21 July 2016

2 Samuel 18:19-23

"Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, ‘Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the power of his enemies.’" (v. 19)

Psalm: Psalm 119:113-128


After a brief diversion yesterday to Psalm, we return to 2 Samuel. The story so far ... Absalom has conspired against his father David, causing David to flee from Jerusalem. David has now gathered around him an army to fight against Absalom and his followers. In Tuesday passage David showed himself to have competing loyalties - a desire to quell the rebellion and the enduring love between a father and his son (however errant).

In 2 Samuel 16:9-15 we read of the death of Absalom. Whilst riding his head had become caught in a tree and he was left hanging in mid-air. One of David's men discovered Absalom but was reluctant to kill him. Instead he reported his finding to Joab (a nephew of King David), who did the deed.

In today's passage there is the question of how to tell David that his son is dead. Ahimaaz wanted to be the bearer of the news, but Joab says no. It seems that the choice of the messenger depended on the content of the message. This appears to be confirmed in 2 Samuel 18:27 when David presumes that Joab would not have sent someone like Ahimaaz to deliver bad news.

Joab gives the task to a nameless Cushite (a foreigner): "Go, tell the king what you have seen" (v. 21). But Ahimaaz is determined, and pleads with Joab to accompany the Cushite. Joab relents and Ahimaaz leaves only to outrun the Cushite and reach David first.

One wonders why Ahimaaz is determined to tell the king. Ahimaaz was the son of Zadok the priest, who eventually became the High Priest. Under King Solomon Ahimaaz was succeed him (1 Chronicles 6:8, 53). Could it be that Ahimaaz thought it was the task of member of the priestly family to convey the message to David, however distressing? Or looking back at 2 Samuel 17:17-21 we can see that Ahimaaz was involved in gathering information of Absalom's activities and reporting back to David. Now that Absalom has died, does Ahimaaz want to tell David as a way of finishing this task?

To Ponder

  • Why do you think Ahimaaz wanted to tell King David about the death of his son?
  • The conveyor of a message can either add weight or diminish the message that they bring. (Is that why the BBC relies on figures like David Dimbleby and Huw Edwards for state occasions?) Who would you like to deliver to you (a) good news? (b) bad news? Why?
  • People seem very interested in discovering whether celebrities have a Chrsistian faith? To what extent do this enhance or diminish the gospel message? Why?

Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.