Ch. 18


A Prosperous Reign Darkened by Civil War


vs. 1-2  – David organizes his army into companies and divisions

            under Joab, Abishai and Ittai the Gittite.


He wants to go to battle but the people dissuade him.


v. 5 – David instructs his officers to “deal gently with Absalom

for my sake”


vs. 6-8 – David’s three divisions attacked and routed Absalom’s
















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vs. 12-13 – The young man was faithful to the king’s wishes and

            was aware of Joab unscrupulous character – Joab would

            have turned against him before David.



vs. 14-15 – Joab is outdone with the young man and proceeds with

            ten of his men to do the job –


v. 17 – They took Absalom and threw him in a big pit in the wood

            and piled stones on him, much like Joshua did Achan in

            Joshua 7:26 – no doubt intended as a sign of condemnation

            of Absalom’s conduct.



vs. 19-33 – David hears of the news by runners


Joab sends Cushi (an Ethiopian), a person of low rank to tell the

evil tidings – had it been good news he would have sent Ahimaaz,

Zadok’s son –





Absalom, in the assertion of his own self-hood, ceased

to be a true son.  This was his fall!  This the secret of sin!

A kind of moral death - a renouncation  of sonship - I will be

free & do as I wish - a sin against God - like the prodigal in

Luke 15, was weary of his father.


All powers made subservient to self is against the

righteous dominion of God.


A resolve to get rid of authority!

            a. feelings of alienation

            b. the misery of lost love


It is misery to be loveless and know at the same

time, God lives.


To some, there is no more welcome thought than that God is not?

Unhappyily, Absalom found abettors & flatterers.

His independent spirit accorded with the temper of

others.  His endeavors to live without his father’s love

& blessing seemed most successful, for never did men

make so much of him as now when he has shaken off

the yoke of dependence and ha gone off for a free life!


No visible punishment comes on them.  They are free

from restraints to which once they submitted.  They

become “as gods, knowing good & evil”.


They use their talents and wit to try & put down the

authority to which they ought to submit.  These are

the wicked that prosper in the world.


vs. 6-8 - A Reversal - Absalom’s forces are scattered.

            He meets a force, the strength of which he was

            not expecting - the so called mighty powers on

            his side, receives a check.


Absalom - over-confident, surprised in rough terrain - expect-

ing David to stay in Mahanaim - really no battle - David’s

three divisions, under Joab, Abishai and Ittai wrought

slaughter on the army and people fleeing in confusion.


Even inanimate creation will sooner or later be sub-

servient to the ends of justice - in the bush a limb knocks

Absalom for a loop - there are always “branches”

stretching out in front of the wicked, resisting their



Absalom, proud of his name, and ambitious of

posthumous fame, erected a memorial pillar for

himself - see v. 18.




Nothing could have been more mortifying to him, had he

known, than to be cut down from a tree like a common

felon and be buried as a dog.  The wicked are cut off,

their memorial perishes - the truth is that they will have

no memorial in the New Jerusalem - See Rev. 2:17 -


Importance of names - interesting to Indian names -

Biblical names.


Warning - Prov. 10:7 - “the memory of the just is

            blessed:  but the name of the wicked shall rot”


I Tim. 5:24-25 Rev. 14:13


The best monument we can rear to ourselves is that

blessed memory of the just which rests on a life of

love to earthly parents, leaving a godly legacy for

our children to follow, and righteous fulfillment of

all the obligations we owe to God and man in that



v. 11 - Absalom’s death was well deserved and there

            can be little doubt that, if he had gotten victory,

            he would have massacred David and all his

            family.   Ahithophel’s counsel, had rendered

            all reconciliation impossible.




But Joab is disobeying the king’s express orders, and

since Absalom was incapable of resisting, Joab ought

to have taken him prisoner, & let David decide his

punishment (perhaps lenient as to Amnon)


v. 10 - The “certain man” - another example of morality

            in Israel - also - self-preservation and

            the fear motive.  (modern spin doctors

            try to exclude fear as a motivator but

            they are liars)


 vs. 12-13 - The soldier - faithful to his king - aware

            of Joab’s unscrupulous character.


Two classes of men represented in the soldier &

the commander, Joab.


The soldier accepts the first principles of obligation,

conscientious of duty as lying at the very basis of

society and individual life.


Joab, example of those who while formally admitting

those principles, nevertheless set them aside whenever

they think it to their advantage to do otherwise.


The soldier, example of those  who see law, government,

family, religion as necessary and will promote these

irregardless of circumstance.


Joab, and his crowd however, do not necessarily base

their philosophy on these principles, and will break the

law or set aside supreme authority for reasons of their



There are children who disobey their parents and there

are men of the world who dare to disobey the Eternal

king and His commandments in relation to repentance,

faith, and unswerving righteousness, for reasons which

seem to them, sufficient at the time.


The soldier would not think of deviating from a command

from the king so plain as “Deal gently for my sake with

the young man, even with Absalom”  - (“and all the people

heard when the king gave all the captains charge concern-

ing Absalom.”)  The justice, or injustice, of such a command,

its prudence or imprudence, were no matters for him to

settle.  Law was binding - the king must be obeyed.


This the instinct of a guileless nature.  Not like those of Ps. 2:3


Joab was a man of the world, a man of many designs &

combinations of thought, a man whose purity & guilelessness

were GONE.  In the moral struggle, pure principle was

deprived of its original native force.


The New Testament calls it “a seared conscience” -

another expression for the gradual deterioration of

sensibility produced by the enforced habit of

accommodating oneself to sins which are the natural

outcome of former sins.




And as America is finding out, in matters of pure right

and strict adherence to duty to God and man, the guileless

man is the most likely to be dependable.


v. 16 - Joab slays Absalom - his armor bearers finish him

            off - Joab did this for public reasons although he may

            have remembered his own blazing barley field -

            ch. 14:30-32


v. 17 - “a pit” - like Achan - intended as a sign of



v. 18 - Absalom reared himself a monument - ch. 14:27

            Three unnamed sons seemed to have died in

            their infancy - also perhaps his wife died early - no

            reason to think this was for vanity, although he was

            showy at times - he apparently never married again,

            although going into David’s harem is evidence

            enough of moral deficiencies - ch. 16:21-22


v. 29 - Apprehension - “Is the young man Absalom safe?”


The rebel was David’s own child, and a pious heart could

not but wish to have opportunity once more to pour upon

that child the full force of its sorrowful love, in hopes of

winning him over to a sense of guilt.


David’s experience of mercy from God gave him hope

for the salvaging of his son.


Many have come to God in the eleventh hour - I

wouldn’t count on it - statistics - “Today” is the day

to seek God!


One of the bitterest ingredients in sorrow over the

lost is that of reflection on personal contribution

toward bringing on the damnation.



How many times to I have to pass on the saying -

            A very sad reflection, indeed, for any

            parent to think within himself that he

            should be instrumental in giving his

            child a body only to damn his soul”




David could not but think of the effect on his son’s views

of life and tendencies of heart produced by his own great

sin and the months of alienation from God which it



Christ did what David longed to do for his son!


The sword had devoured one son, now another  Where

would it end?


vs. 29-33 - Contrast David’s reaction to the messenger

            bringing news of Uriah’s death in ch. 11:22-25