Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

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II Samuel 14

Chapter 14

v. 2:  I am uncertain as to why Joab would have sought out a “wise woman” if this was in fact a kind of witch, as Barnes seems to suggest.  I am inclined to believe that “wise woman” is not a term for witch in this instance but rather that it simply designates a cunning woman who was needed to carry off the ruse Joab had in mind.

v. 4: The narrative does not say that this woman and Joab are acting according to God’s will (as it does with Nathan in a similar scenario when he tells David the parable of the man and his beloved lamb[1]).  Joab made up the woman’s story to illustrate what must have been his concern, i.e., maintaining the line of David, the Davidic dynasty.

v. 14:  The argument runs thus: We all must die; however, God does not desire it, but rather he finds ways for banished people to return to him (and by so doing preserves life).  You, King David, are like God by analogy, having the wisdom of the angel of God – see v. 20.

v. 19:  Joab was probably in the king’s presence when the woman told the story (v. 22).  Since David saw Joab’s hand in the woman’s request, I suspect this retrieval of Absalom was an action to which Joab had urged his king in the past.

v. 24:  This “he must not see my face” seems a bit strange.  It is clearly not what David desires in his heart.  Perhaps it was a compromise with whatever motive had kept Absalom banished for the previous three years.  That motive might have been any number of things: David’s sense of justice, fear for the rest of his sons, fear of the rest of his sons if he showed Absalom clemency, Bath Sheba’s desire for Solomon to inherit the throne, and so on.  The fact that David eventually relents altogether seems to reinforce the fact that his heart was not in the punishment.


[1] I wonder if Joab got the idea for this trick from Nathan’s parable.

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