Daily Devotional

July 23, 2019

Daybreak: 2 Samuel 18:1-33

“And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.” (2 Samuel 18:29)

The story of Ahimaaz and Cushi reminds me of an embarrassing moment that I had years ago when I was in the army. We were in the final days of our grueling “first eight weeks,” and we were in the barracks. Someone in our platoon looked out the window and saw a group of raw recruits in the adjacent open area. This led to many of our “seasoned veterans” jeering and making smart remarks out the window. 

Suddenly, an officer rushed into our room, and all was instantly quiet. After asking various ones what they thought they were doing behaving like that, he walked up to me and asked if I had been yelling out the window. At that moment, I could not for the life of me recall if I had actually yelled anything or not, even though only a few moments had passed. I didn’t think so, but I was not totally sure. So rather than lie to him, I told him the truth, “I don’t know, Sir.” You can guess how mortified I felt! You can guess also what he thought of me: Either this guy is totally senseless or a liar! The only good thing about the moment was that I was sure I had not said anything untrue!

Ahimaaz must have felt confusion of a similar nature. When King David asked him what had happened to his son Absalom, Ahimaaz said that he did not know. One Bible commentary suggests that because he feared the wrath of the king, he would not say. Because of that, his testimony was worthless. He was told to stand aside, while David waited for someone else to arrive who actually knew what had happened.

As Christians, whether we know anything else or not in life, we had better know that we are spiritually right with God. It is imperative that we have a clear testimony of salvation, including when this experience came to us and what it did for us. It needs to be real in our lives so that we know for sure that we are on the road to Heaven. And we need to be able to put this into words so that we can be effective in helping someone else along the path toward God. 

Background

At this point in the rebellion of Absalom, David mustered his troops, formed three groups, and assigned Joab, Abishai, and Ittai as their leaders. David’s people told him to stay in the city, because they understood that this battle was about two men — David and Absalom. 

“The wood devoured more,” indicates that the woods were dense and tangled where they were fighting. There may have also been pits and wild beasts.

When Joab “blew the trumpet,” he was signaling the troops to cease fighting and gather together. While the Bible does not say exactly what Joab was thinking when he killed Absalom, it is obvious Joab disobeyed David’s command.  

Three sons had been born to Absalom (2 Samuel 14:27), but it appears that they had all died by the time the events of this chapter took place. 

Ahimaaz was the son of Zadok, the priest. The name Cushi means this man was actually a Cushite slave. Perhaps Joab thought David might kill whoever brought the message of Absalom’s death, and therefore he sent a servant. The route Ahimaaz took to David was longer but more flat than the route the Cushite took. 

It seems that the city of Mahanaim had a double wall, and therefore two gates. David, in his concern over the battle, was sitting between the gate of the outer wall and the gate of the inner wall. This may have been a courtyard-like area.

Verse 33 is a cry of anguish from David’s heart over the death of his son Absalom. David grieved deeply for several reasons. Certainly he grieved for him because he was his son. David also knew that this was part of God’s judgment for his murder of Uriah. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The shame of King David
      B.   David’s problems with his family
            2.   Absalom’s revolt against David
                  d.   Absalom’s war against David
                        (2)   The conflict between David and Absalom (18:1-18)
                               (a)   David’s army prepared (18:1-5)
                               (b)   Absalom’s army defeated (18:6-8)
                               (c)   Absalom’s death (18:9-18)
                                      [1]   Joab’s disobedience (18:9-15)
                                      [2]   Absalom’s burial (18:16-18)
                        (3)   The grief of David for Absalom (18:19-33)
                               (a)   The messengers to the king (18:19-27)
                               (b)   The message for the king (18:28-33)

A Closer Look

  1. What were David’s instructions to Joab and the other generals regarding the treatment of Absalom if he were caught? Did Joab follow these orders?
     
  2. In light of what Absalom had done, why do you think David gave the instructions that he did?
     
  3. How does God’s love for us compare to David’s love for Absalom?

Conclusion

Many things in life may be confusing, but our relationship with God should not be one of them. At every moment, we need to know that our hearts are right with Him.

Reference Materials