Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 18

David’s men persuade him not to go into battle

2 Samuel 18:3-4

Many leaders and rulers try to control people by fear. Often, they believe that to be the only way to establish a strong government or other organisation.

David had the opposite attitude. He wanted to establish a relationship of love with the people whom he led. Many people in Israel would not accept that relationship. They included David’s son Absalom. He considered it a weakness, and he tried to take advantage of it.

However, those people who still supported David truly cared about him – and he truly cared about them. That was why he so much wanted to be with them and to help them in the battle. He was eager to do anything possible to support these people who had freely chosen to help him.

They refused because they truly loved David. They were risking their lives for him – so they did not want him to do anything that might put his life in danger. Their enemies did not care whether they (David’s supporters) lived or died – those enemies only wanted to kill David. Therefore, David must remain in a safe place.

We see David’s attitude in how he dealt with this matter. King Saul had a very powerful character: he demanded what he wanted (1 Samuel 22:6-8). David, on the other hand, listened to what even ordinary soldiers of low rank were saying. He was the king – but, on this occasion, he agreed to do what they wanted. He was not trying to control any of them. He only wanted to do what was right and good.

Next part: David urges his commanders not to kill Absalom (2 Samuel 18:5)


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