- The story told David of the widow of Tekoah, verse 1-20.
- Absalom is brought back to Jerusalem, but not to court, verse 21-24.
- An account of Absalom's person and children, verse 21-27.
- He is at length introduced to David, verse 28-33.
Was towards - He desired to see him, but was ashamed to shew kindness to one whom God's law and his own conscience obliged him to punish; he wanted therefore a fair pretence, which therefore Joab gave him.
Anoint - As they used to do when they were out of a mourning state.
Widow - One of them who most need thy compassion, and whom thou art by God's law obliged in a singular manner to relieve.
Be guiltless - If through thy forgetfulness or neglect of this my just cause, my adversaries prevail and destroy my son, my desire is, that God would not lay it to the king's charge, but rather to me and mine, so the king may be exempted thereby. Whereby she insinuates, that such an omission will bring guilt upon him; and yet most decently orders her phrase so as not to seem to blame or threaten the king. This sense seems best to agree with David's answer, which shew's that she desired some farther assurances of the king's care.
Remember - Remember the Lord, in whose presence thou hast made me this promise, and who will be a witness against thee, if thou breakest it.
Wherefore then - If thou shouldst not permit the avengers of blood to molest me, or to destroy my son, who are but two persons; how unreasonable is it that thou shouldest proceed in thy endeavours to avenge Amnon's blood upon Absalom, whose death would be grievous to the whole commonwealth of Israel, all whose eyes are upon him as the heir of the crown, and a wise, and valiant, and amiable person, unhappy only in this one act of killing Amnon, which was done upon an high provocation, and whereof thou thyself didst give the occasion by permitting Amnon to go unpunished? Faulty - By thy word, and promise, and oath given to me for my son, thou condemnest thyself for not allowing the same equity towards thy own son. It is true, Absalom's case was widely different from that which she had supposed. But David was too well affected to him, to remark that difference, and was more desirous than she could be, to apply that favourable judgment to his own son, which he had given concerning hers.
We - We shall certainly die, both thou, O king, who art therefore obliged to take care of thy successor, Absalom; and Absalom, who, if he do not die by the hand of justice, must shortly die by the necessity of nature: and Amnon too must have died in the common way of all flesh, if Absalom had not cut him off. Respect - So far as to exempt him from this common law of dying. Not expelled - He hath given laws to this purpose, that the man-slayer who is banished should not always continue in banishment, but upon the High-priest's death return to his own city.
The people - The truth is, I was even forced to this bold address to thee by the disposition of thy people, who are discontented at Absalom's perpetual banishment, lest, if Absalom by his father-in-law's assistance invade the land, the people who have a great kindness for him, and think he is very hard used, should take up arms.
Hear - For I know the king is so wise and just, that I assure myself of audience and acceptation. Deliver - To grant my request concerning my son, and consequently the peoples petition concerning Absalom. My son - Implying that her life was bound up in the life of her son, and that she could not outlive his death; (and supposing that it might be David's case also, and would therefore touch him in a tender part, though it were not proper to say it expressly:) and thereby suggesting, that the safety and comfort of the people of Israel, depended upon Absalom's restitution. Inheritance - That is, out of that land which God gave to his people to be their inheritance, and in which alone God hath settled the place of his presence and worship: whereby she intimates the danger of Absalom's living in a state of separation from God, and his house, amongst idolaters.
Angel - In wisdom, and justice, and goodness. Therefore - Because thou art so wise and gracious to those who in strict justice deserve punishment, God will own and stand by thee in this thy act of grace: or God will prosper thee in thy enterprizes.
Of Joab - Hast thou not said and done this by Joab's direction. Said - It is even so, thou hast discovered the truth. These words - As to the substance of them, but not as to all the expressions; for these were to be varied as the king's answer gave occasion.
To fetch - That is, to propose his, and the peoples desire of Absalom's restitution in this parabolical manner. In the earth - Or, in this land, in all thy kingdom; all the counsels and devices of thy subjects.
Fulfilled - But it seems David had no power to dispense with God's laws, nor to spare any whom God appointed him to destroy: for the laws of God bound the kings and rulers, as well as the people of Israel. How justly did God make this man, whom he had so sinfully spared, a scourge to him?
Let him turn - Lest whilst be shewed some mercy to Absalom, he should seem to approve of his sin. Likewise by this means Absalom might be drawn to a more thorough humiliation and repentance.
Beauty - This is noted as the occasion of his pride, and of the people's affection to him.
Weighed - Others understand this not of the weight, but of the price of his hair.
Sons - All which died not long after they were born, as may be gathered from chap. 18:18, where it is said, that Absalom had no son.
Kill me - For it is better for me to die, than to want the sight and favour of my dear father. Thus he insinuates himself into his father's affections, by pretending such respect and love to him It seems that by this time Absalom having so far recovered his father's favour, began to grow upon him, and take so much confidence as to stand upon his own justification, as if what he had done, had been no iniquity, at least not such as to deserve death. See how easily wise parents may be imposed on by their children, when they are blindly fond of them.
Kissed - Did the bowels of a father prevail to reconcile him to an impenitent son? And shall penitent sinners question the compassion of him who is the Father of mercy? If Ephraim bemoan himself, God soon bemoans him, with all the expressions of fatherly tenderness. He is a dear son, a pleasant child.