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The Woman Of Tekoah And The Promise In Eden

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CHAPTER 14 Jul. 28 
Plea for Absalom
Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was towards Absalom. 2Joab sent to Tekoa and fetched there a wise woman and said to her, Please act like a mourner, and please put on mourning clothing and don’t anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has mourned a long time for the dead. 3Go in to the king, and speak like this to him. So Joab put the words in her mouth. 4When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, showed respect and said, Help, O king! 5The king said to her, What ails you? She answered, Truly I am a widow, and my husband is dead. 6Your handmaid had two sons, and they both fought together in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other and mudered him. 7Behold, the whole family has risen against your handmaid and they say, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he murdered, and so destroy the heir also’. Thus they would quench my coal which is left, and would leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the surface of the earth. 8The king said to the woman, Go to your house, and I will give a command concerning you.9The woman of Tekoa said to the king, My lord O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house; and the king and his throne be guiltless. 10The king said, Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you any more. 11Then she said, Please let the king remember Yahweh your God so that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son. He said, As Yahweh lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the earth. 12Then the woman said, Please let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king. He said, Say on. 13The woman said, Why then have you devised such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring home again his banished one. 14For we must die, and are as water split on the ground, which can’t be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means that he who is banished not be an outcast from him. 15Now therefore seeing that I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and your handmaid said, ‘I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant’. 16For the king will hear, to deliver his servant out of the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. 17Then your handmaid said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king bring rest; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad. May Yahweh your God be with you’. 18Then the king answered the woman, Please don’t hide anything from me that I ask you. The woman said, Let my lord the king now speak. 19The king said, Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?
Absalom Brought Back to Jerusalem
The woman answered, As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken; for your servant Joab, he urged me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid; 20to change the face of the matter has your servant Joab done this thing. My lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are on the earth. 21The king said to Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing. Go therefore, bring the young man Absalom back. 22Joab fell to the ground on his face, showed respect, and blessed the king. Joab said, Today your servant knows that I have found grace in your sight, my lord o king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant. 23So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24The king said, Let him return to his own house, but let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and didn’t see the king’s face. 25Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26When he cut the hair of his head (now it was at every year’s end that he cut it; because it was heavy on him, therefore he cut it); he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king’s weight. 27To Absalom there were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a beautiful appearance. 28Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem; and he didn’t see the king’s face. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but he would not come to him: and he sent again a second time, but he would not come. 30Therefore he said to his servants, Behold, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire. Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31Then Joab arose and came to Absalom to his house and said to him, Why have your servants set my field on fire? 32Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent to you saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king to say, Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there is iniquity in me, let him kill me’. 33So Joab came to the king and told him; and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.


14:8-10 The slayer of innocent blood was to be slain without pity, and this would in fact bring some kind of blessing: "that it may go well with you" (Dt. 19:13). But David seems to have stepped up to a higher level when he told the woman of Tekoah that he would protect her son from revenge murder, after he had slain another man. The woman pointed out that if her son was slain, the inheritance would be lost in her husband's name. Here was a case where two principles seemed to be at variance: the need to slay the guilty, and the need to preserve the inheritance. The higher level was to forgive the slayer of innocent blood, even though the Law categorically stated that he should be slain.

14:11 The woman of Tekoah wanted David to show mercy, and so she says: "Let the king remember Yahweh your God”. To be aware of who Yahweh is, of the characteristics outlined in Ex. 34:5-7 that comprise His Name… this must surely affect our behaviour, seeing we bear that Name. It is an understanding of the Name that inspires our faith in forgiveness and our ability to show grace.

14:13 The woman understood the implications of the promise in Eden when she tells David that God “devises means” to bring back the banished and expelled to Him. Whom did God banish? Adam, and all his children. But God ‘devised means’ through the promises of Gen. 3:15 so that this banishment was not permanent expulsion. The means devised was the death and resurrection of His Son, the seed of the woman. But the woman’s point was that as God sought to restore His banished sons, through the pain and cost to Him of the blood of His Son, so we ought to likewise be inspired to win back the banished. And so we look to those banished from ecclesial life by disfellowship, church politics, personal animosities of past decades, or simply their own outright sins; or those marginalized by poverty, education, disability, health, geography… these are the banished whom we ought to be winning back.

14:14 Her point was that as God in some sense breaks His own laws, e.g. that sin leads to permanent death, so surely David likewise could have the same spirit of grace and bring about the salvation of someone rightly appointed to death. Legalism fails to understand grace.

14:20 The woman thought that Angels know everything and therefore David was like an Angel (2 Sam. 14:20). Angels don’t know everything (Mt. 24:36). Yet the woman’s immature concept isn’t corrected, just as wrong understandings of demons weren’t.