|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:30-39 Jonadab was as guilty of Ammon's death, as of his sin; such false friends do they prove, who counsel us to do wickedly. Instead of loathing Absalom as a murderer, David, after a time, longed to go forth to him. This was David's infirmity: God saw something in his heart that made a difference, else we should have thought that he, as much as Eli, honoured his sons more than God.
Verse 39. - And (the soul of) king David longed to go forth unto Absalom. This translation has the support of the Jewish Targum, and, as the verb is feminine, the insertion of the added word is possible, though the sense seems to require "anger" instead of "the soul." But the versions (Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate) all give the verb its ordinary meaning of "ceasing," and, though there is something harsh in taking it impersonally, yet their authority is too great for us to say that such a mode of rendering it must be wrong. And if the grammar be difficult, the sense put upon the words by the versions is excellent. Literally they are, As to King David, there. was a ceasing to go forth after Absalom; for he was comforted, etc. At first he had demanded of Talmai the surrender of the offender, and, when Talmai refused, David tried other means; but in time, when his grief for Amnon was assuaged, he desisted from his efforts. But even so it required much subtlety on Joab's part to obtain Absalom's recall, which would scarcely have been the case if David's soul was longing for his son's return; and, even after his coming, David long maintained an unfriendly attitude. Amnon was his firstborn, and evidently dearly loved, but David's culpable leniency had borne bitter fruit. And again he acts without thoughtful sense of justice, and though at first he would have given Absalom merited punishment, yet gradually paternal feeling resumed its sway, unhappily only to be miserably abused.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the soul of King David longed to go forth unto Absalom,.... In like manner it is supplied and paraphrased in the Targum, because the word rendered "longed" is feminine; though it may be used to denote the effeminateness of David's disposition and carriage on this occasion. Aben Ezra thinks the word "wife", should be supplied, and then the sense is, that the wife of King David, the mother of Absalom, made supplication to him to send forth one of the young men to fetch Absalom, and that by her importunity to him she stirred up a longing desire in David after him. Abarbinel observes, from another writer of theirs, that all the three years David was mourning for his son, he went out continually to seek to take vengeance on Absalom; but after that time, the mother of Absalom, or Tamar his sister, or his daughter, was importunate with the king, and restrained him from going forth to seek vengeance on Absalom; and when he was comforted concerning Amnon, that woman found means to restrain him from going out, and he restrained his servants from going forth against Absalom; and so he observes the word is used for withholding or restraining in Psalm 40:10; and this agrees with several ancient versions, as the Vulgate Latin,"King David ceased to persecute Absalom;''and the Septuagint,"King David ceased to go out to Absalom;''and the Syriac version,"and King David abstained from going out after Absalom:"
for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead; and could not be brought back from the grave, though Absalom might be from his exile, to which he had an inclination; but he knew not how to do it, consistent with justice and his own honour.
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