Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

A story to persuade the king

2 Samuel 14:4-6

In the ancient world, it was the custom of judges to select special times when they would make their judgements (compare Job 24:1). That was necessary because judges were important men with many other responsibilities. David was Israel’s king, but he also acted as its chief judge.

On one of those days, the woman from Tekoa came to make her appeal to King David. She lowered her body to the ground to show him great honour. Then he invited her to tell him about her trouble.

The woman described a very sad incident. Her two sons had an argument, perhaps about some very minor matter. They began to fight and, during the fight, one of the sons killed the other son. So now she only had one son who was still alive; and she was a widow.

She was appealing to the king because of the cruelty of other members of her family. Probably, she meant such relatives as her husband’s brothers. They were saying that her son must die as a murderer (Numbers 35:30-31). However, that son was not trying to kill his brother. He only fought his brother because of an argument for which they were both responsible.

She told David that the other family members were arguing that for a selfish reason (14:7). Her son who was still alive, had the legal right to all of his father’s property. In other words, he was his father’s heir. If he died, then the other relatives, and especially her husband’s brothers, would claim her husband’s property.

So that was why she was so desperate for the king’s help.

Next part: Differences between the woman's story and David's situation (2 Samuel 14:7)


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