Then the king answered and said to the woman, Hide not from me, I pray you, the thing that I shall ask you. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Samuel 14:18-19
. The king said, Hide not from me,
&c. — Observing the uncommon art and dexterity of her address in the management of this affair, the king immediately began to suspect it was a thing concerted between her and Joab, and asked, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? —
Hast thou not said and done all this by his direction? The woman said, None can turn,
&c. — That is, it is even so: thou hast discovered the truth: and I will not seek by any turnings or windings, this way, or the other, to dissemble the matter, but will plainly confess it. He put these words into the mouth of thy handmaid —
As to the sense and substance of them, but not as to all the expressions, for these were evidently varied as the king’s answer gave occasion.
14:1-20 We may notice here, how this widow pleads God's mercy, and his clemency toward poor guilty sinners. The state of sinners is a state of banishment from God. God pardons none to the dishonour of his law and justice, nor any who are impenitent; nor to the encouragement of crimes, or the hurt of others.
As an angel of God - Rather, as "the" Angel of God; and therefore whatever David decided would be right.
13-17. Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God, &c.—Her argument may be made clear in the following paraphrase:—You have granted me the pardon of a son who had slain his brother, and yet you will not grant to your subjects the restoration of Absalom, whose criminality is not greater than my son's, since he killed his brother in similar circumstances of provocation. Absalom has reason to complain that he is treated by his own father more sternly and severely than the meanest subject in the realm; and the whole nation will have cause for saying that the king shows more attention to the petition of a humble woman than to the wishes and desires of a whole kingdom. The death of my son is a private loss to my family, while the preservation of Absalom is the common interest of all Israel, who now look to him as your successor on the throne.
No text from Poole on this verse.
Then the king answered and said unto the woman,.... Understanding plainly what she meant by all this, that the case she brought was a feigned one, and that the intention of it was to let him know the sense of the people with respect to Absalom, and the recall of him:
hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee; he suspected that this was not a scheme of her own, but some considerable person had formed it, and made use of her to execute it, which was what he desired to know:
and the woman said, let my lord the king now speak; ask what question he pleases, I am ready to answer. Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
When the woman had accomplished so much, she asked permission to speak one word more; and having obtained it, proceeded to the point she wanted to reach: "And wherefore thinkest thou such things against people of God? And because the king speaketh this word, he is as one inculpating himself, since the king does not let his own rejected one return." כּאשׁם, "like one who has laden himself with guilt," is the predicate to the clause וגו וּמדּבּר. These words of the woman were intentionally kept indefinite, rather hinting at what she wished to place before the king, than expressing it distinctly. This is more particularly applicable to the first clause, which needs the words that follow to render it intelligible, as כּזאת חשׁבתּה is ambiguous; so that Dathe and Thenius are wrong in rendering it, "Why dost thou propose such things towards the people of God?" and understanding it as relating to the protection which the king was willing to extend to her and to her son. חשׁב with על does not mean to think or reflect "with regard to," but "against" a person. Ewald is quite correct in referring the word כּזאת to what follows: such things, i.e., such thoughts as thou hast towards thy son, whose blood-guiltiness thou wilt not forgive. אלהים על־אם, without the article, is intentionally indefinite, "against people of God," i.e., against members of the congregation of God. "This word" refers to the decision which the king had pronounced in favour of the widow. השׁיב לבלתּי, literally, in not letting him return.
In order to persuade the king to forgive, the crafty woman reminded him (2 Samuel 14:14) of the brevity of human life and of the mercy of God: "For we must die, and (are) as water spilt upon the ground, which is not (cannot be) gathered up, and God does not take a soul away, but thinks thoughts, that He may not thrust from Him one expelled." Although these thoughts are intentionally expressed quite generally, their special allusion to the case in hand can easily be detected. We must all die, and when dead our life is irrevocably gone. Thou mightest soon experience this in the case of Absalom, if thou shouldst suffer him to continue in exile. God does not act thus; He does not deprive the sinner of life, but is merciful, and does not cast off for ever.
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