2 Samuel 19:4
But the king covered his face and cried out at the top of his voice, "O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!"
Immoderate GriefB. Dale 2 Samuel 19:1-8

2 Samuel 19:1-8. - (MAHANAIM.)
This interview between David and Joab throws light upon the character of both, and the relations subsisting between them.

1. The best of men are by no means perfect. David's grief, although natural, and, in some respects, commendable, was unseasonable, excessive, and injurious; and exposed him to just reproof.

2. The worst of men are not altogether bad, but often exhibit admirable qualities. When Joab put Absalom to death against the king's order he was actuated partly by regard for the king's interest and the national welfare, "loyal disobedience;" he was also desirous of preventing unnecessary slaughter (2 Samuel 18:16), and showed a thoughtful concern for Ahimaaz (2 Samuel 18:19, 20, 22); and now, although his bearing toward the king was harsh and cruel (2 Samuel 3:24), he was fully justified in expostulating with him (as on another occasion, 2 Samuel 24:3).

3. The worst of men are often intimately associated with the best of men, and render them invaluable services; but their association is usually uncongenial, and productive of trouble and mischief (2 Samuel 3:39). By his great abilities Joab made himself necessary to David, and became confirmed in his high position (1 Chronicles 11:6); and by his complicity "in the matter of Uriah," he gained a despotic influence over him; hence his daring disobedience and overbearing attitude, and when the king, resenting his conduct, seeks to replace him as captain of the host, he strikes down his rival, then "calmly takes upon himself to execute the commission with which Amasa had been charged; and this done, 'he returns to Jerusalem, unto the king,' and once more he is 'over all the host of Israel'" (Blunt, 'Coincidences'). David's inordinate grief was -

I. REALLY REPRESENTABLE. "And the king covered his face," etc. (ver. 4). It was connected (as cause or effect) with:

1. The lack of due consideration of the moral causes of the event which he mourned over, and which was their natural and deserved consequence; and of the salutary influence which that event would have upon the nation. In surrendering himself to sorrow for the loss of his son, he was in some measure blind to the justice of his doom.

2. The absence of humble submission to the Divine will, such as he had previously displayed in "the day of his calamity" (2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 15:26; 2 Samuel 16:10).

3. The feeling of bitter resentment against those who had despised his commandment and disappointed his hopes. He would at first, perhaps, blame all his "servants;" and, when he was informed (2 Samuel 18:13) of the circumstances under which Absalom came to his end, would naturally regard the conduct of his executioners in its darkest aspect. "To understand this passionate utterance of anguish, we must bear in mind not only the excessive tenderness, or rather weakness, of David's paternal affection toward his son, but also his anger that Joab and his generals should have paid so little regard to his command to deal gently with Absalom. With the king's excitable temperament, this entirely prevented him from taking a just and correct view of the crime of his rebel son, which merited death, and of the penal justice of God, which had been manifested in his destruction" (Keil).

4. The neglect of urgent duties: thanksgiving to God for victory, the commendation of his faithful soldiers, the adoption of proper measures to confirm their attachment and secure peace and unity, the subordination of private grief to the public weal. "The deliverance that day was turned into mourning unto all the people," etc. (ver. 2). "Their hearty participation in the sorrow of their beloved king, for whom they had perilled their lives, soon changed to gloomy dissatisfaction at the fact that the king, absorbed in private grief, did not deign to bestow a look upon them" (Erdmann).

II. RUDELY REPROVED. "And Joab came into the house of the king," etc. (vers. 5-7). His reproof (2 Samuel 12:1) was:

1. Unfeeling, hard hearted, pitiless. He had no respect whatever for the natural feelings of the father; no sympathy with David's intense and peculiar emotion,

2. Unscrupulous and reckless; whilst declaring the truth in part (ver. 5), and as it appeared on the surface, casting unjust reproaches on the king for his heartless selfishness, ingratitude, and hatred (ver. 6).

3. Unbecoming the relation of a subject to his sovereign; in language and manner, as well as in substance.

4. United, nevertheless, with wise counsel and solemn warning. "And now arise, go forth," etc. (ver. 7). No doubt David felt greatly hurt; and "the immediate effect of his indignation was a solemn vow to supersede Joab by Amasa; and in this was laid the lasting breach between himself and his nephew, which neither the one nor the other ever forgave" (Stanley) But, convinced that he had given occasion for reproof, he now patiently submitted to it (Psalm 141:5.) "Hard natures and harsh words have their uses in life after all" (Scott). "The undisciplined word of Joab became a means of discipline to David, and the king turned from the destructive path into which unbridled feeling had led him."

III. READILY RESTRAINED and laid aside. "And the king arose," etc. (ver. 8). "He was stung into action, and immediately roused himself to the discharge of his royal duties." Would we overcome immoderate grief? We must:

1. Listen to the admonitions of truth, however disagreeable; and learn the evil of indulging it.

2. Receive the consoling assurances of Heaven, and pray for needful strength.

3. Repress it with prompt and determined effort.

4. Devote ourselves with diligence to necessary and useful activities.

"Heaven hath assigned
Two sovereign remedies for human grief:
Religion, surest, firmest, first, and best
Strength to the weak, and to the wounded, balm;
And strenuous action next."

(Southey.) Ordinary grief must be restrained within due bounds. But there is a sorrow - tender, hopeful, godly sorrow for sin, to which we may freely and fully surrender ourselves; for it always conducts to greater purity, strength, and joy. - D.

Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city.
Homiletic Review.
In our last great trial, in our conflict with the king of terrors, what a consolation to feel that our friends are about us, that we are at home.

1. How much earthly friends may help us in the hour of death.

2. The limitation of this help.

3. The Christian's consolation that wherever death may overtake him he will die in the midst of friends. His Elder Brother will be there, and God, his father, and he will be encompassed with a host of heavenly witnesses, friends in Jesus Christ. Through death we will go from our earthly home to our heavenly home.

(Homiletic Review.)

When Sir Walter Scott returned from Italy, in sickness and mental affliction, and was approaching his home in Selkirkshire, the old familiar landmarks seemed to recall him to his wonted animation. "That is Gala Water! Yonder are the Eildon Hills!" was his joyous exclamation. When at last Abbotsford appeared in sight, he became so excited that he desired to be raised up in the carriage that he might look on his beautiful home. Yet he was only going home to die.

Sir Walter Scott used to say that he loved the honest grey hills of Scotland as his very life, and that if he did not see the heather once a year be thought he should die.

Abiathar, Abishai, Absalom, Amasa, Barzillai, Benjamin, Benjamites, Chimham, David, Gera, Israelites, Joab, Joseph, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zadok, Zeruiah, Ziba
Bahurim, Gilgal, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Mahanaim, Rogelim
Absalom, Ab'salom, Aloud, Covered, Covering, Cried, Crieth, Cry, Face, Loud, O, Voice, Yea
1. Joab causes the king to cease his mourning
9. The Israelites are earnest to bring the king back
11. David sends to the priest to incite them of Judah
18. Shimei is pardoned
24. Mephibosheth excused
32. Barzillai dismissed, and Chimham his son taken into the king's family
41. The Israelites expostulate with Judah for bringing home the king without them

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 19:4

     5195   veil
     5567   suffering, emotional
     5865   gestures

2 Samuel 19:1-7

     5088   David, character

2 Samuel 19:4-8

     5087   David, reign of

National Sorrows and National Lessons
On the illness or the Prince of Wales. Chapel Royal, St James's, December 17th, 1871. 2 Sam. xix. 14. "He bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man." No circumstances can be more different, thank God, than those under which the heart of the men of Judah was bowed when their king commander appealed to them, and those which have, in the last few days, bowed the heart of this nation as the heart of one man. But the feeling called out in each case was the same--Loyalty,
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

BY REV. GEORGE MILLIGAN, M.A., D.D. "There is nothing," says Socrates to Cephalus in the Republic, "I like better than conversing with aged men. For I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom it is right to learn the character of the way, whether it is rugged or difficult, or smooth and easy" (p. 328 E.). It is to such an aged traveller that we are introduced in the person of Barzillai the Gileadite. And though he is one of the lesser-known characters
George Milligan—Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known

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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