2 Samuel 14:19
And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with you in all this? And the woman answered and said, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king has spoken: for your servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) The hand of Joab.—The king at once penetrates the woman’s disguise, and sees the stratagem. He knew Joab as “wily and politic and unscrupulous,” but we do not know why he suspected him of this especial interest in Absalom. Perhaps it was only the prosperous courtier’s interest in the heir-apparent, but probably Joab had made the same request before, so that the king recognised its source.

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. Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? hast thou not said and done this by Joab’s direction and contrivance?

None can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: as the king is so wise that no man can deceive him by any turnings or windings to the right or left hand, but he quickly searcheth out the truth in every thing; so, (it is a folly to dissemble, or go about to conceal it,) it is even so, thou hast now discovered the truth of this business.

He put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid, to wit, for the scope and substance of them, but not as to all the expressions which she used, for these were to be varied as the king’s answer gave occasion, which also she did with singular prudence. And the king said, is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this?.... That is, is not this done by the advice, assistance, and direction of Joab? did not he form this scheme for thee, and direct thee to this method, and put thee upon prosecuting it?

and the woman answered and said, as thy soul liveth, my lord the king; what I am about to say is as sure as thou art alive; though this may be only a wish that he might long live and be happy; nothing is more desirable than thy valuable life:

none can turn to the right hand or the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken; he has hit upon the truth of the matter; there is no dissimulation or prevarication to be used; the thing cannot be denied; for thy servant Joab he bade me, and put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid: he sent for me, and laid his commands on me, and directed me what to say to the king, and how to conduct this affair.

And the king said, Is not {l} the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid:

(l) Have you not done this by the counsel of Joab.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. none can turn, &c.] The king’s words hit the mark precisely: he discerns the exact state of the case.Verse 19. - Is the hand of Joab with thee in all this? The "not," inserted by the Authorized Version, must be omitted, as it alters the meaning. The king really was uncertain, and asked dubiously, whereas the Authorized Version admits only of an. affirmative answer. David had seen the general drift of the woman's meaning, but she had involved it in too much obscurity for him to do more than suspect that she was the mouthpiece of Joab, who was standing by, and whose face may have given signs of a more than ordinary interest in the woman's narrative. She now frankly acknowledges the truth, but skilfully interweaves much flattery in her answer. And her words are far more expressive than what is given in our versions. Literally they are, By thy life, O my lord the king, there is nothing on the right or on the left of all that my lord the king has spoken. His words had gone straight to the mark, without the slightest deviation on either side. 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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