2 Samuel 15:10
But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
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(10) Sent spies.—These were agents who were to sound the people in the various parts of the land, and doubtless to communicate the conspiracy only secretly, and to those whom they found favourably disposed. They started from Jerusalem, perhaps, at the same time with Absalom, or possibly had been sent out quietly, a few at a time, beforehand. The signal for rising was to be a messenger with a trumpet.

2 Samuel 15:10. Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes — Before he left Jerusalem he took care to send his emissaries into all parts; doubtless under colour of inviting persons of distinction to the sacrifice; but in reality to carry the watchword and signal, before agreed on between them. As soon as ye shall hear the sound of the trumpet, &c. — This was the signal which was to be given for the people’s taking up arms, their hearing the sound of the trumpet, which Absalom took care should be blown in all the tribes at the same time, by persons purposely placed in the towns and villages, at such a distance from one another as that each trumpet could be heard by the person appointed to blow the next. The spies, or emissaries, immediately upon hearing the sound of it, were to proclaim that Absalom was crowned king in Hebron. Upon this being done, all his partisans, it is likely, shouted, God save King Absalom.

15:7-12 See how willing tender parents are to believe the best concerning their children. But how easy and how wicked is it, for children to take advantage of good parents, and to deceive them with the show of religion! The principal men of Jerusalem joined Absalom's feast upon his sacrifice. Pious persons are glad to see others appear religious, and this gives occasion for deceptions. The policy of wicked men, and the subtlety of Satan, are exerted to draw good persons to countenance base designs.Forty years - An obvious clerical error, though a very ancient one for four years, which may date from Absalom's return from Geshur, or from his reconciliation with David, or from the commencement of the criminal schemes to which 2 Samuel 15:1 refers.

Hebron - This, as having been the old capital of David's kingdom and Absalom's birthplace, was well chosen. It was a natural center, had probably many inhabitants discontented at the transfer of the government to Jerusalem, and contained many of the friends of Absalom's youth. As the place of his birth (compare 1 Samuel 20:6), it afforded a plausible pretext for holding there the great sacrificial feast ("the serving the Lord," 2 Samuel 15:8), which Absalom pretended to have vowed to hold to the glory of God.

2Sa 15:10-12. He Forms a Conspiracy.

10. Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel—These emissaries were to sound the inclination of the people, to further the interests of Absalom, and exhort all the adherents of his party to be in readiness to join his standard as soon as they should hear that he had been proclaimed king. As the summons was to be made by the sound of trumpets, it is probable that care had been taken to have trumpeters stationed on the heights, and at convenient stations—a mode of announcement that would soon spread the news over all the country of his inauguration to the throne.

Absalom sent from Hebron; or, had sent from Jerusalem; that when he went to Hebron, they should go into the several tribes to sift the people, and to dispose them to Absalom’s party, and acquaint them with his success.

As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet; which I shall take care to have sounded in several parts by other persons; and when that is done, you shall inform them of the reason of it. Or, as soon as you understand that the trumpet was sounded at Hebron; partly to call the people together for my assistance; and partly to celebrate my inauguration to the kingdom, which you shall speedily know by messengers whom I shall send to you to that end.

But Absalom sent spies throughout all the land of Israel,.... To sound the disposition of the people towards him, to insinuate things into their minds in favour of him, and to improve every opportunity of recommending him to their esteem and affections:

saying, as soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet; in any place; and which it is probable he employed men to sound in many places:

then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron: which is the cause of the trumpet's sounding; and by this means they would learn how the people stood affected to him, whether the news was grateful or not.

But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
10. spies] Absalom’s emissaries are called spies, because they were sent secretly to ascertain public feeling, and only divulge their real purpose where they could count on support.

the sound of the trumpet] The signal for revolt and for the gathering of his supporters, like the hoisting of a standard in modern times. He was to be proclaimed king simultaneously all over the country. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 20:1; 1 Kings 1:34; 2 Kings 9:13.

in Hebron] The choice of Hebron clearly shews that Absalom expected to find his chief support in the tribe of Judah. It is probable that the old tribal jealousies had been revived, and that Judah resented its absorption into the nation at large. Such a spirit of discontent would account for the slackness of Judah to bring back the king when the rebellion was over (ch. 2 Samuel 19:11). Hebron itself too probably contained many persons who were aggrieved by the removal of the court to Jerusalem. See Ewald’s Hist. of Israel, III. 176.

Verse 10. - Absalom sent spies. The word means "those who go hither and thither," and, as the object of such journeying would usually be. to gather information, the right translation often is "spies." Here there was no such purpose, nor were they to report to Absalom, but to disperse themselves everywhere, and, when the signal was given at Hebron, they were to endeavour to gather the people to Absalom's standard. Some simple minded commentators wonder how one trumpet could be heard throughout the land. It was heard only at Hebron, but the news of the proclamation would rapidly spread; and, though the rumour might be vague and confused, yet these emissaries, fully acquainted beforehand with its meaning, would turn it to Absalom's advantage, and urge the people to confirm the choice, made, as they would affirm, by the whole tribe of Judah. In such attempts everything depends upon gathering a powerful following at first; and usually a good deal of vigour and even force is necessary to make men take part in a revolt. But as the numbers swell, adherents readily flock in to what seems to be the winning side. 2 Samuel 15:10When Absalom went to Hebron, he sent spies into all the tribes of Israel to say, "When ye hear the sound of the trumpet, say, Absalom has become king in Hebron." We must suppose the sending the spies to have been contemporaneous with the removal of Absalom to Hebron, so that ויּשׁלח is used quite regularly, and there is no reason for translating it as a pluperfect. The messengers sent out are called "spies," because they were first of all to ascertain the feelings of the people in the different tribes, and were only to execute their commission in places where they could reckon upon support. The conspiracy had hitherto been kept very secret, as we may see from the statement in 2 Samuel 15:11 : "With Absalom there had gone two hundred men out of Jerusalem, invited (to the sacrificial festival), and going in their simplicity, who knew nothing at all of the affair." (כּל־דּבר לא: nothing at all.)
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