2 Samuel 14:30
Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
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(30) Set it on fire.—Absalom’s stratagem for obtaining an interview with Joab was perfectly successful, but would only have been resorted to by a lawless and unscrupulous character.

2 Samuel 14:30. Go and set it on fire — Absalom’s ambition could but ill endure Joab’s coldness and delay, and therefore he ordered this extraordinary step to be taken that he might be set right with his father, a step which showed him determined to go any lengths, rather than fall short of his ambitious aims. For he that could order his friend’s field, and that friend so great a man as Joab, and his near kinsman, to be set on fire, barely that he might be admitted to court, would little scruple to set his country in a flame (if the expression may be allowed) to be raised to a crown. See Delaney. Absalom’s servants set the field on fire — For he had still those about him who were ready to execute any command, though ever so unjust, as his servants did when he bade them kill Amnon.

14:28-33 By his insolent carriage toward Joab, Absalom brought Joab to plead for him. By his insolent message to the king, he gained his wishes. When parents and rulers countenance such characters, they will soon suffer the most fatal effects. But did the compassion of a father prevail to reconcile him to an impenitent son, and shall penitent sinners question the compassion of Him who is the Father of mercies?Three sons - These probably died in infancy (see the marginal reference). From Tamar must have been born Maachah, the mother of Abijah, and the favorite wife of Rehoboam 1 Kings 15:2; 2 Chronicles 11:20-22. 28. So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face—Whatever error David committed in authorizing the recall of Absalom, he displayed great prudence and command over his feelings afterwards—for his son was not admitted into his father's presence but was confined to his own house and the society of his own family. This slight severity was designed to bring him to sincere repentance, on perceiving that his father had not fully pardoned him, as well as to convince the people of David's abhorrence of his crime. Not being allowed to appear at court, or to adopt any state, the courtiers kept aloof; even his cousin did not deem it prudent to go into his society. For two full years his liberty was more restricted, and his life more apart from his countrymen while living in Jerusalem, than in Geshur; and he might have continued in this disgrace longer, had he not, by a violent expedient, determined (2Sa 14:30) to force his case on the attention of Joab, through whose kind and powerful influence a full reconciliation was effected between him and his father. Go and set it on fire, that Joab may be forced to come to me to complain of and demand reparations for, this injury.

Therefore he said unto his servants,.... That did his business for him in the field, in keeping his flocks, and tilling his ground:

see Joab's field is near mine: for great personages in those days attended to husbandry:

and he hath barley there, go and set it on fire; it being ripe, and so capable of being fired, and therefore must be some time in March or April, when barley harvest began; he served Joab as Samson did the Philistines, Judges 15:4; which shows him to be a bold, and revengeful, and ungrateful man, to use his friend, and the general of the king's army, after this manner:

and Absalom's servants set the field on fire; as their master had bid them, and which is no wonder; for as they murdered Ammon at his command, they would not stop at burning Joab's field, when he bid them do it; see 2 Samuel 13:28.

Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it {q} on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.

(q) The wicked are impatient in their affections, and spare no unlawful means to accomplish them.

30. set it on fire] Partly in revenge for Absalom’s refusal (cp. Jdg 15:3-5), partly in the hope of bringing Joab to make a complaint in person.

The Sept. and some MSS. of the Vulg. add at the end of the verse: “And Joab’s servants came to him with their clothes rent, and said, Absalom’s servants have set thy field on fire.” The words are not absolutely necessary to the sense, but they may have been accidentally omitted from the Heb. text.

Verse 30. - Go, and set it on fire. The Hebrew has, Go, and I will set it on fire. Absalom represents himself as doing in his own person what his servants were to be his instruments in accomplishing. The versions, however, agree with the Massorites in substituting the easy phrase in the text. But few languages are so indifferent to persons and numbers as the Hebrew. 2 Samuel 14:30After Absalom had sat for two whole years in his house at Jerusalem without seeing the king's face, he sent to Joab that he might obtain for him the king's full forgiveness. But as Joab would not come to him, even after he had sent for him twice, Absalom commanded his servants to set fire to one of Joab's fields which adjoined his own and was then full of barley, for the purpose of compelling him to come, as he foresaw that Joab would not take this destruction of his property quietly, but would come to him to complain. ידי אל, literally "at my hand," i.e., by the side of my field or property. The Chethib והוציתה ("come, I will set it on fire") is a Hiphil formation, according to verbs ופ, for which the Keri has והצּיתוּה, the ordinary Hiphil form of יצת in the second person plural, "go and set it one fire."
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