This has been a challenging time for David as he has left Jerusalem behind and he is now sending his few faithful warriors to battle for their lives. But the Lord was with them and in 2 Samuel 18:7–8 The army of Israel was defeated there before the servants of David, and the defeat there was great on that day … and the forest devoured more among the army than the sword did on that day”. This was also a very emotional time for David because Absalom his son was killed. Davids grief turned every heart to sorrow until Joab said in 2 Samuel 19:5–7 “Today you have humiliated the faces of all of your servants who have saved your life … get up and go out and speak kindly to your servants”. David did get up and began the work of reconciling all of Israel.
The Defeat There Was Great on That Day
2 Samuel 18:1–10
David and his group fled to the land of the Ammonites and in
2 Samuel 17:27-29 Just as David had arrived in Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites and Makir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought …
David was well received and the local leaders brought “supplies to the king’s tired and famished troops … Shobi’s older brother was Hanun, who had succeeded his father, Nahash, to the throne. He had fought unsuccessfully with David (2 Samuel 10–12), and David probably replaced him with his younger brother as the king of the Ammonites.1
David immediately prepares his troops but does not wait for Absalom and the army of Israel to come to him in
2 Samuel 18:1–2 Then David mustered the people who were with him, and he appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 David sent forth a third of the troops under the command of Joab, and a third under the command of Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, and the remaining third under the command of Ittai the Gittite”.
But his men refuse to let David go with them because he is the one that Absalom and his men need to kill so that Absalom can be the king.
David had subdued enemies all around Israel and he chose this as the place of refuge, also knowing that there would be a battle here so in
2 Samuel 18:6 The army went out to the field to meet Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim.
where “This rugged terrain provides a strategic advantage for David and his men because they are accustomed to hiding in the dense environment provided by forests (e.g., 1 Sam 22:5).”.2
David’s men had great success against Absalom and the army of Israel, but it was the forest that was their greatest ally in
2 Samuel 18:7–8 The army of Israel was defeated there before the servants of David, and the defeat there was great on that day: twenty thousand. 8 The battle there was spreading over the surface of all the land, and the forest devoured more among the army than the sword did on that day.
Today You Will Not be Bringing Good News
2 Samuel 18:11–21
Yahweh has Vindicated You Today
Go Out and Speak Kindly to Your Servants
2 Samuel 19:1–8
David grieves openly about the death of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel 19:1-2 and it was a very natural response even though Absalom had rebelled against David.
Davids grief was so strong, so public, that the victory of David’s few men was turned also to sorrow in
2 Samuel 19:3–4 The army came secretly into the city on that day because the army was disgraced when they fled in the battle, 4 and because the king had covered his face and cried with a loud voice, “My son, Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son.”
But David was the king. David was a leader of men. David was the anointed of God and the Lord had given him a great victory where hundreds had completely defeated thousands. So, Joab, David’s nephew, the commander of David’s army and David’s close confidant for many years comes to David and rebukes him in
2 Samuel 19:5–7 “Today you have humiliated the faces of all of your servants who have saved your life … 6 by loving those who hate you and hating those who love you … you have made clear … that were Absalom alive, and all of us were dead, then that would have been right in your eyes! 7 So then, get up and go out and speak kindly to your servants”
There are times when we cannot allow our emotions to control our actions. These people had followed David and fought at the risk of their own lives to preserve David’s place as king. Joab was right, this was a time to celebrate their great victory. This was a day for David to recognize all of his valiant men and in
2 Samuel 19:8 So the king got up and he sat in the gate, and they told all the army, “Look, the king is sitting in the gate.” Then all the army came before the king; whereas all of Israel had fled, each to his tent.
David was their king and the Lord had delivered them.
Your Servant Knows That I Have Sinned
2 Samuel 19:9–20
There was a great deal of disputing across the land because of Absalom trying to become king in 2 Samuel 19:9 but Absalom “has died in the battle” in 2 Samuel 19:10. So in
2 Samuel 19:11 Then King David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah: ‘Why are you last to bring back the king to his house? The talk of all Israel has come to the king in his house.
David offers forgiveness to those that had supported the rebellion by giving amnesty to Amasa, who “had been Absalom’s army commander (see 17:25)”.3
But David goes even farther and offers Amasa the position of commander of the army, the post that Joab has long held in
2 Samuel 19:13 To Amasa you shall say: ‘Are you not my bones and my flesh? May God punish me if you are not the commander of my army before me forever, in place of Joab.’ ”
Now, David has the support of the men of Judah in 2 Samuel 19:14 and David began the journey back to Jerusalem. But something unexpected happens, Shimei, the “relative of Saul who had cursed David. See 2 Sam 16:5–14”4
rushes to great David on his return and says in
2 Samuel 19:19 “May not my lord hold me guilty, and may you not remember how your servant did wrong on the day that my lord the king went out from Jerusalem”.
He then becomes one of the first to acknowledge his error and seek not only David’s forgiveness, but he offers his support to David as Israel’s rightful king in
2 Samuel 19:20 For your servant knows that I have sinned; look, I have come this day as the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.”
Why Should You Speak Any More About the Matter
2 Samuel 19:21–32
All the Men of Israel Were Coming to the King
2 Samuel 19:33–43
- 2 Samuel 18:1–10 The Defeat There Was Great on That Day
- 2 Samuel 19:1–8 Go Out and Speak Kindly to Your Servants
- 2 Samuel 19:9-20 Your Servant Knows That I Have Sinned
- 2 Samuel 18:1-33
- 2 Samuel 19:1-43
- 1. Dempster, S. G. (1992). Shobi (Person). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 5, p. 1224). New York: Doubleday.
- 2. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 18:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 3. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 19:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 4. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 19:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.