Okay, so I get why Joab, the general of the king’s armies, would want the usurper dead. I even understand how he could directly disobey the king to make that happen. It’s easy to understand how someone in that position could justify the execution. The king is made vulnerable by his love for his son and his mercy, and he must be protected, even from himself. There’s also likely a bit of personal pride involved. If there’s a successful coup on his watch, how’s that going to reflect on his tenure as general?
I’m more bemused by Ahimaazz’s little deception. Was he just that set on delivering the good news of the victory? I mean, that would be a matter of pride if you’re the most trusted messenger of the king.
Mostly, these chapters are just another rather cinematic chapter in the dramatic life of David. Subterfuge, daring escapes, battle, the grief of war.
David does two things I find terribly significant in these chapters. Firstly, he doesn’t mind an emotional man cursing him. His response is actually something I think we would do well to take into a lot of life’s situations. He refuses to pass judgment just in case the man was following God’s will, leaving that up to God himself to determine. If the man were right, the curses would fall. If the man were wrong, God would spare David, even bless him through it.
I really think we should take this into all our disagreements, specifically with other believers. This might get bumpy, so try to stay with me. We should trust them to be sincerely attempting to follow God’s will and allow God himself to be the judge of who is right. This is especially vital in matters of interpretation. If they are open to God’s leading and seeking the Spirit’s council, does it matter if they have a different view of eschatology than you? Doubt it. Does it matter if they have a different understanding of church politics? Maybe. Does it matter if you feel they are actively living a life of sin? Yes. Yes, Paul says yes to that one. So follow his advice.
Sit down and speak with them, bring in others if you must. But you have to actually listen to them in turn. If you can’t come to an agreement, perhaps it is best if you part ways. But shouldn’t you still treat them with love? Shouldn’t you still leave the actual judgment up to God? Can’t you still admit that perhaps, just perhaps, they are following God’s will, and you are a little bit wrong? (There are limits. There are always limits. If they are hurting someone else, please stop them if you can. I’m suggesting there might not be as many limits as some seem to think there are.)
Anyway, I think David is a good example here.
Secondly, his grief over Absalom. After everything Absalom has done, he still wishes he’d died instead of his son. This is grief he did not feel over Amnon. I really kind of think this supports my theory that David viewed this as part of his judgment. I think he felt responsible, more than in a ‘my side won’ kind of way, but in a ‘this whole thing was my fault to begin with even though you started it’ kind of way.