Reading through the Bible together
We know that the end of chapter 14 took place after David was already living in Jerusalem when after five years the reconciliation of David and Absalom took place. Absalom had killed his brother Amnon out of self-appointed justice with pre-meditated murder. He had burnt Joab’s field and in one sense “stole” his property.
But the theft-problem of Absalom grew larger as the years went by. “And it came to pass at the end of forty years” (v. 7), which was at the end of David’s reign, Absalom began to steal the loyalty of the hearts of the citizens from David to himself. It escalated to such proportions that he asked from his father permission to worship God in Hebron inspite of the fact that they worshiped God in Jerusalem where the ark was.
Absalom was very cunning and cleverly arranged a rebellion against his father. “And the conspiracy was strong” (v. 12). So David decided to flee (verse 13). And many people went out of the city with David, even a foreigner vowed to be loyal to him similar to what we see in the book of Ruth (v. 21). And David let them pass over the Kidron with him (vv. 22, 23).
But David sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar back to Jerusalem with the ark of the Lord (v. 25). David also arranged a spy-network that would work closely with Absalom in Jerusalem and yet keep him informed of Absalom’s plans. The sons of the two priests would participate in the spy operations (v. 36). David thus set up a loyalty plan. He had no intention of killing his son and wished Hushai to serve his son just like he served him (v. 34). David prayed that God would send foolishness in the heart of Absalom’s counselor Ahithophel who was advising Absalom every day (v. 31).
We are again reminded that the scribe seemed to weave together anecdotes, bits and pieces of events around the same topic and what we read is a string of events revealing events of the palace life of David. The Holy Spirit wished transparency to be in the description of these events. Sometimes the bits and pieces are not chronologically in order, but that does not change the picture. The foolishness, the covetousness, the self-appointed attitudes, the cunningness, the theft of loyalty, all display signs of a Rebellion that started in Heaven.
Also we, o Lord, are entangled in the drama of the Great Struggle that started in Heaven’s Rebellion. Grant that this day we will seek to be loyal to You rather than to ourselves, serve rather than rule, ask rather than command. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea