Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

Absalom burns Joab’s field

2 Samuel 14:30-31

Absalom wanted to prove that he could control Joab, the chief commander of Israel’s army. So, Absalom insisted that Joab must come to see him. Absalom wanted Joab to speak on his behalf to King David.

However, Joab would not accept any orders from Absalom. Joab wanted to show Absalom that he, Joab, had power over Absalom. So really, the two men were arguing about which of them was most powerful.

In the end, Absalom used a simple but cruel act to win the argument. At that time, most of the important leaders in Israel earned their money from agriculture. Of course, they did not do the physical work themselves. They employed people to do that work, and they took the profits for themselves.

Absalom had previously directed the men who worked for him to kill Amnon (13:28-29). It probably seemed a small matter to him to direct them to burn Joab’s field. Perhaps the grain was ripe and ready for harvest. If so, it would be dry and easy to burn (compare Judges 15:1-5).

Joab was very angry. He went at once to Absalom’s house to complain. When he got there, Absalom seemed even more angry than him. After a fierce argument, Joab agreed to speak to David on Absalom’s behalf. However, the two men never supported each other again. In fact, it was Joab who finally killed Absalom (18:14-15).

Next part: Absalom persuades Joab to speak to David on his behalf (2 Samuel 14:32)


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