14:1 Joab [David’s nephew and general; willing to facilitate reconciliation between David and Absalom] son of Zeruiah knew that the king’s heart longed for Absalom.
14:2 So Joab [devised a plan to confront David and convince him to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem; Nathan had used a similar technique in 12:1-7] sent someone to Tekoa [located approx. 10 miles south of Jerusalem; Amos the prophet was from Tekoa (Amos 1:1)] and had a wise [or skillful (someone capable of acting out a role in a convincing manner)] woman [had to be old enough to look as though she could have two grown sons (see 14:6)] brought from there. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don’t use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead.
14:3-12 The woman told her sad story to David.
14:13 The woman said, “Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God [David’s refusal to bring back Absalom deprived him of a son and Israel of a potential king]? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son [Absalom who killed his own (half) brother]?
14:14 [the woman used a proverb to remind David that all people die] Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways [literally, “thinks thoughts;” by providing forgiveness and mercy to the penitent] so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
Note: How might God be encouraging you to seek reconciliation or to help others do so?
14:15-18 David sensed a hidden agenda and insisted the woman answer truthfully the question he was about to ask.
14:19 The king asked [David suspected that Joab had coached the woman], “Isn’t the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered [her answer indicates her perception of David’s powers of discernment], “As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything my lord the king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who instructed me to do this and who put all these words into the mouth of your servant.
14:20 Your servant Joab did this [woman defended Joab’s intention; Joab took a risk to bring David and Absalom back together] to change the present situation [literally “change the face of the matter” (David’s strained relationship with Absalom)]. My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God—he knows everything that happens in the land.”
Note: Read Romans 12:18. What steps could you take to move toward reconciliation or to help another do so?
14:21 The king said to Joab, “Very well, I will do it. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”
14:22 Joab [probably knew that his actions could have resulted in his dismissal or even death] fell with his face to the ground to pay him honor, and he blessed [literally means “to bend the knee”] the king. Joab said, “Today your servant knows that he has found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, because the king has granted his servant’s request.”
Note: How does Joab’s reaction to David show us how we should react to God’s grace and mercy?
14:23 Then Joab went to Geshur [an Aramean city-state just beyond the northeastern border of Israel (2 Sam. 3:3) where Absalom had lived in exile for three years] and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
Note: How do you think Joab must have felt when he brought Absalom back to Jerusalem?
14:24 But the king [failed to seize the opportunity for genuine reconciliation] said, “He must go to his own house; he must not see my face [reference to a person’s being or presence (cf. Ex. 10:11); David was unwilling to grant Absalom an audience].” So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king.
Note: What indicates David still harbored bitterness toward Absalom?
14:25-27 All of Israel was impressed with Absalom’s good looks. Absalom had three sons and a daughter named whom he named Tamar (apparently named after his sister).
14:28-31 Absalom had not seen David for two years and took drastic measures to get Joab’s attention.
14:32 Absalom [who lived at home but was still separated from his father; he was living in exile at home just as he had in Geshur] said to Joab, “Look, I sent word to you and said, ‘Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!”’ Now then [note how desperately Absalom wanted to see his father], I want to see [Absalom had not seen David for five years and wanted the matter resolved once and for all] the king’s face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.”
Note: Why is partial reconciliation no reconciliation at all?
14:33 So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground [the posture of a servant] before the king. And the king kissed [indicates affection; gesture of peace and good will] Absalom.