Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 18

Joab refuses to send Ahimaaz to David

2 Samuel 18:20

Joab had just killed Absalom, the son of King David, when he could have easily saved Absalom’s life. So Joab had clearly not obeyed David’s instruction to try to protect Absalom in the battle (18:5).

Probably, it was a shock for Joab then to remember that the strongest runner under his command was Ahimaaz. Ahimaaz was excited because of the success of David’s army in the battle. He expected Joab to send him with this good news to David. However, Ahimaaz was a holy man: the son of Israel’s chief priest, Zadok. Everyone expected Zadok’s oldest son to become the next chief priest, and therefore the leader of Israel’s religion.

Joab would have preferred to make a skilful plan to deal with David’s reactions (compare 2 Samuel 14:1-20). He knew how strong David’s emotions could be. However, these events had happened much too quickly for Joab to make any plan to control the situation. Everyone knew that David would hear about Absalom’s death, and Joab’s part in it, soon (18:13). So, Joab had to decide how to tell David about Absalom’s death.

Joab told Ahimaaz that he would not send him to David on this occasion. He informed him of the reason: ‘the king’s son is dead’. Until then, it seems that Ahimaaz had not known this. He had only seen the confusion as Joab’s men attacked and dragged away Absalom’s body. However, there was another reason why Joab would not send Ahimaaz. Joab did not want the chief priest’s son to tell David that Joab had killed Absalom.

Next part: Joab sends Cushi to report the news to David (2 Samuel 18:21)


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