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Saturday, May 3 2014
2 Samuel 14: The Flames Of Absalom
"Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?"
King David had been in mourning for three years over the rape of one of his daughters, Tamar, by her own half-brother, Amnon (David's firstborn son) and then the murder of Amnon by another of David's sons, Absalom, who was the full brother of Tamar (see 2 Samuel 13: The Rape Of Tamar). After the murder, Absalom fled to his mother's homeland, Geshur, a kingdom beyond the Golan Heights into Syria (the Israelites originated in that same area; see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria).
For whatever actual reason, Joab, David's army commander, concocted a scheme to permit Absalom's return - a homecoming that Joab, along with everyone else who was loyal to King David, would regret before long. Although the principle had merit, for the return of someone who was worthy, the return of Absalom caused far more hurt than it relieved.
The tactic used by Joab was similar to what the prophet Nathan had employed in the LORD's rebuke of David for what he had done with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11: Bathsheba, The Wife Of Uriah).
"14:1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom. 14:2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead: 14:3 And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
Joab was joyful that his plan had succeeded. His joy would be brief.
"14:21 And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.
When Absalom returned, David recovered from his grief. He also recovered from his foggy thinking - he permitted Absalom's return, but refused to see him.
"14:23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
Absalom was a vain juvenile-minded man. Just as the original "pretty boy" (i.e. Satan; see the Fact Finder question below) had done and continues to do, Absalom soon began to rebel against the king in order to keep his ego satisfied. In the meantime however, he married and had children - including a daughter that he named Tamar - the sister that he had committed murder to revenge.
"14:25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 14:26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight.
Absalom's return did not cure his lawless spirit. When David continued to refuse to see him, Absalom committed arson and extortion by burning Joab's dry, ripe barley field. It was the first major sign to Joab that he had made a big mistake by facilitating the vain rebel's return. As we will cover in the next studies, the troubles from Absalom were just beginning.
"14:28 So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face. 14:29 Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. 14:30 Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
This Day In History, May 3
495: Pope Gelasius proclaimed that his papal authority was superior to the civil authority of Emperor Enanstasius. The Church of Rome, the papacy, and most of the Church of Rome's antichrist doctrines were the invention of the Roman emperors - primarily Constantine (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and Emperors and Popes).
1410: Alexander V (Pietro di Candia) died at age 71. He was antipope 1409-1410 during a period of 3 popes (see Antipopes) at the same time (the other 2 were Pope Gregory XII and Antipope Benedict XIII). He reigned only 10 months and his death came under suspicious circumstances; some believe that he was poisoned by his successor, Antipope John XXIII.
1481: The most powerful of a series of three earthquakes struck the island of Rhodes (see also The Colossus of Rhodes). The death toll was 30,000 people.
1494: Christopher Columbus first sighted the island known today as Jamaica. All of the four voyages of Columbus were to the islands of the Caribbean; none were to what calls itself "America" today (see the map at Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1500: Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral landed in Brazil and claimed it for Portugal.
1512: The 5th Lateran Council (18th ecumenical council) opened in Rome under Pope Julius II.
1616: The Second Civil War in France ended after the Treaty of Loudun was signed.
1660: John II Casimir of Poland abandoned his claim to Sweden and signed the Treaty of Oliva, ending the Polish-Swedish War of Succession.
1747: During the War of The Austrian Succession, the British defeated the French at the first Battle of Cape Finisterre.
1791: King Stanislaw Augustus signed a liberal bill of rights reforming gentry-ruled Poland and setting up a constitutional monarchy. It was only the second written constitution in the world after the United States.
1802: Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city.
1808: During the Peninsular War, Madrid rebels were executed near Príncipe Pío hill.
1830: The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway is opened in Kent, England. It was the first steam-powered passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.
1841: New Zealand was proclaimed a British colony.
1859: France declared war on Austria.
1860: Charles XV of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.
1867: The Hudson's Bay Company ceded all claims of Vancouver Island to Canada.
1915: During the First World War (1914-1918), Lt. Col. John McCrae, a Canadian army medical officer, wrote the poem In Flanders Fields while overlooking the grave of a fellow officer at Ypres, Belgium. The poem first appeared in Punch magazine December 8 1915. McCrae himself did not survive the war.
1916: The rebel leaders of the Easter Rising were executed in Dublin.
1926: U.S. marines invaded Nicaragua to defend U.S. banana-business interests in the country after the Nicaraguan people's government began defending the rights of their agricultural laborers. The "banana republic" military occupation lasted for 7 years, until an obedient puppet government was installed.
1963: In Alabama, police used attack dogs and fire hoses against black civil rights protestors, including children. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alabama's segregation laws were unconstitutional less than 3 weeks later, on May 20.
1978: The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (later known as "spam") was sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation to every ARPANET address on the US west coast.
1979: Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of Britain.
1993: Authorities said they had identified the body of David Koresh from charred remains found after their church buildings were burned to the ground during the siege at Waco in February.
2001: The U.S. lost its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.