2 Samuel 18 — Inspecting The Death Of A Son-King

2 Samuel 18 — God-Hearted #29 — The Death Of A King-Son

  • Remember God’s promise to David:
    • 2 Samuel 7:12–13 (ESV) — 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
      • So they waited. Perhaps Amnon? Perhaps Absalom?
      • But Absalom’s rebellion proved him unworthy. Today, in our episode, he will die.
    • So they continued to wait:
      • Amos 9:11 (ESV) — 11 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old…”
      • Jeremiah 23:5 (ESV) — 5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”
  • Today:
    • We will look a little at the battle, and more at Absalom’s death and David’s reaction to it. Through them, we will see a better Father, Son, and death.

The Battle (18:1-8)

1 Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.” 3 But the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.” 4 The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands.

5 And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom. 6 So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.

1 Faithfulness leads to opportunity.

  • 2 One third under the command of Ittai the Gittite:
    • Stephen, Philip (Acts 6-8).
    • 1 Timothy 3:13 (ESV) — 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

      2 Good friends give helpful counsel.

  • 3 But the men said, “You shall not go out”: Double counsel.
    • Strategic component — their intel said Absalom only wanted David.
    • Emotional component — David didn’t want to fight his son.
  • Proverbs 27:9 (NLT) — 9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

    3 Rebellion does not work out in the end.

  • 7 Twenty thousand: They chose the wrong kingdom.

Absalom (18:9-18)

9 And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

10 And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king’s son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’ 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.”

14 Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.

16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. 17 And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day.

1 He died with many others, but Jesus died alone.

  • 7-8 Twenty thousand / the forest devoured: Absalom is an example of how the forest devoured.
  • John 17:12 (ESV) — 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

    2 He was caught up in a tree by his hubris, but Jesus went to his tree with humility.

  • 9 His head was caught fast in the oak:
    • Deuteronomy 21:23 (ESV) — 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God…
    • Galatians 3:13 (ESV) — 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
    • 1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) — 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree…
  • Philippians 2:8 (ESV) — 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
  • Philippians 2:3 (ESV) — 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

    3 He was not sold out by a stranger, but Jesus was sold out by a friend.

  • 12 Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver:
  • The soldier would not touch Absalom for 1K pieces of silver.
  • But Judas did it for thirty pieces of silver.
    • Matthew 26:15 (ESV) — 15 (Judas) said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
  • And he was Jesus’ friend.
    • Matthew 26:50 (ESV) — 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”
    • Psalm 41:9 (ESV) — 9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
    • Psalm 55:13–14 (ESV) — 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.

      4 He was speared multiple times while alive, but Jesus was speared once after death.

  • 14 He took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak:
  • John 19:36 (ESV) — 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”
  • Psalm 34:20 (ESV) — 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

    5 He died because of his rebellious sin, but Jesus died for our rebellious sin.

  • 17 Raised over him a very great heap of stones:
  • Deuteronomy 21:21 (ESV) — 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3 (ESV) — 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

    6 He made a monument because he had no sons, but Jesus’ monument gives birth to many sons.

  • 18 He said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.”: Perhaps they had died. Perhaps he built the monument before they were born.
  • Hebrews 2:10 (ESV) — 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

David (18:19-33)

19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” 20 And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. 22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” 23 “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. 26 The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” 27 The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.”

28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, “Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” 30 And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the LORD has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

1 David regained the throne while losing his son, but the Father regained the throne while regaining his son.

  • 33 My son, my son:
  • John 17:5 (ESV) — 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
  • Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 …After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

    2 David avoided Absalom’s death, but the Father partnered with the Son in the atonement.

  • 4 Whatever seems best to you I will do:
  • The gospel accounts…
  • Romans 3:25 (ESV) — 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood…

    3 David requested they deal gently with Absalom, but the Father laid our iniquity upon his Son.

  • Romans 3:25 (ESV) — 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith….
  • Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) — 6 …the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
  • Isaiah 53:10 (ESV) — 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    4 David hoped for the good news Absalom was alive, but the Father created the good news through Jesus’ death.

  • 27 He is a good man and comes with good news:
  • Romans 10:15 (ESV) — 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

    5 David despaired for his son, but the Father despaired for humanity.

  • 33 O Absalom, my son, my son!:
  • 1 John 4:10 (ESV) — 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.