Tuesday, August 29, 2023

And they made reconciliation (2Samuel 14)

2Samuel chapter 14 opens with an interesting story that's in many ways similar to the opening of chapter 12. Joab gets a woman to come to David and tell a made-up story of one of her sons murdering the other. She expresses that if the remaining son is put to death for his crime, her deceased husband will have no heirs. David assures the woman that he will protect her son. Then the woman asks why David hasn't given similar protection to Absolom. David realizes this is a setup. He calls Joab and has him retrieve Absolom to Jerusalem, but requests not to see Absalom in person.

Now there's some stuff about Absalom and how popular he is, partially because he's so handsome. There's a note about how Absolom has an immense amount of hair on his head, which ends up being significant later in the story. How many sons did Absalom have? It seems clear that Absalom had (at least) three sons, as stated here. What appears to be a contradiction with the chapter 18 passage has at least a couple of possibilities. One is that Absalom's children died at some point, maybe during the battle. Another one, and one I think more likely, is to note that the chapter 18 passage is clearly not in chronological order, as it comes after Absslom's death. Perhaps Absalom created the monument before he had any children.

The chapter ends with a strange story where Absalom has been living in Jerusalem for two years and still hasn't seen his father. He sends word to Joab twice to fix this, and when Joab doesn't answer, Absalom sends his servants to burn up Joab's barley. Joab finally comes, and Absalom insists that he wants to see David even if it means dying. Joab brings Absolom to David, Absalom bows before him, and David kisses him. Is everything okay now? We'll see.

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