2 Samuel 15:5-14
15:5 [Absalom acted to intercept those who came to Jerusalem with problems (15:1-4)] Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down [because Absalom was a prince or because people considered him to be a powerful person] before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him [a display of false humility meant to manipulate people and to undermine his father David].
Note: What are some methods people use to manipulate others? How do you recognize when you are being manipulated? How can you help others understand what is happening to them when they are being manipulated?
Note: Read Proverbs 12:6; 15:1 and 16:24 to learn more about the power of words for good and bad.
15:6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all [not just the wealthy and powerful] the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts [by leading people to believe that in him they had a friend in the royal court] of the men of Israel.
15:7 At the end of four years [time reckoned from the time of Absalom’s reunion with David (14:33); Absalom had quietly undermined David’s authority by casting doubt about the king’s concern for his subjects], Absalom said [his request was reasonable and raised no alarms] to the king, “Let me go to Hebron [located about twenty miles south of Jerusalem] and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.
About Hebron (15:7)
• Abraham lived & worshiped there Gen. 13:18
• Sarah buried there Gen. 23:19
• Abraham buried there Gen. 25:9
• A city of refuge Josh. 20:7
• A Levitical city Josh. 21:11
• David crowned king of Judah 2 Sam. 2:4; 5:1-3
• Absalom’s birthplace 2 Sam. 3:2-3
• How would you define ambition?
• Why is it important that our ambition be grounded in the will and purposes of God?
• When does ambition become dangerous??
• What are some practical ways to bridle our ambitions rather than doing irreparable damage to other people?
15:8 While your servant was living at Geshur [Absalom spent three years there after killing Amnon (2 Sam. 13:37-38)] in Aram [term that signifies Syria], I made this vow [his vow had been made at least six-years earlier; vows must be fulfilled promptly (cf. Deut. 23:21; Ecc. 5:5)]: ‘If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron.’”
15:9 The king [suspected no evil intent] said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.
15:10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel [indicates Absalom had support in every tribe] to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets [signaled an important announcement; typically accompanied the announcement of a new king (cf. 1 Kings 1:34; 2 Kings 9:13)], then say [Absalom’s announcement was to be made as simultaneously as possible throughout the land], ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’”
15:11 Two hundred men [may have included some of David’s key administrators and advisors] from Jerusalem [the absence of some of David’s key people would have deprived David of their counsel and aid after Absalom’s announcement (15:10)] had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently [indicates that these individuals were pawns in Absalom’s plot], knowing nothing about the matter.
15:12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices [perhaps a pretense to add the appearance of propriety to his actions], he also sent for Ahithophel [Bathsheba’s grandfather (2 Sam. 11:3; 23:34); his siding with Absalom may have helped Absalom’s conspiracy to gain strength; a valuable and respected advisor as per 2 Sam. 16:23] the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy [illegal, subversive plot] gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing [indication that many were dissatisfied with David’s leadership].
15:13 A messenger [perhaps a resident of Hebron; apparently someone loyal to David] came and told David, “The hearts of the men of Israel [reference to Israel’s army (cf. 1 Sam. 7:11; 14:24)] are with Absalom.”
15:14 Then David said [note that David weighed and understood the impact of his decision on others] to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or [David understood the potential danger to himself and his staff] none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or [David understood the potential danger to the residents of Jerusalem] he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword.”