With little doubt, this is one of the saddest commentaries on the life of David. This man had been anointed as a “man after God’s own heart”; yet failed morally and paid the price to the last prophetic declaration by Nathan the prophet. A leader of men and a nation, a worshipper, a prophet, poet, functioned as priest; now we see him exiting Jerusalem, not as an exalted king, but as a humbled man.
We also see the culmination of the “spirit” that controlled Absalom; he manipulated, lied, misinformed, and murdered, all to elevate his goal and desire – the throne of Israel. The simple strategy he employed is found in verse 6 “Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” This all occured after he had returned and been in Jerusalem for four years (as most of the more reliable transcripts read).
There is no Biblical or historical record that David had ever delegated any authority to others over the various regions of Israel; which required them to travel to Jerusalem, seeking the king’s input and decision.
Here’s a prime example of man stepping beyond his designated calling or position; exercising authority he truly didn’t have. Yet those who aspire to such strategy will pay the price imposed by divine justice; that is true not only for then but now as well. There have been times when I felt prepared, enabled and even capable of dealing with issues of those over me in the Lord. A few times the “position” that was aspired to was delegated to me; only to my dismay, the challenges were more complex and involved than observation from the previous position.
Absalom lies about his desire and motive to go to Hebron to his father, who undiscerningly grants him the request and declares “Go in peace.” It was all a cover to permit this renegade son to set the stage for an overthrow of the government. Many of those who went with him, didn’t realize all that was about to transpire and were caught up in the passion of the moment.
Though David was advanced in years, yet he still had a keenness that enabled him to establish a network within the city of Jerusalem to keep him informed of plans and strategies of Absalom. He also had positioned two priests and their sons to confuse wise counsel that had sided with this rebel.
One tribe of people that had converted to Judaism led by Ittai the Gittite, refused to return across the Brook Kidron; insisting to go with the king wherever he went or lodged. These six hundred men proved to be valuable sources of encouragement to David.
Something of special note, throughout this whole “exodus” of David and those loyal to him, we don’t see any haste; rather we see a man walking in humility in authentic mourning that culminated in his worshipping and prayer when he arrived to the top of the Mount of Olive (according to most scholars). His Seed would spend a night in prayer, prior to His sacrifice for the good of mankind and fulfilling hundreds of prophetic words over four thousand years.
God isn’t a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent; His word is true! We are the objects of Jesus, the Messiah’s, grace, mercy, forgiveness, blessing, anointing and favor (to name a few). Why? Because He not only prayed on the Mount of Olives, he ever lives to make intercession for us according to the will of God (His word).
If David and Jesus spent significant time in prayer with the conditions they found themselves surrounded by, can we not spend at least sometime in prayer. For our families, ourselves, congregations, pastors/leaders, nations and in particular our nation. Ignore the pain and intercede for those who have yet to hear.