A London Minister
2 Samuel 14:5-20
And the king said to her, What ails you? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead.…
The contrast between this parable and the one preceding it is very great. The parable of the ewe-lamb was spoken of by a prophet inspired by God. This one was spoken by a theatrical persons at the instigation of a man of the world, one who, though thoroughly unprincipled, could read human character and discern human motives through a very small crevice. The parable of Nathan was the introduction to a scorching reproof of David's iniquity, the parable of the Tekoan is full of fulsome flattery. The prophet's parable was uttered to induce repentance in David; this one had for its end only the promotion of Joab's schemes of self-interest.
I. THE ARGUMENT OF THE PARABLE.
1. That those who grant mercy abroad should first begin at home. The first reason which the woman urges why David should forgive his son is the willingness with which he would have forgiven hers. A king who is merciful to his subjects is inconsistent with himself if he is not forgiving towards the members of his own family.
2. That enmity ought to die before those who are at enmity die. "For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again" (ver. 14). If Absalom were to die before a reconciliation had taken place, the father's heart would be deeply grieved; and if he himself were to die before his son's return to favour he would go down to his grave mourning the estrangement.
3. The Divine Father's example in relation to His "banished ones."
II. ITS IMMEDIATE AND REMOTE RESULTS. The immediate result was the recall of Absalom without outward reconciliation. "Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face" (verse 24). Evils arose from this half-measure. Joab was disappointed, and Absalom was irritated.
1. That the most worthless characters sometimes have the best pleaders. We find this the case occasionally in our law courts. Men with no character, but lacking nothing else, with money and influence in abundance, can have the benefit of the most skilful barristers to bring them out of the grip of the law.
2. That imaginary narratives of human life have most influence when they find a counterpart in our own experience. The power of a story may he very great even when it contains nothing in it that has any likeness to anything that has happened to ourselves.
3. That those who are conscious of having committed great sins are not fit to deal with other offenders. The sin of David included the crimes of both his sons, and the consciousness of this made him weak in purpose, and unsteady in his dealings with them.
4. To restore to favour unconditionally is a sin against the person forgiven.
(A London Minister.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and mine husband is dead.