2 Samuel 16:17
And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this your kindness to your friend? why went you not with your friend?
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2 Samuel 16:17. Is this thy kindness to thy friend? — Doth this action answer that profession of friendship which thou hast hitherto made to him? He speaks thus only to try him. He does not say, To my father, for that question would have reflected a heavier reproach upon himself, who had forsaken not only a friend, but his own father, and even forced him away. Or, perhaps, by saying, Thy friend, he meant to insinuate, that David was a friend to Hushai, and to strangers, but not to his own son, whom by severity he had provoked to take this course; and therefore he doth not vouchsafe to call him his father.16:15-23 The wisest counsellors of that age were Ahithophel and Hushai: Absalom thinks himself sure of success, when he has both; on them he relies, and consults not the ark, though he had that with him. But miserable counsellors were they both. Hushai would never counsel him to do wisely. Ahithophel counselled him to do wickedly; and so did as effectually betray him, as he did, who was designedly false to him: for they that advise men to sin, certainly advise them to their hurt. After all, honesty is the best policy, and will be found so in the long run. Ahithophel gave wicked counsel to Absalom; to render himself so hateful to his father, that he would never be reconciled to him; this cursed policy was of the devil. How desperately wicked is the human heart!His cursing - Another reading has "my curse," i. e., the curse that has fallen upon me. David recognizes in every word and action that he was receiving the due reward of his sin, and that which Nathan had foretold. 15-19. Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king—Hushai's devotion to David was so well-known, that his presence in the camp of the conspirators excited great surprise. Professing, however, with great address, to consider it his duty to support the cause which the course of Providence and the national will had seemingly decreed should triumph, and urging his friendship for the father as a ground of confidence in his fidelity to the son, he persuaded Absalom of his sincerity, and was admitted among the councillors of the new king. Is this thy kindness to thy friend? doth this action answer that profession of greatest friendship which thou hast hitherto made to him? Dost thou thus requite his favour and true friendship to thee? He speaks thus only to try him. And he saith, thy friend, by way of refection on David; as one who was a friend to Hushai, and to strangers, but not to his own sown, whom, by his severity and design to give away his right to Solomon, he provoked to this course; and therefore he doth not vouchsafe to call him his father. And Absalom said to Hushai, is this thy kindness to thy friend?.... Meaning to David; though he would not mention his name, nor his title, nor even the relation of a father he stood in to him, only speaks of him as Hushai's friend: Hushai had professed great friendship to David, and David had been a friend to Hushai, had raised him to great honour in making him a counsellor, and had bestowed many favours and benefits on him, as Absalom knew full well; and therefore, to try his integrity, he puts this question, not as displeased with him, but overjoyed that such a trusty friend of David, and a wise counsellor of his, had deserted him, and come over to him and his party; nor does he mean to charge him with ingratitude, which he could not do without reproaching himself; on whom it might be justly retorted, is this thy kindness to thy father that begot thee, and has always expressed such a strong affection for thee, as to rebel against him?

why wentest thou not with thy friend? with David, when he went out of Jerusalem; for Absalom knew not that Hushai had been with David, but thought he stayed behind at Jerusalem, when David fled, which made him less suspicious of him.

And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy {i} friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?

(i) Meaning, David.

Verse 17. - Is this thy kindness to thy friend? After carrying the king to Ayephim, on the banks of the Jordan, the narrator now turns back to Absalom, because David was to wait at the caravanserai for news from Jerusalem. And immediately on his arrival, Hushai hastens into Absalom's presence, loudly exclaiming, "Long live the king!" for such is the meaning of the Hebrew. The young man is surprised; for Hushai was David's friend and trusted confidant. Yet he does not suspect this sudden breaking of old ties, but, looking at the bright side only, sees in it a proof that his party was looked upon as sure of success, and David's cause as hopeless. He welcomes, therefore, so notable an adherent, and Hushai's pretences confirm his self-deceit; for he professes to regard Absalom as king, not by fraud and violence, but by the formal choice of both Jehovah and the people. On this assumption, obedience to the nation's choice became a religious duty, and Hushai's love to the father was a pledge of love to the son. We must not, however, condemn Absalom for too easy credulity. The nation was in his favour, and, had he acted with promptitude, David's cause would have been lost. David said still further to Abishai and all his servants: "Behold, my own son seeketh after my life; how much more then the Benjaminite! (who belongs to a hostile race.) Let him curse, for Jehovah hath bidden him. Perhaps Jehovah will look upon my guilt, and Jehovah will requite me good for the curse which befals me this day." בּעוני (Chethib) has been altered by the Masoretes into בּעיני o, "upon mine eye," probably in the sense of "upon my tears;" and קללתי into קללתו, - from pure misapprehension. בּעוני does not mean "upon my misery," for עון never has this meaning, but upon the guilt which really belongs to me, in contrast with that with which Shimei charges me; and קללתי is the curse that has come upon me. Although David had committed no murder upon the house of Saul, and therefore Shimei's cursing was nothing but malicious blasphemy, he felt that it came upon him because of his sins, though not for the sin imputed to him. He therefore forbade their putting the blasphemer to death, and said Jehovah had commanded him to curse; regarding the cursing as the consequence of the wrath of God that was bringing him low (comp. the remarks on 1 Samuel 26:19). But this consciousness of guilt also excited the assurance that the Lord would look upon his sin. When God looks upon the guilt of a humble sinner, He will also, as a just and merciful God, avert the evil, and change the suffering into a blessing. David founded upon this the hope, that the Lord would repay him with good for the curse with which Shimei was pursuing him now.
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