2 Samuel 18:20
And Joab said unto him, Thou 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.
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(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.

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.

2 Samuel 18:20David is informed of the victory, and of the death of Absalom. - 2 Samuel 18:19, 2 Samuel 18:20. Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, wanted to carry the news to David, that Jehovah had "procured the king justice out of the hand of his enemies" (שׁפט with מן is a pregnant expression signifying to procure justice and deliver out of); but Joab, knowing how David would receive the tidings of the death of Absalom, replied, "Thou art no man of good tidings to-day; thou shalt take the news on another day, not on this, even because (על־כּן כּי, see at Genesis 18:5) the king's son is dead." The Keri על־כּן כּי is to be preferred to the Chethib כּי־על; and כּן has no doubt been dropt out merely because of בּן which follows. The Chethib does not give any suitable sense; for the absence of the article before מת is decisive against the explanation proposed by Maurer, viz., "for (tidings have to be carried) concerning the king's son dead." If מת were to be construed as an adverb with בּן־מלך, it would of necessity have the article.
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