2 Samuel 14:1-24 – A Hammer, A Nail, A Father’s Thumb and A Daughter’s Ears

Posted: July 4, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel, 99-Uncategorized

2 Samuel 14:1-24
Joab Arranges for Absalom’s Return

In this passage, the question that strikes me again is, “where is David in all of this?” He is an absentee father when it comes to his kids in this horrible sequence of events that has come upon his family. To be considered such a great king over Israel, he was mysteriously absent when it came to handling his own children. He never acts when action is needed. Maybe, it’s because he was mired in his own sins and their consequences. Maybe, it was that he did not want to discipline his own kids because of his own situation. Maybe, he thought there would be hypocrisy in that. But you just can’t quit being a parent just because you are jammed up by sin yourself. Sometimes, we have to set aside our own anguish over our sins and be a parent to our kids when discipline is called for.

Maybe, this is where we have to decide to live according to God’s Word instead of our desires. We must let go of those things that set poor examples to our children. Children watch us. Every move we make is catalogued by them and just more likely will be repeated. We cannot allow cycles of sin to continue in our families. They watch us. They imitate us. They think we are the source of what is acceptable and what is not. This fact was driven home to me when I was less experienced as a dad.

When Meghan was about 3-4 years old and was about 26-27 years old, she was my shadow. This was a time period when she was an only child – about a year or two before her sister was born. She thought her daddy was ten feet tall and bullet proof. Lisa, my first wife and mother of my kids, simply was not an affectionate parent so not only did Meghan get her affectionate embraces and hugs and kisses from me but it was that daddy-daughter thing. I thought she was the cutest thing ever and everything she did was just sooooo cuuuuute. She thought I was the most awesome man in the world. So, wherever daddy went, there was Meghan. Whatever I did, Meghan wanted to be with me. There was then this one Saturday we were going to have my parents, Meghan’s grandparents, over for dinner. And, Lisa was major cleaning the house so she had multiple projects that she had assigned to me – outside the house. One of which was to hang one of those plant hanger thingies beside the side door to our house – the entrance pretty much everybody used. So, here I was with hammer and nails. And Meghan was right there beside me to help me as she normally did at that age when I had a project. And of course, you guessed it, while I was hammering a nail through the awkwardly positioned holes in the plant hanger, I missed and hit my thumb about as hard as you can hit it yourself. Oh man, it was painful. I still remember that moment 30 years down the road at this minute as I write this. I step down the stepstool and was holding my thumb and in those few seconds where the pain of such an accident is its most intense, I let go an expletive that rhymes with truck about three times – with little Meghan standing right there. She was worried about her daddy in pain at that moment but the words were recorded in that little mind.

That evening, we had dinner with my parents as planned and the meal was great. Conversation was real and honest and there was lots of laughter. Then it was time for dessert. At that age, Meghan wanted to prove to everyone that she could do grown-up stuff so she wanted to help her mom bring the dessert over to the table from the kitchen. She did it all very successfully. She brought everyone their dessert without any problems. Then it was time for her and her mom to bring their desserts over to the table. As Meghan was walking over to the table with her dessert, she stumbled a bit and the dessert fell out of her and the plate landed upside down on the floor with the dessert smushed to the floor underneath. At that moment she let go of an expletive that rhymes with truck three times just as I had done earlier in the day. Talk about your Southwest Airlines moments – “want to get away?” That moment taught me that our kids watch and record in their minds everything we do and say. And we must be mindful of how we present ourselves to our kids. I should have learned more that day. My kids grew up to be great adults despite all my sins and sorrows and those they mom as well. But when I think about parents who live lives in front of their kids that involve abuse of a spouse, drug or alcohol overuse or abuse, and then wonder why their kids turn out the way they did, we must be mindful. We must live according to God’s Word and be examples to our kids that are positive and glorifying to God.

Having said all that, let us read today’s passage with an eye toward “where is David in all of this?” Let us read it with an eye toward learning that we cannot walk away from our responsibilities as parents because we are having too much fun with our sins or because we feel as though we cannot discipline our kids because of our sins. Let’s read it now:

Chapter 14
1 Joab realized how much the king longed to see Absalom. 2 So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning; wear mourning clothes and don’t put on lotions.[a] Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. 3 Then go to the king and tell him the story I am about to tell you.” Then Joab told her what to say.

4 When the woman from Tekoa approached[b] the king, she bowed with her face to the ground in deep respect and cried out, “O king! Help me!”

5 “What’s the trouble?” the king asked.

“Alas, I am a widow!” she replied. “My husband is dead. 6 My two sons had a fight out in the field. And since no one was there to stop it, one of them was killed. 7 Now the rest of the family is demanding, ‘Let us have your son. We will execute him for murdering his brother. He doesn’t deserve to inherit his family’s property.’ They want to extinguish the only coal I have left, and my husband’s name and family will disappear from the face of the earth.”

8 “Leave it to me,” the king told her. “Go home, and I’ll see to it that no one touches him.”

9 “Oh, thank you, my lord the king,” the woman from Tekoa replied. “If you are criticized for helping me, let the blame fall on me and on my father’s house, and let the king and his throne be innocent.”

10 “If anyone objects,” the king said, “bring him to me. I can assure you he will never harm you again!”

11 Then she said, “Please swear to me by the Lord your God that you won’t let anyone take vengeance against my son. I want no more bloodshed.”

“As surely as the Lord lives,” he replied, “not a hair on your son’s head will be disturbed!”

12 “Please allow me to ask one more thing of my lord the king,” she said.

“Go ahead and speak,” he responded.

13 She replied, “Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

15 “I have come to plead with my lord the king because people have threatened me. I said to myself, ‘Perhaps the king will listen to me 16 and rescue us from those who would cut us off from the inheritance[c] God has given us. 17 Yes, my lord the king will give us peace of mind again.’ I know that you are like an angel of God in discerning good from evil. May the Lord your God be with you.”

18 “I must know one thing,” the king replied, “and tell me the truth.”

“Yes, my lord the king,” she responded.

19 “Did Joab put you up to this?”

And the woman replied, “My lord the king, how can I deny it? Nobody can hide anything from you. Yes, Joab sent me and told me what to say. 20 He did it to place the matter before you in a different light. But you are as wise as an angel of God, and you understand everything that happens among us!”

21 So the king sent for Joab and told him, “All right, go and bring back the young man Absalom.”

22 Joab bowed with his face to the ground in deep respect and said, “At last I know that I have gained your approval, my lord the king, for you have granted me this request!”

23 Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king gave this order: “Absalom may go to his own house, but he must never come into my presence.” So Absalom did not see the king.

In this passage, we must ask the question, “Why is so much attention paid to Absalom in this and the next few chapters?” His revenge against Amnon and rebellion against David were the beginnings of the decline of David’s kingdom that had been prophesied back in 2 Samuel 12:10-12. The cycle of lust and murder had begun with David’s own moral disaster in the Bathsheba/Uriah incident. By killing his half-brother Amnon, yes, he did gain some revenge for the rape of his sister, Tamar. But when you look at the murder of Amnon in light of Absalom’s upcoming rebellion against his father, King David, his murder of Amnon removed him from succession to the throne as Amnon was the firstborn son of David. Clearly, Absalom had his sights set on being Israel’s king and he did everything in his power to obtain that goal. Absalom was handsome and popular like his father but he lacked his father’s heart for God.

Specifically, in this passage, we see that Joab was the one who had initiated the retrieval activities with regard to Absalom. There is no mention of David. What is up with David? When it comes to his kids, we see none of the boldness that made him a great warrior. We see none of the wisdom that made him a great king. We see only his kids running wild. There is no discipline by David toward Absalom that we can tell from this passage. Should not have David been the one to seek consult with the king of Geshur. Absalom’s maternal grandfather and David’s father-in-law through his marriage to Maacha, one of David’s many wives. It was his son. But it is Joab that makes the arrangements. Why is David so absent when it comes to his kids? There is a lesson in that for us. We must be present in our children’s lives. We must participate in their parenting. Regardless of what’s going on in our own lives, we must continue to parent our children.

Even if we are not perfect (and none of us are), we cannot abdicate our parenting of our children to their environment of friends and the culture in which they live. We cannot give up on discipline of certain behaviors because we have committed that same sin and may be still are suffering the consequences of those sins. We must approach such things from the point of view that we do not want our kids to suffer our same fate. We must approach such things as being able to teach our children from our own sad experiences.

Let us resolve to be involved parents who strive to live according to God’s Word through the grace of Jesus Christ and point our kids toward godly lives through our obedience to His Word.

Amen and Amen.

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