Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 15:6

In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Absalom;   Ambition;   Candidate;   Demagogism;   Diplomacy;   Electioneering;   Flattery;   Politics;   Popularity;   Usurpation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Family;   Home;   Trouble;   Young Men;   Young People;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Flattery;   Ingratitude;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   David;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Court Systems;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Judges;   Justice;   Samuel, Books of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   David;   Jerusalem;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Law of Moses;   Sol'omon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Absalom (1);   Crime;   Decision;   Judge;   Philistines;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Absalom;   Eliezer B. Jose Ha-Gelili;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

So Absalom stole the hearts - His manner of doing this is circumstantially related above. He was thoroughly versed in the arts of the demagogue; and the common people, the vile mass, heard him gladly. He used the patriot's arguments, and was every thing of the kind, as far as promise could go. He found fault with men in power; and he only wanted their place, like all other pretended patriots, that he might act as they did, or worse.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Stole the hearts - i. e., deceived them, for so the same phrase means Genesis 31:20, Genesis 31:26.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-15.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And in this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment,.... Told them there was none to be had, wished that he was in office to administer it to them, and behaved in the above loving manner towards them:

so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel; got the affections of the people in a private and clandestine manner, and robbed the king of them, who had the best right unto them.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-15.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom d stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

(d) By enticing them from his father to himself.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-15.html. 1599-1645.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE STEALER OF HEARTS

‘Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.’

2 Samuel 15:6

I. Absalom shows us the wickedness of selfish ambition.—Ambition is right when one seeks honestly to excel in the way of duty. An artist may strive to be the best artist in the world. A merchant may seek to be the best merchant in his town. A farmer may be ambitious to have the richest and best farm in the county. Absalom had a right to be the most noble and manly prince in any royal family. This would have included the truest filial devotion, loyalty to his father and to the government, and the cultivation of whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely in character. But ambition becomes wicked the moment one begins to plan wrong to any other, when it seeks to rise by thrusting others aside or treading them down. Absalom plotted to set his father aside and to seize his throne. His ambition was wicked.

II.It is easy to encourage an unkindly feeling toward others.—When the people came with their cases, Absalom met them and professed to sympathise with them, assuring them that they had just grounds for their complaint, then expressed his deep regret that the king was not in his place to hear their matters. Thus he made them feel that his father was not doing what he should do for them. He would then further manifest his interest and sympathy by wishing that he were judge, that every man who had a case might have justice. It is easy to see how this course would injure David, make the people dissatisfied with his manner of administering justice, and foster discontent. There is a lesson here, too, for all of us. It is always easy to hurt others by listening sympathetically to complaints about them. When one speaks to us of a friend’s shortcomings or failures, it is easy to add to the discontent. There is a great deal of this mischievous work done. There is no more subtle treachery to others than in this insidious way to destroy confidence and weaken the ties of affection.

III. We get another lesson in meanness as we read of Absalom’s insincere professions and see his false show of affection.—They are the arts of the politician which are pictured in him. If he had been judge he would have given himself very little trouble over the people’s causes. It is right to want people’s confidence, but we must seek it only by true interest and by worthy deeds.

IV. Absalom used the name of religion to cover up his wicked conspiracy.—He professed to his father to be very devout. He had a vow to pay. He lied to his father in saying that he had made a promise to the Lord which he wished now to go to fulfil, his only purpose being to get away to declare his rebellion. Nothing is baser than this use of religion to cover up wickedness. Yet even in our own days people are continually trying to trade on professions of piety.

V. Treachery against any one is wrong, but basest of treasons is treason against a father.—The bitterness of David’s grief when he learned of Absalom’s rebellion no words can describe. It is the fashion to speak of this sorrow of David’s as one of the fruits of his own sin. No doubt David’s home was not what it ought to have been, or Absalom would not have proved so false to his father. Yet there is in this no palliation of Absalom’s terrible crime. The law of God bids us honour our father and mother. The lesson from Absalom for every child, older or younger, should be renewed loyalty to parents.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Such advancement as Absalom’s is a brilliant palace built on sand; and there are a great many such always in process of construction. Before any young man follows Absalom’s example he would better ask what came of Absalom’s splendid palace in the end. On this matter of stealing people’s hearts we ought to linger a moment. To steal is to take something which is another’s, to which we have no right. We have a right to make friends of all people about us, and yet any of us may steal hearts. We steal a heart when we get a person to be our friend by influencing him against another person, and making him think we will be a better friend than the other.’

(2) ‘Absalom sent for Ahithopel to be present when he offered sacrifice; the intention being that all who partook of the sacrifice should be bound together to prosecute the enterprise. Absalom, too, would take advantage of the excitement of the great feast to inflame the ardour of the guests, and pledge them irrevocably to his cause. A similar incident is related by Tacitus of Civilis, the leader of the Batavian rebellion in the time of Vitellius: “He called together the chief men of the nation, and the boldest of the common people, under the pretence of a great feast to be held in the sacred grove; and when their spirits were elated with wine, as the night advanced, he addressed them, etc. They heard him with the utmost enthusiasm, and Civilis bound them all in a solemn league under curses, and with the sanction of their barbarous rites.”’

(3) ‘The heart of a man hangs in a balance, like a young virgin that has many suitors; some she fancieth for their parentage, some for friends, some for wealth, some for wit, some for virtue, and, after all, chooseth the worst of all; so the heart has many suitors besides God, that sometimes she marrieth with one, sometimes with another, the world keeps her, the flesh keeps her, the devil keeps her; all of whom have no more interest in her than Herod to his sister, but seek her spoil, like them that marry for riches are glad when one dies that another may come. These suitors are like Absalom, who did not seek the hearts of the people like David, but stole them with flattery.’

(4) ‘Absalom rose early to do harm, to ply his arts of treachery, to poison the people’s minds toward his own father. Sympathy also is a good thing. One can do no sweeter, Christlier work than to go among those who are burdened and over-wrought and those who are suffering, and speak cheering, strengthening words. To take by the hand one who is down, who has fallen in some misfortune, and be a brother to him, helping him to rise, is a blessed thing to do. But such sympathising as we see in Absalom is not blessed, is not Christly. He only pretended to be the people’s friend that he might get the confidence, and then use them in his wicked plot to seize his father’s throne. It was the flatterer’s art that he used.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-samuel-15.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 15:6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Ver. 6. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel.] Courting them, and colloguing with them all alike, of what degree soever; so basely could this proud wretch stoop, that he might get into the throne. (a)

So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel,] sc., From David the right owner; and this he did slyly and secretly, so as neither the people nor David himself did discover it.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-15.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. He secretly and subtlety undermined his father, and robbed his father of the good opinions and affections of his people, that he might gain them to himself, by such insinuations into their affections, by his plausible and over-civil carriage.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-15.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.Stole the hearts — Insinuated himself into the affections of the people. Not only did the designing measures just mentioned assist him in this, but also his personal beauty. 2 Samuel 14:25.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-15.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Enticed. Hebrew, "stole." The people were not aware of his designs. (Calmet) --- Absalom rendered them dissatisfied with the present government, and led them to expect better days, under his administration. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-15.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

hearts. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for affections and adhesion.

men. Hebrew. "enosh. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-15.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
stole
Proverbs 11:9; Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 2:3
Reciprocal: Judges 9:1 - communed;  2 Samuel 3:36 - as;  2 Samuel 12:11 - I will raise;  2 Samuel 15:13 - The hearts;  2 Samuel 18:7 - the people;  1 Kings 2:15 - Thou knowest;  Psalm 62:9 - Surely;  Proverbs 27:21 - so;  Ecclesiastes 4:15 - child

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-15.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel."2 Samuel 15:6.

The rogue has often greater opportunities than the honest man.—The way of falsehood is often smoother than the way of truth.—Honesty must pause, and take into consideration interests, possibilities, and responsibilities, which dishonesty at once ignores.—Absalom had set his heart upon a certain policy, and everything went down before his prosecution of it: he would do justice where others had been unjust; he would be beneficent where others had been selfish; he would see that every man had his rights.—He humbled himself so far, "that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him."—Falsehood, therefore, can be popular.—We must not infer that a cause is good simply because it is popular.—Take the case of Absalom as an illustration.—How possible it is to be saying kind things with the lips, and yet feeling cruelty in the heart! How awful is this possibility of self-contradiction, so that the man shall be two men, the heart shall be two hearts, the policy shall be two policies, and every word shall have two meanings.—In the case of Absalom we find the very refinement of selfishness.—Nothing is too mean for him to do; no appearance is too humiliating for him to assume; he studies what the people like, and he grants them all their preferences with rough-and-ready generosity.—We should distinguish carefully between initial processes and resulting policies.—Men can be very smooth before gaining their way, but having once secured it they show their real selves.—Knaves, however condescending, gracious, and conciliatory, should be treated in their native character, and driven away from the door of every honest household.—When good things are done by bad men they become bad.—The kiss of hollow friendship is a falsehood.—The promise that means self-promotion never can be fulfilled in the sense in which it is received by the dupe.—The cure for all this is a new heart.—In the absence of the new birth all other processes are superficial and futile.—They may look well, they may even be tempting and fascinating, but in the soul of them they are a lie and a treachery.—Let us take care who governs our hearts.—The heart should never be given away under its own value.—He only can give the heart full return for its confidence who redeemed that heart, and opened up to mankind all the prospects and allurements of a blessed immortality.—The Lord is king of the heart; Christ alone should occupy the throne of the affections; when our heart is in Christ"s keeping and is continually under Christ"s discipline, there is no fear of its straying away to false altars, or seeking fruit in forbidden paths.— Song of Solomon, give me thine heart!

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15:6". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/2-samuel-15.html. 1885-95.