2 Samuel 15:23
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.
The Way of the CrossR. E. Faulkner.2 Samuel 15:23
A Struggle for a CrownSpurgeon, Charles Haddon2 Samuel 15:1-37
Absalom: a StudyS. Cox, D. D.2 Samuel 15:1-37
Absalom; Or, the Fast Young ManA. H. Charlton.2 Samuel 15:1-37
Absalom's RebellionMonday, Club Sermons.2 Samuel 15:1-37
Absalom's RebellionJ. Hall, D. D.2 Samuel 15:1-37
Ambition2 Samuel 15:1-37
An Ungrateful SonJ. R. Campbell.2 Samuel 15:1-37
David and AbsalomG. J. Coster.2 Samuel 15:1-37
The Rebellion of AbsalomC. S. Robinson, D. D.2 Samuel 15:1-37
A King's Flight from His CapitalMacaulay's England2 Samuel 15:14-24
David Retires from the Capital to the East of the JordanCentury Bible2 Samuel 15:14-24
David's FlightR. E. Faulkner.2 Samuel 15:14-24
The Ark Restored to its PlaceB. Dale 2 Samuel 15:23-29

2 Samuel 15:23-29. - (ACROSS THE KIDRON.)
Carry back the ark of God to the city (ver. 25). Having crossed the Kidron ravine amidst the loud wailing of the people, and halted for a moment in the ascent of Olivet, David was met by Zadok (of the elder branch of the Aaronic family), with the Levites, carrying the ark (ch. 6.), and by Abiathar (a descendant of Eli, of the younger branch). The former had come to him at Hebron (about thirty years before), "a young man mighty of valour" (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.
Notice the weeping people. (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.


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.)

Abiathar, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Ahithophel, Aram, Arkite, Cherethites, David, Gittites, Hushai, Israelites, Ittai, Jonathan, Kerethites, Levites, Pelethites, Zadok
Aram, Gath, Geshur, Giloh, Hebron, Jerusalem, Kidron, Mount of Olives
Aloud, Brook, Crossed, Desert, Direction, Edge, Front, Kidron, Loud, Moved, Olive-tree, Passed, Passing, Torrent, Towards, Valley, Voice, Waiting, Waste, Weeping, Wept, Wilderness
1. 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 Themes
2 Samuel 15:23

     4290   valleys

A 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
'And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.'--2 SAMUEL xv. 21. It was the darkest hour in David's life. No more pathetic page is found in the Old Testament than that which tells the story of his flight before Absalom. He is crushed by the consciousness that his punishment is deserved--the bitter fruit of the sin that filled all his later life
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Pardoned Sin Punished
'And It came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. 3. And Absalom said unto him. See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Loyal to the Core
On the other hand, look at Ittai, perfectly free to go, but in order to end the controversy once for all, and to make David know that he does not mean to leave him, he takes a solemn oath before Jehovah his God, and he doubles it by swearing by the life of David that he will never leave him; in life, in death, he will be with him. He has cast in his lot with him for better and for worse, and he means to be faithful to the end. Old Master Trapp says, "All faithful friends went on a pilgrimage years
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 26: 1880

Following Christ
"And Ittai answered the king, and said, as the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be."--2 Samuel 15:21. SOME men have a very remarkable power of creating and sustaining friendship in others. David was a man brimming over with affection--a man, notwithstanding all his rough soldier-life, of an exceedingly tender heart--a man, I was about to say--the word was on my tongue--a man of vast
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

The Will of God
"Here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him."--2 Sam. xv. 26. G. Ter Steegen. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Thou sweet beloved Will of God, My anchor ground, my fortress hill, The Spirit's silent fair abode, In Thee I hide me and am still. O Will, that willest good alone, Lead Thou the way, Thou guidest best; A silent child, I follow on, And trusting, lean upon Thy Breast. God's Will doth make the bitter sweet, And all is well when it is done; Unless His Will doth hallow it, The glory
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

A Light to Lighten the Gentiles
P. G. 2 Sam. xv. 19-22; John xii. 26 "Wherefore goest thou with me?" Said the king disowned-- Said the king despised, rejected, Disenthroned. "Go, return unto thy place, To thy king of yore-- Here a pilgrim and a stranger, Nothing more. "Not for thee the cities fair, Hills of corn and wine-- All was portioned ere thou camest, Nought is thine. "Wandering forth where'er I may, Exiled from mine own, Shame, rejection I can grant thee; That alone. "Turn and take thy brethren back, With thy people
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

The Daily Walk with Others (iii. ).
Thrice happy they who at Thy side, Thou Child of Nazareth, Have learnt to give their struggling pride Into Thy hands to death: If thus indeed we lay us low, Thou wilt exalt us o'er the foe; And let the exaltation be That we are lost in Thee. Let me say a little on a subject which, like the last, is one of some delicacy and difficulty, though its problems are of a very different kind. It is, the relation between the Curate and his Incumbent; or more particularly, the Curate's position and conduct
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
THE HISTORICAL BOOKS: I and II Samuel. I and II Kings. I and II Chronicles. NOTE.--As these three pairs of books are so closely related in their historical contents, it is deemed best to study them together, though they overlap the two divisions of IV and V. I. CHARTS Chart A. General Contents +--+ " I AND II SAMUEL " +-------------+-----+------+ "Samuel "Saul "David " +-------------+-----+------+----------+ " " " " I AND II KINGS "NOTE.--Biblical
Frank Nelson Palmer—A Bird's-Eye View of the Bible

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.
1. And thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, on the eighth day of the month Gorpeius [Elul]. It had been taken five [34] times before, though this was the second time of its desolation; for Shishak, the king of Egypt, and after him Antiochus, and after him Pompey, and after them Sosius and Herod, took the city, but still preserved it; but before all these, the king of Babylon conquered it, and made it desolate, one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight years and
Flavius Josephus—The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem

King of Kings and Lord of Lords
And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, K ING OF K INGS AND L ORD OF L ORDS T he description of the administration and glory of the Redeemer's Kingdom, in defiance of all opposition, concludes the second part of Messiah Oratorio. Three different passages from the book of Revelation are selected to form a grand chorus, of which Handel's title in this verse is the close --a title which has been sometimes vainly usurped by proud worms of this earth. Eastern monarchs, in particular,
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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