2 Samuel 18:1
Then David reviewed his troops and appointed over them commanders of hundreds and of thousands.
David's Victory Over His Rebellious SubjectsB. Dale 2 Samuel 18:1-8
Absalom: a Character StudyJ. O. Keen, D. D.2 Samuel 18:1-17
Bush WarfareSunday Companion2 Samuel 18:1-17
David and AbsalomR. E. Faulkner.2 Samuel 18:1-17
The Battle and its IssueH. E. Stone.2 Samuel 18:1-17
The Fatal FightC. Ness.2 Samuel 18:1-17

2 Samuel 18:1-8. - (MAHANAIM.)
Having found refuge in the fortified city of Mahanaim (2 Samuel 2:8), and recruited their exhausted energies, David and those who were with him prepared for the conflict which now seemed inevitable. Meanwhile (during several weeks) Absalom collected a great army (2 Samuel 17:11), appointed Amasa captain, crossed the Jordan, and encamped in the land of Gilead (2 Samuel 17:24-27). Here, "in the wood of Ephraim" (ver. 6; Judges 12:4), he was met by the forces of David, and the issue was quickly decided. "The traveller who only knows Palestine to the west of the Jordan, can form no idea of the luxuriance of the hillsides of Gilead. Here we crossed sparkling rivulets, where the sunlight glinted through the foliage of handsome oak, terebinth, and carob trees, and traversed glades seldom disturbed by the foot of man, which led into the deep solitudes of the forest. In one of these Absalom met his end; and one could well understand, as one came suddenly upon the brink of some rock or gorge, why possibly, in headlong and disastrous flight, so many of the combatants on that fatal day should have been numbered among the missing, that it was said the wood devoured more than the sword" (Oliphant). Attention is especially directed to David, concerning whom observe -

I. THE RENEWED ENERGY OF HIS CHARACTER. After his deep humiliation, the old king is himself again. His youth is "renewed like the eagle's." Passive submission is succeeded by active exertion, to which he is urged by inward impulses and new circumstances. There is a time to pray, and a time to work.

1. He actively musters his friends around him; and constantly attracts and receives reinforcements from the people who dwell on the east of the Jordan (2 Samuel 17:27-29; Psalm 27; Psalm 28; Psalm 110:3).

2. He skilfully organizes his forces, appointing captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, and arranging them in three divisions under Joab, Abishai, and Ittai (2 Samuel 15:19-22), well knowing the worth of able leaders and of strict order and discipline (2 Samuel 8:15-18).

3. He courageously purposes to go forth himself into the conflict (2 Samuel 21:17), and is prevented from doing so only by their considerate determination (ver. 4). "Those who engage others in arduous and perilous attempts must be willing to take their full share of hardship; but true courage and firmness of mind are very different from rashness and obstinacy, and wise men are always must ready to listen to prudent counsel, even from their inferiors" (Scott).

4. He specially charges them to do his son no harm. "Gently for me with the young man Absalom" (ver. 5); "Beware, whoever it be," etc. (ver. 12). A general and intense feeling of resentment is naturally felt against him; and none are concerned about his welfare, save his father, whom he has chiefly wronged. "See what a thing a godly father's affection is to his child. No undutifulness, no practice on a child's part, no, nor death itself, can divide between him and his child. What though Absalom can forget David, yet David cannot forget him; what though he be a very ungracious imp, yet 'he is my child, my child,' saith David, 'I cannot but love him;' and, indeed, he over loves him; which I do not commend, but only observe, to note the strength of parents' love, if it be natural - a love indeed as strong as death. Is the love of an earthly father so great? What, then, is the affection of our heavenly Father towards us?" (R. Harris: 1610).

II. THE ARDENT ATTACHMENT OF HIS FOLLOWERS; in contrast with the disaffection and hostility of others.

1. They offer themselves willingly to his service, and readily risk their lives for his sake.

2. They set an inestimable value on his life in comparison with their own. "Thou art worth ten thousand of us" (ver. 3). How much often depends on one man! The safety, unity, religion, prosperity, of a whole nation. Both patriotism and piety require the utmost care for his preservation.

3. They see the peculiar peril to which he is exposed, and seek to guard him against it. "They will pay no attention to us," etc. Of Washington, one of his officers wrote, "Our army love their general very much; but they have one complaint against him, which is the very little care he takes of himself."

4. They deem it expedient to provide, in case of need, for receiving his aid. "It is better that thou succour us out of the city." Their proposal is prudent, courteous, and honourable. Whilst he waits in the city with the "reserves," he still commands them, prays for them, and cooperates with them. They go forth under his sanction (ver. 4), are animated on the battlefield by the remembrance of him, and look forward to his approval as their recompense (2 Samuel 19:3). Such devotion is rare, not merely towards an earthly commander, but even on the part of those who war a spiritual warfare towards the heavenly Leader and "Captain of their salvation."

III. THE SIGNAL OVERTHROW OF HIS ADVERSARIES (vers. 7, 8); which is accomplished by the valour, discipline, and devotion of his "servants," and chiefly:

1. By the interposition of Divine providence (vers. 28, 31). "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong" (Ecclesiastes 9:11). "Providence is" by no means "always on the side of big battalions."

2. In retribution upon the disobedient and ungodly, over whom mercy lingers long, but not forever, and who, though used as instruments of chastising others, are themselves ultimately broken in pieces.

3. For the deliverance of the faithful, the restoration of the "Lord's anointed," and the maintenance of the theocracy.

4. As a preparation for, and a foreshadowing of, the nobler victories of the King Messiah. It was another of the decisive battles of the world. "The contest was of short duration. The victors were soon vanquished. The storm was like a whirlwind, and like a whirlwind it passed away, leaving the enemies of God under the foot of the Messiah. To the depth of David's fall, to the height of his exaltation, there is but one parallel. We see it in the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The two Davids fell in a manner alike mysterious to their astonished friends. The two Davids rose again in a manner alike terrible to their astonished foes" (M. Hill, 'The Typical Testimony to the Messiah'). - D.

And David numbered the people that were with him.
This chapter is a narrative of that fatal fight wherein Absalom the son, fought with David his father for the kingdom of Israel.


1. David mustered all his forces, which Josephus reckons but four thousand, yet Comestor computes them to be seven thousand (ver. 1), but 'tis probable they were many more from these cogent reasons.(1) David's army must needs be greatly augmented by the two tribes and half beyond Jordan, who, living far distant from Absalom's court at Jerusalem, had not been corrupted with that usurper's flatteries, nor alienated in their affections to David, whom they knew to be a good king, and made now miserable only by an unnatural rebellious son, therefore out of compassion, as well as out of loyalty, they could not but flock to him in great numbers.(2) Had they been so small a number as Josephus saith, David needed not to have been so exact in setting captains over them by hundreds, and by thousands, and in dividing them into three battalions, and committing them to the conduct of three generals, as it is expressly recorded in ver. 12, though the number be not, etc.(3) That expression, "Thou art worth ten thousand of us" (ver. 4) doth imply that this number was but the one-half of the army, beside a fourth part of it left behind to garrison Mahanaim.(4) 'Tis certain they were such a considerable army as therewith David durst venture to take the field, and rationally commit his righteous cause to the trial of a pitched battle.(5) David's prospect of his victory, whereof he was so confident, that he giveth charge to his army not to kill Absalom, but only to take him prisoner. Though victory doth not, indeed, depend upon the multitude of armies, yet David knew well he ought not to tempt the Lord, and to expect a conquest by a miracle (which God had not promised), but by the use of probable means.

2. David's offering himself to hazard his royal person with his army in the field-battle (ver. 2.)

3. The armies' refusal of his royal offer (ver. 3), which they did not out of any contempt of the king to cross his kingly power and pleasure, but out of the highest veneration to his royal person, which made them so careful and conscientious for his personal preservation, and they grounded their laudable refusal of his offer upon solid reasons:(1) Thou art the main mark the rebels aim at, and should they know that thou art in the field they would bend all their forces against thee, as (1 Kings 22:31) the Syrians did.(2) The slaughter of thee (whom only the rebels resolve to ruin) would rejoice them more than the slaughter of ten thousand of us thy subjects, for then have they their end, to set up Absalom in thy throne (2 Samuel 17:2.)(3) The dignity of thy person exalts thee above ten thousand of us, and therefore thy ruin by the rebels would do ten thousand times more damage to the state of Israel.(4) But if thou be kept alive, though the rebels rout us, yet mayst thou recruit a new and another army, and so disappoint them still from accomplishing their design.

4. David's prudence to the people, and his indulgence to his rebellious son (ver. 4, 5.)(1) From his natural, affectionate disposition, always a fond father to his children, full of clemency, insomuch that be spared Saul his enemy when in his power once and again (1 Samuel 24, and 26.) No wonder, then, if he were for sparing his eldest son.(2) He doth not call him my son, because that would have aggravated his crime, but Hebr. the boy, or young man, imputing his heinous rebellion to the heat of his youth, which makes men heady, high-minded, and inclinable to evil counsels and practices; but if he might be spared and live till he were older, age and experience would make him wiser.(3) David was conscious to himself that he was the meritorious and procuring cause of this rebellion, and that Absalom was given up of God to punish David's sins (2 Samuel 12:11, 12), and therefore pitied him.(4) This pious father would not have his impious son to die in his sin, without repentance, for then soul and body perish for ever.(5) Peter Martyr makes David a type of Christ,, who prayed for his crucifiers, as David did here, for a rebel son against his father.


1. The place where the battle was fought, 'tis called the wood of Ephraim (ver. 6), though it was certainly beyond Jordan. so not in that tribe, but called so either because it was over against Ephraim, or because of forty thousand Ephramites lost their lives there (Judges 12:5, 6).

2. David's victory: (ver. 7) The battle was soon determined. Absalom's army (consisting of raw, inexperienced men in martial matters) stood not the first shock of David's old soldiers.

3. "The wood devoured more than the sword" (ver. 8.):Behold, here David's policy and Absalom's infatuation to fight in so fatal a place as the wood of Ephraim. which had been so fatal to Oreb and Zeeb in Gideon's time (Judges 7:25 and Judges 8:3), and to the Ephramites also (Judges 12:5, 6.) The routed rabble, running from death, ran to it while they ran into the wood to hide themselves; some fell upon stubs that did beat the breath out of their bodies when they had spent the most of it by their hasty running away; some for haste plunged themselves into pits and ditches which were in the wood (ver. 17), and which either they saw not (being covered with the rubbish of the wood), and so their violent flight hurried them in at unawares. So dreadful a thing it is to provoke the Lord of Hosts, who call arm all things to destroy us, etc.

4. Absalom was hanged by the neck upon the forked bough of an oak in this same wood (ver. 9).(1) Absalom met David's soldiers, and they, according to David's command, spared him, and gave him an opportunity to escape, but Divine vengeance would not spare him.(2) The great God directed the branch of the oak, as he rode under it, to catch hold of his long hair that was loosely dishevelled upon his shoulders, and there hangs him up by the neck betwixt heaven, and earth, as one rejected of both, and not fit to live in either of them.(3) Some do wonder how Absalom came here among the thickets of the wood, where there was no way, especially for riders? Sanctius wittily observes that seeing it is said, "Absalom met David's servants by chance," it seems he rather peeped upon them (fighting in the battle) out of some safe and secret place than fought against them in the front of the fight; this was a chief leader and general likely to conquer. However, this is beyond doubt that when he saw his rabble were routed, a dreadful fright fell upon him, and fleeing, left the common road and rode among the thickets, till caught by his long locks (such as Samson had, Judges 16:13) in a crotch of the oak.(4) He being held fast there by the hair of his head, "his mule that was under him went away," which might easily happen, because, being in flight, the mule passed along very swiftly. As this mule lurched, his master, so will worldly wealth lurch worldlings at their death, however: and so will false grounded hopes lurch hypocrites (Job 8:13 and Job 11:20), whereas a lively hope (1 Peter 1:3), a daughter of the faith of God's elect (Titus 1:1) rightly grounded on God's promises will not lurch us, no, not at death (Proverbs 14:32), but will do to us what Bucephalus, Alexander's great horse, did to him, which (as Aulus Gellius reporteth), though deeply wounded in both neck and sides in a battle, yet carried his master with great speed out of danger of the enemy, and when he had set his master down in safety then himself fell down and died: So true hope lands us in glory, then expectation dies into fruition, etc. This unnatural wretch was unworthy to be slain by the sword, but he must be hanged on a tree, and so die that cursed death (Deuteronomy 21:23, Galatians 3:13.) His haughty mind resolved to be on high, right or wrong, though he made his own too affectionate father's carcase a stepping-stone whereon to step up to the highest throne; and now is he hanged up on high, anti his ambitious head is in its proper exaltation. He is hanged by that very head wherewith he had been plotting the worst sort of high treason, against so good a father. His hair, wherein he had so much prided himself, God made an halter to hang him with: The instrument of his vainglory became the instrument of his death and ignominy. So perilous it is to pride ourselves in any habiliments either of nature or of fortune, seeing the matter of our pride may be the means of our ruin.

5. The dialogue between General Joab and the soldier that first saw Absalom hanged in an oak (ver. 10, 11, 12, 13.)(1) It seems Absalom did hang some time before he was seen, being in a by-path and blind place, this long and lasting colour was far more intolerable than had he been hanged outright m a halter.(2) This soldier that first saw him durst not dispatch him, though Absalom might desire him to do it, to put him out of his pain, as Saul had desired his armour-bearer on the like account (1 Samuel 31:4.)(3) Joab, when he told him what he had seen, chides him for not doing it, and if he would still go back and do it he would give him a rich reward (ver. 11). Though Joab was desirous that such a public pest were slain, yet would he rather have it to be done by another hand than by his own, for fear of David's displeasure. Politicians, like the ape, pull nuts out of the fire with the paw of a eat.(4) The soldier answers (ver. 12) I dare not do it for a thousand shekels, for the king commanded to the contrary (ver. 5), it would be as much as my life is worth, which is of more value to me than all thy thousand shekels, and belts and badges of valour. What mad men are many, that for a few paltry shillings play away their precious souls, which this soldier durst not do.(5) Should I have done it, saith he, I should have been false to myself (ver. 13) in betraying myself to David's revenge, or should I do it now, and then deny it to save my life by a lie, the king is so wise he would soon discover it, and then inflict a double punishment upon me. not only for my foul fact in doing it, but also for my falsehood in denying it.(6) And thou thyself (saith he) wouldst set thyself against me, that is, thou wouldst become my adversary, or satan, and wouldst be the first that would accuse me to the king's court, for doing that which thou now wouldst, draw me to do against the king's command. Thus the devil deals with tempted souls, as Joab would have dealt with this soldier, first he tempts them to sin, and then he accuses them for sin, as he is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10, Job 1:9.)

6. Joab's slaughter of Absalom (vers. 14, 15.)(1) Daring Joab, saith, as his vale or farewell to the soldier.(2) Behold here the just judgment of God upon this vilely vicious, ambitious Absalom: He will needs be a new king before his time, and now hath here this oak for his throne, his twisted hair about the bough for his crown, three darts in his heart for his sceptre, his proud heart is darted through, and Joab's ten armour-bearers for his royal guard, for defiling David's ten concubines. Thus God writ his sin upon .his punishment, that little breath still left in him these ten did beat out of his body (ver. 15). So here's ten to ten in both cases.(3) Joab's killing of Absalom contrary to the king's command some condemn, but others justify and commend it; Peter Martyr and Grotius do canvas this controversy pro and con, etc.

(C. Ness.)

1. Before the battle, David does not bear prosperity well. He shines best in trial. He is greater when fleeing from Saul than when in the palace. His flight without his crown reveals his real kingliness. Surely David is in much communion with God. He is pressed with sorrow, but then his character like as myrrh is most fragrant. He is most restful. Fear has gone. He pillowed his head on the truth, that ever drives fear away. Such a calm restfulness would be sure to give indications of God's nearness, and we find many signs of Divine guidance. How discreet he is! How they are blundering at Jerusalem! How wise to make Mahanaim his headquarters, though most probably his choice was made all unconscious of its splendid adaptability to the necessities of the hour. He was led by a "Hand Divine." Did David pray for wisdom? Surely such quiet restfulness in God's guidance is ever accompanied by prayerful fellowship! The Father of light gives to those who ask: how far wiser should we be if we asked! Was it this hallowed experience at Mahanaim which evoked his impressive charge to Solomon? (1 Chronicles 22:12; 1 Kings 3:9.) So passed the week before the battle.

2. Concerning the battle itself, as to details of conflict, we know little. Probably Absalom has been three months king. According to the counsel of Hushai, he heads the army. The first shock decided the fortunes of the day, as indeed is still common in Eastern warfare, and Absalom's army flees in confusion. David's army is victorious, and ere the evening came all Israel and Judah knew that David had conquered.

3. After the battle. David is sitting between the two gates (2 Samuel 18:24) waiting for the news. The watchmen upon the wall are gazing anxiously, and yet more anxious is the expectation of the king. All is so graphically told. His hope when he hears the bearer is Ahimaaz, the parent-heart asking for his son amid the news of victory, the falsity of the messenger when face to face with the agitated king (ver. 29), the quickened hope so bluntly quenched by the less cautious Cushi, and then the wail, that has been echoed from so many hearts since: "O my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"(1) An entire absence of resignation to God's will. Strange, is it not, that which is so prominent in all his other times of trial is prominent by its absence here! He abandons himself uncontrolledly to his feelings. Unless those in public places of honour sink their private feelings in public duty, why are they there? David's heart is lacerated now. His own sins make his grief the heavier. We note too —(2) His petulant wish and foolish complaint. Had he died in place of Absalom, what would have become of Israel with such a king, and where the promise of God to him? On public grounds David's utterance can find no justification, and Joab is right when he arouses him from his selfish grief. Better for David had he sought, in the early days of his son's life, by prayer and holy conduct, to have lived for his children than wished to die for them. We need to learn it is better to live for our children than wail a wish to die over characters we have helped to form. Still, we can but admire him as a father! Does love first ruin and then pray? We can, however, understand the wail of David if he was thinking of the eternal interests. This was agony time might mitigate and soften. but never obliterate. Before the mysterious in the dealings of God with him, he bowed in an agony Joab could not understand. That surely is one of the sad penalties of declension from the ways of God. Grief was borne by him and not carried to God. Hence for a while David's character is clouded again.

(H. E. Stone.)

1. The first thing that strikes us in chap. 2 Samuel 18, is the "reward of faithfulness" in the appointment of the three captains. (Luke 22:28-30.)

2. The charge concerning Absalom (v. 2 Samuel 18:5; Romans 12:19; Galatians 6:1) — a lesson for us in our treatment of others. The Lord is ever saying, "Deal gently with my rebels." "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." We are too like Joab, so indignant against the sinner that we forget our own weakness, and yet he followed Adonijah! And we too generally find when we are very indignant against soma one else, we are pretty sure to go away and commit the same sin.

3. The fate of Absalom. Two things are said to have contributed to his fate — his ostentation in going into battle on a mule instead of on foot, as David and all warriors did, and his vanity in wearing his hair long (though it does not follow that this caused his death, as we are only told that he was caught by his head, probably his helmet). The heap of stones — disgrace. (Joshua 7:26.)

4. The king's grief. (Luke 19:41; Romans 5:7.) A beautiful contrast between type and antitype "Would God I had died." "I lay down my life for the sheep."

(R. E. Faulkner.)

I. The first suggested point in this Old Testament character study is, that of A ROYAL FATHER AND SON IN DEADLY ANTAGONISM. The ground of this antagonism was Absalom's attempt to usurp the throne. He sought by intrigue to dethrone his father, and to seize the kingdom and crown for himself. There is another antagonism of a more momentous character raging to-day between the Royal Father in heaven and the rebel Absaloms in our midst. An antagonism spiritual in its nature, gigantic in its proportions, fearful in its tendencies, tremendous in its issues. It is hostility between the creature and his Creator, the subject and his Sovereign, the recreant son and his loving, all-compassionate Father. Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! Can the finite contend with the Infinite? Can the worm: strive with his Maker? Can man fight with God? "Woe unto him," says the prophet, "that striveth with his Maker." "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel but not of Me, and that cover with a covering but not of My spirit, that they may add sin to sin." "The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man. He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war. He shall cry yea, roar. He shall prevail against His enemies."

II. The second practical suggestion of this Old Testament character study is, THAT THE MEANS USED TO ESCAPE FROM THE KING'S SERVANTS BROUGHT DEFEAT AND DEATH. Absalom depended on the fleetness of his mule for safe and speedy flight, which, had it been on the unobstructed highway instead of the untrodden, perilous forest path, might in all human probability have been accomplished. As it was, the fleeter the animal, the greater the danger of becoming entangled among the trees of the wood. So it is to-day with the modern Absaloms who have formed conspiracies against goodness, purity, justice, right; who are subtly or openly assailing the kingdom of truth, the throne of God, the kinghood of the Nazarene, doing their utmost to wrench the sceptre of authority from His grasp, and to dash the diadem of divinity from His kingly head, they are getting the worst of the contest. Absalom-like, they are trying to evade the King's army, to escape the King's pursuing servants, but ere long they will find the giant oak of Divine retribution in the way, which will grasp them between its mighty arms, while their fleet-footed "mules" will go suddenly from under them.

1. Some have mounted the "mule" of intellectual pride, and are posting off into the wood of scepticism, rationalism, deism, agnosticism, secularism, atheism. Much learning is generally conceit, and conceit is turning men intellectually and morally insane. "Advanced thought" is but the synonym for advanced alienation of the heart from the living God, and "advanced thought" is only the modern form of unbelief. Pseudo-philosophy is weaving a shroud for the burial of truth. Men to-day glory in what they do not rather than in what they do know. Ignorance seems bliss. Doubting is emphasised and glorified. Believing and knowing are childish. Thus the advocates of doubt, the spastics of unbelief, the boastful know-nothings, have exiled from their little world the Creator, and enthroned blind chance or arrogant-reason. They have struck out from their sky the blazing sun of truth, and are groping their way amid the shadows and uncertainties of a scholarly scepticism or an ignorant know-nothingism! In a word, they have mounted the mule of intellectual vanity, imagining thereby to escape God, who pursues them on the line of their intuitions, moral instincts, inner consciousness, and crushed but not extinguished spiritual nature, not knowing that there is a mystic tree of judgment, whose giant branches shall seize their haughty heads and swing their spirits back to the God who gave them.

2. Again, there are others who are trying to escape from their convictions of right, duty, and personal responsibility to humanity and God on the "mule" of alcohol. Such foolish Absaloms I have known. Some of them men of broad intellect, wide reading, and splendid parts, but weak on one side of their nature in more senses than one. For years there has been hostility to God, the will running counter to the Divine Will, the actions contrary to the Divine Commands, the heart opposite to the Divine Spirit. They have defied the Divine Almightiness, trampled in the dust the Divine Law, and flung insult and injury on the Divine Heart of Love. Thus have they tried to get away from conscience, remorse, God! But what folly. True, they may drown conviction for a time, but only for it to come back with tenfold force. I can conceive of no infatuation greater than that of a man resorting to drink in order to drown trouble, quell fear, or quiet conscience. As well attempt to extinguish debt by burning the creditor's bills, or to ease pain by plunging the hand into the fire, as to evade trouble, remorse, God, by fleeing to the gin palace or the beershop. In reality this method is only adding fuel to the fires of conscience, poignancy to the stings of remorse, terror to the recurring thought of God and eternity. It is heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. Absalom never intended riding rote the jaws of death, but he got there. Once seized by the iron grip of the drink appetite, and it clutches a man most insidiously but surely; there is little or no chance of release from its fatal consequences.

3. Once more, others in society to-day are making the effort to escape from their convictions of right, duty, God, on the "mule" of absorbing worldliness. They have plunged into business, and are, driving bargains and speculations furiously. They have invested all their capital, their energies, talents, attention, interests, being, with its wealth of possibilities, in pushing trade to a golden success. Principle has to do homage to policy, morality to bow to fraud or the ordinary so-called "tricks of trade" in order to pile up a pyramid of gold and to rank as merchant princes. It is business, nothing but business; bargains, nothing but bargains; the muck-rake of mammon and nothing else, until they become walking icebergs of materialism. But conscience lifts up its thunderous voice and pours forth a whole valley of warnings, threatenings, alarms. Its voice is unpleasant. Its constant speakings are distracting and offensive. To get beyond its condemnatory voice they spur on their "mule" into the denser wood, the more perilous forest of worldliness, oblivious of the Nemesis of retribution which will seize their sordid soul, and swing them into eternal poverty with a Dives and a rich fool.

4. Another, as the representative of a large class, has saddled the "mule" of worldly pleasure. He rides in search of carnal amusement, delight of the senses, spurning religion which holds the true secret of abiding happiness by fixing itself within the man. He hurries hither and thither, seeking job: from without, rootless joy, and all he gets proves false, precarious, brief. Like gathered flowers, though fair and fragrant for awhile, it speedily withers and becomes offensive. Whereas joy from within, rooted in God, is akin to drinking in aroma from the rose on the tree; it becomes more sweet and beautiful; it is enduring; it is immortal. To live in the realm of sense is to die in the realm of sorrow I Believe me, there is no pleasurist of this world without his Eve, no Eve without her serpent, and no serpent without its sting. "The wages of sin is death." "The sting of death is sin." I tell you, you cannot get away from all God's servants. If you escape pinching poverty, blasting pestilence, drivelling insanity, torturing affliction, painful bereavement, there is one servant that will overtake you, "the pale horse and his rider." That horse of untiring strength and unpausing celerity is teeter of foot than your "mule."

(J. O. Keen, D. D.)

Sunday Companion.
This district appears to have resembled the bush of Australia and the jungle of India. It was not a dense forest, but consisted of rocky ground covered with prickly shrubs and tangled underwood, having stout oaks and other trees as well as precipitous glens to increase its terrors and perils. Such a place of thickets and thorns was called in Bible times "yaar," and now is known as "waar." It would give a certain advantage to a smaller force of experienced warriors like David's in resisting the onset of a larger but less disciplined array such as followed Absalom. Probably, too, many of the latter were more accustomed to the bare wadies (or valleys) and limestone rocks of Western Palestine, while the loyalists were not unfamiliar with bush warfare, British troops have often had to encounter difficulties and dangers similar to those which aided to defeat Absalom on this occasion. During the war of 1755, several of King George's best regiments were nearly annihilated in a thick wood near Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania. Embarrassed by the brushwood and irregular trees, they could not perceive their Indian foes, who, keeping out of sight, discharged their muskets, with horrible yells more disconcerting than the weapons.

(Sunday Companion.)

Abishai, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Cushi, David, Israelites, Ittai, Joab, Zadok, Zeruiah
King's Valley, Mahanaim
Appointed, Captains, Commanders, David, Heads, Hundreds, Inspecteth, Marshalled, Mustered, Numbered, Setteth, Thousands
1. David viewing the armies in their march gives them charge of Absalom
6. The Israelites are sorely smitten in the wood of ephraim
9. Absalom, hanging in an oak is slain by Joab, and cast into a pit
18. Absalom's place
19. Ahimaaz and Cushi bring tidings to David
33. David mourns for Absalom

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 18:1

     1655   hundreds and thousands

2 Samuel 18:1-2

     5608   warfare, strategies

2 Samuel 18:1-8

     7236   Israel, united kingdom

2 Samuel 18:1-17

     5087   David, reign of

The Wail of a Broken Heart
'Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale; for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance; and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's Place. 19. Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the Lord hath avenged him of his enemies. 20. And Joab said unto him. Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day; but
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Church and the Young Man.
A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 4, 1866, In The First Presbyterian Church, Troy, At The Request of The Young Men's Christian Association. 2 Sam. xviii, 5. "And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai saying, deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." There are few passages of Holy writ more beautiful or suggestive than this. Notwithstanding the astounding character of Absalom's rebellion; though the mind of the sovereign and father of his people is
Rev. Marvin R. Vincent.—Amusement: A Force in Christian Training

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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