We continue looking at chapters in 2 Samuel. The last chapter had a horrible story of a brother raping a sister and nobody, including God, doing anything to the rapist for two years! Can this chapter top that horribleness?
“The king asked her, “What is troubling you?” She said, ‘I am a widow; my husband is dead. I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed him. Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well.’ They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth.’” – 2 Samuel 14:5-7
This sets the tone for this chapter.
“The king replied, ‘If anyone says anything to you, bring them to me, and they will not bother you again.’ She said, ‘Then let the king invoke the Lord his God to prevent the avenger of blood from adding to the destruction, so that my son will not be destroyed.’” – 2 Samuel 14:10-11
Interesting. Let’s see how this plays out.
“The woman said, ‘Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.’” – 2 Samuel 14:13-14
This refers to Absalom, who killed Tamar’s rapist, her brother Amnon, in the last chapter.
“The king said to Joab, ‘Very well, I will do it. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.” – 2 Samuel 14:21
This did not take much persuasion on this woman’s part.
“In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him.” – 2 Samuel 14:25
Uh…who gives a shit what Absalom looks like? Is that really the important part of this story? Absalom committed murder without trial. Yes, it was payback to Amnon for raping their sister, but was murder the correct punishment? In my opinion, no. So let’s not focus on his appearance. The only point here is to lift the image of a man who committed murder and that the opposite of what should be done.
“Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king’s face.” – 2 Samuel 14:28
A long time to not see your father, but also probably not that difficult given the size of Jerusalem.
“Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come. Then he said to his servants, ‘Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.’ So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.” – 2 Samuel 14:29-30
Absalom is not a good person. Joab has every right to refuse to talk to him. Call it petty if you want, but it’s not worthy of having your fields set on fire! This is always the problem with the Bible. Punishments, even if warranted, almost never match the actual crime.
“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 before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.” – 2 Samuel 14:33
This chapter ends with Absalom finally meeting his father, David, after two years.
Although this chapter is not as disgusting as the rape in the previous chapter, it is still a bit disturbing. The message it sends is that beautiful people should have their demands met. If not met, the consequences are warranted and potentially deadly. Is this moral? Hell no!
Coming Soon: 2 Samuel – Chapter 15: Absalom’s Conspiracy