Everyone in the countryside was weeping loudly as all the people passed by. And as the king crossed the Kidron Valley, all the people also passed toward the way of the wilderness.
2 Samuel 15:23-29. - (ACROSS THE KIDRON.)1 Chronicles 12:28); the latter was a still older friend of David (1 Samuel 22:23), occupying the highest official position (Zadok being his vicar only, or sagan, 1 Kings 2:27, 35; 1 Chronicles 16:39), but not taking the most prominent part in active service, and perhaps entertaining "jealousy of his rival" (Blunt). They doubtless intended to render valuable service to the king by bringing the ark. Why, then, did he send it back? Not from want of proper regard for it (ver. 25, latter part). He did not, indeed, put a superstitious confidence in it, like Hophni and Phinehas. He esteemed and reverenced it as an appointed symbol of the Divine presence and "favour," and a valuable means of Divine worship and service (1 Samuel 4:11), just as highly as when he conducted it in triumph to its resting place (2 Samuel 6:16). But "he would not use the ark as a charm; he had too much reverence for it to risk it in his personal peril" (Stanley). He locked upon it as belonging to God and to his people, not to himself; considered, not only that it would be of no advantage to him in present circumstances, but also that he was not justified in removing it from the city and depriving the people of its presence; that rather it was the will of God that he should himself be deprived of it, at least for a season; and thus he honoured God in adversity as he had formerly done in prosperity. "David is always great in affliction. His conduct throughout, his goodness, resignation, and patience, are clearly evinced in all these trying scenes" (Kitto). Consider him as an example of:
1. Spiritual insight. He perceived the true nature and worth of the ark; that the symbol was distinct from the reality of the Divine favour, did not necessarily ensure its possession, was not an essential condition of it; that its value depended upon the relation of men to God (1 Samuel 6:1-9). Affliction often teaches us how to regard the outward privileges and ordinances of religion. "He was contented at this time to forbear the presence of the ark, having his confidence in God, and not relying altogether upon the external sacrament" (Willet).
2. Deep humility. Having acted unworthily of the ark of the "testimony," and disobeyed the commandments of God, he deemed himself unworthy of the honour of its presence. His deprivation of it was a just chastisement for his misuse and abuse of it. "I am not worthy," etc. (Genesis 32:10; Luke 5:8; Matthew 8:8).
3. Holy affection toward the "habitation" of God (Psalm 26:8); toward God himself; and toward his people. Hence, although banished from the ark of God, he desired that the God of the ark should still be honoured by others, and do them good. "Observe his disinteresed self-sacrifice for the good of the people. He would not punish his subjects for his son's sins" (Wordsworth). "It argues a good principle to be more concerned for the Church's prosperity than for our own, to prefer Jerusalem before our chief joy, the success of the gospel and the flourishing of the Church above our own wealth, credit, ease, safety, even when they are most at hazard" (Matthew Henry). "Let thy Name be magnified forever" (2 Samuel 7:26).
4. Lofty faith in the presence of God in all places, his superintendence of all events, his acquaintance with all hearts, his righteousness and goodness, favour, guidance, mercy, and truth (ver. 20). It is "an instance of David's clear faith in the omnipresence of God and of his spiritual elevation from the outward symbols of the sanctuary to the Divine essence that was symbolized by them." "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord," etc. (Psalm 3:8; Psalm 4:3; Psalm 5:7).
5. Unquenchable hope. "If I find favour," etc. (ver. 26). So far from despairing of God's favour, he cherished the expectation of being delivered "out of all his troubles," brought back to Jerusalem, seeing the ark again, and worshipping in his tabernacle with joy. "My hope is in thee" (Psalm 39:7; Psalm 42:5; Psalm 71:14).
6. Entire resignation, "And if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him" (ver. 26; 1 Samuel 3:18; 2 Samuel 12:15-23). "He besought God, as Alexander Severus told his soldiers a generous and a wise man should; praying for the. best things and bearing whatever should befall" (Delany). "This marks strongly his subdued and right spirit, partly induced, we doubt not, by the humility of his own conscious transgressions. He fell; but it was the fall of the upright, and he rose again; submitting himself meekly in the mean time to the will of God" (Chalmers).
7. Practical wisdom. "Art thou a seer? return to the city," etc. (vers. 27-29); "Behold! return," etc. (LXX.). "The peculiar exercises of religion ought to precede, but not to exclude, the use of every prudent means of securing success in lawful undertakings" (Scott). When, in time of adversity, we decline the aid of our friends in one form, because it seems to us injudicious and improper, we should gladly avail ourselves of it in another; knowing that by such instrumentality the help for which we look to God is most commonly vouchsafed. "Among the few faithful amidst the faithless, the first place belongs to the priests, whom loyalty and interest alike bound to the throne. So they were ready if they had been permitted to have carried even the ark to share the exile of the king. They will have their loyalty crowned by seeing the ark, the tent of a once nomad worship, signifying by its flame a spiritual life, set up in Jerusalem; the younger amongst them may see a temple rise, the scene of as noble a worship as the world has yet known" (R. Williams). - D.
And all the country wept with a loud voice.Luke 23:27-31.) David's experience at this time contains many foreshadowings of the passion of our Lord, but also some contrasts, as the conduct of the priesthood. (Verse 24 compared with John 18:13, 24.)
I. THE ARK SENT BACK. In this incident David's character rises to its height of moral grandeur. The ark was the symbol of God's presence. (1 Samuel 4:1-11.) The Israelites in Eli's time had degenerated into trust of the symbol, instead of that which it symbolized. (Jeremiah 7:1-4; Matthew 3:9.) David understood the spiritual truth underlying, but not inseparable from, the outward sign.
II. HIS MOTIVES IN SENDING BACK THE ARK seem to have been:
1. An expression of his unworthiness, as one who had deeply sinned, and was suffering the consequences of sin, to enjoy the consolation of religion.
2. Trust in Jehovah Himself apart from ordinances and symbols. "If I shall find favour, then I shall be restored to the sanctuary and its blessings; and if not, then what good will the ark do me? "Without God's favour it will only be a useless responsibility." This teaches us. a deep spiritual lesson, needed in all ages, that mere outward forms of religion can never profit a heart not at peace with God. And in these expressions. David manifested strong faith. (Numbers 14:8; Daniel 3:17, 18; 1 John 5:4.)
3. He feared to injure others by the withdrawal of the symbol of God's presence, but would rather leave a witness in rebellious Jerusalem. (Psalm 69:6, 36.)
4. Besides this, he doubtless feared to imperil the ark itself, remembering the awful lesson of Uzzah's death.
III. A PRAYER IMMEDIATELY ANSWERED. (verse 31; 16:23; 1 Corinthians 3:18, 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.) Ahithophel's treachery specially alluded to. (Psalm 41:9; Psalm 55. 12-15.)
(R. E. Faulkner.)
PeopleAbiathar, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Ahithophel, Aram, Arkite, Cherethites, David, Gittites, Hushai, Israelites, Ittai, Jonathan, Kerethites, Levites, Pelethites, Zadok
PlacesAram, Gath, Geshur, Giloh, Hebron, Jerusalem, Kidron, Mount of Olives
TopicsAloud, Brook, Crossed, Desert, Direction, Edge, Front, Kidron, Loud, Moved, Olive-tree, Passed, Passing, Torrent, Towards, Valley, Voice, Waiting, Waste, Weeping, Wept, Wilderness
Outline1. Absalom, by fair speeches and courtesies, steals the hearts of Israel.
7. By pretense of a vow, he obtains leave to go to Hebron
10. He makes there a great conspiracy
13. David upon the news flees from Jerusalem
19. Ittai will leave him
24. Zadok and Abiathar are sent back with the ark
30. David and his company go up mount Olivet weeping,
31. He curses Ahithophel's counsel
32. Hushai is sent back with instructions
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 15:23
LibraryA Loyal Vow
'And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.'--2 SAMUEL xv. 15. We stand here at the darkest hour of King David's life. Bowed down by the consciousness of his past sin, and recognising in the rebellion of his favourite son the divine chastisement, his early courage and buoyant daring seem to have ebbed from him wholly. He is forsaken by the mass of his subjects, he is preparing to abandon Jerusalem, and to flee as an …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Ittai of Gath
Pardoned Sin Punished
Loyal to the Core
The Will of God
A Light to Lighten the Gentiles
The Daily Walk with Others (iii. ).
And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
That Whereas the City of Jerusalem had Been Five Times Taken Formerly, this was the Second Time of Its Desolation. A Brief Account of Its History.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
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