Absalom Pursues David

2 Samuel 17-18

Are you someone who enjoys a good spy movie?

A) The Chapters we are going to consider tonight have all the ingredients of a good spy movie.

B) There is espionage – Absalom – son of King David has gathered followers in Israel – seeking to over throw his Dad

1) He has his Dad and those who were loyal to him on the run.

C) There is the trusted friend and Advisor in Ahithophel – who has been nursing a hidden grudge against David { Bathsheba –He Betrays David}

1) Ahithophel has teamed up with Absalom to help plan and lead this over throw.

D) Then You have the spies: Hushai – an older man also a counselor and advisor to the king – who is still Loyal to David

1) But who at David’s request has stayed in the city to act as a spy – to give counsel that is opposite of Ahithophel's

D) Then you have the Priest: Zadok and Abiathar who are also pretending to be on Absalom’s side

1) Then you have the sons of Zadok – Ahimaaz and Jonathan who are the secret messengers for Zadok and Hushai –

E) Their job is to get word to King David on the movements of Absalom

F) So in this one story you have all the mystery suspense and intrigue of a good spy movie { Let's see how it breaks down

RD V.1-3

Here we find Ahithophel advised urgency /advising for a quick, selective attack against David -while David was still west of the Jordan River.

A) But what is interesting to me is that the advisor is volunteering to lead the chase and to personally take down David –

B) that is how strong his bitterness toward David was

 4 And the saying pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

A) Ahithophel's plan was smart. It was bold and had a high probably of success

it would spare Israel a protracted civil war between the supporters of David and the supporters of Absalom.

B) But Absalom does an unusual thing here concerning the counsel of Ahithophel 1) See Ahithophel had the reputation for hearing the voice of God – THE WISE COUNSELOR

C) Everyone liked his counsel including Absalom – but then Absalom asked for a second opinion - Enter Spy #1 Hushai

RD V.5-13

We can imagine that Hushai's heart sank when heard of the smart plan Ahithophel suggested.

A) He had to quickly think of a counter-plan so that he could defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, as David asked him to do in 2 Samuel 15:32-35.

B) The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time 

1) Here is why you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men:

C) Hushai refers to the David of the past, not the David of the present.

1) Hushai saw David with his own eyes and saw that he was not strong and mighty at this time but was heart broken and bewildered


D) Hushai knew David could barely keep himself together, but he effectively painted the picture that David and his men were dangerous and should not be attacked quickly.

E) He hoped that Absalom would vividly remember the David of the past.

Like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field . . . by now he is hidden is some pit: {Not to be taken lightly!


Hushai's point is that it was too risky to attack David immediately.

A) We can imagine that he said all this praying that God would indeed answer David's prayer and defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.

B) So He advises that Absalom gather a more united front – all of Israel –

1) this advice would buy David some time to further escape as well as time to regroup and get organized with his men.

C) His counsel would take weeks to get such a force together- giving David time to escape and regroup

Result V.14

So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel." THIS WAS A FIRST

For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom.

D) I think One reason Absalom liked Hushai's advice was because it appealed to his vanity. Big army – big forces –

1) But the real reason is the Lord was behind this


The Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel: This was the greater reason why the advice of Ahithophel was rejected.

A) God was in control. The throne of Israel belonged to Him, and He could grant it or deny at His will.

 "This is one of the great principles of life which every page of the Bible emphasizes and illustrates. Men cannot escape God. They go their own way, but that way never sets them free from the authority and the invincible power of God." (Morgan)


  RD V.15-16

B) So Hushai sends word to the priest the other spies who get word to the messengers – to take the word to David.

RD V.17-23


Ahithophel's reaction: Suicide 'He put his house in order, and hanged himself.' A) To put his house in order, showed that he was a prudent man; to hang himself, proved that he was a fool.

B) Herein is a strange mixture of discretion and desperation, mind and madness.

C) Suicide is never a solution. I think that suicide is one of the cruelest things that a person can do. Because it creates such guilt feelings on all who are left.

1) Everybody blames themselves for a suicide. "Why didn’t I do this, if I’d only said that, maybe if I had done this...",

D) A person just beats himself to death mentally, because of a suicide of a friend or a member of the family.

1) They feel that somehow they could have prevented it.

E) Why did Ahithophel do this ? Pride couldn’t handle the rejection of not being the top dog anymore

Dobson’s Dad – He put his house in order and sacrificed being the top dog


RD V.24-29 David finds supporters in Gilead.

A) NOTE: THREE men came and ministered to David and his men

They are interesting men

B) Shobi, the son of Nahash

1) Back in 2 Sam. 10 we remember how David sent messengers to Hanum, the son of Nahash, that Hanum cut off 1/2 their beards and cut off their robes

C) When David heard how his messengers of condolence were treated he got his men together and warred against them

D) Well Shob is the brother of Hanum

1) He could have said: "ME help DAVID?" No way

E) He had every reason to take that attitude { But he was above that !

I was reading this morning in my Devotions – Oswald Chambers my Utmost for his highest – Today’s theme was on not being Carnal

A) Problems in Corinth was strife and divisions which were signs of their Carnality and spiritual immaturity

B) Chambers said when do you know that you have grown in this area?

"What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, "If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!" Chambers

C) A spirit of Grace replaces Spirit of Resentment!

The 2nd guy is MAKIR, the son of Ammiel

A) He is the man that was taking care of Mephibosheth while Mephibosheth was in hiding in Lodebar (2 Sam.9:4)

B) He could have said: "Me help David now - I’ve already given... I’ve been taking care of a lame guy for years.... Let somebody else carry the load"

C) He could have said I am tired but instead he saw an opportunity to serve and took it!

3rd guy is BARZILLAI

A) We will see this guy later on - He is 80 years old

B) He could have said: "I’m OLD" too old to get involved

C) See these are the SAME three reasons that you hear ALL of the time for NOT serving the Lord...

D) They don’t deserve my help because they didn’t treat me right last time

1) or I am always volunteering – I am going to sit this one out this time

2) Or I am too old – I will let the younger people tend to that.

E) These guys don’t do that – they are a great example to us.


V.1-2 And David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.2 Then David sent out one third of the people under the hand of Joab, one third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite.

David knew just what to do in organizing his army. He sets them into three divisions under the leadership of Joab, Abishai and Ittai the Gittite.

A) Ittai had just showed up a few days before He was a former General of the philistines who had bonded with David – showing his allegiance

v.2b And the king said to the people, "I also will surely go out with you myself."

3 But the people answered, "You shall not go out! For if we flee away, they will not care about us; nor if half of us die, will they care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us now. For you are now more help to us in the city."

B) There was no way the people wanted to run the risk of losing David   You shall not go out! 

  1) His life was more valuable (you are worth ten thousand of us)

 C) I think they also understood that it would be hard for David to fight against his own son Absalom

David receives their counsel

4 Then the king said to them, "Whatever seems best to you I will do." So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands 

David was not stubborn. He knew how to submit to the good advice of others. He did not give up leadership; he practiced good leadership by listening to the wise advice of the people around him.

Husbands wives

Older women to the younger –

Young men older men

Kills me people seek advise and then don’t follow it

David's command to the three captains.

5 Now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains orders concerning Absalom.

A) David wanted it clearly known that Absalom was to be captured alive and not mistreated in any way.


B) All the people heard: David gave this commandment in the presence of all the people so that the captains would feel greater pressure to do what David commanded.


RD V.6-8

RD V. 9-17 Joab kills Absalom.

Absalom's vanity sent him in this battle, against the wise counsel of Ahithophel

A) But Absalom doesn't seem like a great general, riding a mule into battle.


B) Absalom was noted for his good looks and his luxurious hair (2 Samuel 14:25-26). What was his glory was now his curse – { So true

1) Absalom is literally caught by his own hair in the thick trees of the forest.

C) Now Joab didn't hesitate to strike Absalom, though he knew David commanded him not to.

He took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom's heart

D) Joab was convinced that it was in David best interest and in Israel's best interest to show Absalom justice, not mercy.

 1) We might say that Joab was correct but not right. He was correct in understanding that it was better for David and for Israel that Absalom was dead.

E) He was not right in disobeying King David, the God-appointed authority over him. Joab’s bad example { 10 young men beat Absalom to death


They took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him:

A) Joab wanted to make sure that Absalom's body was not memorialized as an inspiration to other followers or future rebels.


B) All Israel fled, everyone to his tent: This means Absalom's army was in full retreat. David's forces completely carried the day.


C) Absalom’s pillar.

Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King's Valley. For he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance." He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom's Monument.

D) This is ironic to me Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself: This is what we would expect from self-centered, self-promoting Absalom.

E) Joab made sure that Absalom did not have a memorial in death, but Absalom made himself a memorial in life.

Side note:

b. I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: Absalom did have three sons (2 Samuel 14:27). From this statement we surmise that they died before their father did.


RD V.19-27

A) Ahimaaz wanted to take David the news of Israel's victory and Absalom's death. But Joab wanted to spare Ahimaaz the son of Zadok the burden of being the messenger of bad news.

B) But he begs to run anyway Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite:

C) Since the messenger was someone David knew (Ahimaaz), he assumed it was good news (He is a good man, and comes with good news). RD v,28-32

 So David learns of Absalom’s death from the Cushite, who arrives after Ahimaaz.

A) Is the young man Absalom safe? This was David's only concern.

B) He should have been more concerned for Israel as a nation than for his traitor son.. Natural to a parent - no matter how bad – concerned for their kids

1) Others might not love them – but you do – others might give up on them but you don’t


 C) NOTE: There are some interesting insights from these two messengers

1) Ahimaaz is the fastest the most energetic and the most zealous

D) Cushi is a slower runner that is overtaken in the race to get the news to David

1) But Ahimaaz couldn’t give the whole story

Cushi on the other hand had the whole story

A) QUESTION: Are you an Ahimaaz (running fast but not fully equipped) or are you a Cushi?

B) There are many believers like Ahimaaz......

1) Ready to serve... Zealous.... Ready to get going.....

C) But they don’t know what to say – they don’t know what they are doing !

D) Cushi was SLOWER... Not as quick, not as fast....

1) But he had the whole message


Zeal without knowledge can cause a lot of problems

THAT is why Paul said to Timothy

2 Tim 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

In other words - Timothy, it’s important that you deliver the goods

THAT is why Paul went on to say to Timothy 2 Tim 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

A) The Cushi’s are the ones IN THE WORD


2 Sam 18:33

Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus:"O my son Absalom -- my son, my son Absalom -- if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"


A) The king was deeply moved: The Hebrew idea of deeply moved implies a violent trembling of the body.

B) David felt completely undone at hearing the news of Absalom's death.


C) In part, David was so deeply moved because he knew that he supplied the soil this tragedy grew from.


D) David saw his sins, his weaknesses, his rebellion exaggerated in Absalom.


"Everything in the story leads up to, and culminates in, this wail of anguish over his dead boy . . . Five times he repeated the words, 'my son.' " (Morgan)


If only I had died in your place: David wanted to die in the place of his rebellious son.

What David could not do, God did by dying in the place of rebellious sinners.


"So in the cry of David, we actually hear the cry of God, for His lost children. His desire to restore, His desire to forgive." (Smith)