2 Samuel 14 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Pride. It’s an insidious attribute that destroys inwardly and outwardly. We’re too proud to admit we failed. Too proud to say we’re genuinely sorry. We’re too proud to do the right thing and even bring restoration to brokenness. We’ll often stick to our guns and cling to our pride as relationships go south.
The unfolding story here as David’s life continues has many layers. This chapter almost has too many to grasp. Strangely what I came back to was the pride found in both main characters: David and Absalom, which would continue to further unravel their standings and make it easy for the fulfillment of God’s words of heartache and hardship yet to come.
As David had not dealt with the rebellion of his son, the months turned to years and after 3 long ones, there had still been no attempt to make right this wrong. There had been no attempt even to reconcile. David’s silence would bring about a growing strength in Absalom that would ultimately bring a horrible division among the people. This was at the heart of Joab’s trickery with using a woman from Tekoa to speak to the king. National unity was at stake.
Much like the confrontation with Nathan, it took a story for the king to weigh in that mirrored his own decisions or lack thereof. But even when he did so, he still didn’t deal with it correctly. Although Absalom was granted access back to Jerusalem, he didn’t see his father 2 more years.
The ruthless unpredictable Absalom is captured as well. Having been used to getting what he wanted all his life, this one-time spoiled man spins his wheels trying to be restored to his father. The restoration to Jerusalem was just a half gesture and not a complete act of reconciliation. Absalom felt justified in the murder of Amnon because he had raped his sister. David’s silence on the matter then as well as in this current situation is building a wall of bitterness brick by brick. The amoral Absalom will do whatever he must to get back to see his father. This pattern of unpredictable sinful behavior will only escalate.
Pride was at the heart of both men’s actions. Yes, David should have dealt with this issue of his rebellious son way before. As years continued it made it more difficult for him to actually own his failure and in turn offer a genuine act of reconciliation. Absalom was used to getting his way and come hell or high water he would not make the first move either but rely on childish behavior to instigate what he demanded.
Pride destroys not only the personal, but the ripple effect also grows, affecting more than we can comprehend.
2 Samuel 14 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
David’s go-to plan of action always centered around waiting on the Lord. I’m speculating, but it’s possible this was the state of mind that was natural to him. In other words, he was more likely to wait for the right time to do something rather than burst forward impatiently. Like anything, this kind of attitude is beneficial when used properly, but detrimental in certain circumstances.
Just like David stepped back and waited after his daughter was raped by his son Amnon, he steps back once again when Absalom murders Amnon. We read of no response by David after either of these instances. In fact, we only read feelings. David was furious his daughter was raped but he did nothing. He grieves that his son Absalom murdered his other son Amnon, but he again does nothing. Now, in 2 Samuel 14, he is grieving the loss of Absalom and still doing absolutely nothing to reconcile the situation!
Feelings are not enough. We can feel convicted, yet do nothing about it. Sometimes because we feel something, we think that is good enough for God, but His desire is that we put our convictions into practice. David was a brilliant military commander, but when it came to managing his family, he seems to step away from the responsibility to lead.
We read he is challenged by a wise woman who was attempting to ignite a passion for reconciliation with Absalom. Sent by Joab, the plan worked. It is likely Joab was thinking more from a strategic angle since an estranged son who has just murdered his half-brother is not someone you want to have as an enemy. The key phrase of this chapter is found in verse 14.
“We will certainly die and be like water poured out on the ground, which can’t be recovered. But God would not take away a life; He would devise plans so that the one banished from Him does not remain banished.”2 Samuel 14:14 HCSB
Essentially, this woman is telling David to figure it out. God is not a God of grudges. It is not His nature to be estranged from His children. While we move away from Him, He is devising a plan to woo us back into His presence. Through this analogy, David understands that he must reach out to Absalom. Once David saw the plan of God made clear, he was all in.
Sometimes, like us, David just wanted to avoid conflict and conviction and step back. We must be diligent in seeking the Lord but we must also be ready to step into our responsibilities when the time is right.