2 Samuel 19:5
And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, You have shamed this day the faces of all your servants, which this day have saved your life, and the lives of your sons and of your daughters, and the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XIX.

(5) And Joab came.—This is a continuation of 2Samuel 19:1, the intervening verses being parenthetical. Joab’s whole character appears strikingly in his conduct on this occasion. With his hand red with the blood of the beloved son, he goes, in the hardest and most unfeeling terms, to reproach the father for giving way to his grief; he treats the king with thorough insolence, and with the air of a superior; yet withal he counsels David for his own welfare and for that of the kingdom as a wise and loyal statesman. It may be doubted whether David yet knew of Joab’s part in the death of Absalom.

The lives of thy sons.—Had Absalom succeeded he would no doubt not only have slain his father, but also, after the Oriental custom, have put out of the way all who might possibly have become rival claimants of the throne. (Comp. Judges 9:5; 1Kings 15:29; 1Kings 16:11; 2Kings 10:6-7; 2Kings 11:1.)

2 Samuel 19:5-6. Joab said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants — By disappointing their just hopes of praises and rewards, and requiting them with contempt and tacit rebukes; and thus making them hang down their heads, as if they had committed such a crime, that they were ashamed to look men in the face. Which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons, &c. — Who, in all probability, would all have been slain, if Absalom had gained the victory. In that thou lovest thine enemies — Thy rebellious son, and those associated with him, to effect thy destruction. And hatest thy friends — Who have risked their lives in thy defence, but in whose preservation thou seemest to take no pleasure, only grieving for the death of a rebel. If Absalom had lived, and we had all died, then it would have pleased thee well — Joab seems to speak this in reference to the exclamation of the king, Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom! for had this been the case, as the king wished, Joab and the rest of David’s faithful commanders would in course have perished through the power of Absalom, who would then have had none to oppose him. Joab’s words, however, are not to be understood as exactly true, but as spoken hyperbolically: but David’s carriage gave too much colour to such a suggestion; and such sharpness of speech was in a manner necessary to awaken the king out of his lethargy, and to preserve him from the impendent mischiefs.19:1-8 To continue to lament for so bad a son as Absalom, was very unwise, and very unworthy. Joab censures David, but not with proper respect and deference to his sovereign. A plain case may be fairly pleaded with those above us, and they may be reproved for what they do amiss, but it must not be with rudeness and insolence. Yet David took the reproof and the counsel, prudently and mildly. Timely giving way, usually prevents the ill effects of mistaken measures.Had Absalom gained the victory, it is likely that, according to the manner of Oriental despots, he would have sought to secure his throne by killing all possible competitors Judges 9:5; 1 Kings 15:29. 5. Thou hast shamed … the faces of all thy servants—by withdrawing thyself to indulge in grief, as if their services were disagreeable and their devotion irksome to thee. Instead of hailing their return with joy and gratitude, thou hast refused them the small gratification of seeing thee. Joab's remonstrance was right and necessary, but it was made with harshness. He was one of those persons who spoil their important services by the insolence of their manners, and who always awaken a feeling of obligation in those to whom they render any services. He spoke to David in a tone of hauteur that ill became a subject to show towards his king. Joab came into the house; either the gate-house, or his now dwelling-house in the city, to which he was retired, that he might more freely indulge himself in the expressions of his grief.

Thou hast shamed the faces of all thy servants, by disappointing their just hopes of praises and rewards, and by requiting them with contempt and tacit rebukes.

Thy life, and the lives of thy sons, and of thy daughters, and of thy wives, and of thy concubines; all which Absalom struck at, and had sooner or later actually taken away, if he had not been cut off in such a manner, without expecting thy knowledge or consent; and therefore thy carriage towards them that have saved the lives of thee and thine, with the utmost hazard of their own, is highly unjust and ungrateful. And Joab came into the house to the king,.... For by this time he was removed from the chamber over the gate to his own dwelling house or palace, where he continued the same doleful ditty as at first:

and said, thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants; they cannot lift up their heads, and look any in the face, nor one another; but behave as if they had committed some very great fault, in fighting with the rebels, and beating them:

which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons, and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; which in all probability would have been taken away if the victory had been on the side of Absalom.

And Joab came into the {b} house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;

(b) At Mahanaim.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Joab came into the house to the king] The crisis illustrates the good as well as the bad features of Joab’s character—his loyalty to David, and his practical sagacity, as well as his hard unsympathetic nature. Exaggerated and unfeeling as his speech was, it roused David from the extravagance of his grief to a sense of his duty, and saved him from flinging away the fruits of the victory.

Thou hast shamed, &c.] Disappointed their hopes of rejoicing for the victory: treated them like offenders instead of benefactors.

have saved thy life, &c.] For had Absalom been victorious, he would doubtless have put to death all rival claimants to the throne, and possibly other members of the king’s household. Cp. Jdg 9:5; 1 Kings 15:29; 1 Kings 16:11; 2 Kings 10:6; 2 Kings 11:1.Verse 5. - And Joab... said. Joab's speech puts the alternative in a very incisive and even rude way before the king. But what he says is true, namely, that Absalom's success would inevitably have been followed by the massacre, not only of David himself, but of his sons and daughters, and of the women who had accompanied him in his flight. Nor would it have stopped there. but the officers of his court, the captains of his army, his mighties, and all who had long eared for and loved him would have been put to the sword. It was this horrible certainty, according to Oriental usage, which made Absalom's rebellion so abominable, and which steeled the heart of Joab against him when he saw him hanging in the tree. He regarded him as a fratricide and parricide, who had plotted murder on a large scale; and Joab was not made milder by the thought that this would have included himself and the heroes who had made David's throne so great. With stern good sense he, therefore, bids the king suppress his mere personal feelings, and leave the chamber in which he had concealed himself, to go forth and "speak to the heart of his servants," that is, thank and praise them in a friendly manner. For otherwise they would disperse and leave him; and this would be followed by the uprise of some other claimant of the throne - some relative, perhaps, of Saul, backed by the tribes of Benjamin and Ephraim; and David, abandoned by the nation, would fall an easy victim, with all his family, of this second rebellion. Absalom's rapid success proved that David had many enemies, and without great prudence he might be left at Mahanaim as powerless as Ishbeshoth had been. The long delay between the death of this puppet king and David's appointment to be sovereign of all Israel was probably owing to the same want of enthusiasm for David which had made the nation transfer its allegiance so lightly to the handsome Absalom. But with all his good sense Joab was coarse and rude. He was, moreover, utterly incapable of understanding David's real feelings. He saw only a father giving way to an exaggerated loss for a handsome but worthless son. David really was condemning himself for having brought lust and murder into his own house by abominable sin. When asked about the welfare of Absalom, the Cushite replied, "May it happen to the enemies of my lord the king, and all who have risen up against thee for evil (i.e., to do thee harm), as to the young man." The death of Absalom was indicated clearly enough in these words.
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