Daily Bible Radio

Unwilling to Wait

2 Samuel 18:6-18 :

So the people went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim. The people of Israel were struck there before David’s servants, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there spread over the surface of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. Absalom happened to meet David’s servants. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the sky and earth; and the mule that was under him went on. A certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.”

Joab said to the man who told him, “Behold, you saw it, and why didn’t you strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten pieces of silver, and a sash.”

The man said to Joab, “Though I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I still wouldn’t stretch out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware that no one touch the young man Absalom.’ Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life (and there is no matter hidden from the king), then you yourself would have set yourself against me.”

Then Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this with you.” He took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the middle of the oak. Ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded and struck Absalom, and killed him. Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab held the people back. They took Absalom and cast him into the great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Then all Israel fled, each to his own tent. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself the pillar which is in the king’s valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in memory.” He called the pillar after his own name. It is called Absalom’s monument, to this day.

Here we read that Joab directly disobeyed the king's command and intentionally killed his son, and then proceeded to bury him under a huge pile of rocks. Once again, Joab took matters into his own hands. It's in times like these that you have to wonder if David was really Joab's "lord."

I don't believe that Joab was mindlessly killing an enemy, though. We are told that they were fighting in a forest. Absalom himself got his head caught in a tree. It appears that Joab wanted a quick end to it all. He even told the man that he didn't want to wait around talking to him. As soon as Absalom was dead, he told everyone to stop fighting. That sounds pretty noble to me. The problem is, however, that no matter how good our intentions are, we must wait for God's timing. Notice that God was doing a fine job on His own. He trapped Absalom with a mule and tree! We can't know everything that God knows. If we want to do what is right, we must listen to God, deny ourselves and do what He wants.

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