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A. M. 2949. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4341. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. i–xix. his own resentment that every one believed he had taken her, was to convince the king, that in some cases the life no notice of it. But about two years after, under the of a murderer might be saved. The woman Joab intropretence of a sheep-shearing entertainment, which in duced; and when she had told her tale, so as to induce those countries used to be attended with great mirth and the king to a compliance with her feigned petition, sho jollity, he invited his friends and relations, and with the gave him at length to know, that the case she had been king's consent, though himself declined going, all the stating was Absalon's : and that if, in a private man, the princes of the blood, and more especially his brother king was disposed to be merciful, there was much more Amnon, to his country seat at Hazor ; where while they reason for his pardoning his own son, whose absence the were engaged in feasting and drinking, bis servants, by people lamented, and for whom they had so general an his direction, and through the promise of an impunity, affection. fell upon Amnon, as Absalom gave the signal, and im- The king, being apprized that Joab liad put the woman mediately despatched him. This put the rest of the upon this artifice, ordered him to recall Absalom, but princes into such a consternation, that they made the best a confined him to live in his own house, and, as yet, of their way from the house, as expecting the like fate, would not seem so far reconciled to him, as to admit him and the king, when he heard the first news of the thing, into his presence. But, at the end of two years, Absasupposing that Absalom had killed all the rest of his lom prevailed with Joab to intercede further for a full brothers, was thrown into the utmost grief and despair, pardon, and to introduce him to the king, who, upon his till, by the information of Jonadab, who seems to have humbling himself and begging pardon, took him up from been privy to the design, and the safe arrival of the the ground, where he lay prostrate, and gave him a kiss, other princes, he was certified that Amnon only was as a token of his forgiveness and royal favour. dead; but his death alone was matter of sorrow and la- Absalom was certainly one of the most comely persons mentation enough.
in all Israel, without the least blemish from top to toe, Absalom, who knew very well how highly his father and with a head of hair, which in those days was thought would resent this treacherous and barbarous murder, a great beauty, prodigiously long and thick, so that his fled to his mother's relations, and was entertained by person drew every one's eye to him, as soon as he was his grandfather, Talmai, at Geshur, for three years. But, restored to favour at court. But as Amnon, his eldest length of time having worn out David's grief, and Joab brother, was slain, and Chileah, his second, by this time perceiving that he had a secret desire to see Absalom dead, he began to look upon himself as presumptive again, if he could but find out a handsome excuse for heir to the crown, and thereupon to affect a state and such a purpose, procured a good artful woman 0 from equipage greater than usual. He provided himself with Tekoah, who c in a speech, which he had contrived for chariots and horses, and had a guard of fifty men to at
tend his person : but, notwithstanding this, he would be did not threaten, nor so much as expostulate with him, or take e so obsequious and humble, as to stoop to the meanest any notice of what had passed, though, in reason he ought to have been more afraid that he was meditating a terrible revenge: according to the lesson which the mouse gave her young one, when brother whom he slew, and we will destroy the heir also: and she perceived her atlrighted at the noise of the crowing cock, but so they shall quench my coal that is left,' that is, deprive me regardless of the sly approaches of the cat, namely, " That there of the little comfort of my life which remains, and is, as it were, was no danger to be feared from the fluttering cock, but from the a coal buried in the ashes, and leave to my husband neither silent cat present death.”—Patrick's Commentary.
name nor remainder upon the earth,' (2 Sam, xiv. 4, &c.) Now . In the case of wilful murder, the law is, • That the avenger the scope of all this speech was to frame a case as like to David's i of blood shall slay the murderer; when he meeteth him he shall as she could devise, that, by prevailing with him to determine it
slay him,’ (Num. xxxv. 21.) from whence it seems to follow, that in her favour, he might be convinced, how much more reasonit was not in any man's power to protect the wilful murderer, be able it was to preserve Absalom. But, how plausible soever the Cause the avenger of blood, that is, the nearest relation of the per- likeness might be, there was a wide difference between her case son murdered, might, with impunity, wherever he met him, kill and his: for her son, as she pretended, was slain in a scuffle with him. As Absalom therefore had committed a designed murder, his brother; whereas Amnon was taken off
' by a premeditated his own life was every moment in danger; and as there were no murder: he was slain in the field, where there were no witnesses, cities of refuge in his own country, that, in this case, would whether the fact was wilfully done or no; whereas, all the king's yield him protection, he was forced to fly out of the kingdom to his sous, saw Amuon barbarously murdered by his brother: and, mother's father.- Patrick's Commentary.
lastly, he was her only son, by whom alone she could hope to have 6 Tekoah was a city in the tribe of Judah, which lay south of her husband's name perpetuated; whereas David's family was in Jerusalem, and about twelve miles distant from it. And herein no danger of being extinct, even although he had given up Abdoes Joab's cunning appear not a little, that he made choice of a salom to justice. But there was a great deal of policy in not Woman rather than a man, because women can more easily ex- making the similitude too close and visible, lest the king should press their passions, and sooner gain pity in their miseries; a perceive the drift of the woman's petition, before she had obtainwidow, which was a condition of life proper to move compassion; ed a grant of pardon for her son, and came to make the applicaa grave woman, as Josephus calls her, which made her better tion to the king: and though, upon her making the application, fitted for addressing the king; and a woman not known at Jeru- the king might have argued the disparity of the two cases, yet he salem, but living at some distavce in the country, that the case thought proper to wave this, and admit her reasoning to be good, which she was to represent, might not to readily be inquired because he was as desirous to have Absalom recalled as were into.- Poole's Annotations.
any of his subjects.- Patrick's Commentary. c The art and contrivance of this widow of Tekoah's speech is d This small severity to Absalom, small in comparison of the very remarkable. When the woman of Tekoab spake to the heinousness of his crime, David might think necessary, not only king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and to put upon him a sincere humiliation and repentance for what said, Help, 0 king! And the king said to her, What aileth he had done, when he found that the king, indulgent as he was, tbee? And she said, I am indeed a widow woman, and my had not fully pardoned him, but to convince the people likehusband is dead, and thy handmaid bad two sons, and the two wise, how detestable his crime was in the king's esteem, and how strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, averse he would be to pass by the liko in another person, who but the one smote the other and slew him; and behold the whole could not endure the sight of a son, whose hand was defiled with family is risen against thy handmaid, and they say, deliver him a brother's blood. - Patrick's Commentary. that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his e It is an observation of Plato, that when any one intends to
A. M. 2919. A. C. 1057; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4341. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. i-xix. people that had any thing to say to him; would offer | The king, little suspecting his hidden design, and being his service to solicit every one's cause that had any desirous that all religious services should be punctually business at court; and, upon proper occasions, not fail performed, gave him free leave to go, and wished him a to instil into the people's minds a bad opinion of the good journey. Hebron was the place of his own natipresent administration, as if the public affairs were ne-vity, and where the royal seat had been, in the beginglected, but that, if he were at the helm, things should ning of David's reign; and therefore he thought it the be conducted at an other-guise rate.
properest for his wicked enterprise. And no soones a By these arts and insinuations, which were advanta- was he settled there, but he sent his emissaries about geously seconded by the comeliness of his person, as to sound the inclinations of the several tribes, and to we said, and the familiarity of his address, he gained to exhort those whom they should gain over to his party, himself the affections of the people, and insensibly to be ready to take up arms e as soon as they should alienated them from David. 6 When therefore he ima- hear that he was proclaimed king. gined that matters were ripe for his purpose, he desired This occasioned a general insurrection. Absalom was leave of bis father to go to Hebron, pretending that he the nation's darling; and, upon this summons, d people had vowed a vow, in his exile, that whenever it should Hocked to him from every part: so that David, who please God to bring him back to Jerusalem, he would had intelligence of all this, thought it not safe for him offer in that place a solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving. to continue any longer in Jerusalem, e but leaving the
make himself a tyrant in a popular state, he no sooner enters on c The expression in the text is, as soon as you hear the sound the government, but “ he smiles upon, and kindly salutes, all of the trumpet,' (2 Sam. xv. 10.) which looks as if Absalom liad sorts of people, wherever he meets them;" avowing that he hates planted trumpeters at proper distances to take the sound from tyranny, promising great things both in private and public, one another, and disperse it over all the kingdom, that so they, " and making as if he would be mild, and gentle, and fatherly to who were lovers of his cause, might instantly resort to his asall;" even as Tacitus relates of Otho, " that he used to kiss, and sistance and support; to which they were encouraged, no doubt, shake hands with any one, court and adore the mob, and do every by the suggestions of his emissaries, who might persuade the little servile thing, to get possession of the government.”—Plato people, that all this was done by the king's consent and approbade Republica, b. 8; and Tacitus's History, b. 1,
tion, who, being aged and infirm himself, was willing to resign a It is an observation of Aristotle, in his Politics, (h. 5. c. 4.) his kingdom to his eldest and most noble son, who was descended that all changes and revolutions in government are made by one from a king by both parents.- Le Clerc's Commentary, and of these two ways, “ either by force and violence, or else by deceit Poole's Annotations, and craft.” Nor ever was there a man better formed by nature d It would really make one wonder, how any people could so to manage matters in this latter way, than was Absalom, who easily abandon a prince, so brave, so happy, and successful as was a person of courage and gallantry, of civility and courtesy, David had been; how they could forget his excellent qualities, young, and wonderfully beautiful, descended from kings, both by or be unmindful of the services he had done the nation; but for father's and mother's side, and prodigal enough of large and this there may be some reasons assigned.
In every nation there magnificent promises, if ever he came to be king; a character are always some turbulent and discontented spirits, who are umeasy not unlike that of Turnus in Virgil: “ The well formed shape with the present state of things, and promise themselves some influences one, royal ancestry another, and chivalry another."- benefit from a change. Saul's party was not as yet entirely 14Æneid, b. 7.
tinct, and Joab, who was David's prime minister, behaved with 6 This is said in the text to have been “after forty years,' (2 an insufferable pride and insolence. His crimes, which were Sum, xv. 7.) but where to date the beginning of the forty years very black, and which the king durst not punish, redounded upon has occasioned much disagreement among commentators. Some him; and the king himself had given his enemies umbrage compute them from the time that the Israelites demanded a king enough against him, in living with Bathsheba, after he had murof Samuel; others, from the first time that David was anointed dered her husband. But, what gave the fairest pretence of all
, king; others, from the first commencement of his reign over was the obstruction of justice in the civil administration: for Judalı; and others again, from the time that he took possession had there not been something of this, Absalom could have bad of the whole kingdom. The two latter of these opinions are in- 110 grounds for making such loud complaints. These were some supportable, because David reigned but forty years in all, and of the causes of so general a revolt in the people. And yet, was now so hale and hearty, as to be able to walk on fout; where- after all, there might be something in what Abarhinel imagines, as in the latter end of his life he was very infirm and bed-rid. namely, that neither Absalom, nor the elders of Israel, por the The learned Usher indeed makes these forty years to commence rest of the people who were misled by them, had any intentim from the time of David's first unction; and therefore he was to divest David of his crown and dignity, much less to take away threescore years old when this rebellion broke out, and lived ten his life; but only to substitute Absalom, as coadjutor to him, years after it.
But with all due deference to so great authority, for the execution of the royal authority during his lifetime, and both this and the other opinion, that computes from the time to be his successor after his death. For, as
would have been that a demand of a king was made, are forced and unnatural; monstrously wicked in Absalom to have designed the destruction bave no affinity to the text, nor do they suggest any reason why of so kind a father, so it is hard to conceive, how he could have the sacred historian should begin his account of this unnatural gained to his party such a multitude of abettors in so villanews rebellion with an and it came to pass, that after forty years;' an enterprise. This however we may observe, that David looked whereas, if we consider the account of what went before, how upon their proceedings, (2 Sam. xv. 14. and xvi. 11.) as un atAbsalom, by all the arts of popularity, a splendid equipage, con- tempt upon his life; and that, whatever their first intentions were, descensive behaviour, large promises, and flattering speeches, had they came at last to a resolution to have him killed, to make alienated the hearts of the people from his father, we cannot but way for their own better security. Which may be a sufficient be tempted to think that there is an error crept into the text; warning to all men, never to begin anything that is wrong that instead of arbaim, forty, as our copies have it, the word for fear that it should lead them to the commission of that, which should be arba, four only, that is, four years after that Absalom they at first abhorred, when they find they cannot be safe in ope was re-established in Jerusalem, and had used all his alluring wickedness without perpetrating a greater.-Calmets and Paarts to gain the nation's affections, the first step that he took, was trick's Commentaries. to go to Hlebron. This makes the sense easy and entire, and is e Though the fort of Zion was very strong and impregnable
, contirmed by the authority of the Syriac and Arabic versions, yet there are several reasons, which might induce David to quit the judgment of several able critics, and the testimony of Jose- Jerusalem. He had not laid in provisions for a long siege, or phus himself, whose words are, that “ four years after his father was Jerusalem, in every part of it, defensible; and if Absalom was reconciled to him, this conspiracy broke out.” – Calmet's had once taken it, as it was the capital, he would soon have been Commentary, Howell's History in the notes; and Josephus' Jewish master of the whole kingdom. There was some reason to suspect Antiquilies, b. 7. c. 8.
likewise, that the inhalsitants were faully, and so much addicted
A. M. 2949. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4341. A. C. 1070.2 SAM. i-xix. place, with a design to retire beyond Jordan, he was at- | king was not unacquainted with, gave him no small un tended by his guards, his best troops, and principal easiness. friends. 4 Zadok and Abiathar the priests, understand- David had scarce passed over Mount Olivet, which ing that the king was departed from Jerusalem, brought lies to the eastward of Jerusalem, when Ziba, whoin the ark of the covenant to accompany him in his distress; he had made steward to Mephibosheth, his friend Jonabut he desired them to carry it back, and to continue than's son, came, and presented him with a e considerable in Jerusalem, because they might be of use to gain him quantity of wine, and other provisions; but, upon the intelligence of the enemy's motions and designs, and king's inquiring for his master, who he thought above all their character was too sacred, to fear any violence from men, in point of gratitude, should have kept firm to his the usurper. Hushai, o the Archite, his faithful friend interest, the perfidious wretch accused him of staying and counsellor, came likewise to attend him, and, with behind in Jerusalem, in hopes that himself might be all expressions of sorrow, to see his royal master in such made king; and the too credulous king, in this general distress, offered to share his fortune : but David enjoined distraction of his affairs, believing the accusation to be him to return, and told him, that he would be more ser- true, made a hasty grant of all Mephibosheth's estate to viceable to him in the city, by pretending to adhere to this base servant and treacherous sycophant. Absalom, and by defeating the counsels of Ahithophel, As David drew near to Bahurim, a city in the tribe of who, as he understood for certainty, was d engaged in Benjamin, fone Shimei, a descendant from the family his son's measures, and whose great abilities, which the of Saul, and who dwelt in that place, came out, and
threw stones at him, and, in the hearing of the whole to the contrary party, that had he stood a siege, and been reduced company, loaded him with the bitterest reproaches and to straits, they might possibly deliver him up to Absalom. Nor execrations, so that Abishai desired leave of the king to was the preservation of the city itself, which David had beautified, and adorned with a fine and stately palace, and where God go and despatch the insolent rebel : but by no means had appointed to put his name and worship, the least part of his would the king permit him, but bore all with an admiraconcem; and therefore he thought it more conducive to his in- ble patience, 8 and resignation to the will of God, as terest in all respects, rather than be cooped up in a place which being conscious of his own guilt in the case of Uriah, he desired to preserve from being the seat of war, to march abroad and of the divine justice in thus afflicting him. into the country, where he might probably raise a considerable army, both for his own defence, and the suppression of the rebels.
While David continued at Bahurim, Absalom and his -Poole's Annotations.
party entering Jerusalem, were received with the general a 2 Sam, xy, 30. · And David went up by the ascent of acclamations of the people, and Hushai, not forgetful of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered; the king's instructions, went to compliment him, and and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they offered him his service. Absalom knew that he was his went up.' This was an indication of great distress: for in an- father's intimate friend and counsellor, and therefore cient times the shoes of great and wealthy persons were made of bantered him at first, upon his pretending to desert his very rich materials. When any great calamity befell them, either public or private, they not only stripped themselves of these ornaments, but of their very shoes, and walked barefoot. In this e And yet the text tells us, it was but one bottle: but what we manner prisoners taken in war, were forced to walk, both for render bottle, was, in those times, a bag, or vessel made of leapunishment and disgrace.—Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. 1. ther, which might contain a great deal of wine; because we P. 231.
cannot suppose, but that the liquor was proportionate to the rest 6 This he might do for several reasons; for either he might of the present.-Patrick's Commentary. think it not decent to have the ark wander about with him he f Whether this man had been a personal sufferer in the fall of knew not whither, and to expose it to all the hazards and incon- | Saul's family, or what else had exasperated him against David, Feniences which he himself was like to undergo; or he might it nowhere appears; but it seems as if he had conceived some suppose that this would be a means to expose the priests to the vio- very heinous offence against him, when neither the presence of a lence of Absalom’s rage, as he had before exposed them to Saul's king, nor the terror of his guards, could restrain him from throwing fury upon another occasion, if God, in his judgment, should per- stones, and bitter speeches, at him: and it looks as if the king mit him to prevail; or this might look as a distrust of the divine were fallen into the utmost contempt, when one private man goodness, and that he placed more confidence in the token of could think of venting his malice at him in so gross a manner God's presence, than he did in God himself, who had preserved with impunity.—Howell's History in the notes. him in the long persecution of Saul, when he had no ark with g The words of David upon this occasion are, 'So let him him. But what seems the chief reason at that time, for his curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, curse David: let sending back the ark, was,—That the priests and Levites, of him alone, let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him;' not whose fidelity he was sufficiently satisfied, by giving him intel- that God commanded it by his word, for that severely forbids ligence of the enemies' motions, might do him more service in cursing, (Exod. xxii. 25.) nor moved him to it by his Spirit; for Jerusalem, than they could do in his camp.—Poole's Annot, neither was that possible, because God tempteth no man (Jas.
c This man might be of the ancient race of the Archites, de- | i. 13.) But the meaning is, that the secret providence of God sendants from Canaan, of whom Moses speaks, (Gen, x. 17.) but did overrule and determine him so to do, that is, God did not put since the name of these ancient people is diflerently written, I any wickedness into Shimei's heart, for he had of himself an should rather think that this additional name was given him from heart full of malignity and venom against David, but only left the place of his nativity, namely, Archi, a town situated on the him to his own wickedness: took away that common prudence, frontiers of Benjamin and Ephraim, to the west of Bethel.— which would have restrained him from so dangerous an action; Joshua xvi. 2.
directed his malice, that it should be exercised against David, d The Jews are of opinion, that Ahithophel was incensed rather than any other man; and brought him into so distressed a against David, and therefore ready to go over to the adverse condition, that he might seem a proper object of his scorn and party, because he had abused Bathsheba, whom they take to have contempt, which is enough to justify the expression, "The Lord been his grand-daughter, because she was the daughter of Eliam, (2 hath bidden him,' in the same manner that we read of his . comSam. xi. 3.) and Ahithophel had a son of that name, (2 Sam. | manding the ravens,' (1 Kings xvii. 4.) and sometimes inanimate xxiii. 31.) for this reason they imagine, that he advised Absalom creatures, (Ps. cxlvii. 15, 18.) The short is, David looked upon to lie with his father's concubines, that he might be repaid in Shimei as an instrument in God's hands, and therefore took all hind; though the Scripture assigns another, namely, that he and his abuses patiently, out of a consciousness of his sinfulness, bis father might thereby become irreconcilable" enemies.- and a reverence to that Deity who had brought him so low, as to Poole's Annotations.
deserve the insults of this vile Benjamite.- Puole's Annot.
A M. 2949. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4311. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. ;--- xix. old master ; but Hushai a excused himself in such a man- numerous ariny, were come together, d they might be ner, and answered all his questions with that subtlety, assured of victory. Absalom, and the rest of the that he passed upon the prince for a worthy friend, and council approved of this last advice, and Hushai immeaccordingly was received into his privy council. diately despatched two messengers to David, acquaint
A council was presently called, wherein Abithophel, ing him with what had passed in council, and advising who was president, and stood highest in Absalom's him instantly to pass the Jordan, lest Absalom should esteem, spake first ; and the two chief things which he change his mind, and come and fall upon him on a advised him to do, were, first to place a tent on the top sudden. of the palace, (for by this time he had taken possession The messengers, as they were making the best of their of his father's palace, and to lie publicly with his way, happened to meet some of Absalom's party, but had father's concubines, that all the soldiers might see, and the good fortune to conceal themselves in a well, until conclude that, after such an indignity, there could be no their pursuers were returned; and then proceeding on hopes of a reconciliation, and thereby be incited to fight their journey, came and delivered their despatches to the more desperately to secure him in the possession of the king, who decamped by break of day, passed the Jordan, throne. This advice was suitable perhaps to the young and came to Mahanaim, a city of Gilead, where he was man's vicious inclinations, and therefore he delayed not kindly received,
as Ahithophel heard that to put it in execution: but, as for the second thing | David was out of danger, either taking it amiss that his which Ahithophel proposed, viz. “ To take twelve thou- counsel was slighted, or perceiving by Absalom's weak sand choice men, and pursue after David that ó very conduct that things were not likely to succeed, and he night, and to fall upon his guards, which were fatigued consequently e liable to be exposed to David's hottest with their march, and unable to make resistance, and so indignation, for the counsel he had already given; partly surprise the king, and kill him,” he desired to consult out of pride, and partly out of fear of worse torments, he Hushai herein; who, seeming not to slight Ahithophel's went to his own house, where he first made his will, ard proposal, advised rather to delay the attempt, until he then hanged himself. had got all the forces, of the kingdom together. “ For, David had not been long at Mahanaim, before Abas David and his men were known to be brave, and, at salom, having got together a numerous army, which was that time, both exasperated, C and desperate, in case commanded by Amasa, the son of Ithra, a relation of they should worst the party, sent against them, this Absalon's by marriage, left Jerusalem and passed the would be a means to discourage others, and be thought a Jordan, in pursuit of his father. The king hearing of very inauspicious beginning : whereas if they staid till a the approach of his rebel son, and foreseeing that a a The manner in which Josephus makes Hushai answer Ab- bodies. The first to be commanded by Joab, the second
battle was unavoidable, divided his army into three salom, is artful enough, though hardly becoming an honest man. “ There is no contending,” says he, “ with the will of God, and by his brother Abishai, and the third by S Ittai the Gittite, the consent of the people; and so long as you have them on your side, you may be secure of my fidelity. It is from God that you is founded on this maxim, “That we should not drive an enemy have received your kingdom; and if you can think me worthy of to despair, nor attack those who are resolved to sell their lives at a place in the number of those you will vouchsafe to own, you as dear a rate as possible.”—Calmet's Commentary. shall find me as true to yourself as ever I was to your father. d The benefits which Hushai suggests, from Absalom's having No man is to account the present state of things uneasy, so long a large army, are thus expressed in an hyperbolical way, suitable as the government continues in the same line, and a son of to the genius of that insolent young man, to whom he gave his the same family succeeds to the throne. – Jewish Antiquities, advice; and therefore more likely to prevail with him;. Moreover b. 7. c. 8.
if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that 6 It is a wise observation in Tacitus, “In civil discords city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one nothing is more appropriate than haste, for in them there is more small stone found there,' (2 Sam. xvii. 13.) Where his meaning need for action than deliberation." Ahithophel therefore thought is, that if David should quit the open field, and betake himself to it highly necessary to make despatch upon this occasion ; because the strongest of their cities, encompassed with high walls and he knew, that if he should give the people, that had revolted deep ditches, such a numerous army, as he proposed, would be from their allegiance, leisure to think of what they were doing sufficient to begirt it round, and by ropes put about the walls
, against their lawful prince, he would give that prince time to draw them down, and all the houses of the city, into the ditch raise some regular troops, and those that were about him space to that ran about it: not that any such practices were ever used in recover from their first fright; Absalom's party would dwindle war, and therefore the words must be looked upon as merely into nothing, and David's grow stronger and stronger:--" He thrasonical, and calculated to please Absalom; unless we will say would grant repentance to the wicked, agreement to the good with some, that the word in the original may denote such mafor crimes strengthen by impetuosity, and good counsel by delay.” chines as are worked by ropes, and were at that time in use to (Tacitus, Hist. b. 1.) And therefore he advised marching imme- batter down walls. - Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries, diately against him, without giving him a moment's time to e Josephus thus relates the matter: "When A hithophel was recover himself. Calmet's Commentary.
come home to Galmon, he called his family together, and told c There is something very plausible, and elegant too, in the them the advice which he had given Absalom, but that he advice which Hushai gives Absalom, not immediately to pursue would not follow it; and that in a short time that refusal would and fall upon David: “Thou knowest thy father and his men, be his ruin: for David would certainly baffle him, and soun that they be mighty men, and they be chased in their minds, as recover his kingdom. “Now it is more honourable for me," says a bear robbed of her whelps in the field.' (2 Sam. xvii. 7.) Every he, “ to die asserting my liberty like a man, than to wait sneakone knows, that a bear is a very fierce creature; but she-bears, ing till David comes in again, and to be slain at last for the as Aristotle tells us, are more fierce than the male, particularly services I have done the son against the father." -Jewish Antiwhen they bave young ones, but, most of all when these young quities, b. 7. c. 9. ones are taken from them. For this reason the Scriptures make f In 2 Sam. xv. 18. we read, that 'all the Gittites, six hundred frequent use of this similitude: 'I will be unto them as lion,' men, which came after him,' namely, David, . from Gath, passed says God, in relation to the people of Israel, and as a leopard on before the king;' but who these Gittites were, it is band to de by the way; I will meet them as a bear, that is bereaved of her termine; because we have no mention made of them in any other whelps, and will rent the caul of their hearts,' (Hosea xiii. 7, 8. part of Scripture. Some imagine that they were natives of Galb, See Prov, xvii. 12, &c.) So that the purport of Hushai's advice I who, taken with the fame of David's piety, and happy success
A. M. 2949. A. C. 1065; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4341. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. i–xix. and himself intended to go in person with them. But by | such a manner, that it listed him off his saddle, and his the importunity of the people about him, he was prevailed mule, running from under him, left him there hanging in with not to hazard his person in battle; and perhaps was the air, and unable to disengage himself. more easily dissuaded from it, because the battle was to In this condition a private soldier found him, and told be against a son, for whom he still retained so tender an it unto Joab, who blamed him for not having killed him : affection, that he gave the three generals a strict charge, and when the man in excuse urged the command which in the bearing of the soldiers, that for his sake, they he heard the king give the generals, to be very tender should use Absalom kindly, in case he should fall into and careful of his son's life, Joab, looking upon all this their hands.
as nothing, or as a command fitter for a parent than a The two armies met in the a wood of Ephraim, which king, went to the place where he was d hanging, and belonged to the tribe of Manasseh, where Absalom's having first given him his death's wound himself, ordered army, though much superior in number, was defeated, the people, which were by, to despatch him; and so and put to flight : for the loyalists, upon this occasion, went and sounded a retreat, to prevent any farther efiubehaved so gallantly, that they killed 0 twenty thousand sion of blood, and to give Absalom's party an opporof the rebels upon the spot, and would doubtless bave tunity of escaping to their respective homes. carried the slaughter farther, had not Absalom, the chief Thus died the wicked and rebellious Absalom, and cause of all this mischief, been taken and slain. instead of an honourable interment, fit for a king's son,
His hair, as we said before, was of a prodigious length his body was taken down, and thrown into a pit, and and largeness ; and as he was now in fight from the covered with an e heap of stones. enemy, and riding with great speed under the trees, it happened to c entangle itself on one of the boughs in came along with Ittai, whom the Jews suppose to have been the son of Achish, king of Gath, and being proselyted to the Jewish
CHAP. II.-Difficulties obviated, and Objections religion, became a part of David's guard, and attended him in
answered. his wars. But others rather think, that they were men of Jewishi extract, but had this additional name, from their flying unto David, probably under the conduct of Ittai, while he was at
David, no doubt, was a very fond father to his children, Gath, and accompanying him ever after, not only in the time and a tender husband to his wives: of these, it must be of Saul's persecution of him, but even after his accession to the owned, he had too many, eighteen in number, if we will united kingdoms of Judah and Israel.- Patrick's Commentary. reckon his concubines into that relation, which, in those
a This wood was so called, as some imagine, because the Epb: days did not much differ from the other, except in some raimites were wont to drive their cattle over Jordan to feed them in it; but others with more probability, suppose, that it rites and solemnities of marriage. But as polygamy had its name from the great slaughter (related in Jud. xii.) which Jephthah had formerly made of the Ephraimites in that place.- d Commentators have observed the justice of God, in bringing Howell's History, in the notes.
Absalom to a condign punishment, and such a kind of death, as b The expression in the text is, • The wood devoured more was ordained by the law for offences, like unto his. For whereas, people that day, than the sword devoured,' (2 Sam. xviii. 8.) in the first place, he was hanged as it were, this was declared by which some think was occasioned by their falling into pits, pres- the law to be an accursed death, (Deut. xxi. 23.) and was aftersing one another to death in strait places, creeping into lurking wards, in some measure, stoned; this was the particular kind of holes, and there being starved to death, or otherwise devoured death that the law prescribed for a stubborn and rebellious son.by wild beasts, which met them in their flight: but the most Deut. xxi. 21. easy and simple meaning of the passage is, that there were more e In the description of the Holy Land, some geographers tell slain in the wood than in the field of battle. The field of battle, us, that this heap of stones remained even to their days, and that (as Josephus tells us, Jewish Antiquities, b. 7. c. 9.) was a plain, all travellers, as they passed by it, were wont to throw a stone with a wood contiguous to it; and therefore, when Absalom's to add to the heap, in detestation of his rebellion against his faarmy was put to the rout, and betook themselves to the wood ther. For though it became a custom among the Greeks, to raise for refuge, their pursuers made a greater slaughter of them there, an heap of stones in the place where any great person was inthan they otherwise would have done, because they could not run terred, as a monument of honour and respect; yet it is plain, away so fast in the wood, as they might have done in the open that none of David's army intended any honour to Absalon's field.- Patrick's Commentary.
memory in accumulating stones upon him; nor can we think, c The words in the text, indeed, make no mention of Absa- that David himself, though too fond of this rebel son, made any lom's hair in this place. They only inform us, that · Absalom alteration afterwards in the form of his burial, for fear of enraging rude upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of the people against him. Some, however, are of a quite contrary a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was opinion, namely, that David, who lamented him with such extaken up between the heaven and the earth, and the mule, that cess, removed him from this pit, in order to have him laid in was under him, went away,' (2 Sam, xviii. 9.) From whence the sepulchre belonging to the kings, or perhaps somewhere some infer, that the meaning of the historian is, not that Ab- about the place where the monument which goes under his name, salom hung by his hair, but that his neck was so wedged between and even to this day, is shown to travellers, was dug in a rock. the boughs, by the swift motion of the mule, that he was not It is a little chamber wrought with a chisel, out of one piece of able to disengage himself. For it is hardly to be questioned, rock, which stands at some distance from the rest of the mounsay they, but that when he went to battle, he had an helmet on; tain, and is a square of eight paces from out to out. The inside and ao helmet, which covered his head, would have hindered his of this chamber is all plain, but the outside is adorned with some hair from being entangled in the boughs: but it is only supposing, pilasters of the same kind of stone. The upper part, or covering, either that his helmet was such, as left a great deal of his hair is made in the form of a conic pyramid, pretty high and large, visible and uncovered, or that, if it was large enough to enclose with a kind of Howerpot on its top. The pyramid is composed the whole, he might, upon this occasion, throw it off, as well as of several stones, but the monument itself is square, and al cut his other heavy armour, to make himself lighter, and expedite out of one block. In the time of Josephus, the monument, which his flight; and then there will be no incongruity in the common was said to be Absalom's, was nothing more than one marble and received opinion, to which the authority of Josephus adds pillar, widely different from what, at present, goes under his some confirmation, namely, “ That as Absalom was making his name; and which therefore must be accounted a more modern escape, upon the whilfling of the air, a snagged bough of a tree building.--Le Clerc's and Patrick's Commentaries; Jewish Anlook hold of his hair, and the mule, ruming forward from under tiquities, b. 7. c. 9; and Calmet's Dictionary, under the word him, left him daogling in the air.” — Jewish Antiquities, b.7.c. 9. / Absalom.