2 Samuel 18 Death of Absalom

The Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.  2 Samuel 18:31

By the time Absalom has gathered a larger army (according to Hushai’s advice) and pursues his father, David’s commanders are ready.  The supporters of Absalom are defeated and the young man is killed (18:1-18).  David mourns deeply for his son.

Absalom’s newly organized army, the people of Israel, were no match for the experienced soldiers of David.  The woods devoured:  Because of the rugged nature of the terrain and dense growth in the forest, more deaths resulted from the pursuit than from actual combat (18:7-8)

7 The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of twenty thousand took place there that day. 8 For the battle there was scattered over the face of the whole countryside, and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

18:28 All is well.  The messenger’s greeting was Shalom, the word usually translated peace.  your God: Ahimaaz recognized God’s strong association with David.

28  And Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “All is well!” Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!”

18:31, 32 the Lord has avenged:  Like Ahimaaz (v.28), the Cushite gave God credit for delivering David.  Furthermore he gave an honest answer to David’s question about Absalom, although his words were carefully worded so as to soften the blow.

31 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For the Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.” 32 And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!”


19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run now and take the news to the king, how the Lord has avenged him of his enemies.” 20 And Joab said to him, “You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed himself to Joab and ran. 22 And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” So Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?” 23 “But whatever happens,” he said, “let me run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.

–>  Ahimaaz wants to be sent to take the news to the king.  Joab, the commander declined his request but he  pleaded with the commander again.  When his wish was granted he ran after the Cushite and outran him.  But when he was brought in front of the king, he was too timid to tell the king about the death of his son. Not sure why Ahimaaz wanted to run to David but I like his enthusiasm.

This is no cute little story.  Absalom’s destruction is so tragic!  But, why did he try to kill his own father?  And, why did David mourn over the death of such a son?  These are beyond the comprehension of most of us.  But, the good news is the evil could not overcome the good.  God takes care of that.  Like Ahimaaz, we can start running with good news without worrying about our own merits.