn thought and poetical expression? We conceive that we behold him start upon his throne when these words fall upon his ear, and he feels at once that no common woman is before him.” Kitto.

Neither doth God respect any person Rather. God doth not take away life. The reference is to the life of one that has wandered from him: God is merciful, and does not take away his life.

Yet doth he devise means God takes measures to bring back sinners who have departed from him.

Verse 15

15. The people have made me afraid The whole family mentioned in 2 Samuel 14:7, who rose as blood avengers against the heir.

Verse 17

17. To discern good and bad Rather, to hear good and bad. The king shows his kindness by listening to every just complaint, and giving comfort to the aggrieved by his decisions.

Verse 24

24. Let him not see my face Though his heart yearn in its love for him, yet his respect for law and justice leads him for the present to show this sternness and severity.

Verse 26

26. Polled his head Cut or clipped off the superabundant growth of the hair.

At every year’s end Literally, from the end of days to days; that is, from time to time.

Two hundred shekels after the king’s weight The king’s shekel is supposed to have been less than the common shekel, and Bochart makes the weight of two hundred shekels equal to three pounds and two ounces avoirdupois. Others think there is an error in the text caused by the former use of letters for numbers, and the transcriber’s mistaking one for another. Thus, ד =4, ר =200, ל =30; and one of these might easily have been mistaken for another. It is impossible positively to solve the difficulty, but in any case it is clear that the weight of Absalom’s hair was surprisingly great, and this was regarded as adding to his beauty. “The hair of men will grow as thick as that of women, and perhaps thicker; and if we may judge from the cues of the Chinese, which sometimes reach to the ground, it will grow as long; and such hair, if of proportionate bulk, must, one would think, weigh at least three or four pounds. Indeed, we have read the well known case of a lady whose hair reached the ground, and weighed upon her head (and therefore without including the weight of the parts nearest the scalp) upwards of four pounds.” Kitto.

Verse 27

27. Whose name was Tamar After her aunt. 2 Samuel 13:1. Why are not his son’s names given? Probably because they died in infancy, and so he erected a pillar to perpetuate his name. 2 Samuel 18:18.

Verse 28

28. Two full years… and saw not the king’s face. Tiresome waiting for a restless soul like Absalom. Better for him were the wilds of Geshur, where the restraints of law and fear of the king pressed lightly on his thoughts.

Verse 29

29. He would not come Joab deemed it prudent for him to avoid any intimacy with Absalom. Perhaps during his two years’ residence in Jerusalem some of his aspirations to the throne had become manifest, and Joab, seeing the king did not visit him or allow him to come to his palace, thought it best for himself to be cautious.

Verse 30

30. Set it on fire This act shows up the bold and daring spirit of this prince. Only one of such spirit could plan and carry out the bold scheme of usurping a father’s throne.

Verse 32

32. If there be… iniquity in me, let him kill me Absalom pretends to be very innocent, but had justice been meted out to him he could not have stood for a day. But he knew his father’s tender and sensitive nature; he knew his weakness, too, and was doubtless well satisfied that a bold and defiant challenge would soon lead David to make a reconciliation.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-samuel-14.html. 1874-1909.