2 Samuel 14:7
And, behold, the whole family is risen against your handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the earth.
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(7) We will destroy the heir also.—The woman puts this into the mouth of the family, because this would be the result of what they proposed. The effect of the parable is greatly heightened by this, and there is no doubt intended a covert allusion to Absalom as the heir of David.

2 Samuel 14:7. Deliver him, that we may kill him — Put him to death, as the law requires, Numbers 35:18-19. We will destroy the heir also — Take away his life, although he be the heir, or the only one remaining of the family. And so they shall quench my coal which is left — Deprive me of the little comfort of my life which remains, and ruin the only hope of my family. Shall leave to my husband neither name nor remainder — Shall utterly extinguish my husband’s memory. The reader will easily observe that there is a great difference between the supposed case of this widow and that of David, however plausible their likeness may appear. For her son, she pretended, was slain in a scuffle with his brother, and his death, therefore, was not a premeditated murder, as was the death of Amnon. It also happened in the field, where there were no witnesses, whether he was killed wilfully: whereas all the king’s sons saw Amnon designedly and barbarously murdered. And in the last particular the difference is as great as in either of the others. For David’s family was not in danger of being extinguished, if Absalom had been lost also; David having many children, and also many wives by whom he might have more.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.The whole family ... - This indicates that all the king's sons, and the whole court, were against Absalom, and that the knowledge of this was what hindered David from yielding to his affection and recalling him. 7. they shall quench my coal which is left—The life of man is compared in Scripture to a light. To quench the light of Israel (2Sa 21:17) is to destroy the king's life; to ordain a lamp for any one (Ps 132:17) is to grant him posterity; to quench a coal signifies here the extinction of this woman's only remaining hope that the name and family of her husband would be preserved. The figure is a beautiful one; a coal live, but lying under a heap of embers—all that she had to rekindle her fire—to light her lamp in Israel. That we may kill him; according to the law, Numbers 35:19 Deu 19:12.

We will destroy the heir also; so they plainly discover that their prosecution of him was not so much from love of justice, as from a covetous desire to deprive him of the inheritance, and to transfer it to themselves; which self-interest might justly render their testimony suspected. Or perhaps these words are not spoken as the expresswords of the prosecutors, (who can hardly be thought so directly to express a sinister design,) but as the woman’s inference or comment upon what they were doing, (for this would be indeed the result of it, though they did not say so in express words,) thereby to represent her case as the more deserving pity.

My coal which is left; the poor remainder of my light and comfort, by whom alone my hopes may be revived and repaired.

To my husband; she names him rather than herself, because children bear the names of their fathers, not of their mothers. And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid,.... Who had sheltered her son, that slew his brother, from the avenger of blood; and not only the next akin, the avenger of blood, but even all the kindred and relations of the deceased, those of her husband's family rose up as one man, demanding justice:

and they said, deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew; pretending great regard to the deceased, and a zeal for justice, when the main thing aimed at was to get the inheritance into their own hands, as appears by what follows:

and we will destroy the heir also; and hereby she would insinuate to the king, that the reason why the rest of the king's sons spake against Absalom to him, and stirred him up to punish him with death, was because he was heir to the crown, and they thought by removing him to make way for themselves:

and so they shall quench my coal that is left; she had but one son, as she represents her case, who was like a coal left among ashes, in the ruins of her family; the only one to support her, keep alive her family, and bear up and continue her husband's name; and, as the Targum,"they seek to kill the only one that is left;''

and so the family be extinct:

and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth; should he be delivered up to them and slain; but herein the fable or apologue differed greatly from the case it was intended to represent; for had Absalom been put to death, as the law required, David had sons enough to inherit his throne, and keep up his name.

And, behold, the whole family is risen against thine handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the {d} life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth.

(d) Because he has slain his brother he ought to be slain according to the law, Ge 9:6, Ex 21:12.

7. the whole family, &c.] The whole clan demanded blood-revenge, according to the primitive custom, sanctioned and regulated by the Mosaic Law. See Numbers 35:19; Deuteronomy 19:12-13.

and we will destroy the heir also] The woman puts these words that we may kill him … and destroy the heir also into the mouth of her kinsmen, in order to make their conduct appear in the worst possible light, as actuated not so much by a wish to observe the law as by covetousness and a desire to share the inheritance among themselves. Cp. Matthew 21:38.

they shall quench my coal which is left] The surviving son, who is the last hope for the continuance of his family, is compared to the live coal still left among the embers, by which the fire almost extinct may be rekindled.Verse 7. - The whole family. This does not mean the kinsfolk, in whom such a disregard of the mother's feelings would have been cruel, but one of the great divisions of the tribe (see note on the mishpachah, in 1 Samuel 20:6, and comp. 1 Samuel 10:21). In ver. 15 she rightly calls them "the people." We have thus a glimpse of the ordinary method of administering the criminal law, and find that each portion of a tribe exercised justice within its own district, being summoned to a general convention by its hereditary chief; and in this case the widow represents it as determined to punish the crime of fratricide with inflexible severity, and we may assume that such was the usual practice. The mother sets before David the other side of the matter - her own loneliness, the wiping out of the father's house, the utter ruin of her home if the last live coal on her hearth be extinguished. And in this way she moves his generous sympathies even to the point of overriding the legal rights of the mishpachah. In modern communities there is always some formal power of softening or entirely remitting penalties required by the letter of the law, and of taking into consideration matters of equity and even of feeling, Which the judge must put aside; and in monarchies this is always the high prerogative of the crown. And we will destroy the heir also. The Syriac has the third person, "And they will destroy even the heir, and quench my coal that is left." This is more natural, but there is greater pungency in the widow putting into the mouth of the heads of the clan, not words which they had actually spoken, but words which showed what would be the real effect of their determination. There is great force and beauty also in the description of her son as the last live coal left to keep the family hearth burning. In another but allied sense David is called "the lamp of Israel" (2 Samuel 21:17, marg.). When Joab perceived that the king's heart was against Absalom, he sent for a cunning woman from Tekoah, to work upon the king and change his mind, so that he might grant forgiveness to Absalom. 2 Samuel 14:1 is understood by the majority of commentators, in accordance with the Syriac and Vulgate, as signifying that Joab learned that the king's heart was inclined towards Absalom, was well disposed towards him again. But this explanation is neither philologically sustained, nor in accordance with the context. לב, written with על and without any verb, so that היה has to be supplied, only occurs again in Daniel 11:28, where the preposition has the meaning "against." It is no argument against this meaning here, that if David had been ill disposed towards Absalom, there would have been no necessity to state that Joab perceived it; for we cannot see why Joab should only have perceived or noticed David's friendly feelings, and not his unfriendly feelings as well. If, however, Joab had noticed the re-awakening of David's good feelings towards Absalom, there would have been no necessity for him to bring the cunning woman from Tekoah to induce him to consent to Absalom's return. Moreover, David would not in that case have refused to allow Absalom to see his face for two whole years after his return to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:24). Tekoah, the home of the prophet Amos, the present Tekua, two hours to the south of Bethlehem (see at Joshua 15:59, lxx). The "wise woman" was to put on mourning, as a woman who had been mourning for a long while for some one that was dead (התאבּל, to set or show herself mourning), and to go to the king in this attire, and say what Joab had put into her mouth.
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