Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 18:29

The king said, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ahimaaz;   Cushi;   Readings, Select;   Thompson Chain Reference - Care;   Children;   Family;   Home;   Parental;   Solicitude;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahimaaz;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gospel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ahimaaz;   Cushite;   David;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abishai;   Ahimaaz;   David;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ahimaaz ;   Cushi ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   Ahimaaz;   David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ahim'a-Az;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cushi;   Cushite;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ahimaaz;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I saw a great tumult - It was very probable that Ahimaaz did not know of the death of Absalom; he had seen the rout of his army, but did not know of his death. Others think he knew all, and told this untruth that he might not be the messenger of bad news to David.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-18.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 18:29

Is the young man Absalom safe?

When a young man is insecure

Beginning from the outside circle, and finding our way to the centre, I am going to recount some of the dangers of young men.

1. “Is the young man safe?” No, certainly not; if he drinks. The cold, stingy, selfish being, it leaves untouched; but, if there is a youth more ardent, warm-hearted, high-spirited than the rest it marks him out for its prey. The young man, we shall suppose, has everything to recommend him. Good talents; pleasing address; excellent penmanship; comes from a good home; brings capital testimonials; but it is whispered, “he drinks!” That is enough. He is not “safe.” All his other advantages will not secure him.

2. “Is the young man safe?” No; if he gambles. It was only lately that a well-known magistrate said: “I wish that the clerks in mercantile houses of London would come to this court, and see what I see, and hear what I hear. This is only one of a multitude of eases where prisoners in your position have confessed that their robberies are entirely clue to betting. I regard it as a curse to the country; because I see how young men are lured until they fall into a state of misery and wretchedness.”

3. “Is the young man safe?” No; if he keeps bad company. Solomon wrote many true things, but he never wrote a truer than this: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but the companion of fools shall be destroyed.” I have seen it again and again. I have seen as fine a fellow as I would ever wish to grasp by the hand, by some evil chance thrown into acquaintanceship with a loose, unprincipled character; and, from the day the intimacy began, there has been a steady and sure degeneracy.

4. “Is the young man safe?” No! if he is idle. I am thankful to say, there are not many of you exposed to that danger. What a sight, to be sure, the great inlets to the City present any week-day morning about ten o’clock! What with the rattling of wheels on the Causeway, the shuffling of feet on the pavement, and the humming of innumerable voices, the hive seems as busy as it can be. But, haven’t you noticed, just once in s while, a man slouching along carelessly about, his hands in his pockets and, vacancy in his eyes? That’s the man the devil thinks he will have an easy job with.

5. “Is the young man safe?” No; if there is anything in his business inconsistent with the strictest integrity. Don’t talk of being “safe,” if you have every day to make a compromise with conscience, and smooth things over the best way you can. I am grieved to say, the mercantile conscience at the present day is not very sensitive. Are there not many houses of business where some of the clerks or assistants might say, “I could tell some things if I would, but I won’t. It’s not all straight and aboveboard. Customers don’t get all for their money they think they are getting.” Are there not things you have to wink at, if you would keep your situation, and get a rise by-and-by? Well, let me assure you of this--that, in the six thousand years of past human history, there has never been so much as one occasion when it was either a man’s duty, Or his real interest to sin against God. It can never be right to do wrong.

6. “Is the young man safe?” No; if he does not make conscience of keeping the Sabbath-day. Apart from our spiritual or highest nature, man needs, his system demands, the rest of the Sabbath. He is not “safe” without it. A celebrated merchant declared, “I should have been a maniac long ago, but for the Sabbath. Really, you are not “safe” without it. The brain is not safe; the intellect is not safe; the nerves--the muscles--the banes--the moral nature--the immortal soul.

7. “Is the young man safe?” No; if he neglects his private devotions, What is that that Christ says? “Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret.” The man who knows nothing of the closed door, and the bended knee, and the earnest breathing up to heaven, is no Christian; put that down for certain. Ah! you may have a nice room, pleasant look-out, clean-curtained windows, cheerful picture or two on the walls; tidy bookshelf, with just a select dozen or two instructive volumes; photographic album, which you often look at, with the faces of those you love most on earth; soft and comfortable pillow to lay your head upon; but--if that is all--O, there is a terrible want there. Can you not point me to the Bible which you nightly study, to the chair at which you daily bend, as you pour out your heart to God? If you can’t, let me tell you, you are not, “safe.” No man can fight life’s battle successfully, and reach heaven in the end, who doesn’t endeavour to spend a little while every day alone with God. Make conscience-work of it. Make a point (as McCheyne used to say) of seeing God’s face the first in the morning and the last at night. (Thain Davidson, D. D.)

A young man’s safety

I. The question of the text is a most suggestive one.

1. Is the young man safe physically. Is his health safe?

2. Is the young man safe intellectually? What is the state of his mind? Have his powers of thought been developed, or dwarfed and stunted? Is he well informed? Is he capable of coming to a correct conclusion concerning any ordinary matter which may be brought before him? Is his mind growing? without which there can be no mental life.

3. Is the young man safe socially? Is his position a good one? Is it likely to lead to a competency, or to sustain him respectably and supply his various wants. Is he safe as regards his knowledge of his trade. Is he a skilful, intelligent mechanic- or a judicious and successful mad of business? These are inquiries which should not be despised. Then, are his companions welt chosen? Are they likely to do him good? Are they on the Lord’s side? What about that nearest of all relations, that dearest of all friends? Has he selected his future wife? If so, has he made a safe venture? Will she prove a true helpmeet to him? Will she sustain him in all his struggles, rejoice with him in his success, weep with him in his trials? Will she make his home, however humble or however splendid it may be, the dearest, sweetest spot in all the earth to him? Will she help him in the path to heaven, or sink him down to hell?

4. Is the young man safe spiritually? In a word, is his soul safe? If he were now to sink in death, what would be his eternal destiny? Has he been accepted and forgiven through the Beloved One? Is his soul the temple of the Holy Spirit? Is life to him Christ? Is his daily experience meetening him for the brighter and better world? Has he determined to give up all things (if necessary) that he may live in Christ and be found in Him? Is he striving to live a divine life among sinful men? Is he endeavouring to put down sin in his body, and to make all his members the servants of righteousness? If not, he is not safe.

II. The question of the text is a very practical one.

1. The first professes large things. He says he is fond of investigating truth, but he will not subscribe to any creed. He will not join any sect, lest his powers of thought should be weakened by contact with men of narrow minds. He will think for himself, and doubtless all will be well at last. Not that he is prepared to accept the dogmas (this is his favourite term) of revealed religion. These may do for the very aged and for children, but not for him. He must have something more reasonable, and more intellectual--something that will expand and exalt his soul. This poor young man may soon be dismissed. He is filled with pride, the condemnation of the devil. He has not yet learnt that before he can enter the kingdom of heaven he must become as a little child. He has no true conception of sin. The idea of the atonement never enters his brain. He either assumes that he is perfectly holy, or God is all merciful, and, therefore, will not bring his venial faults in the judgment against him. Ah, what a mistake is all this!

2. The second is a young man of a totally different order. He is the son of pious parents. He has not a word to say against the gospel, he admits the vast importance of personal religion. He has often been under the influence of the truth, but, alas, he makes no progress heavenward. He grants all you demand, but he does not act upon his concessions. And why? It is his fond hope that after his youthful days are past he will have a more favourable opportunity for doing so than he now possesses. He thinks that the claims of religion and of business would not, in his case, work harmoniously. He, therefore, waits, although persuaded. He postpones the great work of seeking the Lord, although convinced of its last importance. He hopes to die the death of the righteous, but he is not prepared to live his life. He trusts he will reach heaven, but he cannot as yet give up earth. Is this young man safe? Alas, no! He is turned aside by a deceived heart. The devil is leading him captive at his will.

3. The third young man resembles in some points both the second and the first. He is intelligent and studious. He has also been brought under the power of the world to come. He does not, however, satisfy his conscience by saying, “Go thy way for this time, and when I have a convenient season I will send for thee.” On the other hand, he endeavours to obtain peace by a diligent observance of the precepts of the law. As far as outward deportment goes, he is moral, amiable, loving, and kind. His friends unite in pronouncing him a most unexceptionable personage. His praises frequently form the burden of their conversation. They cannot understand why one go very young should be so very scrupulous. He must be right. He must be safe. Let us, however, test him by the Word of God. Have you not read of a young man who came to Jesus saying, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Here we have a type of the class, one of which I have brought before you. And can we pronounce him safe? Far from it. His morality will not bear the Divine scrutiny. His works, performed as they are in a self-righteous spirit, are an abomination before God.

4. The fourth young man stands before us. Is he safe? Listen. Three years ago he had a dangerous illness. For some time his life trembled in the balance. Brought face to face with death, he felt that he was not prepared for its stroke. Though very young the thought of eternity filled him with terror. The sins of his youth weighed him down. Should he die he would be lost for ever. At this juncture a pious and judicious friend visited him and spoke of the great truths of salvation. The young man listened with eagerness to his description of the death of Jesus. Not that what he now beam was wholly new to him. He had heard it from his mother, as in early childhood he sat upon her knee. He had heard it from his Sabbath school teacher, he had heard it also from his father, as he knelt by his dying bed, to receive his last benediction; but now, it came to him with new and peculiar power. Thoughts and feelings were awakened which had before found no place in his bosom. Was there mercy for him? Would Jesus receive, forgive, and bless him? He would read the Gospel and see for himself. He did so, and before many days had gone by, he cried to Him who is able to save to the very uttermost, “Lord, save me, or I perish.” His earnest supplication was not in vain. The Saviour was exceedingly gracious to him at the voice of his cry. The burden of his sin was taken away. The peace of God filled his soul. He felt that from henceforth he was the Lord’s. Through the good providence of God his life was spared, and since his recovery he has carried out the resolutions which he made upon his sick bed. Resting upon Jesus himself, he has endeavoured to induce others to do the same, and not a few of his former companions can testify that his efforts have not been made in vain. Need I say that this young man is safe. No fears can be enter-rained on his account. He is safe because he is in Christ.

III. The question of the text is a very urgent one. There are some inquiries which we may postpone for a season without loss. It is not essential to our well-being that we should answer them at once. The one before us is, however, of a very different character. “Is the young man safe?” This is the most important question to which your attention can be directed; it demands and deserves your instant consideration-let me therefore press it upon you--young men, are you safe? Are the Saviour’s arms around and beneath you? Are you in the enjoyment of his love?

1. Your danger makes this question a very urgent one.

2. The greatness of the interest at stake makes this an urgent question. It may be that you have not realized your capacity. You do not know your value. Think what you may become even on earth. You may be a useful member of society--the delight, the joy, the blessing of your social circle. It is also in your power to do much for Jesus. You can so labour that many will rise up to call you blessed.

3. The necessities of the world make this an urgent question. Young men are wanted in every department of Christian agency. The cry is, everywhere, “Give us men; give us young men.” They are wanted in the Sabbath school. They are wanted in the mission field abroad. Young men, you live in important times. You are wanted. The church wants you. Christ wants you. Bending from his throne he says, “Who will go for us?” Will you not reply, “Here am I, send me.” Finally, whether we are old or young, let us gather around the cross; let us bow at the feet of Jesus. That is the most blessed spot in the universe. There is safety there! (H. B. Ingram.)

An anxious enquiry for a beloved son

How many there are at this present moment who have, no doubt, other very weighty businesses, but whose one only thought just now is, “Is the young man safe? Is my son safe? Is my father safe? Is my wife safe?” A vessel has gone down in the river with hundreds on board, and weeping friends are going hither and thither from place to place, hoping and yet fearing to identify the corpse of some beloved one; longing to find one who has not been heard of since the fatal hour, and trembling all the while lest they should find him or her among the bodies which have been drawn from the cold stream. The one thought uppermost with scores to-night is this one--“Is my beloved one safe?” Do you blame them? They are neglecting business, and forsaking their daily toil, but do you blame them? A hundred weighty things are forgotten in the one eager enquiry: do you, can you, blame them? Assuredly not. It is natural, and it is, therefore, I think, but right.

I. This question of anxiety--“Is the young man Absalom safe?”

1. And the first remark is, it is a question asked by a father concerning his son. “Is he safe?”

2. This was a question asked about a son who had left his father’s house. “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

3. It is the question of a father about his rebellious son.

4. The question of a parent concerning a son who, if he were not safe, but dead, was certainly in a very dreadful plight. “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

5. This was a question, alas! which was asked by a father about a son who was really dead at the time when the question was asked. It was late in the day to enquire for Absalom’s safety; for it was all over with that rebellious son.

II. You have had the question; we are now to speak upon some occasions when that question would very naturally be used. “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

1. The question would be used, of course, in times, like the present, in reference to this mortal life. When a fearful calamity has swept away hundreds at a stroke such an enquiry is on every lip.

2. Times of disease, also, raise such enquiries. Well do I recollect some four-and-twenty years ago, when first I came to London, it was my painful duty to go, not only by day, but by night, from house to house where the cholera was raging; and almost every time I met the beloved friends at Park Street it was my sorrow to hear it said, “Mr. So-and-so is dead. Mistress A. or B. is gone,” till I sickened myself from very grief. It was then most natural that each one should say concerning, his relative at a little distance, “Is he still alive? Is he still safe?”

3. But sometimes we have to ask this question about friends and children, with regard to their eternal life. They are dead, and we are fearful that they did not die in Christ, and therefore we enquire, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

4. “Is the young man Absalom safe?” is a more practical question when we put it about young people and old people, when they are still alive, and we are anxious about their spiritual condition. “Is the young man Absalom safe?” That is to say, is he really safe for the future--for this world and for the world to come?

III. The third point is to be the answers which we have to give to this question--“IS the young man Absalom safe?” This question has often bean sent up by friends from the country about their lads who have come to London--“Is my boy Harry safe? Is my son John safe?” Answer, sometimes: “No, no. He is not safe. We are sorry to say that he is in great danger.” I will tell you when we know he is not safe.

1. He is not safe if, like Absalom, he is at enmity with his father. Oh, no.

2. “Is the young man safe?” Well, no. We have seen him lately in bad company. He has associated with other young men who are of loose morals.

3. And he is not safe, because he has taken to indulge in expensive habits. “Absalom prepared him,” it is said, “chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.” This extravagance was a sign of evil. A youth who lavishes money upon needless luxuries is not safe.

4. Another thing. The young man Absalom is not safe, as you may see, if you look at his personal appearance. We read, “But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty.” Let young men and women dress according to their stations; we are not condemning them for that. I recollect Mr. Jay saying, “If you ladies will tell me your income to a penny, I will tell you how many ribbons you may wear to a yard;” and I think that I might venture to say the same.

5. And we are sure the young man Absalom is not safe, when he has begun to be vicious. You recollect what Absalom did.

6. “Is the young man Absalom safe?” No, David, he is not, for the last time we saw him he was in a battle, and the people were dying all around him, and therefore he is not safe. How can he be safe where others fail? Yes, and I saw the young man come out of a low place of amusement late one night, and I thought, “No, the young man Absalom is not safe there, for many perish there.” I heard of his betting at the races, and I thought, “The young man Absalom is not safe, for multitudes are ruined there.” I saw him in loose company one evening, and I said, “No, the young man Absalom is not safe: he is surrounded by those who hunt for the precious life.” It is never safe for us to be where other people fall; because if they perish, why should not we?

7. Now, the young man is here to-night who will answer to the next description. He is a very nice young fellow. He is a great hearer and lover of the gospel word, but he is not decided. He has never taken his stand with God’s people, confessing Christ as his Lord. Is the young man safe? Oh, no. He is very hopeful, God bless him! We will pray him into safety if we can; but he is not safe yet. Those people who were almost saved from the wreck of the Princess Alice were drowned; and those persons who are almost saved from sin are still lost. If you are almost alive you are dead.

8. A pleasant task remains, I will now answer that question with a happy, “Yes.” Yes, the young man Absalom is safe. Why?

Absalom: Spiritual insecurity

Absalom, like every man in to-day’s battle, was in danger. He was not merely running risk in battle, but he had other risks. Of the chances of battle only his father thought, but the young man was in danger from other things. His own vanity was a danger. See how proud he was of those locks of his. See how he yielded to the vanity of thinking himself fit to sway a sceptre; and yet he was more fitted to handle brazen mirrors. See how to vanity was added another danger, ambition--the sin by which the angels fell. This formed the base of his character. Through this he even flattered those whom he wished to win to his purposes. If any were drunken he could quaff wine with them; if profane he could swear with them; if lustful he could match the worst in sensual suggestions. See further, how he took bad advice from evil associates. See, too, how a fancied inviolability endangered him. He had his greatest foes within, His danger was in proportion to the badness of his character--and we shall hardly find a worse in the whole Bible. And these risks are for all in the battle of life. It is a hand to hand struggle. We know not all the risks, for We cannot tell to what this life leads. We know not what consequences may follow on neglect or defeat, and what on triumph. We know we have to resist sin. It is sufficient for us to know that it must be conquered, or that it will ruin us. Sin will assume various forms, will assault now in solid phalanx, now single-handed and alone from behind some shelter. It does not use the same weapons with all With one it tries vanity, with another ambition, with another indolence, or lying, or greed, and with another sensuality, or inebriety. Some it allures into vicious company, others it destroys by leading to the indulgence of a selfish isolation, a spirit that will let none know their plans, share their pleasures or possessions--a spirit that nourishes a self-complacency and self-righteousness--a spirit that perhaps laughs at spiritual struggles, and seeks to dissipate the most sacred and treasured truths by a bitter sneer. Sin is a treacherous foe. A man must beware of thinking that because he has no temptation to steal, to swear, to waste money, to rejoice in lewd company, to frequent places of bad repute,, and to imbibe strong liquors with the revellers, that, therefore, he is free from danger. He may be in danger, from his thoughts when he sits alone, or when he wanders alone m the streets; for as a young man said, “There is no place of danger equal to the streets of a great city after dark” This witness is true.

2. The anxiety of David for that young man Absalom was as keen as his love was unquenchable. It is remarkable that the king did not cast off all care for one who was so unworthy. Though a king, he was a father. Absalom’s guilt was deep, but his father’s love was deeper.

The four great passes

I propose to speak about the safety of young men.

I. The first great pass in a young man’s life when he needs Divine help is when he chooses his occupation or profession. It is a serious moment when a young man gets through with his schooling, and perhaps leaves his father’s house, and says: “Now, what shall I be?” Mechanism opens before him a score of trades, and professional life opens before him seven or eight callings. He must choose between these, and must choose aright, for if he make a mistake here he is gone. I have a friend who started life in merchandise. Then he went into the medical profession. After awhile he crossed over into specific surgery. Then he entered the ministry. Then he became a soldier in the army. After that he entered the ministry again, and is now a surgeon. O! if he had only had God at the start to tell him what to do.

II. The second great pass in life when a young man wants Divine direction is when he establishes his own household. When a man builds his earthly home, he decides his eternity. I know that affiancing is usually looked upon as something to be merry over, instead of something to be prayed about; but what step is there fraught with such weal or woe? Is it not strange that an affair charged with such temporal and eternal import should depend on a whim or a glance? I do not think I put the ease too strongly when I say that when a young man marries he marries for heaven or hell! If he brings into his household the right kind of influences, the home will be elevated and upward in its impulsions. If he bring the wrong kind of influences into his house he will go down--he must go down. A minister of the Gospel came into a home where there was great poverty and destitution, and it was generally supposed that the poverty came from the fact that these people had married too early; and after the minister had looked around upon the utter want and destitution, and had rehearsed the misfortunes that had come upon the household, he turned to the poor man and said: “Don’t you now regret your early marriage? Don’t you think it was your great mistake in life?” And the man halted for a moment, and his eyes filled up with tears, and he looked up at his poorly-clad wife and said: “No, sir; she has been the same to ms all through!”

III. The third great pass in life in which a young man wants religion is in the time of his first success. You say: “Here I have money now of my own. What shall I do with it? What investments shall I make? What house shall I buy? What wardrobe shall I create? What shall I get? What charities, what philanthropies, shall I favour?” That is the crisis where thousands of men upset. Some of them rush into dissipations. A man wants the grace of Christ at that crisis to keep him rightly balanced.

IV. The fourth great pass in a young man’s life when he needs the grace of God is when he comes to his first sorrow. It is preposterous for us to launch young men on life with the idea that they are going to have it smooth all the way. There will be storms. You want extra cordage. I know when our last war was over, some people came back without a scratch or a scar, but that is not so in the great battle of life: we get wounded in the hands, and wounded in the feet, and wounded in the head, and wounded in the heart. No man escapes. But now, what are you going to do with your first sorrow? The way you get through your first sorrow will decide whether you can endure the other sorrows of life. (T. De Witt Talmaqe, D. D.)

The death of Absalom

Let us gather up some of the lessons of this narrative:--

I. God’s restraining and over-ruling hand amid the plans of wicked men. Absalom was free to act upon the sagacious (albeit cruelly unfilial) advice of Ahithophel; but he rejected it. He was free to reject the plausible advice of Hushai; but he chose to act upon it. “For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.” But the Lord’s appointment worked not counter to, but through, the free choice of Absalom. Human freedom is a fact of individual consciousness. We know we are free, and vet we also know, from the Scriptures of truth and the teachings of history, that, in spite of all opposition, “the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Through the very folly and sin of men God is working out His own great, pure purpose, and yet man is none the less guilty.

II. Women’s work is David’s preservation. A female servant--a woman can go unsuspected to En-rogel, the Fuller’s well--“went and told them.” She was a faithful messenger; quickly, silently went and returned, and kept to herself the matter. Presently the young men were seen, suspected, and pursued by Absalom’s servants: tracked to the man’s house in Bahurim,” where in a dry well they were hiding, and where, but for the woman of the house, they had doubtless been detected. She “took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known.” And with evasive answer she baffled and sent away the pursuers. Had it been otherwise in the conduct of these women, it had been doubtless greatly otherwise with David’s safety. Women have played no unimportant part in the needed revolutions of nations; and, more valuable still, in the extension of Christ’s kingdom. They ministered to the Lord of their substance during His life on earth. When men were faithless they were faithful to Him. In all time since they, loyal to His throne, have been hastening His kingdom. How many are doing it to-day! Women, of whom the world knows little if anything; mothers among their children; servants at their lowly toil; within the narrow walls of home or but a little way beyond them, found faithful, and so by every pure true word every kindly deed, speeding the universal answer to their daily prayer, “Thy Kingdom come!”

III. The end of wounded pride. That Ahithophel was a sagacious man is clear. That he was a proud man is equally clear. But when preference was given to Hushai’s advice his pride was cut to the quick. So home went the angry, bitter man. He “put his household in order,” and then, the first of recorded suicides, “hanged himself.” Stupendous folly to think more of the “order” of his household--leaving all his affairs carefully arranged--than of the safety of his soul. Unbidden, his sins upon him, he rushed into the presence of his Maker. “Pride goeth before destruction”--in his case self-destruction. It must be destroyed if the soul is to live.

IV. The doom of un-filial ingratitude and rebellion. Sudden, irresistible, as bolt from clear skies, came his doom. Such a doom l What thoughts must have thronged him in his last awful moments! Alas for the young man Absalom! Let young men and women remember that punishment for disobedience to parents is inevitable. Many today axe bearing it in silent, unutterable remorse. Would that they could recall the dead! Would that in some little way, by present love and tenderness, they could show repentance for the unfilial past! But the dead come no more!

V. How parental love appears in parental anxiety and sorrow! The heart of David is made bare to us in this narrative. It is all tenderness towards Absalom. He sees him in the light of many a beautiful memory. The child Absalom! The youth! The faultless loveliness of form! The luxuriant and splendid locks that crowned him! The fond words when the young prince had nestled in his arms! It all lives to David. His one anxiety is for Absalom’s safety. Victory will be blurred into defeat if he should perish. All day long waits the king for the battle-news; all the news shrunken to this, “What, what of Absalom?” And when the news is known, the king creeps out of sight of men, weeping, weeping as he goes, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” Oh! the sad, sad cry! Heard, alas! to-day, where homes mourn over the lost, and parents’ hearts break.

There is no far nor near,

There is neither there nor here,

There is neither soon nor late,

In that Chamber over the Gate,

Nor any long ago

To that cry of human woe,

O Absalom, my son!

From the ages that are past

The voice comes like a blast,

Over seas that wreck and drown,

Over tumult of traffic and town;

And from ages yet to be

Come the echoes back to me,

O Absalom, my son!

Somewhere at every hour,

The watchman on the tower

Looks forth, and sees the fleet

Approach of the hurrying feet

Of messengers, that bear

The tidings of despair.

O Absalom, my son!

But David’s voice dies into silence. We hear another--a greater--the greatest of all. “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” (G. J. Coster.)

Is the young man safe?

There may be very much put together in a small space. We have in this Book a library in a volume; and we have in this one sentence s world of meaning. Let us endeavour to realise this. “Safe!” This is a very short word, soon spoken; but how much solemn meaning is there in that one word! When is the young man safe?

1. Not while he is in sin; not, while, like the unhappy Absalom, any sin has dominion over him; not while the corruption of nature is unsubdued and unconquered; not while religion is an appearance, and if not, as with Absalom, an actor’s mask, yet only an empty name, and a dead formality

2. What does make the young man safe? Is it to be never tempted? If this be safety, then who is safe? We may flee from the gay and busy world, we may hide ourselves in the secluded cave, we may shut ourselves in the lonely cloister. Will there be no temptation there? Does memory cease there? Does busy fancy leave off painting her airy pictures there? Does the corrupt heart not go with us into that seclusion? “I have been dancing at Rome,” said one of old, “when I was shut up in my cave in the wilderness.” Do barred doors shut out the spirit that tempts man? or can man leave behind him that nature which the prince of this world, when he comes, finds as tinder to catch his sparks, as rotten wood for his fiery darts to lodge in? If that man only is “safe” who is out of the reach of temptation, then none is safe at all, for all are tempted. Is any one “safe,” then? Yes. Look at this young man. He is young; life is bursting upon him; and who knows not the peculiar freshness of opening life? The bright flowers of the early spring, the warm fresh breeze loaded with the sweetness of the hawthorn, the fresh green grass, like a springing carpet under his elastic tread, the glorious sea of blue above, with its floating isles of cloud, give sensations of joy as intense, and pleasure as keen to him as to any others. But he sees more than some in these sights, and he hears more than others in these sounds. He sees the Maker in His works; he reads something of the skill that planned, the Power that executed, the perpetual Presence that works in all the things around. And he sees more. He sees a Father’s love at every turn, strewing His children’s path with love and blessing. Thus, then, we can answer the questions--What it is to be safe? and, when alone can we say that the young man is safe? The Scripture answers, by telling us that then and then only is the young or the old safe, when God has made the heart of man His own habitation by the Spirit, and when Satan, and the world, and the flesh have not to contend with poor weak, frail man, but with man aided, and assisted, and governed by the eternal God. (W. W. Champneys, M. A.)

To young man

This is the question of the home. Like David, every parent should be on the watch-tower of solicitude, to see whether it is “well with the child.” Parents ought to watch how their children fight life’s battle, for they have many foes and a hard conflict. This question of parental love asked in due season will help and may save them: “Is the young man safe?” It is also the question of the Church. Upon her battlements must be the watchtower, from which words of warning should be uttered. The paths of youth are slippery. A young man safe at thirty is, as a rule, safe for ever. All young men need the grace of God and the wise counsel of their elders. Paul says, “Young men exhort to be soberminded.”

I. Is he safe as to his training? A question for home and school. Parents are the world’s rulers. Children are imitators, living phonographs. What they see and hear they reproduce. They will live the home life over again in the habits and characters formed there. As to character, in a life of eighty years, the first twenty form the bigger half. The first colours in the mind of a child are eternal. What means the proverb, “Once a man, twice a child?” Not the weakness of old age only, but that as the outward man perishes we return to the scenes of childhood.

II. Is he safe as to his calling? Is he suited to his calling? If not, he cannot be safe. He is where he ought not to be; and if so, what chance has he for happiness or success? What irreparable wrong is wrought when parents insist on their son following trades or professions wholly distasteful to them! Nature’s providence gives most men a genius for doing certain things easily and well. We should follow those lines of least resistance. A gifted youth was tied to a trade he loathed. He had to follow life on these lines of greatest resistance, and with a sad result. That life was wrecked through harsh and unwise treatment at the outset. Assistants like young Adam Clarke have been asked to become partakers of their masters’ sins and to put their hands to evil. If all practised the golden rule, trade and commerce would soon pass out of the region of questionable methods. John Wesley used to tell his helpers, “Be ashamed of nothing but sin; no, not of cleaning your own shoes, when necessary.”

III. Is he safe as to his companions? Absalom was not. He mixed with a set of vain and worthless flatterers, who made him as bad as themselves. He listened to them until they fed his ambition and puffed him up. A youth is known by the company he keeps. Woe be to the unwary who are beguiled by evil companions! Their steps lead to the gates of hell. Dr. Stalker says there are two methods of meeting temptation: one the method of restraint, the other that of counter-attraction. And, like Ulysses, who was tied to the mast of his ship and saved himself from the sirens, so there is many a cord by which young men may secure themselves. Love of home, of church, of school, and of Christian work, is a silver cord to keep them safe in willing bonds, bound yet free. And as Orpheus destroyed the charm of the inferior music by his superior strains, so there are counter-attractions by seeking which young men may be safe. Instead of evil companions, seek good ones.

IV. Is he safe as to his pleasures? He must have them. The bow cannot be always strung. Hobbies and habits make life. It is true, as Mr. Gladstone says, that “change of labour is to a great extent the best form of recreation”; but it must not be always conscious labour That duty must be lost in the joy. To be always on duty, to be ever hearing the wheels of life’s machinery, is to make life a treadmill. Such a youth will lack imagination, enthusiasm, and faith. But do our pleasures recreate? Do they give muscle to body, and force to mind? Do they send us back to our task strong and glad? If so, they are true pleasures.

V. Is he safe in his success? Some men can endure sorrow, but cannot stand success. In its slippery paths they become giddy and fall. Sorrow and adversity brace them, and they are brave and patient, and play the man; but prosperity--wealth, popularity, influence--enervates, and their strength becomes weakness. When the world smiles, “pride compasseth them about,” and soon they fall. Men sometimes fail at the strongest point; like Edinburgh Castle, which was once taken on the rocky side, supposed to be impregnable.

VI. Is he safe in the hour of death? Alas! Absalom was not. Here was the pathos of David’s lament. “My son, would God I had died for thee!” The shafts of death strike young and old. He who can face the grim monster is a man every inch of him. We are only safe in the arms of Jesus. (Joseph Johns.)

The safety of the young

I. That the young are exposed to special dangers.

1. Youth is a time of special susceptibility. While the grown tree will sooner break than bend, the sapling may be trained any way.

2. It is a time of ingenuous trustfulness. Much of the folly of young people may be attributed to their ignorance of the world. They see the flower, and have no suspicion of the serpent that lies concealed under it. No guilt can be greater, no sin more diabolical, than that of him who trades upon the unsuspiciousness of innocence.

3. It is a time of special impulsiveness. The young have fresh blood coursing in their veins; and the freshness of their physical being is but a type of that which characterises their whole moral and spiritual nature.

4. It is a time when new thoughts and opinions are most readily received. In a certain sense men naturally grow more conservative as they grow older. The very changableness of youth betokens the readiness with which their minds can be guided into fresh and ennobling trains of thought. The great want of youth is guidance: not restraint, but direction; not stern and repellant commands, so much as counsel.

5. It is the time when life habits are definitely formed. It is then the metal is poured into the mould, and the image stands forth through life with shape of unsightly deformity or graceful beauty. The wax is soft; but will soon harden under the impression of a Divine likeness or of one debased.

II. That the safety of the young is a question for special inquiry. “Is the young man safe?” A question for--

1. Parents. What is the character of the home-influence? Parents must take” their choice. They must either make the life and lessons--the love and the pleasures--of home more attractive and winning than those of the street; or they must pass through bitter experiences in the midst of which they need not Wonder at the ruin of their sons and daughters.

2. Employers. What is the example in trade life? What are the associations of the workshop and the warehouse? Are not assistants and apprentices too often left as isolated atoms on the surging sea of life? “What care they for the world that cares not for them?”

3. The Church. What is the Church doing? Are not Young Men’s Christian Associations in some sense so many testimonies against the Church on account of neglected duty.

4. Young men themselves. Humanly speaking, there is no help like self-help. Dare to be men--to stand alone. Yet not alone; since Christ waits to take you under His protection. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” (F. Wagstaff.)

The dangers of young men

When a youth has left his father’s house, and gums to mingle with the world, to be exposed to its storms, its temptations, its deceitful fascinations, it is just thus that his anxious parents question every one who has come from the place of his abode, “Is the young man safe?”

I. The dangers to which young men are exposed. There are, first, dangers incidental to their time of life. Every one knows that there are certain stages of life fraught with more importance, and consequently more perilous, than others. This is true physically; for medical men will tell you, that when the child passes into the boy, when the boy merges into the young man, when the young man bursts into the full bloom of manhood, and again when the man, at what is called his grand climacteric, crosses the boundary of old age--these are all critical times; and that diseases which at any other period would be thrown of[ with ease, become then dangerous, and often fatal. Now the same thing holds of the moral and spiritual development of a man; arid there are stages of his soul-history which are just as critical and momentous for his eternal interests, as those which I have specified are for his physical.

1. There is great peril springing out of the inexperience by which a youth is characterised. Everything is new and strange to him; and when, for the first time, he embarks upon the troubled sea of commercial life, not Columbus himself, as in fear and trembling he pushed on and on over the wide waste of waters, and

“Was the first that ever burst

Into that silent sea,”

was more: inexperienced in navigation than is he. He is out of sight of his old landmarks; he knows neither the dangers that encircle him, nor the currents in the midst of which his course is to be pursued. He has everything to learn, and everything to know.

2. But added to this inexperience, and, indeed, intensifying the danger that results from it, is that self-conceit, or self-confidence, by which every youth is pre-eminently distinguished. Though he knows so little, he imagines he knows everything; indeed, just because he knows so little, he fancies he is exceedingly intelligent; for the law is an invariable one, that the more a man knows the more he knows his ignorance; while, on the other hand, the greater a man’s ignorance, the greater, too, is his ignorance of his ignorance.

3. But a third danger, incidental to the time of life at which a young man has arrived, rises out of that impatience of control which marks the time of transition between youth and manhood. Love of liberty is a good thing, but it Is apt to become, love of licence; and this is the danger of which we speak. Now, this ordinarily makes its appearance first in breaking through parental restraint.

II. A second class of dangers to young men spring from the place where their life is spent. Every locality has its own peculiar moral atmosphere, which is laden with its own poisons to the soul. The rural life has its peculiar tendencies, which you may see any day fully developed in the agricultural labourers of England, many of whom are, in almost every respect, very little above the level of the brutes they drive. Quiet provincial towns have also their own perils; and many a man who would have done well, if only kept hard at work, under a pushing master in a city, is lost for this life, and frequently also lost for eternity, from the dawdling, idling, tippling habits which in such places have so powerful sway. The ruin of many men, in such half-dead localities, is that they have not nearly enough to do, and Satan finds abundance of employment for their leisure hours.

III. Young men are exposed to danger also from the tendencies of the age in which their lot is cast. Whatever these tendencies may be, they are most powerfully felt by youth; because, from the position they occupy--being, in fact, the population of the future--they are all brought to bear upon them. I will simply mention two.

1. There is intellectualism. No one, who is at all conversant with the literature of the day, will deny that the tendency of the greater part of it is to place the intellect on the throne of the soul, and indeed also of the world. Religion is nothing; intellect is everything. The Bible is far behind the advanced thinkers of the age. It is antiquated, obsolete, effete. Its day is gone; and now intellect, not faith, must rule supreme. Now, intellect is good, very excellent good, but yet it is not God; and its province is to sit meek and believing at the feet of Jesus. I want intellect. I want the young men of our times to be sturdy thinkers, men of mind; men who can take a subject and resolve it into its elements, and reason it out to its remotest consequences. But I want them also to know and understand that the Bible is the most intellectual book in the world. Was Paul not intellectual? Is not his little finger thicker than the loins even of the stoutest champions of intellect in modern times? And if you look at the history of the world, man for man, I will bring you a more intellectual Christian, over against your most powerful and profound infidels. There is the erudite Leibnitz over against the pantheistic Spinoza; against the flippant Voltaire, we have the thoughtful Pascal, in any of whose suggestive fragments there is more mind than in all Voltaire’s books put together. Over against the sentimental Rousseau, we can put the mild, loving, John-like Fenelon. And where among the would-be pretentious intellectualists of to-day will you find the equal of Jonathan Edwards, John Foster, or Robert Hall? Be not blinded, my young friends, with the dust which these men would raise around you; depend upon it, the highest intellect will be found in meekest humility, sitting at Jesus’ feet.

2. But another danger assailing young men, from the tendencies of the age, is Mammonism. Every one must see that, especially in commercial centres like this, the prevailing idolatry is the worship of the golden calf. The maxim of the day is that held up to scorn by the old Roman satirist, “Get riches, honestly if you can; but by all means, get riches;” and the prevailing heresy is, the determination at all hazards to be wealthy. Young man, ask thyself this, “What shall it profit me if I should gain the whole world and lose my own soul?” (W. M. Taylor, M. A.)

Safety for young men

The fact is that this life is full of peril. He who undertakes it without the grace of God and a proper understanding of the conflict into which he is going, must certainly be defeated. Just look off upon society to-day. Look at the shipwreck of men for whom fair things were promised, and who started life with every advantage. Look at those who have dropped from high social position, and from great fortune, disgraced for time, disgraced for eternity. All who sacrifice their integrity come to overthrow. Take a dishonest dollar and bury it in the centre of the earth, and keep all the rocks of the mountain on top of it; then cover these rocks with all the diamonds of Golconda, and all the silver of Nevada, and all the gold of California and Australia, and put on the top of these all banking and moneyed institutions, and they cannot keep down that one dishonest dollar. That one dishonest dollar in the centre of the earth will begin to heave and rock and upturn itself until it comes to the resurrection of damnation.

I. The first safeguard of which i want to speak is a love of home.

II. Another safeguard for young men is industrious habit. Young man, you must have industry of head, or hand, or foot, or perish! Do not have the idea that you can get along in the world by genius. The curse of this country to-day is geniuses--men with large self-conceit and nothing else.

III. Another safeguard that i want to present to young men is a high ideal of life. Sometimes soldiers going into battle shoot into the ground instead of into the hearts of their enemies. They are apt to take aim too low, and it is very often that the captain, going into conflict with his men, will cry out, “Now, men, aim high!” The fact is that in life a great many men take no aim at all. The artist plans out his entire thought before he puts it upon canvas, before he takes up the crayon or the chisel. An architect thinks out the entire building before the workmen begin. Although everything may seem to be unorganised, that architect has in his mind every Corinthian column, every Gothic arch, every Byzantine capital. A poet thinks out the entire plot of his poem before he begins to chime the cantos of tinkling rhythms. And yet there are a great many men who start the important structure of life without knowing whether it is going to be a rude Tartar’s hut or a St. Mark’s Cathedral, and begin to write out the intricate poem of their life without knowing whether it is to be a Homer’s “Odyssey” or a rhymester’s botch. Out of one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine have no life-plot. Booted and spurred and caparisoned, they hasten along, and I run out and say: “Hallo, man! Whither away?” “Nowhere!” they say.

IV. Another safeguard is a respect for the Sabbath. Tell me how a young man spends his Sabbath, and I will tell you what are his prospects in business, and I will tell you what are his prospects for the eternal world. God has thrust into our busy life a sacred day when we are to look after our souls. Is it exorbitant, after giving six days to the feeding and clothing of these perishable bodies, that God should demand one day for the feeding and clothing of the immortal soul?

V. The great safeguard for every young man is the Christian religion. Nothing can take the place of it. You may have gracefulness enough to put to the blush Lord Chesterfield; you may have foreign languages dropping from your tongue; you may discuss laws and literature; you may have a pen of unequalled polish and power; you may have so much business tact that you can get the largest salary in a banking house; you may be as sharp as Herod and as strong as Samson, and with as long locks as those which hung Absalom, and yet you have no safety against temptation. Your great want is a new heart, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I tell you so to-day, and the blessed Spirit presses through the solemnities of this hour to put the cup of life to your thirsty lips. Oh, thrust it not back r Mercy presents it--bleeding mercy, long-suffering mercy. Despite all other friendships, prove recreant to all other bargains, but despise God’s love for your dying soul--do not do that. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Self-indulgence does not get the most out of life

One of the most frequent pleas for self-indulgence is that life was given us that we might get the most out of it. We were born with so many capacities of enjoyment; would it not be foolish, not to say ungrateful, to leave them unsatisfied? The general principle to which appeal is here made is absolutely sound. God means us to get the most out f every gift of His providence. The question turns entirely upon the comparative merits of different means of attempting this. We do not get the most out of a two-hundred-pound piano if we use it for strumming dance music. We do not get the most out of a surgical instrument of finely tempered steel if we cut the leaves of a new magazine with it. We do not get the most out of a rapid newspaper-printing press if we set it to print post cards. In the same way, we should not get the most out of Mr. Edison by engaging him to repair motor cars, or out of Principal Fairbairn by placing him in charge of a class in a kindergarten. The only way to utilise either an instrument or a man to the full is to occupy that instrument or that man in the highest and most difficult service--a service limited only by the extent of capacity. From a merely business point of view, it is stupid policy to allow a high-grade apparatus to do a low-grade work. Such is the waste and such the degradation whenever a being, created in the image of God, surrenders himself to the temptation of the senses. He appraises himself at the minimum rate, not at the maximum. It is getting the least, not the most, out of life, to acquire only those things that “perish with the using.” (H. W. Horwill.)

I saw a great tumult, but I know not what it was.

Garbling the truth

The most delicate question in morals that people in general have to solve is, how far kindness justifies falsehood? How far may you veil or colour the truth in order to spare people’s feelings? In the short run, taking the one case by itself, tenderness seems better than truth. It seems more right to save your friend from pain than to tell him how things really stand. But in the long run, I fancy, pure truthfulness would give the most pleasure and save the most pain. Not, of course, that you need go about telling uncalled for truths; but all you do say shored be unswervingly straightforward. What comfort there is in a man or woman in whom you know there is no guile, in whose words you can wholly trust, without having to take off an unknown quantity that may have been put on to please you. On the other hand, people like the Irish, who are so kindly that they will be always garbling the truth into an agreeable shape--how they vex your soul--how you long for rough, homely truthfulness, instead of such “making things pleasant.” (Charles Buxton, M. P.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 18:29". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-samuel-18.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the king said, is the young man Absalom safe?.... Or, is there "peace"F6שלום לנער "estne pax puero?" V. L. "pax puero", Pagninus, Montanus. to him? you say there is peace, and that prosperity and success have attended my army; but what peace has Absalom? is he well, and in safety? David seemed more concerned for him than for his army and the success of it; and even suggests as if it was nothing if Absalom was not safe, so great were his affections towards him:

and Ahimaaz answered, when Joab sent the king's servant; which was Cushi, the first messenger, whose office perhaps it was to be one of the king's messengers, and therefore called his servant:

and me thy servant: Ahimaaz himself who was sent after the other:

I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was; he perceived that the tidings of the death of Absalom would be disagreeable to the king, and therefore concealed it from him; and though a good man, he cannot be excused from lying, for certainly he knew that Absalom was dead, as appears from 2 Samuel 18:19; though indeed what he said might be true, that after Joab had sent him and Cushi, as the Targum paraphrases it, he saw a company of people gathered together in a tumultuous manner, the meaning of which he knew not; but then this was no other than an evasion.

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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
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's k servant, and [me] thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what [it was].

(k) That is, Cushi, who was an Ethiopian.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-18.html. 1599-1645.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

In answer to the king's inquiry, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz replied, “I saw the great tumult (that arose) when Joab sent off the king's servant, and thy servant, and know not what” (sc., had occurred). Ahimaaz spoke as if he had been sent off before Absalom's fate had been decided or could be known. “The king's servant” is the Cushite, whom Ahimaaz saw just approaching, so that he could point to him. Joab is the subject, which is sometimes written after the object in the case of an infinitive construction (vid., Gesenius,

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-samuel-18.html. 1854-1889.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 18:29 And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and [me] thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what [it was].

Ver. 29. Is the young man Absalom safe?] Heb., Is there peace to Absalom? q.d., I reckon it no peace if Absalom partake not of it.

But I knew not what it was.] But he did know, as appeareth in 2 Samuel 18:19-20, &c. This, therefore, was a lie, and it was the product and punishment of his rashness in running, though Joab had dissuaded him.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-18.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The king’s servant, Cushi.

I knew not what it was; he seems to tell an untruth, as is evident from 2 Samuel 18:20, because he now plainly perceived what Joab foretold him, that such tidings would be very unwelcome to David. But he made a bad choice, to offend God with a lie, rather than to displease the king with a truth. Yet thus far it might be true, that though he had reason to think Absalom was dead, yet was not able to give account of the particulars which concerned it, wherewith Cushi was intrusted.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-18.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

29.The king’s servant — Cushi, who was now close by.

I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was — He knew the king’s son was dead, for Joab had told him, (2 Samuel 18:20;) but knowing the tenderness of David for Absalom, he would not be the herald of sad news to him. Josephus states that Ahimaaz obtained leave of Joab to run to David by assuring him that he would relate only the victory of his army, and not the death of Absalom.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-18.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

CHAPTER XVIII.

Else. This was false, ver. 20. (Calmet) --- But he wished not to communicate the bad news; for which reason he had got first to the king. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

and = even.

what it was = what [it meant].

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-18.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(29) Is . . . Absalom safe?—The king’s whole interest is centred in Absalom, and he cares for no other tidings. Ahimaaz skilfully, though untruthfully, evades the question. He had just been trained to untruthfulness in David’s service.

The king’s servant.—This can only refer to the Cushite; but by omitting the single letter which forms the conjunction in Hebrew, the phrase becomes “When Joab, the king’s servant, sent thy servant,” and so the Vulg. reads.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.
Is the young man Absalom safe? Heb
is there peace to, etc. I saw a great.
19,20,22
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-18.html.