2 Samuel 14:20
To fetch about this form of speech has your servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
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2 Samuel 14:20. To fetch about this form of speech — That is, to propose his and the people’s desire of Absalom’s restoration, in this parabolical manner. To know all things that are in the earth — Or, rather, in this land, in all thy kingdom; all the counsels and devices of thy subjects, and what is fit to be done in answer to their desires. She still persists in expressing her admiration of the king, that she might the more incline him to grant her request. 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. To fetch about this form of speech, i.e. to propose mine, and his, and the people’s desire of Absalom’s restitution in this parabolical manner, in mine and my son’s person.

In the earth, or, in this land, in all thy kingdom; all the counsels and devices of thy subjects which have any relation to thee or thy affairs. To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing,.... Feigned a story in such form and manner as had been delivered to the king, that it might be accommodated and applied to the case of Absalom, and to transfer it in a figure to the king, to use the apostle's phrase, 1 Corinthians 4:8,

and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God; as not only to understand the design of this fable or parable, but of such sagacity and penetration as to find out the author of it; and even

to know all things that are in the earth; either in the whole world, or rather in the land of Israel; and it is to be understood not of all actions natural and moral done by men in it, which would be to ascribe omniscience to him; but of all political things, all things respecting civil government; that he had such a spirit of discerning of men and things, that nothing could be said or done, or scheme formed, but he got intelligence of it, and insight into it; and which was carrying the compliment to a great height.

To fetch about this {m} form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

(m) By speaking further in a parable than plainly.

20. to fetch about this form of speech] Rather, in order to bring round the face of the business: that is, to alter the aspect of Absalom’s relations to his father.Verse 20. - To fetch about this form of speech; correctly, as in the Revised Version, to change the face of the matter hath thy servant Joab, etc. The matter was that referred to in ver. 15, which the king now understands to refer to Absalom. For in the earth, translate in the land. The Hebrew has no means of distinguishing the wider and narrower significations of the word; but while the king would be flattered by the supposition that he knew all that happened in his dominions, the assertion that he knew all that was done in all the world was too broad and general to be agreeable. The Authorized Version has been misled by the thought of what an angel might know; but while it was a compliment to ascribe to the king an angel's intelligence in his own sphere, it would have been bad taste and unmeaning to ascribe to him omniscience. Nay, it is an assumption without proof that even an angel knows "all things that are in the earth." 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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