Peter Barnes | 2 Samuel 18:1-18
THE DEATH OF ABSALOM
2 Samuel 18:1-18
– Roger Ellsworth calls Absalom ‘one of the Bible’s most despicable characters’. Dale Ralph Davis writes of ‘The Sad Triumph’; John Woodhouse of ‘Where Love and Justice Do Not Meet’.
1. The wisdom not to act.
– 18:1-4. It would have been highly dangerous, indeed reckless, for David to have gone into battle.
2. Where soft-heartedness is not totally wise.
– 18:5. Absalom wanted his father’s throne and his father’s life. Yet David still wants to show mercy. Is this love without justice?
3. Where justice is brutal.
– 18:6-8. C. F. Keil says this is west of the Jordan; Dale Ralph Davis says it was east of the Jordan. Absalom comes to grief – 18:9.
– 18:10-15. None of this is admirable in any way, but half-measures would have been unwise.
– like Elizabeth I’s execution of her cousin Mary Stuart in 1587?
4. The end of the ungodly.
– 18:16-18; compare 18:9 and 17:14. Proverbs 20:20; 30:17; Psalm 92:7.
Joab’s justice is rough and brutal. God’s justice will be thorough and pure, but no less devastating. Here sin abounds; in Christ grace abounds. We have been looking at sin. It should make us all the more appreciative and grateful for the mercy of God in Christ Jesus.