Dealing Falsely Against Our Lives
2 Samuel 18:13
Otherwise I should have worked falsehood against my own life: for there is no matter hid from the king…

I should have wrought falsehood against my own life. Another reading, preferred by the Old Testament Revisers, substitutes "his" for "my own;" but they place in the margin that adopted in the Authorized Version. Taking the passage, then, as it stands in the Authorized Version. the meaning of the speaker is that if he had slain Absalom, he would have brought death upon himself, since the king would have been made acquainted with the deed, and would have sentenced him to death. The form of the expression is worthy of notice. Doing what would have cost him his life is called working falsehood against it. A man's life is entrusted to him to guard and nourish. When he does this, he acts truly towards it; when he does what injures or destroys his life, he acts falsely towards it; he violates his trust. Every man virtually professes to be concerned for the safety and well being of his life; when he does what endangers or terminates it, he may be said to deal falsely with it, to act treacherously towards it. This is the case with those who put themselves to death, or shorten their days by intemperance or licentiousness; or who, by crime, bring themselves to the gallows (see homily on 2 Samuel 17:23). But we may take the words as suggesting that there are persons who work falsehood against their lives in the higher sense, as beings immortal, and capable of that, life which is life indeed, - the life everlasting.


1. By taking the course which surely leads to death. In violating the laws of God they bring on themselves the sentence of death, and separate themselves from God, in whose favour is life.

2. By refusing the new life which is proffered them in the gospel. Life under the Law having become impossible through sin, God has interposed with another method of imparting life. His Son came to be our Life. He died that we might live. He lives evermore to bestow life on all who believe on him. "He that hath the Son hath life," etc. (1 John 5:12); "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life," etc. (John 3:36). To reject him is to reject life. It is to deal falsely with our own lives, our own souls.

3. By neglecting the means by which the life of the soul is preserved and nourished. Reading of the Word, meditation, prayer, watchfulness, ordinances of public worship, union and communion with Christians, etc., whatever is intended and adapted to keep the soul in vital union with him who is "the Life" (John 14:6).

II. ITS UNNATURALNESS AND WICKEDNESS. The man implied that to deal falsely with his own life was a thing utterly inadmissible. So it ought to be in respect to the life of the soul. For:

1. It is the life which is concerned. It is not a mere question of more or less health, comfort, or other subordinate good. "It is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life" (Deuteronomy 32:47).

2. It is the most precious kind of life. Unspeakably more important than the life of the body, or even of the mind, or of any of the principles and affections which relate us to the family or society. Because of

(1) its nature,

(2) its blessedness,

(3) its duration.

3. It is our own life. Which should be specially dear to us, and has been specially entrusted to us: which we are therefore especially bound to care for and conserve.

4. To imperil or sacrifice it is to deal falsely against it and against God. We are under a covenant to care for it. Nature binds us, and Scripture, and perhaps religious vows, voluntarily made and often repeated.

5. Such a course will bring upon us the Divine displeasure. We shall not only lose our souls, but shall find ourselves involved in awful penalties for doing so; not only shall we fail of "eternal life," but shall "go away into eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46). The words may be a safeguard against temptation. "In doing this thing I should deal falsely against my own life." - G.W.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.

WEB: Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life (and there is no matter hidden from the king), then you yourself would have set yourself against me."

The Fallen Prince
Top of Page
Top of Page