|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:7-12 See how willing tender parents are to believe the best concerning their children. But how easy and how wicked is it, for children to take advantage of good parents, and to deceive them with the show of religion! The principal men of Jerusalem joined Absalom's feast upon his sacrifice. Pious persons are glad to see others appear religious, and this gives occasion for deceptions. The policy of wicked men, and the subtlety of Satan, are exerted to draw good persons to countenance base designs.
Verse 7. - After forty years. As Absalom was born in Hebron after David was made king (2 Samuel 3:3), and as David's whole reign lasted only forty years and six months, the reading "forty" is evidently incorrect. Suggestions, such, for instance, as that the forty years are to be reckoned from the desire of the Israelites to have a king, or from the anointing of David by Samuel, are merely methods of evading a difficulty. The Syriac, however, and the Vulgate - except the Codex Amiatinus, which reads "forty," supported by Josephus and some manuscripts have "four years," which would give ample, yet not too long, time for the growth of Absalom's popularity, and of dissatisfaction at David's tardy administration of justice. In Hebron. Absalom chose this town, beth as being his birthplace, and also because it was on the road to Geshur (1 Samuel 27:8), whither flight might be necessary should the enterprise fail. He hoped also to win to his cause some of the powerful tribe of Judah, though it generally was the mainstay of David's throne. Local sacrifices were still customary (see note on 1 Samuel 16:2), and the visit of the king's son for such a purpose would be celebrated by a general holiday and much feasting at Hebron. As Ewald remarks, David's confidence and want of suspicion were the results of a noble-minded generosity. And besides, there was no state police ever on the watch, and ready to put an unfavourable construction on all that was done; and probably David was even pleased at his son's popularity, and took his professions as proof that he would be a just and wise ruler on succeeding to his father's place. Perhaps, too, he was glad at this indication of religious feeling on Absalom's part; for a father is sure to look on the better side of his son's acts. He had been tardy enough in fulfilling his vow, but it seemed to David that conscience had at last prevailed, and that right was to be done.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass after forty years,.... Or four years; so long it was from the reconciliation of Absalom to David, as Josephus (f) says; and so read Theodoret on the place, the Syriac and Arabic versions: but some say it was either forty years from the time Israel first had a king; and which might be an era of reckoning with the Jews, as the era of Seleucidae was with the Greeks, on the like account; or from the time Saul slew the priests at Nob, as Jerom (g); or from the time of David's being anointed by Samuel; or this was the year of Absalom's age, or of David's reign: but these, and other attempts made to account for this passage, are not entirely satisfactory; and therefore one may be tempted to conclude there must be a mistake in the copy, of "arbaim" for "arba", forty for four; which makes it quite easy, and confirms the first sense:
that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow,
which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron; not what he vowed in Hebron; for according to his own account he had vowed it in Geshur, as in 2 Samuel 15:8; but his request is, that he might pay it in Hebron; which place he fixed upon, being his native place, and where David was anointed king; and which, being about twenty miles from Jerusalem, was at a proper distance to lay the scene of his conspiracy in, and bring it to perfection.
(f) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 9. sect. 1.((g) Trad. Heb. in 2 lib. Reg. fol. 78. M.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7-9. after forty years—It is generally admitted that an error has here crept into the text, and that instead of "forty," we should read with the Syriac and Arabic versions, and Josephus, "four years"—that is, after Absalom's return to Jerusalem, and his beginning to practice the base arts of gaining popularity.
my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord—during his exile in Geshur. The purport of it was, that whenever God's providence should pave the way for his re-establishment in Jerusalem, he would offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Hebron was the spot selected for the performance of this vow, ostensibly as being his native place (2Sa 3:3), and a famous high place, where sacrifices were frequently offered before the temple was built; but really as being in many respects the most suitable for the commencement of his rebellious enterprise. David, who always encouraged piety and desired to see religious engagements punctually performed, gave his consent and his blessing.
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