2 Samuel 18:16
And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Blew the trumpet.—Comp. 2Samuel 2:28; 2Samuel 20:22. With the death of Absalom the rebellion was at an end, and Joab would stop further slaughter.

2 Samuel 18:16. Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned — He knew Absalom’s men had been drawn unthinkingly into this rebellion, and would return to their duty, now they had none to head them. For Joab held back the people — Who otherwise, being highly incensed against the rebels, would have hotly pursued, and made still greater slaughter among them. In this Joab acted like a wise and merciful man, who wished to stop the further effusion of Israelitish blood.18:9-18 Let young people look upon Absalom, hanging on a tree, accursed, forsaken of heaven and earth; there let them read the Lord's abhorrence of rebellion against parents. Nothing can preserve men from misery and contempt, but heavenly wisdom and the grace of God.Blew the trumpet - To stop the pursuit and slaughter 2 Samuel 2:28; 2 Samuel 20:22. 16. Joab blew the trumpet, … and held back the people—Knowing that by the death of the usurper there was no occasion for further bloodshed, he put an end to the pursuit and thereby evinced the temperate policy of his conduct. However harsh and unfeeling to the king Joab may appear, there can be no doubt that he acted the part of a wise statesman in regarding the peace and welfare of the kingdom more than his master's private inclinations, which were opposed to strict justice as well as his own interests. Absalom deserved to die by the divine law (De 21:18, 21), as well as being an enemy to his king and country; and no time was more fitting than when he met that death in open battle. Who otherwise were highly incensed against the rebels, and hotly pursued them. But the head of the rebellion being cut off, and the danger thereby past, be puts a stop to the effusion of Israelitish blood. And Joab blew the trumpet,.... As the sign of a retreat:

and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; upon the sound of the trumpet, the meaning of which they understood:

for Joab held back the people: from shedding any more blood; the head of the conspiracy being removed, the thing would be crushed at once; and Joab neither chose to slay any more, nor take any prisoners, to be tried as traitors, being unawares, without thought, drawn into this rebellion.

And Joab {d} blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people.

(d) For he had pity on the people, who were seduced by Absalom's flattery.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. blew the trumpet] Sounded the recall to stop further pursuit. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 2:28, 2 Samuel 20:22.Verse 16. - Joab blew the trumpet. Stem and unscrupulous as he was, yet Joab is always statesmanlike. He had slain Absalom more for public than for private reasons, though he may have grimly remembered his own blazing barley field. But the rebellion being now crushed, further slaughter was impolitic, and would only cause sullen displeasure. The people, at the end of the verse, are those under Joab's command, and a translation proposed by some, "Joab wished to spare the people," is to be rejected. A man (one of David's men) saw him in this situation, and told Joab, Joab replied (2 Samuel 18:11), "Behold, thou hast seen it, and wherefore has thou not smitten him there to the ground? and it was for me to give thee ten silverlings and a girdle;" i.e., if thou hadst slain him, it would have been my duty to reward thee.
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