Pretending a Vow

After David and Absalom reunited, Absalom rebelled against his father and against the Lord. “Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, ‘Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD. 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.” And the king said to him, ‘Go in peace.’ So he arose and went to Hebron” (2 Samuel 15:7-9).
First, the time could not have been “forty years,” and it most certainly was not forty days, but as a few translations have it, “four years.” That fits with the chronology of David’s life.
Anyway, Absalom knew how to appeal to his father, that he would be impressed with the making of a vow to the Lord and the keeping of that vow. Therefore, David let his son go, not knowing that just as Amnon used David’s compassion for the sick, so Absalom planned using the freedom he gained against his father.
Absalom ended as Amnon did–dead. David should not have ordered the death of an innocent man (Uriah), nor should David have committed adultery with the man’s wife (Bathsheba), but David’s sons were also wrong and shall give account of their lives before God.

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Don Ruhl

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