This chapter is one of the disconcerting records of David, Absalom, Joab and the widow; who plays the part of the motivation for David to return Absalom to Jerusalem. This genuine widow truly plays the role Joab casts for her. Part of the role cast was that she was in fact a widow; yet lived far enough away (about 12 miles) that her tale wouldn’t be verified immediately, she without doubt had played the part of a mourner, so she knew how to present herself without her having to pretend too much. Her wisdom is displayed in various responses she made to David’s questions. As the curtain drops, her role is complete and totally fulfilled.
Her tale emotionally ensnares the king into repatriating Absalom to Israel. She even presents the case as needing to be done quickly; her reasoning being that death awaited everyone and no one was exempt.
When David asks if Joab was involved, she wisely; yet truthfully answers yes! It is at this point the king speaks to Joab, who was present in the hall where the appeal was given, along with other officers of David’s court.
The condition to return Absalom being that he wouldn’t see the king’s face. This didn’t occur for nearly 2 years. During that time, we see characteristics of what is often referred to as an “Absalom spirit”; one that is overthrow and rebellion. He not only receives the praises of the people due to his appearance, but he seems to invite it. His hair was the envy of men and the wish of every woman. Weighing nearly 12 pounds when he cut it, with one historian writing it would take several days for that amount of hair to be cut. One of things men and women would put in their hair at this time were gold flakes, that would cause it glisten even more in the sun.
He had children, one of which did survive him by the name Tamar, who was beautiful. Many believe that she married Roboam, son of Solomon.
Another insight to his “spirit” was how he coerced Joab to come to him and insist on being brought into the king’s presence; the burning of his fields. There appeared to be reconciliation, evidenced by David kissing Absalom. How, we’ll see this was laying a ground work for further rebellion.
Beware of those that kiss you!