Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14
David listened to the widow’s story with sympathy. He did not realise that she was actually describing the troubles in his own family. He believed that he was dealing with a legal matter.
In law, David had to decide whether the widow’s son had murdered his brother. God’s law on this matter is in Numbers 35:6-34. If someone kills another person on purpose, that is murder. However, the widow’s son was only defending himself in a fight. In addition, there were no witnesses here. Israel’s law did not allow a judge to order a person’s death when there were no witnesses (Numbers 35:30).
The facts in David’s family were different. Absalom killed his brother Amnon on purpose, and there were many witnesses. However, people disagreed about whether this truly was murder. Absalom did it only because Amnon had dealt with Absalom’s sister in a terrible manner. Absalom was popular and many people, including Joab, the army commander, wanted him to be Israel’s next king.
On the other hand, David’s other sons had seen the power of Absalom’s anger. They were present when Absalom ordered Amnon’s death. That may have caused them not to want Absalom to return to Israel. The widow’s story made it seem that they were acting selfishly.
Probably David’s other sons did not ever want Absalom to rule Israel. However, perhaps that was not for selfish reasons. They already had strong reasons to think that Absalom would not be a good king.
Next part: The woman persuades David to promise to help (2 Samuel 14:8-11)
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