Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 15

Absalom asks David to allow him to go to Hebron

2 Samuel 15:7

Absalom continued to act in the manner that verses 1-6 describes for a long period of time. In the Hebrew language, this passage refers to 40 years. However, it is not clear when that period began. Many Bible teachers believe that the number 40 comes from an error in an ancient copy of the book. Absalom’s whole life was less than 40 years.

Clearly, Absalom prepared carefully and slowly, as he did before the death of Amnon (13:23). In both situations, he waited until he had a good opportunity to carry out his plan.

Absalom did not hesitate to use religion as a reason for his actions. People often promised to give a gift to God if he showed them some special kindness (Ecclesiastes 5:2-7; Matthew 5:33-37). The proper place to offer such gifts was then in Gibeon (1 Chronicles 21:29), and later in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 7:12). However, until Solomon established the temple (the house of God) in Jerusalem, people often offered them in other places too.

Absalom said that he wanted to pray at Hebron. Here were the graves of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 23:19 and 25:9-10). This was where the rulers of Judah appointed David, Absalom’s father, to be king (2:4). It was also the place where Absalom himself was born (3:2-3). So, it did not seem an unusual request that Absalom wanted to pray there.

However, in reality Absalom had chosen an important place that was away from Jerusalem. He had arranged to carry out a special ceremony where he would offer sacrifices (animals) as a gift to God. However, Absalom kept secret the true purpose of that ceremony. It was to appoint him as king.

Next part: Absalom pretends that he has made an oath (2 Samuel 15:8)


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