Lord, You are the comfort of my heart, the joy of my life and my only hope. I love You, Lord.
Read 2 Samuel 18:1-18
 David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.  David sent out his troops, a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, “I myself will surely march out with you.”  But the men said, “You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won’t care about us. Even if half of us die, they won’t care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.”  The king answered, “I will do whatever seems best to you.” So the king stood beside the gate while all his men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands.  The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.  David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.  There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great-twenty thousand men.  The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.  Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.  When one of the men saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.”  Joab said to the man who had told him this, “What! You saw him? Why didn’t you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels of silver and a warrior’s belt.”  But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’  And if I had put my life in jeopardy-and nothing is hidden from the king-you would have kept your distance from me.”  Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.  And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.  Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them.  They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.  During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, “I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWho do you believe brought justice to Absalom?
Few things can match an army for organization. King David’s forces have clear organizational structure (1,2). But this masks an underlying chaos that is overtaking Israel, now at war with itself. Also, David’s family is at war with itself. Even the forest, the scene for this decisive battle, seems to rise up unnaturally against the fighters (8). David’s inner dilemma regarding his son echoes the external divisions of the nation.The narrative illustrates the Old Testament principle of judgment: evil eventually destroys itself. This is most graphically displayed in Absalom, whose hair, the emblem of his vanity and pride (14:25,26), leads to his downfall. Absalom is left “hanging between heaven and earth” (9, NRSV), weighed in the balance of justice. Absalom erected a monument to himself in his lifetime (18). In his death, his grave is devoid of respect and adornment (17). As Jesus said, you can have your reward now or later (Matt. 6:2,5,16). Behind the chaos of much of life, and beyond the organization and control people try to exert, is the sovereign hand of God. We may not see this in the short term, but in the long term, his will and holiness are irresistible.
Meditate on Romans 11:33-36. Commit these verses to memory.
God, You do not forget the righteous. Those who turn from You will be brought to justice.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.