Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

David agrees to Absalom’s return

2 Samuel 14:21-23

David saw that he was in reality dealing with Joab, and not with the woman. So he gave his answer to Joab, and not to the woman.

David had decided to permit Absalom’s return. However, David would not permit Absalom to see him. Absalom would have to live in a separate house from David, his father. David wanted to make it clear that he did not approve of Absalom.

That was because Absalom had killed his brother Amnon (13:28-29). Absalom however did not believe that his actions were wrong. He had killed Amnon because Amnon forced his sister, Tamar, to have sex (13:32). David should have punished Amnon for that crime, but he did not. After Amnon’s death, David did not want to punish Absalom either. However, David did not trust him; and he (David) did not consider Absalom to be a suitable man to become Israel’s next king. David did not like the great anger that caused Absalom to kill Amnon. However, David also knew about God’s special love for his son Solomon, who was still only a young boy (12:24-25). So, David needed to protect Solomon from the ambitions of his older brothers.

It was in the weakest possible way that David permitted Absalom’s return. He did not invite Absalom back, or organise a great welcome for him. He simply told Joab to fetch him. Still, Joab was very grateful. Absalom’s return made it possible that, one day, Joab might be able to appoint Absalom as king over Israel.

Next part: About Absalom (2 Samuel 14:24-27)


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