Absalom Is Defeated
April 27 - Nº 117 2 Samuel 17:24 – 19:8
As an undercover agent in Absalom’s camp, Hushai was able to gather intelligence and secretly send it to David. He urged David to cross the Jordan River. If he didn’t Absalom’s army would easily find and defeat him. By the time Absalom and his troops were able to follow him to the other side, David had gathered a large army. The fortress of Manaheim had become their headquarters. People in the area supplied David and his men with everything they needed. David laid out a plan of action for his fighting men, then he announced that he would lead them into battle. But his commanders insisted that he stay inside the fortified city. So, David stood by the gate while his troops marched out. As they left, he shouted to each of his commanders, “For my sake, be merciful to my son, Absalom.” The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There, Israel’s troops, led by Absalom, were routed by David’s men. The casualties were great, and over 20,000 died. Absalom was fleeing from the battle on his mule when suddenly his hair got caught in the branches of a large tree. He was pulled off the mule and left hanging in the air—by his beautiful hair! Some of David’s men saw him dangling there and quickly ran to tell Joab. Joab was angry. “What? You saw him, and you didn’t kill him? I would have paid you ten pieces of silver and a warrior’s belt if you had!” But one of the men replied, “Even if you had offered me 10,000 pieces of silver, I would not have done it. I heard the king order you not to kill his son.” Joab grabbed three javelins. He found Absalom, who was still alive in the tree, and he plunged them into his heart. Then Joab blew a ram’s horn and his troops stopped chasing the army of Israel. They threw Absalom’s body into a large pit and covered it with stones. All the men who had fought for Absalom fled back across the Jordan River into Israel. When David heard the news that his son had been killed in the battle, he was heartbroken. He went to a room over the gateway of the fortress and cried out in anguish, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you!” News of this got back to the soldiers. They weren’t sure how to react. The joy of victory had turned into mourning. So, Joab confronted David, “Your troops put their lives on the line for you. They won the battle and saved your life, as well as the lives of all your family members. Now they feel discouraged and humiliated. They think you would prefer that they had died instead of your son. Yet, he was the one trying to kill you and destroy the whole nation! You need to get up and encourage them right now. If you don’t, they will leave you by nightfall, and things will be worse for you than they have ever been!” David listened to Joab. He pulled himself together and sat in his royal seat at the gate. Then all his men paraded before him to receive the honor they deserved.
Do your emotions ever hinder you from seeing circumstances the way they really are? Is there someone in your life who cares for you enough to confront you when you need to change your perspective? Do you listen when they try to correct you? Joab was able to refocus David and help him avoid a national catastrophe.