2 Samuel 18:20
And Joab said to him, You shall not bear tidings this day, but you shall bear tidings another day: but this day you shall bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Thou shalt bear no tidings.—Ahimaaz appears to have been in favour both with David (comp. 2Samuel 18:27) and with Joab. Joab, therefore, well knowing how painful to David would be the news of the death of Absalom, refused to let Ahimaaz bear it. The word is used, with rare exceptions, of good tidings.

18:19-33 By directing David to give God thanks for his victory, Ahimaaz prepared him for the news of his son's death. The more our hearts are fixed and enlarged, in thanksgiving to God for our mercies, the better disposed we shall be to bear with patience the afflictions mixed with them. Some think David's wish arose from concern about Absalom's everlasting state; but he rather seems to have spoken without due thought. He is to be blamed for showing so great fondness for a graceless son. Also for quarrelling with Divine justice. And for opposing the justice of the nation, which, as king, he had to administer, and which ought to be preferred before natural affection. The best men are not always in a good frame; we are apt to over-grieve for what we over-loved. But while we learn from this example to watch and pray against sinful indulgence, or neglect of our children, may we not, in David, perceive a shadow of the Saviour's love, who wept over, prayed for, and even suffered death for mankind, though vile rebels and enemies.Ahimaaz was a well-known runner 2 Samuel 18:27. Speed was a heroic virtue in those simple times (compare 2 Samuel 2:18). In Hezekiah's reign 2 Chronicles 30:6, 2 Chronicles 30:10 we find an establishment of running post-men; and the same name ("runners") is given Esther 3:13 to the Persian posts, though at that time they rode on mules and camels.

Bear tidings - The original word is used almost exclusively of bearing good tidings, and hence, is rendered in the Septuagint (though not always) εὐαγγίζεσθαι euangelizesthai 2 Samuel 4:10; 1 Samuel 31:9. In 2 Samuel 18:21, it is not "carry the good tidings," but "tell," simply "announce."

19. Then said Ahimaaz … Let me … run and bear the king tidings—The reasons why Joab declined to accept Ahimaaz' offer to bear intelligence of the victory to David, and afterwards let him go along with another, are variously stated by commentators—but they are of no importance. Yet the alacrity of the messengers, as well as the eager excitement of the expectants, is graphically described. And thou shalt not be a messenger of evil tidings, which will be unwelcome to him, and prejudicial to thee. And Joab said unto him, thou shall not bear tidings this day,.... Because Joab knew the tidings of Absalom's death would not be acceptable to the king; and Ahimaaz being a good man, and the son of a priest, for whom Joab had a respect, he would not send the tidings by him, which he was sensible would not recommend him to the king:

but thou shalt bear tidings another day; when any salvation is wrought, or victory obtained, the tidings of which will be welcome:

but this day thou shall bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead; and thou must carry the news concerning his death, which it is not proper thou shouldest, being a priest, nor will it be to thine advantage.

And Joab said unto him, Thou {g} shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead.

(g) For Joab bore a good affection to Ahimaaz and doubted how David would take the report of Absalom's death.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. bear tidings] The word with rare exceptions means to bear good tidings, and this meaning should be retained here and in 2 Samuel 18:19. Joab would not let Ahimaaz have the thankless task of carrying news which to the king would be no good news.Joab replied, "Not so will I wait before thee," i.e., I will not leave the thing to thee. He then took three staffs in his hand, and thrust them into Absalom's heart. שׁבטים is rendered by the lxx and Vulgate, βέλη, lanceas; and Thenius would adopt שׁלחים accordingly, as an emendation of the text. But in the earlier Hebrew שׁלח only occurs in poetical writings in the sense of a missile or dart (Job 33:18; Job 36:12; Joel 2:8); and it is not till after the captivity that we find it used to denote a weapon generally. There is no necessity, however, for altering the text. Joab caught up in his hurry the first thing that he found, namely pointed staff, and pierced Absalom with them to the heart. This explains the reason for his taking three, whereas one javelin or dart would have been sufficient, and also the fact that Absalom was not slain, notwithstanding their being thrust at his heart. The last clause of the verse belongs to what follows: "Still living (i.e., as he was still alive) in the midst of the terebinth, ten young men, Joab's armour-bearers, surrounded him, and smote him to death."
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