2 Samuel 14:24
And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Let him not see my face.—David allowed Absalom’s return, but forbade him his presence. The former had been done in weakness, the latter through a sense of justice. The effect of this half measure was unfortunate; Absalom was irritated, and yet placed in a favourable position to carry out his plots. It is probable that Absalom was confined to his own house.

2 Samuel 14:24. The king said, Let him turn to his own house — Although the king so far forgave Absalom as to recall him from exile, yet he forbade him to see his face. For his affection to him did not so blind his eyes but he still saw it would not be for his honour to let him come into his presence, lest while he showed some mercy to him, he should seem to approve of his sin. Likewise, he hoped that by this means Absalom might be brought to a more thorough consideration of the heinousness of his crime, and to repentance for it. Indeed, such a discountenance and rebuke as this was necessary, not only to signify the king’s abhorrence of his late cruel revenge upon his brother, but “to mortify his pride and repress his popularity; which it seems now began to blaze out upon the news of his reconciliation to his father. And this may be the reason why the sacred historian subjoins to this account of the king’s discountenance a particular description of Absalom’s beauty, which is a natural and common foundation of popularity; and then adds an account of his having three sons, and one fair daughter, (whom he named after his unhappy sister, Tamar,) which was also another fountain of pride, popularity, and presumption.” — Delaney. He saw not the king’s face — Which was some humiliation to him; for hereby he saw he had not a full pardon, not being entirely restored to the king’s favour. The people also might see by this, in part, how detestable his crime was in the king’s account, and that he would not easily pass by the like in any other person, since he could not endure the sight of a son whose hands were defiled with the blood of his brother.14:21-24 David was inclined to favour Absalom, yet, for the honour of his justice, he could not do it but upon application made for him, which may show the methods of Divine grace. It is true that God has thoughts of compassion toward poor sinners, not willing that any should perish; yet he is only reconciled to them through a Mediator, who pleads on their behalf. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and Christ came to this land of our banishment, to bring us to God.Let him not see my face - We are not told why David adopted this half-measure. Possibly Bath-sheba's influence may have been exerted to keep Absalom in disgrace for the sake of Solomon. 2Sa 14:22-33. Joab Brings Absalom to Jerusalem.

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).

Let him not see my face; lest whilst he showed some mercy to Absalom, he should seem to approve of his sin, and thereby wound his own conscience, and lose his honour, and encourage him and others to such-like attempts; and that by this means Absalom might be drawn to a more thorough humiliation and true repentance. And the king said,.... Very probably to Joab, when he informed him of Absalom's being come to Jerusalem:

let him turn to his own house; depart from the king's palace, where Joab had brought him, and go to his own house, which was in Jerusalem; for here he had one before he fled to Geshur; see 2 Samuel 13:20,

and let him not see my face; which he ordered, partly to show his detestation of the crime he had been guilty of, and some remaining resentment in his mind at him on account of it; and partly for his credit among some of the people at least, who might think it was a crime so great as not to go unpunished, though others were of a different mind; and also for the greater humiliation of Absalom, who, the king might think, had not been sufficiently humbled for his sin, or had not truly repented of it:

so Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face; in obedience to his father's orders.

And the king said, Let him {o} turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.

(o) Covering by this his affection, and showing some part of justice to please the people.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. let him not see my face] To recall Absalom without giving him a full pardon was a most dangerous policy. It could not fail to irritate him. It may be inferred from 2 Samuel 14:29; 2 Samuel 14:31 that he was confined to his house by David’s order, for otherwise he would not have had to wait until Joab came. David’s reasons for this course of action are discussed in the note on 2 Samuel 14:1.Verse 24. - Let him turn to his own house, etc. This half forgiveness was unwise, and led to unhappy results. It seems even as if Absalom was a prisoner in his house, as he could not leave it to visit Joab. Still, we must not assume that even kind treatment would have made Absalom a dutiful son, or weaned him from his ambitions purposes. The long plotted revenge, carried out so determinately, gives us a low idea of his character, and probably during these two years of waiting, he had brooded over David's criminal leniency, and regarded it as a justification for his own foul deed. And now, when allowed to come home, but still treated unkindly, thoughts condemnatory of his father's conduct were cherished by him. It seems, too, as if a protracted punishment is always dangerous to the moral character of the criminal. And must we not add another reason? Absalom, we may feel sure, saw with indignation the growing influence of Bathsheba over the king. A granddaughter of Ahithophel, she was sure to be an adept in those intrigues in which the women of a harem pass their time; and even if, upon the whole, we form a favourable judgment upon her character, yet undoubtedly she was a very able woman, and could have no affection for Absalom. These words of the woman were so well considered and so crafty, that the king could not fail to see both what she really meant, and also that she had not come with her petition of her own accord. He therefore told her to answer the question without disguise: whether the hand of Joab was with her in all this. She replied, "Truly there is not (אם) anything to the right hand or to the left of all that my lord the king saith," i.e., the king always hits the right point in everything that he said. "Yea, thy servant Joab, he hath commanded me, and he hath put all these words into thy servant's mouth." אשׁ is not a copyist's error, but a softer form of ישׁ, as in Micah 6:10 (vid., Ewald, 53c, and Olshausen, Gramm. p. 425).
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