But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went up. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. And all the people with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went.
I. HIS ESTIMATION OF DIVINE MEANS AND ORDINANCES. The ark and the tabernacle were much mere to him than his throne and his palace. And therefore he only mentions these. "Carry back," says he, "the ark of God — if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again" — he will bring me again, ands — "show me both it and his habitation" — the ark and the tabernacle. Not that he undervalued the privilege of a safe return. Religion is not founded on the destruction of humanity. We are not required to contemn the good things of nature and providence.
1. What a scene of fallen greatness and bitter grief is here depicted! He who yesterday reigned in Jerusalem, as the anointed (Messiah) of Jehovah, is today a homeless fugitive (ver. 20), toiling up the ascent of Olivet, in deep humiliation and undisguised sorrow, with head covered (2 Samuel 3:31, 32; 2 Samuel 19:4) and feet bare; accompanied by stern warriors and tender women and children, all, like himself, with covered heads "going and weeping." It is "as one long funeral procession of men wailing over the fall of all their hopes" (Plumptre).
2. What an instance of moral excellence and overcoming faith is here afforded! "The greatness of David did not depend on his royal state; it was within his lofty soul and inseparable from his commanding character" (Milman). He is considerate, generous (ver. 19), submissive (ver. 26), prayerful (ver. 31), grateful (2 Samuel 16:4), forbearing (2 Samuel 16:10), and hopeful (2 Samuel 16:12). His suffering manifests his sincerity, his outward shame his inward worth; and "out of the depths" of his trouble he rises to the loftiest elevation (Psalm 130:1; Psalm 84:6; 2 Samuel 23:13, 14; Hosea 2:15).
3. What an outline is here furnished of the ideal representation, given by psalmist and prophet, of the suffering Servant of Jehovah (Psalm 22.; Isaiah 53.), and fully realized in him who, on the same spot, a thousand years afterwards, wept over the sinning and perishing city! "And when he was come near," etc. (Luke 19:41-44; Luke 23:27-31). Consider -
I. THE SORROWS OF DAVID. Why did he weep? Not so much on account of his exile, privation, etc., as on account of:
1. The grievous transgressions which he had formerly committed (Psalm 39:12; Psalm 6:6), and which were now brought afresh to remembrance. "My sin is ever before me."
2. The ungrateful treatment which he received, from his son whom he tenderly loved (2 Samuel 16:11), from his subjects whom he faithfully served, from his adversaries who hated him "wrongfully" and "without a cause" (Psalm 69:3-5). Neither his former transgressions nor his recent defects justified rebellion against his authority as king. Indeed, his personal piety and theocratic policy made him to many an object of hatred and reproach; and in him the Divine King of Israel himself was despised.(Psalm 5:10; Psalm 22:8; Psalm 42:3; Psalm 69:7, 9, 20). "Though David suffered for his many sins, he had yet through penitence already obtained forgiveness of sins. Thus he was the righteous sufferer, who could appeal to God for the purity of his heart and the holiness of his cause" (Erdmann).
3. The national calamity which he beheld - the distress of "all the people that was with him" (ver. 23), the distracted condition of the country, the ruin which thousands would, bring upon themselves: filling him with commiseration (1 Samuel 15:35: Psalm 119:136):
4. The Divine displeasure which he experienced against his sin and the sins of the people; regarding this calamity as a sign thereof, enduring it in common with them, and bearing it, as far as possible, in his own person (2 Samuel 24:17). "Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow," etc. (Lamentations 1:12; Jeremiah 9:1). "When I fall I shall arise," etc. (Micah 7:8, 9; Psalm 31:5).
II. THE SORROWS OF CHRIST; arising from:
1. His relation to a sinful race, whose nature he assumed and among whom he dwelt, "yet without sin;" the suffering "which a pure and holy nature must feel from the mere contiguity of evil; and the reflected and borrowed shame and pain which noble natures feel for the sins of those with whom they are closely connected" (Caird).
2. His rejection by the world, which he came to save; being reproached, persecuted, betrayed, deserted, condemned, and crucified; and thus made the victim of human wickedness. His righteousness and love, his Divine dignity, as the Son of God, the King Messiah (2 Samuel 7:16), rendered his treatment peculiarly sinful, and reveals the sin of men in its true light.
3. His compassion for human misery - loss, suffering, bondage, death, in the present and the future; the necessary fruit of human sin (Matthew 8:17; John 11:35; Luke 13:34, 35).
4. His endurance of Divine abandonment to the power of darkness and death (Psalm 22:1; Luke 22:44; Mark 15:34; Hebrews 5:7).; wherein (without the sense of personal guilt and remorse) he gathered into his experience all the griefs endured by the servants of God in all ages from and for transgressors, and all the woes of humanity arising from alienation from God; and whereby, in unfaltering trust and entire self devotion, he fulfilled the Father's will, overcame sin, death, and hell, and "became unto all them that obey him the Author of eternal salvation." "The chastisement was laid upon him for our peace; and through his stripes we were healed" (Isaiah 53:5, 10; Psalm 22:8, 16, 18, 24-31).
III. THE SORROWS OF THE CHRISTIAN. For everyone who follows Christ must tread the path of sorrows (not only such as are natural, but such as are spiritual and Divine), on account of:
1. The manifold sins of which he has been guilty against the Lord (Matthew 5:4).
"We have not time to mourn. The worse for us.
2. The evil effects wrought thereby in himself and others.
"Weep not for broad lands lost;
3. The sinful opposition of men to Christ, his kingdom, and his people; unbelief, enmity, and persecution; the effects of which he shares with his Lord and for his sake (John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:13; Philippians 1:29; Colossians 1:24). "For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping," etc. (Philippians 3:18).
4. The miserable condition and gloomy prospects of the impenitent. He mourns over them "with many tears" (Acts 20:19, 31) "in the tender mercies of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:8), and is willing to undergo the greatest sacrifice and suffering for their salvation (Romans 9:2, 3). "If we suffer we shall also reign with him" (2 Timothy 5:12). - D.
And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God unto the city.
I. — TRUE GODLINESS ENGAGES THE SOUL'S SUPREME ATTENTION, EVEN IN TIME OF TRIAL.
1. It draws the thoughts away from self. Dwelling on sorrow increases its bitterness. It grows with observation. We concentrate our mind upon a thing until it becomes far larger than it really is.
2. It fills the void in the heart with consolation. Of all subjects religion is the most powerful thing in the world to occupy the attention, and in its presence every temporal affair sinks into the meanest insignificance.
II. — TRUE GODLINESS PLACES GOD'S HONOUR EVER BEFORE SELFISH EASE. When David left the city in flight, Zadok, the High Priest, brought the ark of God to follow the King.
1. David rejected mere outward symbols and signs. The symbolism of the temple had its proper place and use. It was to accomplish a great, and mighty, and mysterious purpose. But if religion has its public representation and form, it has also its private and individual functions as well.
2. God could help him just as welt without the help of priest, or tabernacle, or service as He could with. Time and place are nothing to God. The tears of the prisoner are as precious to him as the orison of a pope. David was very well content to leave himself in the hands of God without any extraneous help.
III. TRUE RELIGION IDENTIFIES MAN'S INTERESTS WITH GOD'S PURPOSES. We learn practically that the part for us to perform is,(1) Passive trust and resignation to the divine will, and(2) Constant faith in God's dealing. David did not for one moment doubt. His trust was unshaken amid all his trouble. "If I find favour in His eyes, He will bring me again, but if not, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him." I am content to leave it in His hands.
(David Howell, D. D.)
II. THE SIMPLICITY OF DAVID'S FAITH. "If I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again and show me both it and His habitation." Here was an unwavering confidence in the power of God to bring good out of evil; and a conviction that if the Lord saw fit He would do so. And here we may mark the peculiar and proper office of faith. It leads to effort; it encourages in duty while it prevents a departure from the way of God's commandments. We beseech you to cultivate more of this spirit, which appeared so conspicuously in the man after God's own heart; view every turn in your history as appointed by the Lord, and seek to have continually a lively apprehension of His overruling providence.
III. DAVID'S HUMBLE RESIGNATION TO THE DIVINE WILL. That Christian is much to be envied, who, happen what may, can exclaim with sincerity of heart, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good"; I desire to acquiesce in the Divine appointments, because "I know in whom I have believed"; I know, that though deep are the water-floods that roll over me, the wisdom of God is deeper than them all. Let us keep in mind, that the sources from whence we look for comfort may become the fruitful springs of bitter anguish. Let us not forget that the most secure of all our earthly comforts are in reality insecure.
(S. Bridge, M. A.)
II. HIS FAITH IN DIVINE PROVIDENCE. David views his defeat or his success, his exile or his return, as suspended entirely on the will of God. He does not balance probabilities. Not that he acted the part of an enthusiast, and despised the use of means. This appears obviously from the measures he devised, especially his employing the counsel of Hushai. David knew it was easy for him to take wisdom from the wise, and courage from the brave; and to confound all his devices. He knelt also that it was equally easy for God to turn again his captivity.
III. He professes a FULL ACQUIESCENCE IN THE DISPOSAL OF THE ALMIGHTY. "But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good to him." Here are no imprecations of vengeance against seditious subjects, and a rebellious son; no bitter complaints of instruments; no "charging God foolishly"; no "teaching God knowledge." He falls down at his feet wishing to be raised up, but willing to remain. He mourns, but he does not murmur. What helped to produce this disposition in David? There were. two things in himself.(1) The one was — a sense of his own unworthiness. A consciousness of our desert is necessary to our submission under the afflictive dispensations of Providence.(2) The other was — his ignorance. For while the former convinced him that he had no right to choose, this persuaded him that he had no ability.There were also two things in God which aided this acquiescence.(1) First, his sovereignty. "Has he not a right to do what he wilt with his own?(2) Secondly, his goodness. The authority of God awes us, But it is something else that produces the cheerfulness of submission. It is the principle which actuates him — which is love; it is the. end he has in view — which is our profit: It is a belief that, however things may be determined, with regard to our feelings — they "shall all work together for our good." Let us be followers of David in this holy resignation of ourselves to the pleasure of God.
1. It will be very advantageous to yourselves. Now this acquiescence in the will of God is the preparation of the Gospel of peace, with which you are to be shod: Thus prepared, you may travel on through the wilderness. To vary and enlarge the metaphor — impatience turns the rod into a scorpion. While the yoke presses the neck, patience lines it with down; and enables the man to say, It is good for me to bear it.
2. Nothing can be more honourable to religion. To surrender ourselves to the Divine disposal is the purest act of obedience: to subdue our unruly passions is the greatest instance of heroism. It ennobles the possessor. It renders him a striking character.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Homilist.In this chapter David and Absalom appear as the embodiments and representatives of two opposite principles of action:-love of power, and love of God. In Absalom you have the one, and in David the rather. The love of power is an element in our spiritual constitution, implanted for benevolent purposes; and when properly directed, like all other native principles, subserves the most important ends. Like fire or water, as a servant it is a great blessing, but as a master, a great curse. When it grows into a passion, ascends the throne, and grasps the sceptre, it puts down conscience, and turns the man into a ruthless tyrant; ever ready to violate all the laws and trample on .all the rights of his species. It has gained this power now in the breast of Absalom; and four evils of character are here developed as the consequence: —
1. Filial rebellion. Inspired by this ambitious impulse, Absalom now east off the authority of David, not only as his sovereign, but as his parent.
2. Mean-spiritedness. In order to gain his ends see what mean manoeuvres he adopts; he rises early in the morning, he goes "beside the way of the gate," where men resorted to have their social disputes settled by the judgment of the king; and here he clandestinely endeavours to undermine his father's authority with the people, and to insinuate himself into their affections. Oh! the weakness of the people to be thus cajoled. Yet it has ever been so. Let a prince shake the people by the hand, as Absalom did, and they will forget their own self-respect, their grievances, and even his tyrannies, and follow him. The people must have a higher moral education" before they can obtain a better govermnent.
3. Religious hypocrisy. Under the pretence of paying a vow which he had promised to render unto the Lord in Hebron. "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow," &c. (verses 7-9.) Wicked men have often sought and won their wicked ends in the holy name of religion.
4. Underhanded cunning. "And Absalom sent spies throughout all tribes of Israel," &c. (verses 10-12.) In striking and glorious contrast with this, we have the principle of love of God, or spiritual religion, developed in the character of David, before us.
I. SPIRITUAL RELIGION ENGAGES THE SUPREME ATTENTION OF THE SOUL UNDER TRIAL. Two facts will illustrate this.
1. That whatever subject has the most power to draw away the mind from itself, will always be effective in supporting it under trials. The depressing influence of a trial depends greatly upon the amount of attention which the man gives to it.
2. Of all subjects, religion has the most power to draw sway the mind from itself. David felt more interest in the ark now than he felt in the loss of his throne, the wreck of his kingdom, the peril of his life. And so the good man ever feels in his religion.
II. THAT SPIRITUAL RELIGION RECOGNIZES GOD'S SUPERINTENDENCE UNDER TRIAL.
1. He regarded it as personal. If "I shall find favour."
2. He regarded it as being sovereign. If "I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again."
3. He regarded it as being adequate. If it is agreeable to His rains, "He will bring me again." He has the power to do so. All that is required is His will.
III. THAT SPIRITUAL RELIGION IDENTIFIES MAN'S WILL WITH GOD'S, UNDER TRIAL. But if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth Him good." A thorough surrender of oar being and will to God is the first duty of all intelligences, and the necessary condition of all true progress in power and blessedness.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
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
TopicsAscent, Barefoot, Barefooted, Continued, Covered, Covering, David, Heads, Mount, Olives, Olivet, Shoes, Slopes, Walked, Weeping, Wept
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 15:30
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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