And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day your servant knows that I have found grace in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
22. To-day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight—Joab betrayed not a little selfishness amid his professions of joy at this act of grace to Absalom, and flattered himself that he now brought both father and son under lasting obligations. In considering this act of David, many extenuating circumstances may be urged in favor of it; the provocation given to Absalom; his being now in a country where justice could not overtake him; the risk of his imbibing a love for heathen principles and worship; the safety and interests of the Hebrew kingdom; together with the strong predilection of the Hebrew people for Absalom, as represented by the stratagem of Joab—these considerations form a plausible apology for David's grant of pardon to his bloodstained son. But, in granting this pardon, he was acting in the character of an Oriental despot rather than a constitutional king of Israel. The feelings of the father triumphed over the duty of the king, who, as the supreme magistrate, was bound to execute impartial justice on every murderer, by the express law of God (Ge 9:6; Nu 35:30, 31), which he had no power to dispense with (De 18:18; Jos 1:8; 1Sa 10:25).
Quest. Whether David did well in granting this request?
Answ. Although there be some circumstances which in part extenuate David’s fault herein, as Amnon’s high provocation of Absalom; Absalom’s being out of the reach of David’s justice, where also he could and would have kept himself, if David had not promised him immunity; the extreme danger of Absalom’s infection by heathenish principles and practices; the safety of David’s kingdom, which seemed to depend upon the, establishment of the succession, and that upon Absalom, to whom the hearts of the people were so universally and vehemently inclined, if the matter was really so, and not pretended or magnified by the art of this subtle woman: yet it seems most probable that David was faulty herein, because this action was directly contrary to the express laws of God, which strictly command the supreme magistrate to execute justice upon all wilful murderers, without any reservation, Genesis 9:6 Numbers 35:30,31. And David had no power to dispense with God’s laws, nor to spare any whom God commanded him to destroy; for the laws of God did bind the kings and rulers as well as the people of Israel to observe and obey them, as is most evident from Deu 17:18,19, and from Joshua 1:8, and many other places. And indeed we may read David’s sin in the glass of those tremendous judgments of God which befell him, by means of his indulgence to Absalom. For although God’s providences be in themselves no rule to judge of the good or evil of men’s actions; yet where they comply with God’s word, and accomplish his threatenings, as here they did, they are to be taken for the tokens of God’s displeasure.
and thanked the king; for giving him leave to fetch Absalom home, as if it was a favour done to himself: or "blessed" (s) him; wished all happiness and prosperity might attend him, in consequence of this grant, which he knew would be acceptable to the people:
and Joab said, today thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant; he might presume upon this, that as the king had given orders at his request to recall Absalom, who had murdered his brother, which was tacitly giving him a pardon; so he would forgive him the murder of Abner, 2 Samuel 3:30, and think no more of it; since he perceived now, which he had not so clearly perceived before from that time, that he found grace in his sight, or shared in his favour and good will, as now he saw he did.And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. his servant] This is the reading of the Kthîbh, and is clearly best: the marginal alternative thy comes from the Qrî.Verse 22. - In that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant. Keil concludes from this that Joab had often interceded for Absalom's pardon, and that this had made the king suspect him of being the prime mover in the affair. But this is to force the meaning, Joab now stood confessed as the person who had brought the woman before the king, and had employed her to gain a hearing. Had he been allowed to plead freely, her intervention would not have been necessary. We have seen, too, that the king's suspicions have been made in the Authorized Version much stronger than they really were. Many commentators also assume that Joab had a friendship for Absalom, but there are few traces of it in his conduct, and more probably Joab was chiefly influenced by politic motives. It was injurious to the well being of the nation that there should be discord and enmity between the king and his eldest son, and that the latter should be living in exile. The K'ri, thy servant, placed in the margin, is to be decidedly rejected, with all other attempts of the Massorites to remove little roughnesses of grammar. 1 Samuel 26:19; cf. Deuteronomy 32:9).
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