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21. David Returns to Power

January 19, 2010

Text:    II Samuel 18:1-19:43

Outline:      I. David and Absalom Battle      II Samuel 18:1-8

                          II. Absalom is Killed      II Samuel 18:9-22

                         III. David Mourns      II Samuel 18:23-19:8

                         IV. David is Declared King Again      II Samuel 19:9-43


     David assembles his army, great in number, and divides them into three divisions before sending them into battle. David wants to go too but his commanders convince him to stay in the city [Mahanaim] and support them [with prayer?]. David’s final instructions are to show mercy to Absalom.

     The battle takes place in the forest of Ephraim and David’s men soundly defeat Absalom’s army. 20,000 men lost their lives in that battle; more due to the natural conditions of the battle field than the sword. Absalom was a casualty of an oak tree allowing Joab and his men to find him and kill him against David’s wishes. Joab ends the fight and buries Absalom underneath a pile of stones.

     Ahimaz, Zadok’s son, volunteers to tell David of Absalom’s death but Joab sends a Cushite instead. Ahimaz is allowed to follow but actually reaches David first and prepares him to receive the news of Absalom. The Cushite arrives and tactfully tells David upon being questioned that Absalom is dead. David mourns out of love for his son, his enemy, Absalom.

     David’s mourning is so great that his troops return without fanfare or even a greeting from the king for their great victory. Joab seeks out David and chastises him for his behavior claiming he loved his enemy more than he loved those who are loyal to him. Joab implies that David had better show his face and congratulate his troops if he has any interest in returning to Jerusalem as king.

     All Israel is in an uproar as to who is their king. Judah bands together and says it is David, meeting him at the Jordan River to escort him across the river. Shimei, who cursed David when he left Jerusalem, pledges his loyalty and asks for mercy. David grants him mercy because enough have already died. Mephibosheth, who thought he had a chance to become king, claims Ziba betrayed him and pledges his loyalty once again to David. David offers him mercy and returns half of his field which he had previously given to Ziba. Barzilla, who showed mercy to David and his troops while they were in Mahanaim and who evidently was David’s wine taster, asks to remain at his home and requests his servant Kinham take his place.

     Judah and the other 11 tribes are still fighting verbally over the process of accepting David back as king in that Judah declared David king without consulting the other tribes.


     In reviewing these events, it seems appropriate to view these from a “spiritual” perspective. David represents the King of Kings and his loyal servants represent the good, the righteous, the Church, we who claim Christ Jesus as Lord and King. Absalom represents Satan, the king of this world, and his loyal servants represent evil, the unrighteous, those who reject Christ as Lord and King and prefer to pledge their loyalty to Satan. Therefore, consider these applications:

   1. The Church, we Christians who have placed our faith in Jesus, the King of Kings, battles the forces of Satan [evil] every day. Remember, we go into battle with our sovereign Lord and King supporting us from His throne in heaven, assuring us of victory.

   2. Know without question that evil and the Evil One will be destroyed.

   3. The Lord mourns for all who refuse to honor Him. They prefer to be destroyed instead of being restored by the mercy of God.

   4. God mourns over the lost but offers praise and thanksgiving to those who belong to Him, The Church, His Bride.

   5. The Lord willingly gives mercy to those who humbly come before Him, acknowledge their sin, and acknowledge Him as their Lord, their Savior, and their King.

   6. God triumphs over evil, the righteous over the unrighteous. This is the Christian’s Hope according to God’s Word.


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