2 Samuel 15:17
And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.
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(17) Tarried in a place that was far off.—Better, halted at the far house, i.e., at a definite place known by this name, probably the last house on the outskirts of the city before the road crossed the Kidron. Here David mustered his forces and made the arrangements for his flight.

15:13-23 David determined to quit Jerusalem. He took this resolve, as a penitent submitting to the rod. Before unrighteous Absalom he could justify himself, and stand out; but before the righteous God he must condemn himself, and yield to his judgments. Thus he accepts the punishment of his sin. And good men, when they themselves suffer, are anxious that others should not be led to suffer with them. He compelled none; those whose hearts were with Absalom, to Absalom let them go, and so shall their doom be. Thus Christ enlists none but willing followers. David cannot bear to think that Ittai, a stranger and an exile, a proselyte and a new convert, who ought to be encouraged and made easy, should meet with hard usage. But such value has Ittai for David's wisdom and goodness, that he will not leave him. He is a friend indeed, who loves at all times, and will adhere to us in adversity. Let us cleave to the Son of David, with full purpose of heart, and neither life nor death shall separate us from his love.And smite the city - David's kind nature induced him to spare Jerusalem the horrors of a siege, and the risk of being taken by assault. He had no standing army with which to resist this sudden attack from so unexpected a quarter. Possibly too he remembered Nathan's prophecy 2 Samuel 12:10-12. 14. David said … Arise, and let us flee—David, anxious for the preservation of the city which he had beautified, and hopeful of a greater support throughout the country, wisely resolved on leaving Jerusalem. Either to rest and refresh themselves a little; or rather, in expectation of others who should or would come after him, that they might march away in a considerable body, which might both defend the king, and invite others to come in to their assistance.

A place that was far off; at some convenient distance, but not very far. And the king went forth,.... From Jerusalem; which is repeated, that it might be observed in what a hurry and fright he was:

and all the people after him; his family, court, and servants, and as many of the people of Jerusalem as chose to go with him:

and tarried at a place that was afar off; when they had got at some distance from the city, they stopped and stayed a while; it could not be a great way from it, for they had not as yet passed over the brook Kidron, 2 Samuel 15:23.

And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was {i} far off.

(i) That is, from Jerusalem.

17. tarried in a place that was far off] Better, halted at the Far House: the last house on the outskirts of the city, before the road crossed the Kidron. It seems to be used almost as a proper name—Beth-merchak—for the locality. Here David halted, while his troops passed in review before him, and crossed the Kidron.Verse 17. - And tarried in a place that was far off; Revised Version, in Beth-merhak. "The Far House" - so we may translate this proper name - was probably not a dwelling, but a pavilion overlooking the Kidron valley; and here David halted his household until all were assembled, and arrangements made for their journey. Here, too, the bodyguard would gather, and they would cross the Kidron only when everything was ready for their orderly progress. Confusion at such a time would breed a panic and invite an attack. When 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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