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CHAPTER 15 Jul. 29 
Absalom Wins the Hearts of the People
It happened after this, that Absalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate. It was so, that whenever any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgement, then Absalom called to him and said, What city are you from? He said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. 3Absalom said to him, Behold, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputised by the king to hear you. 4Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that each man who has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice! 5It was so, that when any man came near to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand and took hold of him and kissed him. 6Absalom did this sort of thing to all Israel who came to the king for judgement. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7It happened at the end of forty years that Absalom said to the king, Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to Yahweh, in Hebron. 8For your servant vowed a vow while I stayed at Geshur in Syria saying, ‘If Yahweh shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh’. 9The king said to him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. 10But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’. 11Two hundred men went with Absalom out of Jerusalem, who were invited and went in their innocence; and they didn’t know anything. 12Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. The conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom. 13A messenger came to David saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. 14David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for else none of us shall escape from Absalom. Make speed to depart, lest he overtake us quickly and bring evil down upon us and strike the city with the edge of the sword. 15The king’s servants said to the king, Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.
David Flees Jerusalem
16The king went forth, and all his household after him. The king left ten women, who were concubines, to keep the house. 17The king went forth, and all the people after him; and they stayed in Beth Merhak. 18All his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men who came after him from Gath, passed on before the king. 19Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, Why do you also go with us? Return, and stay with the king; for you are a foreigner, and also an exile. Return to your own place. 20Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us, since I go where I may? Return, and take back your brothers. Mercy and truth be with you. 21Ittai answered the king and said, As Yahweh lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will your servant be. 22David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones who were with him. 23All the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over towards the way of the wilderness. 24Behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people finished passing out of the city. 25The king said to Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city. If I find grace in the eyes of Yahweh, He will bring me again, and show me both it, and His dwelling place; 26but if He say thus, ‘I have no delight in you;’ behold, here am I. Let Him do to me as seems good to Him.
Zadok Sent Back to Jerusalem
27The king said also to Zadok the priest, Aren’t you a seer? Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28Behold, I will stay at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me. 29Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem; and they stayed there. 30David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered, and went barefoot: and all the people who were with him covered each man his head; so they went up, weeping as they went up. 31Someone told David saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. David said, Yahweh, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. 32It happened that when David had come to the top, where God was worshipped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn, and earth on his head. 33David said to him, If you pass on with me, then you will be a burden to me; 34but if you return to the city and tell Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king. As I have been your father’s servant in time past, so will I now be your servant; then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel’. 35Don’t you have Zadok and Abiathar the priests there with you? Therefore it shall be, that whatever thing you shall hear out of the king’s house, you shall tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send to me everything that you shall hear. 37So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city; and Absalom came into Jerusalem.


15:8 If Yahweh shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh- Absalom was quoting the words of Jacob in Gen. 28:20,21. But a little reflection ought to have shown that these were the words of Jacob in a very weak part of his life. Both Jacob and Absalom should’ve wanted to serve God anyway, whether or not He gave them blessing in this life. Absalom thought that all would be good for him just by quoting the words of the Bible and thus identifying himself with a righteous man (even though he paid no attention to the context of his quotation). This kind of surface level Biblicism and spirituality can easily happen today as a cover for simply doing what the flesh naturally wants to do.

15:13 The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom- The record of the various rebellions against David show how fickle are the hearts of men; they changed loyalty so easily according to whatever seemed to offer them the most immediate advantage; just as a study of the theme of “the crowds” in the Gospels shows the same. For all their apparent culture, sophistication and education, people’s hearts today are the same, and we can never trust in human loyalty generally; although our experience with God’s people can be amazingly better.

15:23 The brook Kidron- David’s exit from Jerusalem has many similarities with Christ’s crossing the brook Kidron and the mount of Olives (:30) and going to His death, surrounded by a few faithful followers who had promised to follow Him to the death (:21 = Mt. 26:35). The support which David had within the Jerusalem leadership points forward to that of Joseph and Nicodemus for Christ at the time of His betrayal and final rejection.