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Absalom’s rebellion (15:1-37)
By cunning and deceit over the next few years, Absalom strengthened his position and gathered himself a following, mainly among the people of Judah’s country regions. He encouraged a feeling of dissatisfaction with David’s administration and promised a better deal for the common people if he were in a position of authority (15:1-6).
Clearly, Absalom was plotting to seize the throne. It appears that he relied for the success of his rebellion upon the personal support he had built up among the country people. This was one reason why he chose Hebron as the place to declare himself king (7-10). The leading citizens of Jerusalem were unaware of the plot, except for the man who was possibly the mastermind behind it, David’s chief adviser, Ahithophel (11-12; cf. 16:23).
The rebellion took David by surprise, because, as far as he knew, the people of Jerusalem still supported him. Now he could not be sure who was for him and who was against him. Knowing that Absalom would head for Jerusalem to claim the throne, David did not want to be trapped in the city. Nor did he want to cause the citizens unnecessary bloodshed. He therefore gathered his household and loyal troops, and fled (13-18; Psalms 3:0). Foreigners who had defected to Israel remained loyal to David, and people from the villages near Jerusalem lamented his departure (19-23).
When the priests Abiathar and Zadok set off to escape with David, taking the ark with them, David sent them and the ark back to Jerusalem. In so doing he expressed his hope that he was not leaving Jerusalem permanently (24-29). He also intended that Abiathar and Zadok, by staying in Jerusalem with the ark, could join with David’s loyal adviser Hushai to form a spy ring in the midst of Absalom’s court. The priests’ sons were to act as messengers to carry news to David (30-37; cf. 17:15-17).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 15". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany