| Back to Home Page | Back to Book Index |


2 Samuel Chapter Fifteen


2 Samuel 15 Outlines

Absalom’s Treason (v.1~12)

David Escapes from Jerusalem (v.13~37)

New King James Version (NKJV)



This chapter relates how that Absalom by various artful methods stole away the hearts of the people of Israel, 2 Samuel 15:1; that pretending a vow he had made, he got leave of the king to go to Hebron to perform it, 2 Samuel 15:7; where he formed a considerable conspiracy, 2 Samuel 15:10; of which David having information, thought it advisable to depart from Jerusalem, both for his own safety, and the good of the city, which he did with his family, and guards, and much people, 2 Samuel 15:13; though he would have persuaded Ittai the Gittite to have returned, but could not prevail upon him, 2 Samuel 15:19; however, he sent back the priests and the Levites with the ark, lest any harm should come to that, 2 Samuel 15:24; and as he and the people went up the mount of Olives weeping, it was told him that Ahithophel was among the conspirators, on which he put up a prayer that his counsel might be infatuated, 2 Samuel 15:30; and Hushai the Archite coming to him at that juncture, he sent him back to Jerusalem to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, and to send him word by the priests what he should hear there from time to time, 2 Samuel 15:32.


2 Samuel 15:1   After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

   YLT  1And it cometh to pass afterwards, that Absalom prepareth for himself a chariot, and horses, and fifty men are running before him;

And it came to pass after this,.... After the reconciliation of David and Absalom, and the latter was admitted to court again:

that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses; to make himself look grand and respectable among the people; perhaps he got these from his grandfather at Geshur in Syria:

and fifty men to run before him; which added to his pomp and magnificence; and such great personages in later time have had; Nero the Roman emperor never went on a journey with less than a thousand calashes or chariots, and a great number of men that ran before himF3Suetonius in Vit. Neron. c. 30. Vid. Senecae, Ep. 87. & 123. : and this was tacitly setting himself up for king, at least preparing for it, as Adonijah afterwards did in the same way and manner, 1 Kings 1:5.


2 Samuel 15:2   2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.”

   YLT  2and Absalom hath risen early, and stood by the side of the way of the gate, and it cometh to pass, every man who hath a pleading to come unto the king for judgment, that Absalom calleth unto him, and saith, `Of what city [art] thou?' and he saith, `Of one of the tribes of Israel [is] thy servant.'

And Absalom rose up early,.... Every morning, to show how diligent and industrious he should be, and closely apply himself to business, was he in any office trader the king, and especially when he should be king himself; this he did to ingratiate himself into the affections of the people:

and stood beside the way of the gate; either of the king's palace, so JosephusF4Antiqu. l. 7. c. 9. sect. 1. , or of the city, where courts of judicature are held: the former seems most probable by what follows:

and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment; that had a controversy with another man on any account, and came to the king to have it decided according to law, or the rules of justice and equity:

then Absalom called unto him, and said, of what city art thou? which question he asked, only to lead on to some further discourse:

and he said, thy servant is of one of the tribes; that is, of one of the cities of the tribes of Israel, and not of a city of another nation.


2 Samuel 15:3   3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.”

   YLT  3And Absalom saith unto him, `See, thy matters [are] good and straightforward -- and there is none hearkening to thee from the king.'

And Absalom said unto him,.... After some further talk, and finding he had a suit at law to bring on, and either seeing it drawn up in writing, or hearing his account of it, at once declared, without hearing the other party:

see, thy matters are good and right; thy cause is a good cause, and if it could be heard by proper persons there is no doubt but things would go on thy side, and thou wouldest carry thy cause:

but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee; the king is grown old himself and his sons are negligent, and do not attend to business, and there are none besides them appointed to hear causes; and he suggested, as appears by what follows, that he was not in commission, but if he was, or should he appointed a judge, he would attend to business, and people should not go away after this manner, without having justice administered unto them,


2 Samuel 15:4   4 Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.”

   YLT  4And Absalom saith, `Who doth make me a judge in the land, that unto me doth come every man who hath a plea and judgment? -- then I have declared him righteous.'

Absalom said, moreover,.... To the same persons, at the same time:

oh that I were made judge in the land; by which it appears that he had no office under the king; partly either because of his crime, and so not thought fit, and partly because he appeared to be an ambitious aspiring man, and so it was thought not safe to put him into any office:

that every man that hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice; at once, without any further trouble, or coming often, and in vain, and to no purpose.


2 Samuel 15:5   5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him.

   YLT  5And it hath come to pass, in the drawing nearing of any one to bow himself to him, that he hath put forth his hand, and laid hold on him, and given a kiss to him;

And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance,.... To pay his respects, and bow to him, as being the king's son, a prince of the blood, and heir to the crown, as was supposed:

he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him; he put out his hand and shook hands with him, or took him about the neck and kissed him, and by this free, familiar, affable, and courteous manner, strangely won upon and gained the affections of the people, as follows. Fortunatus SchacchusF5Eloeochrism. Myrothec. l. 3. c. 34. Colossians 964. thinks he put forth his hand to be kissed by them, and then kissed them, which was more than was usual.


2 Samuel 15:6   6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

   YLT  6and Absalom doth according to this thing to all Israel who come in for judgment unto the king, and Absalom stealeth the heart of the men of Israel.

And in this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment,.... Told them there was none to be had, wished that he was in office to administer it to them, and behaved in the above loving manner towards them:

so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel; got the affections of the people in a private and clandestine manner, and robbed the king of them, who had the best right unto them.


2 Samuel 15:7   7 Now it came to pass after forty[a] years that Absalom said to the king, “Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord.

   YLT  7And it cometh to pass, at the end of forty years, that Absalom saith unto the king, `Let me go, I pray thee, and I complete my vow, that I vowed to Jehovah in Hebron,

And it came to pass after forty years,.... Or four years; so long it was from the reconciliation of Absalom to David, as JosephusF6Antiqu. l. 7. c. 9. sect. 1. says; and so read Theodoret on the place, the Syriac and Arabic versions: but some say it was either forty years from the time Israel first had a king; and which might be an era of reckoning with the Jews, as the era of Seleucidae was with the Greeks, on the like account; or from the time Saul slew the priests at Nob, as JeromF7Trad. Heb. in 2 lib. Reg. fol. 78. M. ; or from the time of David's being anointed by Samuel; or this was the year of Absalom's age, or of David's reign: but these, and other attempts made to account for this passage, are not entirely satisfactory; and therefore one may be tempted to conclude there must be a mistake in the copy, of "arbaim" for "arba", forty for four; which makes it quite easy, and confirms the first sense:

that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow,

which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron; not what he vowed in Hebron; for according to his own account he had vowed it in Geshur, as in 2 Samuel 15:8; but his request is, that he might pay it in Hebron; which place he fixed upon, being his native place, and where David was anointed king; and which, being about twenty miles from Jerusalem, was at a proper distance to lay the scene of his conspiracy in, and bring it to perfection.


2 Samuel 15:8   8 For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the Lord indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’”

   YLT  8for a vow hath thy servant vowed in my dwelling in Geshur, in Aram, saying, If Jehovah doth certainly bring me back to Jerusalem, then I have served Jehovah.'

For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria,.... When at his grandfather's court there:

saying, if the Lord will bring me again indeed to Jerusalem; which he might be sincerely desirous of:

then I will serve the Lord; but it is a question whether he ever made a vow to this purpose, or concerned himself about serving the Lord; but it rather may be, this was a lie of his, now framed in order to get leave of the king to go to Hebron.


2 Samuel 15:9   9 And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.

   YLT  9And the king saith to him, `Go in peace;' and he riseth and goeth to Hebron,

And the king said unto him, go in peace,.... He gave him leave to go, and wished happiness and prosperity might attend him:

so he arose and went to Hebron; with a company of men, whose number is after mentioned.


2 Samuel 15:10   10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!’”

   YLT  10and Absalom sendeth spies through all the tribes of Israel, saying, `At your hearing the voice of the trumpet, then ye have said, Absalom hath reigned in Hebron.'

But Absalom sent spies throughout all the land of Israel,.... To sound the disposition of the people towards him, to insinuate things into their minds in favour of him, and to improve every opportunity of recommending him to their esteem and affections:

saying, as soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet; in any place; and which it is probable he employed men to sound in many places:

then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron: which is the cause of the trumpet's sounding; and by this means they would learn how the people stood affected to him, whether the news was grateful or not.


2 Samuel 15:11   11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything.

   YLT  11And with Absalom have gone two hundred men, out of Jerusalem, invited ones, and they are going in their simplicity, and have not known anything;

And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called,.... Invited by him to go with him and partake of his peace offerings, as the payment of his vow in Hebron; part of which was made a feast of for his friends, whomsoever he should think fit to invite, as he did to the number of two hundred, and for the entertainment of whom a large provision ought to be made; the JewsF8Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 194. 4. have a tradition, that he had leave of his father only to invite two to go with him, and that he asked two more unknown to the first, and so on, two after two, until they amounted to two hundred:

and they went in their simplicity; to partake of the feast of the peace offerings, to which they were invited; being quite harmless and upright in their intentions, having no thought of disloyalty and rebellion in their breasts:

and they knew not anything; of an intended conspiracy; howbeit, doubtless many of them were drawn into it when got thither; and as these may be supposed to be some of the principal men of Jerusalem, it was a great weakening of David's interest, and laid a considerable foundation for Absalom to begin upon.


2 Samuel 15:12   12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city—from Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.

   YLT  12and Absalom sendeth Ahithophel the Gilonite, a counsellor of David, out of his city, out of Gilo, in his sacrificing sacrifices; and the conspiracy is strong, and the people are going and increasing with Absalom.

And Absalom sent for Ahithophel, the Gilonite, David's counsellor,.... To advise with about this treasonable affair he was engaged in, and to get out of him David's secrets, who was reckoned the best counsellor in the land; and he might rather hope he would come to him, if he was the grandfather of Bathsheba, as say the Jews, 2 Samuel 11:3; since he might be disgusted with and resent David's adultery with Bathsheba his granddaughter, and the murder of her husband Uriah: him he sent for:

from his city, even from Giloh; a city in the tribe of Judah, in the mountainous part of it, near to Hebron, where Absalom now was; and, according to BuntingF9Travels, &c. p. 149. , twenty miles from Jerusalem, see Joshua 15:48,

while he offered sacrifices; not Ahithophel, but Absalom, his peace offerings at Hebron, to which he invited Ahithophel to come and partake of:

and the conspiracy was strong; or there was a great number in the conspiracy, who were assembled together:

for the people increased continually with Absalom; being drawn to him by the comeliness of his person, his affable behaviour, the pomp and magnificence in which he appeared, the great number of the principal inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and he the king's eldest son, and so heir to the crown; whereas it might begin to be rumoured about, that David designed Solomon, a son of Bathsheba, a young prince, to be his successor, which did not meet with general approbation at first.


2 Samuel 15:13   13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”

   YLT  13And he who is declaring tidings cometh in unto David, saying, `The heart of the men of Israel hath been after Absalom.'

And there came a messenger to David,.... Perhaps one of the two hundred that went with Absalom, ignorant of his design; which, when discovered, he disapproved of, and got away from him, and came to David, and informed him how things were:

saying, the hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom; to make him king.


2 Samuel 15:14   14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”

   YLT  14And David saith to all his servants who [are] with him in Jerusalem, `Rise, and we flee, for we have no escape from the face of Absalom; haste to go, lest he hasten, and have overtaken us, and forced on us evil, and smitten the city by the mouth of the sword.'

And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem,.... His courtiers and ministers of state, the officers of his household, as many of them as were with him in the city; for some of them very probably were in the country, as Ahithophel was, and some might be along with Absalom, whom he had invited to his peace offerings:

arise, and let us flee; it is much that a man of such courage and valour as David should be so intimidated at once as to make a flight as soon as he heard of a conspiracy forming against him:

for we shall not else escape from Absalom; his fears ran so high, that he fancied he would be upon them presently:

make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly; which still more clearly shows the panic he was in:

and bring evil upon us; kill them, or make them prisoners:

and smite the city with the edge of the sword; the inhabitants of it, should they make resistance.


2 Samuel 15:15   15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.”

   YLT  15And the servants of the king say unto the king, `According to all that my lord the king chooseth -- lo, thy servants [do].'

And the king's servants said unto the king,.... In answer to him, and to show that they were quite conformable to his pleasure:

behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shalt appoint; or "choose"F11יבחר "elegerit", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. , whether to prepare to fight, and defend him and the city, or to depart and make their escape.


2 Samuel 15:16   16 Then the king went out with all his household after him. But the king left ten women, concubines, to keep the house.

   YLT  16And the king goeth out, and all his household at his feet, and the king leaveth ten women -- concubines -- to keep the house.

And the king went forth,.... Which determined the case:

and all his household after him family and his court; they followed his example, and attended him in his flight:

and the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house; not to defend it, which they were unable to do, but to look after the household goods and furniture, that they were not damaged by the conspirators; though one would think they could be of little service, and may wonder what he should leave them behind for; but this seems to be ordered by the overruling providence of God, to bring about what was threatened him, 2 Samuel 12:11; and it is much he had not thought of it; but it was hid from his eyes, that it might be fulfilled.


2 Samuel 15:17   17 And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts.

   YLT  17And the king goeth out, and all the people at his feet, and they stand still at the farthest off house.

And the king went forth,.... From Jerusalem; which is repeated, that it might be observed in what a hurry and fright he was:

and all the people after him; his family, court, and servants, and as many of the people of Jerusalem as chose to go with him:

and tarried at a place that was afar off; when they had got at some distance from the city, they stopped and stayed a while; it could not be a great way from it, for they had not as yet passed over the brook Kidron, 2 Samuel 15:23.


2 Samuel 15:18   18 Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.

   YLT  18And all his servants are passing on at his side, and all the Cherethite, and all the Pelethite, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who came at his feet from Gath, are passing on at the front of the king.

And all his servants passed on beside him,.... Or at his hand or side; his household servants walking perhaps some on one side of him, and some on the other, see 2 Samuel 16:6,

and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites; which were his bodyguards, see 2 Samuel 8:18,

and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath; which either came with him from Gath, when he conquered that city, and took it out of the hands of the Philistines, 2 Samuel 8:1; compared with 1 Chronicles 18:1; and who might become proselytes, and be incorporated into the commonwealth of Israel, and into David's army, a troop of men, of which Ittai, after mentioned, was captain, 2 Samuel 15:22; or else these were Israelites, so called, because with David they sojourned in Gath a while, when he fled from Saul; and so JosephusF12Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 9.) sect. 2. says, they were companions of him in his first flight, when Saul was living; and this number is just the number of the men that were with him at Gath, 1 Samuel 27:2; and it may be David kept a troop of men always of the same number, to whom he gave this name in memory of them, having been a set of trusty and faithful men to him: these, with the Cherethites and Pelethites:

passed on before the king: in this form and manner David and his men marched in their flight.


2 Samuel 15:19   19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place.

   YLT  19And the king saith unto Ittai the Gittite, `Why dost thou go -- thou also -- with us? turn back -- and abide with the king, for thou [art] a stranger, and also an exile thou -- to thy place.

Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite,.... Who was over the band of Gittites, the six hundred men, 2 Samuel 15:22,

wherefore goest thou also with us? one should think the king should not have discouraged any from joining and following him, when his numbers were not very large, and the in such fear on account of Absalom:

return to this place; to Jerusalem, where his station was:

and abide with the king; with Absalom, who set himself up for king, and whom the people perhaps had proclaimed as such in Hebron, where the conspiracy began:

for thou art a stranger, and also an exile; not a native of Israel, but of another nation, and at a distance from it, and therefore not altogether under the same obligations to attend David in his troubles as others were; and by this it seems that he was a Gittite by nation, whatever the six hundred men were, and rather favours the first sense given of them in 2 Samuel 15:18.


2 Samuel 15:20   20 In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you.”

   YLT  20Yesterday [is] thy coming in, and to-day I move thee to go with us, and I am going on that which I am going! -- turn back, and take back thy brethren with thee, -- kindness and truth.'

Whereas thou camest but yesterday,.... From Gath, or from an expedition he and his men had been on:

should I this day make thee, go up and down with us? wander up and down from place to place with David, when he was but just come off a journey, weary and fatigued:

seeing I go whither I may; where it will be most safe for me, I know not where; may be obliged to flee here and there, which would be very inconvenient to Ittai in his circumstances:

return thou, and take back thy brethren; the six hundred men under him, and whom David could ill spare at this time, and yet, consulting their ease, advises to return to Jerusalem with them:

mercy and truth be with thee; the Lord show mercy and kindness to thee, in that thou hast shown favour and respect to me, and make good all his promises to thee, who hast been true and faithful to me.


2 Samuel 15:21   21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.”

   YLT  21And Ittai answereth the king and saith, `Jehovah liveth, and my lord the king liveth, surely in the place where my lord the king is -- if for death, if for life, surely there is thy servant.'

And Ittai answered the king, and said,.... With an oath, as follows:

as the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth; which he took to confirm what he after says, and to put an end to the debate between them:

surely, in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be; signifying that he would attend him wherever he went, hazard his life in his cause, and live and die with him.


2 Samuel 15:22   22 So David said to Ittai, “Go, and cross over.” Then Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the little ones who were with him crossed over.

   YLT  22And David saith unto Ittai, `Go and pass over;' and Ittai the Gittite passeth over, and all his men, and all the infants who [are] with him.

And David said unto Ittai, go, and pass over,.... It being his resolution to abide with him, he urged him no more to depart, but bid him pass over the brook Kidron before him:

and Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men; the six hundred Gittites that were under his command:

and all the little ones that were with him; that belonged to him and his men, and no doubt their wives also.


2 Samuel 15:23   23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the wilderness.

   YLT  23And all the land are weeping -- a great voice, and all the people are passing over; and the king is passing over through the brook Kidron, and all the people are passing over on the front of the way of the wilderness;

And all the country wept with a loud voice,.... The people that came out of the country villages round about, upon the report of the king's leaving Jerusalem, because of his son's conspiracy against him; these wept when they saw him in the circumstances in which he was, obliged to fly from a rebellious son:

and all the people passed over; the people that were with David passed over Kidron, and so the Cherethites, and Pelethites:

the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron; this explains what place it was they passed over, which is not before mentioned, but is particularly named in the account of the king's passing over it; over which same brook the Messiah, his antitype, passed a little before his sufferings and death; of which brook; see Gill on John 18:1. It is often by JosephusF13Antiqu. l. 8. c. 1. sect. 5. & l. 9. c. 7. sect. 3. De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 3. c. 4. sect. 2. c. 6. sect. 1. called a valley, sometimes a brook, it having little water, except in winter; Mr. MaundrellF14Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 102. says, it ran along the bottom of the valley of Jehoshaphat, a brook in the wintertime; but without the least drop of water in it all the time, says he, we were in Jerusalem; and so RelandF15Palestin. Illustrat. tom. 1. p. 294, 351. , that in summertime it ceases to be a river, and has the name of a valley; and Le Bruyn saysF16Voyage to the Levant, ch. 48. p. 188. , it is at present dried up; it runs along the valley of Jehoshaphat, and is not above three paces broad; it has no other but rain water, which flows from the adjacent hills:

and all the people passed over to the way of the wilderness; which lay between Jerusalem and Jericho.


2 Samuel 15:24   24 There was Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar went up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city.

   YLT  24and lo, also Zadok, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God, and they make the ark of God firm, and Abiathar goeth up, till the completion of all the people to pass over out of the city.

And, lo, Zadok also,.... The priest, as he is called, 2 Samuel 15:27,

and all the Levites were with him: with Zadok, or with David, and indeed with both; but the former is rather meant here, being the immediate antecedent:

bearing the ark of the covenant of God: these were the Kohathite Levites, whose business it was to bear the ark when carried from place to place, Numbers 3:31; called the ark of the covenant, because the law which was the covenant between God and the people, was put into it:

and they set down the ark of God: from off their shoulders, on which they carried it:

and Abiathar went up; who was the high priest, and whose business it was to attend the ark, and inquire before it, as occasion required; he went up very probably to the mount of Olives, later mentioned, 2 Samuel 15:30,

until all the people had done passing out of the city; for from the top of that mountain he could see the city of Jerusalem, and the people as they passed out of it, and observe when they were all come out, or however ceased coming, and so knew when it was a proper time to march forward.


2 Samuel 15:25   25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place.

   YLT  25And the king saith to Zadok, `Take back the ark of God to the city; if I find grace in the eyes of Jehovah, then He hath brought me back, and shewn me it and His habitation;

And the king said unto Zadok, carry back the ark of God into the city,.... The reason of which is not easy to account for, since being carried back it would fall into the hands of the conspirators; and now the priests were with it to take care of it, and there might be occasion to inquire at it before the Lord; but David thought it being a sacred thing would not be violated by Absalom and his men, and that it would be safest in its own habitation or tabernacle, which David had built for it; for, that the reason of it should be, what Procopius Gazaeus suggests, cannot be given into, that he could not bear to carry about him the law, which accused of adulteries and murders:

if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord: if he will appear for me, be on my side, and deliver me from those who have risen up against me:

he will bring me again: to Jerusalem, and to his palace there:

and show me both it and his habitation; the ark, and the tabernacle he had erected for it, 2 Samuel 6:17.


2 Samuel 15:26   26 But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”

   YLT  26and if thus He say, I have not delighted in thee; here [am] I, He doth to me as [is] good in His eyes.'

But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee,.... As a king, or in his temporal prosperity, though he might and had delight in him as a chosen vessel of salvation, as a saint and child of God, and in his spiritual and everlasting welfare:

behold, here am I; his humble servant, ready to be, and do and suffer whatever is his pleasure:

let him do to me as seemeth good unto him; strip me of all the ensigns of royalty, dispossess me of my crown and kingdom, and dispose of me as seems good in his sight; who is a sovereign Being, and has a right to do with his creatures what he pleases.


2 Samuel 15:27   27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.

   YLT  27And the king saith unto Zadok the priest, `Art thou a seer? turn back to the city in peace, and Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar, your two sons with you;

And the king said unto Zadok the priest, art not thou a seer?.... A prophet, as well as a priest; see 1 Samuel 9:9; or a seeing, knowing, man; one that can penetrate into men and things, and so might be of more service to David at Jerusalem than with him: wherefore he said to him:

return into the city in peace; to the city of Jerusalem with peace, quietness, and satisfaction of mind; where he doubted not, at least hoped and wished, he would be in safety and prosperity, being one of the Lord's priests:

and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar; the one was of the line of Eleazar, and the other of the line of Ithamar.


2 Samuel 15:28   28 See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.”

   YLT  28see ye, I am tarrying in the plains of the wilderness till the coming in of a word from you to declare to me.'

See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness,.... Towards the way of which David and the people went when they came over Kidron, 2 Samuel 15:23,

until there come word from you to certify me; of the truth of the conspiracy, of the number of the conspirators, and who they are, what progress they have made, whether come to Jerusalem, and how they behave there, if come; or of anything relative hereunto he could get intelligence of.


2 Samuel 15:29   29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.

   YLT  29And Zadok taketh back -- and Abiathar -- the ark of God to Jerusalem, and they abide there.

Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem,.... That is, ordered it to be carried, and took care that it was carried, by the Kohathite Levites, and they themselves attended it:

and they tarried there; at Jerusalem; though their two sons that went with them entered not into the city, but stayed at a place called Enrogel, at some little distance from it, 2 Samuel 17:17.


2 Samuel 15:30   30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.

   YLT  30And David is going up in the ascent of the olives, going up and weeping, and he hath the head covered, and he is going barefooted, and all the people who [are] with him have covered each his head, and have gone up, going up and weeping;

And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet,.... So called from the olive trees that grew upon it, which is often mentioned in the New Testament, and where our Lord Jesus Christ, the antitype of David, often was, in his state of humiliation, Matthew 26:30, and from whence he ascended to heaven after his resurrection, Acts 1:12; it was about a mile from Jerusalem, to the east of it:

and wept as he went up; thinking perhaps of the wickedness and rebellion of his son, of his own hard case, to be obliged to quit his metropolis and palace, and make his flight afoot; and perhaps also of his own sins, which were the cause of his calamities:

and had his head covered; with his mantle, with which he enwraped himself as a mourner, 2 Samuel 19:4; so the Egyptians used to cover their heads in mourning, and the Romans in later timesF17Vid. Solerium de Pileo, sect. 2. p. 14, 19. ; so Megara in sorrowful circumstances is represented as having her head covered with a garmentF18Senec. Hercul. furens, act. 2. :

and he went barefoot; in token of mourning also, and like one forlorn, and going into captivity, see Isaiah 20:2,

and all the people that was with him covered every man his head; as David did, and in imitation of him, and sympathizing with him; and which was sometimes done when men were ashamed and confounded, Jeremiah 14:3,

and they went up, weeping as they went up; the mount of Olivet, grieved for their king, and the distresses and calamities that were coming upon them.


2 Samuel 15:31   31 Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!”

   YLT  31and David declared, saying, `Ahithophel [is] among the conspirators with Absalom;' and David saith, `Make foolish, I pray Thee, the counsel of Ahithophel, O Jehovah.'

And one told David,.... That came either from Hebron or from Jerusalem:

Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom; Absalom sent for him, and it seems he came to him, and continued with him, see 2 Samuel 15:12,

and David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness; either suffer him to give foolish counsel, or confound the schemes projected by him, and let them not be carried into execution; for God can, and sometimes does, disappoint crafty counsellors, that they cannot perform what they devise, but they are taken in their own craftiness, and their counsel is carried headlong, Job 5:12; this prayer was answered, 2 Samuel 17:14.


2 Samuel 15:32   32 Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God—there was Hushai the Archite coming to meet him with his robe torn and dust on his head.

   YLT  32And it cometh to pass, David hath come unto the top, where he boweth himself to God, and lo, to meet him [is] Hushai the Archite, his coat rent, and earth on his head;

And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount,.... Of the mount of Olives:

where he worshipped God; by prayer and praise; here very probably he composed and sung the third psalm Psalm 3:1, which, as the title shows, was made when he fled from Absalom:

behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him, with his coat rent, and earth upon his head; in token of mourning, and as a bringer of bad tidings, see 2 Samuel 1:2; perhaps he was an inhabitant of Archi, at least originally, which lay on the borders of the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 16:2; from whence he had his name.


2 Samuel 15:33   33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me.

   YLT  33and David saith to him, `If thou hast passed on with me then thou hast been on me for a burden,

Unto whom David said,.... After he had heard what he had to say, and what tidings he brought:

and if thou passest on with me; in his march and flight:

then thou shalt be a burden to me; being to be maintained by him; and David having but scanty provisions, and so could not receive useless persons, as Hushai might be, perhaps an old man, that could be of no service to him, and unfit for travelling, and so would rather be an hinderance than an help unto him.


2 Samuel 15:34   34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father’s servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,’ then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me.

   YLT  34and if to the city thou dost turn back, and hast said to Absalom, Thy servant I am, O king; servant of thy father I [am] also hitherto, and now, I [am] also thy servant; then thou hast made void for me the counsel of Ahithophel;

But if thou return to the city,.... To the city of Jerusalem, from whence it seems he came:

and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as he was by usurpation, and by the proclamation of the people with him. David directs him to address him thus, that he might have no suspicion of him, having been an old friend of his:

as I have been thy father's servant hitherto; perhaps in the character of a counsellor, as it should seem, since as such he was afterwards employed by Absalom:

so will I now also be thy servant; in whatsoever thou shall please to employ me under thee:

then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel; for being taken into Absalom's service, and made one of his counsellors, he would be privy to the advice of Ahithophel, and so be able to work against him.


2 Samuel 15:35   35 And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore it will be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.

   YLT  35and are there not with thee there Zadok and Abiathar the priests? and it hath been, the whole of the matter that thou hearest from the house of the king thou dost declare to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests.

And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests?.... To assist in forming schemes directly opposite to Ahithophel's, or to whom he could communicate the secrets of Absalom's court:

therefore it shall be that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house; Absalom's, who had now, at possession of the house and palace of David:

thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests; to whom he might have recourse without suspicion, pretending he had business with them as priests, on religious accounts, to offer sacrifices for him, &c.


2 Samuel 15:36   36 Indeed they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear.”

   YLT  36Lo, there with them [are] their two sons, Ahimaaz to Zadok, and Jonathan to Abiathar, and ye have sent by their hand unto me anything that ye hear.'

Behold, they have there with them two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son,.... As in 2 Samuel 15:27; not that they were in the city with them, but they were near it, 2 Samuel 17:17; with whom they had a communication:

and by whom ye shall send unto me everything that ye can hear; that is, by the sons of the priests; he telling the priests how things were at court, and they sending their sons with messages to David; which was a good scheme to get intelligence, and easy to be put into execution.


2 Samuel 15:37   37 So Hushai, David’s friend, went into the city. And Absalom came into Jerusalem.

   YLT  37And Hushai, David's friend, cometh in to the city, and Absalom cometh in to Jerusalem.

So Hushai David's friend came into the city,.... The city of Jerusalem, by the direction and persuasion of David, and in obedience to him, in order to serve him to the uttermost:

and Absalom came into Jerusalem: just at the same time; so that he knew not that Hushai had been out of it, and been with David, and which also appears from what he said to him, 2 Samuel 16:17.


──John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible


New King James Version (NKJV)


  1. 2 Samuel 15:7 Septuagint manuscripts, Syriac, and Josephus read four.